Playback is Suite

Jeffrey Allen listens to the high-end, audiophile-style sound system in CBS’ Reference Playback Suite*

by Martin Goodman

LOS ANGELES—Located on the CBS Studio Center lot, home to Spin City and Third Roc from the Sun, is a unique listening environment known as the Reference Playback Suite. Jeffrey Allen designed the suite so that producers, engineers and artists can listen to their projects on a high-end, audiophile-style sound system.

Among those who have recently visited the Playback Suite* are Herbie Hancock, Mickey Stevenson, Smokey Robinson, Hank Waring of FDS Labs/Quad Digital, Dolby Labs, and Miramax. Allen, who has a background as a live show and content producer, was interested in creating an environment that could replicate as close as possible the “live” experience.

Allen took years matching specific cables and components, with chosen cables by Purist Audio, Kimber Select and Nordost. “I’m not a snake-oil salesman,” he says “the stuff is out there. For example, I use the CFX a line conditioner from a company called Sound Application which makes a real line conditioner—it really does condition the line.”

Pro Sound News
April 2001

jim weil and jeffrey allen

*Originally conceived as a bridge between high-end audiophiles and professional recording producers and engineers, the Reference Listening Suite at CBS Studio Center is located in the heart of Studio City. A creation of Producer Jeffrey Allen, it is a collaborative effort with CBS Studio Center President, Michael L. Klausman. They began with the location, with the 300kVA power transformer downstairs from the CBS Reference Listening Suite providing exceptionally clean power. This has resulted in one of the most prestigious audio systems ever assembled as of 1998. The sound of this system is indeed impressive.