The Hit Factory is a recording studio in New York City owned and operated by Troy Germano. Since 1969, The Hit Factory recording studios have existed in six different locations in New York City as well as facilities in London and Miami. Today the studios are located at 676 Broadway in the Noho neighborhood of New York City.[1]

The Hit Factory
Company typeRecording studio
Headquarters676 Broadway, ,
OwnerTroy Germano

History edit

On March 6, 1975, Edward Germano, a singer, record producer, and one of the principal owners of the Record Plant Studios New York, purchased The Hit Factory from Jerry Ragavoy.[2][3] At that time The Hit Factory studios were located at 353 West 48th Street[4] and consisted of two studios, A2 and A6. Eventually, a third studio, A5, was added. These studios were active from 1975 to 1981. Germano incorporated The Hit Factory into a business, redesigned its studios, and created the logo it uses to this day. Notable albums from this location include Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder, One-Trick Pony by Paul Simon, Fear of Music by Talking Heads, Voices by Hall & Oates, Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf, Foreigner by Foreigner (band), I'm in You by Peter Frampton, Live and Sleazy by Village People, Peter Gabriel ("Scratch") by Peter Gabriel, Emotional Rescue by the Rolling Stones, Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

In 1981, The Hit Factory moved to a new location at 237 West 54th Street, across the street from Studio 54.[5] Dubbed The Hit Factory Broadway, the new location had five studios designed by Germano: A1, A2, A3, M1, and M4—the last of which was later transformed into the first mastering suite for Herb Powers Jr. Germano's son, Troy Germano, started working full-time with him at this location.[6][7] Albums that were recorded and/or mixed at this location include Graceland by Paul Simon, Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen, Undercover by the Rolling Stones, Under a Blood Red Sky by U2, The Rhythm of the Saints by Paul Simon, Live/1975–85 by Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band, True Colors by Cyndi Lauper, Whiplash Smile by Billy Idol, Steel Wheels by the Rolling Stones, Long After Dark by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Agent Provocateur by Foreigner, Tunnel of Love by Bruce Springsteen, Riptide by Robert Palmer, Up Your Alley by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Forever by Kool & the Gang, the Bodyguard soundtrack by Whitney Houston, Hell Freezes Over by Eagles, August by Eric Clapton, Talk Is Cheap by Keith Richards and Dangerous by Michael Jackson.

In 1987, Germano opened another location, The Hit Factory Times Square, at 130 West 42nd Street. Previously known as Chelsea Sound, the studios were redesigned by Ed and Troy Germano. This facility had two recording studios, Studio C and Studio B, as well as three mastering rooms under the moniker The Hit Factory DMS, for digital mastering studios. The mastering rooms were for engineers Herb Powers Jr., Chris Gehringer, and Tom Coyne. The Times Square recording and mastering studios existed until 1992. Albums of historical importance recorded or mixed at this location include Freedom by Neil Young, Foreign Affair by Tina Turner, Down with the King by Run-DMC, Don't Sweat the Technique by Eric B. & Rakim, and Storm Front by Billy Joel.

In 1991, Ed Germano acquired a 100,000-square-foot building at 421 West 54th Street. It opened in 1993 as simply The Hit Factory.[8][9] Ed and Troy designed and built this facility with David Bell, Derek Buckingham, Alan Cundell of White Mark Limited and Neil Grant of Harris Grant Associates UK.[10] As the main headquarters for The Hit Factory, the studios expanded to seven recording-and-mixing studios (Studios 1-7), five mastering studios (The Hit Factory Mastering) and five private writing-production suites, including rooms for Mark Ronson, Kevin Shirley and Trackmasters. Studio 1 was built for orchestral recordings that could accommodate up to 140 musicians.[7][11] In 2002, Troy Germano consolidated the New York City operations into this building. Some of the albums recorded or mixed at this facility include HIStory by Michael Jackson, Butterfly by Mariah Carey, Let's Talk About Love by Celine Dion, Dangerously in Love by Beyoncé, Diary of a Mad Band by Jodeci, CrazySexyCool by TLC, Ray of Light by Madonna, No Strings Attached by NSYNC, Falling into You by Celine Dion, Daydream by Mariah Carey, Ready to Die by the Notorious B.I.G., the Titanic soundtrack album, Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey, Duets by Frank Sinatra, My Life by Mary J. Blige, Rhythm of Love by Anita Baker, Songs by Luther Vandross, The Velvet Rope by Janet Jackson, Invincible by Michael Jackson, Pop by U2, Space Jam with Seal, X&Y by Coldplay, Music by Madonna, River of Dreams by Billy Joel and Sogno by Andrea Bocelli.

