— Turnkey Monitor Tuning Protocol Provides World Class Performance Even in Nightmare Acoustic Environments —
Nashville, TN: Continuing the trend of the engineer / producer / musician / songwriter needing his or her own studio, Nashville’s Kyle Lee (Michael W. Smith, TobyMac) accepted an invitation to become part of a larger studio complex that housed several other artists, engineers and producers. The space he was given was a former overdub booth that would be his control room. The list of egregious acoustic anomalies included a small lopsided cone-shaped room; a commercial dropped ceiling; and only high frequency absorption with a little foam in two corners. “No matter what positioning I tried with the speakers, the center imaging was vague and I just couldn’t find any low end,” says Lee, “even though my monitors were spec’ed to go down to 45Hz. I used a small subwoofer and that just confused the issue, adding a one-note bass quality to the sound.”
Enter Carl Tatz Design (CTD) and the PhantomFocus™ System monitor tuning enhancement protocol that was able to essentially ignore the room problems. “I love tough rooms like this because the transformation is so dramatic,” explains Tatz. “Dropped ceilings are always a wild card for low frequency performance, either working for you or against you and sometimes both. Because of the asymmetricality of the room, the left and right speakers had very different low frequency responses. Luckily, there was some symmetry to the side walls next to the monitors, and they had enough absorption to kill any flutter echo. The PhantomFocus System implementation was easily able to tame and correct all these issues and provided Kyle with a stunningly accurate sweet spot.”
Lee says that he was at the end of his rope when he called Tatz and frankly was a bit skeptical after all he had tried to make the room work. “I basically hung on Carl’s reputation to deliver the room, and when it was done I realized everything he said would happen did happen. Like, the speakers would ‘go away’ and I would be listening to music and not speakers anymore; the center imaging was holographic and the low end was really solid and tight. I was a little afraid at first that because all the reference cuts we were listening to sounded so amazing now on the Focal Twin 6Bs, I was concerned that everything would sound that way, and I would feel like I wouldn’t have to do anything to my mixes.” Those fears were quickly allayed when Lee threw up some older mixes and then put up the tracks of his current project. “I realized that if a mix is good it will sound really good on the PFS and if it’s bad, it sounds really bad – that’s how revealing it is. Now if I could just get some work done because everyone in the complex wants to come in and hear my monitors now.”
About the PhantomFocus™ System
Once the basic acoustic treatment has been accomplished, Carl Tatz Design’s proprietary PhantomFocus™ System offers clients a unique opportunity to have a truly world class monitoring experience in their room, no matter how modest they may perceive their room to be. The PhantomFocus System enhances their monitors of choice to perform accurately at a full 20Hz to 20KHz frequency response with pinpoint imaging in an almost holographic sweet spot — this enables their mixes to travel anywhere with a new level of sonic accuracy. There are approximately fifty steps in the proprietary PhantomFocus System implementation protocol, some of which may include phase and laser alignment, damping, isolation mounts, careful assessment of engineer/speaker placement relative to their room’s primary axial modes, proprietary speaker distance and angle, crossover points for pass filtering, and finally parametric equalization. Hardware can include monitor stands, concrete, granite, Sorbothane, closed cell foam, and other isolation and decoupling materials, custom floating plenum mounts, subwoofer system, custom crossover, parametric equalizers and the monitors themselves (passive or active). The evaluation and implementation is a full two-day process and can be applied to nearfields, midfields, and large soffit mounted monitors, regardless of manufacturer. Carl Tatz Design can install the PhantomFocus System in existing control rooms or in studios that are designed and built from the ground up by CTD. The result is like the aural equivalent of HD TV. Once you experience a PhantomFocus Monitor System, you can’t go back.