About Us

In the beginning...

Whitehead Recording was established in 1986. The business was co-founded by Marty Kempf and yours truly, Bob Genigeski. Marty owned and operated Whitehead Music, one of the largest music stores in mid-Michigan. It was a full facility which offered everything from horn repair to acting lessons. The only missing ingredient was recording, hence Whitehead Recording was born. Marty contacted me because of a demo tape he obtained that was recorded in my home studio. The two of us hammered out an agreement and the recording studio was born.

The studio was positioned in the back end of the store with a modest assortment of equipment. A Fostex 8 track machine was the heart of the operation, with one track dedicated to MIDI-sync to drive an old Kawai sequencer. In those early days, anything with a MIDI-out was printed via MIDI, including electronic drums. This reserved 7 tracks for vocals, guitar, bass, etcetera.

Although our beginning was modest, I believe we were the first Michigan studio to go digital mixdown. Before the advent of DAT machines, the studio gods created Sony PCM converters. These machines basically converted analog signals to digital. To store the digital stream, the device had to run at approximately 30 feet per second. This speed was a little fast for standard recorders running at 15 inches per second. The only devices capable of this feat were VCR recorders. Marty donated his Sony BETA recorder that he had been using for a boat anchor, and we were off to the races. We soon learned, however, that not all VCR's are created equal. What tracks properly on your machine may not always track properly on someone else's.

One of our early projects to be handed over to a duplication facility was a 60 hour Christian choir project. We sent off the digital master and waited patiently. I'll never forget that phone call... "Yes, Whitehead Recording? This is Disc Makers calling. We have a digital master of yours and it doesn't track properly. Do you want us to shit-can it or should we send it back to you?" OUCH! Well . . . help me out here! Is it one song, all the songs, little glitch, big glitch, WHAT? "I don't know. I was just told to call you." Can I please talk to your engineer? "No, he's busy." Translation: I'm an entry level idiot and part of my job is to keep you from bothering our engineer. After some coaxing, she at least agreed to give the engineer a message. He called me back and said there was a small digital glitch in one of the songs. I explained that the project tracked perfect on my machine and he consented to using our VCR to master the project. The next problem was getting it there. Marty and I hopped in my van on Sunday evening and drove all night to Pittsburg to deliver the thing first thing Monday morning. From this point, everything went according to plan. We were able to mix the project down and life was good again.

The recording business continued to grow and in 1992 Whitehead Music was forced to change locations. This location was in a more suburban country setting, and an ideal setup for studio work. One half of the total square footage was devoted to the studio. We were constantly expanding our client base, our reputation and our equipment inventory. We moved up to a Fostex 16 track recorder and bought a beautiful AMR 1600 console. This second location worked out very well for the studio but in 1994 for personal reasons, Marty had decided to close down the music store and cut ties with the recording studio. So in 1994 I became sole proprietor of Whitehead Recording. Marty was a great partner and a great friend and I miss him dearly.

In 1995 I decided to go all digital and bought two Alesis Adats and a BRC. This gave me 16 tracks of digital. These machines worked great for a good long time but because of the VCR type moving parts, they eventually became unreliable and had to be replaced. In 1999 I moved up to a Mackie 24 track hard disk recorder. That machine became the most reliable tool in my arsenal. Even though I was running both Sonar and Pro Tools 11, I initially printed most projects using the Mackie machine and my AMR board. I then, exported these tracks into one of my DAWs. The reason for this, was, in a word, "RELIABILITY!" DAWs were great and I just could'nt imagine editing and mixing down any project without them. However, in my humble opinion, back in those day, when the heat was on, and the client demanded results, digital audio workstations could oftentimes leave you sitting on the curb. Years later, when the DAWs matured and became much more reliable, the Mackie 24 track was put out to pasture, much like any ageing piece of gear.