Mix Engineer Drew Vogelman, founder of The Garden, a renowned mix and dubbing studio in Brooklyn, New York, believes in using elements of both worlds to get the best sound. Vogelman has incorporated a TM7 TouchMonitor from RTW into his studio. The 7in, touch-sensitive, 16:9-screen TM7 enables him to monitor both the analog and digital aspects of his clients’ mixes, ensuring that a particular sound, whatever its source, truly contributes to the perfect track.
Named after the outdoor garden lounge area of the Brooklyn brownstone where it is located, The Garden comprises a large control room and a dubbing room with a Solid State Logic (SSL) AWS Hybrid Console/Controller at the center of its operations. Vogelman has outfitted the studio with a large selection of analog outboard gear and instruments — everything from vintage drum kits, guitars, synthesizers and amps, to plug-ins that replicate classic hardware and sound from storied music production studios and manufacturers — to give his clients a plethora of options for finessing their mixes. The TM7 takes things a step further by providing Vogelman a way to assess whether the sound of a particular analog element will complement a client’s particular mix.
Vogelman considers himself an old-school engineer, so he is a stickler for setting up what will be used on every mix. Because analog and digital are very different from each other, it’s important to go into a mix with an idea of what elements will work best for it. In a sense, the studio is going back and forth between the digital and analog realms, and the TM7 helps determine and maintain the right sound, regardless of its source.
The TM7’s intuitive graphical user interface, a feature of all models of the RTW TouchMonitor range, also helps Vogelman set up his tools for monitoring a mix. Users can control the interface with their finger, scaling, positioning and combining instruments in virtually any manner for the best use of available screen space. Multiple instruments of the same type, assigned to different input channels and configurations, can be displayed, along with other elements, such as meters — a feature Vogelman finds especially handy.
Once he sets up the GUI for a particular job, Vogelman employs the RTW “to bring everything out analog, through the desk, through the outboard." He sums everything back in through a Burl Audio ADC and takes the digital feed from the ADC to the RTW, so he can literally monitor the digital mix box and the analog mix box. This allows him to manage the analog mix head room and at the same time monitor and manage the digital head room, and the particular loudness factor.
As for loudness, Vogelman says it is as much of a concern in music mixing as it is in broadcast, so the TM7’s ability to monitor for all major audio loudness standards —including ATSC, EBU, ITU, ARIB and SPL, as well as custom standards — is a major benefit. Mix engineers have to be aware of and work with loudness issues, though with different sets of requirements. Artists are always aware of that loudness factor, and there are lots of opinions around what loudness is. We really hear a mid-range and, so, high fidelity is kind of about getting the lows and the highs in there, but modern mixes are very pointed on the mid-range. So being a mixer is about finding a way to almost satisfy both worlds in a way, whether you’re hearing it on a laptop or ear buds, and knowing that it’s going to cut through the clutter.
The TM7 TouchMonitor provides unparalleled flexibility and modularity combined with intuitive control. The software visualizes multiple sources simultaneously. It supports displaying the same signal on multiple instruments in parallel, each with dedicated defaults with both horizontal and vertical operation. The system visualizes up to 16 analog and/or digital sources at the same time.
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