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MBK Entertainment: Glamour + Chops = OZ Studios

World Class Studio Features Top Gear, Fine-Tuned Acoustics & River Views

NEW YORK: Nearly twenty years after the debut of their multi-faceted MBK Entertainment dynasty, company founders Jeff Robinson along with partners Jeanine Mclean, Misha Hedman and Suzette Williams have moved to expansive new offices and, created OZ, a world-class recording studio. The thriving multimedia company has honed a ‘methodical’ approach to talent development, a technique highlighted by the spectacular career of multi-Grammy-winner Alicia Keys and newcomer, Elle Varner (RCA). Today MBK’s mission encompasses musical genres ranging from R&B to Rap and Pop, and includes marketing, publishing, TV, film and concert promotion divisions. In addition to Keys on the production side, the MBK talent roster boasts rising star, RCA recording artist Gabi Wilson, Daisha and blue-eyed soul artists Allen Stone and Anthony Hall. The completion of the pivotal studio addition to the expanding company’s creative arsenal opens up a brand new option for MBK clients and independent artists.

“We always dreamed of owning an in-house studio says MBK VP/Managing Partner Jeanine Mclean, “but our previous offices were too small to build something that would meet our needs. Two years ago a flood prompted a search for larger space. The 19th floor at 519 8th Avenue not only gave us the space we needed, it included terrific views of the Hudson River and beautiful sunsets.”

Well aware of world-class studios created by the Walters-Storyk Design Group for Alicia Keys and Jay-Z, MBK brought WSDG (2011 TEC Award-winner for Jungle City) on board as soon as they signed the lease on their new 7800 sq. ft. space. “We knew we were in good hands from our very first meeting,” Mclean continues. “WSDG’s design incorporated all our ergonomic and aesthetic requirements and, they enabled us to carve a second control room and spacious sound booth out of a space we originally envisioned as a single studio.

“Contractors, Kevin Carrol and Mark Jakubek of Sonic Construction were total pros,” McLean adds. “Working hand-in-glove with WSDG project manager Matt Ballos, they were pro-active in suggesting efficient, cost-effective ways to execute and enhance our ideas. Plus they were extremely conscientious in terms of noise and refuse control, which enabled us to run our business throughout the construction period.”

Matt Ballos points to the innovative use of glass and acoustic treatments as particular design highlights. “We developed a plan that provided a line of sight from both studios through the Live Rooms and out the building windows all the way to the river and New Jersey. While we had a relatively tight footprint for both the A& B rooms, the machine closets and related areas, every square inch of space was optimized.”

OZ Studios feature a 230 Sq. ft. Live Room, and a 190 sq. ft. Control Room A outfitted with an SSL Duality SE 24 Input Analog Console, Apple Logic Pro Studio, Avid Digidesign HD3, Augspurger Custom Main Monitors and a wide range of outboard gear. The 150 sq. ft. Studio B Control Room features an SSL Matrix console, Adams S5X-V speakers and a 60 sq. ft. sound booth. Both studios abut a sprawling 600 sq. ft. plus common lounge area, which affords artists and clients with comfortable break space.

The entire gear package was coordinated and integrated by GC Pro Boston, principal/ founder, PK Pandey, who project managed this phase to insure a timely and on-budget delivery of the facility. Pandey comments, “I based the hand-picked outboard selection, advanced DAW systems and custom Augspurger Monitoring on previous studios we have done. Jungle City for Ann Mincieli, and Oven NYC for Alicia Keys, to insure compatibility with OZ. It was a pleasure to work with the MBK, Sonic, and WSDG teams.”

“We are developing a program to maximize the potential of our new studio,” said MBK founder/CEO Jeff Robinson. “While our artists will have first dibs on studio time for their projects, we plan to make this outstanding studio available to outside artists, producers engineers as well as for film/TV production. In the years to come, we hope to see a return on our investment, not just in monetary terms, but also as a source for meaningful, lasting music. These studios are finely tuned instruments. We are developing a number of highly talented artists, and we anticipate a steady flow of hits from this beautiful facility.”

“OZ Studios was an extremely positive experience,” John Storyk adds. “Our project manager Matt Ballos made certain that every element of the design and construction program was addressed. John Geraghty and David Kotch, did an exemplary job of system calibration and fine tuning the rooms. Our program of surface applied acoustic treatments, fabric wrapped panels, and custom, Flutterfree diffusers and low frequency absorbers enabled us to tune the rooms to act and sound like much larger studios.”

“Sufficient ceiling height permitted us to incorporate floating floors and full room-within- room construction to insure their ability to crank up the volume without imposing on their neighbors. NYC construction projects can be dicey, but the building was cooperative. The Sonic Construction team was totally buttoned down. They’ve done a number of studio projects and we look forward to working with them again soon. The river views and extraordinary sunsets are another decided plus for this studio,” Storyk concludes. “The outlook for OZ Studios is bright and colorful.”

To contact MBK OZ Studios visit: [email protected]

Photos: MBK OZ Studio A Control Room
MBK OZ Studio A Live Room
MBK OZ Studio B Control Room
MBK OZ Studios Lounge

Photos by: Cheryl Fleming Photography


Walters-Storyk Design Group has designed over 3000 media production facilities in the U.S., Europe, the Far East and Latin America. WSDG credits range from the original Jimi Hendrix Electric Lady Studio in Greenwich Village to NYC’s Jazz At Lincoln Center performance complex, broadcast facilities for The Food Network, CBS and WNET, over twenty teaching studios for The Art Institutes around the US, and corporate clients such as Hoffman La Roche. Recent credits include Jungle City, NY’s major new destination studio; private studios for Green Day, Jay-Z, Timbaland’s Tim Mosley, film composer Carter Burwell, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen and Alicia Keys. WSDG principals John Storyk, Beth Walters, and Dirk Noy lecture frequently at universities and industry events, and contribute regularly to industry publications. WSDG is a seven-time winner of the prestigious TEC Award for outstanding achievement in Acoustics/Facility Design, including 2012 for Jungle City. WSDG maintains offices in NY, SF, Miami, Argentina, Brazil, Beijing, Germany, Mexico City, Spain and Switzerland.