PRODUCER/ENGINEER/SONGWRITER/GUITARIST MAT MITCHELL WORKS FASTER WITH ATC
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 2018: Twenty-five years into his career, Mat Mitchell has a lot going on, little of which fits into tidy job descriptions. He’s a producer and an all-things tech having toured the world on behalf of Nine Inch Nails, Tool, and Katy Perry. He’s also the lead guitarist and producer for Tool and A Perfect Circle front man Maynard James Keenan’s band, Puscifer. When not on the road, Mitchell works out of his private studio space in north Hollywood centered on an SSL 6000E/G+ console with Apogee Symphony II converters and tons of fabulous outboard gear. His most recent work is with The Beta Machine, the up-and-coming project of A Perfect Circle’s Matt McJunkins and Jeff Friedl. Mitchell recorded the band’s EP, “All This Time,” and is just about to finish producing, recording, and mixing the band’s debut full-length. Before doing so, however, Mitchell ditched his NS-10s for a new pair of ATC SCM45A monitors.
“I’m pretty old school, and I used NS-10s forever,” Mitchell said. “I always had good results because I knew how to work with them, but recently I was listening to some of my mixes in a friend’s mastering room. It was easy to hear things that I had to really focus on to hear in my studio, and I thought, ‘you guys are having a whole different experience!”. Inspired by the thought of having that same experience on a daily basis, Mitchell arranged a demo with Troy Manning at Vintage King Audio, Los Angeles.
“We started out with a pair of ATC SCM25As, which sounded fantastic,” Mitchell said. “Then I wanted to try some other monitors just to get a sense of what’s out there. Sometimes a particular manufacturer initially made me think, ‘that sounds great!’ but once I listened closer to songs I was familiar with, I could tell that things were missing or exaggerated. We tried some of this and some of that, and then we bumped up to the next level speakers. I heard some other manufacturers, and then Troy put on the ATC SCM45As. I was like, ‘ok, we’re done here!’ To my ears, they were very familiar and also very honest.”
Once they were back at his studio, Mitchell had fun playing songs he knew well both alone and with some close friends. “I had a pretty good idea of which songs had mixes I considered were really perfect, and that came through on the ATCs,” he said. “But I also detected problems that I had never heard before in some other songs. On my old monitors, they all sounded like ‘great mixes.’ Now I could discern different levels of ‘great!’ The differences were obvious.”
Mitchell completed the mixes for all eleven songs of The Beta Machine’s forthcoming debut full-length on his new ATC SCM45As. “I think when it’s all said and done, I’m getting to the same place I used to get to, but it’s so much easier and faster,” he said. “I’m reacting to the mix and making choices much more quickly. Any problems are instantly apparent – it’s like, ‘oh, that’s out of phase’ or ‘that needs to come down 1.5dB.’ Plus, it’s more exciting. Once I have things is a good place, it’s fun to turn it up because the ATC’s sound so great! The imaging is wide and precise. And of course, as advertised, the ATCs translate perfectly. Every mix sounds just right on my home stereo, in my car, on my phone, and anywhere.”
Mat Mitchell’s Website
ATC SCM45A Pro Webpage
The Ear Review the CDA2 Mk2
Writing for, The Ear, Jason Kennedy reviews our latest digital source, the CDA2 Mk2.
“ The CDA2 Mk2 is well built, comprehensively equipped and highly revealing, but more importantly it makes familiar material engrossing, it makes you listen longer and dare I say it, louder. ATC has driven down distortion and noise so that more of the crucial timing and imaging cues can be heard, in the process they have delivered their finest digital product yet, it’s a great pity they took it away!”
Jason Kennedy, The Ear, April 2018.
Read the review in full at The Ear website.
Hi-Fi News Review the New CDA2 Mk2
“…with a wide-open sound, masses of detail and unrestrained slam. It makes a fine partner for power amps and active speakers alike, getting on with the business of delivering the music without adding or subtracting anything. If it does all you need, it’s a bargain”. Andrew Everard, Hi-Fi News, April 2018.
Connect to a PC or streamer and use the on-board high resolution DAC to bring your music library, Tidal or Spotify to life.
Also need CD? No problem – simply use the CDA2 like a traditional player but connected directly to a power amp or active loudspeakers.
If you’ve also got a vinyl collection, hook up a phono stage via one of two analogue inputs.
Find much more information and an in-depth review and lab test in the latest edition of Hi-Fi News, available in print or digital editions now or via the link below.
To read in full or download a PDF, click this link to the CDA2 Mk2 Review.
ATC launches CDA2 Mk2 CD/DAC Preamplifier
Wholesale upgrades to ATC’s leading source product deliver audiophile levels of accuracy and dynamics to music reproduction, combined with extraordinary value for money…
ATC Loudspeaker Technology is extremely proud to announce the arrival of the CDA 2 Mk2 CD/DAC Preamp, which represents a re-engineering of its predecessor in all the key performance areas. Developed as the ideal partner for ATC’s latest P2 power amplifier and active speaker designs, the Mk2 combines convenient USB access to high-resolution music streaming with an upgraded CD transport and DAC board, dedicated headphone amplification, expanded input choices and analogue circuits redesigned to deliver an extremely wide and flat frequency response with very low distortion.
