— Engineer/producer Ted Curtis chooses Carl Tatz Design’s PhantomFocus™ System to transform the monitoring in his Oklahoma City personal studio, Upstairs Productions —
Nashville, TN: “Well, as Carl will attest to, I was a hard sell. I had SERIOUS problems and doubted anyone could fix them. And the results? He knocked it out of the park! It’s simply incredible. The only regret is I wished I had done it sooner. Thanks Carl!” beams Oklahoma’s Upstairs Productions owner/engineer/producer Ted Curtis about his new Dual PhantomFocus™ System (PFS).
“Boy he’s not kidding about being a tough sell,” laughs Carl Tatz of Carl Tatz Design LLC and creator of the PhantomFocus System (PFS) monitor tuning protocol. “Ted has amazing ears and was determined for us to step up to the plate after being so disappointed in the past by everything he had tried to make his monitors sound the way he wanted them to.”
Tatz explains, “This was a textbook example of breaking the myth that having a well designed control room, whether designed by me or another designer, along with great monitors will render great monitoring. The fact is that the monitoring will never begin to approach the sonic impact and accuracy that the PFS can deliver – not even close – and keep in mind that most of these systems are near field.”
As part of his meticulous research, which included his studying all the literature, reading up on the various articles and reviews as well as interviewing PFS users, Curtis traveled to Nashville to experience the PFS for himself in a couple of Carl Tatz Design award winning control rooms. After hearing the systems, he quickly became a believer and decided to make the purchase. However, in spite of his being knocked out by what he heard and the assurance that we bat a thousand on all systems, his enthusiasm was still guarded because of his multiple failed past attempts to optimize the monitoring in his own room.
Expanding on his experience related to his massive console that required thoughtful consideration during the physical implementation of the PFS, Curtis observes, “The 9098i is so sensitive and precise, and the bandwidth and low-end is so remarkable, that not having proper monitoring makes it nearly impossible to work on. You simply can’t guess at it. Before we started I had an 18dB tight Q dip at 125HZ, a mountain range dip between 35Hz and 50Hz, a large bump at 20Hz, and several other issues in the 500-1550Hz range and 3-4K range. It was simply awful. It took many trips to the car to get it right IF you even got it right then. By that time you had completely lost perspective and lost all of your confidence. Well I’m glad to say now, for the first time in my life, I hear EXACTLY what I mixed in the control in both cars, absolutely no surprises. It’s really exciting if not a bit scary. I don’t have anything to blame anymore. I’ve already come a long ways in the confidence department in the short time I’ve had the PFS installed. I urge anyone who is struggling in the same way I was to give it a shot. It may likely change your life.”
Curtis continues, “Just the ability to put something in the mix in the exact place and level you want it to be, is now effortless. You simply mix it the way you want to hear it and it’s right, no more compensation. Snare drum level adjustment is easy. Additionally I’ve never experienced panning like this either. You can hear every single move, no matter how small, as you move from side to side.”
After maintaining the number one position in the Mexican food business for over 20-years in OKC with his Ted’s Cafe Escondido restaurants, Ted understands attention to detail and truly appreciates and demands the best which explains why he goes on to say, “I truly appreciated Carl’s obsession to get things right. Simply put, it’s not done until it’s done. He spent many hours getting things aligned and adjusted, then many hours more tuning, trying crossover points, re-adjusting, etc. At some point you think he’s a mad man! But when it comes time to sit in the driver’s seat, and you hear the results, you understand why he does things the way he does them. His true passion to do his best shines through. In a high-speed world where most don’t care, nor have time to do their best, Carl excels beyond anyone’s expectations.”
Curtis chose to move up to the Dynaudio Professional M1 near fields driven with the new Bryston 4B SST2 amp and use his existing ADAM S5A MK2s in a Dual PFS configuration where both near fields and mains share the same PFS frequency response curve. “The results were predictably stellar,” comments Tatz. “And Ted, who was considering closing the room down before hiring Tatz because his very high expectations were not being met, now drives his monitors with the same thrill and pinpoint accuracy as his exotic Porsche based RUF 3400K sports car.”