OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 2015: Engineer John Cuniberti’s first professional highlight was a gig mixing monitors for Stevie Wonder in the late 1970s. After that, he pivoted to the studio and has since recorded, mixed, and mastered hundreds of major- and indie-label artists, including The Dead Kennedys, Tracy Chapman, Thomas Dolby, and the Grateful Dead. Cuniberti worked with legendary guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani to record his first professional studio album, Not Of This Earth, in 1986, and the two have been a productive team ever since. Most recently, they traveled to Skywalker Sound and 25th Street Recording (Oakland, California) to cut tracks for Satriani’s forthcoming album, Shockwave Supernova. Given the tremendous success they had had with ATC SCM25A three-way active monitors in Satriani’s home studio, they rented a pair at both Skywalker and 25th Street.
“A little while back, Joe expressed growing frustration with the nearfields he had in his studio at the time,” said Cuniberti. “He felt like the mid-range was too forward and aggressive, and that led him to make decisions that didn’t translate outside of the studio. I recommended the ATC SCM25As, and he immediately fell in love with their musicality and the way the decisions he made in the studio translated elsewhere.” When Cuniberti arrived at Skywalker, he didn’t find any nearfields that he felt comfortable using, so he arranged to rent a pair of ATC SCM25As for the two weeks they had booked. Then the same thing happened at 25th Street Recording. “25th Street had massive ATC SCM300ASL and SCM150ASL soffit-mounted loudspeakers, which sounded great, but again… no nearfields I wanted to use,” he said. “Again, we rented SCM25As. Finally Joe decided to buy a pair from Sweetwater for himself.”
“Working with the ATC SCM25As at Skywalker Sound, at 25th Street Recoding, and at my home studio has been a wonderful experience,” said Satriani. “In all three environments, the sessions stayed accurate with imaging I could trust, and the individual tracks always came up clear, punchy, and transparent. The SCM25As are powerful yet precise sounding speakers, without the ear fatigue. Most importantly, it’s fun to create music on them!”
Cuniberti agreed: “We were able to spend time between the SCM25As all day, day after day, without getting stressed out. They sound great loud and have an impressive low-frequency response. Importantly, now that we’re listening back at home, everything we tracked at Skywalker and 25th Street sounds like I expected it to sound. There are no surprises. I think that’s the mark of an effective studio monitor. I think the industry has evolved to this point. You can go back to the NS-10 craze, which I think happened because everyone was so hungry for a stable reference point. Then some more truly transparent models started emerging, but the evolution of those modeled tended toward hype on the high end and hype on the low end. Sure, that makes a mix sound ‘good,’ but it burns the engineer out and leads to mixes that are flat and lifeless on other systems. In contrast, ATC’s professional division has remained committed to building monitors that will allow an engineer to work long hours without fatigue and with the confidence that the music will sound right everywhere else.”