Show Off Your Studio: A synth-packed production room in Berlin’s historic Funkhaus

Ohad Nissim and Guy James Cohen’s studio in the Funkhaus

Ohad Nissim Guy James Cohen SOYS

Studio Owners: Ohad Nissim and Guy James Cohen
Contact: https://www.ohadnissim.com, https://www.jamesstudio.berlin

Key kit

  • Focal Twin6 BE
  • Sky Audio Verdade
  • Lavry Blue
  • TC The Phoenix Mastering Plus
  • Dangerous Music DBOX+
  • UAD Apollo 8 & X16
  • Elektron Octatrack MKII
  • Organelle
  • B:Furniture custom-made Dream Desk

Tell us more about the studio…

Our studio is located at the famous Funkhaus building in Berlin. The idea was to create a warm and homely space, encouraging creativity and focus from us and our clients – some furniture from the 60s, soft lighting and modern custom-designed desk for the best workflow. (Special thanks to Boris Pizzeghello from B:Furniture for the beautiful custom-made desk.)

Guy has been here for the past seven years and Ohad joined three months ago.

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Which DAW do you use and why?

We use Pro Tools, Logic Pro X and Ableton for production. We get different projects on different DAWs and there’s no need to limit our clients or ourselves.

What is your favourite piece of gear and why?

The Thermionic Culture Phoenix Mastering Plus Compressor adds so much goodness in terms of warmth, depth, glue, detail and punch, especially if you’re really going for it. But it can also keep things true to the mix, as if it’s transparent, but you definitely miss it when you bypass it. It’s absolutely magical.

How much time do you spend in your studio per week?

About 5 days a week, between 6-12 hours a day, depending on the day. It’s not something we can really measure. Sometimes we split the time between us and sometimes we collaborate,
but it all depends on deadlines and number of projects. We are also working on setting up one name for the studio, so this also takes some time.

How do you use the studio?

We are both mixing and mastering full time here, sometimes we will record vocals or single instruments in the studio. Guy is also producing artists here sometimes. The production area is for production of course; we’re both into creating atmospheric electronic music with a lot of depth and textures. After a long day of mixing, we like to just jam and clean our heads. Ohad is currently finishing work on his own album that will come out soon.

What is next on your shopping list studio-wise and why?

We are kinda ‘fighting’ about getting an SSL Fusion or Louder Than Liftoff Silver Bullet.

Do you have any frustrations with your current set-up and why?

We had a shortage of I/O that we’ve just solved with another Apollo x16.

What is your dream piece of gear and why?

We don’t really think that way. But, at some point, we would love to get our hands on the
Chandler Curve Bender and some massive ATC Speakers.

What is your top piece of production advice?

Oh, we have a few:

• Workflow is key. Try to find yours, make it simple and focused make everything you use accessible with the touch of a finger. One of the most impactful changes in the studio was building a custom-made desk, specifically for our needs.

• Understand and target the emotional impact of the song before you start working on it. Identify the important elements.

• Recognise when you are not in the zone and take a pause, we have a beautiful river and trees right underneath our studio and we are so grateful for that.

• Less is more. Ask yourself for each element you add – is it essential? Mute it. Do you miss it?

• Listen carefully to the band’s rough mixes. There’s something there that they like. Sometimes you’ll need to invent the story and the points of interests in the song but usually, it is already hiding there, you just need to expose it and deliver it properly to the listener.

What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?

Think very carefully before spending money because of gear lust. First invest in acoustics, good monitors and a decent audio interface. Start working with that, refine and perfect the listening spot until you feel comfortable there. Then, before you continue emptying your bank account,
think about your routing and the way you work. It’s better to save money towards something really good rather than buying lots of so-so gear. You’ll be happier in the long run.

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