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— One of the world’s greatest recording facilities turns to Guitar Center Professional to
“future-proof” its key components, with new Pro Tools HD5 systems in all five studios —

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, March 5, 2008 – The Hit Factory Criteria is the studio that has given the world massive hit records from such artists as the Eagles, Madonna, Eric Clapton, the Bee Gees, REM and Aretha Franklin (to name a few), and it continues to work with upper-tier contemporary hit-makers including Jay-Z, Chris Brown and Mary J. Blige. As the studio celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, it also celebrates a comprehensive upgrading of its key recording systems. Seeking to “future-proof” itself for the next generation of hits, The Hit Factory Criteria turned to Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users; Mark Ruffolo, Accounts Manager for GC Pro, Florida, handled the sale with personalized, one-on-one consulting. All five studios at The Hit Factory Criteria had their Digidesign Pro Tools systems upgraded to Pro Tools HD5’s with Apple 30" Cinema Displays. The upgrades included five Digidesign EB7 expansion chassis and a dozen of Digidesign’s powerful Massive Pack 6 plug-in bundles. In addition, the in-studio routing system was upgraded from PCI-X to PCIe, vastly increasing throughput facility-wide.

“Increasing the speed of data flow in the facility was especially important since many of our clients are working on multiple projects simultaneously,” explains Trevor Fletcher, Vice President and General Manager of The Hit Factory Criteria. “It was really all about future-proofing the facility, to keep us at the top of a very competitive game and allow us to continue to provide our clientele with the technology and service they expect.”

GC Pro’s input went well beyond simply selling gear; implementing such a significant upgrade without interrupting client work was a challenge, one that Ruffolo helped The Hit Factory Criteria meet. In addition to new equipment, including five new Apple MacPro Quad-Core computers, the studio also had to change over from SCSI drives to internal SATAII drives and quad 250-GB Glyph FireWire drives. Stated Fletcher, “The technology migration was in many ways a challenge to our staff; we had to install it while the studio was very heavily booked. GC Pro helped us with advice and know-how, such as making sure the vendors supplied us with the latest software and firmware for every bit of equipment. They also ensured the standardization of all the systems in terms of our plug-in compliments.”

As The Hit Factory Criteria implemented its upgrades, sessions for high-level producers including Timbaland and DanjaHandz continued uninterrupted. “We’ve had a long and close relationship with The Hit Factory Criteria, and that helped build a trust in us that we could help them through a comprehensive upgrade and not disrupt the studio’s ongoing work,” commented Ruffolo. “A lot of companies can offer competitive prices, but GC Pro offers our customers a level of service that can’t be found anywhere else.”

For more information on Guitar Center Professional, please visit www.gcpro.com or call 800-935-MYGC to reach the nearest GC Pro account manager.

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About Guitar Center Professional / Guitar Center
Guitar Center Professional is the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Its clientele includes recording studios, audio engineers, producers, recording and touring musicians, live sound venues, post production facilities and more. Emphasizing extraordinary individualized service via local account managers, GC Pro offers expert consultation and a comprehensive selection of the world’s finest equipment for music and audio professionals. More information on GC Pro can be found by visiting www.gcpro.com.

Guitar Center is the leading United States retailer of guitars, amplifiers, percussion instruments, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment. Our retail store subsidiary presently operates more than 200 Guitar Center stores across the U.S. In addition, our Music & Arts division operates more than 100 stores specializing in band instruments for sale and rental, serving teachers, band directors, college professors and students. We are also the largest direct response retailer of musical instruments in the United States through our wholly owned subsidiary, Musician’s Friend, Inc., and its catalog and Web site, www.musiciansfriend.com. More information on Guitar Center can be found by visiting the Company’s Web site at www.guitarcenter.com.

The Guitar Center logo is a registered trademark of Guitar Center, Inc. Other brand or product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

MEDIA CONTACT: Robert Clyne, Clyne Media, Inc. at (615) 662-1616

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