Soundville Media Studios is one of Switzerland’s top multi-purpose recording and mixing facilities, servicing everything from film and TV productions to pure audio meditation products. Headliner caught up with founder and sound specialist Rene Zingg to discuss the past, present, and future of the studio, as well as its reliance on fellow Swiss brand Merging Technologies, and the future for Atmos…
The old adage ‘if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life’ rings truer for Soundville founder Rene Zingg than perhaps anyone else. From the moment we join him via Zoom to talk all things Soundville, he is effusive in his love of audio and the business he has cultivated over the past 40-plus years. His passion is almost uncontainable. “I’ve spent the past 43 years doing this for 80-100 hours a week – not working, doing my hobbies!” he beams less than five minutes into our conversation.
His enthusiasm is instantly infectious and is rooted in a lifetime surrounded by sound.
“It started with my father,” he tells us about his introduction to audio. “He was always recording and filming, so I was raised with this kind of equipment. Then I learned several instruments, so in my first band I was the guy who did all the recordings. So, before I started Soundville I was a home recorder, although that term didn’t really exist back then.
“I then had to do military service, and the plan afterwards was to study electronic engineering, but I just kept doing my hobbies, building a studio, and in 1979 I built Soundville. And in 1980 I started recording doing jobs for clients. After five years we rented the new premises, which is where we are today.”
Crucial in laying the groundwork for Soundville’s future was Zingg’s relationship with legendary studio designer and audio engineer Tom Hidley and personal friend and architect Thomas Rast. During one of Zing’s encounters with Hidley, he decided to show him the plans for what would become Soundville.
“He started scribbling all over my plans,” Zingg laughs, describing the meeting. “I flew back to Switzerland and met my friend and architect Thomas Rust who did all the drawings, and we cancelled all our plans and started from scratch! I paid one year for the whole lease here without building anything because we redesigned everything.
“We then went to visit Tom in Montreux with these blueprints that were not rough sketches but Swiss quality plans from my Thomas,” he continues. “And from this moment on, Thomas Rast did all the architectural work for Tom Hidley all over the world. And I feel like Tom adopted me as his audio son! I would go and check out all these acoustic details with him all over the world.”
Having established the studio with the guidance of Hidley, the next piece of the jigsaw was the acquisition of numerous products from fellow Swiss brand Merging Technologies – products which would serve as the cornerstone of Soundville’s high-end offering.