The Hit Factory Criteria Miami held its grand opening bash on April 23. The lavish party, held in the newly resurfaced parking lot of the six-studio facility, was a star-studded event. Many of the luminaries there underscored the history of Criteria Studios, the Miami landmark that the New York-based Hit Factory acquired in January 1999 and spent the past two years renovating and revamping (including the replacement of hardwood floors damaged by torrential rains last fall).
On hand was Tom Dowd, who has produced scores of hit records (Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Allman Brothers) at the former Criteria since the 1960s. Criteria founder Mack Emerman (profiled in Mix, October 1999) was also present, as was engineer Eric Schilling, president of the Miami NARAS chapter. Not present and sorely missed was Hit Factory president Ed Germano, who was ill. Other Miami studio managers and owners were also in attendance, including Crescent Moon manager Kevin Dillon and Ocean VU owner Victor Di Persia.
At least one or two of the facility's six studios were online during the renovation, according to longtime studio manager Trevor Fletcher. The New York and Miami Hit Factory facilities are complementary, he added, noting that each location has many identical consoles, including the SSL 9000 J, Euphonix System 5, Sony Oxford and vintage Neve 8078.