Joel Hamilton Records Puss n Boots with ATC
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – AUGUST 2014: Puss n Boots is a three-piece, all-female, alt-country band led by singer-songwriter Norah Jones and backed by accomplished vocalists Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper. All three women learned new instruments for five years before recording their debut album with engineer/musician/producer Joel Hamilton (Tom Waits, Black Keys, Sparklehorse, Elvis Costello) at Studio G Brooklyn. Titled No Fools, No Fun, the album was recently released on Blue Note Records. As co-owner of Studio G Brooklyn with Tony Maimone, Hamilton installed ATC SCM25A three-way reference monitors and ATC SCM0.1-15 subwoofers in Studio A, a change that happily coincided with his first Grammy nomination (Pretty Lights, A Color Map of the Sun), a Latin Grammy nomination (Bomba Estereo, Elegancia Tropical), and a Latin Grammy win (Gaby Moreno, Postales). The ATCs were purchased from Audio Power Tools in New York.
“The ATCs have changed the way I work and improved the quality of my work,” said Hamilton. “I’m lucky to have a nicely tuned control room with an SSL and plenty of vintage outboard gear, and with the ATCs, I’m suddenly able to make decisions that are smaller – and yet more critical – than I have ever been able to make before. I have the ability to resolve a finer shade of the colors I’m hurling at the end-listener, and it’s been a revelation. It’s not a small thing, and that’s why I’m reaching for dramatic words like that. It’s tectonic. The entire continent has shifted.”
The glorious harmonies delivered by Jones, Dobson and Popper are a huge part of Puss n Boots’ magic. They form the emotional foreground. “The balance of those harmonies is crucial,” said Hamilton. “You’ve got these three gorgeous women with gorgeous voices, and they’re all coming at you like gangbusters because they can all project. We recorded everything live to analog tape, including the vocals. That gives a particular nuance to how the instruments sit against the vocals. You can feel the beat push and pull so beautifully. I needed to make sure that all of that nuance would come shining through for the listener. Striking the right midrange balance of those harmonies is critical, and I had to make sure all of that beauty would be immediately apparent to, say, my mom!”
While Norah Jones’ existing albums might safely be described as “polished” and most classic country albums might safely be described as “rough,” Hamilton had to walk the line between those extremes. “The balance is deliberately raw, which is perhaps unexpected by traditional Norah Jones standards, but it also has to be informed,” he said. “We were shooting for a tiny bulls eye, but we also had to make sure that everything felt unfettered and natural; just on the edge of scratchy so that it felt rough but didn’t actually hurt people. With the ATCs, I could find that line and make adjustments with confidence. I could tell where I was overcooking it on purpose. I could dial in just the right amount of ‘road house.’”
With the introduction of the ATCs, gone too is the need to translate for the client how a mix will sound outside of the studio. “After spending a lot of time in front of other monitors, I could tell when certain things would sound bad in the studio but fine outside of the studio,” Hamilton said. “The challenge beyond that, however, was convincing the client that those bad things would be fine later on, which is just one more thing to heap onto the already-skittish nature of an attended mix session. And so clients would ask, ‘why don’t you just get monitors that sound like it will sound like?’ It seems so simple, but of course it’s not.”
Hamilton used to switch between a number of monitors and loudspeakers all day long, but now he just hangs out on the ATCs. Depending on the task at hand, he can turn the ATC subwoofer on or not. “With the sub on and the volume cracked, the ATCs rock and serve as ‘mains,’” he said. “When I’m listening closely and resolving small moves, the ATCs are my nearfields. Either way, I now have complete confidence in what I’m hearing and doing. When a mix sounds good on the ATCs, I know it will sound good everywhere else. With Puss n Boots, we were able to make solid decisions that stuck. We totally avoided the hell of endless revisions!”
Hi-Fi Wigwam stunned by ATC SCM40
Hi-Fi Wigwam’s James Palmer absolutely loved our SCM40 floorstanders and reviews them in full for the Hi-Fi Wigwam website.
