SIX-TIME GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING MIX ENGINEER KEN “DURO” IFILL SWITCHES TO ATC SCM45A NEARFIELD MONITORS
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 2019: For over 25 years, Ken “Duro” Ifill has been mixing the living history of urban hip-hop and R&B. His client list includes Jay-Z, NAS, Pharrell, Erykah Badu, Will Smith, Beastie Boys, Usher, and on and on, and through a singular focus on making everything he works on as cool as possible, he has won six Grammy Awards. These days, Duro splits his time between the studio, where he still engages his first and enduring passion (mixing!) and Senior VP of A&R at Republic/Universal Records. After twenty years on the same monitors and two years in dissatisfied flux, Duro recently upgraded to ATC SCM45A three-way nearfield monitors.
“I discovered ATC working at Q-Tip’s studio (A Tribe Called Quest),” Duro explained. “He had a pair of soffit-mounted ATC SCM150ASL Pros and some other well-respected nearfields. The first thing I fell in love with on his ATCs was the imaging. As a mix engineer, I don’t think of things as just left or right. I think in three dimensions, which makes imaging especially important. I’ll put things, say, to the left-rear or center-up. Even beyond that, I’m thinking in actual depth. Say, for example, is something three feet back on the left or is it six feet back? I quickly stopped using Q-Tip’s nearfields entirely and just mixed everything on the ATCs. I loved how the volume didn’t affect the mix. I could mix quiet or loud and still have the same stable relationships and all the bass information. The top end was smooth and not at all fatiguing. It was a really enjoyable and productive mixing experience.”
Around the same time, Duro was acquainting himself with a new set of nearfields in his own studio that he had committed to before the Q-Tip ATC experience. They came after two decades on the same monitors. “I was having reliability issues with my new nearfields, but because I had made a pretty sizable investment in them, I wasn’t ready to abandon ship,” Duro said. “Then I went back to Q-Tip’s studio and he had upgraded to the biggest monitors that ATC makes – soffit-mounted mains with dual 15s (ATC SCM300ASL Pros)! I said, ‘man, you must really love these things!’ When I got back to my studio and still had the same unresolved reliability issues, I said forget it. I decided to just get the ATCs that I was wanting.”
Based on the size of the nearfields he has always preferred mixing on, Duro went with the ATC SCM45A three-way monitors, which use two 6.5-inch low frequency drivers, a three-inch soft dome mid-frequency driver, and a one-inch high-frequency driver. Although he has only had them for a short time, Duro already completed Kiana Ledé EP Myself using the ATC SCM45As. “The translation on the ATCs is great,” he said. “But even beyond the balance between the instruments, the more nuanced texture of the sounds translates. The same way that two vocalists can hit the same note and still sound different… it’s kind of analogous to what I’m talking about.” That translation of texture allows Duro to reliably mix not just for balance, but also for the emotional edge that separates a good mix from a fantastic mix. Thoroughly pleased, Duro is convinced he now has the monitors that will see him through the decades to come. A huge thanks go out to Dan Physics at Alto Music in New York who was instrumental in his quest to acquire the ATCs.
SCM40 awarded ‘Best Buy’ by The Ear
“It’s probably best not to wear socks whilst listening to the SCM40s – they’re only going to get blown off each time you fire-up these gorgeous floorstanders”
Rahiel Nasir, The Ear, December 2019.
Rear the review in full here on, The Ear Website.
IN-DEMAND RECORDING AND MIXING ENGINEER MICHAEL ASHBY USES ATC SCM25A TO MAKE RISKY MOVES WITH CONFIDENCE
Michael Ashby is a young recording and mix engineer with an incredible work ethic who has taken the blessing of great sonic instincts and leveraged it with dedicated study at New York City’s SAE Institute. After just a decade behind the console, Ashby has five Platinum albums to his name, was twice nominated for a Grammy Award, and was nominated for “Recording Engineer of the Year” by the Pensado’s Place Academy. His highest-profile clients include Cardi B, Latoya Jackson, Fetty Wap, Zoey Dollar, and Offset, but Ashby’s passion for music and aptitude for recording and mixing have earned him a client list that numbers four-hundred strong. Ashby operates out of his own Krematorium Studios in New York City, where he recently upgraded to a pair of SCM25A Pro compact three-way monitors. The new ATCs let him make risky moves with confidence and create mixes that reliably translate whether he’s mixing alone at a reasonable volume or in a room full of excited clients at a loud (i.e. less-than-reasonable) volume.
