After several years of working around the world in studios in the US (Hit Factory, Quad), the UK (Metropolis, Abbey Road) and Mexico City (Obra Negra, Montecristo) Italian recording studio engineer, mixer, musician and producer Fabrizio “Simoncia” Simoncioni recently returned to Italy to open his own studio, The Garage. Located in the heart of Tuscany’s Chianti area, as well as state-of-the-art recording facilities (it hosts one of the country’s only two SSL 9000J consoles), amenities include two historical country houses with eight bedrooms, three media rooms, a billiard room and patio, a 25-acre garden and swimming pool.
“I’ve worked for over twenty years on SSL 4000 consoles, which I find the most versatile and powerful for mixing. For the Garage, I chose the 9000J to make the most of the multi-buss mixing technique and because its signal-to-noise ratio and headroom are even better than the 4000, plus its automation is more complete.” In front of the SSL board, the main monitors are Genelec 1034B with 7073A subwoofer, nearfields a pair of KRK V88 biAmp speakers and standard Yamaha NS-10Ms with a NAD amplifier. A Tivoli Audio Model One is available for mono checks.
As well as Pro Tools 10 HD Core, a second DAW system used for masters is based on SoundBlade Sonic Solution software, enabling to print the mix in standard hi-res format (up to 192KHz at 24-bit stereo). As well as having almost all the plug-ins in commerce, including the Waves Mercury Bundle, Brainworx, FabFilter, Sonnox, Sound Toys, Sound Radix and PSP, Simoncioni has numerous outboard units available to him. “Since the facility was planned first of all as my personal mixing studio, they’re the ones I prefer to use for various purposes.”
Tuscany has always been one of Italy’s favourite locations for foreign visitors and artists – Sting has an estate there – and Simoncioni’s idea seems to have been given the international seal of approval: “In the few months since we opened, the only Italian project has been the Déjà Vu album by Negrita (the band has already a platinum and two gold albums on which Simoncioni worked). The studio has two adjoining recording rooms, so we’re also able take commercial projects through from start to finish, and have already had requests from artists and producers, precisely for the opportunity of working in such a unique location.”