In the hills above Santa Barbara, CA, Secret Garden is songwriter/producer Ben Margulies'award-winning personal studio. Margulies, best known for his writing and production with Mariah Carey on her debut album, has been hard at work with his current band, Ben's Engine, a melodic, hook-laden guitar project which has been described as "today's classic rock."
The Chris Pelonis-designed room was opened in late 2000, and was featured as one of Mix magazine's Class of 2001 studios. Built around an Amek Einstein console and ProTools Mix Plus system, Margulies has outfitted the room with several racks of sweet sounding front end gear, including several channels of Neve channel strips, preamps from Avalon and Focusrite, and processing from Eventide, TC Electronics and Lexicon.
While Ben's a fan of tracking through a large and powerful soffit-mounted Tannoy system, he never fails to use his Mackie HR824's for a reality check at mixdown time. "There's nothing like the power of a big system for inspiration while we're laying down parts, but at the end of the day, the Mackies are what I use to get a really accurate perspective on my mixes. It's fun to get loud in the studio, but no one's got huge studio monitors in their home stereos. I like to call my Mackies a reference to the real world."