Intelligent Studio Monitors

Jun 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Michael Cooper

SELF-ALIGNING SYSTEMS PROMISE THE WORLD WILL BE FLAT

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INTELLIGENT STUDIO MONITORS, AT A GLANCE

COMPANY AND PRODUCT DIMENSIONS (HXWXD, INCHES) WEIGHT (LBS.) AUDIO INPUTS DRIVERS RETAIL (EACH) NOTES
Equator Audio Q8 13×13×13 34 1/4" TRS, XLR 8"/400W; 1"/400W $1,500 Self-alignment requires purchase of optional software ($495); co-ax design.
Equator Q10 15×15×15 54 1/4" TRS, XLR 10"/400W; 1"/400W $2,000 Self-alignment requires purchase of optional software ($495); co-ax design.
Equator Q12 17×17×15 65 1/4" TRS, XLR 12"/1,000W; 1.5"/400W $2,500 Self-alignment requires purchase of optional software ($495); co-ax design.
Equator Q15 21×21×21 92 1/4" TRS, XLR 15"/2,000W; 1.5"/400W $3,000 Self-alignment requires purchase of optional software ($495); co-ax design.
Equator Q18 21×21 ×44 132 1/4" TRS, XLR 18"/3,000W $5,000 Subwoofer; self-alignment requires purchase of optional software ($495).
Genelec 7260A 20.75×18.2×14.3 59 Single/dual-wire AES/EBU (4x XLR) 10"/120W $3,295 Subwoofer; self-aligns using GLM network software ($675).
Genelec 7270A 24.6×21.9×19.3 112 Single/dual-wire AES/EBU (4x XLR) 12"/250W $4,350 Subwoofer; self-aligns using GLM network software ($675).
Genelec 7271A 29.75×31.6×19.3 180 Single/dual-wire AES/EBU (4x XLR) Dual 12"/500W $5,795 Subwoofer; self-aligns using GLM network software ($675).
Genelec 8130A 11.25×7.4×7 12.3 1x XLR (analog, AES/EBU) 5"/40W; 0.75"/40W $1,065 Self-aligns using GLM.SE network software ($595).
Genelec 8240A 13.8×9.4×10.9 20.8 Analog XLR, AES/EBU 6.5"/90W; 0.75"/90W $1,850 Self-aligns using GLM network software ($675).
Genelec 8250A 17×11.25×11 32 Analog XLR, AES/EBU 8"/150W; 1"/120W $2,795 Self-aligns using GLM network software ($675).
Genelec SE7261A 20.75×18.2×14.3 59 AES/EBU 10"/120W $3,295 Subwoofer; self-aligns using GLM.SE network software ($595).
JBL Pro LSR4326P 15.25×9.3×10.3 28.5 XLR, 1/4" TRS, AES/EBU, S/PDIF 6.25"/150W; 1"/70W $619 Includes remote controller, self-aligning speaker networking software.
JBL Pro LSR4328P 17.25×10.5×10.6 32.5 XLR, 1/4" TRS, AES/EBU, S/PDIF 8"/150W; 1"/70W $879 Includes remote controller, self-aligning speaker networking software.
JBL Pro LSR4312P 19.75×16×19.25 66 XLR, 1/4" TRS, AES/EBU, S/PDIF 12"/450W $1,139 Subwoofer; includes remote controller, self-aligning speaker networking software.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Some manufacturers offer systems that don't self-align but include analysis software or customized DSP solutions to help flatten frequency response.

JBL Professional's first-generation RMC (Room Mode Correction) monitor — model LSR 6328SP — is not auto-correcting, but can correct for room modes in any particular room after running a manual 30-minute setup procedure. The optional LSR6312SP subwoofer includes the RMC kit and provides RMC capability when used in 2.1 or 5.1 systems with JBL's LSR6332 and LSR6325P models.

Klein + Hummel (www.klein-hummel.com) and KSdigital (www.ksdigital.de) offer monitors that use Finite Impulse Response (FIR) filters, which preserve phase linearity while adjusting frequency response. Neither company offers analysis software, but each provides room-correction software that is implemented in a similar fashion. You'll need to “shoot” (gather test data for) your room yourself or hire a specialist to do so, using third-party hardware and/or software. You then send your test measurements to the company and they send you a data-set containing corrective equalization, which uploads into nonvolatile memory inside the monitor(s). Note that the 0 500 C digital active main monitor is currently the only Klein + Hummel model that uses this type of technology.

Tannoy's (www.tannoy.com) Activ-Assist (Mac/Win) software measures the frequency response of your setup comprising the company's Precision or Reveal Series monitors. The software then suggests settings for the monitors' cabinet-mounted DIP switches, which provide fixed-equalization presets fashioned to correct typical speaker-boundary effects. The filters must be set manually and are too broad in action to correct room modes (which was not the manufacturer's intent).

For those who want to take an a la carte approach, several new, out-of-speaker solutions are available — such as IK Multimedia's (www.ikmultimedia.com) ARC and KRK's (www.krksys.com) Ergo. These systems work with a wide variety of monitors, allowing users to turbo-charge their existing setups with the latest technology. If you're mostly pleased with the performance/sound of your current monitors, systems such as these provide an affordable alternative.


Mix contributing editor Michael Cooper has written more than 300 articles about pro audio during the past 20 years. Visit him at www.myspace.com/michaelcooperrecording.






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