Deep in New York, in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, The Hit Factory was one the world’s most recognized recording Studios. Started by Edward Germano in 1975, it saw everyone from Tony Bennett to amazing tracks. After Germano’s death in 2003, his wife Janice took over operations. Citing the “digital age,” she closed the doors and sold the building, moving the operations to an existing Hit Factory in Miami. Troy Germano, Edward’s son, later acknowledged publicly that his mother simply closed it out of greed. She wanted to move to Miami and thought she could make good money on the building’s sale. It is now a luxury condominium complex, with prices starting at $1 million.
The New York facility was purchased from Jerry Ragovoy by Edward Germano on March 6, 1975. From 1989 to 1993, the company also operated The Hit Factory London. This facility later became Sony’s Whitfield Street Studios
Criteria Studios (The Hit Factory Criteria Miami) at 1755 NE 149th St. Miami, Florida 33181 in 2011.
In 1999, The Hit Factory purchased Criteria Recording in Miami, Florida, revamping and reopening the studios under the new name The Hit Factory Criteria Miami. After Germano’s death in 2003, the business was taken over by his wife Janice Germano.
Hit Factory was closed on April 1, 2005. The last album to be recorded there was Octavarium by Dream Theater. The business’ base of operations moved to the remaining Hit Factory Criteria Miami in March 2005. The New York Daily News reported:
Big-name studios like The Hit Factory once had a lock on the recording industry, but technological advances have made it cheaper and easier for stars to build their own state-of-the-art facilities, often in their homes. In a statement, The Hit Factory acknowledged the industry is moving away from large-scale studios to “destination” locations like Miami that offer sunny weather and a hot nightlife.
In December 2006 Stribling and Assocs, a New York real-estate broker, began marketing The Hit Factory as a luxury condominium. Twenty-seven loft-style apartments went on sale, including six duplexes. Prices started at about $1 million. The developers have said that there will continue to be rehearsal space for musicians on the ground floor. In 2011, New York Knicks basketball player Carmelo Anthony and his wife, entertainer La La Vazquez, moved into a penthouse apartment in the W. 54th Street condominium building.
The studios occupied several spaces in and around Times Square and Midtown West after Germano’s purchase. Locations included “Hit Factory Times Square” at 130 West 42nd Street, “Hit Factory Broadway,” at 237 West 54th Street and finally the flagship facility at 421 West 54th Street.
The Hit Factory Broadway, located between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, was a four-studio complex that housed a mix of Solid State Logic and Neve VR-series consoles. The facility at 421 West 54th street was opened in 1992 and all operations moved there, while Hit Factory Broadway studios continued to be booked. To avoid confusion, studio names at the new location were given numbers instead of the more-traditional letters. The Hit Factory Broadway closed in early 2002, as new studios were planned in the main facility.
The main studio facility at 421 West 54th Street occupied most of a 100,000+ square foot building. Five dedicated floors (including basement) housed five recording studios, private lounges for each studio, the mastering business Hit Factory Mastering, with several suites, production rooms, an in-house rental company and operations, including a tech shop, tape library and storage areas.
Studio 1 occupied the entire top floor of the building and included four overdub booths. The control room was equipped with an 80-input Solid State Logic 9000J as the centerpiece. The lounge was also a flexible space, with room for a large orchestra or cast party, coat room, green room, office, production room, gym and several storage areas.
On July 24, 2002, it opened Studios 6 and 7, complete with Solid State Logic 80-input XL9000K consoles. Each studio contained a 48-channel Pro Tools MIXPlus system, a Sony 3348 HR, two Studer A827s, Lexicon 960L and 480L reverbs, and outboard racks tailored for surround mixing. Studio 7 was designed as a mix/overdub room, with a small booth adjacent to the control room. Custom Augspurger monitors featured dual 15-inch TAD drivers, horns and 18-inch hidden stereo subs. Studio 6 had a silver color scheme, also with custom Augspurgers and silver credenza ends in the control room, and a circle Hit Factory Studios logo at the back of studio. The studio featured a tracking room and overdub booths, all utilizing floor-to-ceiling glass for uninhibited sight lines between rooms. In addition to the views, each room in the studio has floating floors, separated and isolated from one another.