The ‘Golden Era of Studio Recording’ lies behind us….
… and, like with what happened to reproduction equipment, things started to decline in the 70’s. For the recording studios some say the decline started when the studio’s switched to solid state, while other say the decline started when Dolby was introduced and when purist miking techniques were abandoned in favour of unnatural setups.
Nowadays most recordings are not even ‘true stereo’ anymore. Voices, instruments and effects are recorded in mono and then mixed into a fictional ’sound-field’ at the studio, resulting in an artificial production of an event that never existed in real life.
Needles to say that Audio Note is deeply concerned with these developments, and has committed itself to help studio’s to start ‘re-producing’ music again. For recording studio's we offer world’s finest monitoring equipment and cabling solutions which help reveal truthfully what is (re)produced and recorded.
Academy Award winning French Producer Damien Quintard took the plunge and upgraded his monitoring equipment, and rewired its studio. With astonishing results as he describes below.
If you are owner of a recording studio, feel free to connect and explore how we can assist you to enter into new realms of performance for your clients.
An Academy Award wining Sound Engineer’s opinion
We'd like to thank Damien Quintard for taking the time out of his extremely busy schedule to share his thoughts about his Audio Note (UK) equipment in the piece below: -
Academy Award winner Damien Quintard, the french Producer and Sound engineer, is well known for his work with Maestro Teodor Currentzis. At 25, he’s already worked on major recordings like the acclaimed Mozart Opera “Don Giovanni”, ‘The sound of Light” of Rameau and even the 2015 European Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
Damien Quintard, when not shaking the world with his band Dot Legacy, has been producing more truly phenomenal recordings for Teodor Currentzis. The latest album from Teodor and MusicAeterna is a recording of Tchaikovsky's Symphony 6 'Pathétique', released on Sony Classical. Not surprisingly, it is being lavished with praise for its vision and the performance, and also for the sound quality.
James Longstaffe at Presto Classical had this to say about the release: "it must certainly be one of the most tumultuous, breathtaking, and electrifying recordings of this piece that I have heard in quite some time, and I would recommend it very highly”.
Damien mixed the album in his personal studio, using Audio Note (UK) amplification, cables and loudspeakers. We met him in Paris, where he has established his new studio, to ask his opinion about his Audio Note (UK) system.
“After looking for years for the system that would let me edit, mix and master with complete confidence in the sound, I must say that Audio Note (UK) came as a blessing. The system that I use in my studio is the MEISHU integrated amplifier and the AN-E/SPe HEs Speakers.
The speakers are the most precise beasts I’ve ever listened to. To put it simply, imagine you are in front of the musician, period. They also are unforgiving; if the recording is bad, it is going to sound bad. They have no mercy for mediocrity and these speakers push me every day to get better and better. All the frequencies are represented with the fidelity of a true Hi-fi system but with absolutely no colours added. With good convertors, the transition is seamless and I can work with classical music, rock, electro, you name it.
I was surprised when I saw the small speakers and couldn’t possibly imagine that they could beat a three way speaker system. It’s rare when it feels so good to be so wrong.
Now the fact that the speakers are neutral and transparent might scare some. Don’t be. When combined with the MEISHU, the tube warmth makes a beautiful mixture of power, precision, and fidelity.
While editing, the rate at which we have to play sounds is extremely high. I couldn’t believe that a tube based amplifier could be so responsive. The transients are perfect and after extensive testing and mixing I can guarantee this machine could be used as the main power source for the next Missions to Mars. It really is hard to describe a system that sounds musical and neutral at the same time. I had worked previously with neutral systems or musical systems. It is a truly remarkable achievement to combine both.
Last but not least, the cables. I recently got an upgrade from the Lexus copper speaker and interconnect cables to the silver versions. The first cables were really beautiful, the sound was peaceful, organic but when I upgraded the cables I couldn’t understand what was happening. It was like discovering a whole new way of thinking and viewing the sound. The precision expanded and the system got way more demanding in term of quality! Now I have to work even harder to get a perfect mix.
