Total Integration of SSL Studio with Combo Analog/Digital SC-Mistral
Pictured at Precision Sound Studios are (L-R) engineer/producer Alex Sterling and studio designer/integrator Horacio Malvicino. Photo by Rod de la Garza.
Engineer/producer Alex Sterling, owner of Precision Sound Studios on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, recently hired the Malvicino Design Group to totally upgrade his facility with a new console, film screens and an elaborate new patchbay and cabling system.
Sterling explained, “I’ve always wanted to create a working space for music production that has the comfort of a person’s home or living room but with the technical and professional capabilities of a larger commercial facility. I provide a full range of engineering and production services at my studio, focusing on vocal and instrumental overdubs, music production, editing, mixing, and mastering.”
“Alex has a lot of equipment that requires a lot of both analog and digital wiring,” explains studio designer Horacio Malvicino. “In the past we used separate cables for analog audio and AES/EBU digital gear, but Sommer’s Mistral cable serves both purposes. We wired the whole studio with just this cable, which made our job a lot easier.”
Sterling chose a 48-channel SSL Duality console for his new Control Room A. “The integration with the DAW was very important to me, as was the high channel count, and having a full complement of processing available on every channel.” As a result, the renovation called for uniquely complex cable connectivity.
The Malvicino Design Group specializes in recording studio architecture, custom acoustics, and manufacturing of audio products. They have wired, integrated and commissioned over 500 consoles over the years, with approximately 150 being Solid State Logic models, often working with SSL’s SVP Don Wershba. Horacio Malvicino, who holds a degree in Electrical Engineering, was introduced to Sommer cable America’s CEO Martin Ucik by Wershba, who suggested he try out the German company’s new products.
Alex Sterling continues, “We specialize in audiophile-quality acoustic music recording and mixing, using minimalist mic techniques to make hyper-realistic recordings. I want the listener to be transported into the music. I also do a substantial amount of work in pop, electronic, and hip-hop. The sound quality and high frequency clarity of the Sommer cable adds to my work in these areas as well. Transient detail and impact are preserved even with long cable runs and complex outboard gear patching needs. “
Malvicino recalls, “We built a lot of SSL patchbays for the AWS and Duality consoles. Two years ago, we purchased Sommer cables for the first time. We tested the cables and were very surprised. We still hand-build and solder our patchbays. I was looking for a cable that would be easy to handle, cut and strip, would be clearly labeled, and would solder easily. When we tested the Sommer cable against any other cable that we used before, I was blown away. It was second to none. Wiring the Precision Sound Studio was quite a challenge, because we not only did the patchbays; we also did the complete on-site installation of the console and outboard gear.”
Malvicino decided to use the unique Sommer MC-Mistral analog/digital combo cable for the Precision project. Because of the cable’s accurate capacitance, high transmission quality is assured over long distances. The wire pairs of Sommer’s Mistral cable have a pre-twisted drain wire and another shielding made of AL/PT compound foil. For added protection against corrosion and oxidation, both the conductors and the drain wire are tinned. The returns on the cable splices are instantly recognizable by the color-coding on the conductor pairs.
“One common problem with a lot of cable manufacturers is that once you cut the jacket open and start stripping the individual pairs for soldering, the labeling imprint on the cable starts fading out. That’s a huge deal for us. At Precision we had long snakes with 24 pairs, connecting almost 300 points of outboard gear. When you start losing the individual numbers, your only choice is to start tediously testing point-to-point to make sure each cable is correctly wired.”
Bending the twenty-four pair snakes at multiple 90-degree turns in the cable troughs at Precision could have resulted in conductivity issues. “Another thing I really like about Sommer cable is that it bends really well,” says Malvicino. “But it’s not so flexible that it would give me concerns. Other brands are either just too flexible or they’re extremely stiff. The cable performed superbly and if you look at the many angled turns they’re very nice and neat, and everything’s lined up. It was a perfect installation. To me, this was a big test, because it was the first Duality installation where we did everything completely by ourselves with Sommer cable.”
“Horacio’s work is truly excellent and he has a very thorough attention to detail,” adds Sterling. “I was very impressed by the level of care and precision he takes to design and assemble his cable assemblies and patchbays and it has become clear that Sommer cable was a great choice for my studio through its flawless function, reliability, and clear detailed sound quality. As a creative business owner I rely on my tools to serve my clients needs and long term reliability and robustness is very important to me.”
Malvicino concludes by emphasizing the service aspect of Sommer. “Another thing that’s amazing about the company is the service that I get. I was telling Don Wershba the other day that their dedication to the client is what really struck me. These guys would bend over backwards for me. Everything’s on the website; I order online and they ship me everything. Right now, we’re sourcing everything from them, including connectors. We also started using them to produce all our microphone, tie-line, and interface panels. The quality, the craftsmanship, it’s superb.”
See photo details of the cable installation here: http://tinyurl.com/zqebjg3
Learn more about the Malvicino Design Group: http://www.malvicinodg.com
Learn more about Alex Sterling at: http://www.alexsterling.net
Learn more about Sommer’s Mistral cable: http://tinyurl.com/j92opsx
Free one-foot Mistral cable samples are available upon request.
ABOUT SOMMER CABLE
Sommer Cable Germany is an enterprising development and manufacturing company of innovative and unique cable, connector and electronic products for the Studio, A/V Installation, Live Sound, Broadcast, Video, Music, IT and HiFi markets, with business partners in over 50 countries. In 2015, Sommer Cable America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sommer Cable Germany, was established in Santa Rosa, CA by new CEO Martin Ucik. The new company supplies the North American markets with Sommer’s wide range of innovative and high quality products. 707.200.4020