Producer Nathan Chapman

Producer Nathan Chapman Chooses Focal Monitors for Taylor Swift’s Chart-Topping Release

Focal Solo6 Be powered monitors used in producers’ studio for all his production work: “I love these monitors,” says Chapman, “the Solo6’s are perfection.”


Producer Chapman Nathan

Nashville Producer Nathan Chapman is on a roll with his country music productions, scoring a hit again with Taylor Swift’s latest album “Speak Now” – and continuing to use his Focal Solo6 Be powered monitors in the studio, “I used the Solo6’s on the Taylor Swift album, I love these monitors,” Chapman says. The Grammy-winning producer’s credits also include Jewel, The Band Perry, and Laura Bell Bundy, among many others.

“The first time I heard the Focal Solo6 studio monitors I was beyond impressed,” explains Chapman. “They were true and accurate and at the same time didn’t sound ‘boring’ like other monitors I have used. Hearing what is actually going on inside a mix or recording session is just as important as any other part of making a record. Focal monitors are my top choice. For my small home studio, the Solo6’s are perfection. And FYI, I didn’t get them for free or at a discount. I bought these monitors because I loved them.”

Chapman co-produced Swift’s latest album “Speak Now” which sold over 1 million copies in its first week of release, the album garnered the number 1 slot on the Billboard 200 album charts as of December 22, 2010. Chapman also produced Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” album, which became the biggest selling album of 2009 with over 3 million copies sold. Earlier this year the country music industry declared Swift’s album “Fearless” the most awarded album in the history of country music, as the only album to win the Grammy for ‘Album of The Year’ and ‘Country Album of the Year’ from the Grammys, the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and the American Music Awards.

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Engineer Ken “Pooch” Van Druten

Engineer Ken “Pooch” Van Druten Mixes ‘Slash’ on Focal Monitors

Live & Studio Mix Engineer Moves Up to Focal Solo6 for Slash’s “Live From The Roxy” Online release


Engineer Ken "Pooch" Van Druten with Focal Solo 6

As a mix Engineer, Ken “Pooch” Van Druten divides his time between mixing front of house for top live rock acts and mixing releases in the studio, one of his latest studio mixing projects is the “Live From The Roxy” Slash online release. Van Druten is a three-time Grammy nominee, his latest as mixer for the 2010 ‘Best Hard Rock Performance’ nomination for “Linkin Park: Live at Milton Keynes.” No stranger to live rock, from Kiss, Limp Bizkit, System of a Down and Kid Rock to Slash, Van Druten has worked with almost every top hard rock act touring in the past 20 years, mixing FOH or monitors, or as the production/tour manager.

On the live Slash mixes, Van Druten made a switch to Focal Solo6 monitors. “I actually own several types of high-end speakers. All of them are now my second choice,” states Van Druten. “I still use them for reference, but I mix on the Focal Solo6s now.” He mixed stereo (as well as a 5.1 surround version) for the Slash online release, “This was the first time I used Solo6s for a project. It came out spectacularly. I was really impressed by these speakers.”

“What I found most interesting with the Solo6s was the amount of time I could spend mixing without getting fatigued,” adds Van Druten. “I can usually only spend several hours before I have to take a long break. But do to the excellent reference of the Solo6s I was able to listen at lower volumes and not get fatigued, whilst the mix reference remained correct. Thus allowing for many more hours of work and expediting the whole process.”

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Guitarist and Composer Steve Ouimette

Guitar Hero’ Steve Ouimette Shreds Riffs with FOCAL Monitors

Possibly the Most Heard and ‘Studied’ Guitarist Today Creates Blistering Guitar Solos for “Guitar Hero” Video Game

Steve Ouimette

Guitarist and composer Steve Ouimette

At last count Guitar Hero games sold over $800-million around the world in the various flavors up to the latest “Guitar Hero: World Tour.” And when players try to match many of the game’s blistering guitar solos note-for-note, they are actually copying true life ‘guitar hero’ Steve Ouimette who crafts each solo in his Scottsdale, Arizona recording studio. Recently Ouimette upgraded his studio with FOCAL Twin6 Be monitors, and loves the new sound he gets when recording, monitoring, and mixing.

“I needed self powered monitors and wanted a set that didn’t require a subwoofer, a monitor that had a natural top to bottom, but no hyped frequencies. Mercenary Audio suggested I try out the FOCAL Twin6 Be monitors to see if I liked them. They said they’d take them back if they didn’t suit my needs, but it’s been over a year they’re never getting them back!” said Ouimette with a laugh.

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Lenny Kravitz Engineer Matt Knobel

Lenny Kravitz Engineer Matt Knobel Installs Focal SM11 Monitors in South Beach “Setai Studios”


Matt Knobel at Lenny Kravitz's “Setai Studios” with Focal Monitors

In the late 1980’s Matt Knobel started out working in several in New York studios including Media Sound and Platinum Island learning the ropes, then continuing with jingles on hundreds of recording and mixing sessions from American Express to Yellow Pages at JSM Music in NYC. “It was a great experience. I got to work with some great engineers, world class musicians and to work in a lot of amazing studios,” says Knobel. “I then started working a lot with [bassist] Will Lee.” That work eventually led to meeting Lenny Kravitz and starting the Setai Recording Studio in Florida’s exclusive South Beach area in 2008 where he has install the Focal SM11 monitors. Along the way Knobel has done mixing and/or recording for Sheryl Crow, Ricky Martin,  Lauryn Hill, Outkast, Mary J. Blige and Mick Jagger, just to name a select few artists.

In 1997 Knobel started working with Lenny Kravitz.  “He called me in for a few days to help him with his Pro Tools system. He had never used one before. I went over for a few days, then he asked me to work the next week and then he asked me to do the record. It turned out to be the record ‘5’ with ‘Fly Away’ and ‘American Woman.’  It was a great experience; we got to do a lot of recording, a lot of traveling. It was just a lot of fun to work with an artist like that on a record, as diverse as Lenny is,” recalled Knobel.

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Sean Beresford: Third Eye Blind

Sean Beresford Chooses Focal Monitors for Mixing New “Third Eye Blind” Tracks

Sean Beresford

Sean Beresford at the Third Eye Blind studios in SF

Sean Beresford has engineered, edited and/or mixed Vanessa Carlton, The Explosion, The Star Spangles, The Upwelling, The Donnas, Brain and Buckethead and The Echo Falls as well as continued a long-time connection with San Francisco Bay Area band Third Eye Blind. He recently was the recording engineer on Third Eye Blind’s upcoming new album “Ursa Major” on their own subsidiary of Sony/RED due out late summer 2009. The band recorded at Stephen Jenkins new Carriage House Recording studio in San Francisco, where Beresford is also mixing 6 of the songs. The new album was a long creative process and included a serious studio monitor evaluation, between a host of top contenders which ultimately ended in the purchase of a pair of Focal Solo 6 Be monitors.

Although the Carriage House Studio has several sets of larger and smaller speakers to choose from, for those all-day mixing sessions Beresford likes to mix on the Focal Solo6 Be monitors, he says “I don’t really enjoy listening to mains that much. I prefer mid-field or near field monitors. The Focals sound really, really good. The top end seems to be really accurate and I find them more than adequate for understanding where I’m at with the low end.”

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