HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA, USA: specialist British loudspeaker drive unit and complete sound reproduction system manufacturer ATC is proud to announce that film and video games composer Stephen Barton, music scoring mixing engineer extraordinaire Alan Meyerson, and Grammy® award-winning mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen professionally pooled their formidable resources and talents to complete the recently released Titanfall original soundtrack album using an all-ATC selection of reference monitors...
Titanfall is the latest gaming blockbuster from one of the co-creators of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare, which has spectacularly sold over 14-million copies to date. Crucially, it, too, benefits from another superlative score from film and video games composer Stephen Barton, a British émigré who headed for the Hollywood Hills back in 2002 to work as an assistant to fellow Brit composer Harry Gregson-Williams, who has won numerous awards as well as receiving widespread critical acclaim for his film and video game scores, including The Chronicles Of Narnia, the Shrek movies, and the Metal Gear Solid franchise.
Today Barton works out of his own well-stocked studio setup in a leased room within Lurssen Mastering, a full-service mastering studio on the famous Hollywood Center Studio lot, a location steeped in over 80 years of entertainment history, which, of course, is precisely where the Titanfall composition success story began, skilfully and sympathetically mocked up on an all-singing, all-dancing DAW. Here he hears exactly what he needs to, thanks to a revealing pair of ATC SCM50ASL Pro three-way active monitors. “The ATCs are nothing short of phenomenal,” Barton begins, before continuing: “There’s nothing out there that equals them to my mind in terms of clarity, lack of fatigue over long-term listening, and truthfulness, which is the most important quality of any studio monitor. I’ve been using them for nearly seven years now, so, when I started working out of Lurssen Mastering a few years ago, the fact that Gavin Lurssen was using the bigger brothers to those in my setup was actually a big influence, and a great indication that we were like-minded in our listening approach.”
Cue Gavin Lurssen, Chief Mastering Engineer at Lurssen Mastering, whose sought-after skill-set brought the Titanfall original soundtrack production to its natural conclusion: “I have a strong relationship with Stephen Barton, who wanted me to do what we do to his music that was being released on Titanfall. When you’re also dealing with some orchestral music — beautiful stuff like this that was done in Abbey Road, it clearly falls into the high standards and practices of what we normally do — creating a total spectrum of balance that’s going to translate into all consumer listening environments, which includes mobile devices with little earbuds all the way through to audiophile listening environments.”
Sited within that historic Hollywood building — formerly used to fashion movie sets, Lurssen’s listening environment is naturally second to none with larger ATC SCM150ASL Pro three-way active and smaller ATC SCM25A Pro three-way compact active monitors at its heart: “The way that I ended up with ATC was that I was working at another mastering facility and a client came in with a pair of ATCs so that they could complete a project. Within seconds of hearing them I knew that something magical was happening and also knew that when the time came to open my own place then that’s where I’d turn to. So when that happened eight years ago their US distributor hooked me up with the 150s and I’ve used them ever since. There’s no doubt in my mind that they’re the only thing that I can use to create my audio balances. They’re smooth and not fatiguing, and, somehow, make digital sound like analogue. I can sit in a room all day long and not burn out.”
Outside the mastering and compositional confines of the Titanfall soundtrack-spawning Lurssen Mastering building, those epic-sounding orchestral music scoring mixing sessions at London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios fell upon the seasoned shoulders and exemplary ears of Alan Meyerson, one of Hollywood’s top scoring engineers, with extensive credits including the majority of Hans Zimmer’s movie music. “Alan also uses ATCs, and it’s just been a case of coincidence that this amazingly huge project was done down the line on these speakers,” summarises Lurssen.
Coincidence or otherwise, in this case, there’s no doubting the benefits of an all-ATC reference monitoring experience in Barton’s finely- tuned musical mind: “The translation across the entire range made the entire workflow incredibly smooth. On mix down there were maybe two or three cues out of 30 or 40 for the IMC (Interstellar Mining Corporation) — one of the two factions in the game — that needed small tweaks. The majority of them were perfect straight out of the gate. Obviously a major part of this is down to awesome mix talent, but I think the fact that we weren’t adjusting to an entirely new monitoring approach meant that it was a much more cohesive process without any of those ‘I didn’t think that sounded like that’ moments. That’s especially true in important aspects of the frequency spectrum for a game like this, which is generally in the low end. Crucially, the translation to the game is superb. We did a direct shootout between the 25s and 150s whilst mastering Titanfall and it was stunning how consistent the sound was. All of these monitors simply tell you what’s there, and that’s a rare quality that’s vital, whether composing, mixing, or mastering.”