LBA Studios is owned and operated by seasoned Producer/Engineer, Mike Congilosi II. Acoustically tuned rooms, top-shelf microphones, and the finest vintage instruments and amps. The studio offers a unique array of hand-made pieces of high-end analog recording equipment, since it also serves as the test bed for Lightning Boy Audio's product R&D.
Owned by Lightning Boy Audio, LBA Studios is a professional Production, Recording and Mixing studio located in Western, NY. Just a short drive South of Buffalo in the quiet rural village of North Collins is one of the most original studios Western New York has to offer. Practically everything at the studio has been designed and hand-crafted by its founder, Mike Congilosi II. Everything from the recording equipment to the instruments to the very walls that shape the sound have all been created with one goal in mind... to make big & warm sounding records!
LBA Studios also serves as the real-world test bed for all Lightning Boy Audio products. Many pieces of equipment at the studio are one of kind, giving LBA Studios its own unique sound. All of the Lightning Boy Audio equipment in use at the studio is built to higher standards than that of conventional recording studio equipment. This level of extreme quality lends itself to the creation of warm, highly detailed sounding recordings with a wide stereo image and a deeply beautiful tone. If you're looking for a sound that is the complete opposite of common, LBA Studios might just have what you're after.
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Interview with LBA Studios - the home of tone
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Queen City Riot's latest tune, "She Keeps Me Up." That was a track I wrote and played guitar on, in addition to producing and engineering it, so of course I'd be proud of that. I think it demonstrates my understanding of song writing, while also pointing out my attention to rhythmical precision and melodic motifs. For anyone who may be interested in my production chops, this song demonstrates it well.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: A 5 song EP I'm producing for a 4 piece band called, Gills. We just finished tracking most of the instrumentation, still have vocals to track and some minor percussion parts.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not yet.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! Each offers pros/cons, so I go with the best both have to offer.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will make your track(s) sound better than you are expecting.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Freedom of creativity.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Do you have the Neuman U87? Yes. Do you have the L2A? Yes, I have an LA2A. What do you record on? A hard-drive usually. I typically record into Pro Tools. How much do you charge? It depends on how much you want. I offer package deals for larger projects.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: People probably assume a producer sits in a bedroom making beats and smoking pot all day long. That may be true for some producers, but I'm a more traditional producer who works in a professional studio environment directly with the Artists I'm recording to help enhance their musical vision and to coach them to better performances and arrangements than they would otherwise be capable of.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What genre, what instruments/how many/voices etc. are we recording, how many songs, budget, time constraints if any, etc.?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If after hearing my work you are still unsure of my skills, compare against other providers of the same service.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: an SM57, acoustic guitar, recording interface, laptop w/pro tools, solar or wind turbine power generator. I wouldn't want to have a fancier mic because on a desert island the mic would be subject to harsh environmental conditions, which are not present in a studio.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Started tinkering with recording in 1996. Became a career in 2002.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: retro/modern hybrid, mad-scientist approach, analog warmth is king.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: The Foo Fighters because I think I would learn a lot from them.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: No amount of production can make up for sloppy musicianship. Practice often, use a metronome, and be willing to accept all criticism - even the stuff you don't want to hear.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Mostly Singer/Songwriters, but also many bands. I work with a diverse array of bands, so I can't say there's one genre I typically work with, but they all usually have at least some element of Rock music to their sound.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Producing - not in the hip hop sense, but rather in the traditional sense of the term.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Production Experience. I have a Masters degree in production, but the real education came from 15 years of real-world experience. I have an uncanny ability to coax performances out of my clients that they never imagined being able to pull off. That usually leads to a great final product that puts a smile on everyone.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Aside from projects that are only getting Mixed, the typical workflow of a production is to first meet with the client/artist(s) for a preproduction meeting. This is usually accompanied by some kind of demo presentation or rough recording to demonstrate the basic ideas which would be further developed during production. At that time a price quote is presented for the recording/production of the entire project and days are booked for the recording process.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Mostly analog equipment. 75% is equipment made by LBA, the rest is either classic vintage equipment or classy boutique gear. The coolest thing is LBA's own giant analog stereo plate reverb system. There's also the very impressive Flux Bender stereo passive EQ, which was reviewed in the May 2015 edition of Recording Magazine.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I'm inspired by all the famous record producers and engineers of the past and present.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mixing in the analog realm. If I use any plugins its very few. I also do a great deal of studio production for Artists.