From 1989 to 1993, the company also operated The Hit Factory London. In 1989, Ed and Troy, in a joint venture with Sony Music UK, took control of CBS Studios on Whitfield Street in Soho, London.[12] They redesigned the facility and reopened at the beginning of 1990 with the Rolling Stones working on their album Flashpoint. Sade recorded her album Love Deluxe in Studio 2 and Alison Moyet recorded her album, "Hoodoo" in Studio 3. The studios were designed by Ed, Troy, and the team from Harris Grant Associates UK (David Bell, Derek Buckingham, Alan Cundell & Neil Grant). This facility had three recording studios: Studio 1, Studio 2, and the Rooftop Studio 3, as well as five mastering rooms and hosted many of the artists from that era from Sony Music's UK labels (primarily Columbia Records & Epic Records). Studio 1 was designed for orchestral recording and could accommodate 100 piece orchestra. The film score for Basic Instinct, by composer Jerry Goldsmith, was recorded here. The Hit Factory London remained through 1993 until the Germano's sold their interests back to Sony Music ending the partnership and retaining The Hit Factory name and trademark.[12] This facility later became Sony's Whitfield Street Studio.[13]

In 1998, Ed and Troy purchased Criteria Recording in Miami, Florida, revamping and reopening the studios under the new name The Hit Factory Criteria Miami.[14] The studios were designed again by Ed, Troy, and White Mark Limited UK (David Bell, Alan Cundell & Derek Buckingham). The facility had five recording studios–Studio A, Studio C, Studio D, Studio E, and Studio F–a completed mastering room used as a writing and production room for guest producers and artists.[15][16] In 2012, the Germanos sold the studio as Criteria Recording Studios and retained The Hit Factory name, logo and trademark.[17]

Edward Germano died in 2003 and The Hit Factory closed its main headquarters in 2005.[18] Contrary to reports in the media that the studios in New York City were shuttered due to the advancement of home digital recording,[19] the building at 421 West 54th was sold for estate planning purposes.[5]

In 2008, Troy Germano, completed Germano Studios in Noho. Germano Studios changed its name to The Hit Factory in 2023 and is now the only "The Hit Factory" recording studio in the world. Notable albums recorded at this location include "Hackney Diamonds" by The Rolling Stones, "Jose" by J Balvin, "Crosseyed Heart" by Keith Richards, "Manana Sera Bonito" by Karol G, "Astroworld" by Travis Scott, "Hollywood's Bleeding" by Post Malone, "That's What They All Say" by Jack Harlow, "DAMN." by Kendrick Lamar, "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga, "21" by Adele, "Blonde" by Frank Ocean, "Yeezus" by Kanye West, "Uptown Special" by Mark Ronson, "Love in the Future" by John Legend, "Queen" by Nicki Minaj, "Luv Is Rage 2" by Lil Uzi Vert, "Time Clocks" by Joe Bonamassa, "Unvarnished" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, "My World 2.0" by Justin Bieber, "Anti" by Rihanna, "4" by Beyoncé, "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" by Mariah Carey, and "Clapton" by Eric Clapton.

