In yesterday’s post, I posited a gnarly problem. How to rely upon the sound of a speaker in order to achieve the perfect capture.
After all, there’s no such thing as a perfect microphone or speaker. These two transducers are to some degree flawed.
Experienced recording and mix engineers have solved this problem through years of experience with specific monitors. After hundreds of hours of trial and error, they know that when an instrument or voice sounds a certain way that it will be good/acceptable on the average listener’s speakers.
That while that methodology works for the vast majority of recordings, it’s hardly “as good as it gets” if your target audience of listeners is our high-end audio community armed with some of the most revealing home reproduction systems the world has to offer.
This dilemma really came to light after we replaced the Infinity IRSV with Chris Brunhaver’s amazing FR30 loudspeakers. As soon as I had some quality time to listen to them it became immediately obvious the FR30’s planar tweeter and midrange were on a different planet than anything I had ever heard. So real and revealing were these two transducers that I had to stop and reevaluate everything I thought I knew. After all, the IRSV too uses the same technology for its tweeters and midrange. *(as an aside from our story, one of the lessons I learned about creating a speaker of this caliber came from watching the process Chris used to design the FR30 tweeter and midrange. Employing hundreds of hours of mind-numbing measurements, Chris first perfected the two drivers themselves, then spent months working on how they fit into the baffle (just look at the tweeter and note the innocent looking divider down its middle or the slight horn-like opening for the midrange) and how that affected their response, and finally to the crossover, then back again to the beginning, etc.)
Having never heard the upper end of any system sound as real as what I was now hearing, it didn’t take too long to get used to this new reality. That soon became problematic.
After auditioning in MR2 on the FR30s a new mix for Octave Records, I followed the engineer up to the mix room and heard it played back again, but this time first on the conventional drivers of the ATC monitors as well as the Sony speakers Gus likes for mastering.
Holy crap. A slap in the face moment. I was listening not to cymbals but instead, I was listening to tweeters.
Paul McGowan / PS AUDIO