Artists and producers in the Los Angeles area are steadily notching up their demand for stereo mastering on the 1-inch analog format. In response, studios and rental companies are purchasing additional inventories of 1-inch ATR-102s from ATR Service Company (York, Pa.).
"We’ve seen a gradual building of interest, month by month," said Gary Ladinsky, president of the Design FX rental company. "We bought one machine and then ran into a situation where we were getting more calls, and that machine was already out!"
Design FX now has two of the machines working at various studios around Southern California. According to Ladinsky, recent 1-inch analog mixes using his ATRs include projects by Meat Loaf, BeBe Winans, Lee Ritenour, Blue October and System of a Down.
Extasy Recording also owns a pair the 1-inch ATRs, which either shuttle between the company’s two studios (Extasy North in North Hollywood and Extasy South in Los Angeles) or go out to other studios through the company’s 1080 rentals division.
"After the first big rush into Pro Tools, it’s coming full circle and people are getting back to putting things on tape," noted Joe James, engineer and operations manager at Extasy. "I know that when it comes to the final mix, I love to print to analog. And when people start to put these 1-inch machines into their working environment on a regular basis, we expect they will be very much in demand."
Larrabee Sound Studios is banking on a continued upswing in 1-inch demand, having recently taken delivery on the first of three 1-inch machines ordered from ATR Service. "We just uncrated it and it looks fantastic," enthused Larrabee maintenance engineer Aaron Becker. "It has stirred up a lot of interest already. I talked to one producer who really prefers to mix to analog at 15 ips, but he doesn’t like using Dolby SR. Now, with the 3 dB lower noise on the 1-inch, he can do 15 ips without the noise reduction."
Though the 1-inch stereo format has been around for a number of years, machines from ATR Service seem to have cornered the lion’s share of the emerging wide-track market. Design FX’s Gary Ladinsky said that he relies on ATR Service’s Michael Spitz, because, when serving clientele at this level, it makes no sense to cut corners just to save a few dollars.
"Mike has the reputation of being the best rebuilder in the business," said Ladinsky. "I have a lot of confidence in what he does. That was one of the main reasons I took the plunge and bought the first machine."
Joe James at Extasy echoed the same sentiment. He remembers what the studio’s ATR-102 looked like before it went to ATR Service for acomplete overhaul and 1-inch upgrade. "When it came back, the buzz went around the shop, ‘Hey everybody, come look at this!’ It’s amazing, the quality of work he does. And it’s not just the visual appearance, but the performance as well. I can’t say enough about the quality of work he does. It’s amazing."
For more information, visit www.atrservice.com.