Suma Recording’s rich history stretches back to 1934 with the formation of Cleveland Recording Company, Cleveland’s first professional recording facility. Originally founded by Frederick C. Wolf, Cleveland Recording grew to become a renowned world-class facility under the guidance of chief engineer and technician Ken Hamann. The studio was responsible for numerous hit records including The Outsiders’ “Time Won’t Let Me,” The Lemon Pipers’ “Green Tambourine,” “Nobody But Me” by The Human Beinz, Wild Cherry’s “Play that Funky Music” and records by Grand Funk Railroad, The James Gang, Polka King Frankie Yankovic, The O’Jays, and many more.


In 1970, Wolf sold Cleveland Recording to Ken Hamann and John Hansen, who moved the studio to a new location in 1972. In 1977, Cleveland Recording was forced to relocate again after the building the studio occupied was sold to Cleveland State University. At this time, Hamann and Hansen parted ways and Hamann founded Suma Recording, bringing most of the equipment from Cleveland Recording with him to the new picturesque location. This included an extensive microphone collection, custom recording consoles that Hamann designed and built himself with the assistance of his sons Paul and David as well as fellow Cleveland Recording engineer Michael Bishop, an army of analog tape machines, and a vintage Neumann cutting lathe. Cleveland Recording’s massive library of analog tapes and acetate records were also moved to the new location, where they still reside today.


Suma continued under the ownership of Ken Hamann until his passing in 2003 at which time his son Paul (who had worked with his father from an early age) took the reins, operating the studio until his untimely passing in 2017. Throughout this time, the Hamanns continued to make waves working with bands and artists such as Pere Ubu, Brian Wilson, Lenny Kravitz, Wild Cherry, Michael Stanley, Robert Lockwood Jr., Guided by Voices, and The Black Keys to name just a few.


In 2018, Suma was purchased by current owner/operator Michael Seifert and an extensive rehabilitation and renovation project, involving the building as well as the equipment, commenced. In January of 2021, Suma began booking clients again on a limited basis with the studio officially reopening to the public in early 2022. We are honored to carry the Hamann’s legacy forward with the hope that music and creative energy will continue to fill Suma’s hallowed halls for generations to come.

Ken Hamann
Ken Hamann (Photo Credit: Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection)
Paul Hamann
Paul Hamann (Photo Credit: Peggy Turbett / The Plain Dealer)