Alessio Casalini and Ricky Hosn with Quad's New Neve Genesys Black Console

Flooding at the Times Square premises of New York’s famed Quad Studios left Studio Q1 on the 10th floor so badly damaged that it had to be completely rebuilt. Turning catastrophe into opportunity, owners Ricky Hosn and Alessio Casalini decided to install a Neve G64 Genesys Black console with Genesys Control Plugin as part of the rebuild.

Until the flood at the tail end of 2020, Q1 had been set up for a hybrid workflow, with a digital control surface and 48 channels of analogue summing and preamps so that clients could choose between different sound colours and characters, depending on their project.

‘Considering the success of our original room, we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel,’ Hosn says. ‘However, we did address the limitations imposed by the size of the room because the Neve console allowed us to reduce the amount of outboard gear in Studio Q1, thus reducing the size of the racks. We were also able to elevate the audio quality of customers’ projects by giving clients access to Neve’s classic analogue sound.’

Located in the heart of Manhattan, Quad Studios has been a part of New York’s music scene – particularly for hip-hop and urban recording – since it was opened by Lou Gonzales in 1978. Not only have many artists recorded at the facility, Quad’s ground floor reception was also the location of an event that became part of hip-hop history – the robbery of rapper Tupac Shakur in 1994.

Ricky Hosn became Quad’s owner in 2005 when Gonzales decided to retire. Dave Malekpour – President of Pro Audio Design Inc and Augspurger – was asked to liquidate the equipment, but instead he approached Hosn, who was planning to build a studio in Florida, and suggested he buy the facility. ‘I thought Quad was such a key facility in NYC that I didn’t want to see it closed down,’ Malekpour says. ‘Ricky was immediately interested. When you can buy a good, existing facility it makes a lot of sense.’

‘2005 was a rough time for studios in the NYC market,’ Hosn adds. ‘ Changes had to be made immediately to keep the studio relevant and operating at a high level. Some of the changes meant adapting to the digital trend and building new rooms designed to better fit modern day workflows. The studio has gone through several transformations in the last 16-plus years and these changes have helped Quad stay dominant in the NYC market.’

Casalini became a partner in 2012, and now handles the studio and technical side of the studio, freeing Hosn to concentrate on business and administration. Quad now has three studios on the 10th and one on the 12th floors, which was opened in 2018. The 12th floor also features the 2,500sq-ft Quad Club, which is used for album release parties, writing camps and streaming events.

Installing a Neve Genesys Black G64 in Studio Q1 allows Quad to offer customers a larg- format, digitally-controlled analogue recording console with touchscreen DAW control and integration with the studio environment. Featuring 48 faders, 32 analogue channels and an integrated DAW display, this powerful desk also includes Neve’s microphone preamplifiers and revered analogue circuit design.

‘Since we have three other rooms based on the original Q1 hybrid concept, we thought why not go all the way with an analogue board?’ Casalini recalls. ‘Most of our sessions require very fast recalls and workflow, so we wanted a desk that interacted as seamlessly as possible with the DAW and removed the need for manual recalls and complicated setups. We were looking for ease of use and quick changeovers and the Genesys Black was the perfect machine. Also, most of our outboard gear was severely damaged during the flood, so this was an opportunity to go in a different direction.’

Hosn was equally convinced by the Genesys Black – especially as he’d been following its progress since 2011 when Quad’s Q2 studio hosted some of the first US demo sessions for the new board. He was quick to recognise its capability to satisfy those who want to work in-the-box, as well as those preferring a traditional analogue recording.

‘Our rooms are designed to be very versatile and every studio can be used for mixing as a lot of today’s projects are done in-the-box,’ he says. ‘The addition of the Neve to Studio Q1 will become a no brainer for anyone looking to get a better sound out of their mix and anyone looking to do serious tracking.’

Casalini adds that the size of Studio Q1’s live room makes it ideal for tracking sessions, especially as it will soon feature a new grand piano. ‘That’s something we are looking forward to,’ he says. ‘As for mixing, the Neve will definitely make a difference compared to our previous set-up, and we still have a good amount of outboard gear for the engineers to choose from. Personally, my favourite feature of the new console is its interaction with Pro Tools. I like the Genesys Control plug-in that you can insert into Pro Tools and control the EQ and compressors on the different channels. It’s very straightforward and easy to use - plus I’ve always liked the Neve sound.’

Putting a Genesys Black into Studio Q1 has given Quad the opportunity to rethink how it operates and how it pitches itself in today’s market. Both Casalini and Hosn feel it is a good addition to the studio and one that will open more possibilities by offering a wider choice of setups for clients.

‘It’s all about differentiating yourself in the market,’ Alessio says. ‘Plus it will bring the famous Neve sound into the hip-hop world.’

More: www.ams-neve.com

 

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