Los Angeles, CA (March 28, 2022)—Driven to capture all the nuances of a performance, working over the years with the likes of Gov’t Mule, Robbie Williams, Bonnie Raitt, Robben Ford and Los Lobos, John Paterno has made Amphion Two18 monitors and the Amp700 power amplifier critical components in his studio monitoring setup.
Cutting his teeth under producer/engineer team Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake in the early 1990s, Paterno developed a sensibility towards tight groups of musicians who thrived off of mutual chemistry. His recording methodology evolved to facilitate performances, and to give audible fingerprints to these relationships on record. Developing systems that would capture these moments perfectly is still a top priority for him.
“Great performances have always engaged me as a listener — it’s the reason we all go into the studio in the first place,” he explained. “Every session I do I always start with the same question: How do I make the person or people on the other side of the microphone feel comfortable enough that they can deliver a great performance?”
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Key to developing that comfort for performers is, according to Paterno, allowing them to ‘disappear’ into the studio in such a way that all of the instrumentation melts away leaving nothing but the music. Carefully staying out of the way is a subtle art that requires building trust on multiple levels and has encouraged Paterno to develop a singular approach to his methods and chosen tools.
“Developing trust with artists and giving them the space to have that emotional engagement is critical,” he said. “I still feel very fortunate to be invited into an artist’s world, so it’s important that everything works seamlessly once the performances start developing.”
Key to Paterno’s approach is his choice of monitoring: Amphion Two18s with an Amp700 power amp. “If you’re going to sit in front of something for 10-12 hours a day and count on it to deliver that level of detail, it better make you feel good,” he said. “From my first time using the Amphions, I immediately had that rare combination where I could listen to them critically and have the sound be musical. They’re everything I need for a session.”