From the ground up, this has been a thoroughly designed room for doing multichannel audio of any kind,” states Frank Filipetti, sitting comfortably in the large sunny lounge in the new Right Track Recording A509 in New York City. Located on West 38th street in midtown, the recently opened facility is the long-planned brainchild of a team consisting of producer/ mixer Filipetti, owner Simon Andrews, and general manager Barry Bongiovi.
“Simon and I have worked together for 20 years, and we’ve been talking about building a tracking room for the past ten,” continues Filipetti. “In the last five years, I’ve gotten really into surround sound mixing, which has become a true passion and love of mine. We decided to build a room where you could not only track an orchestra, but comfortably mix it here in surround as well, both for 5.1 and film.”
Working closely with architect and acoustical designer Dennis Janson and project manager Francisco Tsai of the Janson Design Group, the Right Track team set out on the lengthy process of turning a grand vision into a working studio. Tackling the endless maze of challenges from finding available space to isolating recording and control rooms from New York’s noise, the main focus of creating a first-class studio environment was never lost. “Simon, Frank, and Barry really wanted an extraordinarily large control room, knowing that for scoring sessions they may have from eight to twelve people in there at one time,” Janson comments. “In addition, they really wanted to do an orchestral room, making it as large as they could in the tradition of rooms such as Abbey Road, Todd AO, and Sony. Janson and the crew were on site nearly every day with Bongiovi, making sure the construction crews followed every last detail. The end result is a truly world-class recording and mixing environment that saw action as soon as the doors opened in November. “We took this room from 0-100 immediately,” notes Bongiovi. “We were closed, then we had a 100-person choir. Right behind that, we had a 62-piece orchestra, then a 77-piece orchestra. This all took place in the first month that we were open.”
Janson and Bongiovi went on to explain how the entire facility is literally a box within a box. “The outer box is the acoustic enclosure that gives you the best sound transmission loss, keeping sound out from the outside world,” explains Janson. “The inner box, consisting of the control, live, and isolation booths are isolated in every shape way and form from the outer box. Even the duct work, sprinklers, walls, and floors are isolated. The entire design is similar to a microphone suspend on an iso mount.”
Right Track’s main orchestral studio features a massive 4600-square-foot live room that is 55 feet long and 85 feet wide, with 35-foot-high ceilings. The incredibly smooth reverb time of 1.3-1.35 seconds is amazing considering there is 155,000 cubic feet in the room. There are five additional iso-booths that are all within sight of the live room, and a well-thought out custom headphone cue system provides monitoring for the live talent.
The fully equipped control room is approximately 1100 square feet with 16-foot-high ceilings. Outfitted with a custom 96-input Solid State Logic SL 9000 J Series SuperAnalogue console, the modified center section of the board allows easy reconfiguration for film scoring/mixing as needed. Enveloping the massive console is a set of five Genelec 1035B’s with four 1094 subs, as well as a full theater-style surround JBL SR4733X speaker setup. “We were trying to get the largest sweet spot that we could possibly get, considering the room and performance of the speakers,” comments Janson. “The center and left/right speakers are focused to converge at about two feet behind the mixer’s head, and the rear surrounds converge to about two feet in front of the mixer’s head. Overall, you have a 4-foot-deep and 8-foot-wide sweet spot.” The control room can also handle two additional alternate surround speaker setups, plus the mains, allowing mixers to check their work on other speakers if needed.
“New York studios have always been extremely versatile, simply due to the fact that there are so many styles of music here, from Broadway, to television, to jazz, and advertising,” Bongiovi notes. “We’re trying to build not only a room that can do what the city supports, but we also tried to leave ourselves open enough to move into the future as well, all with no compromises.”
From the looks of things at the new Right Track A509, they have certainly done it right.