Bethesda, Maryland, February 7, 2023 — Record producer and mixer Taylor Larson has established a reputation for his work at across the rock spectrum, producing, engineering and mixing projects by artists in the rock, pop and other genres, including Periphery, Asking Alexandria, Within Temptation and From First to Last. He also designs, records and mixes for MixWave, the creative music software, virtual instrument and plug-in company that he founded in 2020. The company has released software products by drummers Jay Weinberg, Tony Royster Jr., Mario Duplantier, Luke Holland, Aaron Gillespie and Thomas Pridgen, guitarists Jason Richardson and Mike Stringer, and others. In his main control room at his facility northwest of Washington, DC, Larson has a variety of monitors he uses. “But they just don’t translate the way I wish they would. That’s where my Amphion monitors come in — I get the real work done on those.”
One of the first
Larson was one of the first to adopt Amphion One18 monitors when they were first introduced to the U.S. market nearly 10 years ago, he says. Now, he has a pair of Two18 monitor with the BaseTwo25 bass extension system in his main room as well as Two18 monitors in each of MixWave Headquarters’ control rooms, with a floating pair of One18s also available.
Having Two18s in all three rooms provides Larson and the engineers with consistency from one space to the next. “You just know what you’re hearing,” he says. But occasionally he likes to change out the Two18s for One18s on his projects. “I go back and forth. The One18s are smaller but those are the ones I started on, and I just really love them. You can get the Two18s a little louder if you want, but the One18s, to me, are a little more analytical.”
The facility’s three control rooms and four live rooms are a variety of sizes and are used according to the needs of each project, which can vary from tracking a full band to sampling individual instruments and sounds. “It’s our environment that we’re used to, so we know what kind of results we can get every time. If a drummer comes in, we can create all of the sampling and dial in all the sounds,” he says. “I also do the development of other plug-ins in those rooms, which requires critical listening. If you’re modeling a preamp, an EQ or a guitar amp you have to really listen and go back and forth with the programmers to get it honed in.”
Tried and true
Audio equipment in general, not just loudspeakers, gets moved around all the time at MixWave. “I always try everything. If there’s a new product out and people are raving about it, I need to know what it is, what it’s about and what it does. Any brand you can think of, I’ve tried it,” Larson says. In fact, this is his second time around with Amphion speakers. “I used those first One18s for years but then everybody started getting them and it kind of pushed me away, because I always want to try to use different stuff.” But it wasn’t long before he realized his error: “I tried a bunch of other monitors and that was the one thing I shouldn’t have done. So I’m back with Amphion again — because they’re just so useful, you know?”
As Larson also reports, Amphion monitors are unique among all the different brands of loudspeakers he has used. “Using Amphions has resulted in the least number of mix revisions for me. The only time the artist said, ‘This is good right out of the gate; we don’t need to tweak anything,’ I did that mix on my Amphions. I don’t think any other speaker has gotten me there.”
Larson got his first pair of One18s when he was at his previous studio facility, Oceanic Recording, which was just down the street from MixWave. He purchased the monitors after reading about them on a forum message board and jumped in at the deep end, using them for the very first time on a test mix for a band trying to decide who they would work with on their next record project. As he was mixing, he remembers, “I thought to myself, ‘I’m not doing very good.’ But then I took a bounce of the mix, checked it in the car and thought, ‘Wow, I didn’t think I did that!’” Larson got the gig, beating out a bunch of engineers and mixers that he considers his idols, he says.
“That was my first experience with Amphion loudspeakers and the first time that I really understood what translation was. With every other monitor I’ve used there was always something where it didn’t do what I thought it was doing,” he continues. “With the Amphions, everything was 10 times better than what I thought in the studio. They do make me feel like I suck when I’m working on them, but somehow, I get the best results from them.”
Precise yet flexible
Larson’s room at MixWave Headquarters was professionally built but he installed the acoustic treatment himself. “I just did the basics, put a couple of bass traps in, hit the first reflections; stuff like that. I’ve always just made do with what I have. And that’s another thing about Amphion monitors that blows me away — they work in untreated rooms.”
He adds, “Another thing that I have noticed is that they’re not harsh. Normally, I don’t like a titanium or a metal tweeter. They have always been a little fatiguing for me. But somehow Amphion designed them to not wear you out.”
About four years ago Larson took a hiatus from making records to establish MixWave. “I’ll mix some records here and there on the side, but I wanted to really take a break. I was burned out. I started around age 20 and I had pretty much made a full-length every month of my life until I was 32, 33. So I just decided to chill for a little bit and focus on the software,” he says.
“But I think I’ll probably jump back in again soon because I do crave it. It’s weird when you go from having a band at your studio every day for years and years and then suddenly you don’t have that. I think it’s taken me a couple years, but now I’m refreshed and ready to get back in it,” he says.
When Larson first got MixWave up and running he concentrated on recording and building drum and guitar libraries and plug-ins. “It’s easy to do, so it got the ball rolling. Lately we’ve been doing some amp stuff and we have some really prestigious brands in the guitar world that are going to be coming out in the next couple of months. We’ll drop our first mixing plug-in in the next few months, too.”
To learn more about Amphion Loudspeakers, please visit https://amphion.fi/.
To watch Taylor Larson speak about his Amphion setup, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLxaCeY1-fI.
Amphion Loudspeakers Ltd. was established in 1998. We design and build loudspeakers that are characterized by honest and accurate sound reproduction. Precise driver integration ensures world-class imaging and phase coherency. Controlled dispersion technology helps achieve more stable results in a variety of room acoustics. All products are handmade in Finland (and the Amphion amplifiers are assembled in Finland) to ensure enduring listening quality.