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Paul’s Post from PS Audio International: Studio speakers

Have you ever wondered what recording studio engineers use for monitors?  I’ll tell you – probably nothing you’d have in your home or system.  For the most part they are anything but high-end.

A few loudspeaker manufacturers proudly show us their products in the studios and mastering rooms of the world, but this is done for advertising and does not represent what the real world speakers are –  Genelec, JBL and brands you wouldn’t consider in a high-end setting.  Yet we high-end people judge the work mastered on these less-than-high-end speakers on a daily basis.

I remember speaking with Keith Johnson of Reference Recordings asking what he uses and was surprised to learn he has some home brew designs that work for him.  As Keith told me “you’d hate them in your listening room” but they work for Keith.

If I were to build a studio to record music I’d make my control room setup an identical copy of my listening room.  Think about it for a moment.  What if you could have live musicians playing in the next room and a control panel connected to your high-end setup.  The control panel could set levels and tonal qualities of each microphone feed such that when you were done, you’d have the finest sound your system was capable of.

I remember “back in the day” when Dave Wilson was into recordings.  He actually designed the Wilson WATT loudspeaker to be his recording monitor and later turned it into a company that made loudspeakers.  They are certainly high-end.

I probably will never have the time to build my recording studio, but it sure is fun to dream.


from PS Audio International 1/12/2012

PS Audio International: Flavor of the month

I was reminded by one of our commenters to these posts about an era in audio I think of as the flavor of the month.  It was a period of time in the 1970′s and early 1980′s that found loudspeaker and audio electronic manufacturers designing products that were not especially true to the music.

No, in fact these products were tailored to meet the perceived needs of “ordinary people” who probably didn’t want music – they wanted sizzle and flash.

I remember well one CES where an (unnamed) loudspeaker manufacturer demonstrated their entire line of these speakers with a Telarc recording of a 747 jet passing overhead.  You know what?  They sold a lot of speakers.  The pitch was: “if it can reproduce the sound of a jet thundering overhead, just think what it can do for your favorite music”.

I am happy to report that we’ve managed to mature out of this era and most manufacturers aren’t selling sizzle and flash, they’re honestly trying to reproduce music or theater as if it were live.

As a certain commercial back then said “We’ve come a long way baby”.


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