Tag Archives: studio monitor

Peek Inside the Home Studio of Danny Elfman

Living Room
Composer Danny Elfman and actress Bridget Fonda, his wife, put their mansion on the market in the fall of 2020. Dig that monkey skeleton on the table. Simon Berlyn / Williams and Williams

When composer/musician/producer Danny Elfman and actress Bridget Fonda, his wife, put their home on the market in the fall of 2020, the real estate listing for the mansion, located in the tony Fremont Place neighborhood of Los Angeles, was greeted with interest by those who love classic architecture, strident vintage interior decorating, and, in the case of audio pros, well-appointed home studios.

Elfman’s music career kicked off with the fondly remembered New Wave/Jump Swing band Oingo Boingo, but today he’s best-known for his work as a film composer, with a Grammy, two Emmys and four Oscar nominations to his credit. Films like Spider-Man, Good Will Hunting and The Girl on the Train have all featured his music, as have decades of Tim Burton movies, such as Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Composer / musician / producer Danny Elfman's home studio
Elfman’s home studio, complete with gymnastics rings. Simon Berlyn / Williams and Williams
The mansion includes a two-story ballroom that doubles as a massive home theater – a feature which may have proven helpful for test-driving film scores.
The mansion includes a ballroom that doubles as a massive home theater. Simon Berlyn / Williams and Williams

A spin through YouTube reveals numerous interviews done in the home studio over the years, with the recording gear in the background changing over time, but in the final iteration of the recording space, shown in the real estate listing, there’s plenty of things to see, not least of which are the gymnastic rings and lush red drapes that serve to dampen reflections (and presumably cover some acoustical absorption panels).

Nonetheless, for audio pros, the focus is the desk. At the far end beneath the dual computer monitors sits an Avid Artist Mix control surface, adjoined by what appears to be a Novation Launch Control portable controller. Further to their right is a PreSonus Central Station Monitor Control Remote on the desk, used to look after the ADAM Audio S4A MK1 active studio monitors. Behind it all on the floor sits an APC BE350R surge protector.

Peek Inside the Home Studio of Producer/DJ Erick Morillo

Elfman and Fonda purchased the 8,346-square-foot mansion in 2000 for $2.125 million. The six-bedroom edifice, built in 1920, also includes a two-story ballroom that doubles as a massive home theater – a feature which may have proven helpful for test-driving film scores.

Elfman isn’t the only former member of Oingo Boingo to wind up with his own recording space; keyboardist Richard Gibbs went on to found the gorgeous destination studio Woodshed Recording in Malibu, CA, which we profiled in 2016. That facility miraculously avoided being burnt to the ground by the 2018 Woolsey Fire, despite the house on the property, like others in the area, going up in flames. Over the years, Woodshed has hosted the likes of U2, Coldplay, Chance the Rapper, Barbra Streisand, Sting, The Chainsmokers, Kanye West, Lorde, Neil Young and other notable artists.

UPDATE: Elfman and Fonda sold their mansion in late 2020 for $8.75 million, reportedly to TV showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

PreSonus Debuts Eris Sub8 Subwoofer

PreSonus Eris Sub8 Subwoofer
PreSonus Eris Sub8 Subwoofer

Baton Rouge, LA (December 1, 2020)—PreSonus has introduced its new Eris Sub8 subwoofer, intended for use in home recording, gaming and home theater setups. The subwoofer is particularly intended to complement the voicing and frequency response of Eris-series media reference monitors such as the Eris E3.5, E3.5 BT, E4.5, or E4.5 BT.

Pro Sound News’ Gear of the Year 2020

Driven by an onboard 100-watt Class A/B amplifier, the Eris Sub8 delivers low end down to 30 Hz—a full 50 Hz below the Eris E3.5s. It extends the reach of Eris E3.5 or E4.5 monitors in a manner appropriate to smaller rooms.

The subwoofer configures to users’ mixing and listening needs, connecting to full-range monitors via ¼” TRS or RCA, with an input level control and a polarity invert switch. It offers a high pass filter switch and variable low pass filter/crossover control to help ensure the subwoofer starts working at the precise low-frequency point where users’ full-range monitors drop off

The PreSonus Eris Sub8 subwoofer is available now for a U.S. street price of $199.95.

PreSonus  • www.presonus.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

A P.S. for the PSN Holiday Gift Guide 2020

PSN gift guide extra 2020If you know a sound pro who’s been good this year (OK, as good as they could manage), make sure to check out our annual PSN gift guide, where we review and recommend a slew (or sleigh) of goodies. I’ve always loved the fun lists and have often wished I could tack on a few entries, so this year, I decided to heck with it—here’s a few recommendations of my own.

We’re heavy readers in my house, so a lot of my suggestions are books, starting with a brand-new one—Mirror Sound: A Look into the People and Processes Behind Self-Recorded Music by Spencer Tweedy (Jeff Tweedy’s son) and photographer Lawrence Azerrad ($40/hardcover/Prestel). This lush coffee table book is filled with insights from the likes of Sharon Van Etten, Suzanne Ciani, the late Emitt Rhodes, Mac DeMarco, Tune-Yards and nearly 25 others. While there’s plenty of gear-packed studio shots to pore over, the book takes more of a philosophical bent as it explores why people self-record and the give-and-take of the process.

The Last Seat in the House: The Story of Hanley SoundOne of the most talked about audio-related books this year (and with good reason) has been The Last Seat in the House: The Story of Hanley Sound, by John Kane ($35/paperback/University Press of Mississippi). Bill Hanley is revered for having provided audio for the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival, keeping the show rolling for an audience of 400,000. Nine years in the making, Kane interviewed more than 100 performers and audio pros (and had considerable input from Hanley himself), resulting in a solid, informative and entertaining read.

Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and WritingFor those who love music writing with a true literary vibe, look no further than Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing by Peter Guralnick ($30/hardcover/Little, Brown & Co.). Considered by many to be perhaps the greatest chronicler of rock and roots music, Guralnick applies his talents here to profiling the likes of Dick Curless, Doc Pomus, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Solomon Burke, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon and many others for a dense but often rewarding tome.

Mackie CR3-X multimedia monitors

Some other good stuff besides books: When we’re not under lockdown, people are still increasingly recording on the go, and having some good portable speakers on hand is a necessity for sharing playback without having to pass headphones around (ewww). In our household, our budding teenage music maker has been using Mackie’s CR3-X multimedia monitors. At 7.8 lbs., they’re portable enough that she can take them to a friend’s house; they have nice clarity and provide solid punch for a speaker that size; and at $99, they cost just enough that they’re treated with care and respect (something teens are not always known for doing).

IsoAcoustics zaZen I
IsoAcoustics’ zaZen I

Last up, IsoAcoustics is known for its studio monitor isolation stands, but one of its latest products is the zaZen isolation platform ($199), primarily intended to decouple stereo components like turntables, tube amps and so forth from the surfaces they sit on. I tried a zaZen I model under both a modern Pro-Ject Debut III and a vintage Technics SL-5, and in both cases, it did a lot to provide acoustic clarity and detail. The bass in Sade’s “Paradise” was suddenly right in the room with me, while the moving parts of The Blue Nile’s “Tinseltown in the Rain” became more defined but no less epic. Measuring 17”x15”, the zaZen I holds up to 25 lbs., while the zaZen II has a capacity of 40 lbs.

Of course, what we all want to give and receive most this year is a little peace and a respite from the difficult times we’ve gone through in 2020. Whatever you celebrate this holiday season, make the most of it, congratulate yourself on getting to this point, take a deep breath (so long as you’re socially distanced!) and look forward to a far better, far brighter and far busier 2021.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Game Publisher Outfits 5.1.4 Sound Lab

Video game publisher Shenzhen Leiting Digital Entertainment Company in China recently commissioned a 5.1.4 game audio studio.
Video game publisher Shenzhen Leiting Digital Entertainment Company in China recently commissioned a 5.1.4 game audio studio.