Locations edit

The studios occupied several spaces in and around Midtown West, Times Square and Noho. Locations:[20]

  • 7th Avenue (The Hit Factory) 1969-1972
  • 353 West 48th Street, (The Hit Factory, West 48th Street) 1972–1981
  • 237 West 54th Street (The Hit Factory Broadway), 1981–2002
  • 130 West 42nd Street (The Hit Factory Times Square), 1987–1992
  • 31–37 Whitfield Street (The Hit Factory London), 1989–1993
  • 1755 NE 149th Street (The Hit Factory Miami), 1998–2012
  • 421 West 54th Street (The Hit Factory Headquarters), 1992–2005
  • 676 Broadway (The Hit Factory, Noho), 2008–present

RIAA Diamond Awards edit


24 RIAA Diamond Awards albums and songs have been recorded at The Hit Factory:

  • Stevie Wonder "Songs In The Key Of Life"
  • Bruce Springsteen "Born In The USA"
  • Whitney Houston "Whitney"
  • Celine Dion "Falling Into You"
  • TLC "CrazySexyCool"
  • Santana "Supernatural"
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band "Live 1975–'85"
  • Whitney Houston "The Bodyguard"
  • Billy Joel "Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II"
  • "Titanic" soundtrack
  • Meat Loaf "Bat Out Of Hell"
  • NSYNC "No Strings Attached"
  • Celine Dion "Lets Talk About Love"
  • Michael Jackson "Bad"
  • Mariah Carey "Daydream"
  • Lauryn Hill "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill"
  • Adele "21"
  • Travis Scott "Sicko Mode"
  • Justin Bieber "Baby"
  • John Legend "All Of Me"
  • Maroon 5 "Moves Like Jagger"
  • Mariah Carey "All I Want For Christmas Is You"
  • Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You"
  • The Notorious B.I.G. "Life After Death"

Album of the Year Grammy Awards edit


The Hit Factory has 10 wins and 33 nominations for Album of the Year:

  • 1977 "Songs in the Key of Life" Stevie Wonder
  • 1982 "Double Fantasy" John Lennon and Yoko Ono
  • 1987 "Graceland" Paul Simon
  • 1992 "Unforgettable... With Love" Natalie Cole
  • 1994 "The Bodyguard" Whitney Houston
  • 1997 "Falling Into You" Celine Dion
  • 1999 "The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill" Lauryn Hill
  • 2000 "Supernatural" Santana
  • 2012 "21" Adele
  • 2023 "Mañana Será Bonito" Karol G (Latin Grammy Award)

Academy Award for Best Original Song edit

The Hit Factory has three wins and seven nominations for Best Original Song

  • 1988 Working Girl "Let the River Run" by Carly Simon
  • 1995 Pocahontas "Colors of the Wind" by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz
  • 1997 Titanic "My Heart Will Go On" by James Horner and Will Jennings (Celine Dion)

John Lennon's last recording session edit

Public awareness of The Hit Factory increased after the death of John Lennon on December 8, 1980. Lennon had recorded his final album at The Hit Factory at 353 West 48th Street, a fact mentioned in some newspaper accounts of the murder. There are contradictory reports as to whether he was recording and mixing at The Hit Factory or the nearby Record Plant on the day he was murdered. Most publications give the Record Plant as the location,[23][24] as do producer Jack Douglas and others who were with Lennon that day.[24] However, Keith Badman, not an eyewitness, writes in his book The Beatles: After the Break-up, 1970–2000 that Lennon had been at The Hit Factory the night of his murder. He also writes that Lennon had been at the studio the previous few days working on and mixing tracks for Yoko Ono.

Notable recordings edit

Albums[25] edit

Equipment edit

1975–1981 edit

The Hit Factory's original facility at 353 West 48th Street used a mixture of recording equipment. Consoles included a Neve 8068 32-channel console with Necam 1 moving fader automation, a Custom API 32 input console without automation, an MCI JH-500 36-channel console with MCI automation, and an MCI JH-636 36 channel console with MCI automation. Initially, there were a pair of Gonzalez custom analog multi-channel desks. The analog tape machines were Studer A80 24-track 2-inch (wide body) analog recorders, Studer A80 16-track 2-inch (narrow body) analog recorders, Studer A80 2-track 1/4-inch analog recorders and an MCI JH-24 24-track 2-inch analog recorder. The outboard gear was a combination of numerous custom pieces from that period plus Eventide, Neve, Lang, Teletronix, Universal, Pultec, Orban, Kepex, EMT, Fairchild and API. The monitoring was a combination of Westlake, Hidley, Altec, UREI and Auratone. Microphones were Neumann, AKG, Sennheiser, Sony, Norelco, Shure, and Electrovoice. Vocals were recorded primarily with a Neumann U 87 or an AKG C414. The studios also had EMT 140 plates, Cooper Time Cubes and Spring reverbs.

