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
SCM25A Review – Tape Op
Thom Monahan has reviewed our SCM25A compact 3-way monitor in Tape Op edition #101.
Here are a few outakes from the review:
“Crafting sounds on the SCM25As was a joy; the clarity and openness of the midrange had me pulling back compression, as it was easier to identify artifacts and smeariness.”
“The SCM25As contributed to a better mix flow as I was able to set something and move on, instead of having to approximate and then see-saw back-and-forth between monitors in order to build solid mixes.”
“The biggest payoff was experiencing the best translation I’d ever gotten out of my studio when I took the finished CRB record to JJ Golden at Golden Mastering.”
You can read the review in full on the Tape Op website.
SCM25A product details can be found here.
Stereophile SCM19 Review
Over the pond in the US the chaps at Stereophile have been casting their ears and eyes over more of our new models. The latest magazine (and now also featured online) reviews the new SCM19 which features the new ATC Dual Suspension tweeter, 6.5″ SLmid/bass and revised crossovers. Read John Marks’s review here on the Stereophile Website.
HiFi Choice Group Test Winner – SCM7
The SCM7 comes out as group test winner in the £639-£810 category in the May 2014 edition of HiFi Choice magazine!
Read the group test verdict here.