Sound studio

Noise from the Salt Shed concert hall spills over into its neighbor’s studio

To record the sound of a TV commercial, you need silence, that is, zero background noise.

But the owners of a sound studio on Goose Island say that’s exactly what their mics have been picking up since The Salt Shed, a new music venue on the site of Morton Salt’s former facility, began planning outdoor concerts this summer about 200 feet in diameter. the north branch of the Chicago River from them.

“The concerts take place during the week, and the sound checks in the afternoon make it impossible to make clean audio recordings,” said Jules Tomko, co-owner of the Essanay studio with his wife, Susan.

Renovating the building to keep the sound out would cost $2.6 million – money Tomko doesn’t have.

“And I can’t move anywhere else. I don’t have the energy,” said Tomko, who has operated the business on Goose Island for 26 years.

Tomko said he has no problem with the concert hall hosting indoor concerts, which he plans to do next year, it’s just the outdoor concerts that complicate things.

Jim Shearer, director of Essanay, said the company has been able to “dodge the raindrops” so far, but won’t be able to avoid losing long-term customers.

“The only option is that they will have to limit the sound coming from their property,” Shearer said. “We argued but no one took us very seriously.”

Tomko had cordial conversations with Bruce Finkelman, the managing partner of 16 on Center, the operators of the concert hall, but they came to no real solution.

Finkelman is sharing the concert hall’s anticipated schedule so Essanay can book slots around the noise — but there’s no getting around the fact that the noise will limit their activities, Tomko said.

Tomko tried to get Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) and Finkelman at the same table to discuss the issue, but previously scheduled meetings have been postponed.

He hopes that a meeting scheduled for Monday will finally take place.

“We’ve been waiting for this meeting for about 10 months,” Tomko said, adding that he also contacted the mayor’s office and the city’s film office, but they were also elusive.

“We’re sort of struggling on our own,” he said, noting that he wanted to avoid arguing the issue if possible.

Burnett did not return a call seeking comment.

Finkelman said he has an open line of communication with the people of Essanay and is sensitive to their situation.

“We have been working with them since we started construction a long time ago. Our team tried to be there as much as possible to be good neighbors and to help as much as possible. We fully understand the issues they face and want to help them where we can,” he said.

Finkelman said he didn’t know how to fix the problem.

“I don’t know,” he said. “We will continue to listen to them and meet them. I hope we can find something.

Three more concerts are scheduled for the outdoor venue this season.