December 17, 2019
For more than 10 years, Audeze headphones have provided a reference standard for audio industry professionals. We're proud that our headphones have found homes in some of the world's most prestigious engineering and production studios, empowering today's most innovative and influential content creators. In a recent press release, our friends at Audio Test Kitchen talk about how the Audeze LCD-X helped them to craft their groundbreaking audio equipment testing platform. Check it out below!
“Trust is the most important thing,” says Audio Test Kitchen co-founder Alex Oana. “The resource we spent the last three years building would be worthless if our users didn’t trust how we built it. Audio Test Kitchen is relied on to present the true sound of hundreds of products from the world’s pro audio manufacturers. We have to get the sound right. We need a monitoring reference that tells us the truth every step of the way.”
AudioTestKitchen.com is a free website that enables audio creators and musicians to audition and compare the most important and fundamental product information: the sound. For the first time, the sound of entire categories of equipment can be compared online. Core to enabling unbiased product comparison is maintaining source consistency and integrity while recording hundreds of products over days and weeks. “We needed our monitoring reference to remain consistent whether in Chris Lord-Alge’s Can-Am Studio, EastWest, or Harman Lab’s anechoic chamber,” recounts Oana. “Some of our methodologies required up to five stages of quality control. At each one, our ears were between a pair of Audeze LCD-X.”
Oana’s first exposure to the Audeze LCD line of headphones was as a sales consultant in Vintage King Audio’s Los Angeles showroom. “When demonstrating and comparing audio equipment, the last thing one wants is for a headphone to present its own character on top of the character one is listening for in the gear. We had a whole display rack of headphones to choose from, and I found the Audeze LCD series were the only headphones that had it all: total coverage of the lowest frequencies, neutrality in the mids, and authenticity of the high frequencies.”
Over the course of three years, Audio Test Kitchen designed content (songs, instruments, and vocals in multiple genres), recording methodologies (lasers, anechoic chambers, and robots), and a custom web app to create the world’s most comprehensive resource of real microphone recordings that can be compared in real-time, online.
Prior to entering EastWest to begin recording sources for Audio Test Kitchen’s debut category of large diaphragm condenser mics, Oana and his co-founder Ian Hlatky found themselves doing R&D at an audio lab in Fountain Valley, CA when they realized they were ½ a mile from Audeze’s world headquarters. “I messaged CEO Sankar Thiagasamudram on LinkedIn,” recalls Oana, “and before the end of the day we were pitching him and Senior Executive Mark Cohen at their conference table.”
“I’ve been in the audio technology business a long time and I wasn’t sure they could pull of what they were describing,” says Cohen. “But I was impressed that ATK had already secured partnerships with 50 microphone manufacturers. I knew our headphones could play a key role in helping them maintain the consistency and quality they’d need to create this much needed resource for the pro audio and music industry.”
“I knew of Alex as the creator of the Slate Raven touchscreen DAW controller and had spoken with him years ago,” recalls Thiagasamudram. “I was impressed that he just showed up at our offices with so much passion and conviction. I knew immediately Audeze would support Audio Test Kitchen.”
Finalizing content for any medium with a critical audience has its pressures. Audio Test Kitchen’s audio content not only needs to stand up as high quality music, but is the means by which thousands of users come to understand the true nature and the gear and make decisions on which equipment to buy. There’s a lot riding on the audio of Audio Test Kitchen.
“Like many engineers, we reference multiple monitors and headphones. Time and time again, we’d turn to the LCD X to reveal the details that were not perceivable through other headphones to make our final decisions on audio comparison content to be scrutinized by audio creators around the world.”
In October, 2019, Audio Test Kitchen launched their debut equipment comparison category, ‘Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones,’ which totals more than 300 physical microphones, capsules, voicing settings, and virtual microphone models. Audio Test Kitchen will be expanding to include additional professional audio and musical instrument categories with the goal of establishing a new, critical information layer in the industry that empowers musicians and audio creators to make confident decisions about the gear they rely on.
If you want to learn more about this powerful online platform, check out this interview from Warren Huart's Produce Like a Pro series!