The Living Room, located in Manhattan's Lower East Side, has long been a favorite venue for aficionados of folk, country and pop/rock singer/songwriters. Co-owner Steve Rosenthal recently installed studio-quality ATC reference monitors as the sole speaker system.
"I worked with [ATC founder] Billy Woodman and [Sony's SACD director] David Kawakami in setting up the new sound system for the new Living Room," reported Rosenthal, an engineer/producer and owner of New York's Magic Shop Recording Studio, who is partners in the club with Jennifer Gilson. "I do a lot of surround sound mixing for Sony. I've done the Rolling Stones and a bunch of stuff. I'm a big ATC fan, so I wanted to see if we could have ATCs in the performance space. We put in the big ATC SCM150s in the main room, and then I have a separate lounge and DJ area, and there I have a pair of ATC SCM20s. I also have a pair of SCM20s that I use as pinpoint monitors for the stage for recording.
"I thought it was a pretty revolutionary thing to put a large pair of studio monitors in a performance space. After working on ATCs in the studio for a while, I thought it would be an interesting switch to use them in a live setting. After all, it's still the same question of performance, sound quality and accuracy. So far, they've been getting an incredibly great reception. We're probably the only live room that actually has no EQ on the house speakers."
The new Living Room location is slightly larger than the previous venue, seating 100 with standing room for another 35 to 40. Rosenthal worked with engineer Joe Warda to tune the room. "He did all the acoustic work," added Rosenthal, "and did a really great job."
The equipment list at the new location is rounded out with a Midas console and a variety of processing, including Anthony DeMaria compressors. "I don't know a lot of clubs that have tube compressors on the vocals," commented Rosenthal. Microphones include models from Neumann, Sennheiser, Shure and Crown.
"We're going to be doing a lot of surround sound recording in The Living Room using a Decca Tree mic setup. I intend to record everything on DSD [Sony and Philips' proprietary 1-bit Direct Stream Digital format]." A compilation album, The Living Room: Live in NYC, Vol.1, produced and mixed by Rosenthal and featuring performances by Norah Jones and Jesse Harris plus Malcolm Holcombe, Rachel Loshak and Chris Moore, was released last year on Stanton Street Records.