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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.

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“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!”

Blackbird Studio

Dolby Atmos for Content Creators

Transaudio Group


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.

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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

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ATC Professional Mid-Field Monitor Range – 2019 Cosmetic Update

SCM50A PRO 45Deg Cutout Zoom Tight Crop Email NewsATC 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

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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.

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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

Email: manchester@audio-t.co.uk

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.

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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.
Email: info@puremusicgroup.com
Phone: 0409 504 805
Web:  https://www.puremusicgroup.com/


New ATC Dealer – Acoustic Streams

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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
E: info@acousticstreams.com
W: www.acousticstreams.com

 


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.

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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


ATC UK Hi-Fi Event with The Audiobarn & dCS

ATC are very happy to be supporting Essex based retailer, The Audiobarn at their launch event for the new dCS Bartok.

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ATC will be providing SCM100SE active loudspeakers for the event and ATC technical staff will be on hand to answer any questions you have.

The system on demonstration on the day will be.

  • Roon Nucleus +
  • dCS Bartók DAC
  • ATC SCM100ASL SE TOWER

For more information please visit The Audiobarn website.


NEW ATC UK DEALER: TOM TOM AUDIO

TomTom-logo-joy-amplifiedATC are delighted to announce that Tom Tom Audio have added ATC to their stable of iconic British Hi-Fi manufacturers with a full range of ATC models available for demonstration at their facility in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

For further information or to arrange a demonstration, please contact James or Henry.

 

 

 

Tom Tom Audio ‘Purveyors of iconic British Hi-Fi’

Tel: 01727 810047 | email: tunes@tomtomaudio.co.uk | Tom Tom Audio Website

 


UK SHOW PREMIER FOR NEW INTEGRATED AMP/DAC & CD PLAYER

ATC is celebrating  the 2019 Bristol Hi-Fi Show with the debut of its new SIA2-100 Integrated Amp/DAC and CD2 CD Player, driving a mix of it’s award-winning loudspeakers.

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SIA2-100 Integrated

Compact in size (2/3 width) yet offering 2 x 100W/Ch. and exceptional resolution, this integrated amplifier with on-board high-res DAC is ideally suited to driving ATC’s small & mid-size passive loudspeakers and a very wide range of loudspeakers from other manufacturers. Understated styling makes it easy to integrate with partnering equipment whilst its small footprint occupies very little space in the home.

CD2 CD Player
This compact high-performance CD digital audio source has been designed to offer exceptional performance and compatibility with a very wide range of partnering electronics both from ATC and other high-quality manufactures. Styling compliments ATC’s full range of audio electronics, but its small form factor (2/3 width) makes it the perfect partner to the equally compact SIA2-100 integrated amplifier whilst occupying very little space in the home.

Come hear these new products driving our multi-award winning loudspeakers in room 102.

For more show information visit The Bristol Show Website

 

 


ATC LAUNCHES NEW MATCHING INTEGRATED AMP/DAC & CD PLAYER

ATC are very happy to announce the forthcoming release of two new additions to our range of electronics, the SIA2-100 Integrated and CD2 CD player.

The  SIA2-100 2-channel integrated Amp/DAC and CD2 CD player are designed to work together driving a high-quality passive speaker pair, or individually to upgrade existing sources or amplifiers.  They join a formidable range of high-performance audio electronic products and loudspeaker systems designed and built in Stroud, mostly by hand, for studio and hi-fi applications.

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SIA2-100 Integrated – Overview

Compact in size (2/3 width) yet offering high power output and exceptional resolution, this integrated amplifier with on-board DAC is ideally suited to driving ATC’s small & mid-size passive loudspeakers and a very wide range of loudspeakers from other manufacturers.  Understated styling makes it easy to integrate with partnering equipment whilst its small footprint occupies very little space in the home.

Features

  • 2 x line level analogue inputs.
  • 3 x digital inputs: USB, Coaxial, TOSLINK.
  • Premium AKM 32-bit DAC.
  • USB digital input supports up to 384kHz PCM data and native DSD256.*
  • ATC Discrete MOSFET Output Stage with 100W/Ch. Max. Cont. Power.
  • Headphone amp featuring discrete output stage.
  • Handmade in England.
  • 6 year warranty.

*DSD256 support via PC only (up to DSD128 via Mac).

CD2 Product – Overview

This compact high-performance CD digital audio source has been designed to offer exceptional performance and compatibility with a very wide range of partnering electronics both from ATC and other high-quality manufactures.  Styling compliments ATC’s full range of audio electronics, but its small form factor (2/3 width) makes it the perfect partner to the equally compact SIA2-100 integrated amplifier whilst occupying very little space in the home.

Features

  • High performance TEAC CD Transport.
  • Premium AKM 32-bit DAC.
  • Coaxial & TOSLINK Digital Outputs.
  • Balanced XLR and Un-balanced RCA outputs.
  • ATC Discrete class-A output buffers.
  • Handmade in England.
  • 6 year warranty.**

** TWO years on CD mechanism.

Availability: from 1st April 2019.

Recommended UK Retail Pricing:  SIA2-100 £2500 inc. VAT.  CD2 £1500 inc. VAT.

For pricing outside the UK, please contact the distributor in your region.  They can be found here.

For detailed product information, please visit:  SIA2-100 Product Webpage  CD2 Product Webpage

 


LP Magazine ATC System Review: SCM40, P2, CA2

German Magazine, ‘LP’ has reviewed a complete ATC system in it’s latest edition.  Concluding, reviewer Martin Mertens writes:

It´s been a very long time since we reviewed a system that offers such excellent value for money as the combination of CA2 Mk II preamp, P2 power amp and SCM 40 loudspeakers from ATC.  Everything is simply perfect: Elaborate technology, clean measurements, and most important – an absolutely outstanding sound quality.  LP Magazin, January 2019.

To read the review in full, visit the LP Magazine Website (in German) .

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Loudspeaker Technology Ltd, Gypsy Lane, Aston Down, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL6 8HR.
Tel: +44 (0)1285 760561 Fax: +44 (0)1285760683 Email: info@atc.gb.net
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