For me, taking the time to understand the sound and the artists vision is paramount. The MEISHU amplifier and the AN-E/SPe HEs Speakers are the perfect tools for that. At very low volume I can still hear every single detail and it helps when you have 14 hours long sessions to be able to rely on a solid sound and rest your ears while working”.
Producer | Sound Engineer
For reference, Damien uses the following equipment; MEISHU Special integrated amplifier, equipped with transformer coupled balanced / XLR inputs, a pair of AN-E/SPe HE loudspeakers, SOOTTO interconnect cables (balanced / XLR) and SOGON LX 96 bi-wired loudspeaker cables.
Damien had previously used a pair of our AN-E/SPe HE loudspeakers in combination with a custom version of our MEISHU Line Silver amplifier, along with SOOTTO interconnects and SOGON LX96 'speaker cable. He recently moved up to a pair of AN-E ALNICO loudspeakers, which - as the name suggests - use our ALNICO magnet drive units. He kindly shared these comments about them: -
"My thoughts on the new pair of speakers:
The first impression I had was a truly shocking one. i re-re listened my classics and I couldn't believe that I could hear the mixing faders moving! Specially in Take 5 of Dave Brubeck. It is always hard to describe what sound feels like but I will do my best.
Field of play: with the previous speakers I had a perfect stereo field already, I don't think it changed that much with this pair but I must say that I felt like there was an extra layer of precision of the whole width. The best way I could describe it is that, if needed, you could push the boundaries of the sound even further. There aren't many records that were recorded or mixed on such speakers so, if we want to push the stereo even more, I feel that we could certainly claim that we now have the tools to do so. (Uh oh did I just say Stereo??? I meant mono peter.. mono..haha!)
Depth: For me it's linked also to pure volume, Dynamic-wise, I could feel that I could feel 0.1 dB incrementation. Even with my headphones I cannot perceive such small changes. It's much easier to pan precisely spot mics with the new speakers too. The panning for me in not only done on a Left Right field, I use Depth a lot, and they do recreate Orchestral conditions perfectly.
Colors: What can I say, it's the AudioNote "précis et naturel", but on Steroids. It took me some time to get use to it, like the new movies with 24 frames per seconds, we aren't use to so much information, so I had to learn to like it (mix wise).
On a final note, most clients I had requested the headphones, now nobody even asks for them. They just sit and are blasted not by the volume but by the sheer precision and live feeling that you get from the speakers.
One of a kind.
Producer | Sound Engineer
For those of you who are not aware of it, Steve Hoffman, the world famous mastering engineer, has used Audio Note (UK) equipment when mastering many of the (truly exceptional) releases and remasters he has worked on. Below is a list of some of the releases in question... it's pretty likely you may own one or two of them ;-)
America 'America' Audio Fidelity AFZ 167 SACD
America 'Homecoming' Audio Fidelity AFZ 204 SACD
America 'Hearts' Audio Fidelity AFZ 231 SACD
The Band 'The Band' Audio Fidelity AFZ 032 Gold
Jeff Beck 'Truth' Audio Fidelity AFZ 269 SACD
George Benson 'Breezin' Audio Fidelity AFZ 185 SACD
Blood, Sweat & Tears 'Child Is Father To The Man' Audio Fidelity AFZ 195 SACD
Blood, Sweat & Tears 'Blood, Sweat & Tears' Audio Fidelity AFZ 198 SACD
