As befits a man who has a string of production credits on Lady Gaga's Born This Way album and is also known for his work with U2, Britney Spears and Shakira, Los Angeles-based Fernando Garibay (now operating simply as Garibay) has a self-built studio complex to die for.
He recently released a surprise EP with Kylie Minogue, which also features Shaggy, Sam Sparro and Giorgio Moroder.
"I've been really excited about all the projects I've been working on recently here at Paradise Studios," says Garibay. "It's really wonderful to have a direct channel of communication with my audience through my Garibay moniker.
"With my recent release, Kylie + Garibay, I had the pleasure of just making music with my friend, and one of my absolute favourite artists, Kylie Minogue. With no agenda we set out to write songs from the heart, right here at Paradise Studios. For the first time ever I am pleased to give MusicRadar a glimpse of my workspace."
We're very pleased he did too because, as you're about to discover, Paradise Studios is fully deserving of its name...
We're very pleased too because, as you're about to discover, Paradise Studios is fully deserving of its name...
“I built Paradise Studios (located in the heart of Hollywood, CA) from the ground up around seven years ago. The studios consist of one main control room (pictured above), a slightly smaller studio/live room, and a writing/DJ room.
“The build for Paradise took about three years, with about six months of tweaking. Why so long? Well, as I've learned throughout my career working in some of the best studios around the world, deficiencies in the listening environment are unacceptable to me. So, I went off to build the best possible set of studios that would suit my needs. I did plenty of research, studied acoustics, learned the math and worked with some revered studio builders in LA. Together, we came up with results that made me very, very happy.
“The philosophy was simple; everything revolves around the monitoring system. The control room is outfitted with acoustic-floated floors and QuietRock-ed walls about two feet thick to ensure no sound or vibration leakage. Nothing gets in and nothing gets out. This really is important, especially in critical mic'ing situations when recording.”
“The Mains are custom-built Augspurger monitors, modified to withstand the load-bearing Tad drivers. Each driver is powered by its own Bryston amp to ensure clean power to each driver without interference.
“The main subs are three Meyer self-powered subs that extend past 20hz. Each of the three sub enclosures house two 18-inch cone drivers.
“The clarity is intense and transparent, and with minimal effort this studio can shake the very core of anyone’s existence.
“The midfields are self-powered Klein+Hummel O410s that I use mostly for surgical EQing and processing as they are too clean and bright for daily mixing use. The nearfields are modified [Yamaha] NS-10s I had updated to more modern specs, while retaining their mid-range bias. Total power in this room I would estimate to be somewhere around 40,000 watts.”
“The console is a modified SSL 6048 E|G+ with custom built-in monitor and sub switches. All LEDs were replaced with custom blue LEDs which gives an updated look. All internal wiring was replaced with Mogami.
“This board is used for playback/summing when cutting instruments and vocals. I also like to utilise the E and G series preamps and centre section for certain virtual synths, etc.
“This console and its essence became the very signature of my sound; when I’m travelling I like to use the UAD versions of the channel strips.”
“My 2.7Ghz 12-core Mac Pro houses 64GB RAM with a 1TB internal flash drive and four external 2TB Samsung SSDs hosting roughly an 8TB sound library. There is a fully loaded UAD-2 Satellite Quad ultimate custom in the Thunderbolt chain as well.”
MOTU Digital Performer, Ableton Live And Vienna Ensemble Pro
“As you can see, there is a laptop present in the picture. It serves a few purposes. I have it networked to my Mac Pro to serve as an extension of my Mac Pro’s processor. I run Vienna Ensemble Pro on my Macbook Pro 13-inch which hosts all the heavy CPU-intensive plugins like Serum, Nexus etc - all sample accurate so no latency.
“On the Mac Pro I like to use Digital Performer as my DAW in conjunction with Ableton Live in the background running through ReWire so I can take advantage of what each DAW does best.
"For me, DP excels at large template management as well as vocal production and notation/arranging, while Ableton Live gives me a whole other set of options such as MIDI plugins, quick sample access, warping, etc.”
“My studio rack houses just the absolute basic essentials for touring’s sake. When I travel and work I like to be able to replicate my setup using my laptop and to take a few pieces of gear with me, if needed.”
“There is a duplicate set of this rack for portable use. The Neve Preamp followed by Tube-Tech [compressor] is one of my favourite vocal setups, along with a touch of SSL colour via the console or UAD plugins.
“I’ve been through many interfaces and A-to-D converters and, through my trial and error, I found the new series of Antelope converters alongside the MOTU 8m and MOTU 1248 AVB to be my favourite combination thus far - just crisp and transparent.”
“I’ve been practising the art of letting go when it comes to gear, the reason being that I refuse to allow too much of my personal bias or previous habits to get in the way of creativity and innovation. Why limit yourself if you don’t have to?
“My guitar collection reflects that. I buy and trade when I need to; sometimes, though, I do fall in love. Some of my current favourites are my Gretsch Silver Falcon, which gives me that James Bond tone when I need it; and my Fender Deluxe Strat HSS Shawbucker limited edition that provides me with that classic tone or higher output modern tone.”
Piano/DJ writing room/nightclub
“During the day this acts as a writing room. The piano was given to my by a fashion designer friend; its origins are a mystery but it sounds and plays great! For me, everything starts with the song. Piano and vocal, guitar and vocal - that’s where I like to begin.
“But this room is also bipolar, in the best way possible! When in nightclub mode this studio boasts 30,000 watts of Bryston power. A set of four JBL Passive Array white subs supplies the lows while the walls around the display monitor are plastered with white JBL VRX932LAPs powered by Bryston amps for the mids and highs, all hidden behind the drapes.
“Two custom white CDJ 2000 Nexus decks and a custom white DJM 900 Nexus mixer are housed inside a white DJ table. There are also hidden smoke machines and lasers that I designed with friends just to give the room its essential celebratory mood.”