1981–2002 edit

This period saw multiple locations: The Hit Factory Broadway at 237 West 54th Street and The Hit Factory Times Square at 130 West 42nd Street. There were a mixture of desks between the locations as the consoles moved between the seven studios. An MCI JH-636 36 channel console with MCI automation in Studio A2 (moved from West 48th Street). A Neve 8068 32 channel console with Necam 1 moving fader automation, then GML moving faders in Studio A1 & Studio A (moved from West 48th Street). A Custom API 32 input console without automation in Studio A3 (moved from West 48th Street). A pair of Solid State Logic 4000 SL48 E Series 48 channel consoles in Studio A1 & A2, then an additional SSL 4000 SL64 G Series with Ultimation was added to Studio 2.[26] A Solid State Logic 4000 SL64 E Series 64 channel console in Studio M1 and a Solid State Logic 6000 SL72 E Series console in Studio M1. A pair of Neve VR 60 channel consoles in Studio A1, A2 & A3, a Neve VR 36 channel console in Studio A3, a Neve VR 72[27] channel console in Studio A1, a Neve V Series Vatican 60 channel console in Studio A3, a Neve 8068 40 channel console with Necam II moving fader automation, then GML moving faders in Studio A3 & Studio B, and a Neve 8128 28 channel console in Studio A4. The tape machines were Studer A800 24 track 2 inch analog recorders, Studer A820 24 track 2 inch analog recorders, Studer A827[27] 24 track 2 inch analog recorders, Studer A80 2 track 1/2 inch & 1/4 inch 2 track analog recorders, a Studer A810 2 track 1/4 inch analog recorder, a Studer A80 4 track 1/2 inch analog recorder, and Otari MTR-90 24 track analog recorders. The digital machines were Sony 3324A 24 track 1/2 inch digital recorders with Apogee filters, Mitsubishi X880 32 track 1 inch digital recorders, and Mitsubishi X80 & X86 2 track 1/4 inch digital recorders. The outboard gear was a combination of AMS, Quantek, Eventide, Publison, Lexicon, Universal Audio, Teletronix, Tube-Tech, Pultec, GML, SSL, Neve, API, EMT, Apogee, Focusrite, Manley and Avalon. The monitoring was a combination of UREI, Quested, Tannoy, Augspurger, Yamaha, Auratone, Westlake, Genelec,[28] Meyer, Altec, and David's. The microphones collection included Telefunken, Neumann, Sony, B&K, RCA, Schoeps, Beyer Dynamic, AKG, Sennheiser, Norelco, Electrovoice & Shure.