Here are couple highlights from the review:
It’s what I want from HiFi. I want an insight, I want to feel like the Guitar amp is in front of me, the kick drums are not far behind and to feel involved in the music at a very live and connected level. Nothing else I have heard in a small living room has managed this feat. These do it with ease, they don’t shout at you, and don’t need to be played loud to sound their best, they deliver whether you are listening to Steely Dan, or Metallica, JS Bach or Phillip Glass.
The bass is so taught, yet thunderously deep. My room is shockingly difficult for bass bloom, yet the ATC’s have everything under control. Deep and tuneful, in a way that is entirely new at WigWam towers. I know I’ve said similar before, about other speakers, mia culpa, these are better. Trust me, these are better.
The bottom line.. I’m sold. I can’t live without them. I need them in my life and will have to make the change. Putting my Living Voice OBX R2′s back in was pleasing and frustrating in equal measure. Yes, they are a lovely listen, but the lack of comparative clarity and speed is something that I can’t live with. Many will disagree, in some systems the SCM40′s will sound too revealing. If the electronics are forward, they will sound forward and with this much detail that will be too much. Audition carefully, but please, do audition. In the right system, you would have to spend £10k to get anywhere close to this sound quality. Genuinely, you could piano gloss them and change the labels, hawk them round the European shows and sell plenty at £10k a pair…. erm… anyone know a French Polisher? I’m off.
James Palmer, Hi-Fi Wigwam, September 2014.
New ATC Dealer – Criterion Audio, Cambridgeshire
ATC have appointed a new dealer for Cambridgeshire.
Criterion Audio is opening soon, bringing the ultimate audio retail experience to the Cambridge area. With its state of the art showroom and three purpose-built demonstration rooms, Criterion Audio marks the beginning of a new era for audiophiles.
On Saturday, 4 October Criterion will be having a Grand Opening event with live music, food and drinks. Criterion staff and manufacturer representatives will be in attendance, including ATC’s Managing Director, Billy Woodman, to provide advice and answer any questions you may have. VIP places include complimentary attendance and a guided tour of the showroom. Spaces are strictly limited, so please confirm attendance before Wednesday, 1 October by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and mentioning the VIP code <ATC>
Criterion hope you can join them for an amazing sound and music experience!
4th October 12pm – 6pm
Camboro Business Park,
SCM19 receives top marks from HiFi Choice Magazine
The HiFi Passive SCM19 has just received a superb review from HiFi Choice magazine. Click here to read the full review.
Production power trio tackle Titanfall gaming blockbuster OST using ATC monitoring
“We all came to these monitors from different paths — writing, mixing, and mastering, which I think is testament to their versatility as a range.”
- Stephen Barton (Composer, Titanfall)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA, USA: specialist British loudspeaker drive unit and complete sound reproduction system manufacturer ATC is proud to announce that film and video games composer Stephen Barton, music scoring mixing engineer extraordinaire Alan Meyerson, and Grammy® award-winning mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen professionally pooled their formidable resources and talents to complete the recently released Titanfall original soundtrack album using an all-ATC selection of reference monitors… Titanfall is the latest gaming blockbuster from one of the co-creators of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare, which has spectacularly sold over 14-million copies to date. Crucially, it, too, benefits from another superlative score from film and video games composer Stephen Barton, a British émigré who headed for the Hollywood Hills back in 2002 to work as an assistant to fellow Brit composer Harry Gregson-Williams, who has won numerous awards as well as receiving widespread critical acclaim for his film and video game scores, including The Chronicles Of Narnia, the Shrek movies, and the Metal Gear Solid franchise.
Today Barton works out of his own well-stocked studio setup in a leased room within Lurssen Mastering, a full-service mastering studio on the famous Hollywood Center Studio lot, a location steeped in over 80 years of entertainment history, which, of course, is precisely where the Titanfall composition success story began, skilfully and sympathetically mocked up on an all-singing, all-dancing DAW. Here he hears exactly what he needs to, thanks to a revealing pair of ATC SCM50ASL Pro three-way active monitors. “The ATCs are nothing short of phenomenal,” Barton begins, before continuing: “There’s nothing out there that equals them to my mind in terms of clarity, lack of fatigue over long-term listening, and truthfulness, which is the most important quality of any studio monitor. I’ve been using them for nearly seven ears now, so, when I started working out of Lurssen Mastering a few years ago, the fact that Gavin Lurssen was using the bigger brothers to hose in my setup was actually a big influence, and a great indication that we were like-minded in our listening approach.”
