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Crystalphonic Adds Aria to Gear Treasure Trove

From left: Kevin McNoldy, Crystalphonic mastering engineer/producer/owner and Temple Newbold, mastering engineer

Crystalphonic Recording Studio in Charlottesville, Va. recently acquired a new Aria Reference Series electronics package. The all-discrete Class-A Aria package, now mated to the studio’s existing 1-inch 2-track ATR-102 transport, was purchased from ATR Services of York, Pennsylvania.

The 1-inch ATR-102 deck, also supplied by ATR services and then equipped with refurbished stock electronics, was among the first pieces of gear at Crystalphonic. The addition of Aria electronics has pushed the sound of the ATR across a new threshold, according to engineer/producer and studio CEO Kevin McNoldy. “On every mastering project, we compare the original mix with the mastered mix, both before tape and after tape. The ATR/Aria combination cannot be compared to other formats because it truly is the pinnacle of analog recording technology.” McNoldy notes that several Dave Matthews live releases were mastered using the Aria shortly after its arrival.

The ATR/Aria takes it place among the elite of Crystalphonic’s equipment roster, notably the 50-plus channels of outboard preamps (Calrec, Langevin, Neve, Telefunken) and a like number of prized compressor/limiters (Fairchild 670, original EMI, RCA BA6A). Other meticulously maintained analog centerpieces include an SSL console and an MCI JH-24 multitrack recorder. On the digital side, Crystalphonic boasts multiple Pro Tools HD systems and a generous stock of high-end AD/DA converters.

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