Blackbird Sings With Custom ATC Subwoofers

Nashville, TN (September 15, 2006)--Co-owned by seasoned engineer John McBride and his country superstar wife Martina McBride, Blackbird Studio now offers a total of six recording and production areas, plus several pre-production suites. All tracking and mix areas are equipped with ATC self-powered loudspeakers.
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Nashville, TN (September 15, 2006)--Co-owned by seasoned engineer John McBride and his country superstar wife Martina McBride, Blackbird Studio now offers a total of six recording and production areas, plus several pre-production suites. All tracking and mix areas are equipped with ATC self-powered loudspeakers.
Blackbird Studios, Nashville, recently installed a customized ATC 5.1 surround system featuring twin 15-inch 300ASLs for the left, center and right and a pair of the single 15-inch 150ASL subwoofers all across the front wall of the studio and delivering response below 20Hz."My goal has always been to offer the finest audio recording environment on the planet," noted John McBride. "We strive to offer the highest quality possible, and not limit your choices. We feel that the engineers, producers and artists are painting their individual pictures, and we want to offer all the colors on the palette. When the time came to outfit our newest room, Studio F, we turned once again to ATC, whose SCM300ASL and SCM150ASL Pro systems can be found in all our other rooms. Since this room was being designed specifically for use by Justin Niebank, one of our city's most successful recording engineer/producers, we consulted with him and chose this system together. One of the requirements of the room was to be able to deliver a high SPL without distortion, because of the wide variety of musical projects that come into the studio."

Having retained studio designer Mike Cronin to build Studio F, it was during a visit to Blackbird that ATC owner Billy Woodman and transducer/R&D engineer Ben Lilly finalized John's idea of a custom subwoofer. The new room is rectangular with a 750 square-foot floor control room area within a 30 x 24 x 23 foot shell. "We soon realized," Lilly recalled, "that to achieve the performance to 20Hz in Blackbird's new room with high SPLs we needed to develop a custom subwoofer system. John [McBride] already knew he wanted our twin 15 ATC 300ASLs for the front left, center and right speakers and the single 15 version (150ASLs) for the rear surrounds. The room also required an esthetic solution, so we came up with a custom design that included a pair of left and right subwoofers that feature the same baffle dimension as the 300s. They are mounted in soffits, close to the floor, within the concrete-filled front monitor wall." A front-wall location was chosen so that the subwoofers would be equidistant from the mix position, in relation to the LCR mains, and to provide some room loading, therefore increasing low-frequency extension and efficiency.

"We looked at vertical and horizontal arrays," Lilly continued, "but soon realized that for reasons of limited space and symmetry, a horizontal configuration with three 15-inch drivers arranged in a line would be the best solution." Each 15-inch ATC SL sub driver is housed in its own individual enclosure within the overall sub cabinet and is driven by a dedicated ATC built monoblock amplifier rated at 650 W into eight ohms. "That's what makes ATC so different. We have the ability to engage personally with our customers to achieve exactly what they need for their exact situation. The science behind loudspeakers is inescapable, and we develop solutions that enable the customer's goal to be reached but without compromising our acoustic design specification."

"The new 5.1 system sounds outstanding," McBride enthused. "We have a very accurate, very smooth low-frequency response down below 20Hz and great accuracy up to 20K. The room sounds great and also translates extremely well to other listening environments. Justin has mixed a large variety of projects in this room with great success."

"The room measures down to 16Hz!" stressed Bob Hodas of Bob Hodas Acoustic Analysis, the firm that regularly voices Blackbird's main production areas. "We used a 50Hz crossover frequency to the main five-channel ATC system and installed a Meyer CP-10 Complementary Phase Parametric Equalizer. The pair of custom subwoofers ensures a seamless integration with the other loudspeakers, and offer excellent phase and frequency response at the crossover frequency. The new system provides an effortless presentation of bass frequencies. It sounds very, very good."

"We knew from our own experience that the SCM300s go low, but we needed 115-120dB levels at 20Hz," McBride recalled. "The new system delivers that for us. Bob Hodas added very little room EQ and mixes translate very well from the control room to the car to the house. We couldn't be happier with the results from this new ATC system."

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