Home » News » How Jonas Jalhay Upped His Game with the Help of Amphion One15s and Flexbase25

The engineer and sound mixer transformed his home studio after understanding acoustics and finding the perfect monitor system with Amphion

 

Los Angeles, California, December 11, 2023 — As a longtime music director and guitarist for Post Malone, Taylor Swift, Rita Ora and numerous others, Jonas Jalhay never really paid much attention to reference monitors and room acoustics. But as he increasingly became involved in production, engineering and mixing, including with Jason Mraz and Meghan Trainor, he began to understand their importance, gravitating to Amphion speakers and learning about acoustic treatment as he worked on developing his optimum home studio environment. Jalhay, who grew up in Belgium, lived and worked in the U.K. for 13 years then moved to Los Angeles, bought his Amphion One15 monitors around 2016. “I had a studio in the U.K. where we had a bunch of different speakers,” he recalls. “But I wasn’t mixing a lot back then, I was more in the production world. I wasn’t that interested in speakers, and I didn’t really understand acoustics.”

Getting the low-end right

After living in Los Angeles for a few years Jalhay set up his initial home studio in an untreated spare room and bought a pair of Amphion One15s at the recommendation of some of his friends. “The Amphions were definitely much better than what I’d been used to,” he says. “The first time you get in between some great speakers, you think, ‘What have I been listening to all this time?’ Everything translated quite well. It was the first time that I could mix something, take it to the car or somewhere else and feel fairly confident that it was going to be okay.” But there were problems with the room, he says, and getting the low-end right was sometimes a challenge.

Everything started to click during the pandemic, when Jalhay, who was head engineer at Dubway Studios West in L.A. at the time, had to start working out of his house. “I got an ASC AttackWall in 2020,” a freestanding, configurable acoustic treatment system, he recalls. “The Amphions with that system suddenly came alive. I still remember the first time I set it up. It was quite a special moment, like listening to your favorite records all over again.” It was almost like listening on headphones, he says, “Because you’ve got that tightness in the detail, but you have the comfort of working on speakers.”

Closeup on jonas's workstation

He continues, “A year later we moved houses, and that’s when I decided to push things a little further. A good friend of mine who has helped get my room dialed in recommended the Amphion FlexBase25.” The low frequency extension of the single box, stereo bass system transforms a two-way studio monitor into a full range, three-way setup. “It integrates really nicely. My One15s roll off at 70 Hz or 80 Hz and the FlexBase25 covers everything below that. It goes down to 20 Hz; you really feel that suboctave.”

No longer a guessing game

Over the years, music fans have come to expect a lot more low-end information than in the past, Jalhay observes. “So you want to be able to hear it. Before, it was really hard to shape a mix, because I just couldn’t hear it; it just wasn’t there.” In fact, he admits, he would sometimes have to hold a hand up to a speaker to gauge the bass response: “It was a guessing game.”

With a full-range Amphion system in place, Jalhay continued to optimize the acoustic performance of his home studio, tweaking the acoustic treatment and audio equipment layout. “Before, it felt like I was cranking the speakers just to get that low-end response out of them. Now, I work alone most of the time and at a very low level, 70 dB or 75 dB, but I still feel that low end. The response in this room is fantastic. It sounds so good and it’s very, very comfortable. It makes it hard to work anywhere else these days.”

Lowering and repositioning his workstation display has also had a positive impact on the acoustic performance of his listening environment, he adds. “Having the monitor lower feels a bit more like the Amphions are on a console or on a bridge. And it means that I can just listen without having the feedback on the screen, because seeing something sometimes dictates our decisions. Now I’m just listening, as opposed to looking for something.”

He adds, “You can have the best speakers and everything, but if the room isn’t controlled then you’re banging your head against a wall. You can have the best chain possible, but if the space isn’t good, then it’s not going to sound great. The treatment in a room is so key. My room is not a perfect square and the ceiling’s got a good height to it, so I’ve got it dialed in nicely. But it definitely took a minute.”

Jonas Jalhay home studio

 

Remote rehearsals at home

Although Jalhay usually works alone, artists do sometimes come to the house, he says. “A band I’ve worked with for a bunch of years, Hey Violet, came to the house to track some vocals. I’m producing the vocals for some of their new songs. And Adam Lambert has come here. I have a bunch of dogs, so people always like it because it’s so friendly and relaxed.”

He has been working a lot with U.K. artist Labrinth. “We did Coachella earlier the year. He will suddenly decide to add a choir or horn section. What is cool is that I can rehearse these people remotely. All I need is a rehearsal room and an internet connection. I can speak to everybody and get everybody rehearsed from across the world.”

In fact, this past summer he spent a lot of time running remote rehearsals, he says, streaming his Pro Tools sessions to musicians in London and Nashville and listening back to as many as 16 channels of audio from their locations. “I listen to rehearsals on my system with my Amphion speakers, so that’s been a nice upgrade. Usually, I’m in the rehearsal room and on in-ear monitors and I don’t really know what I’m listening to, because of so many factors. But when you’re in a room remotely everything is much clearer, and I feel like I make better decisions. I have a Zoom setup, so I can talk to people in real time, and I can see everybody, and they can see me. And it saves having to get on a plane.”

The performance of his Amphion monitor system has spoiled him, he says. “Once your ears have heard it, you can’t unhear it. It definitely makes it a challenge whenever I’m working anywhere else. So I’m contemplating getting some of the Amphion One12s to take with me when I’m traveling.”

About Amphion

Amphion Loudspeakers Ltd. was established in 1998. We design and build loudspeakers that are characterized by honest and accurate sound reproduction. Precise driver integration ensures world-class imaging and phase coherency. Controlled dispersion technology helps achieve more stable results in a variety of room acoustics. All products are handmade in Finland (and the Amphion amplifiers are assembled in Finland) to ensure enduring listening quality.

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