Sunset Sound

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Sunset Sound

Photo credit: ©2011 LookingForJanis (
Sunset Sound is a three-studios facility based in Hollywood (6650 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California 90028), which, coupled with Sound Factory since 1981, is a renown Californian complex where many famous artist recorded from the sixties to this day.

Its development from automotive repair garage to recording studio was achieved by Tutti Camarata (a former director of recording in Walt Disney Company) between 1958-1962.

Prince made Studio 3 in Sunset Sound his primary location for recordings between 1981 and 1987, when he started using the newly built Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota, although he had occasional recording sessions in Sunset Sound at least until 1991.


Many successful and/or reference albums were recorded in Sunset Sound, from The Doors' Strange Days to Led Zeppelin’s IV and The Rolling Stones' Exile On Main Street.

While artists such as The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Sly & Family Stone or Sam Cooke would favor Studio 1, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, or Rick James would elect studio 2. Prince choose to set residence at studio 3 a facility also used by Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac.


Prince has recorded in Studio 3 primarily, but has also done sessions in both Studio 1 and 2.
The below equipment is the one currently available at Sunset Sound.

Studio 3


  • Control Room: 21'x16'x10'
  • Performance Area: 38'x18'x12'
  • Piano Room: 15'x9'x9.5'
  • Iso Room #1: 15'x6'x8'
  • Vocal Booth: 16'x14'x8.5'


  • 32 x 24 x 8 API-DeMedio-Sunset Sound Custom Console
  • 32 inputs / 24 Channel Monitor Section / 8 buss / 8 Echo returns
  • 40 inputs available w/ 8 Channel sidecar console.
  • API 550-A Equalizer Section (all Modules)

Tape Machines

  • Studer A-800 and A-820 or A-827 24-trk
  • Ampex ATR-100 2trk
  • Alesis MasterLink
  • Panasonic DAT
  • Otari or HHB CD Recorders
  • (2) TimeLine Lynx Synchronizers


  • JBL/TAD Augspurger-designed 3-way bi-amp Custom Arrays
  • Yamaha NS-10M, Auratone T-6


  • (1) AMS RMX-16 Stereo Digital Reverberation System
  • (1) AMS DMX-1580s Delay/Harmonizer Unit
  • (1) Roland SDE-3000A Digital Delay
  • (1) Yamaha Rev-5 (programmable studio reverb and digital effects processor)
  • (1) Lexicon PCM-70 (programmable digital effects processor)
  • (1) Lexicon PT-11
  • (1) Eventide H-3000se Ultra-harmonizer Unit
  • (2) Urei 1176-LN Compressor Pre-Amp (LN stands for low noise)
  • (4) Kepex II Compressor/Limiter
  • (1) Drawmer DS-201 Dual Noise Gate
  • (2) DBX-160XT Compressor
  • (1) Yamaha SPX-90 II Digital Multi Effects Processor
  • (2) Distressors¹

Material Produced


The following albums have been recorded in Sunset Sound in whole or partially. Check album pages for details.


Associated Artists:


The following songs have been recorded and / or mixed in Sunset Sound.


  • The string section on Purple Rain was recorded at Sunset Sound’s Studio 3 by David Leonard who used a pair of Telefunken 251 microphones to recorded violins while a Neumann U47 was used on the cello.
  • While working in the studio on Sign O’ The Times material, Prince has been reported to have used the following material at Sunset Sound, wired through the 32 x 24 x 8 API-DeMedio console console to the Studer A-800 recorder.
    • Piano & Synthesizers:
      • Upright piano
      • Oberheim OB-Xa or SX
      • Yamaha DX-7
      • Ensoniq Mirage
      • Roland GR-700 (a guitar synth) with a Roland Jazz Chorus-120 a.m.p.
    • Drums:
      • LM-1 Linndrum machine.
      • Yamaha drum kit.
    • Other Gear:
      • Boss pedal board.
      • Neumann U 87 microphone (for vocals).


¹ The Distressor is an automatic gain (or volume) control device (AGC in engineering terms) designed for pro audio (music) applications. Read more about distressors: