What Speakers Do Audio Insiders Own?

I'd be very interested in learning what speakers professional musicians, recording engineers, and other "insiders" own in their personal audio systems, which they paid for themselves. Any "inside" information?
Well, reading most any audio magazine (ie, stereophile, the absolute sound, etc...) will let you know what reviewers own themselves. But, most often than not, the reviews own very high end gear. So unless you are shopping in that arena, it may not do you any good.

I think the same holds true with Musicians. I know that Henry Rollins has quite the setup, although I'm not sure what it consists of. Also, Fabio used to have Martin Logan Statement E2's with Krell as the front end.
I know that in the past these individual artists bought/used ATC speakers

Barbara Streisland
Dire Straits
Simple Minds
Suzanne Vega
John Williams
Roger Taylor
Pink Floyd Studio
Neneh Cherry
10 CC
Lou reed
Tears for Fears
Mike Oldfield
Robert Plant

The list of studios using ATC is much longer by about a factor of 10 ( possibly because famous artists/individuals may prefer not to make public which speakers they buy)

for a recent list of the latest buyers of ATC speakers see this link;

I think that you'll find that most musicians have pretty crappy systems. So I wouldn't put too much stock in what they're listening to personally. That being said there are some lines of pro speakers that cross over into home audio that are excellent, such as ATC and PMC. AS always though, whenever possible use your own ears. Happy listening!
Stereophile occasionally visits with musicians and producers, and it seems that many of them have boom boxes, don't pay a lot of attention to home audio. But Tony Levin was intereviewed in 2001, not too long after he bought an all Linn system. He was very happy with it.
musicians know that you lose much of the music once it goes into the recording. what hi-fi gives us are 'paintings' of music.... but musicians get the real thing. that being said, there are musicians who enjoy hi-fi, but most of them recognize it as representations only, not absolutely accurate reproduction.... and they don't take it (hi-fi) tooooo seriously.
Richard King, recording engineer at Sony Music, uses Focus Audio monitors...

Eric Clapton owns a pair of Mani-2's

Diana Krall owns a pair of Arro's
Until recently (when I put a small system together for her) my girlfriend (pianist) was listening to CDs on her DVD player through her TV. Home audio, good or bad, pales in comparison & to her it wasn't worth spending much (any) money on.
Recording Engineer Paul Stubblebine Has Magico References. There is plenty of info about Paul at Positive Feedback On-line.

He's responsible for quite a few recordings we audiophiles listen to.

Paul also has a web site, which is easily found via a google search.

This system is owned by a professional trumpet player in a major philharmonic orchestra.
I can't help but wonder if many in the business do what seems to them to be the logical thing: ask the engineer they know for advise. The engineer may use certain equipment for professional needs that the average audiophile need not concern himself with. With that, the engineer know his equipment well, so thats what he may recommend. Besides if the original recording was monitored on this gear it must makes sense to use it at home as well. Or so it would seem?
I'm answering my own question, but here are examples of insiders owning speakers from a company I had never heard of called Link...
I don't mean to hi-jack this thread, but I have always wondered if any media famous (or otherwise ) people are audiophiles, and if so, what type of gear they own.
Is Johnny Depp an audiophile? Does Nicole Kidman prefer s.s. or tubes? (Nicole, if you are reading this, e-mail me. We'll get together.) What does Leonard Cohen chill to, and does the U.N. have a dedicated listening room somewhere?
Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews, Leonard Bernstein, and Barbra Streisand all own or owned (Bernstein is deceased) Beveridge 2SWs in one form or another, FWIW.
I've heard from more than one dealer that James Gandolfini (aka Tony Soprano) owns a lot of high end gear (Hovland, Audio Physic, Wilson).
VMPS RM 30's are owned by one reviewer at Positive Feedback. Martin De Wulf of Bound for Sound has Vmps RM 40's. John Beavers of Positive feedback has RM 30's with the new Constant Directivity Waveguides.

A great speaker out of production that I know a couple of reviewers did own were Dunlavy SCIVa's. They sound very good but not as good as RM 40's imo.
Jim came in to see me when I was working at Nicholson's HI FI in Nashville--he was shooting the movie "The Last Castle" with Robert Redford. I sold him a quite a bit of equipment and got him started (as far as I can tell) into audio madness.
It's a funny story, long, if anyone would like to hear it.
Rick Rubin uses Legacy Focus' , or so I read in one of the mags awhile ago.
For you HK movie fans, the movie "Infernal Affairs" actually has a scene where the two stars are in an audio store...one suggests a pair of cables, and the other comments how much better it sounds. Reportedly, one of the stars (Andy Lau) became a hardcore audiophile after filming this movie.

