Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Monitors at The Music Production Show in London

Eve Audio SC Series

Earlier in 2013 I built an education studio in Norway and chose a pair of Eve Audio SC 207 for monitoring. Eve Audio showed up at the Music Production Show with an impressive selection of speakers. If it wasn’t their entire range it was at least very close. I have been keen to hear the SC 307 for a long while as I have considered it as a workhorse for myself. Listening at a trade show has its limitations, but here goes.

Pink Floyd’s “Money” and “Great Gig in the Sky” revealed these things:

    •    Distinctly familiar sound for those who are happy with the SC 207
    •    Lots of space and dynamics, good stereo-image
    •    Clean and detailed sound

Eve SC408

I also had time for a very swift listen to Eve’s largest 4 way speakers and got a solid impression by the clarity and deep bass extension. I’ll be looking forward to hearing them at a showroom as soon as I can. I am a big fan of keeping your main monitors as clean as possible (Eve speakers seem to do this really well), and rather keeping more forward sounding monitors closer to your working position. If you’re looking for a pair of main monitors for fairly well-sized studio and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, I believe Eve Audio’s 4-way speakers are some of the most promising offers on the marked right now. And even if you have an arm and a leg to spend they still sound really good. (Read my Eve SC 408 review here.)

Note on flashing LED-indicators: When you play loud on a pair of Eve monitors the front panel LEDs sometimes start flashing. This looks terribly scary at first if you’re used to regular clip indicators. Eve’s indicators start flashing before you would normally expect from a regular clip indicator and I made the Norwegian distributor investigate this for me. It turned out that Eve’s flashing indicators are actually telling you that you’re exceeding the loudness-area where Eve can promise a flat frequency response on the amplifier. German perfectionism had me freaking out for a day or two when I installed them in the studio. I brought a few people with well-trained ears with me and we could hear no changes to the spectrum when the flashing started. We played quite loud in several musical genres without any notable changes in speaker-performance.



Focal SM9

Just for display, but hopefully wired up at the next tradeshow.
The Focal SM9 monitor incorporates a “passive sub.” That means there are no electronics behind it, and it swings due to the acoustical pressure inside the speaker cabinet. Different parts of the cabinet can also be isolated with an internal wall that you can position with a mechanical knob on the outside. I have heard great things about this speaker and am looking forward to trying it out.


Unity Audio Boulder & Rock

At the end of the day I walked past Unity Audio’s stand and got a brief listen to some of the most clear and detailed sound at this year’s show. Unity Audio have received a number of excellent reviews but come with steeper price tags than your standard home studio monitors. From what my ears could gather the price tags were justified and I hope to try out some of their products in the near future. I am especially curious about the Boulder. Here are SOS’ reviews of ‘The Boulder’ and the smaller ‘The Rock.’


Yamaha HS Series

Last year Yamaha released their new HS-series after a proper rework. The most significant change is the introduction of a speaker with a 7-inch bass element. This fits right in between the old 5 and 8-inch options and should deliver flatter mid-range response compared to the 8-inch, while maintaining better bass-levels than the 5-inch. Or at least, that is the idea—whether it works remains to see.

I was really hoping to get a proper listen to them, but Yamaha hadn't really set them up for music listening. The focus was on keyboards, and these supplied the only sound-source for the monitors that were scattered around the stand. I found this a bit odd after the big money they’ve spent on promoting the HS-range in music production journals, and a bit disappointing after flying in from Norway for the Show. Maybe next time Yamaha?

(From the Music Production Show in London, November 2013)

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