Billy Woodman Interview – Hi-Fi Choice Magazine
The latest February 2015 edition of Hi-Fi Choice Magazine (available now) features an interview with ATC’s founder and Managing Director, Billy Woodman. You can download the PDF or, read via the graphics below (click to enlarge).
Hi-Fi Choice Magazine
ATC MONITORS ARE THE CHOICE OF MULTIPLE GRAMMY WINNERS
With three Grammy wins and one Latin Grammy win already to his name, renowned mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen has been nominated for yet another Grammy Award this year in the category Best Engineered Album for mastering The Way I’m Livin’ by country music singer Lee Ann Womack (which is also up for Best Country Album). He shares the nomination with fellow Grammy-winner Chuck Ainlay, who recorded and mixed the album using ATC SCM25A active three-way near-field monitors. When the project moved to Lurssen’s L.A.-based studio, his beefy ATC SCM150ASL active three-way mid-field monitors took over and guaranteed that Lurssen’s practiced ears would direct the tweaks and tucks so that Womack’s beautiful melodies would entrance listeners on everything from ear buds to expensive home theaters.
Ainlay installed ATC’s biggest soffit-mounted professional monitors, the SCM300ASLs, at his BackStage Studio around the turn of the century. “ATCs possess tremendous accuracy throughout the vocal range, and the levels I get on ATCs always seem to translate to any other environment” he said. “Since Lee Ann Womack is among the greatest female country music singers ever, I obviously had to make sure that her vocals shined on the new album. It’s also a very dynamic album that comes from the heart; it’s not just about radio hits.” Though happily accustomed to his SCM300ASLs, Ainlay had long been at the mercy of whatever loudspeakers were present whenever he worked away from BackStage. “I heard the relatively new ATC SCM25As at AES a while back and I knew I had to have them,” he said. “I bought the floor models!” Thanks to that purchase, Ainlay was able to record and mix The Way I’m Livin’ at Sound Stage Studios and still rely on his ATC SCM25As’ honesty.
“Chuck gave me some direction, but mainly he wanted me to do what I do,” said Lurssen, who is well known for delivering masters that retain an organic “chunkiness” that conveys life and dimension even on today’s ubiquitous, and often lossy, digital formats. “I strive to retain and accentuate the depth of field and lower midrange support that ultimately supports the high-end image. The clarity of ATC’s midrange is exceptional and allows me to really hear exactly what I’m doing. Of course, Chuck wanted me to produce a competitive master, but we were both in agreement that it should not be over-slammed or over-cooked.” In part to help ground his vision for the recording with Ainlay’s, Lurssen often flipped back and forth between his larger ATC SCM150ASLs to his pair of smaller ATC SCM25As – the same model that Ainlay had used. “You can never have too much information in these matters,” he laughed.
Although much of Lurssen’s magic is beyond the ability of words to describe, he was able to articulate a few of the critical components that he listened for on The Way I’m Livin’ and why their success helped the recording as a whole. “Lee Ann’s melodic structures simply had to shine,” he said. “In each instance, I had to make sure that the song was really ‘let out,’ and the vocals were usually the critical leverage point. When that melodic structure is presenting itself, it’s important to hear two aspects of the mid range. The first is the upper part, where the song is really going to jump out of the speakers. The second is the lower part that supports that upper part. Determining exactly where those two parts meet is critical for getting the right depth of field, balance, and support. The ATC’s let me zero in on that aspect so that I was sure everything was perfect. Because that balance is correct, Lee Ann’s voice and melody seem to leap from the loudspeakers.”
To get everything sounding just so, Lurssen employs an unusually large number of hardware compressors, limiters, and equalizers. “I’m trying to do as little as possible while still having the greatest impact possible,” he said. “I use a lot of gear, but I use each piece very subtly. A bit of each of the best works way better than a lot of any single piece, no matter how good it is. When everything is said and done, it needs to sound like I was never there – there can be no veil between the artist and the listener.”
Lurssen first heard ATC monitors years ago when a fellow engineer insisted that their team use a pair of ATC SCM50ASLs for a Pink Floyd project. “The rest of us made a fuss because we all had some other speakers that we were already used to,” he said. “But he set them up and within literally three seconds, I knew that I had to have my own pair. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind, which is a rare thing for anyone, I think. That certainty never went away, and so when I set out on my own a few years later, I started with ATC monitors and then built everything else around them. I’ve found that when I get a master sounding right on my ATCs, the master will successfully translate to any other system, pro or consumer.”
