Guelph recording studio offers it all

May 29, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Mark Pavilons

“I like being in a recording studio. I like watching a song go from the simplicity of the original music.”
– Grace Slick

Grace has a lot of company these days.
Thanks to technology and an amazing crop of talented technicians, almost anyone can create a quality recording in a matter of hours.
The newly opened Royal City Studios in Guelph is a one-stop enclave of art and artistry. Owner Jim Duffield wants it to become a focal point for new and experienced artists, sharing, recording, performing and establishing a far-reaching network.
Duffield, a musician since his high school days, opted for a professional career and is currently an IT project manager. But music was always in his blood and Royal City Studios is his way of getting back into music and making a meaningful contribution. His current passion is jazz from the 1920s through ‘50s.
The facility is tailor-made to all musicians and Duffield has made the rental rates affordable. Basically, anyone can come in, rent a studio to rehearse in or to create a quality recording for a song or entire album. Rates are as low as $5 per hour, per person to rehearse. The building also features a hall for music release parties, receptions and performances. He hopes to hold his first summer camp programs this year in partnership with Kat Studios.
There are seven rehearsal studios in addition to the recording studio, and each one is physically separated from another with double walls, double doors and materials to minimize sound transfer and vibration.
So far, Royal City Studios has welcomed a huge eclectic mix – teachers, individuals and groups. The genres are as varied as the artists themselves and he’s seen everything from folk and Celtic to metal and pop.
Duffield said when he put the call out for staff, he was bombarded with resumes from very talented engineers and mixers. He picked the best of the crop. Staff at the studio actually care about the performers and not only offer extremely skilled support, but encouragement, guidance and constructive solutions.
In one recent studio session, engineer Tobin Stewart guided a high school teen in making his first recording for a college submission. Tobin has an amazing ear for music and he carries out the incredibly meticulous recording work with ease and patience. Each second counts and Tobin says he sometimes has to be a “superhuman” when recording and piecing together sections on the latest computer-assisted audio program.
Frank Jannetta, who provides mixing and mastering, takes something “dirty” and makes it sparkle, like that proverbial diamond in the rough. He tweaks the music so it’s “perfect.”
You quickly feel at ease, and put your full faith in these miracle workers. The end result? Smiles all around, not just from the musicians, but the staff, too.
The in-house engineers work on a contract basis, so musicians and groups can choose who they want to work with. This improves consistency and everyone’s comfort level.
At Royal City Studios, there’s space to enjoy coffee and just hang out with other musicians. Spare parts and supplies are also available on-site so it doesn’t put a hold on recording.
“I want to enable the music community,’’ Duffield said. He wants Royal City Studios to become part of the community and bring music-lovers together. It’s about building relationships and sharing in the industry. It’s also about hard work.
Duffield’s goal is to expand concept of Royal City Studios across southern Ontario, and would entertain any ideas from potential investors.
For more, visit or email Duffield at



Readers Comments (0)

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support