by Christopher Walsh
New York, NY--Germano Studios, owned by former Hit Factory CEO Troy Germano, held its opening party June 17, after a soft opening in May.
The facility, which includes two studios and a mastering suite, is located in Manhattan's NoHo neighborhood at the site of the former Platinum Island. Design was by Germano's Studio Design Group and UK-based White Mark, Ltd.
In addition to Germano, Drew Lavyne, proprietor and engineer of mastering studio A.L.L. Digital, serves as studio manager and mastering engineer.
The opening marks the realization of a goal to reinvent the recording studio to accommodate contemporary audio professionals and working methods, says Germano, who left the Hit Factory shortly after the death of his father, Hit Factory owner Ed Germano, in 2003.
"I have always been looking for a spot to build what I thought would be the next modern facility," says Germano, who over the last five years has designed and built studios including Red Bull North America, in Santa Monica, Calif. and the Clive Davis Dept. of Recorded Music at NYU's Tisch School, and has purchased concerts for the Sazka Arena [now the O2 Arena] in Prague, Czech Republic. "I felt I had something to add that I could help everybody with. New York City obviously has gotten a bit off the beaten path in the last few years and I wanted to create a facility where artists and bands could feel good about wanting to be in a professional recording studio again.
"The vibe was really the most important thing," he adds. "I loved everything about the Hit Factory, and I learned quite a bit from my father over the years, but I wanted to be downtown. It's not an exaggeration when I say I looked at 50-plus spaces, and this was the one that grabbed me. I didn't want to build a huge facility, I wanted to have two rooms and a mastering room to start with. The idea has always been to make this environment extremely musician-friendly."
That spirit is reflected in the studios' low-key presence: there is no signage on the building and nothing to indicate the presence of top recording artists two stories above the bustling stretch of lower Broadway. "The creative atmosphere is most important," says Germano, "and the privacy of this place is what people are going to gravitate toward. It's an open-to-the-public facility, but it caters to someone who doesn't want to be bothered."
The two control rooms, each housing a 48-input Duality and 32-input SSL X-Rack monitor mixer for a total of 80 inputs, feature Pro Tools|HD3 Accel systems, Exigy S412G monitors, extensive, eclectic outboard gear and a long list of plug-ins. "The goal here was to be inside and outside the box," says Germano, "and I believe I have four or five different ingredients here that I don't think anyone else has yet. Having Duality, which so seamlessly integrates with Pro Tools, limitless plug-ins, and seven different nearfield choices, achieves the hybrid inside/outside-the-box thing."
Lavyne has closed A.L.L. Digital and moved his mastering work to Germano Studios. "There was no question in my mind that the design and execution of the place was going to be above A+," he says. "What better situation than to work with someone who's got such a track record, who you trust and are friends with? From knowing the Hit Factory, Troy's father, and the history of the whole thing, it was an honor. A.l.l Digital went for 15 years. I switched A.L.L. Digital off the day we turned the lights on here, proudly."
In addition to Solid State Logic, vendors GC Pro and Tekserve were tapped to equip the studios with a gear list that Germano readily admits was influenced by numerous producers including David Kahne, who, with artist Matisyahu, became Germano Studios' first client in Studio 1.
"It was great being the first client at Germano Studios," says Kahne. "Troy knows his stuff down to the carpet tacks and patch bay solders, and he and his crew nailed the new place. There were no glitches, the gear is exceptional, the recording room sounded perfect, and there's a good musical vibe to the studio. It's good to know that there's a new music spot in New York, and a group of people who care and know how to make things work."
"It was apropos that he was the first client in the building," Germano observes. "He has a feel for equipment and a studio's atmosphere that I think is unique. It gave us all a good feeling to have both rooms booked on the first day when our lounges and bathrooms weren't complete. Now, after 10 months of design and construction, the facility that I envisioned last summer is finally ready."