Tag Archives: atc

Charney Audio Maestro Loudspeakers | REVIEW

  From my first exposure to Charney Audio speakers at a Capital Audiofest a few years back, I’ve remained somewhat smitten with the possibilities that exist in the world of well-designed single-driver speakers. The single-driver [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Grover’s Wrap-Up and Best of Show | T.H.E. SHOW 2021

THE SHOW 2021 was, by my estimation, a reason for cautious optimism. Everything appeared to go off without a hitch, attendees were well-behaved and plentiful enough, and exhibitors seemed pleased by the amount and depth [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

ATC, Lone Mountain Audio, TriangleArt | T.H.E. SHOW 2021

Lone Mountain Audio, or perhaps more accurately the United States distributor for ATC Loudspeakers, had one of the large rooms on the main floor of T.H.E. Show and they were making full use of it. [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Parasound Halo P 6 2.1 Channel Preamplifier and DAC | REVIEW

Parasound has been an audio name for quite a while. They were well-established way back during my audiophile indoctrination in the late ’80s. While they still have the classic line, now called New Classic, they have since introduced the Z Custom, Zone Master and Halo product lines, with Halo being their flagship products. I was fortunate enough to receive the Parasound Halo P 6 2.1 Channel Preamplifier and DAC, and the JC 5 Stereo Power Amplifier. I just finished reviewing the JC 5 Stereo Power Amplifier, which you can read here. The Halo series comes with either a silver or black finish–I received the former. I think the appearance is a step up from a standard flat faceplate and looks elegant without getting too fancy. There is optional hardware for rack mounting (model HRA) in a pro audio or home theater rack. In the box you get the Parasound Halo P 6 2.1 Channel Preamplifier and DAC, a remote control, a USB cable and a 12V trigger cable. According to Parasound’s website, several movie and music companies use Parasound in their systems, hence the rack mount options. Parasound Halo P 6: the Proverbial Multi-Tool I have to admit that the [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

True Life Audio SSP-1 Preamplifier and SSA-300 Monoblock Amplifiers | REVIEW

Before we get to True Life Audio, I would like to tell you a story. Once upon a time there was this handsome young prince doctor busting his cojones working for the local health system trying to make living. Oh, he did reviews too and show coverage when night shifts allowed him to. Those days are over, the doctor moved to the Greek island of Zakynthos and set up a private practice and they lived happily ever after. And that’s that. So nowadays my glorious ATC–ASR–Rockna-Garrard system is no more, details to follow. Time is a bit of an issue, the good doctor gained a couple of daughters in the meanwhile but he is looking to get back to one of his greatest passions, meaning listening to classic music.  And over the last few months he found the perfect opportunity to return in style, with one hell of a system, even if on a loan. Hors d’oeuvre and soup, cables and sources Buckle up, this is going to be quite a feast. But before we get to True Life Audio, once again, let’s see what’s left from my previous system. For starters the cables are all pretty much the same. [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Wilson Audio SabrinaX Loudspeakers | REVIEW

Most audiophiles know of the unwavering commitment to accuracy and groundbreaking industrial design baked into the DNA of every Wilson Audio product (website), and the new Wilson Audio SabrinaX loudspeakers are no exception. This was first evident in Dave Wilson’s original assault on the state of the art with his WAMM design circa 1981, and other loudspeaker systems followed over the years. Along with advancements in materials science and simple but visually striking industrial design aesthetics, each loudspeaker system has a unique raison d’etre rather than simply various scaled-down models at different price points. Words and photos by Dave McNair Dave Wilson practically devoted his life to designing a speaker that would precisely reproduce what his ears (and mics) heard on his extraordinary recordings. His recording approach was a simple, purist style used to record musicians playing in natural acoustic spaces. It might seem simple, but there is nothing easy about this kind of approach. So it naturally follows that faithfully reproducing the recording of that event in a home listening room was his ideal. Today, Daryl Wilson and the rest of the great crew at Wilson Audio have maintained those same ideals and goals while simultaneously refining, improving, and [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Living Voice IBX-R3 Loudspeakers | REVIEW

Here’s a little witticism for you all to ruminate upon before I dive into the Living Voice IBX-R3 (website) loudspeakers: “You can have it all, but just not at the same time.” My wife really likes this one, as it was told to her many years ago by a very smart matron when she was trying to raise children, earn a graduate degree, volunteer in the community, and forge ahead with a professional career. Once she took the advice to heart, her life took on a sense of much-needed focus and satisfaction. Here I am thinking, as a seasoned audiophile and reviewer, that this advice might well apply to our lot also. I have three systems in rotation here these days. One consists of my big ATC speakers driven by a big Pass Labs amp, and it does scale and dynamic like nobody’s business.  Another is built around the legendary Quad ESL63 panel speakers driven by either tube or solid state amplification, which have a magic all their own, but alas don’t revel in the strengths of the ATC/Pass combo. And then there is the review system. The focal point is the pair of efficient Living Voice IBX-R3 speakers powered [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Studio Showcase: Asheville’s Vinyl Answer

Musician, composer, producer and label owner Gar Ragland founded Citizen Vinyl, which includes a recording studio centered around a Rupert Neve Designs 5088 console.
Musician, composer, producer and label owner Gar Ragland founded Citizen Vinyl, which includes a recording studio centered around a Rupert Neve Designs 5088 console. David J. Simchock

Asheville, NC (November 30, 2020)—Vinyl record sales have been steadily rising over recent years, a fact that did not go unnoticed by 30-year music industry veteran Gar Ragland. Following a visit to musician Jack White’s pressing plant in Detroit several years ago, he decided to open his own vinyl facility in the mountains of North Carolina.

