Show Us Your Space: The Aggregate Studios, a 3-in-1 Studio Complex in Brooklyn

Welcome to the latest installment of Show Us Your Space, a Reverb series that explores and celebrates the unique music-making environments of studio owners, independent builders, and musicians at all levels.

Today, we're looking at not one but three facilities—Greylock Records, Virtue and Vice Studio, and Rift Studios—known collectively as The Aggregate Studios. Located in Brooklyn, each room in the complex has its own vibe and can operate independently of the others. But they also share a large main room, as well as a collaborative atmosphere.

Keep reading to hear straight from Aggregate's partners.

Have you assembled a great practice space, project studio, or music workshop? Be sure to drop us a line at [email protected].

Aggregate's live room. (Aggregate photos by Leonardo Mascaro)

The Aggregate Studios is a collection of studios located at the intersection of Williamsburg and Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, New York. There are three control rooms within the same facility that share access to the main, large tracking room. Each control room has its own isolation booth, so sessions can run simultaneously without interruption. All rooms are equipped with their own analog consoles and variety of tools that suit the needs of each owner and their clients.

The studios were originally created and constructed by Anthony "Rocky" Gallo and Tom Gardner in 2013. There was only ever one person in mind for the third room, and that was Ben Talmi. Our goal was to build a drum tracking room to end all drum tracking rooms—we wanted it to be massive. When we found a warehouse with ceilings more than 17' tall, we knew we had the right place. Nearly as important, we wanted a studio that felt good to be in and one that didn't break the bank of our clients.

The three rooms run independently from one another but we often send clients around to take advantage of each other's strengths. The three studios are:

(Photo by Leonardo Mascaro)

The live room has a combination of shared equipment from each owner offering an impressive mic locker and available instruments. A marvelous-sounding Yamaha C3 grand piano, Hammond organ with Leslie, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and piles of amps for every client to be able to use during their sessions. Multiple drum set and snare options are available to give a world class drum sound at independent budgets. The studios are set up to provide isolation for a five-piece band without compromising sound.

Virtue and Vice Studio

The heart of my studio is the vintage Neve 8026 loaded with 1084 modules and two 2254/E compressors. The classic desk replaced the old Neve 5315, which is currently for sale on Reverb. The Class A 8026 gives a weight and depth to recordings that is beyond what seems possible with racked Neve modules. Every genre of music shines with this desk and everything that runs through it is guaranteed to come out better on the other end.

I filled my rack full of classic boxes any producer/engineer would recognize immediately. While tracking, I am committing a lot so that faders up gives my most of my mix. For classic keyboard enthusiasts, there is an original Mellotron, Optigan, four-octave Celeste, pump organ, and Baldwin Fun Machine, as well the Yamaha C3 Grand and Hammond Organ provided in the live room. I've got a lust for rare keyboards to be able to create classic and unique tones for each record.

A recent install of an EMT plate reverb helps achieve the perfect vibe while mixing and is able to get mixes to stick out more. Other equipment highlights are my RE-201 Space Echo, Studer B67 two-track machine, and shelves full of guitar pedals to create unique tones. I've been trying to stay away from the stock plugins that everyone seems to be using. The analog chain is the way I try to stand out from others during mixing.

Owner/operator Anthony "Rocky" Gallo does work most of the sessions booked in his room, although he often hosts outside engineers and producers to rent it out and maximize the use of the console, outboard gear, and live room for their own projects. When building the entire studio facility in 2013, accommodating modern recording budgets was imperative to Rocky and Tom Gardner. Rocky's past work has led to platinum records and many Grammy nominations, while working with many independent bands starting from the beginning. For more on Virtue and Vice Studio, check out its website here.

Rift Studios

(Photo by Matthew Craig)

My console of choice at Rift Studios is this 28-channel Trident series 70. I mix in the box, so I wanted a workhorse tracking console with great preamps and enough channels for a full band. I enjoy the workflow with Tridents—it's very easy to sum signal paths and route things wherever I feel like it. The channels sound great when driven a bit, and the EQ is very musical. It's the perfect fit for the way I run sessions.

(Photo by Leonardo Mascaro)

To give myself options for recording, I've also got racked Neve 1073 channels, SSL 9000J channel strips, and a Universal Audio 4-710d for some tube warmth. I tend to commit to a healthy amount of compression to tape, so I've got plenty of the usual outboard Empirical Labs Distressors, Universal Audio LA-2A, Warm Audio and Hairball 1176s, API 2500, dbx 160s, Focusrite Red 3, Summit Audio TLA-100A, and the like. One specialty piece is a modded CBS Volumax that basically acts like an outboard Decapitator. Instant crush vibe.

(Photo by Leonardo Mascaro)

My goal is to fill the studio with a good mix of functional and fun gear. Most bands and musicians already have the gear they need to sound how they want to sound. They come to the studio to try things that defy the normal routine. That's why in addition to the classic studio staples, I've got things like the ReVox PR-99 tape machine, vintage RCA 77 mics, homemade Genelec woofer-turned-sub-kick mic, and the 1960s round badge Gretsch drum kit.

(Photo by Matthew Craig)

Tom Gardner has been producing, recording, and mixing music since he graduated college in 2006. His work has led to multi-platinum record sales, Juno awards, and a Grammy nomination. He was the lead engineer at The Cutting Room Studios for eight years before leaving to build Rift. Tom feels fortunate for this studio and for the opportunity to work daily with some truly incredible artists. For more on Rift Studios, check out its website here.

Greylock Records

The true tone zone. All vintage Fenders, including a rare original 1970s Starcaster and a 1960s Jaguar. The synth collection is ever-growing, but everyone who comes in my room always asks about the Therevox, a ribbon-controlled mono synth that resembles the sounds of the old-school Ondes Martenots.

This Yamaha b1PE is already very dark, and putting the felt in makes it even darker. Sometimes I think the sound of this room is this piano with the felt, through the API console, with a ton of high-end cranked on the 550Bs, and compressed heavily going in through the API 2500. You can really capture the sound of the hammers on the felt this way—it's beautiful.

For me I needed something with a ton of power but a small footprint. I have my room set up so every instrument, synth, outboard effect or general noise maker is hardwired to the patch bay, which I always have spread out across the API 1608's 16 channels. I do a lot of co-writing/producing and composing sessions, and this workflow makes pulling up sounds very fast.

Ben Talmi is a songwriter/producer/composer. Graduating from Berklee College Of Music in 2014, Talmi has done orchestral arrangements for artists like Manchester Orchestra, Tokyo Police Club, and Wild Nothing and has written scores for TV shows on The History Channel and A&E, as well as songs that have appeared in national television campaigns for Microsoft's Windows 10 and films like Amy Schumer's I Feel Pretty. Ben also has two solo albums and a keen taste for fresh baguettes. For more on Greylock Records, find its website here.

We'd love to see your studio, practice space, or gear lair too—whether it's a professional outfit or a weekend retreat. Contact us at [email protected].

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