ATC SCM20PSL Pro passive monitoring makes Val Garay’s musical day
Specialist British loudspeaker drive unit and complete sound reproduction system manufacturer ATC is proud to announce that Grammy® award-winning producer/ engineer extraordinaire Val Garay has installed a pair of SCM20PSL Pro compact, high-performance passive two-way studio monitors in The Barn Studio, his current state-of-the-art recording facility nestled in the heart of Topanga Canyon, California.
With an accomplished career spanning four decades, during which he has garnered over 100 Gold and Platinum status records for a lengthy list of renowned recording artists with combined sales totalling over 125-million units worldwide, multiple Grammy® award-winning producer/engineer Val Garay is truly a music industry legend in his own right — one who surely needs little in the way of introduction to any audio aficionado who has laid ears on those truly ear-expanding productions, yet is worthy, without doubt, of one all the same. This talented and iconic individual can claim to have worked with anyone who’s anyone with a recording roster spanning Kim Carnes, Mr Big, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Burdon, Dolly Parton, Queensrÿche, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Linda Rondstadt, Sarah Brightman, Kenny Rogers, Santana, and Joan Armatrading, to list but a few notable names from rock ’n’ roll’s historic hall of fame. For Garay helped to create and define the legendary ‘LA Sound’ that’s still reverberating around the world today, thanks in no small part to his proven production prowess — think memorable hits like the ‘We Are The World’ charity single from star-studded supergroup USA For Africa, Toto’s ‘Rosanna’, Don Henley’s ‘The Boys Of Summer’, and you’ll soon be on a roll.
Starting out as a performer and songwriter, Garay soon stepped offstage and set the console controls for the heart of the charts when Dave Hassinger, owner/operator of the illustrious Sound Factory Studio in Hollywood, took him under his wing to teach the finer points of crafting carefully engineered productions. Within a year Garay had refined his own technique, perfecting a punchy bottom-end and guitar blend with a mixing approach that has distinguished his work ever since. Indeed, it was the 1981 release of Kim Carnes’ Mistaken Identity album that truly cemented Garay’s well-earned reputation as a well-oiled one-man hit-making machine. Its attendant stratospheric-selling single ‘Betty Davis Eyes’ went on to top the charts in no fewer than 31 countries earning Garay a Record Of The Year Grammy® in the process and coinciding with a move into his own state-of-the-art recording studio.
“I owned Record One, a huge state-of-the-art studio built to my own exacting standards back in 1980,” notes its former owner. “It’s still in operation today, but the original cost to build it back then was 3.5-million dollars. Today you can put together a state-of-the-art studio for a tenth of that cost because of the technology that’s now available. When I sold that studio I bounced around for seven or eight years until I got tired of fighting for time in the studios I liked and decided to put together my own facility here in Topanga where I live — hence The Barn Studio.”
Comfortably ensconced in the more cost-effective though no less state-of the-art environs of The Barn Studio, Garay’s achievements as a super-successful and still-sought-after producer/engineer speak volumes — clearly he has no need to prove anything to anyone. Arguably this makes it all the more amazing that he has opted to post some exceedingly enlightening and eminently enjoyable engineering and production tips and tricks on the blog page of his website (www.valgaray.com). “Sharing my techniques is something I’ve always done over the years,” he says. “Some engineers are very secretive about ‘their process’, but my thoughts are: if I teach you exactly what I do and how I do it — which I’ve done with all the engineers I’ve taught in the past that have all gone on to become notable engineers — then I find they will never sound the same as myself. And even if they did then it wouldn’t matter as I’m always on to something new anyway.”
Like new monitors, for example, augmenting his tried-and-tested working relationship with a beloved pair of Bryston 4BST-powered vintage Tannoy SGN10Bs acting as mains alongside a pair of heavily-customised Yamaha NS-10 nearfields with a pair of ATC’s relatively recently-released SCM20PSL Pro compact, high-performance passive two-way studio monitors while ‘retiring’ a Genelec 1030A and 1092A active combo in the process: “The Genelecs were powered and I’ve never really loved powered speakers, but the main reason that led me to getting ATCs was the need for a relatable second pair of monitors. I was working a lot in a studio in Northern California where the mains were ATC SCM300ASL Pros. I got accustomed to them and then I got back to my studio and found them to be really true. So when I was told that ATC was starting to make passive two-way monitors I had to try them and now I have a pair of SCM20PSL Pros. I guess, in the final analysis, I like UK monitors!”
Asked how his new SCM20PSL Pros paired up with a favoured old faithful Phase Linear 700B amp are shaping up in terms of contributing to his present-day production workflow, Garay’s generous and no-nonsense response sums it up perfectly (and is perfectly in keeping with his blogged “Trust your ears and believe in yourself…” working mantra): “They are great!”