Mick Conley (left) and Marty Stuart
Marty Stuart was born a country music traditionalist who has always embraced the styles and sounds of pure country—right down to recording with his Fabulous Superlatives band in Nashville’s iconic RCA Studio B with the help of Stuart’s longtime engineer Mick Conley and his Harman JBL LSR4300 Series studio monitors.
“Marty is as old school as I am when it comes to the sound he wants to get on his records,” says Conley, who has worked with such artists as Kathy Mattea, Patti Page, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Suzy Bogguss and others. “We want to achieve a rich, full sound with plenty of detail. JBL LSR Series studio monitors are a big part of helping us achieve that.”
For his most recent release, Nashville Volume 1: Tear the Woodpile Down, and his 2010 release, Ghost Train, Stuart sought out the prestigious confines of Studio B. “Studio B was one of the places where the legendary Nashville Sound of the 1960s was created,” Conley notes. “Some of the greatest country music recordings of all time were made there and it was the first place Marty ever recorded. Marty and his band wanted to feel that vibe.”
However, since Studio B is now a museum, they had to get special permission to record there, which meant bringing in some key pieces of gear, including Conley’s JBL LSR4326P studio monitors and LSR4312SP subwoofer. “Studio B might be hallowed ground for recording industry pros—but let’s not forget that it was designed on the back of a napkin,” Conley said. “It’s always had acoustic challenges. I needed monitors I could trust. We use JBL LSR monitors everywhere—at my studio, and at [Marty Stuart’s bassist] Paul Martin’s studio in both stereo and 5.1 configurations, for The Marty Stuart Show and for a recent broadcast of a live concert on SiriusXM. I know can rely on them in any situation.
“In any kind of recording, the hardest thing is to get the bottom end right,” Conley continues. “With the LSRs, I can trust what I’m hearing, whether I’m using a stereo or 5.1 monitoring setup. Their RMC Room Mode Correction enables me to factor out the influence of the room on the low-frequency response and make subtle or major adjustments to the bottom end. Depending on the project, I might or might not use a subwoofer, but even without the sub I know there’s no guessing.”
“When Marty and his band record, we just like to go in and do it—get in there and cut those tracks as a complete performance. For Ghost Train and the newly released Nashville Volume 1: Tear the Woodpile Down, each song was tracked live with minimal overdubs to finish it—then on to the next song. It would be hard to do that if I don’t know what I’m hearing on the monitors is what it really sounds like where the musicians are performing. And of course, The Marty Stuart Show is recorded ‘live’ with a ‘Who’s Who’ of country music stars, so I have to meet Marty’s high standards and his guests’ high standards also. That’s why I rely on the LSR Series studio monitors.”
With a variety of projects on the horizon for the rest of 2012 and beyond, Conley will take his LSR studio monitors wherever he goes. “I don’t want any surprises,” he said. “When it comes to trusting what you’re hearing, your monitors are your only comfort factor.”