By Tim Dolbear - www.timdolbear.com
I went to Montreal last week and one of the 2 studios I visited was Le Lab Mastering a mastering studio run by Marc Thériault. He (a Samplitude user) attended one of my Samplitude tutorials I was doing the day before and we have met at various AES events prior to this and invited me out to his place.
On the way to his studio, my friend Phil Bouvrette told me about how he had an expensive monitoring system and the studio sounded good, but I have visited dozens of the top mastering studios rooms over the years and to be honest, I hear major issues in most and other just sound like a stereo system in a living room, kinda dull and no big deal, mediocre stereo image...
Upon entering Le Lab Mastering, you are greeted with a nice looking high end mastering studio. Marc asked if I bought anything to listen to and I hadn't so I suggested he simple play something that was mixed well he had finished mastering.
I then sat down in the sweet spot, the engineer's position and a open sounding jazz track was played. I was FLOORED!
I am lucky to have a wonderful sound stage or stereo image at Eclectica studios, and the freq range is reproduced well, but this was a entirely different next level experience. The sound floated in mid air, the speakers seemed to not even be there... the frequency response was perfect top to bottom, the clarity was superb, this was the end all be all.
This was life changing. You know me, you know I have been around a long while. Never have I hear music, a recording, played back so perfectly, it was simply awesome!
Lets talk money...
The main speakers are the 'Focal
Grande Utopia EM (EM for Electro Magnet Woofer) at $200K a pair, the sub's an extra $6500 each, and the amps and room design... Lets say $250k for the monitoring system, usually at this point I scoff and say "snake oil" but for the first time ever I say it would be worth it. If this was you main piece of gear, having a $2000/month payment would be worth it if you are a studio like Le Lab Mastering that is very busy. Of course they are very busy because they do wonderful work, they do wonderful work because they have a fantastic system, so I guess you would need to jump in head first...
Anyway, I was floored, my life is changed, my listening experience is never going to be the same, and I am thrilled I got to experience this undescribable sound.