SCM45A Pro – A new professional monitoring solution from ATC
ATC are excited to announce the release of a brand new professional monitor, the SCM45A Pro.
The SCM45A Pro is a completely new design, yet shares many features with its smaller sibling, the highly-successful SCM25A Pro three-way, compact active loudspeaker. As a mid-size, three-way design that can be used in near- or mid-field positions, the SCM45A Pro perfectly fills a gap in ATC’s high-performance, professional active studio monitoring loudspeaker range. It has high output and delivers extended low frequency for its size — and all without compromising the overall balance for which ATC is so well known.
The product will start shipping on February 16th.
Check out the product page here for more info.
New SCM40A Wins 2015 What Hi-Fi ‘Stars of CES’ Award
8th January 2015. Las Vegas, Nevada.
The new ATC SCM40A loudspeaker has won one of ten, What Hi-Fi ‘Stars of CES’ awards.
What Hi-Fi Sound and Vision Magazine seemed particularly taken with the SCM40A’s active tri-amplified system design and picked the SCM40A’s as winners out of many possible contenders on show at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.
The show marked the official launch of ATC’s most affordable and compact 3-way, active, Hi-Fi loudspeaker. The SCM40A will be available from the beginning of September.
Showtek chooses ATC SCM50ASL Pro
After an intensive listening test, Showtek brothers Wouter and Sjoerd Janssen decided to choose ATC for their main monitor system. It was love at first sight. Not only did the SCM50ASL Pro offer far higher sound quality than what they were used to listen to, the monitor also gave them much more useful information to base their decisions on. The active powered SCM50A SL’s are fed from a Grace Design m905 monitor controller.
Sjoerd: Our new ATC’s really sound super. No matter whether you play them on high or low volume, the energy of the high, mids and lows is so much more balanced now. Over here we produce club- as well as pop mixes and for both music styles the ATC work wonders. With our previous monitors it was quite hard to get the vocals placed well into the mix. That is so much easier now.
Wouter: “If your mix sounds good on the ATC’s, that track sounds good on any system”.
Sjoerd: There’s no need to play loud if you want to mix right. Which is a blessing for your ears. Especially when you’re making long studio hours like we do. And they look extremely cool, of course. The SCM50A SL is like an Audi RS6. A “muscle car” that doesn’t attract much attention at first. But once you step on the gas, it takes of like a rocket.
Helios Pro Audio Solutions
SCM40 Active to launch in January 2015
January 2015 will see the introduction of our new SCM40A floor standing loudspeaker. As the name suggests, the SCM40A is an active version of our highly successful SCM40. The 3-way design, employing all hand built ATC drive units is complimented with a built-in 235Watt class AB tri-amplifier. The MOSFET based amplifier is a modified version of that found in our larger active loudspeakers, the SCM50ASL , SCM100ASL and SCM150ASL.
More details to follow soon.
UK RRP is set at £6280.
Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences Outfits Control Rooms with ATC
GILBERT, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 2014: The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences – or “CRAS” as it is more affectionately known – is a top-tier technical school dedicated to placing its well-trained students in entry-level positions in the music, game audio, live sound, broadcast, and post-production industries. Unlike most similar programs, CRAS obligates its students to obtain internships in order to graduate, and it has a excellent record of helping students obtain their first paying gig. Part of its success, which has resulted in literally hundreds of CRAS grads working on literally hundreds of Grammy Award-winning projects, is exposing students to high-end professional tools. Thus, when CRAS recently expanded its facilities with the addition of control rooms F and G, it put ATC SCM25A Pro reference monitors – among the industry’s most-trusted tools – in both.
“Our rooms reflect reality in the industry,” said Tony Nunes, music production instructor and manufacture liaison at CRAS. Nunes, together with Mike Jones, director of education, travels to trade shows, recording studios, and post-production facilities around the country to keep CRAS’s facilities and instruction in perfect synchrony with the latest (and enduring) industry standards. “We sculpt our technology and instruction to remain always at the current standards in the industry,” he continued. “Two years ago at AES in New York City, we visited a lot of the big studios in town, like Stadium Red and Electric Ladyland, and talked with our grads who worked there. A consistent theme that studio managers/staff stressed was the persistent requests they received for ATC monitors; so persistent, in fact, that most studios invested in their own ATCs.” CRAS’s ATC SCM25A Pros join Pro Tools HDX rigs with Apogee converters, [soundBlade HD] rigs with Mytek converters, and SSL AWS 948 combined console and control surfaces.
