s5studio moved into its current space in Manhattan’s west side last May and has just opened has just opened its third studio, the Midnight Blue Room, which joins its Crimson Room and the Black Room.
Though the location, once the private facility for the Scissor Sisters (and originally designed by Horacio Malvicino of the Malvicino Design Group), is new, s5studio goes back almost a decade. Its first iteration was in Brooklyn, founded by Sonny Carson. Zukye Ardella joined the enterprise later, helping the Brooklyn location flourish and helping oversee the move to the Manhattan space. Carson and Ardella serve as business partners, sharing chief engineer titles. The studio now occupies a large space in the Chelsea neighborhood, an area long known as a hub of music recording studios over the decades.
All of s5tudio’s rooms feature active monitoring from Genelec: a pair of 8331A Smart Active Monitors are the near-field solutions for the Crimson Room—the facility’s largest studio—while two 1234A Smart Active Monitors are used for main monitoring there; the Black Room uses the 8320A Smart Active Monitors as near fields; and the new Midnight Blue Room, designed primarily by Carson, has a pair of 8331As for close-in listening and a pair of 1238A Smart Active Monitors for mains.
Notice anything missing here? “We are doing everything at this point without subwoofers in any room, and it’s blowing people’s minds!” states Ardella, a native New Yorker whose engineering and production credits include Ne-Yo, WizKid, A$AP Ferg and Flipp Dinero. “The Genelec speakers all have incredible low-frequency power. The lows are big, even for hip-hop. But what’s really amazing is that those lows are also so clear and clean. Engineers and artists come here and tell us that they can push the bottom, but they can still hear lyrics very clearly, which is very important. With Genelec, we can get the full range of sound and hear everything on the track.”
Ardella says the acquisition of subs for some of the studios is planned for, but she and her clients have been satisfied with the low-frequency response they’ve been getting from this array of Genelec monitors.
All of the speakers utilize Genelec’s proprietary GLM and AutoCal software, which automatically controls and calibrates the monitors for the room response, level and time of flight and allows for multiple calibration locations as group presets. “The calibration system is very easy to use and very precise in how it tunes the speakers perfectly to each control room,” Ardella explains. “It got us up and running that much faster, and everyone remarks on the accuracy of the sound. Their mixes sound the way they expect them to. It’s why we stand by Genelec.”