Studio Profile: David Gilmour’s Astoria

An oldie but a goodie. This link from Tape Op in 2005.

Here is an excerpt:

What was your general feeling about those monitors?

Well, they were alright. No one was ever very happy with them. We then, in I think the late ‘80s or around 1990, discovered ATC speakers, which were designed by a guy called Billy Woodman in England. He’d designed this soft four-inch midrange dome, when a lot of studio main monitors were using horn-loaded mid-range. Never very pleasant to sit and listen to for any period of time. And these soft-dome speakers were a whole new area, really.

Does the four-inch dome midrange design on your ATC monitors also help even out the dispersion?

Much more so than the horn, yes. James Guthrie was the first person to come across ATC speakers; he raved about them and suggested we have a listen and check some out on the boat. He was already using them himself. We finally did, in I think around 1990. We got some ATC 200s. They were a huge step forward in terms of detail, clarity and neutrality. They appeared a bit bass light – but actually the problem was with our room, not the speakers – we needed more room tweaking. Since then, we worked over the years with the 200s, changing physical support, changing tweeters – they used to come with Audax tweeters and we then changed those to Vifa, as used on their smaller ATC50 speakers. They seemed to work in conjunction with the mids much more seamlessly through the crossover point.

So you completely customized them to your needs.

Yes. Eventually we customized them completely. We changed them from Vifas to Scan Speak Revelators, we changed the cabling several times, we moved and changed the cabinet position – height, wall proximity, angle, etc. We tried many different amplifiers and physical supports and their location several times, and in conjunction with that, we’ve continually worked on the room to give a large area behind the desk – so wherever you move about, the monitoring remains fairly constant and phase coherent. When you’re at the back racks EQing or compressing or whatever, you’re not getting any secondary reflections or funny phase problems when you move. It’s taken us years to achieve that.

So there’s a comfort in knowing that all the sound is equally distributed.

Yes, to a very large area behind the desk, which is not the case with most control rooms. It is very phase coherent when you move about, and it all relates very well. There’s almost no change for a pretty big area behind the desk.

Did you try any other monitors?

We have tried almost all types, Genelec, KRK, PMC, etc. We tried ATC 300s [but] they did not work in this room. Before the refit, putting in the 88R, we tried a pair of ATC 150s, which James had been raving about. He replaced his 200s in Tahoe with 150s. And we tried those, with a bit of juggling about. For various reasons, we preferred them to the 200s. I think the size of the baffle on the front created less of a spike from the mids going into the tweeters and a single 15” driver worked better in our room than the 2 x 12”s. And our monitoring at that point, with the 200s, had been one of the best monitoring systems in the country. Now this was yet another good step forward.

So the 150s fit the specs of the room a bit better.

Absolutely, yes…