Evolution is supposed to happen gradually – biologically speaking, a few thousand years is a nice brisk pace for major changes to unfold.
Some elite New York City facilities are operating on a different timeline. This past February SonicScoop reported on the freshly renovated Studio Q1 at Quad Studios, where expanded space and massive new monitoring raised the game in their flagship room.
As soon as the dust settled on that project, this midtown citizen – operating in the highly competitive address of 723 7th Avenue where multiple other commercial studios reside – was at it again.
Next up in the queue was Studio Q2, which was about to get a renovation and unique amplification infusion of its own. As it turned out, Q2 became the very first installation site for the Augspurger Duo 12.3 DSP, which puts Augspurger’s famously powerful output into a more compact footprint.
In this first article in the SonicScoop “Studio Strategy” series, where we look at the business decisions behind facility moves, Quad partner Ricky Hosn explains the thought process behind the latest upgrades. Dave Malekpour, President of Professional Audio Design which integrated the Augspurger system, also joined the conversation.
Ricky, Q2 has seen several evolutions. What necessitated the latest changes to that room?
We like to keep the studio looking fresh. There are a lot of rooms in the city still rocking the ’80s look and that works fine for some people. We like to take a different approach as we think aesthetics is a huge factor in a person’s creativity.
We are constantly updating the look of the studio and the performance of the rooms. Last year we did some major renovations to studio Q1 with John Storyk (of Walters-Storyk Design Group) and Dave Malekpour. Storyk came in and freshened up Q1, which was originally designed by the late Larry Swist. We then called on Dave Malekpour to upgrade our Augspurger system to give the room a sonic boost.
With the success that these renovations, it was only a matter of time before we started working on Studio Q2. We began work on Q2 this summer, this time using Quad’s design team to do the renovation. We then worked with PAD on designing a brand new Augspurger system that is suited for a medium-sized room.
You had several monitor systems to choose from. What made you go with the Augspurger Duo 12.3 DSP?
The driving factor behind the Augspurger decision was the success of the system in Q1. We started discussing a more compact size Augspurger system for Q2 with Malekpour almost right after we installed the system in Q1. Earlier this year the concept started becoming a reality.
Considering Quad’s history in the rap scene, installing an Augspurger system in Q2 was a no-brainer – the only reason this was not done before was the size of the Augspurger system. The Duo 12.3 DSP was a perfect fit for our medium-size room.
How would you describe the sonic impact of the new system? What is it best suited for?
This system is loud! Our clients want to hear their music loud and clear. Not a lot of speakers out there will give you the fidelity an Augspurger can produce at high volume. With two 18″ subs, this system will rattle your brains.
A lot of music producers want to work in an environment where their music is heard as it would be in a club or live venue. These Augspurgers will do that while maintaining the clarity needed to produce in a controlled studio environment.
The majority of our work is pop/dance and rap music. The Augspurger system does a great job for these genres. In fact, during the testing and tuning phase we go through all sorts of music, and I must say there wasn’t anything that I heard that didn’t sound amazing.
Dave, what made the Augspurger DUO 12.3 DSP system the right match for Q2?
We developed the Duo 12.3 DSP system to address a growing sector of the studio market where users want to have the full range and power of an active Augspurger system, but in a smaller footprint.
The system we built for Q2 is a 3-way full range system featuring proprietary Augspurger high output reference drivers including two GA12X-8 12” drivers for midrange, the Augspurger GA4K-BER compression driver with 4” 99.8% pure beryllium diaphragm for high frequency, and the GA18X4 18” LF driver. It’s all powered by Augspurger DSP-3/2500 3-way DSP controlled amps with 2500W/channel (LF 1000w, MF 1000w & HF 500w). These amplifiers offer extremely low distortion from 1w to 96% of power.
Quad’s Q2 system is based on the successful Duo 15.3 DSP system employed in Q1. Quad wanted to unify the two control rooms so their clients could more easily work in one or the other and get the same sound quality, tuning, and output to match clients’ requirements.
With the Duo 12.3, Q2 now offers a very similar sonic performance with just a bit less SPL. One feature of these systems is high output with accurate low-end performance down to 20hz. Clients using Quad are often looking to hear that full range when tracking of mixing. This allows you to hear how low frequency will be balanced in a way you can’t achieve with a nearfield speaker. Clients wanted to get that same ability in Q2 and now they’re able to book the room to the same clients who were happy in Q1 without them feeling they took a step down. The room is intimate, powerful and most importantly accurate.
Another key feature of the system is its compact footprint and ability to be installed freestanding. The amplifiers are rear-mounted, also minimizing needs for additional racks, ventilation or wiring. Amps are elegantly mounted on a custom designed Sound Anchor stand designed to mount both the Duo 12 cabinets and Sub 18’s directly below. This allowed us to fit a main monitor system in a room which previously could only house a midfield.
Was there anything further customized about the system that PAD installed in Q2?
Though we offer a variety of paint choices, and finishing options, Quad choose our standard Matte Black finish with Black Metallic Speaker Clamps which is a classic look, matching the Q1 finish.
As Quad was also the beta-test environment we did end up trying two different sets of drivers to find which worked best to get the same sound as we have in the 215’s in Q1. The final selection has become our standard driver for this system as they are made of extremely light material with advanced voice coil technology, offering ultra-fast response and high excursion.
Dave, how would you characterize the sonic results that were achieved in Q2 with the system?
I will admit that I am highly biased on this, but this system’s performance, accuracy and excitement exceeded all of our expectations.
The Duo 12 is an amazingly balanced speaker with crystal clear response from the deepest lows to vocals, to the extreme highs. Partly because of its speed, imaging from the Augspurger horn is stunning, with the ability to hear detail and find subtleties in mix placements not heard on many other systems.