Keeping Up With A Jones: Part 3 – Worms Everywhere

MusicTech’s senior editor is building a recording studio from scratch and blogging every week on his progress. Or lack of it…



 

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“I hit send… The can of worms is now open.”

 

An update if you haven’t been with me thus far. I’m building a recording studio starting with just a laptop and Ikea Jerker table. And if I’m honest I’m not getting very far, very quickly. I’m starting with choosing studio monitors and am being swamped with advice…

I’ve already asked the MusicTech team what they use; now I’m opening it up to the writers, all experts within their individual fields of music technology and all, it turns out, with very different opinions on monitoring…

“We use sE Munro Eggs as nearfields and ATC SCM50s as mains,” says Pro Tools and mastering editor Mike Hillier. “The ATCs are silly money, but the Eggs sound incredible for the price – they’re in the same league as PMC and FoCal to my ears.

 

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I’d love to add a pair of Auratones, at some point, but for now I have a set of KEF hi-fi speakers set up as alts. Money being no object I’d have a set of Barefoots to replace the ATCs. I heard those at Kore and Sphere and have been overwhelmed with how much they reveal.”

“l now use the My Audio Design Grand MS,” says hardware guru John Pickford, “but they cost four and a half grand and require a power amp! For just shy of two grand the Unity Audio Rocks are superb – fast, punchy and accurate – excellent on-board amps too…”

“I have the Fostex PM series in my home studio,” says Cubase editor Tim Hallas. “I like the basic sound that they give and have learnt how they sound in a range of environments. When needed I also pair them with the matching sub for extended bass response. In work studios I use Genelecs (8040s) and can’t really go wrong with them as they are so distinctive and easy to mix on.”

“I have a pair of PMC TB2SAs and the active sub,” says Logic editor Mark Cousins. “I like them a lot for orchestral mixing, but if I had the money I’d be very tempted by some of the Barefoot monitors. I always like the top-end on the PMCs, and they’re good at low level monitoring, which is good for my fragile ears!”

I stop answering any more emails. I’m overwhelmed by the options, if I’m honest, and really want to just get a pair of monitors if for no other reason to show anyone who reads this that I’m serious about doing it!

So I decide to go back to square 1 and explore MusicTech monitor expert and Huw Price’s original choice: the PMC DB1S-A. But I’m too late…

 

The world of monitoring moves slower than other music technology areas – some classic studio monitors have been with us for years. Sadly that’s not the case with the PMCs and it turns out that they have just been discontinued and their replacements have not hit the MusicTech test bench yet. I go back to Huw for another recommendation. “I’d say it’s always best to audition as many as you can,” he says.

I’m starting to get a tad frustrated at this point it must be said. It’s been a month now and I’m still staring at my laptop looking a bit lonely on the Jerker. But I know Huw’s right even though my lazy and impatient genes just want to get on with it…

So I take action and now I find myself now sitting at KMR Audio in London sat before an impressive array of monitors. With my favourite tracks in hand I’m just about to audition the lot. I’ll get some thoughts down in my next installment in a couple of weeks. Join me then…

 

Read Part 2 of Andy Jones’ blog here and Part 1 here

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