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** Photo: John Penn with his Equator Audio monitors **
Atlanta, GA – April 2014… Whether it’s recording, mixing, sound design, audio post production, or a multitude of other audio-related functions, accurate studio reference monitors are crucial to ensuring that one’s projects translate well to a variety of playback mediums. Without a true reference system, audio playback on other equipment can be an extremely frustrating—and costly—experience. That’s why John Penn, CEO of Undercurrent Labs, producer, 3D sound designer and songwriter, insists upon the sonic accuracy of his D8 studio reference monitors from San Diego, CA-based Equator Audio.

Undercurrent Labs is the technology development arm of InspireMedia Interactive, an IPTV network with 3D audio and surround capabilities that streams both live video and VOD (Video-on-Demand) to any Internet enabled device. As the company CEO, Penn wears many hats that include business development, managing client relationships, as well as directing and producing digital media projects that encompass sound design, audio for video, and music composition. Further, he also consults with other firms that require subject matter expertise in mission critical audio and video applications. He discussed his preference for the Equator Audio D8 monitors.

“I use Equator Audio D8’s for every aspect of the production process,” states Penn, “from music composition for film and TV, 5.1 and 3D sound design, as well as mixing, mastering, and layback to video. Presently, I own seven D8 monitors. I usually configure five of the D8s in a planar L-C-R / L surround-R surround configuration for film and interactive projects, and I add two more D8s above the front L-R for the height channels when sound designing in 3D or mixing ambisonic projects.”

“I’ve been using the Equator monitors for the last year and, during that time, I handled a variety of projects, including ongoing development with, a new social TV platform for emerging music artists who are filmed during the entire record, mix, and master process, plus a new film titled Switching Lanes, directed by Tommy Ford, for which I’m sound designing and mixing. I’m also having an awesome time scoring the theme song for a new animation series created by my daughter, Maya Penn, and presented during her recent TED talk.”

When queried about those attributes that make the Equator monitors so well suited for the wide range of projects that come in the door at Undercurrent Labs, Penn offered the following thoughts. “In a word,” he said, “the D8s emit a flat, non-hyped, full-range sound that lets you know you’re not missing anything—unlike some of the other so-called flat reference speakers available on the market. The D8s have an overall clarity that speaks to the accuracy of the solid monitor build, which to my ears presents a punchy, tight bass response. The mids have a distinct presence that complements the highs, which are never too harsh, even at higher SPLs. I believe many engineers will appreciate is how much better their mixes can sound using the D8s—because the D8’s don’t color or unnaturally boost the low end. Equally important, the D8s have a balanced response where you can still ‘feel’ the monitors.”

Penn has also been very impressed with Equator Audio’s customer support services. “Equator Audio provides a personal touch, which I really appreciate.” Penn reports, “Founder Ted Keffalo is very knowledgeable and provided a wealth of information about the D-series use in multiple monitor applications. He also proved to me how Equator was founded on technical excellence at an affordable price. And Equator Audio General Manager Marty Bradley provided a unique customer experience: from pre-sales to a flexible product delivery schedule as part of a larger order through RSPE Audio Solutions. Everyone at the company has been easy to work with and very attentive to my particular audio requirements.”

Before redirecting his attention back to the business of the day, Penn offered these final thoughts regarding his Equator Audio monitors, “I am very pleased with how the D8s have performed on a diverse range of projects, from recording and mixing the hard-edged massive synth sounds of a Q-Bik Muz remix of Kinetic Motion to creating atmospherics for continuity in a film sound mix like Switching Lanes. The concentric sound puts me at ease in the sound field, enabling me to hear a pleasing, high resolution sound necessary to catch what other monitors miss—without fatigue and worries about translation of playback on mobile devices, theaters, cars, or at home. My engineers and clients have also remarked how amazing these monitors sound. Prior to working with the Equator D8s, achieving this level of quality, full-range surround was nearly impossible at this price point. These monitors sound great, are very accurate, and represent exceptional value. I couldn’t be happier.”

To learn more about Undercurrent Labs, visit their website at

About Equator Audio
Equator Audio is committed to delivering studio reference monitor solutions that overcome the myriad of challenges faced in today’s audio production. Whether the challenge is on the production line or in the studio control room, Equator is dedicated to identifying and addressing it. Our products are used daily in mission-critical applications at many of the world’s finest recording studios. For additional information on all Equator Audio products, visit the company online at