“I started out as a drummer, but I was lucky enough to become an audio engineer before I went deaf,” Ashby joked. Although he’s tremendously passionate about music, he is also refreshingly humble: “I kind of fell into engineering. It wasn’t something that I initially decided. People liked what I was doing, so I just kept doing it.” That said, once Ashby knew that engineering spoke to his heart, he had the good sense to formally train up and continued to work while taking classes at SAE Institute. Great work and excellent referrals kept his existing clients and organically networked him with new clients, many of whom were already big names in the music industry. “Things just got more and more serious over the years,” he reflected.
With that growing seriousness and Ashby’s own deepening knowledge and experience, he figured it was time to elevate his monitoring situation. “I wanted to listen and evaluate using the same tools that my favorite mix engineers use,” he said. “I’m inspired by Jaycen Joshua [Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Rihanna, etc.], and he recently made the switch to ATCs. In addition, I saw a pair of ATCs in the room of Craig Bauer [Kayne West, Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran, etc.], and I also have a deep respect for his work. So, there I was, seeing different styles of music, different engineers, and the same monitor company. I looked into ATC and learned what a lot of other highly-respected engineers were saying about ATC’s midrange clarity and translation.”
Now several months in, Ashby is more than satisfied with the upgrade. “I can use the ATCs to be super surgical or I can use them to bump,” he said. “I can listen in depth by myself, but sometimes I’m forced to do a rough mix when the room is filled with people. The ATCs let me satisfy the client while still giving me the clarity and balance I need to deliver an effective mix. I think it’s important to point out that they aren’t dangerously flat-sounding. They’re really fun to listen to, but everything I do still translates. For monitors to sound great and bump in the room but still translate perfectly outside the room… that’s everything!”
Michael Ashby Website
New ATC Hi-Fi Distribution in Greece
ATC are very pleased to announce, Audio Soul Ultra as ATC’s new Hi-Fi distributor for Greece.
Based in Glyfada in the South of Athens, Audio Soul Ultra is run by Anestis Koulis and George Kopsaftopoulos. Their shop features a spacious showroom and very well appointed demo rooms, suited to a wide range of systems and price points.
Audio Soul Ultra have a very wide range of ATC products available, from the compact SCM7 through to the mighty SCM100, active & passive and with ATC’s range of partnering electronics.
Audio Soul Ultra
5 Dousmani Str.,
Phone: +30 2103839399
ATC LAUNCHES NEW C1 SUB MK 2 ACTIVE SUBWOOFER
Faithful to the signal, a new C1 subwoofer design will generate deeper, cleaner bass in the sub-£2000 market.
Built to provide a dynamic low-distortion bass foundation for ATC’s Entry Series speakers, its C1C and C3C centre speakers, HTS Series on-wall speakers and all but the largest satellite speaker systems, the new C1 Sub Mk 2 is a compact real wood veneered design, incorporating a hand-built 12” (314mm) ATC bass driver and a fully discrete ATC 200W MOSFET power amplifier.
Designed for both music and cinema applications and replacing the Mk1 version, the new C1 Sub promises a quality of low frequency reproduction that belies its price point. The re-engineered design incorporates ATC’s customarily transparent circuits boosted by larger power supplies, the latest ATC grounded-source 200 watt Class A/B discrete MOSFET power module and improved overload protection circuitry (with front-panel indicator) for greater control at full output. The low-pass filter circuits have been comprehensively re-worked to facilitate the best possible integration with partnering speakers from ATC and other manufacturers.
Controls include a continuously variable low pass filter, a continuously variable all-pass filter and polarity switch, speaker level L/R inputs, independent L/R RCA line inputs and a summed line output RCA connector to facilitate the daisy-chaining of multiple subwoofers.
