In the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn sits a new recording studio that's anything other than the typical cookie cutter studio. Rose Studios, which opened in April 2015, offers an aesthetically and acoustically pleasing space in which "old school analog" and digital technologies co-exists. It's been built from the ground up to service a specific clientele and to satisfy the high standards of its owner.
It's All About the Bass (drum)
When building Rose Studios, Founder and Chief Audio Engineer Danny Rose addressed the needs of the studio's clientele. He explains, "Most of my clientele is interested in getting great drum recordings and also tracking live so I have a main drum room with an isolation room and an amp closet. I played in bands myself and recorded at home for about two years, learning specifically how to get the best drum sounds I could. Our current space is unique in that it's a cozy, smaller studio that can service live recordings and get strong drum sounds."
Labor of Love
The intimate studio started out as a blank 700 sq. ft. loft, which enabled Danny and his team to custom-create their studio, and add a few personal touches. "I built it out with three of my friends - two of whom are carpenters - over the course of eight months," he explains. "We built the floors, walls, ceilings, ventilation, and then treated and finished the space, installing custom doors and specially created treatments for the rooms. The biggest challenge was maximizing space so that we'd be able to comfortably fit bands while maximizing sound treatment." An inherent benefit of the space that worked to their advantage is the fact that it sits on the third floor and has a large exterior window in the control room, so artists get to experience natural light, which oftentimes is more preferable than feeling like they're stuck in a dark basement.
Gear Lust. . .
Danny came to Dale Pro Audio at the top of 2012, before Rose Studios was a reality, and started building his arsenal of gear to complement his collection of high-quality musical instruments and software. Today, the studio's main equipment consists of some strong preamps - eight API channels and two Vintech preamps - as well as a diverse array of microphones, including Neumann, Sennheiser, Telefunken, Shure and Beyerdynamic, to name a few. The space is rounded out with a healthy selection of compressors and other outboard processing gear, plus a pair of Focal Solo6 BE studio monitors. The gear is mainly suited for recording, and the compressors have been added to the mix as business has grown, to support mix and tracking capabilities. Danny comments, "I definitely love the Beyerdynamic and Telefunken microphones; I have a strong pair of Beyerdynamic small diaphragm condensers that I use on nearly all stereo sources as well as percussion. I also use a Telefunken AK-47 that I got a great deal on from Dale. It has a really nice saturated/distorted tone that is well suited for today's hi fidelity recordings to add a bit of character." He continues, "The preamps are also amazing and I've used them since day one. The API's are super reliable and clean while the Vintech stereo pair offers a bit of distortion and tone - a complementary pair for more daring or cleaner recordings."
Something Old and Something New
Rose Studios also houses a somewhat uncommon sight amongst recording studios these days: a Pro Tools rig co-existing with a reel-to-reel tape machine and a newly installed analog plate reverb. As Danny explains, "These are really unique items that many smaller studios in our market don't offer, but artists we work with often love. Some artists love the reel-to-reel for its vibe, and the plate reverb totally opens up the options as far as analog spatialization goes."
As for his usual recording process, he shares, "I always record digitally to Pro Tools, but the analog equipment gives options for fuller tones or more distortion before hitting the digital realm, getting artists closer to what they want in terms of their older references or more modern classics. The ability to pass things out to tape or analog compressors gives artists the flexibility to get analog size very quickly, but they can also make use of plugins, which offer many new variations and can be employed fairly rapidly. Often, artists I work with enjoy analog tones but love the flexibility of digital when it comes to editing and of course not having to buy reels."
Overall, this mixture of classic and current recording options makes for a satisfying client experience. As Danny concludes, "I sometimes use tape and digital signal in parallel to get the best of both worlds. On some stereo sources there can be phase issues, but for the most part it can really work well in terms of getting digital fullness with tape distortion and character. It's sort of a nice modern cheat - a new way to look at parallel processing. Overall, I find the mixture of digital and analog gives artists total control and easy access to experiment with new or old sounds while feeling comfortable trying new things."
You can visit Rose Studios online or in person at 231 Norman Ave., Suite 314, Brooklyn, NY 11222.