Icon Collective, a music production school in Burbank, CA, recently moved to a larger facility due to an increase in popularity, and it’s outfitted with monitors from KRK Systems, including 11 pairs of ROKIT 10-3 three-way monitors and two pairs of VXT active monitors.
The move brought Icon to the former Enterprise Studios, where many major records were produced in the 1990s. Within this 15,000-square-foot facility there are 11 studios and two mixing theaters that David Alexander and Christopher Wright, co-founders of Icon, turned into classrooms, studios and labs.
As part of the update, the duo was also looking for a set of speakers that would unify the audio to give students one feel, especially between the larger studios and smaller rooms.
“The mixing theaters that we have were actually sound stages previously used to mix movies, so they are a perfect acoustic environment,” explains Alexander. “But, we needed a larger speaker to fill the space. The KRKs gave us the perfect balance between quality and volume, the two features that we were primarily looking for in those rooms. For the other studios, where the students are producing their own music, we wanted a speaker that was rugged and could handle a big load because they generally want to push the volume to get more of a club feel. They’re definitely able to do that with the 10-3s, which also have great low volumes for critical listening.”
Since the school operates with a largely independent outlook, students are often using the equipment on their own, which could lead to potential problems with the gear. “We used a variety of monitors in our old building, which led to a lot of blown speakers,” continues Alexander. “The KRKs bring us a sense of reliability and durability. They can take the abuse from the students and produce a high-quality sound. That’s a perfect combination. We haven’t had an issue with the ROKITs. What the students and teachers notice most is that we can all count on the speakers because of their consistency.”
After hearing what the KRK ROKIT 10-3s could do, the school decided to order two pairs of VXT’s for the mixing rooms, known as Studio Alpha and Studio Genesis. One of them is the room that acclaimed producer Dave Pensando used for most of his records and has exceptional acoustics. “I think the VXT’s will do really well in those rooms,” adds Alexander.
Alexander and Wright founded Icon Collective in 2005 after noticing a gap in the education field for a school that taught aspiring musicians and artists how to become independent entrepreneurs. Additionally, the school works on the belief that students should feel empowered to use laptops and software that allows them to be independent and self-reliant.
“At the time, no one was really interested in providing that type of service to artists who want to be independent and release their own music,” says Alexander. “With the way the industry is today, artists are able to get their music out and interact directly with their fan base through social media. There is no need for distribution centers and a physical means of dispensing their product. So, that is our focus – empowering students to be self-sufficient. We saw a perfect opportunity to launch this educational model, and it’s been very well-received. Our graduates have been very successful. Most of them are touring or living a creative lifestyle, five even played Coachella this year, and we’re really proud of that.”
The one-year program is broken into four quarters of full-time study, which equates to roughly three days, or 14 hours, of instruction per week. When the students aren’t in class, they are in the studios, focusing their attention on projects and other independent work.