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Flashback: The Sound and History of Ocean Way Studios

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There’s a terrific blog post on the site of our friends at Universal Audio. The post has been up for quite some time, but it’s a wonderful story about how legendary audio engineer and UREI/UA founder Bill Putnam met a young man named Allen Sides, who went on to own and operate Ocean Way Studios and is now the founder and CEO of Ocean Way Audio.

Sides, at the time, was barely out of high school, but already had an immense interest in audio recording and speaker design, and had also developed an excellent sense of entrepreneurship. From the UA blog…

In the mid-70s, Bill Putnam Sr. of Universal Audio caught wind of “this kid” who had finagled his way into buying up some surplus gear from his UREI factory at fire sale prices. The story was that he had been selling some of it off at a handsome profit, and using the rest to help build a remarkable home studio right off the beach in nearby Santa Monica, CA.

After a brief meeting in his office, Bill Sr. decided to pay a visit, and took his son along for the ride. Bill Jr., just twelve years old at the time, remembers that day vividly, “We drove out in my dad’s Lincoln Continental, walked around the back of the house and into the garage, and there was this huge speaker system right in front of us. It seemed like it was ten feet tall. And when he played us a bunch of stuff that he had recorded, my dad’s jaw just dropped.”


A photo of a very young Allen Sides working at the console at United Recording. Image courtesy of Universal Audio. 

The rest, as they say, is history. Allen and Bill hit it off right away, and ended up working closely together. Bill Putnam was perhaps the greatest mentor that Allen could have found, and likewise, Allen’s role as Bill’s protégé made him the perfect candidate to take over the former United Recording studio in the mid-1980s and give it the name of his former facility in Santa Monica… Ocean Way Studios. In addition to the original Hollywood facility, Allen went on to expand Ocean Way into multiple locations including Nashville, St Barth’s at Eden Rock and elsewhere. These facilities comprise the most award winning and successful music studios in the world, with albums recorded in Mr. Sides’ studios having sold in excess of one billion copies. But it really all started when Bill Putnam sought out “this kid” in Santa Monica.

Read the entire article here.

HR4s Head Down Under to Stefan Nowak Music

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Based in Sydney, Australia, Stefan Nowak is a respected musician and a studio owner. He’s operated his studio in various incarnations for over 25 years, and like many music creators, he’s gradually added to his gear list. Today, Stefan Nowak Music is filled with some of the finest modern recording and music production gear available, including the addition of an Avid ICON console/controller in 2015. This year, Stefan did a major upgrade to his facility when he took delivery of a pair of some of the world’s finest speakers for professional recording applications, and has just installed his set of Ocean Way Audio HR4 Studio Monitors. Stefan’s place is the first studio in Australia to choose the HR4 as their main studio monitor.

Stefan seems rather happy with his purchase. “They’re in!! And sound AMAZING!!!!,” he writes to us. He’s also offered to allow his fellow Aussie audio creators to stop by his place and get a demo of his new world-class studio speakers. You can learn more about Stefan Nowak Music and get in touch with Stefan by visiting his web site here.

Fun and Friends at Ocean Way’s Nashville Demo Sessions

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On May 10, we headed out to Music City, USA (aka Nashville, TN) for two excellent Ocean Way Audio demo events. The first was a series of one-on-one listening sessions with Ocean Way Audio founder and CEO Allen Sides at Vintage King. Later that evening, we headed around the corner to House of Blues Studios in Nashville’s historic Berry Hill neighborhood, where famed music producer T Bone Burnett keeps a studio space. The demos of our HR4(S) and Pro2A loudspeakers as well as our RM1-B Ribbon Microphone were all well received.

In addition to many denizens of the always-vibrant Nashville recording scene, we enjoyed the company of a number of friends and colleagues in town for the annual AudioMasters Benefit Golf Tournament. Below are a few photos from that evening’s gathering.


Allen Sides with the RM1-B Ribbon Microphone.

Ocean Way’s Rick Plushner (left) and Allen Sides (right) surrounding Phil Wagner of Focusrite. Also seen: our HR4(S) and Pro2A monitors.

Allen Sides (left) with House of Blues Studios president Gary Belz.

Left to right: Dutch country/pop singer Ilse DeLange, House of Blues Studios president Gary Belz, Ocean Way Audio president Rick Plushner, studio designer Carl Tatz, pro audio/entertainment industry consultant Lisa Roy, and Focusrite/Novation president Phil Wagner.

Famed producer T Bone Burnett at the console, with Ocean Way Audio CEO Allen Sides listening intently.

Old friends (and recording industry giants) Allen Sides and T Bone Burnett at House of Blues Studios in Nashville.

Ocean Way Rocks High End Munich 2017

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Last week, we headed across the Atlantic over the Munich, Germany, where High End 2017 was happening. The High End Show is the international place to be for all creators and aficionados of the world’s best high-fidelity audiophile listening environments. Ocean Way Audio was at the show to not only display our acclaimed current line of high-fidelity loudspeakers, but also for the global introduction of our new top-of-the-line speaker, Monterey.

