Composer/producer/engineer Rob Arbittier, a longtime Stevie Wonder collaborator and sound designer, has wired his LA studio with cabling from Germany’s Sommer Cable, which recently established its US headquarters in California.
Arbittier has written and produced the music and sound-design for hundreds of albums, commercials, movie trailers, TV shows, films and games, and has received numerous awards, including Grammy recognition for engineering.
“When I built my first studio here in 2003,” he explains. “I wanted a cable that would work for both analog and digital, and that’s how I came to Sommer Cable. I have thousands of points on the patch bay, which gives me the ability to hook up hundreds of synths simultaneously, while also tracking bands. Therefore, the wiring is very important.”
Arbittier has backgrounds in music, audio post-production, and computers. In the 1980’s, he developed business applications and games for the early versions of the IBM PC. Soon after, he got the opportunity to meet Stevie Wonder, one of his musical idols, and developed the first music software for the blind that Wonder ended up using.
Classically trained on the piano since age 3, he has been Wonder’s programmer / synthesist for years, also playing keyboards and doing production work in a run that has included hundreds of live shows and many albums. Rob also remains CTO of Peeractive, a software innovation lab.
“It’s when you actually compare the different brands of cable that the difference is so apparent,” Arbittier continues. “With Sommer we did a lot of tests that involved fast transients, like listening to car keys jingling in front of a great microphone. During any kind of really critical listening with very high dynamics, the differences in the clarity and the responsiveness of the Sommer cable is pretty obvious. In the listening comparisons, it won easily.”
In addition to his continuing collaborations with Stevie Wonder, Arbittier has worked with a diverse group of artists, including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Peter Frampton, Jennifer Lopez, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond and “Weird Al” Yankovic.
“I am now building out and wiring a second studio and will use Sommer’s new Quantum Flex for all of the mic lines and all of the analog and digital line level inputs. My studios have a lot of very sharp turns and tight spaces in the channels where the wiring is. Sommer cable is very flexible and easy to work around those corners and through the weirdly shaped troughs.”
Arbittier uses Sommer Quantum Flex cable, which is extremely flexible and torsion free, resulting in a cable that doesn’t twist when winding or unwinding and is cold-resistant well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Quantum Flex features very low wire capacitance, a 2mm thick PVC jacket, and provides superior performance in both analog and digital applications.