The Citizen Vinyl facility includes a recording studio, record pressing plant, café/bar, record store/art gallery and performance space.
The Citizen Vinyl facility includes a recording studio, record pressing plant, café/bar, record store/art gallery and performance space. Stephan Pruitt Photography

“It was seeing what Third Man Pressing are doing that really helped affirm my gut instinct that a similar concept would do well in Asheville,” says Ragland. “Not only because of our homegrown love of music and history of craft here in North Carolina, but also because we have 12 million tourists coming through town, many of whom are seeking a cultural adventure.”

Ragland’s Citizen Vinyl plant, on the first floor of the historic three-story Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper building, has plenty to appeal to tourists. The pressing plant, operated under the guidance of German native Peter Schaper, is behind glass and open to view. Ragland’s business concept has evolved to include a collective of local craftspeople.

“Under one business entity, we have vinyl pressing along with a vinyl record-themed cocktail bar, a farm-to-table café, and a store, Coda, that features new vinyl records and an art gallery featuring local visual artists. We call it analog sound and art,” he says. Staff curate Daily Sides, an in-store vinyl playlist that’s posted on Instagram and soon will be streamed on Citizen Vinyl’s website.

The newspaper built broadcast studios for its WWNC-AM radio station on the third floor in 1939, introducing a national listening audience to bluegrass music. “Hundreds of acts would play in Studio A, including Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys,” says Ragland.

Having rented a room for years at the nearby Echo Mountain Recording facility, Ragland, a musician, composer, producer and owner of the New-Song Music label, saw an opportunity to open his own studio. The building’s owner was days from turning WWNC’s studios into office space when Ragland took a tour: “I pleaded with him to put the sledgehammers down and give us some time to figure out how we could save this piece of Asheville and American roots music history.”

The new recording facility, created out of the former broadcast studios of WWNC-AM, has an emphatically analog mindset.
The new recording facility, created out of the former broadcast studios of WWNC-AM, has an emphatically analog mindset. Stephan Pruitt Photography

The Citizen Studios are in WWNC’s former Studio A, with 32 tielines to the high-ceilinged Studio B, now a multipurpose live and event space. “We’ve tracked a few projects in there and are still figuring out what the room’s strengths and weaknesses are,” he says.

“We hired David Rochester of Technical Audio Services to work on our restoration and treatment. He’s also a dealer for Rupert Neve Designs, so I worked with him to get a 5088 console in here and he helped with the wiring and installation. He’s been a great member of the Citizen Vinyl team.”

Ragland, a Rupert Neve fan, says, “What I love about this console is that it’s a new, warrantied piece of equipment, but it has all the mojo and vibe of the classic Neve sound. It’s got a lot of depth and breadth and horsepower, but it’s also simple and elegant in its design, which I find empowering.”

He has since added some Shelford modules in the desk’s penthouse. “Those sound so good—the EQs are amazing. Over time, and as our needs grow, I can pick up more.”

Ragland’s moved in his collection of gear and added some new pieces, including pairs of ATC SCM25A Pro and Yamaha NS-10M nearfield monitors. “I’m really into analog sound and trying to do as much out of the box as I can,” says Ragland. “I find it’s a much more enjoyable workflow and a more creative way to put mixes together.”

Studio Showcase: Fever Recording Runs Hot

Studio Showcase: L.A. Studio Follows Its Muse

Ragland intends to continue taking projects to Echo Mountain. “We have no aspirations of being a commercial recording studio. In addition to my own workload, there are a couple of younger producers and engineers coming in a few days a month, but we’re not advertising day rates.”

Mastering engineer Ryan Schilling of American Vinyl Company has now moved his Neumann VMS 66 lathe into WWNC’s former control room. “We’re going to be able to offer vinyl mastering services on site for our pressing clients,” says Ragland. He plans to engage Schilling’s services to offer local and touring artists and their fans limited-edition vinyl keepsakes of in-store performances in the first-floor space.

“It’s not the ideal time to be starting a business,” Ragland admits, “but vinyl sales are up 17 percent from last year. It’s one of these industries that’s grown—not despite the pandemic but because of it.”

Citizen Vinyl • www.citizenvinyl.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Studio Showcase: Fever Recording Runs Hot

Fever Recording underwent a remodel to give it more of a boutique hotel vibe, according to owner Eric Milos.
Fever Recording underwent a remodel to give it more of a boutique hotel vibe, according to owner Eric Milos. Sven Doornkaat

North Hollywood, CA (November 3, 2020—Fever Recording owner Eric Milos recently swapped out the aging Solid State Logic 4048G console for an SSL Duality Delta Pro-Station desk in the facility’s main control room. “It sounds great, it looks great and the functionality, with Pro Tools control on the surface and the marriage of the console automation with the Pro Tools automation system, really gives you the best of both worlds,” he says.

