Lost Ark Studios, San Diegochoose ADAM A7X

ADAM Users
ADAM Audio A7X at Lost Ark Studios

San Diego based studio supports and records indie artists in a professional environment

The first version of the Lost Ark Studio in San Diego, California was opened in early 2010. Back then it was a simple private project studio built to help a few friends in town record in a space a bit beyond the bedroom and garages being used at the time. The space has been expanded three times since then with trying to keep the spirit of the original studio, as Paul Cavanaugh, owner of Lost Ark tells us. „We‘re still helping indie artists and bands as the studio has become the home base for our label, Randm Records. Over the years we have been fortunate in that we have been able to host well over 100 artists/bands at the studio.

Lost Ark Studio welcomes guests – not clients

The studio‘s compilation series sessions have included artists from Southern California and across the States such as the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, Whiskey Shivers, Mother Falcon, Jesca Hoop, and My Goodness. More recently we‘ve been working on new albums for Jack Lawtey, Jeremiah Tall, The Peach Kings, and Old Man Canyon. From the beginning the Lost Ark Studio has been more of a home studio than a typical ‚for hire‘ studio. We designed it ourselves, we‘ve expanded it in response to what we‘ve learned through thousands of sessions and, regardless of who‘s recording with us, they are our guests, not clients. Add in that we have well over 200 vintage guitars, 100 vintage amps, and more than a few vintage keyboards, drum kits, snares, synths, etc. and it‘s not a bad place to call home!“

Accuracy and headroom are essential

Asked about which problems he had most encountered in his studio career, Mike Butler, head engineer at Lost Ark replies: „Trusting that what you hear from your monitors will translate to the outside world is the most important thing. Some monitors can sound really flattering, but if they aren‘t accurate, they‘re not doing their job, and neither can you. The biggest problem with many monitors is they are overly hyped in the low and high end, with crossover gaps in the midrange that make it difficult to hear problem areas in guitars and vocals. So, accuracy and headroom are essential. Good monitors, regardless of size, should let you hear the full frequency spectrum and have enough power so you can fine tune low end without them folding. They should be pleasant to listen to for long periods of time, but not give you any false sense of size by exaggerated low end.

Accurate while mixing – power while tracking

I started seeing ADAM speakers show up in studios in L.A. and thought they had a really smooth sound that was easy to listen to for extended periods of time. It was the first time I heard a ribbon tweeter as well, and was impressed with how well they handled midrange. When we needed a nearfield for our relatively small control room that was going to allow us to not only mix accurately, but have some power to feel the music during playback while tracking, we chose a combination of the A7X‘s with the Sub7. This is the perfect solution for our small room. Since then we have worked a lot on them, the majority of the studio’s compilation series sessions were done on the Adams, as well as albums by local San Diego artists Blackout Party, Lord Howler, Jesse LaMonaca, Transfer many more.

“They shouldn‘t hear the monitors, they should hear their music”

Occasionally, artists comment on the sound in the studio, not many necessarily care what kind of gear we are using, but what they do care about is the sound, and the goal is that they say „Everything sounds great!“. Our choice of monitors is a big part of reaching that goal. The monitors are the last part of the chain, the last thing that affects the sound they are hearing. If your monitor is not accurately portraying all the hard work you‘ve put into making something sound great, they are doing you and your clients a disservice. I think the point is that they shouldn‘t hear the monitors, or any other piece of gear, they should hear their music represented the best way they can. The goal of great monitors is to allow the creativity to happen without having to think about them or whether or not what you are hearing is going to sound the same outside of the studio.“