ATC Monitors the Choice for Guthrie’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ 5.1 Re-mix

ATC monitors were used to remix Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ for multi-channel SACD and will be used at next week’s New York launch party, we can reveal today.

Reaffirming ATC’s long-standing reputation within the professional recording industry for the most accurate reproduction, the company’s active loudspeakers were chosen to monitor the 30th anniversary re-mix of Pink Floyd’s classic work ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ for 5.1 channels.

Renowned engineer James Guthrie completed the transfer of this revolutionary multi-track recording using three ATC SCM-150A SL monitors, two SCM-50A SL monitors and a single SCM-01/15 active subwoofer.

This was a very difficult 5.1 mix,” said Guthrie. “Not from a musical point of view, because the record really lends itself to a three-dimensional treatment, but from the point of view that everyone knows the original mix so well. It is indelibly printed on our minds. We’ve had thirty years to live with it, and some people don’t want that image to be altered. Knowing that you are about to start work on something controversial can be unsettling.

The issues with 5.1 mixing all come down to one thing; have you retained the emotional impact of the songs? All this technology is meaningless if you’ve turned the album into a video game.

An unabashed analogue fan, Guthrie decided to get as many of the original tapes as possible and mix the entire project on sixteen-track Studer multi-tracks of the same vintage used on the original Abbey Road sessions. Fortunately, almost all of the source material was catalogued at Abbey Road and remained in good shape. The studio made copies for safekeeping and sent Guthrie the originals to work with.

In order to faithfully reproduce the sound he created, Guthrie made sure that all band members experienced his mixes through the same speaker system. “ATC speakers are simply fantastic. I can’t say enough about them. I have five of the SCM 150’s and a down-firing 15” sub-woofer here at my place. The entire system, including the 9” model that ATC was kind enough to send down to Compass Point Studios in Nassau, where Roger was working on another project, has imaging unlike anything else I’ve ever heard. The dispersion characteristic is fantastic, and the phase coherency is fabulous.

ATC speakers are so easy to mix on. The mid-range is instantly relatable – it’s so easy to equalise through them and know exactly where you are in the frequency spectrum. And there’s no hype to ATC speakers. Mix on them and you can go outside, play the mix on any system, and have no surprises.

A system comprising three ATC SCM-150A SL monitors, two SCM-50A SL monitors and two SCM-01/15 active subwoofers will be used at the launch party for the 5.1 channel recording at the Hayden Planetarium, New York on 24th March 2003.

The ATC SCM-150A SL (“Active 150”) and SCM-50A SL (“Active 50”) monitors utilise the same high performance 25mm soft-dome HF driver, featuring a double magnet construction, which provides an exceptionally smooth linear frequency response to well beyond 25kHz and the extended bandwidth of the high-resolution digital audio formats.

Both monitors incorporate ATC’s hand-built, proprietary Super Linear Soft Domed SM75-150S mid range driver – the device, invented in 1976 by Billy Woodman, that did so much to revolutionise studio monitoring. It uses a soft diaphragm, impregnated with a viscous damping medium (for a smooth response with very low audible colouration) and an innovative drive motor design, utilising a short coil in a long magnetic gap (which cuts audible distortion dramatically).

The ATC SCM-150A SL and SCM-50A SL monitors feature ATC’s SLM (Super Linear Magnet) bass drivers: 15” (375mm) in the 150 and 9” (225mm) in the 50.

ATC’s matching proprietary mono block amplifiers are optimised for each driver bandwidth with grounded source® topology output stages. The same amp-pack is used for both the SCM-150A SL and SCM-50A SL, delivering 50watts to the HF driver and 100watts to the mid driver, and 200watts to the bass driver. These amplifiers operate in Class A up to two-thirds of their maximum output. The fourth order electronic crossover ensures ultra low phase distortion providing a large stable sound field and improved source location.

For the SCM-01/15 active subwoofer a single SLM 15” (375mm) bass transducer is driven by a massive 1,000watt amplifier to deliver over 118dB SPL at very low distortion down to well below 20Hz.

All ATC products are hand built and assembled at its factory in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Modern computer-controlled production sits comfortably with handcrafted technology, resulting in outstanding products with a strong professional heritage and rugged overbuild. ATC has recently designed, built and installed, the new Sony DVD Mastering Suite in New York. A similar installation has been supplied to Pioneer at Barcelona. The famous Todd AO Studio in Hollywood continues to use ATC speakers in its main monitoring suite. Many film soundtracks are monitored on ATC speakers because regardless of their size, they share an accurate sonic imprint.