Blood, Sweat & Tears 'Greatest Hits' Audio Fidelity AFZ 241 SACD
Bloomfield, Kooper, Stills 'Super Session' Audio Fidelity AFZ 186 SACD
Blue Öyster Cult 'Secret Treaties' Audio Fidelity AFZ 246 SACD
Bread 'The Best Of Bread' Audio Fidelity AFZ 197 SACD
The Byrds 'Younger Than Yesterday' Audio Fidelity AFZ 110 Gold
B. B. King & Eric Clapton 'Riding With The King' Audio Fidelity AFZ 211 SACD
Eric Clapton 'Behind The Sun' Audio Fidelity AFZ 175 SACD
Eric Clapton 'Journeyman' Audio Fidelity AFZ 180 SACD
Eric Clapton 'Pilgrim' Audio Fidelity AFZ 188 SACD
Nat King Cole 'Welcome To The Club' Audio Fidelity AFZ 153 SACD
Judy Collins 'Colors Of The Day' Audio Fidelity AFZ 220 SACD
Phil Collins 'Hello, I Must Be Going!' Audio Fidelity AFZ 129 Gold
Phil Collins '...But Seriously' Audio Fidelity AFZ 135 Gold
Alice Cooper 'Muscle Of Love' Audio Fidelity AFZ 229 SACD
Crosby, Stills & Nash 'Crosby, Stills & Nash' Audio Fidelity AFZ 131 Gold
Crosby, Stills & Nash 'CSN' Audio Fidelity AFZ 144 Gold
Dio 'Holy Diver' Audio Fidelity AFZ 136 Gold
Dio 'Last In Line' Audio Fidelity AFZ 146 Gold
The Doors 'The Best Of the Doors' Audio Fidelity AFZ 206 SACD
Bob Dylan 'Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits' Audio Fidelity AFZ 140 Gold
Bob Dylan 'Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Vol. II' Audio Fidelity AFZ2 145 2 SACD
Bob Dylan 'The Bootleg Series Vol. 6 – Bob Dylan Live 1964' Audio Fidelity AFZ5 230 2 SACD
Earth, Wind & Fire 'Open Our Eyes' Audio Fidelity AFZ 202 SACD
The Guess Who 'The Best Of The Guess Who' Audio Fidelity AFZ 199 SACD
Heart 'Magazine' Audio Fidelity AFZ 171 SACD
Heart 'Greatest Hits' Audio Fidelity AFZ 119 Gold
Billy Joel '52nd Street' Audio Fidelity AFZ 095 Gold
Janis Joplin 'Cheap Thrills' Audio Fidelity AFZ 150 Gold
Loggins & Messina 'Loggins & Messina' Audio Fidelity AFZ 216 SACD
Loggins & Messina 'Full Sail' Audio Fidelity AFZ 243 SACD
Laura Nyro 'Eli And The Thirteenth Confession' Audio Fidelity AFZ 237 SACD
Peter, Paul & Mary 'Peter, Paul & Mary' Audio Fidelity AFZ 161 SACD
Peter, Paul & Mary 'In The Wind' Audio Fidelity AFZ 181 SACD
Poco 'Pickin' Up The Pieces' Audio Fidelity AFZ 158 SACD
Rage Against The Machine 'Rage Against The Machine' Audio Fidelity AFZ 244 SACD
Rage Against The Machine 'Evil Empire' Audio Fidelity AFZ 254 SACD
Santana 'Lotus' Audio Fidelity AFZ 247 2 SACD
Sly & The Family Stone 'Greatest Hits' Audio Fidelity AFZ 215 SACD
Spirit 'Spirit' Audio Fidelity AFZ 520 SACD
Spirit 'The Family That Plays Together' Audio Fidelity AFZ 260 SACD
Spirit 'Clear' Audio Fidelity AFZ 267 SACD
James Taylor 'Sweet Baby James' Audio Fidelity AFZ 118 Gold
James Taylor 'Mud Slide Slim And The Blue Horizon' Audio Fidelity AFZ 128 Gold
James Taylor 'One Man Dog' Audio Fidelity AFZ 101 Gold
James Taylor 'Walking Man' Audio Fidelity AFZ 109 Gold
James Taylor 'Gorilla' Audio Fidelity AFZ 151 Gold
Ten Years After 'A Space In Time' Audio Fidelity AFZ 112 Gold
Ten Years After 'Rock And Roll Music To The World' Audio Fidelity AFZ 142 Gold
Time Life 'Legends - Crank It Up' Audio Fidelity AFZ 178 SACD
Time Life 'Legends - Get It On' Audio Fidelity AFZ 179 SACD
Various Artists 'The Collection – An Adventure In Sound' Audio Fidelity AFZ 240 SACD
John Williams 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind' Audio Fidelity AFZ 226 SACD
Yes 'Close To The Edge' Audio Fidelity AFZ 147 SACD
Yes 'Going For The One' Audio Fidelity AFZ 157 SACD
Warren Zevon 'Excitable Boy' Audio Fidelity AFZ 166 SACD