Editor’s note: Just before Winter NAMM we heard about this great studio in Orange County, CA. We sent one of our own to check it out…
Your Dream Studio
Hybrid Studios brings the best of everything under one roof; state-of-the-art music recording plus complete video soundstage along with a world-class collection of microphones, outboard gear, SSL console, and large acoustic spaces. The studio works together with artists and producers from every corner of the music universe; Chance the Rapper, Disney, Alan Parsons, Of Mice & Men, Saturday Night Live, Blizzard Entertainment, Sony Music, David Bendeth, Michael W. Smith, The Grammy’s, Alvin Taylor, Steve Vai, and SZA have all made music there.
Located in Orange County California, Hybrid is the brainchild of Billy Klein and Patrick Akhamlich, industry veterans with a passion for great music and a keen understanding of what makes creative people tick – great vibe, cutting edge gear, smooth efficient workflow, and an awesome staff of engineers at the ready. Studio Manager Mike Miller took us on the Grande Tour.
Pick Your Favorite Console
The centerpiece of Control Room ‘A’ is the SSL 4064G+ console, one of the most revered recording consoles in history. Prior to arriving at Hybrid the console resided at The Hit Factory in New York where artists like Fleetwood Mac, Babyface, Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen all created monster hits on it. A recent upgrade adds the next generation Tangerine Automation Interface which makes every fader on the console fully automatable and recallable through Pro Tools. This merges the power and flexibility of DAW automation with the classic analog sound of the SSL – a total game-changer.
Wish you could take your guitars through a Neve? No problem,12 channels of vintage Neve are there for you. Wanting that API ‘crack’ sound for your drums? No problem,16 channels of API are just one patch cord away. Looking for clean & pristine? Choose the 12 channels of John Hardy mic pres. Craving some color and vibe? Go with the Helios. And the list goes on.
With their extensive array of outboard gear, huge mic locker and every plug-in known to man, along with accurate monitoring in every flavor (Genelec, PMC, Mastering Lab, Adam and Yamaha) plus dozens of high-end amps, guitars, keyboards, and drum kits to choose from… even a die-hard Gearhead would be hard pressed to think of anything they don’t have available.
Great music is still made in great studios and Hybrid boasts some of the best live rooms on the West Coast. Studio ‘A’, designed by Hanson Hsu, is ideal for tracking live drums and is large enough for a full band to record together (what a concept, right?). Two large Iso rooms adjacent to Studio ‘A’ are perfect for isolating lead vocals, acoustic guitars, or guitar amps, so an entire band can record together but still retain clean isolated tracks for complete freedom in the mix.
But wait – there’s more! The Sound Stage is a huge flexible recording space, perfect for filming music videos and commercials and large enough for a 75-piece orchestra. This room features a spacious cyclorama cove, a 600 square-foot lighting grid, and cam-lok 16 connections built in, along with dressing rooms, make-up areas and a private Green Room/Lounge. In addition, there is a well-equipped Studio ‘B’ that is perfect for recording vocals, overdubs, and voice overs.
The main Control Room itself is larger than most studios (900+ square feet) and is large enough to accommodate 25 musicians, producers, and engineers comfortably; the perfect environment to host events (the Alan Parsons Master Class will be held there in late March).
The Composer-Keyboard Corner
This is the ultimate dream destination for every keyboardist – in Control Room ‘A’ you’ll find everything from legendary vintage classics such as the MiniMoog, Prophet V, Oberheim Matrix 12, as well as the latest state-of-the-art synths from Korg, Roland, Yamaha and more. Add to that huge libraries of sounds at your fingertips, the entire East-West sound libraries, Komplete from Native Instruments, everything from Spectrasonics, plus a wide variety of virtual synths. Go olde-skool and jump on the Fender Rhodes, the Wurli, or the Hammond B-3.
Plus, there’s the amazing Disklavier, a stunning Yamaha C-7 grand piano capable of MIDI in-MIDI out which is perfect for your solo piano album. You can stay in your PJ’s at home on your Casio, send Hybrid your MIDI file, and they’ll send you back your finished album, recorded on $60,000 worth of vintage mics and world class gear, mastered and ready to go for under $400 bucks!
Everything about Hybrid makes me want to get creative. Even more than great mics and great gear, the staff are all people who love making great music. On the day we were there the place was buzzing; the crew was shooting a music video for Disney in the Sound Stage while a 7 piece rock band was tracking in ‘A’ and producers in ‘B’ were mixing tracks for a SNL appearance by Grammy nominee SZA.
Beyond the walls of the studio, the vibe of Orange County is legendary. Need some inspiration? Take a short drive to drop-dead gorgeous beaches, pine forests, mountain vistas, and desert landscapes. Need some outdoor shots to add to your music video? How about surfing the waves at Laguna Beach, throwing snowballs in Big Bear or basking in the sun at Joshua Tree? Your crew from Hybrid can shoot all 3 locations in 1 day. Need a place to drop off the family? Disneyland, Newport Beach and South Coast Plaza are just minutes away. Looking for convenience and creature comforts? Skip LAX and fly direct into OC’s boutique John Wayne Airport, just minutes from Hybrid where you can pick from a myriad of great hotel options and you’d need months to check out all the great restaurants, bars, and entertainment centers surrounding the studio.
It’s All Here
You owe it to yourself to check this place out. Record tracks for your EP, capture your music video in the Sound Stage, overdub your vocals in ‘B’, engage your fans via live streaming video and then end the day with your toes in the sand at Laguna Beach. After your first day at Hybrid this will definitely be your new dream studio.