Jim came in to see me when I was working at Nicholson's HI FI in Nashville--he was shooting the movie "The Last Castle" with Robert Redford. I sold him a quite a bit of equipment and got him started (as far as I can tell) into audio madness.
It's a funny story, long, if anyone would like to hear it.
Larry...let's hear it!
a friend of mine owns a nice pro recording studio is a killer drummer and engineer. he is also sick of music by the time he gets home and wants a vette to work on. I know a lot of other musicians who use boom boxes because they make the money most musicians make and spend too little time at home to tie it up in gear they can't make money with. They do tend to have VERY extensive CD and record collections though
I read an interview with Tony Levin (bassist for Peter Gabriel and on Black Light Syndrome) where he discusses the Linn system he has. He mentions that high end audio blew him away the first time he heard it, citing a recording he had made where a truck drove by the room he was recording in, and he didn't know the sound of the truck made it onto the recording until he heard it on a high end system.
For you classical lovers, I've read that Michael Tilson Thomas owns the Eggleston Andra. Don't know if MTT qualifies as an "audio insider" but he's one heck of a conductor :)
Jim Gandolfini was shooting the movie,"The Last Castle" near Nashville--and wanted music in his trailer for down time between his scenes, so he'd have something to do. He sent in one of his assistants to buy something. I was at the counter and saw the credit card with the name James Gandolfini on it. I looked at the ticket and noted that the salesman had sold him a $1K system of, small B&W's a Marantz CD and Integrated--something like that.
I approached the man he had sent in, and handed him a B&K Brochure--on it I had written, "You bought pretty good stuff, but here's what you should have purchased", referencing the really nice solid state B&K, "It's Made in New Jersey, by the Mob", and signed, Larry Staples. (The 'mob' thing was an obvious reference to the Sopranos HBO television show he was starring in. The guy laughed and said, "I'll give this to Jim, he'll like it".
The next day a large hulk of a guy comes in the front door, eating a banana. He looks at me and says, "Where's 'dis Larry guy?"
I immediately recognized him, we shook hands, he laughed, and said, "OK where's the 'better' stuff?"
That was the beginning of a nice several weeks. Jim came in, in the evening, after hours. He would call and ask if he could come by after shooting,even though we closed at 6pm. He couldn't get there until about six, butI didn't mind. I agreed to stay and entertain him with music and show him our audio gear.
After a few trips he was interested in, and almost purchased the Nearfield Acoustics, but he didn't think his NYC loft would support the height of them, or that his wife, at that time would go for the overall size of them. We listened to the ML Prodigys the THIEL 7.2's on all kinds of music, but he just didn't like the overall sound of either for some reason. He enjoys older rock n roll and blues really cranked. His tastes are pretty eclectic really, and he had a good collection.
At that time, I had just heard the Mahler's from Vienna Acoustics in Vegas, (Rebecca Pidgeon's Spanish Harlem was very nice on them) and liked their friendly mellow sound, plus the imaging was very good, and cabinets beautiful.
I recommended the Mahler's as an alternative, he went to NYC that week end and after one bad demo, went back at my insistance to hear them again. He ended up getting them. Also, from me, he purchased an LS16, I can't remember the model exactly now, conrad johnson and one of the newer MAC amps, not a well matched combo, but he liked tubes, and the overall sound of the cj and as is the case with many people, the looks and allure of the MAC.
During one visit we were having a beer, and I asked him if the locals bothered him at restaurants and such and he said 'NO!, but they do approach Bob quite a bit though.' (referring to Robert Redford)
"Why him and not you, Jim?" I swear he said, "Cause I'm a prick!". I was a little surprised at this, and said, "You don't seem that way to me". Jim hesitated and said, "That's caus' you're a nice guy, Larry."
Later, when Jim found out I had a large tumor removed from my back and that the surgery had gone badly, disabling me, he called back several times to check on me, one time talking to the Owner of Nicholson's giving me encouragement, "Tell him, I had a friend with a similar thing, and he's ok now".
Terrific guy--interesting, funny, and I think one terrific actor.
I heard later that he's expanded into even better gear, but don't know what he's ended up with.
I have thought about approaching him to do print ad's--but haven't called him.

The real Tony Soprano.

Larry...what a great story! I am still looking for my first celeb customer...
Well I may qualify as one of those "audio insiders"... As a producer and engineer, I have recorded a number of Billboard top twenty songs, mostly in the pop and dance genres. (Reina, Jocelyn Enriquez, Kim Sozzi, Dee Robert, Mynt ...) I also produce a lot of alternative/underground rock.

The truth about the recording industry, from my perspective, is ... well, it's not as audiophile as it should be.

