Ocean VU Studio owner/engineer/producer Victor Di Persia started out as a technician for MCI/Sony-but don't expect him to be shackled to the toolbox at his own one-room Miami facility.
"If you're looking for a mechanic, I'm not the person," says Di Persia. "I'm not just a knob twister; I have a lot of creative input when I record and mix. If I end up with a final mix that definitely has a very distinctive footprint, it's my footprint."
The Italy native has left his impression on recordings by notable and Platinum Latin artists such as Celia Cruz, Arturo Sandoval, Chayanne, Jose Luis Rodriguez, Ottmar Liebert and Shakira, and he recently completed a Warner Bros. CD for Francesca and a flamenco-infused recording for Sucre Moreno. "I came to the U.S. in 1980 and lived in New York for a little while, then winter got there, and so I flew like a bat out of hell straight to Florida," Di Persia says. "I like the beach and the heat."
A former intern at Criteria and engineer at Midiland, Di Persia opened Ocean VU in 1993 at its former Coral Gables location. The current John Arthur-designed incarnation on Eighth Street came online last year.
The studio has a Euphonix CS3000, with gear from Alesis, Aphex, API, dbx, DigiTech, Drawmer, Lexicon, Orban, Roland, Sony and Tascam, as well as Quested, Yamaha and Westlake monitors. AKG, Audio-Technica, Beyer, Neumann, Shure, Sennheiser and Schoeps mics are on hand. But Di Persia is proudest of his 20x30 live room. "There are studios in Miami that are very big and famous, but in a way, no one seems to care about having a live room of a decent size, where you can accommodate 24 strings or a big band," he says. "We have panels that hang on the walls, and we can change the acoustics of the room very quickly in 15 or 20 minutes, from very live to very dead, and producers like that. People like to play with that." Ocean VU also has a fairly large 15x8 iso booth.
The vibe and the privacy of the control room and amenities are a draw, Di Persia says: "It's a one-room situation, basically 300 square feet for one person only. They have their own lounge, their own kitchen, and I think a lot of people enjoy that. It's a very private, intimate situation and at the same time very professional."
Di Persia also throws his own working style into the mix. "I like to do aggressive mixes. I'll put a lot of dynamics that didn't exist to begin with in the mix," he explains. "I might have swelling 15 dB that the pad didn't have in the first place, a synth sound that is in the background, sustaining melody in most cases. I'll just grab an instrument and make it come alive. If my mix is playing on the radio, I'd just like to catch your attention somehow. I'll always try and use some kind of mixing hook to make the mix come alive and jump out and catch your attention."