Diane Warren has shaped the sound of pop music for nearly three decades. A prolific, wildly-successful, and enduring songwriter, her songs have been performed by hundreds of artists, including such icons as Aerosmith, Elton John, Tina Turner, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Roberta Flack, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Roy Orbison, Lenny Kravitz, Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood, Christina Aguilera, Kid Rock, Kelly Clarkson, Jessica Simpson, and Mary J. Blige.

A member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Warren has penned over one-hundred charting songs and possesses the unique distinction of having seven hits, all performed by different artists, on the charts simultaneously. Warren maintains a fully-staffed studio under the name of her publishing company, Realsongs. The two control rooms and the listening room in the Realsongs complex recently received an upgrade to ATC monitors – four pairs in all.

Warren moved into the office building where Realsongs now resides twenty-five years ago. What started as two rooms slowly expanded as Warren’s success grew and other residents moved out. Now Realsongs occupies the entire floor! The two control rooms, with adjoining small live rooms, are dubbed Studio D and Studio W. While vocals represent the vast majority of recordings at Realsongs, chief engineer Mario Luccy also records guitars, bass, keyboards and drums.

Peter Stengaard, a Danish-born producer and engineer now in residence at Realsongs, introduced Luccy and the rest of the staff to the ATC monitors. He ordered a pair of mid-field ATC SCM100ASL monitors for Studio W, where he does most of his work. "It was immediately apparent that the ATCs were much cleaner and unaffected than the monitors we were using," said Luccy. "Mixing on the ATCs is a dream – the detail and separation are astounding. Getting the right sound is faster and easier than it used to be, and now I’m guaranteed that whatever sounds right on the ATCs will translate outside of the studio. Another thing I really like is that I can crank them up for the artist and then turn them down to something more reasonable for mixing without any loss of articulation."

After that introduction, Realsong’s existing monitors fell like dominoes. One pair of near-field ATC SCM25As joined their larger siblings in Studio W. Another pair of SCM25As went into the listening room. Finally, a pair of mid-field SCM50ASLs went into Studio D. "Now there is a wonderful consistency at Realsongs," said Luccy. "We hear the honest detail of what we’re working with no matter where we are in the facility." Although Warren remains appropriately above the knob twiddling for which she hired Luccy and Stengaard, listening is another matter. "I am very particular about the sound of my monitors, and I have had an opportunity to sample many in the
course of my career," said Warren. "The ATC monitors sound great. I really like them."

Having an armada of ATC monitors at Realsongs does more than make work pleasant and the finished products transcendent. It allows the team to work faster in the moment to capitalize on the seeds of inspiration that grow into the hits of tomorrow. "I remember we were recently recording the vocals to ‘Better Me,’ performed by Keyshia Cole," said Luccy. "When she wants to sing, she wants to sing NOW. Generally, there’s not a lot of patience at Realsongs for elaborate setups or trying out different microphones or preamps. With the ATCs, I finally have the right tool to quickly ascertain whether the take is technically where it needs to be. And if it’s not, I can quickly zero in on the trouble and make it right."

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Originally posted 2011-04-04 02:37:51.