ICON Studios in Atlanta recently invested in new Equator Audio Research G12 studio reference monitors as well as a Q18 subwoofer for Studio C, one of four studios utilized by top music artists, such as Akon, Jazze Pha, Shawty Red, and DJ Khaled. The monitors were purchased through Atlanta Pro Audio.
The Equator Q12 is a two-way active system employing Equator Audio’s Zero Point Reference coaxial design. The monitor’s no-slope crossover approach reduces the mid-range distortion associated with conventional coaxial designs and the CPU that resides inside each monitor handles tasks including matching the transducers,incorporating the system’s crossover approach as well as allowing for system control and room compensation.
The Q18 subwoofer is the ideal complement to the Q12 reference monitors. It features an 18-inch down firing low frequency transducer with a heavy duty 4-inch voice coil in a bass reflex enclosure that reproduces frequencies down to 16 Hz while delivering extremely high SPL levels.
Studio C is primarily used for vocal tracking and writing sessions. In this room, the producers frequently monitor at a fairly loud volume, so having a monitor system that remains true to the source at all levels was a critical consideration. Blake Eiseman, Head Engineer at ICON Studios, who just completed mixing Universal Motown artist American Yard as well as three songs on rapper Mims’ new recording “Guilt,” explained why the Equator Q Series monitors are so well suited for Studio C.
“The Q12 monitors work well in this environment,” said Eiseman, “because they maintain their accuracy even at high volume levels-where other monitors frequently sound harsh. The Q12’s coaxial design really helps maintain the accuracy of the sound. Further, panning and other aspects of the stereo image are very precise. Everything you hear feels like it’s in the space directly in front of you as opposed to being vaguely defined. They really sound great.”
While the control rooms at high-end commercial recording studios have been acoustically optimized, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re without flaws. Even the finest-tuned rooms can still exhibit reflection problems in front of the mixing console. To address these challenges, Equator Audio offers the Q Series Automated Room Analysis Calibration Kit, an optional software package that features Secondary Reflection Correction (SRC) software. Eiseman used the automated software when he configured the new monitors in Studio C and has become very fond of its capabilities.
“Different producers have varying requirements for how they want the monitor system to sound,” notes Eiseman. “I’ve already tuned the monitors to the room and, most often, this is the configuration that gets used. I tuned the monitors to two specific locations: one is the mix position and the other is the back of the room where the producers typically sit.
“I can switch back and forth between those two settings. If a particular producer wants something slightly different-perhaps a little brighter or with a bit more bass-we can very quickly and easily go into the Equator software and make the necessary adjustments. We can even save that configuration as a preset so we can recall those preferences the next time that producer works the room. The process is a no brainer. I was really impressed by how fast and accurate the system is.”
In addition to vocal tracking and writing, Eiseman has also mixed in Studio C. “In one instance,” notes Eiseman, “my mix room was unavailable and I had to complete two songs, so I mixed them in Studio C. As I started working, I realized the Q12’s were really helpful in terms of imaging and listening at a variety of levels.
“These monitors also have a very large sweet spot, so you don’t have to be sitting directly in the mix position. You can move back and forth a bit and still have nice highs and full sounding lows. These two songs were for the American Yard project and the Equator monitors made it very easy for me to get the mix exactly where I wanted it to be.”