For those of you who don’t know about the whole Usic backstory – one of the founders (Mike) worked for many years at Guitar Center as a recording and pro audio guy. He used to sell home studios to people looking to record themselves. You might call him a bit of a gear-head, especially when it comes to microphones and preamps. So when Forge Recording of Philadelphia reached out to us and asked us to spotlight them, we jumped at the chance – for a bunch of good reasons.
Forge Recording is based out of the Ft. Washington Area, and between the practiced hands that work the knobs, faders, and microphones there, they’ve worked on over 300 artists in the past 3 years. Pretty impressive. Ron DiSilvestro is an engineer there, but he’s also been a touring musician, too, so he gets the challenges that modern musicians face. “My big advice to them, especially the ones starting out, is that if you’re picking up the guitar, also try the piano. Whatever your craft is, don’t just home in on one thing – make sure that you round yourself out.” Ron’s a well-rounded individual, to say the least. He’s recorded, performed, and taught music, engineering, and more.
Ron recognized that there are a lot of home studios listed on The Usic, and understands their place. “I realized that I needed to diversify what we do here.” That’s when they got creative – and collaborative. There are some things that home studios do well, and some things that they don’t do as well. Forge Recording’s room, listening space, and equipment represent the top-level of what’s available. That sets them apart from most home studios, but instead of keeping their competition out, they invited them in.
“We do Pro Tools classes here, and recording workshops in general. We do a good job of showing people how recording sessions should go, everything from mic placement, to talent management, to mixing. It’s broken up into five sessions where we develop aspiring recording engineers into people with the experience that they need to get good performances out of people and then capture that effectively.”
Forge Recording represents a bleeding-edge breed of recording facilities that not only seeks to serve the recording artist as a one-stop production shop, but also as a place that collaborates with those who just need certain elements of their offerings. Bands that are interested in recording there will get a chance to rehearse in their rooms and hear what the room sounds like ‘on tape’ before they do a real session. This gives them a chance to get acclimated to the space, and ensures that they give a good performance when it comes time to really record.
If Ron had his way, the studio and its main rooms would be open 24/7, so that bands, aspiring recording engineers, and songwriters could benefit from the space they’ve built. He looks at it as building, fostering, and nurturing a community, and we identify with that sentiment, to say the least. “No matter how good your home setup is, there are going to be holes in what you can do – whether it’s the room, your experience, or just something simple that you’re missing out on. We’d rather collaborate and create alliances with people who have home setups than try to keep them out, I figure we can help each other.”
Ron had some pretty simple advice for aspiring recording engineers:
“It all comes down to the performance. Your gear matters, but what matters more is spending time with your artist before you get them in the studio. Go to their shows, ask them questions, understand them. Find out how they want to be interpreted, then focus on capturing a good performance. Don’t track them too hot and don’t think that EQ is going to save you – try moving the mic before you reach for the EQ. Bottom line – get a great performer, put a mic in front of them, and get a great performance.”
Ron’s a welcome member of our community, and you can tell that he and everyone at Forge understand that their role as a pro-level recording facility is to not only do a great job by their artists, but also to demystify the process for others that are interested in recording technologies. Check out their Usic Page Here and don’t forget to check out our website, The Usic, or go here to create a free account, instantly. By the way, Like us on Facebook.