China (November 3, 2020)—Video game publisher Shenzhen Leiting Digital Entertainment Company in China recently commissioned a 5.1.4 game audio studio. “For a games company like ours, an audio studio is a must,” commented composer and game sound designer Knuckles (Jianyu) Zhang, who led the studio project. “Our requirements are quite special, though. What we want is not just a recording studio, nor a standard mixing studio or a reviewing studio. To be precise, what we want is a ‘game sound lab’ to assist us in the conceptual design of games.”

Originally conceived as a surround sound studio, the space was developed with acoustic design and construction handled by Qiao Zhenyu of Huanyu Acoustics, who persuaded Knuckles to go fully immersive. “I knew that many games had already used the 5.1 format to produce sound. But Qiao suggested that since it was already 5.1, why not make it 5.1.4 by adding the four height channels? I realized then that immersive audio technology is no longer a new thing, and we as creators surely have to learn to master this format.”

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Now completed, the facility is based around Genelec Smart Active Monitors, with 8330A nearfield two-way monitors and a 7370A subwoofer, plus 1234As. The studio engaged the system integrator DMT to install a pair of 1234As as its main stereo monitoring system, with a 5.1.4 immersive system comprising 11 8330A nearfield two-way monitors in all positions, complemented by the 7370A subwoofer. All the monitors were supplied in a polar white finish. The entire system was configured and calibrated by DMT using GLM loudspeaker manager software.

Knuckles is convinced that immersive audio is the format of the future for games developers. “In recent years, the domestic games industry has attached greater importance to the sound experience. As we look to the international market, we’re finding that more and more games with big-budget production are using immersive audio to create the sound experience—because sometimes we just want to step into another world and forget about real life—or even ourselves—for a while.”

Genelec • www.genelec.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

BNY Follows Politics from Meyer Sound Studio Monitors

BNY Productions has been monitoring through Meyer Sound Bluehorn System speakers in its production studio
BNY Productions has been monitoring through Meyer Sound Bluehorn System speakers in its production studio.

Sioux City, IA (October 8, 2020) — BNY Productions has been monitoring through Meyer Sound Bluehorn System speakers in its production studio while remotely broadcasting an average of 100 live and virtual “hybrid” political rallies and speeches every week for the past six months.

BNY, a Meyer Sound dealer and collaborator, is a full-service production company, delivering events that vary from phone and television interviews, video conferencing and remote recordings. “Bluehorn eliminates the guesswork. So if it sounds good here, that is how it is going to sound everywhere. That makes my job so much easier — it is what it is and I love that,” says Bill Kristijanto, co-owner of BNY.

“When people send me materials recorded on an iPhone, for example, I’m going to have to fix it. If I didn’t have a good set of monitors, then I would be doing a lot of guesswork. So, Bluehorn has helped in a way that most monitors can’t,” Kristijanto says.

AES Show 2020 Set Broadcast / Online Track

In addition to BNY’s remote-only events, they have taken on “hybrid” events, which include physical and virtual attendees who access the event via a virtual conference room. While in-person events in cities around the country are still produced and broadcasted remotely in the BNY studio, Ultra-X40 point source loudspeakers have been used for on-site monitoring. The sound reinforcement systems for the events vary by location but are comprised of Meyer Sound equipment including Ultra-X40 and Lina very compact linear line array loudspeakers.

While the Bluehorn System has played a pivotal role in BNY’s Studio A, it is also equipped with nearly 50 Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers, including MM‑10XP miniature subwoofers, MM-4XP miniature self-powered loudspeakers, and UP‑4slim ultracompact installation loudspeakers. The studio is also used as a recording studio and laboratory to test new ideas for live events.

Since 2016, BNY Productions has provided the audiovisual support for political events for a variety of clients. In March 2020, the COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions forced their live operations to shift to remote, virtual-only broadcasts.

