Shiny Eyes Debuts SF Bay Area Studio with Sommer Cable

Seen during the Sommer Cable installation are (L-R) Alex Otto, studio founder Leonard Bertolami, and studio tech Cory Smith.

Shiny Eyes Studio has opened its new Dolby Atmos-certified recording studio in the San Francisco East Bay with Sommer Cable installed throughout. Headed by founder Leonard Bertolami, the innovative studio was designed by Alex Otto of Otto System Works. The studio houses a Rupert Neve Designs 5088 analog console with PMC monitoring, multiple isolation booths, and a full range of top microphones, audio interfaces, DAWs and musical instruments.

Leonard Bertolami, a musician himself and a professional building engineer, created the new Bay Area studio for both rising artists and established professionals to bring their sonic visions to life with the latest technology for tracking, mixing and mastering.

"I have learned from the knowledge and expertise of Alex and his OSW team to choose which products to use," says Bertolami. "To that end, Sommer cabling throughout was chosen for its incredible sonic qualities. I had the pleasure of pulling the Sommer's special SC-Elephant Robust SPM840 cables and for the robust size they were much easier to manipulate than I expected. The feel and coiling ease of the cables is exceptional and actually handling the cabling reinforced my feelings of quality."

The studio's name was inspired by the conductor Benjamin Zander, musical director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. In a talk on the transformative power of classical music, Zander tells the story of realizing that his role as a conductor was to awaken possibility in other people. He could tell if he was succeeding by looking in their eyes.

Studio designer Alex Otto explains, "Sommer's SC-Mistral cable was chosen for all the panels, racks, consoles, and loudspeakers in all the line level duties, both analog and digital.  The main factor is, of course, sound quality. Sommer cable sounds extraordinary and is incredibly quiet. When it's used to wire an entire facility following established best practices, Sommer-equipped studios are dead quiet.”


Shiny Eyes has a team of in-house engineers available to guide digital and analog projects, including tracking, mixing and mastering. From planning and equipment set up, to recording and fine-tuning sound quality, the engineers can provide expert insight and guidance to fully execute the musician's vision.

Alex Otto continues, "Another advantage here is that the Sommer multipair cable is AES/EBU rated at 110-Ohm. During installation the cable is landed to my preferred Bittree patchbays, which are also internally wired with 110-Ohm cable. There is no impedance change as the cable is distributed throughout the entire studio, including mic panels, patchbays and TT patch cords. I only need one cable type to deal with both analog and digital signals, which from the client's standpoint means better value as the business changes -- you won't have to face huge costs associated with any upgrading or changes in wiring."


Shiny Eyes offers the top current technology for mixing music, film and commercial audio projects. Professional engineering and production guidance is available to accurately balance audio levels, develop a full sonic palette, employ effects and polish the recording.

Alex Otto further explains, "When designing Atmos systems and working with loudspeakers that have digital AES/EBU inputs, Sommer cable works perfectly to integrate both analog and digital signals. It's the 'chameleon' of multipair cables. Another great advantage is the supple workability of the Sommer cable. The 8-pair fits nicely into the Sommer provided DB-25 connectors and shells. It's easy to identify individual channels and although we always cover individual channels with techflex and individual numbers, you could simply use the cable without this additional dressing. Most other 8-pair cables need additional protection and dressing and if you don't wrap the individual channels the moment you pick them up, they get tangled and difficult to manage.


Shiny Eyes provides the sophisticated technology to finalize the post-production processing of audio projects. An experienced team ensures the critical step of balancing the sonic elements of the mix and optimizing playback in all current systems and formats.

"I am relatively new to the studio business," says Leonard Bertolami, but I have had the pleasure of meeting amazing audio engineers throughout the design and construction of Shiny Eyes. Although I am an engineer by trade, my mission is not to be the chief engineer, but rather the chief team builder. In the bigger vision of giving back to the music industry,  Shiny Eyes will support fellow audio engineers that are inspired to collaborate. Their passions and skills will add to the studio's personality and growth. And in a pinch, I can serve whatever role necessary to keep eyes shining."

Learn more about Shiny Eyes Studio: