Mastering engineer extraordinaire Barry Grint gets ATC P2 PRO in on the Alchemy act.
“I was very happy with my monitor speakers, but they seemed to lack bass extension; Matt Colton has active ATC SCM150 ASL PROs in his room, so I thought that an ATC amp might give me more bass… the difference wasn’t subtle with the P2 PRO.”
– Alchemy Mastering Founder & Director Barry Grint, 2017.
LONDON, UK: specialist British loudspeaker drive unit and complete sound reproduction system manufacturer ATC is proud to announce that mastering engineer extraordinaire Barry ‘Bazza’ Grint has acquired a P2 PRO Dual Mono Power Amplifier — a true dual mono design delivering 300W of continuous power simultaneously from both channels to drive the most challenging loudspeaker loads with ATC’s signature virtues of wide bandwidth and ultra-low distortion — to enhance the fullrange monitoring system in his room at Alchemy Mastering, one of the world’s leading lights in half-speed and pure analogue vinyl mastering…
Barry Grint at Alchemy Mastering with ATC P2 Pro Power Amp
Mastering engineer extraordinaire Barry Grint’s ‘lifelong’ love affair with The Dark Art Of Audio Mastering — to paraphrase the appropriate website wording for Alchemy Mastering (www.alchemymastering.com), the company he founded in 1998, having previously worked at Abbey Road, Porky’s Mastering, Tape One, and the legendary Trident Studios — led him to a life less ordinary that has been truly extraordinary. “I always wanted to work in a recording studio, but getting in has always been difficult,” he notes. “I had many jobs beforehand, but eventually I started as a tea boy at Trident Studios. Seeing first-hand what being a studio engineer actually entailed, I felt that it wasn’t quite right for me. On the third floor there was disc cutting — vinyl and cassette being the only formats at the time. I immediately felt at home, starting in the tape and cassette copy room, before moving up to vinyl mastering in 1984.”
The bright-eared Barry Grint was quick off the mark in making his mastering mark. 1984 alone saw his mastering mojo working wonderfully on classic vinyl singles for Duran Duran (‘The Wilds Boys’), Foreigner (‘I Want To Know What Love Is’), Madonna (‘Like A Virgin’), Van Halen (‘Jump’), and ZZ Top (‘Gimme All Your Lovin’’). Thereafter, things went seriously stratospheric as Barry Grint went on to work with a roll call of rock and pop greats such as Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Oasis, Prince, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones, to list but a few notable names. Speaking of names, the master(ing) craftsman identified his vinyl work by etching ‘Bazza’ in the run out-groove with various incarnations including Bazza @ Abbey Road, Bazza @ Tape One, Bazza @ Porky’s putting in an appearance throughout the years.
Yet Barry Grint has witnessed a lot of industry changes — technological or otherwise — in a celebrated career spanning five distinctive decades. Given his mastering pedigree, perhaps it was inevitable that he would one day become a master of his own destiny at Alchemy Mastering in Soho, which went on to become one of the UK’s foremost mastering facilities before leasing issues at its ‘high-flying’ Centre Point office tower London location left its founder rethinking and, ultimately, relocating somewhat closer to terra firma. Its current location in an elegant West London mews houses three acoustically-tuned studios with natural daylight designed by the three ‘Alchemists’ — Barry Grint and fellow Directors Matt Colton and Phil Kinrade — themselves, each equipped with full-range monitoring systems and a wide range of vintage and cutting-edge high-end analogue and digital hardware and software processors, perfect for pursuing their sought-after craft. “We all react to what’s coming out of the speakers, and we make our judgements based on how that sounds in the room,” Matt Colton claimed, soon after receiving the coveted Music Producers Guild Mastering Engineer of the Year award in 2013.
As a full member, Barry Grint is no stranger to the MPG (Music Producers Guild) himself, representing them when working with the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) to create a standard for embedding the ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) within BWF (Broadcast Wave Format) audio, adopted by the main manufacturers of mastering software internationally. But back in the mastering hot seat within Mastering Two — Barry Grint’s mastering studio for digital, CD, and vinyl mastering at Alchemy Mastering — things get more personal. “The choice of equipment is a very personal thing,” its owner-occupier opines. “I was very happy with my monitor speakers, but they seemed to lack bass extension; Matt Colton has active ATC SCM150 ASL PROs in his room, so I thought that an ATC amp might give me more bass.”
Cue delivery of a P2 PRO Dual Mono Power Amplifier — a true dual mono design delivering 300W of continuous power simultaneously from both channels to drive the most challenging loudspeaker loads with ATC’s signature virtues of wide bandwidth and ultra-low distortion — on trial. The result? “The bass extension was great, but there was also a noticeable improvement overall — a smoothness that gave improved detail and clarity,” continues the seriously impressed Barry Grint. “The difference wasn’t subtle with the P2 PRO. I called Ben Lilly, Technical Sales Manager at ATC, and told him he couldn’t have the demo unit back until he had sent me the one I bought!”
Beneficiaries of this latest acquisition already encompasses a lengthening list of current and established artists alike, as Barry Grint reveals: “Remastering Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds, The Stranglers, Declan McKenna, Tom Odell, Sean Paul, Roger Waters; vinyl mastering for All Tvvins, Gorillaz, Laura Mvula, Little Mix, Radiohead, Rag’n’Bone Man, The Libertines, The Rolling Stones…”
So, yes, Barry Grint has witnessed a lot of industry changes in a celebrated career spanning five distinctive decades — not least the putative passing of vinyl into the annals of reproductive audio history only for it to triumphantly return relatively recently, as evidenced by Alchemy Mastering making a name for itself as one of the world’s leading lights in half-speed and pure analogue vinyl mastering: “When I started, people recorded in recording studios and mobile studios were big articulated lorries loaded with massive Neve, Cadac, or Trident desks and multitrack tape machines. Today, digital recording has made available amazing recording spaces. Sometimes this means that for some projects the mastering room is the only controlled listening environment, one where a good speaker/amp combination is vital. This is why we went with ATC.”
ATC P2 Pro Dual-Mono Power Amp
ATC P2 Dual-Mono Power Amp
11 What Hi-Fi Awards for the SCM11…
SCM11 wins 11th What Hi-Fi Award!
The SCM11 has again emerged as a top buy, specifically as Best Standmount Speaker in the £1200-£2000 category.
What Hi-Fi states, “These speakers manage to knit everything into a cohesive, musical whole”.
This is the 11th year the SCM11 has won a What Hi-Fi Award, winning in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, making it the most consistently successful speaker design in What Hi-Fi award history.
More info on this years winners on the What Hi-Fi Website.
SCM12 Pro & P1 Pro Review by Sound on Sound Magazine
Phil Ward, writing for Sound on Sound magazine, is the latest reviewer to discover the qualities that make ATC monitors and amplifiers invaluable tools in the studio environment. Here are just a few snippets of his detailed and comprehensive review.
“Finding a path through all the conflicting constraints when designing a monitor is akin to making the pieces of a jigsaw fit together, and when you get it right, everything snaps into focus. The SCM12 Pro had that from the very start.”
“The foundation of the SCM12 Pro is its low-frequency performance: typically closed-box with its lack of overhang and reassuring security of pitch, whatever the volume level, but with the added quality that comes from driver engineering that’s a level or two above run-of-the-mill and can play surprisingly loud.”
“As you can probably tell, I really like the SCM12 Pro. I think it’s a genuinely fine nearfield monitor, and given the relatively low price for the level of engineering involved, it is something of a bargain.”
Phil Ward, Sound on Sound Magazine, September 2017.
You can read the review in full on the Sound on Sound Website where you can also subscribe to both print and digital versions of the magazine.
SCM12 Pro Review by Audio Media International
BBC engineer, Alistair McGhee has reviewed the ATC SCM12 Pro for Audio Media International magazine.
Alistair concludes, “I have been massively impressed by the SCM 12 Pro – defying mere fashion it’s an evolutionary product from a firm that refuses to compromise engineering decisions for marketing acceptability. They are professional tools designed for a working studio environment. The finish is utilitarian but the sound extraordinary, and if you need compact monitors that tell the unvarnished truth about your audio, start here.”
To read the review in full please visit the Audio Media International website.
ATC Loudspeakers Partners with Rutherford Audio as their U.S. Sales Partner for its Hi-Fi Home Audio Series
Las Vegas, NV (August 15, 2017) – Lone Mountain Audio, the importer of ATC Consumer Hi Fi Loudspeakers from England, is proud to announce Rutherford Audio as their new exclusive US Sales Representative for ATC HI Fi and Consumer range of Loudspeakers.
Rutherford’s prestige line up of European made audiophile-grade products include Burmester, Vertere Acoustics, Thorens, Acoustical Systems, Vertere, Scheu Analogue, and others.
Brad Lunde, president of ATC’s U.S. distributor Lone Mountain Audio shared; “We searched for a U.S. sales partner that aligned with ATC’s philosophy of premium “in house” handcrafted products and limited distribution to the best US consumer retailers. Rutherford Audio’s reputation for presenting and selling in the same manner made them our perfect choice.”
ATC Hi Fi is set as an ideal alternative as high-end brands change their product and distribution philosophy away from independent dealers. “We know that ATCs product technology (currently dominating the professional recording studio market) combined with a family-feel work ethic focused on stable long term relationships is exactly what the US retail dealer market is seeking. Lone Mountain’s ATC product and brand support and Rutherford’s sales expertise and existing long-term dealer relationships are a perfect combination. The ideal plan would be partnering exclusively with 25 of the top independent high-end dealers, those with extremely limited Internet marketing and seeking alike brand protection,” says Lunde.
Norm Steinke, President of US Sales for Rutherford Audio and founder/CEO, Rob Niemann were quick to see the value of adding ATC Loudspeakers and electronics to its line up of audiophile gear. Norm stated; “ATC Loudspeakers are world renowned, used by the best studios, recording artist, bands, producers/directors and now consumers too can experience the same level of audio precision, purity and dynamics in their own homes.” “I will add; we at Rutherford Audio are very pleased to be chosen to represent ATC’s HiFi Loudspeakers to our US dealer base.
ATC Loudspeakers will be on demonstration with Rutherford Audio at the upcoming Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, October 6-8, 2017 at the Denver Marriott Tech Centre.
ABOUT LONE MOUNTAIN AUDIO / ATC U.S. – www.lonemountainaudio.com
Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, Lone Mountain Audio is the exclusive U.S. distributor for ATC Loudspeakers for the Hi-Fi and CI (custom integration) marketplaces providing sales, marketing, customer service and full support for all ATC loudspeaker products.
About Rutherford Audio – www.rutherfordaudio.com
Rutherford Audio is North America’s premier distribution channel for a select few of Europe’s finest Hi-Fi audio brands. We strive to represent only the best in the market, carefully choosing our partners for their commitment to quality and performance. Their catalog varies greatly: from the small in size, such as our luxury headphones designed in Paris by Aedle, to Burmester’s immense full-sized home theatre packages. Turntable prices range from $500 to $25,000, ultra high-end reference Amplifiers and top-of-the-line Speakers from prestige audiophile brands are featured. Rutherford Audio is in constant search of the best possible audio gear coming out of Europe.
IT’S ATC MONITORING FOR ACCLAIMED PRODUCER AND MIX ENGINEER RICH COSTEY
Rich Costey is the Grammy Award-winning producer and mix engineer behind a massive discography of consequential indie/alternative albums spanning the last several decades. He is closely associated with Audioslave, Biffy Clyro, Bloc Party, Foo Fighters, Foster the People, Franz Ferdinand, Mastodon, Mew, Muse, My Chemical Romance, Rage Against the Machine, Santigold, and The Mars Volta, among many, many others. Costey’s career began with the legendary Phillip Glass at his Looking Glass Studios, but really took off when producer Rick Ruben recognized his talents. While striving to meet Ruben’s exacting expectations, Costey first recognized how well ATC monitors allowed him to build mixes that translated. He used ATCs for years before moving to New York City, where strange currents pulled him away from ATCs. After returning to Los Angeles two years ago Costey learned that ATC had recently added to its already impressive line with a model that would take care of his needs. Costey has been mixing on the ATC SCM45A Pro’s ever since. “It’s like returning home,” he said.
Costey’s sublime mixing on Fiona Apple’s platinum album When the Pawn… attracted the attention of Ruben in 1999, who then hired Costey to mix Audioslave’s self-titled debut in 2002. “Rick wasn’t coming into the studio,” Costey recalled. “Instead, I brought mixes to his home, and he listened back on his library’s hi-fi. He always listened at extreme volumes, and my mixes never sounded the same as they did in the studio. It was frustrating, so I hunted around for monitors that would allow me to predict the mixes on Rick’s system. Nothing worked until I tried the ATC SCM20PSL passive near-fields. I could listen to those at normal mixing volumes and still hear the details that Rick was going to hear on his system.” Costey later upgraded to the ATC SCM20ASL Pro active monitors and turned out a body of work that includes, Muse’s Absolution, Franz Ferdinand’s You Could Have It So Much Better, Weezer’s Make Believe, and Foo Fighters’ Pretender. (Again, among so, so many others.)
“I feel like everybody has different ears, and different monitors work for different people,” Costey said. “Monitor choice is deeply personal. As far as I’m concerned, I want something that is highly critical of the source material and something that translates reliably. The worst feeling is getting a good mix in the studio and hearing it fall apart in the car! Also, some monitors are more ‘fun’ than others, and I’ve never thought of ATC’s as particularly ‘fun.’ But that’s not why I use them. I use ATCs because they allow me to reliably work without having to second-guess my choices or go back to fix mistakes. ATCs make me more successful.”
That said, things got complicated for Costey when he relocated to New York City. “None of the studios I worked at had decent mains, and the 20s by themselves didn’t give me enough low end to work with,” he said. Through quirks of availability and friendships, Costey journeyed for many years from one monitor manufacturer to the next, never fully satisfied with what he was hearing. When he moved back to Los Angeles two years ago, Costey learned that the ATC line had grown to include mid-field loudspeakers that could give him the fidelity and bass response that he needed. “The ATC SCM45A Pros are really the perfect monitor,” he said. “The crossover is super smooth from top to bottom, and my mixes always translate perfectly.”
Costey recently completed the new Haim album using his ATC SCM45A Pros. “It was a really interesting process because the band and the producer really reflected on the songs as the mixes developed,” he said. “Then they’d record new ideas and bring them in for additional mixing. The content changed while I mixed it! It was challenging, but also a ton of fun.” Costey also appreciates that his ATCs can really “crank” when needed without really affecting the sound of the mix. “That’s useful when I’m wearing my producer hat and want to really inspire the band,” he said. “The ATCs really hang together and present an honest picture at any volume.”
ATC SCM45A Pro Product Page
Rich Costey’s Website
New ATC HTS7 5.1 System – Best Buy Award
The new HTS7 on-wall loudspeakers have been awarded a ‘Best Buy’ by Home Cinema Choice magazine.
The new on-wall speaker was reviewed as part of an all ATC 5.1 system that consisted of four HTS7 speakers, one HTS7C centre loudspeaker and the C1 Sub. Reviewer, Ed Selley found the speakers to offer outstanding performance in an easily mounted modern, discrete cabinet. Concluding he says, “An extremely happy marriage of capability and convenience, ATC’s HTS speakers might be just what your cinema room is crying out for.” Ed Selley, Home Cinema Choice, July 2017.
You can read the review in full here: Home Cinema Choice HTS7 Review
The new Home Theatre Series is based on ATC’s highly aclaimed Entry Series SCM7, SCM11 and SCM40 speakers and create the Company’s first range of high performance on-wall speakers for the custom install residential market. Available in three sizes and in vertical and horizontal configurations, the Home Theatre Series (HTS) systems can be creatively combined to generate ATC’s signature low-distortion, wideband audio dynamics in virtually any space from slender unobtrusive cabinets measuring less than 14cm (5.5”) deep.
JOHN RODD SCORES BIG TIME WITH ATC SCM150s FOR HIT MOVIE GET OUT AND THE KENNEDY SPACE CENTER’S HEROES AND LEGENDS
Renowned music recording, mixing, and mastering engineer John Rodd works on a wide variety of projects from blockbuster movies to television (Breaking Bad) to video games (World of Warcraft, Overwatch, EA Star Wars: Battlefront, Call of Duty: Black Ops II). Rodd’s versatility as an engineer is showcased on a diverse range of projects, including huge orchestral scores, rock, electronica, jazz, and classical. His recent work includes the score albums for Better Call Saul and Marvel’s Jessica Jones, and the chart-topping #1 classical album Stars Are Rising for soprano Joanna Forest.
Rodd had to bring all of his skills to bear, along with the fatigue-free and translation-assured performance of his LCR set of ATC SCM150ASL three-way monitors, to mix composer Michael Abels’ eclectic film score for the hit social thriller Get Out and composer Penka Kouneva’s inspiring score for NASA’s unique Heroes and Legends 4-D experience at the Kennedy Space Center.
Working with Abels was a great experience for Rodd. He noted that “Michael’s score covered a ton of ground – live orchestra, Swahili group vocals, diverse percussion, solo cello, harp, and unique synth sounds. It’s really far from a traditional thriller score, and Michael deserves all the praise he’s received for writing something that works so well with the movie.” But working with a new film director meant working within budgetary constraints. This meant a very tight schedule to mix the movie’s 45 eclectic score cues. Rodd had to deliver ten separate 5.1 score stem mixes, the full 5.1 score mix, and a stereo fold-down for the soundtrack album, thus delivering a 68 audio track wide score mix for every piece of music!
“I’ve had the privilege of recording and mixing music all over the world at some of the greatest studios on their high-end monitoring systems,” Rodd said. “Given that perspective, I’m grateful to have the brutal honesty of the ATC monitors at my own studio, Clearstory Sound. They have tremendous definition and clarity across the entire range, and they really allow me to hear what’s going on so that I can make sure no elements are masking other important elements. My goal is to give each instrument its own sonic space in terms of frequency, panning, fader moves, and overall placement, while having them all work together at the same time. If something is harsh or woofy or boxy, I know it right away. I’m not second-guessing, ever. The ATCs allow me to work very quickly and confidently, which was a huge asset given the time constraints for Get Out.”
Those long days held the potential for ear fatigue, but Rodd claims the ATCs protect him from that pitfall as well: “It seems like a lot of other loudspeaker manufacturers turn up the brightness to give you detail, and I think that can get fatiguing. The ATCs, however, give me tons of detail without the top-end hype, which allows me to put in really long days of consistently solid work.” When mixing 5.1, Rodd uses his three ATC SCM150ASLs for a left-center-right system together with a revolving cast of surround speakers depending on the nature of the project.
Rodd’s other recent project, Penka Kouneva’s score for the Heroes and Legends 4-D experience at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, offered up a different sort of challenge than the traditional film score. The experience takes visitors through the history of the space program in a way that captures and conveys the excitement and emotion of that history. In addition to the immersive visuals on giant, curved screens and audio that can literally shake visitors to their core, the experience includes holograms, wind effects, scent effects, and other surprising 4-D elements spread across numerous theaters.
For Rodd, “It was a very complex mix due to the elaborate nature of Penka’s awesome hybrid score. It used a massive live orchestra along with many live solos, tons of synths, guitars, percussion, pads, arpeggiators, drums, and sub-bass musical effects. She really captured the spirit of the experience and gave it a timeless yet modern theatrical feel. I leaned heavily on my ATCs to let me know when things were right. I knew that if my mix sounded fantastic on the ATCs, it would sound the same in NASA’s theaters.”
ATC INTRODUCES HOME THEATRE SERIES ON-WALL LOUDSPEAKERS
ATC Loudspeaker Technology Ltd. has re-modelled its acclaimed passive SCM7, 11 and 40 speakers to create the Company’s new range of high performance on-wall speakers for the custom residential market. Available in three sizes and in vertical and horizontal configurations, the Home Theatre Series (HTS) systems can be creatively combined to generate ATC’s signature low-distortion, wideband audio dynamics in virtually any space from slender unobtrusive cabinets measuring less than 14cm (5.5”) deep.
In a development set to raise the performance quality of space-efficient home audio systems, the six new HTS models integrate class-leading drive unit and crossover technologies with a sealed-cabinet design for mounting on or into walls. Available in white or black satin, each model has been sympathetically engineered to blend with a range of room sizes and styles while providing exceptional TV/cinema sound and high resolution music reproduction.
Commenting on the launch of the HTS, ATC’s Marketing Manager Ben Lilly states, “in the HTS we’ve engineered a very discreet, easy-to-install speaker line, which delivers excellent custom design flexibility to residential custom installers, combined with the qualities of neutral fidelity and high dynamic range that our existing hi-fi/audiophile customers will instantly recognise.”
The HTS Line-Up
The Series comprises the vertically-configured HTS7, HTS11 and HTS40 speakers, and their companion HTS7C, HTS11C and HTS40C horizontally-configured versions. All HTS models benefit from the proprietary ATC drive unit technology deployed by their award-winning hi-fi counterparts, including revelatory SH25-76 dual-suspension tweeters (all models), CLD (Constrained Layer Damping) bass-mid drivers (HTS11), and ATC’s renowned 75mm/3” Soft Dome mid-range and 164mm short coil/long gap bass drivers (HTS40). ATC’s crossover designs have been completely revised to deliver a wide and accurate response from on-wall locations. Even so, wall proximity provides enhanced bass output and efficiency: the HTS11 has a -6dB point close to that of the SCM40 and the HTS40 approaching that of ATC’s larger SCM100 system!
HTS7 / HTS7C – 2-way Passive
Compact 2-way design suitable for small-to medium sized rooms, available in both vertical and horizontal versions. May also be used as a surround speaker for any installation.
HTS11 / HTS11C – 2-way Passive
Mid-size 2-way design suitable for main loudspeakers in medium sized rooms, available in both vertical and horizontal versions. May also be used as a surround speaker in medium – large rooms.
HTS40 / HTS40C – 3-way Passive
Large 3-way design features ATC’s 75mm soft dome for exceptional mid-range clarity and is suitable for main loudspeakers in larger rooms. The model employs a single cabinet design that can be configured for both vertical and horizontal mounting. The HTS40 may also be used as a surround speaker in large rooms.
Flexible System Design
Shared acoustic design enables a wide range of multi-channel system permutations to suit room size, shape and budgets. For instance, installers can use HTS7s or HTS7Cs to great effect as surround channel speakers supporting 11s in the front, or HTS11s to complement a front-firing HTS40 array. Both versions of each HTS model offer equal performance and are freely interchangeable, allowing maximum design flexibility in the choice of speaker orientation/configuration.
On-wall installation is easy via key-hole plates on the rear, which mate with wall fixings. Each product ships with a card template to assist the quick and accurate marking of fixing positions.
ATC at Work
ATC Loudspeaker Technology’s systems are employed by many leading audio engineers, designers, composers and professional sound studios around the world, including Dolby, Fox, BBC, Abbey Road, and Skywalker Sound. Dolby Labs purchased ATC loudspeakers for the majority of its R&D listening labs and also its VIP listening suite at its new flagship San Francisco HQ, which opened in 2015. The opportunity to provide the speakers for Dolby came about after winning a lengthy selection process against many other manufacturers. As with every ATC product, each HTS model is individually hand-built to provide a lifetime of service and audio enjoyment, and carries a six year guarantee.