“The ATCs are certainly the most transparent monitors we have at CRAS,” said Nunes. “Students don’t get to studios F and G until they are a little ways into the program. By that time, they can really appreciate the details that the ATCs reveal. For example, when we’re tracking in those control rooms, students will notice the smallest details, like fret buzz on the bass. One time we had a vocalist who was struggling with an allergy and sinus problem. After he rested and had some tea, he came back and all the students could really hear the physicality of the difference. One student said it was like he could see the vocal cords in the ATCs. They’re a really great tool.”
Because students use the ATC SCM25A Pros later in the program, they get an opportunity to scrutinize their earlier projects. “They know so much more six months later, and now they’ve got these great monitors that reveal so much; it can often be a painful experience,” said Nunes. “But we bravely turn it into a learning experience. We find and analyze the mistakes, and then students may remix their projects. Every time, they come back happy with the results. Because the new mixes pass the test on the ATCs, they translate everywhere else, like students’ cars, apartments and computers.”
Although CRAS is explicit in stating that it does not teach students to be mastering engineers per se – which necessarily requires skills that can only be acquired through years of experience – it most definitely teaches its students about the mastering process and about the technical details that mastering engineers will expect of their work. There again, the ATC SCM25A Pros, which are mastering-grade reference monitors, benefit CRAS students.
Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences
ATC SCM20PSL Pro Monitoring Makes Val Garay’s Musical Day
“The main reason that led me to getting ATCs was the need for a relatable second pair of monitors. I was working in a studio in Northern California where the mains were ATC SCM300ASL Pros. I got accustomed to them and then I got back to my studio and found them to be really true. So when I was told that ATC was starting to make passive two- way monitors I had to try them and now I have a pair of SCM20PSL Pros. They are great!”
– Val Garay, 2014 (Grammy® award-winning producer/engineer)
TOPANGA CANYON, CALIFORNIA, USA: specialist British loudspeaker drive unit and complete sound reproduction system manufacturer ATC is proud to announce that Grammy® award-winning producer/ engineer extraordinaire Val Garay has installed a pair of SCM20PSL Pro compact, high-performance passive two-way studio monitors in The Barn Studio, his current state-of-the-art recording facility nestled in the heart of Topanga Canyon, California…
With an accomplished career spanning four decades, during which he has garnered over 100 Gold and Platinum status records for a lengthy list of renowned recording artists with combined sales totalling over 125-million units worldwide, multiple Grammy® award-winning producer/engineer Val Garay is truly a music industry legend in his own right — one who surely needs little in the way of introduction to any audio aficionado who has laid ears on those truly ear-expanding productions, yet is worthy, without doubt, of one all the same. This talented and iconic individual can claim to have worked with anyone who’s anyone with a recording roster spanning Kim Carnes, Mr Big, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Burdon, Dolly Parton, Queensrÿche, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Linda Rondstadt, Sarah Brightman, Kenny Rogers, Santana, and Joan Armatrading, to list but a few notable names from rock ’n’ roll’s historic hall of fame. For Garay helped to create and define the legendary ‘LA Sound’ that’s still reverberating around the world today, thanks in no small part to his proven production prowess — think memorable hits like the ‘We Are The World’ charity single from star-studded supergroup USA For Africa, Toto’s ‘Rosanna’, Don Henley’s ‘The Boys Of Summer’, and you’ll soon be on a roll.
Starting out as a performer and songwriter, Garay soon stepped offstage and set the console controls for the heart of the charts when Dave Hassinger, owner/operator of the illustrious Sound Factory Studio in Hollywood, took him under his wing to teach the finer points of crafting carefully engineered productions. Within a year Garay had refined his own technique, perfecting a punchy bottom-end and guitar blend with a mixing approach that has distinguished his work ever since. Indeed, it was the 1981 release of Kim Carnes’ Mistaken Identity album that truly cemented Garay’s well-earned reputation as a well-oiled one-man hit-making machine. Its attendant stratospheric-selling single ‘Betty Davis Eyes’ went on to top the charts in no fewer than 31 countries earning Garay a Record Of The Year Grammy® in the process and coinciding with a move into his own state-of-the-art recording studio.
“I owned Record One, a huge state-of-the-art studio built to my own exacting standards back in 1980,” notes its former owner. “It’s still in operation today, but the original cost to build it back then was 3.5-million dollars. Today you can put together a state-of-the-art studio for a tenth of that cost because of the technology that’s now available. When I sold that studio I bounced around for seven or eight years until I got tired of fighting for time in the studios I liked and decided to put together my own facility here in Topanga where I live — hence The Barn Studio.”
