Above & Beyond, within its 17-year history, has a long list of awards and nominations, including a Grammy nomination for “Best Dance Recording” in 2016. However, their most notable achievement is the ‘Group Therapy’ radio show with a weekly audience of 30 million listeners worldwide. In mid-September, the trio celebrated “Episode #250” with a magnificent live performance at the arguably one of the most scenic concert locations in the world – The Gorge Amphitheater in Washington State, USA.
Such a big show naturally needs a serious preparation and assurance in the sound quality. Surprisingly enough, the smallest Amphion Loudspeakers model – One12 studio monitor played a vital role in this process. According to one of the band members Paavo Siljamäki, mixing and mastering is an elusive art form. It often happens that just when you think you’re done with the mix, it turns out you’re not and you have to reopen the project. “Differences between speakers, headphones, amps, and dacs lead to a sometimes confusing landscape. If the mix sounds great on one system, why not on all?” asks Paavo, and continues, “Most listening systems are compromised – the louder the music, the more the room plays a part in the sound while listening on headphones gives a totally different perspective on stereo and mono.” For Paavo, the solution was Amphion MobileOne12 monitoring system.
Paavo brought the small portable case with him to the Gorge Amphitheatre, where they staged the ‘Group Therapy’ #250 performance. “Having used the Amphion MobileOne12 setup extensively in our studios in London, bringing the same setup with us was very confidence-building. Things that sounded good in London, sounded the same at the Gorge,” shares Paavo. “Some days before the show, while Tony and Jono were at Red Rocks, I was working on final prep for tracks for our set. I had all the tracks for our set lined up so the drops happen at the same time, and I was flicking between all the tracks. This gave really clear ideas on how to help the set sound better as a whole, and helped work on individual tracks with more confidence,” says Paavo.
In his studio back in Finland, Paavo has Amphion’s largest combo – Two18 studio monitors and BaseOne25 system which makes him well aware of the Amphion sound. “All this has made me very intrigued about the idea of having ‘the same sound’ – bigger Amphions in big rooms, small ones at home, and even on the road”, shares Paavo. “The unique thing about working with Amphions has been how they highlight sonic differences between sources. They are at the same time flattering, revealing, and encouraging. While a track on its own may not sound too bad – switching between different sources can very easily give an idea of what a mix needs, how it could be improved,” says Paavo.
For Paavo and company, the never-ending hunt for the best sounding mix continues, and Amphion is part of that project, both in the studio and on-the-go.
Watch the complete show in stunning 4K Full HD format.