Skaneateles recording studio expands, moves to Armory Square

What began as a one-man operation out of a medical office basement in Skaneateles has become a world-class recording facility spanning three floors in a downtown Syracuse building.

Ten year-old SubCat Studios will celebrate its grand opening on June 11, and everyone is invited to tour the new space and join in the celebration - especially Skaneateles natives.

"If not for Skaneateles, none of this would exist," said owner Ron Keck. "We will definitely miss the whole community that Skaneateles provided."

SubCat began in 2000, when Keck, a musician and sound engineer from the Eastwood neighborhood in Syracuse, started working on a project with musician Scott Allyn (of the Skaneateles Allyn family). At the time, Keck ran a small business out of his house called KDA Productions, but Allyn had his own recording equipment in a 1,200 square-foot basement room of the Family Care Medical Group building at 3922 Fennell Street.

"At the time it was just for fun - it was certainly not a business," Keck said, but suddenly jobs started coming to them so fast they decided to turn the space into a real recording studio. The name "SubCat," which was Allyn's nickname in college, was created for the new company mainly because it was catchy.

While much of SubCat's clientele was from Syracuse, through the years in Skaneateles many nationally-renowned artists came through the village to work with Keck. Pop and R&B singer-songwriter Colby O'Donis laid down vocals, as did world-famous opera tenor Marcus Haddock. Blues guitarists Chris Cain and Kim Simmonds recorded in SubCat Skaneateles, as did Larry Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers. Even John Walsh, the host of the television show America's Most Wanted spent a couple of weeks in town while doing voiceovers for the show.

Even in the midst of the national economic downturn in 2008-2009, SubCat stayed solvent and emergent by offering not just recording services but also editing, mixing, voiceovers, and going out on remote jobs. Where comparable studios in New York City charged $100-$150 per hour, SubCat charged about one third of that price, which allowed them to stay competitive.

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