Partnering in a booth at the show with the world-renowned amplifier maker Viola Audio Laboratories, Ocean Way was constantly busy throughout the event, which ran from May 18-21. Over 500 exhibitors were showing their wares at High End Munich 2017, but Ocean Way Audio was undeniably one of the hit booths at the show. Having our founder and CEO Allen Sides there at the booth to personally showcase our products was probably one of the big draws… after all, it’s not every day that audiophiles get to meet that man who recorded some of the most popular albums in history that have sold in excess of one billion copies! Ultimately, though, they came by our booth to check out our Eureka and new Monterey loudspeakers.


Outside of the sonically-treated demo room where Ocean Way Audio and Viola Labs partnered for the High End Munich 2017 show.

Inside the demo room, visitors to our booth got to experience some of the world’s finest audio thanks to our new Monterey speakers paired with Viola amplifiers and preamplifiers.

Mix Magazine Reviews the RM1-B Ribbon Microphone

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In the May 2017 issue of Mix Magazine, reviewer Barry Rudolph — a respected Los Angeles-based audio engineer and educator — gave an excellent review of our RM1-B Ribbon Microphone. Barry took the RM1-B through its paces on a number of sources, including voiceover recording, acoustic guitar/vocal performance, electric guitar cabinet miking, and as room mics for drums.

After setting up two RM1-Bs in a Blumlein coincident stereo pair array, Barry reported, “This setup produced one of the best room sounds I’ve ever heard. I got a complete drum sound with loads of low frequencies – much more than using a condenser. The 24-inch kick sounded like it did in the room, and the toms and snare were all in balance and present.”

He concludes, “I was impressed by the ultra-realistic capture provided by Ocean Way Audio’s RM1-B Active Ribbon microphone. It is excellent for instruments or vocals — close in for medium to soft sources or for the ambient pickup of distant loud instruments such as drum kits or guitar/bass cabinets.”

You can see the entire review by enlarging the images below, or by seeing this month’s Mix Magazine issue online.

Introducing Monterey, Our New Flagship High-Fidelity Loudspeaker

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BURBANK, CA (May 4, 2017) – Expanding their line of acclaimed loudspeakers for high-fidelity listening environments, Ocean Way Audio has announced Monterey, a highly-efficient 3-way speaker with a dual/hybrid waveguide system.

“We’re tremendously proud of Monterey,” says Ocean Way Audio founder and CEO Allen Sides. “This is a system that delivers accurately-matched and detailed imaging with an unusually wide horizontal and vertical dispersion, yielding a massive sweet-spot across a broad area of the listening environment. Even from the far corners of the room, you’ll get a highly consistent listening experience. The Monterey has virtually unlimited dynamic range with phenomenally low distortion, an extremely important trait that’s critical for accurate sonic reproduction, and completely missing from most audiophile loudspeakers.”

“Monterey represents one of the finest loudspeakers ever created for the experience of listening to music in the way it was meant to be heard,” adds Rick Plushner, Ocean Way Audio president. “It’s the ultimate combination of detail and power.”


Monterey with its grille removed to show the twin 12″ LF drivers.

Ocean Way Audio Monterey was designed by five-time Grammy® Award-winning engineer, producer, and recording studio designer Allen Sides. Many of the thousands of recordings created by Mr. Sides have become audiophile classics. He has worked with a list of the most respected and popular musical artists of the last 30 years. Albums recorded in Mr. Sides’ studios have sold hundreds of millions of copies.

Monterey offers a proprietary three-way geometrically-complex, stone casted dual/hybrid waveguide system. The system delivers a very wide (100-degree horizontal × 40-degree vertical) dispersion with highly-consistent directivity response. The speakers incorporate an integrated two-way dual-horn system with a 1” high-frequency and 8” mid-frequency driver, mechanically time-aligned with twin 12” sub-bass drivers per channel. Their frequency response at 20Hz to 25 kHz surpasses the limits of standard human hearing.

Monterey’s design incorporates internal bracing, minimizing cabinet flexing and reducing baffle reflection, resulting in minimum low frequency resonance. The cabinet’s sleek, contemporary design beautifully maintains time alignment. The system is driven by twin analog amplifiers. Monterey is available in many custom finishes, from piano high gloss to fine woods.

Visit the Monterey detail page for more information and complete specifications.

Download Monterey PDF

Allen Sides to Hold One-on-One Demo Sessions at Vintage King Nashville on May 10, 2017

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— Event is a collaboration between Ocean Way Audio, Vintage King, Focusrite and House of Blues Studios, and the evening session at House of Blues Studios serves as an official pre-party for the annual AudioMasters Golf Tournament —

BURBANK, CA, April 24, 2017 — Ocean Way Audio (OWA), a leading manufacturer of high-resolution reference monitors for the professional audio and audiophile market sectors, is hosting a special event on May 10, 2017, at Vintage King Nashville and House of Blues Studios in Nashville’s historic Berry Hill neighborhood. The event will feature Ocean Way founder Allen Sides, a five-time GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer, producer and mixer.



T Bone Burnett’s studio space at House of Blues Studios in Nashville’s Berry Hill neighborhood.

