â€” â€œOn second thought, be crazy â€“ that way I'll have the competitive edge,â€? joked highly respected multi-platinum and GRAMMYÂ®-nominated engineer/producer John Merchant, when invited to comment on his dual Carl Tatz Design PhantomFocusâ„¢ System â€”
Nashville, TN: â€œWhat really pushed me over the edge in making my decision to implement PhantomFocusâ„¢ technology for the monitors I chose for my new room,â€? recalls Merchant, â€œwas a visit to The Grip, belonging to Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts. After being very impressed with the system in the A room, Carl led me to a small editing suite within the personal studio complex called The Cockpit that measured seven feet by nine feet with a slanted ceiling and four foot-high front wall. I thought to myself that there was no way that this was going to sound anything like what I just heard in the main
room. However, when I sat down in the engineerâ€™s chair I was not prepared for what I heard â€“ the same tight low end down to 20 Hz, pinpoint imaging and reliable frequency response in this essentially ridiculous space â€“ I was sold!â€?
Prestigious Middle Tennessee State University recording school professor John Merchant has worked with an amazing array of artists, musicians, producers and engineers over the course of his storied career, including Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, R. Kelly, Toni Braxton, Barry Gibb, Lenny Kravitz, Arif Mardin, David Foster, Russ Titelman, Phil Ramone and Raphael Saadiq, to name a few. Merchantâ€™s RedDoor studio, designed by Studio Bau:ton with build and finish by Carl Tatz Design, has swung open, and there, along with ongoing personal projects, he will be providing advanced master recording classes later this year. The new studio features a Carl Tatz Design Dual PhantomFocus System (PFS) implementing a pair of custom TEC:ton Engineering large mains with double 15-inch TAD woofers and Sony compression drivers, all driven with multiple Bryston 7B SST amplifiers, and a pair of Event Opal near fields (that Merchant had a hand in designing).
â€œYou just want a system that tells you the truth,â€? says Merchant in reference to studio monitoring. â€œHowever,â€? Tatz explains, â€œif you think you can just place a pair of great monitors in an acoustically treated room, no matter how well done, and get that, youâ€™ll be disappointed after you find out how great they can really perform with the PhantomFocus System.â€?
â€œThe main monitorsâ€™ low end is full, clear and strikingly true, and they fill RedDoorâ€™s large control room nicely.â€? The Opals, which share the same pair of custom 15-inch TAD subwoofers as the mains in this Dual PFS, remarkably have the same frequency response curve as the mains but are more intimate and detailed as only near fields and dome tweeters can provide. â€œItâ€™s really the best of both worlds, and both systems have the same now famous PFS frequency response and incredibly accurate imaging,â€? adds Merchant.