Comfortably ensconced in the more cost-effective though no less state-of the-art environs of The Barn Studio, Garay’s achievements as a super-successful and still-sought-after producer/engineer speak volumes — clearly he has no need to prove anything to anyone. Arguably this makes it all the more amazing that he has opted to post some exceedingly enlightening and eminently enjoyable engineering and production tips and tricks on the blog page of his website (www.valgaray.com). “Sharing my techniques is something I’ve always done over the years,” he says. “Some engineers are very secretive about ‘their process’, but my thoughts are: if I teach you exactly what I do and how I do it — which I’ve done with all the engineers I’ve taught in the past that have all gone on to become notable engineers — then I find they will never sound the same as myself. And even if they did then it wouldn’t matter as I’m always on to something new anyway.”
Like new monitors, for example, augmenting his tried-and-tested working relationship with a beloved pair of Bryston 4BST-powered vintage Tannoy SGN10Bs acting as mains alongside a pair of heavily-customised Yamaha NS-10 nearfields with a pair of ATC’s relatively recently-released SCM20PSL Pro compact, high-performance passive two-way studio monitors while ‘retiring’ a Genelec 1030A and 1092A active combo in the process: “The Genelecs were powered and I’ve never really loved powered speakers, but the main reason that led me to getting ATCs was the need for a relatable second pair of monitors. I was working a lot in a studio in Northern California where the mains were ATC SCM300ASL Pros. I got accustomed to them and then I got back to my studio and found them to be really true. So when I was told that ATC was starting to make passive two-way monitors I had to try them and now I have a pair of SCM20PSL Pros. I guess, in the final analysis, I like UK monitors!”
Asked how his new SCM20PSL Pros paired up with a favoured old faithful Phase Linear 700B amp are shaping up in terms of contributing to his present-day production workflow, Garay’s generous and no-nonsense response sums it up perfectly (and is perfectly in keeping with his blogged “Trust your ears and believe in yourself…” working mantra): “They are great!”
Val Garay www.valgaray.com
Transaudio Group (ATC US Distribution) www.transaudiogroup.com
Legendary Guitarist Eric Johnson Reilies On Legendary ATC Reference Monitors
AUSTIN, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 2014: “Legendary guitarist” is justifiably the most common two-word description given of Eric Johnson, whose six-string prowess has earned him a Grammy win, several Grammy nominations, a Platinum album, and residency on practically every “Top X Guitarists of All Time” list ever made. He’s regularly played and recorded with fellow guitar greats Chet Atkins, Steve Vai, and Joe S…atriani, and Eric Clapton selected Johnson for his 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival. Most recently, Johnson collaborated with jazz guitar great Mike Stern on the album Eclectic, which the two recorded and mixed at Johnson’s Austin-based studio with the help of Johnson’s accomplished recording and mix engineer Kelly Donnelly. Although Johnson is known mainly for his prodigious talent as a guitarist, he is also comfortable playing numerous other instruments, including piano, lap steel, bass, and voice. He is an accomplished songwriter and, in more recent years, has plied his skills over the years as a producer and assisting his recording engineers. The common frustration of mixing a song to seeming perfection, only to find obvious mistakes when he played it on other systems, drove Johnson to find the perfect near-field monitors. He found them in a pair of ATC SCM25As, which deliver the undecorated truth so that Johnson’s mixes sound beautiful and balanced on any system, from wee computer speakers to the biggest home theaters.
Years in the making, Johnson slowly constructed the ideal project studio in his Austin, Texas home, and he only declared it finished six years ago. “I always wanted a great rehearsal space, and it seemed natural to make it a recording studio as well,” he said. “I took my time because I wanted to do it right. I like to think about the tools I use the same way I think about guitars. When I find the right guitar, it facilitates my playing. It’s like I can feel the push of the polarity, the wind’s at my back, and soon I’m not paying any attention to the guitar itself… I’m just making music. It’s the same with the studio and all the equipment and processes in the studio. At their best, they fall away and I’m just making music.”
Most of the engineering duties at Johnson’s project studio fall to Donnelly. “Kelly and I often found ourselves second-guessing our mixes,” said Johnson. “We’d take a mix that sounded perfect in the studio and notice huge bumps or holes when we played it other places. It’d be like, ‘we must have overlooked that in the studio!’ But then we’d go back to the studio and those bumps or holes wouldn’t be there. So there was a lot of back and forth, which wasted time, energy, and inspiration. I became very interested in finding a near field system that would ensure our mixes translated outside of the studio, especially as we drew close to working on Eclectic. People with ears I trust told me that ATC is the way to go.”
