Studio Sweet Spot: Planet Studio

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Facility Name: Planet Studios

Peter Bliss welcomes you to the intimate but mighty Planet Studio.

Website: http://www.peterbliss.com/planet_studio

Location: Manhattan – Midtown West 54th St.

Neighborhood Advantages: Planet Studio is located in the heart of the entertainment center of NYC right next to the famed Studio 54. The David Letterman theater is around the corner along Broadway row. Central Park is a five-minute walk away as are restaurants to cater to every taste and midnight whim. The takeout menus alone fill up a file drawer. There is a parking garage on the block and load-in of equipment is easy. Every main subway line is nearby and we are a short distance from Grand Central, Penn Station/LIRR and the Path trains.

Date of Birth: Planet Studio was built in 2006 as a private studio space. Over the years, word of mouth about the design, sound and comfort of the studio spread and others asked to use the room.

Facility Focus: The studio was designed with the goal of being a comfortably creative place to write songs and compose, arrange (at a separate MIDI workstation), record vocals and other live instrument tracking to mixdown.

Mission Statement: The technical features of the studio are only half the design intent. The human factor of a comfortable, living room-like environment provides for a great workflow and encourages the best performances. Nothing is more important than capturing spontaneous, special moments of creativity.

Clients/Credits: The studio has welcomed John Popper of Blues Traveler, Kristen Chenowith, rock band ZO2,  JJ French of Twisted Sister, Ann Hampton Calloway, Joe Lynn Turner, Deborah Cox, Sen. Orrin Hatch, Kaci Battaglia, Dalal Bruchmann, Jeff Franzel, Kerrie Roberts, Jennifer Hamady, Madeline Stone, Amy Lennard, Megan Burtt, Irwin Fisch, The Martells., Patti Rothberg, Sinai Rose, Carly Eden, Shannon Marsyada, Nicki Richards, Everett Bradley, Greg Clark, Trey Lorenz, Judy Torres, Cindy Mizelle, Rebecca Jordan & Adam Levy.

Companies: SONY Records, Curb Records, Shapiro Bernstein Music, Ketchum/Concentric Communications, BIG Mgmt., Jake Holmes, Gotham web soap opera with Martha Byrne, Kindle Communications, RJO, MJM, Pearson, Oxford, Cambridge and Random House.

Producers: DJ Tony Moran, Michael Grant, Tom Nichols, Bobby Held, David Greenberg

Engineers: Larry Alexander, Gary Toles

Key Personnel: Joseph Colmenero is the house engineer and tech person. Along with his great skill with the analog chain such as pairing microphone to preamp to capture the best sounds, his deep knowledge of ProTools/LOGIC streamlines the entire recording process during sessions. He also plays a mean guitar and bass!

Peter Bliss — I am available to engineer and produce sessions when requested. I have had long experience working with songwriters/artists and many vocalists come to me to produce their songs and track their sessions to final mix. My extensive discography as a writer/producer for artists such as Barbra Streisand and NSYNC along with composition for all forms of commercial and corporate media also make the studio a place to go for original music creation when needed.

Frank Comentale designed the vocal booth.

System Highlights: An Intel PowerMac 8 core Processor with 10 Gb RAM runs the latest versions of ProTools 9 HD3 Accel, Logic PRO, Cubase, Digital Performer along with Apple’s Final Cut Studio software for video work. The entire system has been wired to TT patch bays designed and installed by Elliot Wolfson. The mixer and keyboard stations have been custom built by Omnirax. The keyboard station features a Kurzweil PC88MX master keyboard with a realistic piano action.

Video at the console is handled by an Apple 30″LCD monitor. A Mackie Control Universal is the control surface for every sequencing platform. The mixer station features DynAudio BM-5A monitors with a DynAudio BM-10S sub-woofer along with a pair of trusty Yamaha NS10Ms.The midi station features Tannoy Reveal Active monitors along with a Sony 23″ LCD monitor.

Virtual Instruments like Ivory II, Mach Five 2, Native Instruments Komplete7, LOGIC PRO PlugIns Suite, Spectrasonics Stylus RMX, Trilian, Omnisphere, REASON/RECORD among others are available along with a custom built PC based GigaStudio with a vast library of orchestral and custom sound sets.

The studio features the WAVES MERCURY BUNDLE of plug-ins which includes the entire WAVES lines. The Green McDSP bundle is also onboard. Rounding out the plug-ins are AutoTune EVO, Celemony Melodyne and Metric Halo Channel Strip. UAD UltraPak PCIe cards with all plugs are also installed in a nextension chassis and compatible with all host platforms.

An Apogee Rosetta 800 with a Protools HD card – along with an Apogee PSX-100 and a Digidesign 96 I/O provide for analog to digital conversion. Word clock house sync is provided by an Apogee Big Ben. A MOTU 828 FireWire interface along with a Universal Audio/Euphonix MicPre monitoring system is also available for running DAW programs other than ProTools natively with no latency issues during recording. We run all sampling rates from 44.1K to 192K.

The studio has a full complement of microphones including Neumann M149 / TLM 103, AKG 414 / 451, AEA C92 Ribbon, Sennheiser 421 and Shure 57/58/85 and paired KSM and AudioTechniques for stereo miking. Avalon VP737 Microphone PreAmp/Optocompressor/ EQ provides for superior live tracking. The Universal Audio 6176 Channel Strip Mike Pre – Limiter provides a classic analog front-end. The newly added Universal Audio 4-710d 4-channel mic pre-amp complements the AEA Ribbon PreAmp. Many acoustic guitars (Martin, Yamaha, Taylor) and electric guitars (Pensa/Suhr, Danelectro, Fender) hang on the walls. Vintage FX units, Line 6 POD PRO, and THD/Vox combo amps and speakers round out the studio.

There's life -- and music! -- at Planet Studio.

Distinguishing Characteristics: The 700-square feet studio contains a mix room, floating recording room, and a comfortable lounge area with kitchenette, satellite tv and wi-fi access. Windows look out on a city panorama of water towers and penthouses with daylight filling the control room and recording booth. The studio and superman logo shaped floating “iso-room”, designed and built by Frank Comentale, whose credits include the famed Hit Factory, is acoustically designed and tuned for vocal and instrumental recording and is large enough to accommodate a drum kit. The booth follows a classic build that includes wood lattice surrounding the lower walls. What the room achieves is the best of a “live” and “dead” room in one space. Vocals are sweet, violins and saxes sing, and drums sound big and full!

The building is on fire, you only have time to grab ONE thing to save, what is it? It happened two years ago!!!! I made sure that everyone in the studio and on my floor made it to the safe, smoke free staircase leading out of the building. Every piece of gear – even my prized acoustic guitars that hang on the wall – are all replaceable. The hard drives are all backed up offsite. Always save the client first!!!

Rave Reviews: “Once you’ve been to the Planet – you never want to go anywhere else!” It’s a warm and friendly place where great music gets made!

Most Memorable Session Ever: What do you do when a friend calls up and asks if you would produce a Chanukah song? This producer lights a menorah and welcomes songwriter Madeline Stone and her co-writer Senator Orrin Hatch into the studio to record! Does it matter that one is Jewish – one is Mormon – and I hire a lead singer who is Syrian? Ahh – if only the world got along as well! Go to http://www.peterbliss.com to see a video of the session and sing along with many others.

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  • guest

    to the editor: the computer has 10GB of RAM and not “12 meg”. 

  • David

    Thank you! This has been corrected.

  • Judy Torres

    I simply LOVE recording at Planet Studio!! Thank you, Peter!!!  Muah!