A Tale of Two Studios: Part Two

Our last story focused on No Shame, a label/studio in New York City. For the second part, we move across the country to a classic West Coast establishment: Coast Recorders in San Francisco.

Built by Bill Putnam over 40 years ago, Coast is a legendary part of the SF music scene. With the original live room untouched, the control room was outfitted with a Rupert Neve Designs 5088 console in 2012, and the studio resumed operation – and vastly expanded its business.
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The business has expanded to such a degree that Michael Romanowski, the studio’s owner, is often unable to book enough time himself on the board for mixing projects. The solution? He recently picked up a pair of 5059 16×2+2 summing mixers and a 5060 Centerpiece for his home mixing setup.

We sat down with Michael for a quick chat about his new gear:

“The 5088 is here, and I can’t get in as often as I want to. For me, the 5059s and 5060 are a very high percentage of the 5088′s sound. Sonically, it’s VERY close. Enough so that I feel confident that when I get back on the console, I already know the sounds – it makes it really quick to pull up a mix on the 5088 and say BAM, there you go. It translates back and forth really well, so it’s doing exactly what I want it to do.”

What other gear is in your home setup?

“I have the 5060 and two 5059′s, with the 5059′s fed by two [Universal Audio] Apollo 16′s. I have a Bricasti M7 for reverb, and I record to a Tascam DSD recorder. I’m monitoring through Focal Solo 6′s.”


So how do you look at the 5060? What is it?

“How do I look at it? It’s definitely a console, and it’s the center section where I hear the summing exactly as I want to hear it from a console. And because it’s in a rolling rack, I can also take it to mobile gigs. It’s a mobile 5088, in a way.”

How about mixing in the box vs. the 5060?

“Night and day. In the box is fine, as long as you’re choosing a workstation that does good math – but to me, there’s a difference with panning and volume and gain structure; it’s handled WAY better in the analog domain. I’ll take electrons over math 99% of the time.”

And the other 1% of the time?

“I hand the project off to someone else [laughs].”

Click here for more information about 5059 and 5060-based mix systems.