Review: Event Opal Studio Monitors

Apr 6, 2009 6:28 PM, By George Petersen

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photo of Event Opal monitor

The HF unit can be rotated for horizontal use.

Event plans to offer an optional software/calibration mic package for simplifying room/speaker setup, but it wasn’t shipping in time for this review. Yet thanks to the front controls, I could make tweaks without moving far from the sweet spot and, once set, the cover hides the knobs from unauthorized twiddlers. During setup, I detected no port noise (wheezing or chuffing), which can be a problem with some front-ported systems, although with nearly 750 watts of amps in each box, up close you can discern a bit of amplifier hiss when no signal is fed into the Opals.

Each speaker includes a thick rubber plinth, a multifunction slab that keeps the speakers from moving, prevents vibrational transmission to stands/other surfaces and provides a stable base for the curved cabinets in horizontal use. Event recommends taking the monitors to a service center to rotate the HF section, yet it’s a straightforward process most users could easily handle. On their sides with the (rotated) tweeters facing inward, Opals’ imaging and response was consistent with the speakers in a horizontal orientation, which is not the case with most speakers.

In Session
Tracking drums on a large analog board, the Opals shined. They had no problem handling extreme dynamic range. The reproduction of extremely fast transients on snare and cymbals was impressive, like I was standing in front of the kit, rather than seated in the control room. Thanks to the 600-watt LF amps and the driver design, the level and acceleration speed to the woofers is incredible. Opals seem to have an inexhaustible amount of headroom and there was no distortion at all. The net effect was like listening to a large three-way system, with chest thumping bass that was full, yet never out of control.

Traditionally the Achilles’ heel in most two-way designs, Opals’ excellent midrange definition and detail made a huge difference when working with vocals, letting me clearly hear nuances in mic/preamp selections when tracking or making subtle signal processing decisions in the mix. And piano/flute/violin session playbacks showcased the invisibility of the crossover point, which was totally seamless. The balance between lows, mids and upper-end was spot-on—at any level—so mixing on Opals was an absolute pleasure. Thanks to the low-distortion performance, there was almost no hearing fatigue, even over long listening periods. You can mix on these for days on end.

Designed to match that of the woofer, the HF waveguide’s horizontal splay provides wide, even coverage with smooth response, with no off-axis smearing and a well-defined left/right soundstage over a fairly wide listening area.

Working on a video score spotlighted Opal’s LF performance. This project had drums, bass, synth and various sound effects, including a bubbling scuba tank that was pitch-shifted down an octave, creating huge amounts of sub bass that lesser systems may not have reproduced. This LF capacity was also handy on another video project—a live concert combining stage mics with distant mics at the center and rear of the room. Here, phase adjustments were critical, and mixes made on the Opals translated precisely to larger systems as well as small TV speakers.

Setting Standards
With the Opals, Event has created a world-class system that may become the new standard. Combining absolute accuracy and large three-way performance from a relatively compact two-way system, serious studio pros will definitely want to give these a listen.

For more information, visit www.event1.com.

George Petersen is Mix’s executive editor and operates a small record label at www.jenpet.com.

Event Opal product summary box




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