Milos acquired Fever Recording, formerly owned and operated by multi-Grammy-winning producer and songwriter Warryn Campbell, at the tail end of 2016. The main studio, with its own tracking room, lounge and kitchen, is separate from the rest of the building, the other half of which houses three production rooms, rented to long-term clients, with shared amenities.

“There’s a gated back parking lot where you can pull in and walk straight into the studio. We’ve had a number of artists in who appreciate that privacy,” he says.

Milos, originally from Ohio, graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2010 and cut his engineering teeth at Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood. He subsequently hired on as an engineer at Clear Lake Recording, which chief audio engineer Brian Levi established in 1987. In 2012, Milos purchased the Clear Lake facility and much of the equipment in it.

Clear Lake’s Studio A was designed by George Augspurger. “It’s got a really great Trident 80B console. It has been a great tracking room for all of its life, with a wonderful sounding drum room and a great grand piano. We do everything—every style, every type of session,” says Milos, from large ensembles to solo vocals.

Studio Showcase: L.A. Studio Follows Its Muse

Pro Tools Ultimate and a Studer A827 tape machine are both available. Outboard, there is a Neve sidecar and various pieces of vintage Pultec, Eventide and Lexicon gear alongside some of the newer studio standard gear, plus classic Neumann, Sony and other tube mics. “There’s also a nice smattering of modern mics. We’ve never not had enough microphones for a session,” he says.

“When I took over, probably half the cool vintage equipment there. I could never dream of spending the money you would have to pay for it now.”

Fever Recording's control room is centered around a SSL Duality console
Fever Recording’s control room is centered around a SSL Duality console. Sven Doornkaat

Milos built a B room in 2016 to handle overdubs, vocals, tracking and mixing. “It’s got an Avid D-Command and a basic set of outboard. We do a lot of vocal overdubs in there, for all genres of music, and we do a little bit of 5.1 mixing and some ADR.”

Two small production rooms, designated C and D, are leased out on a monthly basis. “In one room, we have a composer who has been with us for three or four years,” he says.

Fever Recording, located a couple of miles west along Burbank Blvd., underwent a bit of a remodel along with the Duality desk upgrade, says Milos, to give it more of a boutique hotel vibe. “We also got a few pieces of outboard gear, like the SSL Fusion, which everybody has been loving. The price-to-fun ratio has been excellent.”

The control room door barely cleared the old short-loaded 64-frame 4000G desk. “It was too big for the room. This Duality fits, and it looks like a spaceship,” says Milos, who bought the console, formerly at a N. Hollywood recording school, through Vintage King.

“I’ve done a couple of mixes on it; it’s so much fun and clients have been loving the Duality. I couldn’t be happier.”

Nestled in the control room is a well-appointed credenza of outboard gear.
Nestled in the control room is a well-appointed
credenza of outboard gear. Sven Doornkaat

The Duality behaves more like an SSL 9000 series desk, he says. “We can push it a little bit harder than a 4k. There have been occasions where we were getting a little bit of distortion on the master buss of the 4k, because we didn’t have the headroom for a massive 808.”

On the subject of headroom and 808 kick drums, Milos has also bolstered the Bryston-powered Augspurger main monitor system at Fever. “I added some dual-18 Meyer Sound subwoofers that I saw on Craigslist. It’s a great full-range system when you switch up to the mains. For the most part, people are up on the mains when they’re doing production and getting a feel for the song. Then they switch to the ATC25A nearfields for tracking and mixing, for more detail.” There is also a pair of Yamaha NS-10s.

“Anybody familiar with the 4k pretty much gets the Duality right away. In that studio, we do a lot of hip-hop and top-40 stuff, so there’s a lot of production—keyboards and that kind of stuff—and not a lot of full tracking. The Duality is nice for the situation where there are 20 people in the control room, and everything is interfaced, and being able to control Pro Tools.”

Fever Recording • www.feverrecording.com

Clear Lake Recording • www.clearlakerecordingstudios.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

McGary Audio SA2 Power Amplifier | Review

When I first set eyes on the attractive McGary Audio SA2 vacuum tube amplifier, the first thought that entered my head was “stingray.” Anyone who has observed this sea creature will know immediately what I mean: just one look at that front panel tells the story. Anyway, I can’t use that moniker, as it’s been assigned already to Manley Laboratories’ iconic product of the same name. When I was a kid, I greatly enjoyed watching a particular type of ray termed the cownose ray for the obvious protuberance on its front portion. These rays frequented the waters around the house where I grew up and were great fun to watch, chase, and attempt to capture. Of course, we were never successful at the latter. Popping off the diamond-shaped thingy (really a cover) on the front panel of the SA2 exposes a pair of RCA jacks for single-ended input of signal. There! I had it… now the front panel looked much like the profile of my favorite cownose ray! Even better, the McGary Audio SA2 takes on the appearance of a friendly ray, complete with winking eyes in the form of magic eye tubes positioned on each “wing.” More about these [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile