Nashville, TN: “What really pushed me over the edge in making my decision to implement PhantomFocus™ technology for the monitors I chose for my new room,” recalls Merchant, “was 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 engineer’s chair I was not prepared for what I heard – the same tight low end down to 20 Hz, pinpoint imaging and reliable frequency response in this essentially ridiculous space – I was sold!”
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. Merchant’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).
“You just want a system that tells you the truth,” says Merchant in reference to studio monitoring. “However,” Tatz explains, “if you think you can just place a pair of great monitors in an acoustically treated room, no matter how well done, and get that, you’ll be disappointed after you find out how great they can really perform with the PhantomFocus System.”
“The main monitors’ low end is full, clear and strikingly true, and they fill RedDoor’s large control room nicely.” 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. “It’s really the best of both worlds, and both systems have the same now famous PFS frequency response and incredibly accurate imaging,” adds Merchant.
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Photo Caption 1: Pictured L-R: John Merchant and Carl Tatz.
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Photo Caption 2: Red Door Studio’s Dual PhantomFocus™ System.
About the PhantomFocus™ System
Carl Tatz Design’s proprietary PhantomFocus™ System monitor tuning protocol offers clients a unique opportunity to have a truly world-class monitoring experience in their room, no matter how modest they may perceive it to be. The PhantomFocus System allows their monitors of choice to perform accurately at a full 20Hz-to-20KHz frequency response with pinpoint imaging in an almost holographic sweet spot — this enables their mixes to travel anywhere with a new level of sonic accuracy.
There are approximately fifty steps in the proprietary PhantomFocus System implementation protocol, some of which may include phase and laser alignment, damping, isolation mounts, careful assessment of engineer/speaker placement relative to their room’s primary axial modes, proprietary speaker distance and angle and digital processing crossover points for pass filtering, and finally parametric equalization.
Hardware can include monitor stands, concrete, sorbothane and other isolation materials, custom floating plenum mounts, subwoofer system and digital processor. The evaluation and implementation is a full two-day process and can be applied to near-fields, mid-fields and large soffit mounted monitors, regardless of manufacturer.
Carl Tatz Design installs the PhantomFocus System in existing control rooms and in all studios that are designed and built from the ground up by CTD. The result is like the aural equivalent of HD TV. Once you experience a PhantomFocus System, you can’t go back.