We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: New Jersey is the cradle of audio engineering.
Formerly known as Menlo Park, the New Jersey township of Edison, NJ changed its name in 1954 to honor the inventor Thomas A. Edison, who set up his groundbreaking research laboratory there in 1876. By the time of his passing 55 years later, Edison had earned a record 1,093 patents for creations including the phonograph, a stock ticker, the motion-picture camera, the incandescent lightbulb, a mechanical vote counter, the alkaline storage battery including one for an electric car, and the first commercial electric light.
Edison had maximum personal fondness for his phonograph. He was pleasantly surprised in 1877 when his very first attempt at the tin foil phono worked, a moment that led to him eventually founding one of the earliest record labels ever, with the National Phonograph Company. On Edison cylinders and discs, NPC released selections in instrumental, vocal, spoken word, spoken comedy, foreign language and ethnic, religious, opera and concert recordings.
This is where recorded music, as we now know it, comes from.
Acutely tuned to this is Stephen DeAcutis, Founder of the Edison, NJ-based recording facility Sound Spa Productions. A mixing, tracking, and production studio in operation since 1990, it counts John Mayer, Corey Glover (Living Color), Joe Lynn Turner, and even the late great Laura Brannigan as its clients.
No doubt, the Neve 5088 32 channel frame console with Martin Sound Flying Faders 2 is a draw, as are MCI and Studer tape machines, and expressive analog outboard including a Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, Cranesong Ibis EQ, and Audio Technologies Tube Link tube compressor. Two live rooms, one sufficiently sizable for cutting drums, add appeal.
But another draw is DeAcutis, whose passion for his craft is tangible at first contact. He’s a true pro who’s proud of his room, but you can tell he’d prefer that his studio do the talking.
Facility Name: Sound Spa Productions
Location: Edison NJ — Home of The invention of recorded sound
Neighborhood Advantages: Close to malls trains and starbux/Dunkin D’s and lots of wilderness
Date of Birth: 1990
Facility Focus: Mixing, Production, Tracking
Mission Statement: To capture as honest a representation of the artists vision whether it be from a performance or mixing standpoint.
Clients/Credits: John Mayer, Corey Glover(Living Color) Laura Brannigan, Mike Ciro (Alejandro Sanz},Bobby Bandiero(Bonlovi), Joe Lynn Turner, Demi Lavato, Gad Elbaz, Glen Burtnik, Bebe Buell, Nir Z (drummer for Chris Cornell)
Key Personnel: Stephen DeAcutis — Founder; Nejat Bakin, Lenny Grasso, Steve Sadler — techs
System Highlights: Neve 5088 32 Channel frame (11 stereo) 58 channels at mixdown, and 41 of Martin Sound Flying Faders 2.
MCI 16-24 2” tape and Studer A-80 half-inch mixdown machines
36 channels I/O of Apogee/Crane Song AD-DA
Nuendo and Pro Tools
I describe the Neve as very deep and wide sonically, with a large-format console feel — very solid. It has a real high resolution feel, combined with the weight and size you need for the aggressive stuff.
It will sonically optimize any style at the highest level. You can really feel the iron that is incorporated in the design of this console.
I can accurately achieve a final mix that needs very little, if any, 2-mix processing — which is the purist way to optimize the quality of the 5088.
I recently installed the board, so the few clients that have had the pleasure of taking mixes home have been really pleased. Comments like “amazing” and “didn’t think your mixes could get any better” have been spoken.