The C1 Sub is available now in four real wood finishes: Cherry, Black Ash, Satin Black, Satin White to match Entry Series speakers, centre speakers and HTS Series on-wall products. The recommended UK retail price is £1650 (inc. VAT).
Enhanced by ATC’s traditionally robust engineering and scrupulous attention to detail, the new C1 Sub Mk2 active subwoofer will generate a reliably accurate performance over a very long life, backed by ATC’s standard six year warranty.
C1 Sub Mk2 Specifications
Driver 12” / 314mm
LF Cut Off (-6dB) 25Hz
Max SPL 103dB
Amplifier output 200W
User Controls Gain, Low Pass Frequency, Polarity, Phase
Inputs Stereo High Level Binding Posts & Stereo Line Level RCA/Phono
Outputs Mono Summed Line Level RCA/Phono
Dimensions (HxWxD) 450 x 360 x 400 mm / 17.72" x 14.17" x 15.75" (inc. feet and heatsink)
Weight 26.2kg / 57.64lbs
NASHVILLE’S BLACKBIRD STUDIO MAKES NO SMALL PLANS: BUILDS OUT FOR DOLBY ATMOS MUSIC WITH 15 ATC MONITORS, 6 ATC SUBWOOFERS
Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennessee is not known for half-measures. “At Blackbird, the bar is extremely high,” noted John McBride, Blackbird’s founder, owner and visionary. “We do everything we can to create a setting where artists and engineers are equipped and inspired to create music that can change the world.” In that spirit, Blackbird is embracing Dolby Atmos Music, a fully-immersive, next-generation multi-channel playback system that has the backing of Universal, Netflix, Amazon, and other major content providers. Blackbird Studio C, a large control room with incredible diffusion designed by George Massenburg, now contains three ATC SCM300ASL Pro monitors in front, six ATC SCM100ASL Pro monitors on the sides and rear, six ATC SCM100ASL Pro monitors overhead, and six ATC SCM0.1/15ASL Pro subwoofers. With less than a month’s notice, ATC built and delivered the speakers and subwoofers.
“Immersive audio is the future of the industry,” McBride continued. “It’s an incredible experience, and once you start listening in Dolby Atmos Music, it’s hard to go back to stereo! For artists and engineers, the format opens up a whole new world of creative possibilities. There are consumer electronics manufacturers building sound bars to give listeners Dolby Atmos in their living rooms, engineers are hard at work perfecting headphones that will deliver Dolby Atmos, Universal has already committed to mixing several thousand songs in Dolby Atmos Music, and content providers such as Netflix and Amazon are incorporating the format into their new material. Of course, the potential for gaming and virtual reality is astounding. All in all, the industry has a lot of momentum behind Dolby Atmos Music, and I’m thrilled to have Blackbird at the forefront of music creation for the format.”
Initially introduced in 2012, the Dolby Atmos specification accommodates traditional 7.1 surround sound speakers but then goes far beyond. It allows specific placement of sounds at precise locations along the sides and back, includes overhead loudspeakers, and permits flexible scaling of playback system size to include up to 128 discrete loudspeaker or subwoofer channels. “The first thing people notice about a Dolby Atmos system is the addition of the overhead speakers,” said Zach Winterfeld, western regional sales manager with TransAudio Group and part of the team that installed and tuned the new system at Blackbird. “Just as the experience of going from mono to stereo or from stereo to surround opens things up, the overhead speakers add a whole new dimension. Under the hood, the biggest difference is the use of ‘objects’ that allow the engineer to specify where in the room a sound should localize to. The Dolby Atmos playback engine decodes each object’s location and places it there given the particular arrangement of loudspeakers in a given room. Two rooms can have very different loudspeaker setups, and the Dolby Atmos processing will localize a given ‘object’ to the same place in both rooms.”
Blackbird Studio C already had a stereo pair of ATC SCM300ASL Pro three-way monitors, and ATC mains and near-fields are a fixture in the other studios at Blackbird. “For me at least, the higher the quality of playback, the more emotional music becomes,” McBride said. “I’ve always loved ATC, and we’ve been using ATC monitors at Blackbird since we opened up in 2002. I trust ATC monitors completely, and I love the people behind the product – they do incredible work with integrity and with a deep respect for music. Sitting in the middle of fifteen large-format ATC monitors and six ATC subwoofers is a life-changing experience!”
