Quality Perspectives

Nov 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson



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Joel Singer

Joel Singer

Joel Singer

Joel Singer is the systems designer, technical engineer and occasional project engineer for Music Mix Mobile (M3), whose remote work has included the Grammy Awards, various Comedy Central and MTV shows and live concerts with many top names, including Katy Perry, Jay-Z, John Mayer, Sting and Paul McCartney.

“When we started M3, we knew what we liked and didn’t like in the past, and we wanted to be able expand on that. After extensive listening tests, we went with a front-end which was totally Grace [Audio] from the stage. The 802R is a tremendous remote-controlled preamp that fit perfectly into our world, and from there we kept defining our signal path. We determined MADI was the way we wanted to do things—carrying around these signals as digital signals.

“For budgetary reasons, however, not everyone can afford the Graces and the big truck. We own two smaller trucks now, and we have Aphex 188s on those. The 188 has Ethernet control on it and you can do S/MUX 96k. For other reasons we built Apogee A-to-D racks so we can do 64 channels at 96k in portable situations, where we just plug in 500 Series lunchboxes or other mic preamps.

“Our trucks don’t have any outboard gear whatsoever. Everything is totally inside the box. We can adapt gear for guest engineers, but with the way we work and the way most people work, Pro Tools is the only way for us now. Whether or not you’re mixing with us, or you’re mixing in another Pro Tools studio, or you’re mixing it in your bedroom, or you’re the band’s engineer and you’re going back to your hotel room and mixing it there— it’s still Pro Tools. They can take our sessions and take our audio and keep going.”

John Meyer

John Meyer

John Meyer

Meyer is the founder of Meyer Sound Laboratories, best known for their innovative loudspeakers and SR and film sound systems.

“For us, quality is the extra effort one takes to create something beyond what is popular or ‘just good enough’ to make a sale. This effort sometimes entails pushing past the status quo and coming up with new solutions before there is a demand in the marketplace.

“When we first showed our HD-1 studio monitor in the late 1990s, critics said the accuracy of the HD-1 went way beyond what was necessary. They were happy with the status quo. Now, some 20 years later, many of these critics have come around, and the HD-1 is the audio monitor of choice among record producers, studio engineers, FOH mixers and mastering engineers.

“Every day, companies make decisions between maximizing profit and maximizing long-term value for their customers. What keeps audio fascinating for us is putting everything we know into every product, and exceeding our customers’ expectations with new and better solutions. You have to trust that customers will grow to appreciate the extra quality, and that the improvement will make a difference to them. Stevie Wonder once said that our products helped him make his music better, which was a humbling tribute.

“Moving quality from concept to reality requires repeated testing and checking. We have an independent QC group that evaluates every unit from the customer’s perspective. These processes are a significant ongoing investment, but only innovative products with consistent and predictable performance can drive the industry forward.

“Robert Pirsig wrote a book about the philosophy behind quality back in the ’70s, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which I highly recommend.”

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