Tampa, FL (November 11, 2021)—After months of 18-hour days and a string of Gold and Platinum singles during the COVID-19 pandemic, Alex “Mixedbylex” Romero upgraded the main room at his Grand Bay Recording Studios in Tampa.
When COVID-19 hit, after an initial slowdown in bookings, artists began flocking to Grand Bay, Romero reports, including hitmakers Internet Money, Larray, Iann Dior and Lil Tecca and A Boogie wit da Hoodie. With the boost in revenue, “We said, ‘We should upgrade and get an SSL board.’ So we talked to Mike Picotte, who’s been a friend of mine for 15 years and is a sales engineer at Sweetwater, and we bought the Origin,” he says. “We noticed a change in the sonics in the room right away. We all fell in love with it, and now we can’t take our fingers off this board.”
For about four years, Romero had worked on G Series and E Series desks at a previous studio, where he brought in clients such as 10K Projects, Lil Yachty and Machine Gun Kelly. He had long dreamed of owning a large-format SSL desk, and while Origin’s analog circuitry shares a lineage with the 4000 series consoles, the new desk has one clear advantage over those older classics, he says.
“The biggest difference to me is the reliability; those old consoles had a sound, but there’s also a frustration that comes with them,” he says. “Now, I wake up, come to the studio, turn the Origin on, and I have no doubts that when I hit the center section Mix button that it will work. But I’m glad I got to experience those years with the old consoles, because it makes me appreciate the Origin so much more.”
Grand Bay’s Studio 2, which for a time was equipped as a mastering room, is outfitted with a second SSL desk and is now used for mixing. “I have the SSL SiX with a pair of PMC monitors, and we bought a Sony C800G microphone for in there,” Romero says. “People ask which room is better. “I ask them, ‘Do you want a huge room or something more intimate? Because the quality is the same.’”
He has now also acquired a new two-story building where he will soon open a larger, multi-room facility. Romero, who designed both rooms at Grand Bay, is consulting with acoustician George Augspurger.