Heading Downtown

2/24/2014 4:17:00 PM
By Kelleigh Welch

Studio A at Downtown Music Studios houses a vintage 48-channel API console with a pair of custom HPX Main monitors.

While New York City’s fashionable SoHo neighborhood in lower Manhattan is predominantly known for its designer boutiques, the recording industry still plays a strong role there through the recently-updated Downtown Music Studios.

With two control rooms and two iso booths flanking a 400-square-foot live room, Downtown Music Studios (linked to the music publishing company Downtown Music Publishing) offers an accommodating space for its clients, which in recent years has included Adele, Sting, Vampire Weekend, Maroon 5 and others. Pro Sound News recently stopped by the studio to meet with the studio’s engineer, Zach Hancock, and got a tour of the facility.


A 400-square-foot live room sits between studios A and B at Downtown Music Studios in NYC.

At the heart of Downtown’s Studio A is a vintage 48-channel API console, which Hancock said he picked up a year ago when they decided to expand the studio space.

“I was originally looking for a Neve console, but this API was too good to pass up,” Hancock explained.

While Hancock said Downtown Studios is a predominately an analog studio, he also makes sure to provide his clients with the convenience of digital gear. Specifically, the studio’s app developers Ed Diaz and Joe Rosso created an iPad app that can control the API and save settings electronically, despite the API’s analog design.

“The app functions as a user interface, which connects to a microchip; the chip then translates the digital signal from the iPad, to the electric voltage that control the console,” Hancock explained. “This allows you to save routing settings digitally and call them back.”


Studio A’s API console is controlled by an in-house designed app to allow producers to save and call back their settings digitally, but record on the vintage analog console.

Studio A also houses a custom set of four-way HPX Main monitors, with another set of Genelec 1031A and Yamaha NS-10s.

The studio also offers a combination of analog and digital outboard gear, including two Urei LA-2As, Neve 1084s, a Manley Massive Passive, two Pultec EQs, and a variety of plug-ins by Avid, Universal Audio, Waves and more. Most standard DAWs, including Avid Pro Tools, as well as a UAD Quad Omni and Euphonix MC controllers are also available.

“We try to offer a high level of both analog and digital, as most of our clients are excited about analog, but deeply reliant on digital,” said Hancock. “We’ve created a niche by providing first in class Pro Tools rigs, and integrating that in to a high-end analog environment.”


Downtown Studio’s original Neve 8014 console was moved to Studio B after the upgrade.

Studio B, on the other side of the live room, offers clients a Neve 8014 desk with 16 channel inputs and 16 monitor returns. A pair of Genelec 1038s are installed into the walls, with sets of Genelec 1031As, Yamaha NS-10s and Crane Song Avocets available for additional monitoring.

“Studio B is purpose built, and used mostly for vocal tracking, writing and mixing,” said Hancock.

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