1993–2005 edit

These years focus solely on the main headquarters at 421 West 54th Street, just known as The Hit Factory which had seven studios. The consoles consisted of a Neve 8068 72 channel console with Flying Faders in Studio 2 (this was a combination of custom joining of an original Neve 8068 32 and a Neve 8068 40).[29] Also a Neve VSP 72 channel console with Flying Faders in Studio 1,[7] and a Solid State Logic 9000 J Series 9080 80 channel console in Studio 1. A Solid State Logic K Series 9080 80 channel console in Studio 2, a Solid State Logic G+ 4064 64 channel console in Studio 3, and a Solid State Logic J Series 9080 80 channel console in Studio 3. In Studio 4 there was a Solid State Logic 4000 SL96 E Series 96 channel console, followed by a Solid State Logic AXIOM 80 channel digital console in Studio 4, and then a Solid State Logic 9000 J Series[7] 9080 80 channel console. There was a Sony Oxford digital console in Studio 5,[30] followed by a Euphonix System 5 digital console.[31] A Solid State Logic K Series 9080 80 channel console was in Studio 6 and a Solid State Logic K Series 9080 80 channel console was in Studio 7.[32] The analog tape machines were Studer A800 24 track 2 inch analog recorders, Studer A827 24 track 2 inch analog recorders, a Studer A827 16 track 2 inch analog recorder, Studer A820 2 track 1/2 inch analog recorders, and Studer A80 2 track 1/2 inch analog recorders. The digital tape machines were Sony 3348[27] 48 channel 1/2 inch digital recorders, Sony 3348HR[33] 48 channel 1/2 inch digital recorders, Mitsubishi X880 32 track 1 inch digital recorders, Sony PCM-3402 DASH 2 track 1/4 inch digital recorders, and Sony PCM 1630 2 track digital recorders.[11] Digidesign Pro Tools systems were introduced as part of the new hard disk recorders for all of the studios as of 2000.[34] The monitoring systems changed from Boxers to Augspurgers[27] as well as a selection of Yamaha, Genelec, ProAcs, Auratones, Dynaudio and Mastering Lab for the near field speakers. The outboard gear included AMS, AMS Neve, Lexicon,[35] Eventide, API, Focusrite, SSL, Avalon,[35] Manley, Weiss, Tube-Tech, Pultec, Universal Audio, Teletronix, GML, EMT and Quantek. The microphone collection grew to include Coles, Neumann,[36] Telefunken, Sennheiser, AKG, Schoeps, B&K, Sony, Shure, RCA, Norelco, Beyer Dynamic & Electrovoice.[37][38]

1989–1993 edit

The Hit Factory London was located on Whitfield Street in Soho London. There were three studios and the consoles consisted of a Neve VR 72 channel console in Studio 1 for orchestral recording & mixing, a Neve VR 72 channel console in Studio 2 for overdub recording & mixing and a Solid State Logic 4000 SL56 E Series 56 channel console for band recording & mixing. The analog tape machines were Studer A820 & Studer A827 24 track 2 inch analog recorders and Studer A80 2 track 1/2 inch analog recorders. The digital tape machines included Sony 3348 48 channel 1/2 inch digital recorders, and Sony PCM 1630 2 track digital recorders. The monitoring systems were Boxer's as well as Yamaha, Genelec & Auratone near field speakers. The outboard gear was a large selection of AMS, Neve, SSL, GML, Lexicon, EMT, Pultec, Tube-Tech, Teletronix, Universal Audio, Manley, Eventide, API & Focusrite. The microphone collection consisted of Neumann, Telefunken, Sennheiser, AKG, Sony, Shure, Electrovoice, Beyer Dynamic, Coles, B&K.

2008–present edit

The Hit Factory in New York's Noho consists of two studios. The consoles are a pair of Solid State Logic Duality Delta 48 channel consoles for recording and mixing in Studio 1 and Studio 2.[39] Both studios are equipped with Avid Pro Tools PT Ultimate 2022.10 HDX3 64/64 systems with the Apple Mac Studio M1 computers and Sonnet expansion racks. There are no longer any tape recorders, analog or digital, available at the studios in 2020. The monitoring systems are custom Exigy S412G monitors with custom dual 18" subwoofers in each of the control rooms.[40] The near field speakers are Amphion One 18 passive monitors, Avantone CLA-10 active monitors, Avantone CLA-10 passive monitors, Yamaha NS-10M Studio passive monitors, Avantone Mix Cube passive & active monitors, KRK Rokit 7 G4 monitors, and Auratones. The outboard gear is an arsenal of selected pieces from Neve, API, Chandler, Retro Instruments, Lavry, Bricasti, AMS, Focusrite, Universal Audio, Tube-Tech, Moog, Heritage Audio, Empirical Labs, Black Lion, SSL.[41] The microphone collection consists of Telefunken,[42] Neumann, Coles, Sennheiser, DPA, Schoeps, AKG, Shure, Mojave, Royer, AEA, Electrovoice, Beyer Dynamic, Avantone, Yamaha and Sony.