Ben Lilly, technical sales manager with ATC and another member of the team that installed and tuned the new system at Blackbird, added, “Our monitors offer very low listening fatigue. This is important in all types of monitoring environments, but I feel it is even more important with the high channel count and higher than average sound pressure levels that audio professionals will experience in an Atmos mix environment. Also, the wide, even dispersion pattern of ATC’s monitors help to achieve a larger ‘sweet spot’, a greater feeling of space, and solid imaging within the immersive mix environment.”
Lilly continued, “Blackbird Studio C was already equipped with stereo ATC SCM300ASL Pros so adding a matching center was a natural choice. The ‘base’ specification for Dolby Atmos music systems is 7.1.4 (7.1 plus four overhead ‘top’ speakers), but because Studio C is larger than average, the surround speaker count was increased by four to make the system 9.1.6. The choice of surrounds speaker model and the number of subs was based on the room size, listening distance, and target SPLs at the listening position. Dolby’s DART tool helped select suitable monitors based on the room and acoustic data input into the tool.” Four of the ATC SCM0.1/15ASL subwoofers are positioned along the front of the room and two are positioned on the side walls closer to the back, as determined by a judicious combination of measurement and expert opinion.
“John [McBride] called me to describe a full ATC Dolby Atmos room at Blackbird, and I was impressed by his vision and also by the amount of gear it would require,” recalled Brad Lunde, founder and president of TransAudio Group. “Then he said he wanted it all delivered in two weeks to allow a week of installation ahead of a critical deadline. I love John, but I said, ‘you’re out of your mind, there’s no way!’ But of course I called ATC’s UK manufacturing facility and asked if it would be possible to deliver six flyable SCM100ASL Pros, six stand-mounted versions, a single center SCM300ASL Pro, and six subwoofers. They would have to work miracles to get them all built, but they made it happen!”
“Given how few Dolby Atmos mixing rooms exist in the world and given John’s very high standards, it was strategically important to do an outstanding job, with plenty of insurance against any conceivable problem,” Lunde noted. In addition to Zach Winterfeld, who has deep experience with precision measurement systems, TransAudio Group sent Tony Marra, who operates the TransAudio Group in-house repair shop, to Nashville for installation and tuning knowing that between the two, they had the wherewithal to diagnose and repair anything that might need it. ATC sent Ben Lilly, who worked closely with the TransAudio Group team. The team dug into the analog processing capabilities of the integrated ATC amplifiers to make subtle adjustments to Blackbird’s existing SCM300ASL Pros, which had been in continuous use for nearly a decade, to match the new center channel SCM300ASL Pro. Ceri Thomas and Christine Thomas from Dolby saw to it that all of the Atmos specs were dialed in to perfection.
Following installation of the system, the studio has received a great deal of feedback on the format, room and the system. “Studio C was designed by George Massenburg and incorporates wonderful diffusion,” McBride said. “That makes the imaging, which is already amazing with ATC, all the more lifelike.” Aleks Bars, marketing manager at TransAudio Group, added, “With conventional surround sound technology, things are still focused in the front, and creative use of the rear channels kind of stands out. With Dolby Atmos, I felt like I was inside the track. I couldn’t hear gaps between the speakers; it was really cohesive. The vibe from other listeners overall was one of excitement. You could sense how different the experience was for people, and a lot of people told me they were looking forward to jumping into Dolby Atmos as soon as possible.”
A common refrain from the team of experts who installed and tuned the system, from John McBride, and from attendees at the listening party, was that it was fun to listen to remixes of classics but that they were most looking forward to new works created specifically for Dolby Atmos as the output format. “A good example of how the output format matters is the Beach Boys,” Winterfeld summarized. “They talked a lot about how they wrote and composed explicitly for mono. They would have made very different decisions if they had been creating for stereo. I would argue that so much of that older music that was done in mono is still best enjoyed that way. You get excited by different things and make different decisions when you’re mixing for stereo versus mono. The same thing is true moving to Dolby Atmos. Tracks have so much more room to exist and there are so many possibilities with movement, space, and location. It’s going to be exciting to hear what comes out of Blackbird Studio C!”
