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Upstairs Productions Installs Carl Tatz Design Dual PhantomFocus System

Carl Tatz (left) and Ted Curtis in Curtis’ Upstairs Productions in Oklahoma City

Engineer/producer Ted Curtis selected a Carl Tatz Design Dual PhantomFocus System (PFS) monitor tuning protocol for Upstairs Productions, Curtis’ personal studio in Oklahoma City. Curtis decided on the PhantomFocus System after conducting extensive research and traveling to Nashville to visit a couple of Carl Tatz Design award winning control rooms that use the PhantomFocus System.

“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 says. “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.”

Curtis says, “The [Amek] 9098i [large-format recording and mixing console] 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 125 Hz, a mountain range dip between 35 Hz and 50 Hz, a large bump at 20 Hz, and several other issues in the 500 to 1,550Hz range and 3- to 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. Now, for the first time in my life, I hear exactly what I mixed in the control [room] in both cars, [with] 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.

“Just the ability to put something in the mix in the exact place and level you want it to be, is now effortless,” Curtis continues. “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.”

Curtis also chose Dynaudio Professional M1 near-field monitors driven with the new Bryston 4B SST2 amp, and uses his existing ADAM Audio S5A MK2s in a Dual PFS configuration, in which both near-fields and mains share the same PFS frequency response curve.

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Find more information about the PhantomFocus System.

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