EAST VILLAGE, MANHATTAN – Studios with in-house techs tend to be uniquely high functioning, and Flux Studios is no exception. Inside Flux, The Dangerous Room is NYC’s newest analog tracking studio, and one of its most technically innovative. At the center of The Dangerous Room sits a Neve 55 Series console, a board originally designed for European broadcast audio, but customized for this room and its hybrid analog/digital workflow by Joe Russo with Flux owner and producer/engineer Fabrice “Fab” Dupont.
“I bought this console sight unseen, thinking I’d at least get a bunch of Neve mic pre’s and a big routing section out of it,” says Fab. “First thing we did was yank out the monitor section and dropped in a Dangerous monitor section. Then, we cut out a center section of the Neve, and dropped in a platform-agnostic Euphonix controller. When we ran the first session on it, we were like ‘Jackpot!’ It works flawlessly.
“Joe’s been modifying the console, re-routing everything, so that we can work natively,” notes Fab. “If someone wants to work in Logic or Cubase — for example, we had Duncan Sheik in here for a week working with Holly Brook and he works in Logic — we’ve setup a system where the computer is basically removed from the equation. The left side of the board is tracking and right is returns, but we use our returns for our Mytek cue system, which is pre-converters in the signal chain, so you get no latency. So, the performers never have to deal with crashes or inserting plug-ins; it’s all instant — all copper, no silicon.”
Ergonomically, the Dangerous workstation is a dream, with analog and digital control and computer monitor fully integrated into the desk. “It took a certain amount of nerve to take a sawzall to the Neve, “ assures Fab, “But it’s really fun to be able to use analog faders and digital faders all on the one console. And to use a real transport and be able to control plug-ins from the control surface — it feels really good.” Fab also points out that using the Lynx A-to-D converters, engineers can record the same session in both Pro Tools and Logic through the same converters, going through 32 channels on the board if they’d like.
The outboard racks are filled with Fab’s essentials, including Urei 1176s, the BF-40 Modulimiter (an LA3 and 1176 together in one box), Neve 311015s, Millennia NSEQ-2 and Bricasti M7 reverb. Flux also has a stereo EMT plate located in the shop.
Down the hall from the Dangerous Room sits another unique studio, known as The Fabulous Room, which has operated for years as Fab’s private studio. Now that he’s producing more artists, and touring periodically with the French group MAM, Fab has been revamping his studio, preparing it for bookings. “Until now, I’ve had my signal chains setup with everything half-normalled for the way I work, but it wouldn’t make sense to anyone else,” says Fab. “We’re re-wiring everything in Mogami, and setting it up like a standard console patchbay, with the gear organized in one rack of EQs, one rack of compressors, etc…It will be designed for people who understand old-school signal flow.”
The Fabulous Room runs Pro Tools HD3, with Dangerous Music summing and monitoring. And, Fab’s installed an EMT board that integrates like a sidecar. “The studio is designed so you can work in-the-box, and use up to 30 hardware inserts in realtime. You can work with up to 32 channels of Dangerous analog summing or go through the EMT board, which is the crustiest, most transformer-heavy thing you’ve ever heard, but it works really well, for example, for somebody who recorded everything badly on an Mbox, and they need to condense it, give it some umph, some density.
“It’s an all-Dangerous, super clean, wide-open endless headroom kind of vibe,” Fab describes. “We have Puletcs (EQ-H2, MEQ-5), Mercurys (EQ-H1), Chandler Limited (EMI TG1), every flavor of 2-bus compressor you could want. It’s the ultimate mixing room. You pre-mix at home, and then book a few days in The Fabulous Room — I have every plug-in known to man. Mix it in-the-box and then put it through the SSL or Dangerous 2-bus, through to all the hardware you want, and make the record here.”
A diehard fan of Focal Speakers, Fab has every speaker model the company manufactures, including his most-used SM8s. “Having the entire Focal line, we can accommodate anyone’s needs on the speaker side,” he says. “And both the Dangerous and Fabulous room are surround capable. In Fabulous, you have six channels of 2-bus, so you can do a full surround mix in analog, with the SM8s.”