Meyer Sound • www.meyersound.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

KEF Debuts LS50 Meta Speaker

KEF LS50 Meta Speaker
KEF LS50 Meta Speaker

Maidstone, Kent, UK (September 22, 2020)—KEF has launched its new LS50 Collection consisting of the LS50 Meta speaker, which is made using the company’s new Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) to absorb most sound radiating from the rear of the driver.

In a joint development initiative with the Acoustic Metamaterials Group, KEF has put MAT to use by creating a synthetic material in the form of a complex maze-like structure that reportedly will absorb 99% of the unwanted sound radiating from the rear of the driver, reducing distortion and enabling the prevention of audio distraction.

Real-World Review: KEF LSX Monitors

The LS50 Meta also features a specially designed 12th generation Uni-Q with MAT and other features, such as a new cone neck decoupler and motor system, intended to further reduce coloration and distortion. Also new are an off-set flexible bass port, a low diffraction curved baffle and rigid cross bracing with constrained layer damping, all of which are employed to prevent sound distortion.

From the optimized cabinet size, the elegantly curved front and improved back panel with recessed port and speaker terminals, to the versatile matte colourways that match the bespoke KEF S2 Floor Stand, every detail is designed with performance in mind. Available to shop on September 22nd.

The LS50 Meta will retail for $1,499.99 / pair and will be available in four finishes including Carbon Black, Titanium Grey, Mineral White, and a Royal Blue Special Edition.

KEF • www.kef.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Hex Gets Genelecs

Hex! Museum of Witch Hunt (interior), with Genelec 4420 Smart IP loudspeaker visible
Hex Museum of Witch Hunt (interior), with Genelec 4420 Smart IP loudspeaker visible.

Ribe, Denmark (September 17, 2020)—The new Hex Museum of Witch Hunt may be dedicated to the history of “abolishing” witches, but one thing it didn’t have to search for was a way to create a soundscape for the various stories being told in each of its nine exhibition rooms. Following a recommendation from Johan Ahrenfeldt, head of the Moesgaard Museum Exhibition Design Studio, the new facility opened with a Smart IP loudspeaker solution from Genelec.

As Denmark’s oldest town and home to Maren Spliid, the country’s most famous witch, the setting is ideal for a museum that aims to tell the stories of witches – who they were, why they were so feared, and the myths and superstitions that surrounded them. In order to create the best possible visitor experience, Hex turned Ahrenfeldt, who in turn had recently used Genelec’s Smart IP technology on one of his own exhibitions, so he suggested it might work for Hex as well.

“The building itself posed a few challenges as it’s an old listed building in the center of Ribe,” said Ahrenfeldt. “While this definitely adds to the atmosphere, it’s not ideal for audio-visual installations. Many of the rooms are quite small with low ceilings, so it was important that the technology remained as unobtrusive as possible, whilst nevertheless delivering a high-quality experience. Genelec’s Smart IP loudspeakers were therefore an obvious choice…. We know that Genelec is a guarantee of superlative audio quality, even at low levels, which was a requirement in this instance due to the intimacy of the environment and the proximity of the loudspeakers to the audience. Our aim was to provide linear and detailed sound reproduction that allows visitors to lose themselves in the experience without feeling overwhelmed.”

Sixième Son Upgrades to Genelec 5.1 System

The sound design was created by the composer Søren Bendixen of Audiotect, who specializes in creating soundscapes for exhibitions. The design was prepared in the studio but mixed on-site in an iterative process. The onsite use of the Spat Revolution software engine in the mixing process made it possible to map the sound designs, and adapt and benefit from the specific speaker placement in the exhibition rooms – independently of standard audio formats. Ahrenfeldt utilized a total of 36 4420 Smart IP loudspeakers across the exhibition rooms, supplemented by a half-dozen 4020 and four 4010 installation loudspeakers, as well as a compact 7050 active subwoofer.

