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PMC BB5s take on surprising role for Beyoncé album

Known to mix only on nearfield monitors, Tony Maserati nevertheless mixed eight of Beyoncé's 14 new tracks using the large PMC BB5 XBD active monitors.

PMC reference monitors played a role in Beyoncé’s record-breaking, iTunes-crashing ‘surprise’ fifth solo album released in mid-December of last year. LA-based mix engineer Tony Maserati (pictured, below) worked on eight of the 14 tracks on Beyoncé at his own Mirrorball Studios in Burbank, California, using PMC BB5 XBD Actives at the request of the singer’s long-term A&R representative, Teresa Labarbera Whites.

“Teresa heard the BB5s while working on another project, loved them, and insisted we have them for Beyoncé,” explained Maserati. In addition to the BB5s in Maserati’s studio, PMC’s nearfield twotwo monitors were installed in all the other rooms as work moved from studio to studio, taking advantage of the twotwos’ accuracy and consistency of tone with the BB5s. “Teresa and (recording engineer) Stu White were going from room to room, listening to stuff with me, then working on it in other rooms. They relied on the twotwos to give them a consistent bass reference, so that when they were listening to the mastering on tracks, or to overdubs done by other production teams in different places, they were working from the same reference each time. They were invaluable in that respect.” Maserati, however, stuck to using the BB5s in his room, despite being known to favour mixing on nearfields. “Why? Simple – they’re the best large monitors I have ever used,” he explained. “I never used large monitors. I’ve always said most of them are only in studios to impress the clients. Sure, they’ll go loud, but more often than not they’re painful to listen to, especially over extended periods. But the BB5s are large speakers you can actually mix on, use as a reference, and get work done. I can trust the low end, and the high end isn’t so hyped so that it’s harsh to listen to. So I get to use a proper audio reference – and my clients get hyped listening to stuff on them!”