References edit

  1. ^ "History". The Hit Factory. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  2. ^ Perpetua, Matthew. "Soul Songwriter Jerry Ragovoy Dead at 80".
  3. ^ Robinson, Lisa (April 7, 1988). "The Hit Factory: Where To Get The Top Cut". The New York Post.
  4. ^ "The Hit Factory". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  5. ^ a b Kenny, Tom. "The Hit Factory Reborn". Mix Magazine. Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  6. ^ Weinstein, Bob (June 6, 1988). "At The Top Of The Charts". NY Daily News.
  7. ^ a b c d Verna, Paul (May 23, 1998). "At NY's Hit Factory, Success Has Been A Family Affair". Billboard Magazine.
  8. ^ Carpenter, Claudia (March 19, 1993). "Hit Factory Takes on Sony for $9B Pie". New York Post.
  9. ^ Martin, Douglas (December 7, 1992). "In Recording Industry, Harmony is Everything". New York Times.
  10. ^ Daley, Dan (February 1992). "NY Metro Report". Mix Magazine.
  11. ^ a b Nunziata, Susan (October 31, 1992). "A Look & Listen To New Hit Factory Facilities". Billboard Magazine.
  12. ^ a b Hunter, Nigel (March 10, 1990). "NY's Hit Factory Hits London". Billboard.
  13. ^ "White Mark Limited – White Mark Clients: Hit Factory". Archived from the original on 2009-02-02.
  14. ^ Walsh, Christopher (December 29, 2001). "Studio Monitor". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 13, 2010.
  15. ^ "Hit Factory Buys Criteria". Pro Sound News. March 1999. p. 1.
  16. ^ McGee, David (May 2001). "The Best of Both Worlds". Pro Sound News.
  17. ^ "1755 Ne 149th St, Miami, FL 33181 – 51651334". RealtyTrac. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  18. ^ Montgomery, James (February 4, 2005). "The Hit Factory Studio, which lived up to its name, is closing". MTV.
  19. ^ "The Sound of Silence at Studio", Daily News
  20. ^ "Hit Factory Mastering". Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  21. ^ "Recording Industry Association of America".
  22. ^ "Grammy Awards".
  23. ^ "Hit Factory or Record Plant?? – BeatleLinks Fab Forum". Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  24. ^ a b "1980: John Lennon shot dead". BBC News. 1980-12-08. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
  25. ^ "The Hit Factory". Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  26. ^ "Pro Audio". Billboard. January 18, 1992. Archived from the original on September 13, 2010.
  27. ^ a b c d "Studio Pro Live Secret Samadhi Equipment Notes". Recording. Pro Sound News (published March 1992). March 1997. p. 46. Archived from the original on 2021-01-22.
  28. ^ Goodyer, Tim (June 1998). "Hit Formula". Studio Sound.
  29. ^ Daley, Dan (February 1993). "N.Y. Metro Report". NY Metro. Mix. Archived from the original on 2021-01-21.
  30. ^ "All Digital!". Pro Sound News. February 1998. p. Cover.
  31. ^ Walsh, Christopher (November 2, 2002). "Studio Monitor". Billboard.
  32. ^ Walsh, Christopher (July 13, 2002). "BMG's Presley 'Hits' Collection Breathes New Life Into Music". Billboard.
  33. ^ "Hit Factory Buys Big At Sony". The Daily. No. Day 3 & 4. September 28, 1997. p. 4.
  34. ^ Verna, Paul (June 2002). "Coast to Coast NY Metro". Mix.
  35. ^ a b Verna, Paul (September 2002). "New York Metro". Mix.
  36. ^ Walsh, Christopher (June 2, 2001). "Bennett Records Duets In Live Hit Factory Atmosphere". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 13, 2010.
  37. ^ "The Hit Factory, Inc The State's Greatest Studio" (PDF). Studio Sound and Broadcast Engineering. November 1994.
  38. ^ Charlesworth, Roger (July 1998). "Hit Factory Studio 5". Audio Media. No. 9 (American ed.). ISSN 1096-2204.
  39. ^ Weiss, David (August 2008). "New York Metro". Mix.
  40. ^ "Germano Studios Opens". 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2021-01-19.
  41. ^ Walsh, Christopher (October 2007). "Germano Studio Set to Open". Pro Sound News.
  42. ^ "NYC Studios Welcome 127th AES Convention". 2009-08-27. Retrieved 2021-01-19.

External links edit