Recording Studio Sweet Spot: Gold Coast Recorders – Bridgeport, CT

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Close enough to be convenient – far enough from NYC to be a groovy getaway: Gold Coast Recorders just may be the missing link ye seek.

Audio attractions are ample at this Bridgeport, CT facility, and you can access them all just by hopping on the Metro North. Once there, artists, producers, and composers discover large-scale tracking in a 1,300 square foot live room – all instruments benefit here, but the big draw is the big drum sound.

And the hits, from Brooklyn expatriates/co-founders Chris Ruggiero & Masa Tsuyuki, keep on coming. There’s custom vacuum tube gear that’s built in-house, an especially musical Wheatstone console, a massive mic locker, and a plethora of instruments to play with.

At the core of the Coast is an atmosphere that gets to the Zen of recording: Feng shui rules here, clearing a path to the artist’s inner voice — and even better music.

1300 square feet gives sound room to breathe, at Gold Coast Recorders.

1300 square feet gives sound room to breathe at Gold Coast Recorders.

Facility Name: Gold Coast Recorders

Website: http://www.goldcoastrecorders.com/

Location: Bridgeport, Connecticut on the Conn Gold Coast!

Neighborhood Advantages: Space! Because we’re outside of the immediate NYC area but still on the MetroNorth commuter train line, we can offer a huge, well-appointed space for a much lower rate than similarly-sized Brooklyn and Manhattan studios. And more space means more sonic options, more comfort, more live-band tracking, and tons more instruments available for bands to use.

Bridgeport was home to Paul Leka’s “Connecticut Recorders” and Sal DiBenedetto’s “White Glove Recording” in the 70s and 80s, and our friend Peter Katis has been tracking and mixing a generation’s worth of great records right across town for years at his Tarquin Studios.

Amp up with the in-house collection of guitars and amps.

Amp up with the in-house collection of guitars and amps.

Date of Birth: 2011. We had our first studio in Williamsburg in the late ‘90s, where we made recording for bands like the Flesh, Shy Child, Dynasty Electric, The Fever, Salt and Samovar, after a couple of temporary situations we set up for good here.

Facility Focus: Music tracking and mixing, especially rock bands and singer/songwriters. We also do a tremendous amount of film and TV scoring work — recent film projects include director Ivy Meeropol’s Indian Point and director Jeff Dupre’s SXSW-winning documentary, Kehinde Wiley.

Mission Statement: We exist to serve artists. It’s our goal to make the process invisible so that artists can focus on performing and exploring.

Clients/Credits: Just recently, Chris has worked with Stephen Kellogg, The Alternate Routes, and Ula Ruth at GCR.

Tim Walsh of the Step Kids has been in here recently with Caravan of Thieves, and with producer Tim Edgar on a new solo project for Nico Vega singer Aja Volkman.

Keith “Touch” Saunders has worked here with Beanie Sigel, Big Moon, and Damon Daye and dozens of other artists.

Kori Gardner of Mates of State was in GCR this past winter producing a new artist named Samantha Lucier.

Producer Drew Dawson has also been a frequent sight this past year with a number of the up-and-coming singer/songwriters he works with.

Key Personnel:

Much of GCR's outboard is custom made by co-founder Chris Ruggiero.

Much of GCR’s outboard is custom made by co-founder Chris Ruggiero.

Chris Ruggiero, partner and chief engineer. Masa Tsuyuki, partner and technical director. Keith Saunders of Touch Sounds and Tim Walsh are the regular freelance engineer/producers you’ll find working in here.

Home Grown: Apart from the huge (1300+ sq ft) main live room, GCR is distinguished by the array of custom vacuum-tube recording gear that Chris has built. Well-known amongst audio techies for his website PreservationSound.com, Chris has mastered the craft of building mic pres, compressors, reverbs, and guitar amps that combine the best of old-school body+grit with modern features and low noise-floor.

Masa has been working for over a decade as technical producer for Francis Coppola’s American Zoetrope, and those years of expertise have gone into the design and construction of the GCR control room. As far as the gear, we’ve been collecting all this stuff since we started working together in high school 20 years ago.

System Highlights: The studio is based around a 32×24 Pro Tools HD3 system running PT10.

Our console is a meticulously maintained Wheatstone SP6, which is a 24-input full-size console that this company made expressly for music-tracking. The console is used primarily for summing, with mic pre duties covered by our 20+ channels of outboard pres and compressors including Neve, API, and all our custom tube stuff.

An uncommon Wheatstone SP6 is at the heart of GCR's control room.

An uncommon Wheatstone SP6 is at the heart of GCR’s control room.

We’re also very proud of our extensive mic locker which features such highlights as an original U87, U47fet, TLM170, a dozen vintage ribbons, and just about everything else shy of a C12 (but we’re looking!).

Our ‘B’ room production suite, “The Sound Lab”, also has PT11 and Apple Logic for overdubs/sweetening, etc… This room houses all of our vintage synths, some of Chris’ more far-out custom outboard gear, vintage FX, and tape machines, all patchable.   The Sound Lab is designed to let bands experiment with all of the sonic possibilities these unique instruments can offer, while tracking and mixing continues in the main rooms.

Distinguishing Characteristics: The huge live room and spacious booth are probably the biggest draw.

We also try very hard to create a very calm, distraction-free environment for artists. It’s all neutral white, greys, and wood-tones, with tons of natural light and very diffuse overhead lighting, and the overall effect really puts all the focus on the music.

Key into the collection.

Key into the collection.

Next would be the incredible collection of drums, keyboard instruments, and guitar amplifiers that we have in-house. Two Baldwin pianos, two Hammonds, CP70, Wurly, Rhodes, Clav, 3 vintage Ludwig kits… tons of synths… everything anyone needs.

The building is on fire, you only have time to grab ONE thing to save, what is it?
Chris: The Eno-Matic. It’s a 100-year-old carnival game-of-luck that I stuffed with various “recommendations” from Brian Eno’s “Oblique Strategies” card-set.   As I like to put it, with the Eno-Matic, all of our clients can have Eno co-produce for free – just ask a question and spin the wheel!

Masa: Our ’65 metallic emerald green Magnatone Hurricane X-10 bass. There is something magical about that instrument. If I could run back into the fire for a second trip and have to suffer only 2nd degree burns, I’d quickly round up our early ‘60’s Ludwig black diamond pearl kit with its original 4” deep Downbeat snare, three toms, matching concert bass drum and additional 5″ snare.

City at night...evening hues in the huge live room.

City at night…evening hues in the huge live room.

Rave Reviews: Number one would be the drum sound. If you want big lively drums- this is a great room. Many clients also comment on the 1960 Baldwin Acrosonic piano. While by no means a fancy instrument, it has a personality that adds a lot of poignancy to any track.

Most Memorable Session Ever:
Chris: There have been a few moments when certain artists have been cutting ballads live with a band, especially ballads about loss and grief, and it’s impossible not to tear up. Being able to hear a perfect vocal go down, that literally no one on in the world has ever heard before… nothing else creates that feeling of presence.

Session You’d Like to Forget: Yeah there have been a few unchill moments, sure – but I don’t want to forget them. They are important learning experiences. No artist can ever “fail” an engineer – it’s only an engineer that can fail an artist.

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