From 1:00 to 5:30 p.m. at Vintage King, Sides will be holding a series of one-on-one demonstrations of the Ocean Way Audio HR4S and Pro2A speakers and the new RM1-B Ribbon Microphone. He will be playing specially recorded classic tracks from his rich history of recording and mixing. Sides has personally worked on over 1,000 albums, many of which have become audiophile classics. Albums recorded in Mr. Sides’ Ocean Way Studios have sold in excess of one billion copies.

From 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., the day’s proceedings will move to House of Blues Studios, where OWA, Focusrite and Vintage King Nashville are co-sponsoring an official pre-party for the annual AudioMasters Golf Tournament – a yearly highlight for Nashville’s audio community. Sides and Rick Plushner, President of Ocean Way Audio, will demonstrate the custom 415T monitors, built for T Bone Burnett, in Burnett’s studio space. Attendees will get an in-depth look at these reference monitors. Food and drink will be provided, along with a Q&A session with Sides and Plushner.

Vintage King Nashville: 2826 Dogwood Pl, Nashville, TN 37204.
House of Blues Studios: 518 E Iris Dr, Nashville, TN 37204
RSVP here:

About Ocean Way Audio (OWA)
OWA speakers deliver the sound of Ocean Way. Products include the Hi-Res series – self-powered monitors that offer an integrated dual-horn design, providing an exceptionally accurate monitoring experience. The geometrically-complex waveguide creates accurately matched, detailed imaging with a wide horizontal and vertical sweet-spot, yielding a stunning 100×40 degree dispersion pattern. The consistency of OWA monitors’ stereo imaging is due to the highly consistent directivity response of the speaker. Models include the HR4 (2-Way), HR4S (3-Way), and HR3.5 (3-way with twin 12-inch sub-bass drivers per channel). Self-powered Pro2A speakers are modeled after our award-winning HiFi designs, voiced for professional applications and offering superb high-frequency response with exceptionally low bass.

See Ocean Way at High End 2017 in Munich (May 18-21)

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Ocean Way Audio will be exhibiting at the 2017 High End show in Munich from May 18-21. This convention features the very best in audiophile equipment and music. Visitors to the show will find Ocean Way in Hall 4, Cabin V06.

In the tradition of our award-winning Sausalito high-fidelity loudspeaker, we’ll be introducing our new speaker, the Monterey. Details and photos of the Monterey will be revealed soon. Like our loudspeaker products used in some of the world’s leading recording studios, these designs are the brainchild of five-time Grammy award-winning engineer, producer, and studio owner Allen Sides.

Bringing together audiophiles from across Europe and around the world with the latest innovations in hi-fi, High End is a trade fair founded 35 years ago, and has continued to grow in size and importance ever since. Get more information on High End here, and contact us at Ocean Way Audio to learn more about our outstanding hi-fi products.

Ocean Way Audio (OWA) Unveils RM1-B Ribbon Microphone

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141st AES Convention, Los Angeles, CA, September 29, 2016 Ocean Way Audio (OWA) (booth 106), a leading manufacturer of high-resolution reference monitors for the professional audio and audiophile market sectors, is unveiling the RM1-B Ribbon Microphone. Like its acclaimed predecessor the RM1, the RM1-B was designed for Ocean Way Audio by noted microphone designer Cliff Henricksen. With dozens of RM1 mics in the field, high-level audio engineers have adopted the RM1 and are using it for symphonic recordings and vocals.

Utilizing the same unique ribbon design as the RM1 – offering matched, ultra-low-noise phantom-powered pre-amplification and an output level of 36db, 20Hz to 20 kHz – the RM1-B has a redesigned outer perimeter “clad” in archival stainless steel. The new knurled cylinder knobs provide superior hand-torque; the RM1-B’s design allows for an even more open and detailed response.

Laser-etched graphics with jet-black lettering against the stainless steel deliver a clean, very attractive appearance. The mic comes packaged in a waterproof, airtight “Pelican” case for safe transportation and storage.

Cliff comments, “The RM1 is a no-compromise bidirectional ribbon microphone that has all the ‘ribbon mic qualities’ I admired but with unprecedented low noise and true high-fidelity tone. This was done as a complete mechanical, acoustical, magnetic and electronic system design. The RM1-B has a variety of refinements, making it easier to use as well as sonically prettier, especially in the upper octave.” 2

Photo File: RM1-B.JPG

Photo Caption: Ocean Way Audio RM1-B Ribbon Microphone

About Ocean Way Recording and Allen Sides

Five time GRAMMY® Award winning Allen Sides has personally worked on over 1,000 albums, many of which have become audiophile classics. He has worked with the finest and most famous artists of the last four decades. Albums recorded in Allen’s studios have sold over a billion copies. Allen’s hearing capabilities enables Ocean Way Audio engineers to translate every sonic nuance, bringing a new dimension and understanding to what is possible in high-end speaker design. His ears are our final design tool.

Ocean Way Audio is exhibiting at booth 106 at the 141st AES Convention in Los Angeles, CA.