Field Test: Event Electronics ASP8 Studio Precision Monitors

Jan 1, 2004 12:00 PM, By Erik Hawkins

Polls


Mix Regional

The Mix Regional section for Mix's May 2014 issue focuses on Nashville. Send us your studio news: updates, sessions, new rooms, club performances and installations. Let the Mix audience know what is going on! Send photos and descriptions to mixeditorial@nbmedia.com.

Event Electronics made a big splash years ago when it introduced the 20/20 Series of powered, direct-field monitors, which brought the price of bi-amplified, powered monitor technology to a level practically everybody could afford. During the years, Event launched several permutations of the original 20/20 monitors, all based on a similar design and technology. But while the 20/20 Series' price-to-performance ratio couldn't be beat, even Event could admit that there was room for sonic improvement.

Enter Event's new Studio Precision monitor series ($1,499/pair), featuring a completely new cabinet, transducer and amplification system design. The series comprises both active and passive models: the ASP8 and PSP8 8-inch two-way and the ASP6 and PSP6 6.5-inch two-way, respectively. For this field test, we ran a pair of ASP8 monitors through their paces.

ANATOMY OF A SPEAKER


The attractive Precision monitors' face features a mirrored obsidian black surface and sides finished in a black gloss. The cabinet is internally insulated and constructed of ¾-inch vinyl-laminate MDF. The ASP8 weighs in at a reasonable 32.5 pounds. The front-mounted green LED is part of a feature introduced with the 20/20bas: It doubles as both a power indicator and an “approaching clip” indicator, which blinks when signal comes within 3 dB of clipping. The blinking is a bit odd, especially because most clip indicators are multicolored LEDs that flash red when a clip is encountered. However, the blinking does accomplish its purpose: It gets your attention.

Input connections are XLR and ¼-inch balanced. Event opted not to employ a combo jack; instead, the speakers feature a straight-wire pass-through circuit. This setup lets you pass a signal coming in one jack and back out the other jack for patching to a variety of other inputs, such as a headphone distribution system or second monitors in another room. A variable Input Sensitivity control is located on the rear panel, giving ample control over input gain structure from -20 dB to max (defined as full output, as produced by a 1.1-volt input signal). There's no denying this control's usefulness, but setting it precisely is tricky because there is only one detent, at -5 dB. Power is supplied via a standard IEC Type II cable.

Both transducers are shielded, and the high-frequency driver is a soft-dome radiator with a ferrofluid-cooled voice coil. The low-frequency driver is a mineral-filled polypropylene cone featuring a neodymium magnet, high-temperature voice coil and damped rubber surround. Dual “low air restriction” ports are located on the face, allowing you to place the speakers against a wall or in an enclosure without affecting bass output. Frequency response for the ASP8 is an impressive 35 to 20k Hz, ±3 dB, referenced at 500 Hz.

Both the ASP8 and the ASP6 pack a whopping 280 watts of power per speaker: That's 200 watts to the low-frequency driver and 80 watts for the high-frequency driver. The ASP8 and ASP6 both use 2.6kHz, fourth-order asymmetrical crossovers. (Passive models use a 2.5kHz second-order crossover.) Best of all, there are several controls on the rear panel that allow you to tailor the monitor's output to match your listening environment. HF and LF Trim knobs provide ±3 dB of control. However, these controls were not detented. (Event says these, like the Input Sensitivity controls, are deliberately not indented so the user can make fine adjustments.) A High-Pass 80Hz Roll-off control, calibrated to the industry-standard Dolby spec, is available via a push-button, the perfect complement to a system with subs and/or bass management systems.

SET UP AND TESTING


The ASP8s sat on 12-inch, freestanding speaker stands, which, in turn, sat atop a Nigel B workstation. They were placed upright in the traditional stereo speaker position, where the listener makes up one corner of an equilateral triangle. Each speaker was on a plane level with the listener's head and approximately 10 inches from the wall. The studio is 30×30 feet, with a working ceiling height of 10 feet. A dummy ceiling hangs down two feet to hide wiring and air-conditioning ducts. A combination of Sonex acoustic foam (egg carton and multiband diffuser styles) and ½-inch acoustic dampening tiles are placed strategically about the room to knock out reflections and standing waves. On a scale of one to 10, where 10 is a totally “dead” environment, my room is a five. Digidesign's 888/24 interface provided the main stereo outputs, which connects to the ASP8 inputs. All connections were balanced, XLR to ¼-inch. Input sensitivity on both monitors was set at 75 percent.

I begin every monitor field test by checking out commercially available CD releases (Madonna, Sting, Dave Matthews, etc.) to get a feel for the speakers' general tone. I was immediately impressed by how even the ASP8s sounded: not too flat, not too hyped up, but just right. Next, I ran a series of tones through the system at a variety of levels to hear if the frequency response specs are accurately reflected in a real-world listening environment. For the low end, I started with a 20Hz tone and worked my way up to 100 Hz. Response pops in around 35 Hz, as the specs report. Cranking out 40 Hz, the ports output an amazingly tame column of air. I've heard some speakers that sound like an acrylic jacket held out of a car window at 60 mph in this frequency range, but that was not the case here. Any noise made by air coming through the ports smoothly tapers to a whisper by 60 to 80 Hz. The midrange sounded smooth, with no particularly noticeable bumps. The high mids, at around 11 kHz, are particularly clean-sounding without being harsh or brittle. I was especially amazed (as were all of the dogs in the neighborhood) by the clarity of the extreme high end. Even at 20 kHz, the ASP8s pumped out crystal-clear sound.

Material that I know well, both multitrack and final stereo masters, all sounded good, with almost every frequency sitting in a familiar spot. The final master of a track that I had assiduously mixed on a Pro Tools|24 MIX system to sound warm and round — it was originally recorded on “blackface” ADAT machines — sounded true to the original mix, which was done over Hafler TRM8 monitors. Working exclusively with the ASP8 monitors, I completed a mix for a blues artist on 24-track Pro Tools|24 MIX, recorded live at 48 kHz, 20 bits. The unmastered mixes translated well to different systems in the outside world, with no unexpected frequency bumps or dips. The monitors have a pretty wide sweet spot, making them easy to work between. The high end is accurate without causing ear fatigue too quickly. Comparing the sound of the ASP8 monitors to competing models, I'd say that they are a nice cross between the high- to mid-frequency response of the Mackie HR824, but with a low-end response and a flatter overall tone that resembles the JBL LSR28P.

The Studio Precision monitors are excellent near-field monitors, with plenty of quality power to drive their speakers and then some. They have an admirable frequency response, and the High-Pass 80Hz Roll-off feature makes them compatible with just about any sub system. It's obvious that these monitors offer a great value in a professional speaker. Whether you're in the market for new monitors or not, the Studio Precision speakers are worth a listen, and maybe even a trip with you back to the studio.

Event Electronics, 805/566-7777, www.event1.com.


Visit Erik Hawkins' indie label at www.muzicali.com to hear music made with today's hottest studio gizmos and check out his virtual studio recording book, Studio-in-a-Box (Artist Pro/Hal Leonard).






Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95

Newsletters

MixLine

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.