Dolby Atmos for Content Creators
SCM50ASL Review – Hi-Fi Critic
Another new review just in from Hi-Fi Critic magazine, this time round looking at the SCM50ASL (Active Classic). This follows on from the review of the SCM50PSL (Passive Classic) back in 2017.
Just like the passive version, the SCM50ASL has been awarded a coveted, ‘Hi-Fi Critic Audio Excellence’ award.
“Like the ATC SCM 50 PL passive version reviewed last year, the SCM50 ASL also squarely hits the HIFICRITIC Audio Excellence level for sheer all round ability, and not least on grounds of a that truly massive dynamic range delivered by this active version.”
Martin Colloms, Hi-Fi Critic, September 2019
You can read the review in full or download the PDF here: ATC SCM50ASL Review Hi-Fi Critic
To find out more about Hi-Fi Critic, the UK’s only advert free, independent audio review magazine, visit the Hi-Fi Critic Website
SIA2-100, CD2, SCM7 System Review – Gramophone Magazine
This month, Gramophone magazine feature a complete ATC system, including our new SIA2-100 integrated amplifier and CD2 CD player.
Reviewer, Andrew Everard writes:
“Above all, it’s the integration of this set-up that’s its most appealing aspect. The drivers in the SCM7 work together seamlessly, the amplifier has more than enough power, control and definition to ensure they behave themselves without holding back on musical flow and even the CD player makes a very strong case for the continued existence of the silver disc.”
“Buy it for its solidity, its style or even the ‘all made in Britain’ thing: however you look at this ATC system, it’s remarkable value for money.”
Read the review in full on, Gramophone Website
ATC Professional Mid-Field Monitor Range – 2019 Cosmetic Update
ATC has given its SCM50/100/110/150ASL Pro studio monitors a cosmetic update by way of a new front logo panel. The new panel is manufactured from aluminium, with a black anodised finish and the logo laser etched into the surface.
The fitment of the logo panel has been improved and is now screw fixed (as opposed to the previous self-adhesive fixing). Practically, this means the logo plate can be easily rotated when the speakers are installed in a horizontal configuration. The limit LEDs are now mounted to the rear of the logo panel via a small PCB so will also move when the logo panel is rotated.
The update only offers cosmetic & functional improvements – there are no performance improvements. Updates to older existing products will not be available. There will be no cosmetic changes to the SCM12/20/25/45/200/300 Pro. The new style product is in production now.
London Dealer Event with Soundstage Hi-Fi & Home Cinema
ATC 7.1 MULTI-CHANNEL SYSTEM REVIEW BY DOUG BLACKBURN AT WIDESCREEN REVIEW
“…amazing dynamic capability; loads of detail and nuance; zero listening fatigue at any sane listening level; steadfastly neutral sound; and distortion so low that more typical loudspeakers sound poorly designed in comparison.” – Doug Blackburn, Widescreen Review, July 2019.
Read the full review, HERE.
ATC at Audio T Manchester
ATC are very pleased to announce that Audio T’s Manchester branch are now stocking ATC.
Located on Bridge St, just of Deansgate in the city centre, the shop is close to parking, Salford Central Station and the tram. The shop stocks a wide range of products covering both Hi-Fi and Home Cinema and also offers installation. As well as a large showroom, there are two comfortable listening rooms on the 2nd floor where you can listen in a relaxed environment.
Pop in to see Dave, Munir & Mike and see hear what ATC can bring to your system!
Audio T Manchester, 63 Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 3BQ.
Tel: 0161 839 8869
Audio T Website
PURE MUSIC GROUP GIVES ATC LOUDSPEAKERS NEW LIFE IN AUSTRALIA
ATC is very pleased to announce that Melbourne-based Pure Music Group has secured Australian distribution of ATC and their highly respected and multi-award winning range of Hi-Fi loudspeakers and electronics.