“Each of the nine rooms is set up as a separate zone,” explains Ahrenfeldt. “The zones are managed and controlled via the Smart IP Manager software, which has proved both easy and efficient. We’re using QLab software and a Dante-compatible RME Digiface interface to control the 47 discrete channels and feed them to the Dante network. The playback by QLab is triggered by the main show control. As the rooms are all adjacent to each other with open doors, the audio separation between the zones is very poor. We needed to turn this obstacle into an opportunity. By considering the overall sound design as a composition of nine separate yet interconnected designs, the result is an auditive experience that both facilitates the mood in each individual room as well as providing a more holistic listening experience throughout the museum as a whole.”

Ahrenfeldt believes that the best audio in this type of visitor attraction is the audio that registers almost subliminally: “The last thing you want is for the soundtrack to start playing and people’s attention being instantly drawn to the source. Ideally, we don’t want people to even notice that there are loudspeakers in the room at all. Genelec’s Smart IP loudspeakers help us achieve that thanks to the minimal cabling infrastructure, which reduces cost and makes for quicker, tidier and more flexible installation. Also, Smart IP’s harmonious design enables them to blend into any environment, with the useful ability to dim the on/off LED indicator on the front of the loudspeaker. Sonically, their superb definition and crystalline intelligibility enable us to create audio designs that offer a truly immersive experience and bring the exhibition to life.”

Genelec • www.genelec.com

Hex Museum of Witch Hunt • www.hexmuseum.dk

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

JBL 4349 Studio Monitors Debut

JBL 4349 Studio Monitors
The new JBL 4349 studio monitor couples JBL’s D2415K dual 1.5-inch compression driver with a large-format HDI horn.

Northridge, CA (July 28, 2020)—JBL has introduced its new JBL 4349 Studio Monitor, bringing together a JBL D2415K dual 1.5-inch driver, a large-format, High-Definition Imaging (HDI) horn and a 12-inch cast-frame, Pure-pulp woofer cone into a monitor intended for both professional and consumer use

JBL’s HDI horn geometry is intended to provide high-frequency detail, directivity for smooth in-room response, a reportedly neutral frequency response on- and off-axis and be able to transition between the high and low frequency drivers.

JBL BRX300 Series Line Array Debuts

JBL D2415K compression driver features a pair of lightweight, polymer, annular diaphragms with reduced diaphragm mass. The V-shaped geometry of the annular diaphragm is said to reduce breakup modes, eliminate time smear and reduce distortion, according to JBL.

The 12-inch (300 mm) woofer and the 3-inch (75 mm) long-throw voice coil in conjunction with dual opposing spider dampers are designed for getting loud while reducing distortion. A Pure-pulp cone provides a lightweight, rigid diaphragm in an effort to eliminate breakup modes.

High-frequency and Ultra High-frequency attenuator controls on the new JBL 4349 Studio Monitor allow sound to be tailored to the specific environment and listener preference. The controls manage an crossover network design that features air-core inductors, cast wire-wound resistors and low-ESR metallized film capacitors in a multi-cap configuration.

On the outside, the JBL 4349 Studio Monitor sports a traditional JBL monitor design with a blue baffle and is finished in a choice of walnut or black walnut satin wood veneers. A blue (Walnut) or black (Black Walnut) cloth grille completes the appearance. Dual sets of gold-plated binding posts provide a secure connection and offer a choice of single-ended or bi-wire/bi-amplified connections. The enclosure is braced with 1-inch (25mm) thick walls to provide a solid acoustic foundation and incorporates a bass reflex design with dual front-firing, computer-optimized flared ports.

The JBL 4349 Studio Monitor will hit in early September with retail pricing of $7,500/pair.

Harman • www.harman.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Flying Lotus Lands on Ocean Way Monitors

Flying Lotus (left) in his studio with Allen Sides and his Ocean Way Audio HR3.5 monitors.
Flying Lotus (left) in his studio with Allen Sides and his Ocean Way Audio HR3.5 monitors. Colin Liebich

Los Angeles, CA (July 16, 2020)—Steven Ellison, known professionally as Flying Lotus and sometimes FlyLo, has outfitted his Los Angeles studio with Ocean Way Audio’s HR3.5 monitor system, including dual S18A powered 18-inch subwoofer cabinets, and tuned them by speaker designer Allen Sides.