After performing due diligence with trials of numerous top-end reference monitor manufacturers, Johnson arrived at the same conclusion. He purchased a pair of ATC SCM25As, which feature a three-way active design starting with a seven-inch low-frequency driver. “The ATCs have a great vibe and they’re fun to mix on,” said Johnson. “The imaging is solid and in-phase, and the top end is natural – not glitchy or peaky or spikey. They’re pleasant at whisper volume or blaring, and the response seems pretty linear across that range. I’ve also noticed that we can monitor at high volumes on the ATCs as long as we like and they never become fatiguing. So the in-studio experience on the ATCs is great. Beyond that however, the mixes we’ve done on the ATCs translate beautifully, and we don’t have to second-guess ourselves anymore.”
Part of the Concord Music Group, instrumental music label Heads Up International released Eclectic, and thus sent it to Concord’s multiple Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer Paul Blakemore. For years now, Blakemore has been mastering on ATC SCM150ASL monitors. “The ATC monitors are the most accurate loudspeakers I have ever heard, and I can’t imagine using anything else,” he said. “They work equally well on any genre of music, which is very unusual and particularly important for Eclectic. As the name promises, Eclectic is eclectic! It runs from rock, to jazz, to blues, to R&B, and to everything in between. The ATCs were critical for getting the high end correct and consistent across all those styles. Similarly, the ATCs were critical for making sure the low end was true and in the pocket from song to song. Once I get things right on the ATCs, I’m confident that the final product will translate to any other system in the world.”
In November 2014 and January and February 2015, Johnson and Stern are taking their otherworldly chops on the road for an extended U.S. engagement.
(PHOTO CREDIT: © 2014 Max Crace)
New Dealer Appointment for Central London – Audio Lounge
ATC are very pleased to announce that Audio Lounge have been appointed as a new Hi-Fi dealer for Central London. Audio Lounge’s luxurious store is located in Mayfair, just a few minutes’ walk from Selfridges and Bond St. tube station.
The store, featuring a showroom at street level and a basement demonstration room has been carefully designed to provide one of the finest listening experiences in the UK, whilst the shop itself is luxuriously equipped to create a space offering superb acoustics and a relaxing atmosphere in which to browse. Since opening its doors in 2013, the store has hosted many live music events for various recording artists to perform to small public groups, and also regularly holds vinyl listening sessions on Thursday evenings (with the odd celebrity dropping by to enjoy the music with us or to give talks about their career!)
Audio Lounge have a very wide range of ATC products on active demonstration. They are also the only company in the South East with ATC’s On-Wall loudspeakers on demonstration. Where space may be at a premium or a discrete solution is preferred, these newly designed slim-line speakers have been introduced to maximise sound quality both for music and home cinema.
Staff at Audio Lounge include Mark Withers, who has 10 years’ experience in Hi-Fi retail, as well as being a CEDIA Accredited Designer within the Custom Installation sector. Mark is extremely experienced with ATC products, including both loudspeakers and electronics and will be on-hand to help specify a system best suited to any customers requirements.
Running alongside Audio Lounge is Nebula Nine, Mark Withers and business partner, Chris Varnham’s Cinema and Smart Home Design Company. Mark’s lifelong passion for music and understanding of the high end audiophile world as well as his exceptional eye for detail has enabled them to create many of Britain’s finest music rooms, cinemas, multiroom audio systems and fully integrated future ready homes.
Together they have vast industry experience and an extensive knowledge in resolving the complexities of residential AV integration. Their team of specialists provide everything from the initial design and CAD work, with project management through to installation and programming. Their services, available through Audio Lounge include:
- Bespoke home cinema room design and calibration
- Supply and setup of world class HiFi and multi-room audio systems
- Room correction and acoustic treatment
- Tailor made Crestron control system design & programming
- IT, networking and WiFi management
- Specification of future ready wiring infrastructures
- Door entry, CCTV, telephony installation
- Lutron lighting and blind control as well as many other forms of automation
Audio Lounge, 138 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 3SG
T: +44 (0)20 7487 4080 E: email@example.com
Nebula Nine Ltd, Studio 8, 231 Stoke Newington Church Street, London, N16 9HP
T: +44 (0) 207 607 3587 E: firstname.lastname@example.org