Recording Studio Sweet Spot: Five To One Media – NYC

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The music industry is constantly shifting. Today, the traditional path of searching for a major label deal for a debut release is practically gone, and though forging your own path as an artist is increasingly possible, it is fraught with potential pitfalls. DIY production is easier than ever, but many talented individuals struggle due to lack of guidance and not knowing how to best get their music to stand out.

Where can artists go to find the services they need in this ever-changing landscape? One studio is aiming to fill those gaps and help artists get to the next level.

A peer inside one of the spacious and inviting control rooms at Five To One.

Five To One Media, a beautiful and unpretentious facility in Midtown Manhattan, is a world-class music recording studio and video production space.

Inside, an open and inviting atmosphere awaits you, offering multiple tracking rooms and mixing suites, a full kitchen, and a friendly, relaxed environment.

A suite of hand-selected vintage and modern gear rounds out the facilities. This mixed-media space is extraordinarily flexible and can be utilized for recording a full band, events, video shoots, as well as any post production needs from ADR to full surround mixing.

Five To One, however, is much more than just a studio for hire. By directly partnering with BHC (Big House Companies) and BHP (Big House Publishing), artists not only have a venue to craft their music, but also a network of professionals who can take it to the next level.

Branding services are provided by their in-house design department for logos, websites, and packaging. The in-house A&R team makes for a truly artist-centric experience, offering development and guidance for new talent—all free services to those who sign with Five To One.

Five To One aims to form partnerships with emerging artists that have the talent, but not the tools and resources to reach the next level.

Read on as Studio Manager and Chief Audio Engineer Dan Tobiason tells me more about the mission of Five To One.

Location: 28 W 25th St, 7th Floor, New York, NY

Date of Birth: We hunted for a space with a studio—we saw over 50 of them before deciding—so it was pre-built when we found her in August last year. The studio has been around for ten years, and majors have recorded here for as long. But we just added a whole new modular system so, I guess, she was “born” just a few months ago.

Natural sunlight is a unique luxury for artists working at Five To One.

Distinguishing Features:

Chris Lord-Alge once said, “The studio with the best coffee wins.” Five to One (FTO) offers a different take on that idea, where the “coffee” is video and photography, A&R, Design & Branding and good people. We’re a one-stop shop for all things music, since it takes more than recordings to get music out the door and into the public stratosphere.

Mission Statement: Before all, we’re a music content company. There’s the music, and there’s also the art of business. As a company, we strive to ensure that the content quality bar is high and differentiated across the board, no matter if we’re servicing FTO acts or other clients. We’re one-stop, non-stop creation.

Key Personnel: Ken Umezaki [music and tech investor, bassist], Chris Cedras [publisher, song-cutter, label, ex-bassist], and Krista Retto [publisher, sync director, label, ex-advert executive] put together FTO out of their direct understanding of why a holistic experience for artists is needed more than ever today. With A&R largely MIA, few houses offer an experienced team that can take an artist from recording through branding through visual media in one spot.

Clients at Five To One have the advantage of stepping out of the studio space into a welcoming loft environment that is packed with amenities.

Maja Szychowska is a graphic designer/illustrator, and has been working as a graphic artist for nearly 20 years. She was employed by a NYC printing & design company which heavily catered to the music industry and included clients such as Atlantic Records, Ricky’s, Universal Music Group, Def Jam, Sneaux Shoes, K2, Wu-Tang, Columbia Records and Dash.

Maria Vullo is a NY-based freelance director and celebrity photographer boasting over 30 years experience working within the music, entertainment, and product industries. Her work has been featured in GQ, Rolling Stone and Esquire, amongst others, and she has become the go-to for iconic brands such as Bloomingdale’s, Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss.

Dan Tobiason is Five To One’s studio manager & chief audio engineer. His past credentials include Pilot Recording Studios, Sony Music Studios, Jungle City Studios and Daddy’s House Recording Studios. Dan was also the owner & operator for Republik Studios and has worked with artists from Jay Z to Neil Diamond to Depeche Mode.

Need a break? Relax and re-charge in one of the comfortable common areas that Five To One has to offer.

Facility Flow:

[I think] our facility is distinguished by its welcoming, comfortable and creative environment.

We have a unique loft space that allows us to approach things differently in every aspect of the content that we create and what we can offer in our services.

Our partnerships and relationships throughout the industry offer a multitude of opportunities for FTO artists and clients that traditionally are not available in a recording studio. Having a video/photography department, A&R and design/branding all in-house really ups the range of things we are capable of doing. Want to document your session with video? Let’s do it! Our rooms are equipped with GoPros! Need a graphic for the track you just recorded? We can help! And you don’t have to leave our facility!

Audio Capabilities:

Five To One Media houses two recording studios. The Studio A live room and Studio B booth are both acoustically treated. We also have the entirety of the near 6,000 square foot facility at our disposal for huge drum sounds and natural verb! We also use the Hear Back Headphone Distribution System allowing for independent headphone mixes for each musician.

Studio A is our main room, housing a Yamaha C7 piano. Our modular 500 Series recording system can be moved over to Studio B! We can work in the digital realm for mixing to picture, ADR, Voice Over or be totally analog using Pro Tools as a tape machine. We also have an impressive selection of plugins, like… lots of plugins. Pro Tools, Logic and Ableton all available.

Studio B, while nearly identical in build to Studio A, has a slightly smaller vocal booth and is geared towards writing, production, vocal tracking and overdubs.

The Editing Suite is equipped with Pro Tools, Logic and Ableton for writing, vocal tracking and overdubs.

We also have a writers rig equipped with a MacBook Pro, Pro Tools, Logic and Ableton and an Apollo Twin Duo, converting either of our live rooms into writing and production spaces.

An alternate view of the main control room at Five To One.

Gear Highlights:

Both rooms are equipped with Genelec 1031’s and 7040a Subs, Yamaha DM2000 Digital Consoles (surround sound available in both rooms) and also have an array of outboard gear, which includes WA76’s, a Universal Audio 710, Stam SSL Bus Compressor, Millennia Channel Strips, Prism Maselec Compressors and a Focusrite iSA 110.

Our modular 500 series recording system features Neve 1073 & 88R units, SSL VHD, Wunder Cobalt, Retro Doublewide, Fredenstein & CAPI modules, and a Neve 8816 Summing Mixer with Fader Pack & Recall.

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