“I love the system,” FlyLo noted. “The bass is crazy. It has a lot of potential to be crazier, but I actually had to tone it down just because it can be a little overwhelming if you want it to be. I just want that sweet spot where it’s intense enough but won’t destroy the whole house.”

Real Life Church is Slamming with Ocean Way

Rich Avrach, director of business development at Westlake Pro, supervised FlyLo’s new studio project, working with Steve and Yanchar Designs on the studio design. “We recommended the Ocean Way speakers because we thought they have terrific clarity, punch and low end. I also thought they would fit the studio well by making a statement with their size, but not be over large for the space,” he said.

“For me, the test of a good monitor system is how it sounds on other speakers,” said FlyLo. “The first place I go is out to the car and take a little ride. These monitors sound great in my studio and when I finished a song, I listened in my car and it was perfect. Now I know what I’m hearing in the studio is what I’m going to get wherever it is played. That’s always the most important thing — before how big everything sounds, or how clean it is. Translation comes first for me and with Ocean Way, the translation is perfect. Everything else is just icing on the cake.”

FlyLo is a  successful record producer, as well as musician, DJ, filmmaker and rapper. He has released six studio albums to critical acclaim, and has also produced much of the interstitial music on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block. For his studio, he explains, “Everything goes into my Grace M905 monitor controller, and I use a Universal Audio Apollo 16-channel sound card, Mac computers and a lot of synthesizers.”

FlyLo’s studio monitoring systems include Ocean Way Audio Ultravoice amplifiers and voicing modules. Sommer Cable is used both internally for the cabinets and also from the amps to the cabinets; respectively, Elephant Robust SPM440 cable and SC-Twincord cable.

Ocean Way Audio • www.oceanwayaudio.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Spencer Readies for Atmos with Focusrite

Shifting to mixing freelance at home, post pro Jez Spencer has built up his home facility with new gear from Genelec and Focusrite.
Shifting to mixing freelance at home, post pro Jez Spencer has built up his home facility with new gear from Genelec and Focusrite.

United Kingdom (July 8, 2020)—An upgrade to Focusrite’s Red 16Line interface a while ago is enabling UK-based post production audio professional Jez Spencer to smoothly transition his room to handle Dolby Atmos projects.

“I do much of my work at my home facility, and it’s a relatively small setup,” notes Spencer, a scoring composer and post engineer. “When I made the move to working freelance at home, I had a Focusrite Scarlet 18i20 interface, which I loved. It was a gradual process to work up to my current gear complement. After converting to Pro Tools HD Native, I eventually settled on the Red 16Line, which has been phenomenal for me in terms of my workflow and efficiency. The audio quality is faultless. There’s a brightness and a clarity that I wasn’t aware of before.”

He adds, “It works well with my monitor setup, which is composed of Genelec 8330A Smart Active Monitors and a Genelec Smart Active Subwoofer. I feel like the combination of the Focusrite with the Genelecs has put my studio on such a high level now that I’m as comfortable in this room as any facility in town, really.”

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Spencer got his start in the industry as a runner at MAG Masters in London. Decades later, he has an impressive resume that includes the recent Academy Award-nominated documentary For Sama. Other credits include the docu-series programs Drug Lords, Dispatches, Panorama and many others.

Spencer uses the Red 16Line working with multiple digital audio workstations, toggling between Pro Tools HD, Cubase and Ableton as the project dictates. “The other thing that’s so appealing about the Red 16Line is that the monitoring control can control as many or as few outputs as you want it to,” says Spencer, who is in the process of converting his room to the Dolby Atmos format with an Avid S3 control surface.

“With this new Atmos room, the Red 16Line can control the whole thing from the front panel, which is great,” he says. “I’ve got a potential series for Netflix coming up, which I’m hoping to prep at home in Atmos and then take it into the studio for final mixing – but with the virus out in the world, I may end up doing more of the work at home than I had planned, and I certainly have the right tools for it now.”

Focusrite • pro.focusrite.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com