Cue Gavin Lurssen, Chief Mastering Engineer at Lurssen Mastering, whose sought-after skill-set brought the Titanfall original soundtrack production to its natural conclusion: “I have a strong relationship with Stephen Barton, who wanted me to do what we do to his music that was being released on Titanfall. When you’re also dealing with some orchestral music — beautiful stuff like this that was done in Abbey Road, it clearly falls into the high standards and practices of what we normally do — creating a total spectrum of balance that’s going to translate into all consumer listening environments, which includes mobile devices with little earbuds all the way through to audiophile listening environments.”
Sited within that historic Hollywood building — formerly used to fashion movie sets, Lurssen’s listening environment is naturally second to none with larger ATC SCM150ASL Pro three-way active and smaller ATC SCM25A Pro three-way compact active monitors at its heart: “The way that I ended up with ATC was that I was working at another mastering facility and a client came in with a pair of ATCs so that they could complete a project. Within seconds of hearing them I knew that something magical was happening and also knew that when the time came to open my own place then that’s where I’d turn to. So when that happened eight years ago their US distributor hooked me up with the 150s and I’ve used them ever since. There’s no doubt in my mind that they’re the only thing that I can use to create my audio balances. They’re smooth and not fatiguing, and, somehow, make digital sound like analogue. I can sit in a room all day long and not burn out.”
Outside the mastering and compositional confines of the Titanfall soundtrack-spawning Lurssen Mastering building, those epic-sounding orchestral music scoring mixing sessions at London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios fell upon the seasoned shoulders and exemplary ears of Alan Meyerson, one of Hollywood’s top scoring engineers, with extensive credits including the majority of Hans Zimmer’s movie music. “Alan also uses ATCs, and it’s just been a case of coincidence that this amazingly huge project was done down the line on these speakers,” summarises Lurssen.
Coincidence or otherwise, in this case, there’s no doubting the benefits of an all-ATC reference monitoring experience in Barton’s finelytuned musical mind: “The translation across the entire range made the entire workflow incredibly smooth. On mix down there were maybe two or three cues out of 30 or 40 for the IMC (Interstellar Mining Corporation) — one of the two factions in the game — that needed small tweaks. The majority of them were perfect straight out of the gate. Obviously a major part of this is down to awesome mix talent, but I think the fact that we weren’t adjusting to an entirely new monitoring approach meant that it was a much more cohesive process without any of those ‘I didn’t think that sounded like that’ moments. That’s especially true in important aspects of the frequency spectrum for a game like this, which is generally in the low end. Crucially, the translation to the game is superb. We did a direct shootout between the 25s and 150s whilst mastering Titanfall and it was stunning how consistent the sound was. All of these monitors simply tell you what’s there, and that’s a rare quality that’s vital, whether composing, mixing, or mastering.”
For more information on the products mentioned above, visit the product page for the SCM25A Pro, SCM50ASL Pro or the SCM150ASL Pro.
Gavin Lurssen – Lurssen Mastering
Stephen Barton – Afterlight Inc.
SCM40 Review – Hi-Fi Choice
Another loudspeaker from our new Hi-Fi Passive Series has recieved a glowing review from the UK press. Hi-Fi Choice have reviewed the SCM40 in the October edition of the magazine and, in conclusion, found it to offer, “superlative clarity; excellent phase coherence; sublime bass”.
You can read or download the review in full here: ATC SCM40 HiFi Choice Review Oct 2014
To read the full details of the product, please visit the SCM40 web page.
New SCM20ASL Pro and SCM20PSL Pro Launched
ATC is proud to announce the release of two new high performance reference nearfield monitors — the active SCM20ASL Pro (V2) and passive SCM20PSL Pro.
As implied by name, the active model replaces the previous-generation SCM20ASL Pro, while the passive model is an allnew affair, providing an entry point into ATC studio monitoring at a lower price point, albeit without compromising component quality over features.
