- We help audio professionals elevate their monitoring to the industry's highest standards by implementing our acclaimed PhantomFocus™ technology -
Hi everyone,
Welcome and thank you for taking the time to read this first episode of the MixRoom Mentor™ series. I'll be sharing insights about our proprietary PhantomFocus™ philosophies and protocols and hopefully answering some questions about your monitoring. You may send questions to mixroommentor@carltatzdesign.com, and I will try to answer them each personally. 
Thank you,
Carl.

Episode One - PhantomFocus™ vs. New Monitors
In Episodes One and Two, I will explain what's really happening to the monitoring setup in your room and show why the room/speaker interactions take president, dispelling the myth that a new set of monitors will solve all your problems. In Episode Three, I'll give you some powerful tools that we use in every PhantomFocus System (PFS) that you can use to render a huge improvement in your own setup, even without installing a PFS.
One observation that we've witnessed over and over again is that people are willing to spend money on new monitors, sometimes-large amounts, to solve their problems. But generally they will still have the same problems with their new monitors that they had with their old monitors. They may notice more low end with a certain choice and perhaps greater clarity and tone due to better drivers, but as always, the room is king, and along with console reflections, both are essentially EQing your speakers in significant and unflattering ways, regardless of how well designed your space might be and what "auto-calibration" product you may be using.
 

It can be difficult for some engineers to accept the fact that they would be far better off holding on to their existing monitors and implementing a PhantomFocus™ System than to buy new ones. We understand that it's easy to be tempted into believing that a couple of shiny new boxes, with perhaps a great pedigree, are going to be the answer to all your audio dreams - it's human nature - but that's not the solution, and we are here to help.

Here's a case study below that typifies what we run into during our PFS installations:

The smoothed frequency response graph below shows a pair of high- end monitors properly set up in a near-field configuration in a well-designed control room although somewhat asymmetrical as evidenced by the asymmetry of the left and right speaker response at 100Hz.
First of all, we see this dip in virtually every system we install without exception - (yours too, sorry). It is referred to as the Allison Effect named after the great Cambridge, Massachusetts speaker designer Roy Allison who made the observation in the '70s. The Carl Tatz Design (CTD) professional monitor interpretation states that when a pair of monitors are set up on stands at ear level (tweeter ear height) behind a console, which is typically about 48"-50" off the floor, there is a low frequency cancelation, due to what is known as the 'floor/ceiling bounce" in the 100Hz - 150Hz range causing a deep and wide dip.
This "Grand Canyon" of missing low frequency information, often 12dB - 15dB deep, is THE primary reason everyone has such a difficult time with the low end during a mix. This makes it obvious why. So by example, if the track you're working on for instance happens to be in the key of this dip, say A, then the tonic notes are going to be weak, yet as you see in the graph above there is a peak centered around 65Hz which will encompass the D note (72Hz) which will cause that note to be hot, further exacerbating the dip in A. 
See if this sounds like your experience with your monitors: Let's just say you're new to the room or the monitors and you haven't "learned" them yet. So you get the bass and kick to really pump just the way you want it to sound and then you take it out to the car and you have WAY too much low end because of the EQ boosts and level you used back in your control room. Soooooo, you go back to your control room and do the "learn-your-monitors-dance'' where you say to yourself, oh that low end sounds great - I better turn it down..... And so, begins your life of low frequency rationing - a sonic tragedy. But wait, there's more, suppose your track is in the key of D relative to the graph above and if so, you're likely to have the opposite experience out in the car because you ducked that frequency. So again, in this room, you may think that you've learned your monitors and have trained yourself to back off on the low end (even though you don't want to) when you find yourself scratching your head because now you have to go back to the control room to boost the bass. It can happen, not as reliably as the dip, but in this case the peak compounded the problem.
I'll bet that for most of you, no one has brought this to your attention before - and for good reason. The speaker manufactures know about it but aren't going to wave it in front of your face too much because there is no technology that is going to boost 15 dB at 100 Hz without blowing your near-field monitor's woofers if played at even normal 80dB - 90dB levels and certainly not 100dB and above. There is a solution to this that I'll tell you about in the next episode.
- Next installment -
Episode Two - PhantomFocus™ vs. New Monitors
We'll discuss the destructive console bounce and the high importance of the frequency response shape. 
Considering PhantomFocus™ for your mix room?
No matter how modest or elaborate your room may be... 
Stop wasting time, money, and mixing with uncertainty - Finally Do It Right

Contact us at: mixroommentor@carltatzdesign.com
to schedule a strategy session. 
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