Maltese Recording Studio Going 30 Years Strong
This year, sound engineer and owner of Lito’s Place, Manolito Galea celebrates three decades of making music.
His studio’s eclectic, diverse client list has grown substantially over the years, as has his Audient gear collection. “My Audient mixer ASP4816 has facilitated my work due to its routing flexibility and sound quality,” says Manolito, acknowledging the part his console plays in the studio’s success today.
With two separate live areas with different acoustics, he describes the “versatile” setup at Lito’s Place: “It combines both analogue and digital equipment with the best DAW software currently on the market: Logic Pro X and Protools. All is centralised into my Audient console, ASP4816.” He also counts surround sound monitor controller ASP510, an iD22 audio interface, the 8-channel mic pre ASP880, as well as the recently released Sono guitar recording interface amongst his gear list.
“All projects over the past 30 years have been interesting and a learning experience, and I pride myself on making each project have its unique sound,” he says. He certainly has had a mix of visitors to the studio. Recent clients have been ‘contemporary folk’ artists which include five-piece Maltese folk band, Skald. “That will be mixed by the end of May,” he says.
Another interesting project is an album of Cuban Music, with the Maltese flautist from Malta National Orchestra, Fiorella Camilleri and Cuban guitarist, Ahmed Dickinson Cardenas. He’s also just finished recording a jazz suite project; a narrative of the second world war in Malta in remembrance of the events 75 years ago, composed by Dominic Galea. This will be on the market any day now.
Manolito is equally comfortable producing Maltese musicals in his native tongue, as he is collaborating with foreign artists and media companies in Europe and the US, such as the BBC, Warner Bros & Columbia Pictures. Indeed, Brad Pitt and Emily Blunt have both been to Lito’s Place, making use of the “perfect ADR studio space” for tv/film audio post-production.
It’s important to him to stay current, by regular servicing and upgrading his equipment, as well as ensuring he is professionally up-to-date. “I make a point of increasing my knowledge and being proactive in the industry, which is why I have repeat clients who have complete faith in my work.”
He has come a long a way. “I started off with a Tascam Porta Studio 244, a set of speakers and my mother’s Shure microphone 565SD in my parents’ music room,” he says. He and his brother, a composer and jazz pianist, opened Wave Recording Studio in 1990 and then in 2008 he went solo and opened Lito’s Place.
As he embarks on his fourth decade in the industry, Manolito has great plans. “We will see Lito’s Place relocate to new premises with better facilities and a new concept. Moving away from an urban area but still enjoying the perks of the urban lifestyle. Those better facilities will include the Audient Console – ASP8024 Heritage Edition.