Joining rear panel coaxial and optical 192kHz inputs, the Mk2’s new high resolution USB input is capable of handling PCM data up to 384kHz and also DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 natively. Excellent jitter rejection ensures that signal integrity is maintained even with poorer quality sources and over long cable runs. Completing the Mk2’s wider digital interface, a new TEAC-supplied CD transport delivers faster play and seek times, much lower mechanical noise and improved error correction.
The meticulously re-engineered analogue circuits optimise ATC’s implementation of a new premium 32-bit AKM DAC, selected for exceptionally low noise and distortion. Supporting the DAC, the Mk2’s power supply architecture employs no fewer than nine additional high performance voltage regulators, and local power supply decoupling has been improved from the Mk1, yielding further performance gains.
In another refinement, both input and output gain stages have been improved by an arrangement of discrete op amps comprising six common gain blocks: two for left and right input buffering, and four to provide a “true” differential output for the left and right channels. The positive and negative drivers are arranged in parallel to ensure that the signal delays and phase shifts are identical on both sides. The output stages are configured as unity gain complementary compound (Sziklai) pairs, biased in class A.
These major design revisions combined with many marginal gains (from hand-soldering surface mount components on the legs of specific chips for instance) ensure that the CDA2 Mk2’s analogue stage exhibits exceptionally low noise and distortion across a very wide bandwidth.
Also benefitting are twin rear-mounted analogue phono/RCA inputs and an additional aux analogue input via 3.5mm mini jack, which is equipped with high input sensitivity for improved compatibility with phones, tablets and other low output portable devices. Additionally the Mk2 benefits from a revised high performance headphone amplifier capable of driving headphones from 30 – 600 ohms, delivering exceptional results from the vast array of modern headphone designs. Output is via a rear panel mounted 6.35mm jack.
The CDA2 Mk2’s chassis is constructed from a combination of steel and aluminium and uses constrained layer damping to control panel resonances. The front panel is machined from an extruded section of 13mm/0.5” aluminium alloy with a brushed and anodised silver finish.
The product is supplied with IR remote control and is covered by a six year warranty (2 years CD mechanism).
Recommended UK Retail: £2950 (inc. VAT).
UK Show Premier for new CDA2 CD/DAC preamplifier
ATC is celebrating its Bristol show debut with the UK show premier of its CDA2 Mk2 CD/DAC preamplifier, driving a mix of the brand’s multi-award winning passive and active speaker designs.
The Mk2 combines convenient USB access to high-resolution music streaming with an upgraded CD transport and DAC board, dedicated headphone amplification, expanded input choices and analogue circuits redesigned to deliver an extremely wide and flat frequency response with very low distortion.
Join us for the first time at Bristol: Room 102!
The show takes place from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th February and is held at the Marriott City Centre Hotel, Bristol.
Sound & Vision – The Bristol Show Website
Martin Colloms Reviews the SCM50PSL for Hi-Fi Critic
“this is a fine loudspeaker of startling dynamic range with great clarity and excellent resolution.”
Martin Colloms, Hi-Fi Critic, December 2017.
The SCM50PSL has been awarded a much coveted, ‘Audio Excellence’ award by highly regarded magazine, Hi-Fi Critic, the only independent advert free magazine featuring venerable reviewers, Paul Messenger and Martin Colloms.
Here’s just a little more of Martin’s thoughtful insights into the SCM50PSL.
“The inherent neutrality enabled all kinds of material to express itself, from jazz (both forceful and relaxed examples) to heavy rock such as classic Hendrix, where you were brought almost to the front of the audience at high sound levels. The more modern Keith Richards’ Main Offender sounded like we were present in the monitoring room, it was so punchy and immediate…I suppose its great virtue was the way it became acoustically unobtrusive, allowing the wide range of music programme we sampled to tell their individual stories.”
“This ATC three-way generated powerful, tuneful and believably accurate sound images. Despite reasonably compact stand-mount proportions, it had fine bass with extension, tune playing and attack, a very neutral and well integrated midrange, and a sweet, detailed and natural high frequencies. Rather more powerful than its modest proportions might indicate, this fine design delivers stereo images on a grand scale, and conveys much of the character and detail in fine recordings. It hits the audio excellence level for its sheer all round ability – not least the massive power handling and the resulting dynamic range.”
Martin Colloms, Hi-Fi Critic, December 2017.
To read the review in full, open or download the PDF here: Hi-Fi Critic SCM50PSL Review
Limited Edition High Gloss SCM7
ATC have produced a limited run of the SCM7 finished in high gloss red, yellow and black for the Hong Kong and Chinese markets. The speakers are available now from Sound Concepts in Hong Kong and exclusive retailers in mainland China.
HTS7 5.1 Wins AV Tech Media Award for Best On-Wall Speaker System
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…