Mike Wells Mastering
Las Vegas, NV – January 2013 – Mastering engineer Mike Wells has installed a new pair of ATC SCM150ASL PRO three-way active reference monitor speakers – purchased from Brad Lunde, president of U.S. distributor TransAudio Group in Las Vegas – at his studio in North Hollywood, CA. Wells almost immediately discovered how accurately mixes mastered at his new facility translated outside his studio while working with Vance Powell on an album that he engineered and mixed for up-and-coming indie rock band The Young Things.
From winning a shoot-out against other prospective mastering houses to completing the album master took only days, Wells reports. “The whole thing happened in four days, and I really think a lot of that had to do with the seamlessness of translation coming from the mix to the master. Vance’s perspective and the producer’s perspective on the mixes all felt very similar to what I was hearing. When I sent them tracks back they said, ‘Yes, this is what we want!’ I’m doing better work with the ATCs – I’m making better, faster decisions, I’m making less revisions and clients are happier.”
Wells recently moved into a room in the famed former Kingsound Studios complex in North Hollywood, now owned by production music company Megatrax, after relocating from San Francisco to the Los Angeles area over a year ago. The new ATC SCM150 monitors replaced a pair of Dunlavy SC-V passive monitors, which Wells had been using for the past eight years, but which were not suited to his new facility. “You need a lot of space and a long throw to be able to run the Dunlavys,” he explains.
“I didn’t want to lose the performance and the fidelity that I was getting, but I clearly needed a smaller format speaker,” he continues. During his research, Wells found a review in Stereophile magazine comparing the ATC SCM150 speakers with the Dunlavys, which are no longer manufactured. “The reviewer wrote that it’s so hard to find a speaker that can perform like the Dunlavy, because of its legend and its reputation. The ATC 150 was the only speaker he’d heard in a long time that not only came close but also that he felt would be a wonderful next-generation speaker. So I got in touch with Brad at TransAudio.”
Changing over to the SCM150s offered a number of advantages, according to Wells. “I’ve reduced the crossover count and I’ve got a smaller footprint. There are so many crossovers in the Dunlavy system that I always felt I had to double-check crossover count. But most people don’t listen on large array systems, so I wanted to get onto a system that was at most a three-way. Plus, because most systems today are active, I wanted to represent what’s happening in the marketplace better. So the ATCs met all of my criteria – and the price point was great,” says Wells.
He also notes, “I didn’t even have to play with the positioning. We put them down, turned them on, and…that’s what I was looking for! We fine-tuned them from there.”
He concludes, “I feel like I’ve been doing better work since I got the ATCs. It’s the sum of all the parts: this rig is the best that it’s ever been and I’m in this awesome, acoustically correct room. My revision list from every client has been greatly reduced, which I attribute to the ATCs and this room. It’s everything that you want to hear from a results standpoint.”