The brand’s speakers and drive units continue to be made in the UK under the watchful eye of Australian born Billy Woodman and his son William Woodman alongside a very experienced technical, design and management team all based in Gloucestershire, two hours west of London.
Warwick Freemantle, Managing Director of Pure Music Group: “Pure Music Group has long admired the ATC products and brand based on their no-nonsense design ethos focussed on pure engineering excellence and impeccable craftsmanship of every important element of a great loudspeaker”.
ATC has a strong presence in recording studios globally, including reference monitor duties in the premier rooms and mastering suites such as the brand new Sterling Sound Mastering facilities in New York and Nashville.
Warwick continued: “In a time when high-end audio is seeing more and more boutique products on the market with increasingly high price tags, we are thrilled to be partnering with a manufacturer who’s ultimate goal remains first-class sound, but delivering products at real-world prices within reach of any dedicated music lover, without sacrificing on quality or craftsmanship.”
Pure Music Group plans to appoint several key dealers across Australia and reinvigorate the ATC brand locally.
For further info:
Pure Music Group, Unit 32, 461 St. Kilda Rd, Melbourne 3004, Australia.
Phone: 0409 504 805
New ATC Dealer – Acoustic Streams
ATC are very happy to announce a new ATC stockist, Acoustic Streams who are based in Penzance, Cornwall.
Acoustic Streams are Cornwall’s premier Hi-Fi retailer and specialise in high quality British products. Their product range has been very carefully put together over the past ten years and they only sell equipment that is of the highest quality whether it be top of the range or entry level, performance and build quality is paramount.
Their showroom, just off the A30 at Crowlas, features full demo facilities; designed to replicate the home environment allowing our customers to get hands-on with products before making any decisions. The shop boasts onsite parking and a welcoming atmosphere.
Acoustic Streams, 3 Pensans, Rospeath Lane, Crowlas, Penzance, Cornwall, TR20 8DU
T: 01736 741580
LEGENDARY AUDIO ENGINEER ELLIOT SCHEINER RETIRES HIS NS-10 MONITORS FOR ATC SCM25A THREE-WAY REFERENCE MONITORS
For nearly half a century, Elliot Scheiner has been recording and mixing just about every musician and band of consequence, earning twenty-seven Grammy nominations and eight Grammy wins for his efforts. His wins include work with Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, Derek & the Dominos, and Beyoncé; and his larger list of clients includes Toto, Paul Simon, BB King, Eagles, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Sting, Faith Hill, Foo Fighters, and on and on.
In addition, Scheiner garnered two Emmy Awards and three TEC Award nominations. He is a TEC Hall of Fame inductee and holds an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music, where he currently runs recording and mixing workshops. It was at Berklee that Scheiner fell in love with ATC’s revealing transparency, inspiring him to overcome a “superstitious” attachment to his NS-10s in favor of ATC SCM25A Pro three-way monitors.
Scheiner heard ATCs over a decade ago and thought they sounded “incredible,” but that experience didn’t move him to make the jump. “You can get yourself to a place where you’re superstitious about the tools that brought you to that place,” he explained. “I used NS-10s for most of my life.” Given his unambiguous success, it seemed like an open-and-shut case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’
It was only after Scheiner repeatedly got in front of ATCs to do workshops at Berklee that the practical benefits of their “incredible” sound became apparent. “Every one of the rooms at Berklee has ATC monitors,” he said. “I fell in love with them. The ATCs gave me an honest representation of what I was recording and mixing. At the end of the day, I would bring the work home to my NS-10s to finish, but there was nothing left to do! The decisions I made with the ATCs stuck.” He views the difference between working on the ATCs and the NS-10s not as working faster, but rather working with less effort. “Ears are a funny thing,” he mused. “I could try to throw some facts at you about why I like the ATCs so much, but in the end it’s just that I hear what I want to hear on the ATCs. With other speakers, I know what I want but I have to go out and get it. The ATCs just give it to me.”
Since he first got the ATC SCM25As a few months ago, Scheiner has completed work on forthcoming releases by jazz musicians Kandace Springs and New York Voices.
ATC Pro products are distributed in the U.S.A. by Transaudio Group. www.transaudiogroup.com