Both models feature ATC’s renowned drive units, hand built in its UK facility. Of particular note is the new SH-25-76S 25mm/one-inch soft dome tweeter, the first to be designed and built by ATC, and the result of six years of research and development by Managing Director Billy Woodman and R&D Engineer Richard Newman. “The tweeter is designed and built with the same no-compromise philosophy as all other ATC drive units,” notes Newman, before continuing: “The design takes notes from the highly-regarded ATC midrange dome by utilising a dual-suspension design, negating the requirement for Ferro-fluid, and avoiding the detrimental effects of this drying out over time, a feature considered to be of utmost importance for longterm consistency.” The massive neodymium motor with heat-treated top plate is optimised to ensure an extended frequency response (-6dB @ 26kHz) and low non-linear distortion. The geometry of the waveguide is designed for optimum dispersion and made from a precision-machined alloy so that the entire structure is extremely rigid and free from resonances.
The bass/mid driver used in both loudspeakers is ATC’s proprietary 150mm/six-inch Super Linear device. Constructed with a 75mm/three-inch voice coil and a short-coil, long-gap topology, it combines the high-power handling and low-power compression usually only found in large, high-efficiency systems with the fine resolution and balance of modern high-fidelity systems. Unique to the drive unit is ATC’s Super Linear technology, which, by employing specialist materials in the magnetic circuit, reduces third harmonic distortion in the lower midrange.
The electronics in the active design have also had considerable development time invested in them, resulting in reduced noise and distortion (a further -10dB @ 10kHz) and a reduced operating temperature for improved reliability. The amplifier design is a revised version of ATC’s discrete MOSFET Class A/B design with 200W and 50W continuous power available for the bass and high frequency sections, respectively. The user controls have also been improved over the previous generation with more flexible input sensitivity controls and a revised low frequency shelf control to help achieve good balance in difficult acoustic conditions. The amplifier includes protection circuits for both DC offset and thermal overload.
The cabinet has been restyled to more closely follow the larger monitors in ATC’s professional range and is constructed from heavily-braced MDF. Highly damped, elastometric panels are bonded and stapled to the cabinet’s inner walls to suppress cabinet panel resonances, while the enclosure’s front panel is heavily radiused to reduce cabinet diffraction, improving the frequency response and imaging. The loudspeaker can be wall mounted via a K&M 24120 Wall Mount (available separately). Note that the cabinet requires modification to accept the ‘top-hat’ mount.
Ideally suited to critical nearfield listening applications in all control rooms, LCR surround monitoring in small-to-medium control rooms, and surround channels in medium-to-large control rooms, anyone looking to seriously improve their reference nearfield monitoring experience surely owe it to themselves and their studio setup to take a listen to the SCM20ASL Pro (V2) and/or the SCM20PSL Pro in action? EQ, balance, and edit faster, with more consistent results and reduced listening fatigue using the latest reference nearfields from ATC.
The SCM20PSL Pro passive high-performance loudspeakers carry a UK RRP of £2,083.00 GBP (plus VAT) per pair; the SCM20ASL Pro (V2) active high-performance loudspeakers carry a UK RRP of £3,647.00 GBP (plus VAT) per pair.
The Absolute Sound Review the SCM19
This month, The Absolute Sound have reviewed our new SCM19. The review, undertaken by, Neil Gader was very positive and here is just a little of what he had to say:
“As I hear it, there’s a very short list of rivals that play in the league of the SCM19. And even fewer at this attainable price point. Although this review should speak for itself, let me reiterate: The ATC SCM19 is, without reservation, a superb monitor that should excite and please the most discriminating of listeners. My highest recommendation.” (Neil Gader, The Absolute Sound, August 2014).
You can read the review in full on The Absolute Sound website.