I would say that that most of my friends and peers with similar credentials go for speakers that sound really, really, good, but not "great" by audiophile standards. I myself use a pair of ATC SCM20SL's as my mainstay in the studio, along with Rogers Studio 1a's and Quad 12L's. But most audio engineers/producers that I know, and even the really famous ones whose setups I am familiar with, use speakers that are less than what we are used to debating about here on the 'Gon.

I believe that the main reason for this is that studio monitors, even more than sounding great, need to be TOUGH. They need to be able to handle a fader that you accidentally leaned on and turned up way too loud. A kick drum that you EQ'd way too much bass into, or a percussion instrument that you somehow accidentally added 12db of 10K to, without having the drivers go whizzing by your head on a weekly basis. So the majority of engineers and producers that I am aware of use speakers like Adams, Genelec, Dynaudio, Event, Mackie, and Tannoy. Speakers that are specifically made for the rigors of the recording studio. Many, many, MANY, still use the awful sounding Yamaha NS10M's - for over twenty years the industry standard reference. But I'll be damned - even though they lack imaging, depth, detail, and harmonic accuracy in a ridiculous way - if you can get it sounding good on those speakers it'll sound good (great!) on almost any other speaker! A friend of mine who is a successful producer, records and mixes exclusively over cheapo computer speakers. But when I play his mixes over my audiophile speakers they SING! If a producer "knows" his speakers, even if he is not hearing everything contained in the recording, he can artistically balance out the instruments, voices, timbres, and effects together over mediocre speakers so that the final product REALLY reproduces well over an audiophile system.

It is my opinion that most in my industry are still very ignorant of the detail, depth, imaging and accuracy of the audiophile speakers available to them. However it is also clear to me that those in my industry are far, far further along the path of audiophile awareness than the average lay person. Any fellow producer who comes to my studio comments on the superior sound of my system - not so with most friends and clients.

Although there are those producers that extoll the virtues of certain speakers in the $10K range and up - Westlake and ATC immediately come to mind ... they are the exception rather than the rule.

So to sum up, I would say that the phenomenal sound that you hear coming out of your Green Mountains, Wilson Watt Puppys, Von Schweikerts, Magnepans, Sonus Fabers, Audio Physics, etc., etc., etc., was recorded and mixed most of the time from speakers providing far, far, less resolution - but by people with an ear for painting an aural landscape and knowing how to make timbres, frequencies, and textures, work together really, really well - and in the end resulting in an even better acoustic product than the "audio insider" envisioned.

Of course there are those producers and engineers who DO know the high-end well and record and mix over those products, but I assure you that they are the exception in the industry.

And that's my 2 cents IMHO.
Studioray,many thanks for your insightful post. It gives me great pause to wonder: If studio engineers are not using "audiophile-grade" speakers, then might it be likely that the original recording is highly "inaccurate" and flawed. If so, is it not folly to be spending ungodly sums of money on high-end audiophile components that promise accuracy and transparency when the source is inaccurate and lacking in transparency?
Steinway57, I completely understand your very logical point, but fortunately, I think that it is NOT the case - Phew!

To me it is like a photographer using an expensive large format camera with a fantastic lens and dirty viewfinder. He still can make all the lighting, contrast, relationship, and composition decisions - even if he is not seeing it at the best resolution. And in the end the resulting photograph - although it contains details not seen in the viewfinder - looks even better than what the photagrapher saw.

What often happens with these mixes is - if the engineer was competent - that when they are played on an audiophile system, there is more air around things and more three-dimensionality and details than the engineer was hearing. But I would say that the other things, like the amount of lo, mid, and hi frequency information, as well as the relative volumes and positions within the stereo spectrum are accurate, as studio monitors often reproduce these things well. What they largely don't seem to produce well is depth and the "palpability" of instruments - where a cello is just so harmonically rich, a saxaphone sounds like it's in the room with you, the surrounding reverb makes you feel like you are in the concert hall.

Of course it would be best if the engineer heard all these things the best that he could during mixdown so that he could further manipulate them to the best effect of the musical piece, but in most cases with popular music (I can't speak for classical), it is the photographer with the dirty viewfinder who "lucks out" that the end product is even better than imagined. A good example is the above post by Philnyc re: Tony Levin hearing things that he didn't know weren in his own mix.

Now there are exceptions with certain engineers, producers, and artists using the high-end stuff - but it is by far, far the exception rather than the rule.

Also let me point out though most engineers are fanatical about the recording process itself. Just like audiophiles give obsessive attention to speakers, amps, and the like, engineers OBSESS over microphones, cables, preamps, digital converters, sampling rates, signal path, etcetera. And that is why the good recordings sound that way.