ADAM Audio’s A77X near- and mid-field monitor is a key component in Grammy®-winner producer and engineer Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell’s production process at the legendary Royal Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. Royal Studios boasts a unique legacy in the music industry. Boo Mitchell’s late father, Willie Mitchell, helped found Royal Studios – one of the oldest recording studios in the USA still open for business – in 1957. The studio was housed in an old cinema, the Royal, which gave the new facility its name. Willie Mitchell then helped push Memphis to worldwide fame as a metropolis of soul music. A successful producer and engineer as well as an accomplished musician, he worked with greats such as Al Green, Ann Peebles and George Jackson. Royal Studios was also the home of the Hi Rhythm Section, one of the era’s most successful backing groups.
Decades later, his son Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell has written new chapters in the ongoing Royal Studios success story. His long career as an engineer and producer reached a new apex in 2016, when he won the Grammy® award for his engineering work on that year’s Best Record, Bruno Mars’ memorable Uptown Funk.
Boo recounts the enormous influence growing up with one of the world’s leading producers of soul music had on his artistic and professional career. “I grew up in the studio watching him make records all the time. And so I started really getting into RnB. And by the time I was in my 30s, I was really heavily into engineering.” Today, his impressive credit list includes household names such as Buddy Guy, John Mayer and Rod Stewart.
One of the secrets behind the ongoing success of Royal Studios is the use of vintage gear paired with cutting-edge monitoring technology from the ADAM A77X monitor. The cornerstone of the studio is an MCI 536 C mixing console, the same desk used by Willie Mitchell during the studio’s soul and RnB heyday. Yet its monitors are just as integral to today’s Royal Studio sound.
“Sound is everything,” Boo Mitchell told us. “You have to be able to feel the music. My dad once said to me, ‘We’re not selling music, we’re selling feelings, and people buy music that they can feel.’ So the sound is everything.” A major component in successful mixing is transferring the Royal Studios magic into tracks that will inspire the listener, wherever they happen to be. “How well something translates from the studio to your car or your house, monitoring has always been an issue,” Boo explains. “It’s really one of the things I like most about the ADAM monitors. You know things translate well from the studio to the other environment.”
The A77X full range response captures the warmth and sonic depth of Royal Studios’ predominantly analogue gear, yet without needing a subwoofer. “One of the things that turned me on about the ADAMs was that they were giving me the low end that I needed without dialling in a subwoofer,” Boo recalls. “People listening on headphones, you don’t have a sub, everybody doesn’t have subs in their houses and their cars. I think a good monitor should be able to give you what you want with two speakers.”
Boo remembers the selection process for his ADAM Audio A77X as being quite the revelation. “I was going through this monitor, that monitor, listening and listening, and when it got to the ADAMs, they blew everything out of the water. It was, like, unreal. They sounded so rich, they had the bass and the clarity,” he remembers. “I was thinking, maybe is there something wrong with these other speakers. And I did it again. Back to the ADAMs, and I was like, ‘Well, no, these ADAMs are just awesome.’”