Ed Cherney & ATC SCM25A
Ed Cherney needs no padding on his resume. A veteran producer and engineer with 35 years logged in the control room, Cherney has worked with the top talent in the industry, including Iggy Pop, Bob Seger, Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, Jann Arden, Jackson Browne, Keb’ Mo, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones, to name just a few. His work has earned him six Grammy nominations and three wins, along with seven TEC nominations and five wins. He is a founding member of Producers and Engineers Wing of The Recording Academy and served as the Governor of the L.A. Chapter of The Recording Academy. Until last year, Cherney was also an avid, collector of studio reference monitors, learning to work around the faults of each model before relegating it to the closet when a newer model came through the door. That cycle ended with the arrival of a pair of ATC SCM25A 3-way nearfield monitors. Cherney now uses his ATC SCM25As for almost everything he does because they’re exciting to listen to and because the work he does on them translates flawlessly on any other pro or consumer system.
“I am always looking for speakers because they’re my eyes in the studio, my window to the world,” said Cherney. “I get a lot of inquiries from younger engineers, asking me if I can recommend a good pair of monitors for five-hundred bucks. I can’t. And it’s crazy that they’ll spend thousands on microphones and outboard gear without first giving themselves the one tool they need to actually hear what they’re doing. It’s like an artist buying expensive paints and then turning out the lights. That said I’ve had a hard time finding the ideal speaker at any price. I guess I’m something of a collector now.”
Cherney first heard a pair of ATC SCM25As at a studio in New York, and he liked what he heard. Shortly thereafter, he was working at a studio in his hometown of Chicago that had no good options for monitors. “I spoke to Brad [Lunde] at TransAudio Group [ATC's U.S. distributor] and he sent out a pair of ATC SCM50ASLs for us to try. They were spectacular as well! We could turn them up loud, and the low end was defined, the midrange was smooth and silky, and the high end was sweet. The sound was thrilling; it could wash over me and punch me in the chest. These were the first mid-size speakers that could give me the experience of the soffit-mounted loudspeakers that the big studios have.”
He continued, “I’ve been dissatisfied with 2-way speakers in the past. The challenge is always to get the right vocal tone and volume, and it often depends on which side of the crossover the vocal is sitting. Sometimes the same singer can be below the crossover in the verse and above it in the chorus. In the past, I always took my mixes around to different systems – different speakers, my house, my car – to make sure the vocals were sitting in the mix correctly. Now that I have the ATC SCM25As, I rarely have to do that anymore. The vocals sit nicely in the midrange driver, and I’m always within a half dB. Every song. For the first time, I really trust the quality of the mixes in the studio. I don’t have to take them out and check them. I nail it and they translate to the rest of the world. That’s a huge improvement.”
Cherney has already used the ATC SCM25As on a number of projects. He produced, recorded, and mixed the main title for the Disney film Planes called “Nothing Can Stop Me Now,” as well as Robben Ford’s Bringing It Back Home and Eric Burdon’s Till Your River Runs Dry. He mixed Love for Levon on DVD, CD, and broadcast using the SCM25As, and he mixed Road to Forever by Don Felder of the Eagles. Currently, he’s working on a debut album from Athena Perez, a rising country artist from Chicago, and a new Bette Midler album.
In addition to how well his mixes translate on the ATC SCM25As, Cherney is also inspired by their clean, fatigue-free volume. “If I’m recording drums, I like to turn it up!” he said. “If the band’s in the control room, I have to turn it up! When I’m doing the final balances, I may be down around 75dB, but getting there, I want to feel it pop, physically! I want to move air in the room! With the 25s, I can. And I can do it all day long and still be as clear-headed and energized at the end of the day as I was at the beginning. My ATC’s make recording and mixing music much more fun.
SCM7 Review – Home Theater Review
This month, HomeTheaterReview.com has covered the new (Mk3) edition of the SCM7, featuring updated styling and the new, in-house designed and built, ATC 1″ soft dome tweeter.
The review was undertaken by Steven Stone and here’s just a little of what he had to say about the loudspeakers:
“If you are in the market for a small monitor speaker capable of wide dynamic contrasts, accurate imaging, and well-above-average power-handling capabilities, the ATC SCM7 mark III speaker should be on your short list of must-audition transducers. And if you already own the previous version of SCM7 speakers, I would strongly suggest that it might be time for an “update” to the latest version. If you liked the SCM7 mark II, you are going to love the SMC7 mark III.”
To read the review in full, please visit HomeTheaterReview.com