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A.R.T. Studio Tour

Welcome to this unique and interesting tour of inside the A.R.T. Studio complex within the private home of Michael and Sandra Cretu. The studio situated on the tiny Spanish island of Ibiza, which is one of the chain of islands referred too as the Balearics. This is a virtual presentation of the special equipment and mixing desks that are used to make the world acclaimed Enigma sound.

We are going to take you on a virtual tour of the studios in just a few minutes, but before we get to the entrance of the studio lets take a little time to reflect how it all started and up to the point that Michael and Sandra moved to Ibiza. Michael Cretu was born on May 18, 1957, in Bucharest, Romania, Cretu pursued an early goal of becoming a concert pianist by studying classical music. In 1965 he attended Lyzeum No. 2 - a college for young and gifted musical talents - with piano as his main subject, and he also studied for five months in 1968 in Paris, France. From 1975 to 1978 he attended the Academy of Music in Frankfurt, Germany, where he earned a degree in music.

In 1980 Cretu won his first gold record for his production work. The artists with whom he has been associated include Hubert Kah, Peter Cornelius, Moti Special, and Sylvie Vartan. Cretu has also won Gold record awards for producing albums for his wife, Euro-dance chanteuse Sandra. Since 1985 Cretu has produced seven albums for Sandra, including her first international hit single, "Maria Magdalena," which went to Number One in more than 30 countries. Cretu released his first solo album on Virgin, Legionare (which means legionnaires), in 1983.

Fuelled by all of the success in the 80's Michael and his wife Sandra moved into a old farmhouse in Ibiza in 1988. Cretu mentions that the winters were always cold in Germany and Sandra said "Please let's buy a little house South so I don't have to face another cold and wet winter" Cretu obliged and bought the little farmhouse in Ibiza with plans to only visit it for 2-3 months of each year. Michael then had an idea of building a small demo studio there so he could maybe stay for 5 months. But the demo studio became more and more equipped as time went on, a friend that also helped in the studio, mentioned that "you can work here just as well as anywhere else, so why bother to move back to Germany" - Hence in 1990 the birth of A.R.T. Studios!!!

The original studio has taken on many faces over the years and is always evolving mentions Gunter Wagner, the man behind the design and maintenance of A.R.T., as well as being Cretu's technical consultant. "You'll see as we tour the studio that it remains a project in progress". Gunter also notes that "there is a constant change within the equipment rack and the bank of processors, samplers, synths and those special boxes that are used to create the Enigma sound, are always moving places to make way for new pieces of equipment for Michael to experiment with"

Gunter has kindly agreed to use him as our guide around this virtual A.R.T. Studio tour. His background has led him all over the world working in many different studio environments. Gunter tells us "I started working as a sound engineer in the late seventies. In 1980 I got more involved in studio design, completing several installations in Germany and Italy. Meanwhile, to make sure I didnít lose touch with recording practice, I also started my own recording studio, Downtown Music, in Munich. It was here I met Michael Cretu, shortly after he moved from Frankfurt to Munich. I helped him overcome various technical problems with his first studio there.

Michael was always interested in new or unusual recording techniques, and one of the first record producers in Germany to buy a digital multitrack in 1984 Ė an Otari DTR900, and, a few years later, he was one of the first to get rid of it in favour of recording on hard disk or directly into samplers. So when Michael decided to move to Ibiza in 1988, he asked me to design and install a new studio, and to help in setting up the house and infrastructure to accommodate this new studio".

So who better to lead us around, than the man responsible for the design and installation of this studio - Gunter.

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