Walking down the corridors of Sound on Sound Studios in Montclair, I was struck by the many framed records of my musical heroes, including Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, the Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige — all recorded at Sound on Sound Studios when it was in Manhattan, over the past 30 years, by founder and chief engineer David Amlen.
Sound on Sound Studios opened on Greenwood Avenue in Montclair in January and celebrated Saturday with a well-attended ribbon cutting ceremony. With Montclair mayor Robert Jackson and other local dignitaries in attendance, the ceremony was packed.
Amlen welcomed the crowd, expressing his gratitude for the opportunity to join Montclair’s vibrant arts community. Industry expert Tony Drootin will manage the facility, along with an experienced team of engineers, offering recording services for both established and emerging artists.
Amlen spoke about his studio’s initial Times Square location, where he oversaw the production of 75 gold and platinum records. He shut down that facility in 2016 due to noise from constant construction that lasted more than eight months.
“I decided that the studio would be best suited in a creative community that didn’t need to be in the heart of NYC,” he said.
He chose Montclair with the assistance of Montclair’s former mayor, Jerry Fried, because of its artistic vibe and lower rents relative to New York. He has already recorded Run-DMC, the Goo Goo Dolls and Renée Fleming in the new location, which has two state-of-the-art studios with a combined 1800 square feet, featuring a Neve VR and Euphonix S5.
Amlen said Neve consoles “have always held a special place in most musicians and engineers’ hearts due to their warm sound,” and added that Euphonix consoles are “revered for their ability to store and recall instantly complex settings, in addition to their neutral sound.”
Amlen serves on the board of trustees of Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair (which I am on, too), and oversees the sound for many of its concerts. He led many Outpost volunteers on tours of his facility at the spirited event, including talent buyer John Hammond, who noted, “I think it’s exciting to have a world class studio in Montclair.” Sound on Sound also mentors interns from the area, including students from William Paterson University’s audio engineering program.
Amlen is optimistic about the future. “The music business is stable and experiencing growth, after many years of attrition, which bodes well for both established and new artists,” he said. “We’re here and excited to be part of this new rebirth and also do what we can to help the next wave of artists establish themselves, using the best of old and new technologies.”
For information, visit soundonsoundstudios.com.