With a rich history that includes a number of critically acclaimed recordings, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is Canada’s principal large symphony orchestra. Under the leadership of conductor Peter Oundjian, the orchestra’s performances are regularly recorded and released on its own TSO Live label as well as being available for download via iTunes. Several new recordings are currently in the final mixing and mastering stages, and the reference monitors used for these projects are the Q Series from Equator Audio Research.
Gary Gray, president of Audiolin Music in Toronto, engineers the recordings. A pro audio veteran who over the years served as chief orchestral engineer at Toronto’s Manta Sound, Gray relies on his Equator Audio Q8 and Q10 studio reference monitors. Recently, Gray recorded the Toronto Symphony’s performances of works by composers Gustav Mahler, Anton Bruckner and Sergei Prokofiev and found working with his Equator monitors to be a rewarding experience. “I’m very fond of both the Equator Q8s and the Q10s,” Gray said. “I’ve used the Q10s in the Thomson Hall control booth for the actual recordings as well as in the conductor’s office, so he could select which recordings to use. We typically capture several performances, and then Mr. Oundjian evaluates them and determines which recordings will actually be incorporated onto the new CD.”
Addressing his choice of monitors, Gray focused on one particular attribute of the Equator Q Series. “For me, the number one criterion is the fact that the Equator monitors sound very natural and musical,” Gray said. “There’s not a lot of EQ, compression or other signal processing on this type of recording, so I’m primarily interested in what’s really there — the audio that gets captured right on the floor.” Gray is also impressed with the spatial imaging and ability to handle a wide dynamic range, which he describes as “critically important when it comes to orchestral recordings.”
To complete his projects, Gray routinely finds himself transporting his Equator monitors between Roy Thomson Hall and his own studio. He finds Equator Audio’s room optimization software to be an invaluable aid in helping ensure a consistent listening experience. “The control room at Thomson Hall is quite large, and the speakers are free-standing in the middle of the room,” Gray said, “so there, I found the monitors to be fine right out of the box. My home studio, however, was a completely different story.” To tune that room, Gray found the Equator software to be a quick and painless method of canceling early reflections, enabling accurate, equivalent monitoring in both locations.
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