To say Chicago Recording Company (CRC) is in demand is more than a bit of an understatement. “I’ll see my work at least once a night watching TV,” says senior post engineer, Eric Cauwels, “and that doesn’t count other rooms producing national spots on a daily basis here.” If Chicago is the production hub of the Northeastern United States, CRC is the hub of post work in Chicago.
Founded in 1975, CRC is the largest independent studio in the nation. With nine full post-production suites and a list of high profile clients including Kawasaki, SC Johnson, Sears, Miller, Coors and Philip Morris, and film credits running the gamut from ‘Black Swan’ to Pixar’s ‘Toy Story’ franchise, it’s clear that CRC is also one of the busiest and most successful.
Maintaining that success requires an unerring commitment to consistency across the board, in terms of service, technical staff and the technology they employ day in, day out, says general manager Chris Shepard. And that’s one of the key reasons they’ve recently outfitted six of their post rooms with Tannoy Reveal 501 and 601 near field monitors. For Shepard, a major driver in the choice is the Reveal’s accuracy and management of the midrange. “Tannoy has always been known for that,” he says. “We like the Tannoy Reveal as part of our CRC standard. It’s all about being able to make creative decisions quickly. That’s why we chose them.”
In all, forty Reveal’s are employed in various setups in the post department alone – as Mains, as well as in full 5.1 and Precision configurations – All used for projects ranging from radio and television spots to dialogue replacement for high profile film projects. In studio one, Cauwels’ primary workspace, the system is comprised of three Tannoy Reveal 601s as his front LCR, two Tannoy Reveal 501s as surrounds and a single Tannoy sub. “I use them for my surround sound and as my near field monitors,” Cauwels explains. “What I like about them is they really translate well to the end format. One of the biggest challenges of being a mixing engineer for television and radio is that ultimately your work is played on a variety of speakers. My job is to make it sound as good on TV as it did in here. Then I know that my speakers are doing a good job, and that’s the case with the Reveal’s. I also like that you can tailor them to a specific room using the EQ adjustment on the back,” he adds. “That’s definitely an attractive feature.”
As for what attracts people to the studio? “Talent and experience,” says Shepard succinctly, who’s been with CRC for twenty-four years himself and stresses that CRC engineers earn that experience the old-fashioned way: “It’s an apprenticeship. Beginning at the bottom of the ladder is the only way to get in.”
“When folks have a project on the line and their name is going on it,” he continues, “they want to work with talented people who’ll work to their timeline.” And by folks, Shepard means A-List celebrities including Jennifer Hudson, Vince Vaughn and Oprah Winfrey. With a client list like that, there’s no room for messing around. “We tested a bunch of speakers. But what CRC has done in the last few years is to standardize our rooms and the Tannoy Reveal’s are a part of our template – We not only picked Tannoy as our monitors, we picked them as the reference for our company.”
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