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March 2014

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Can you trust what you're hearing? In this issue, we discuss that last critical link from your music to your ears: headphones and monitors! We provide sound strategies for using these critical tools in your studio and present reviews of over a dozen monitoring products, all in a quest to help you hear your music as it's meant to be heard.

Using monitors and headphones, choosing the best models for you, and integrating them into your studio isn't easy or straightforward if you've never done it before. In this issue, we bring you studio-tested advice on best strategies for setting up monitors, using multiple monitor systems to check your work, and getting the most out of your headphones.

We bring you reviews of nearly 20 different products for enhancing your listening pleasure. Paul Vnuk Jr. reports on his experiences with the new Genelec M030 monitors, Darwin Grosse gives us the skinny on the new JBL LSR305 speakers, and Mike Metlay tries out Fender's unique Studio Passport monitor system. We review Grace Design's magnificent m905 monitor controller, and Mike Metlay takes us through 11 reviews of headphones and in-ear monitors by AKG, Audio-Technica, RHA, Shure, Sony, Westone, and Yamaha!

And there's more! Even before you get the right monitors or phones, your room has to be right. Paul J. Stamler returns to our pages with Part 1 of a series he calls "Outside In", where advice on setting up a studio starts with the room itself before getting to the gear. We also offer a DIY article on a simple and effective bass control system for any room, reviews of products from Earthworks and Kush Audio, and much more.

If you want a better handle on what you're hearing, or if you want to improve your studio experience in lots of other ways, you can't afford to miss out on the March RECORDING!

Reviews

Genelec M030 Powered Monitors   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

A brand-new design combines uncompromising sound with eco-friendliness in a package suitable for any small studio.


Genelec has, for the past 35 years, been producing some of the most respected studio monitors in the world fr......Expand

Grace Design m905 Reference Monitor Controller   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

Could this be the best monitor control system ever made?


Grace Design builds preamps, signal processors, and monitor control solutions world-renowned for their elegance and clean, clear sound. With the m905, the brothers Gra......Expand

Ears On: AKG K612 PRO, K712 PRO, and K812 Headphones   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

Take your choice: an affordable newcomer, a new look for a famous contender, or an astounding listening experience for those who demand the very best.


Of all the headphone reviews I'm doing for this issue, this one's the tou......Expand

Ears On: Shure SRH1540 Headphones   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

A new closed-back offering at the high end of Shure's SRH range offers some nice sonic surprises.


Microphones and headphones are both transducers, devices that cross between the realm of audio as air particles in motion to a......Expand

Ears On: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

We give you an exclusive first look at the updated version of a modern classic.


We reviewed the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 in our March 2008 issue, and we were very impressed with what it offered. No gimmicks, no earth-shatterin......Expand

Ears On: Sony MDR-7510 and MDR-7520 Headphones   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

The newest additions to the famed MDR lineup offer great sound for your budget, whether you've a little or a lot to spend.


Sony has been building headphones with the MDR designation, and a world-class reputation along with t......Expand

Ears On: Yamaha HPH-MT220 Headphones   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

Yamaha comes out swinging with a hard-rocking closed phone for the tracking room or behind the console.


The HPH-MT220 and its little brother the HPH-MT120 aren't the first Yamaha headphones in the pro audio arena. The RH Ser......Expand

Ears On: Stick It In Your Ear   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

In-ear monitors for every taste: the RHA MA750i, Sony's new MDR-7550, and Westone UM Pro 30.


The in-ear monitor is often viewed suspiciously by recording musicians who rely on monitor speakers, or at worst headphones, to che......Expand

Earthworks ZDT 521 and QTC50   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

An impeccably clean preamp in 500 Series format, and an extraordinarily clear and precise mic to go with it. How can you lose?


While best known for their line of ultra-accurate, miniature capsule omni microphones, Earthworks......Expand

Fender Passport Studio   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

A pair of reference monitors, with components by Focal, that you can pack up and take with you for easy and reproducible listening!


While one could argue that there's nothing really new under the sun, Fender's new Passport S......Expand

Kush Audio Electra   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

This sweet and musical EQ can twist and tweak the heck out of your tracks, while leaving them sounding like they were recorded that way.


This month we take a look at a new piece of hardware from Kush Audio, the Electra-an El......Expand

JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors   |   Reviewed by Darwin Grosse

A speaker you can count on at a price anyone can afford.


Monitor speaker technology continues to move ahead, much to the benefit of project studio users. Monitors are getting smaller and cheaper while simultaneously improvin......Expand

Features

Lost (And Found) In Translation   |   Written by Paul Vnuk Jr.

If your mixes aren't turning out the way you think they should, this is required reading.


One of the wisest pieces of studio advice that I've ever received was from our Senior Editor, Lorenz Rychner. As one of our first-line......Expand

And What About Headphones?   |   Written by Mike Metlay

For years, headphones were the poor relation in studio work. They can't be downplayed any longer.


For decades, headphones have been the odd unit out in the world of monitoring. Some teachers in audio schools refused to even ......Expand

Match Your Monitors To Your Music   |   Written by Eleanor Goldfield

All the fancy DAW gear in the world won't matter if you can't hear your music properly. A beginner's guide to getting your listening system right.


I call it "posh poverty" -- scraping money together for food and rent, but al......Expand

From The Outside In: A Different Approach to the Startup Studio. Part 1: Start With The Room   |   Written by Paul J. Stamler

If you're going to build out a studio for yourself, work from the outside in and discover the benefits of having your room and speakers right before you do anything else. We show you how.


This article is aimed at beginners -......Expand

Do It Yourself: The Secret Life Of Speaker Isolators   |   Written by Bruce Black

There's sound science behind the practice of isolating speakers from their stands; learn it and get the best possible results from your monitor rig.


Over the time that I've been doing acoustical work, I've found that there a......Expand

Do It Yourself: Build A Helmholtz Resonator-Tame Your Studio's Low End   |   Written by Bruce Black

In our December 2013 issue, we explained why a Helmholtz resonator would be a simple, effective way to get your room's bass response under control. Now we teach you how to build one!


Back in our December 2013 issue, I explai......Expand

Fade Out   |   Written by Marty Peters

Hey, Monitors Are People Too!


Several weeks back, I had a chance to visit a friend's newly constructed home studio. Okay, when I say "constructed", I actually mean a section of his basement not dedicated to the washer/dryer,......Expand




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