Doug Rogers, founder of the EastWest software instrument company, has purchased and re-opened the recording studio located at 6000 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, the site of historic recordings by a who’s who of the last four decades, from Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra through The Beach Boys to Green Day and Madonna.
In the process of restoring the facilities to their former glory and relocating EastWest’s operations to the complex, Rogers outfitted the three principal control rooms with soffit-mounted ATC (Acoustic Transducer Company) SCM300ASL reference monitors. A pair of ATC SCM150ASL monitors is also available for near field mixing.
“We just wanted the best monitors we could put in,” comments Rogers. “For my line of work I need brutal accuracy, and that’s what these speakers deliver. That’s my lifeline – if they’re not telling me the truth I’m in trouble. And, I felt that the people that are going to be working in EastWest Studios are the best in the business and they deserve the best equipment with which to work.
“The monitors might cost close to $50,000 a pair, but when your profession depends upon it, it’s like a violinist having a Stradivarius. You’re only going to deliver the best if you have the best equipment.”
The SCM300ASLs are great for tracking, according to Rogers. “They’re very smooth across the range and you can really pump them. They can be used at very loud levels without distortion – which is their claim to fame. There’s a lot of headroom built into the system that allows them to be used in recording studio control room playback conditions and they’ll hold up to it.”
The ATC monitors correct what Rogers and his staff felt was a problem with the monitor systems previously installed at the former Cello Studios, which started life in the 1960s as Bill Putnam’s Western then United Western Studios.
“None of us really liked the sound. They sounded disjointed between the different drivers with no smoothness across the range,” he explains. But with the new monitors, he says, “I like the fact that the new monitors are balanced because ATC supplies you with the whole system. They supply the speakers and the amps, which are very good, and everything is matched up. Most other speaker solutions are components where you have to get your own amps and wiring.”
Rogers recounts that he initially flew in acoustical consultant Nick Whitaker of U.K. firm Electro-acoustics to advise on control room improvements. “We really didn’t want to do anything to the studios because the sound has been raved about for years, but the control rooms needed some updating. The first thing he mentioned was that he really liked the English ATC monitors that they were using at Astoria studio [owned by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour] and a lot of the other places where he was involved with the acoustics, like Abbey Road, and studios that he had built. But, Nick said, they’re relatively expensive. I said, well, no expense spared here!”
Whitaker also mentioned that James Guthrie, who mixed the surround version of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” among many, many other projects, also uses ATC monitors, says Rogers. He had Brad Lunde of Las Vegas Pro Audio, the U.S. importer for ATC, arrange a visit to listen to the SCM150ASL monitors at The Mastering Lab in Ojai, California. “[Owner and legendary mastering engineer] Doug Sax has probably some of the best ears in the business. We knew then that was the way to go,” says Rogers.
He concludes, “There are a few studios in the U.S. that have cottoned on to ATCs, such as Blackbird, a very good studio in Nashville. But I’m sure we’re the most ATC-equipped studio in L.A., and I guarantee, by the end of this year, when we have had a lot of top engineers through here, ATCs will have a much bigger name in this country.”