Fascinated from childhood by music and the technology of recording, Don Setaro got his start by creating his own recording studio in the mid 1970s. In the time since, the Northern California based producer and engineer has moved on to tracking at Prairie Sun Recording Studio, Fantasy Studios and 25th Street Recording, but continues to do his mixing work in his own studio.
Despite the comforts of working in his own space, Don's studio wasn't tailor made for listening to mixes properly. To combat his issues, he reached out to Vintage King's Alex Oana, whose solution was to utilize Trinnov Audio's ST2 Pro Optimizer to create a better listening environment. We recently caught up with Don to talk about how the ST2 and Trinnov software have helped ease Don's mixing process and create better audio results.
What was the problem with your monitoring set-up that led you to Vintage King?The room in my house I am using for a mixing suite is almost perfectly square, which is a problem to begin with and it isn’t very big. I enlisted the help of an acoustic designer who helped me with sound absorbers and deflection materials for the room, but he warned me that we had reached the limit of what could be done in a room with these dimensions. I had a huge build up of low end in the back of the room and a spot (right where I would sit to mix), where the low end would disappear. The stereo imaging wasn’t what I was hoping for. In speaking about this problem with Vintage King’s Alex Oana, he suggested a solution (the Trinnov ST2) that had been very successful in little mixing rooms at a film studio in the LA area. I test drove it and kept it. Before speaking to Alex, my only option was the generous offer of my wife to give up the master bedroom in our home (the bedroom is much larger and rectangular in shape). Thanks to the Trinnov ST2, I didn’t have to exercise that option.
What has the ST2 done for your studio, your workflow and the way you hear music?
The first and foremost benefit of the ST2 was taking care of the disappearing low end at the mixing position. The surprise benefit of the system is an increased sense of space both left to right and also back to front. My mixes now have more apparent depth. The high end is more pronounced and detailed. Reverb and effects returns are more defined.
The changes in workflow are simple. I hear what I mix and it translates to the outside world. I am spending more time on artistic/musical decisions and not worrying that my mixes will or won’t translate to other speaker systems. I also think that these mixes will allow my mastering engineers to focus on adjustments that will enhance the music instead of fixing problems.
You work in a lot of different settings. Have you utilized the ST2 in other environments that you have worked in?
I do my tracking at several studios in the Bay Area (Prairie Sun, Fantasy, 25th Street Recording and others). I plan on taking the ST2 to optimize these studio’s speakers to give me a more consistent monitoring environment.