Studio monitors are in my opinion the single most important addition to your studio. They are also probably the most subjective.
We all hear things differently – you may hear something as dull and lifeless yet I may hear the same thing as bright and lively. This is because we all perceive sound very differently. When it comes to human beings, it’s all very relative - this is as much physical as it is psychological. Not only do we hear sound differently, the room that you are in will also contribute to how a speaker will sound and is often why the speakers you heard in a shop sound very different in your room. Thankfully Genelec SAM goes a long way in eliminating the room from your sound.
We recently sold a set of Genelec 8351 SAM high-end Studio Monitors to a long-standing Sounds Easy customer, Shawn Naderi, a producer and engineer (who happens to share a studio with Flume). As an engineer Shawn has worked on some of the most respected Electronic music artists including Flume, LDRU and What So Not. He was looking for an upgrade from his Event Opals, which he loved but wanted something bigger. By chance, he heard the new Genelec 8351, 3 way Smart Active Monitors while working in LA and fell instantly in love.
I had not seen Shawn’s studio but heard it was on the small side and given these speakers are dual 8” Oval drivers with a 5” mid and tweeter, I was a little concerned they may overpower his room. So you can imagine how I felt when Shawn said he wanted a 12” sub to accompany them. Shawn knows what he wants and knows his room so even though it went against my better judgment I thought OK let’s follow this through and see where it takes us. To my horror the only sub that was available was the daddy of all studio sub woofers, (the Genelec 7271) which as it turns out is a 2 x 12” sub weighing in at no less than 82kg – my head started to spin! This sub is a beast. It comes in a crate and is the size of a small car. In my head this combination was never going to work in a room that was no bigger than 4 by 3 meters, yet Shawn to his credit was willing to give this bad boy a go, and who was I to stand in his way. Studio Connections, (the Australian Genelec distributor) generously offered this sub as a no obligation demo unit in the case it didn't work out.
We delivered the sub and Shawn installed it and then very next day Shawn sends me the message – “I’m not giving the sub back”.
At this point I still had not heard the system and the last thing we needed to do was head over with the Australian Genelec Product Specialist and tweak the SAM room calibration. SAM is an acronym for Smart Active Monitors and is what Genelec use to digitally calibrate their SAM Active speakers to the acoustic space that they are in. It uses the GLM2 Software, a network hub and a reference microphone to listen to the speakers in the room to make critical adjustments to specific audio frequencies and phase for each speaker independently - the difference it makes is truly remarkable.
So Steven drives up from Melbourne and we head on over to Shawn’s studio. I see the size of the room, and the Genelec System in the room for the very first time and concern started to creep in – how is this going to work? The first thing we do is the calibration - tweak a few parameters and correct the phase. We hadn’t heard a note of music yet Shawn was grinning, Steven seemed cool but I was apprehensive. We’d finally done the calibration and Shawn cranks up the volume and puts on a track. When the kick drum hit I felt like I was thrown 10ft back through the walls into the next room. I had never heard anything like it before. It was like the world was being torn apart and put back together in perfect order right before my eyes. I was completely floored. It was smiles all round. Shawn was beaming. Everything just sounded right. My anxiety subdued and we continued to listen to some more music.
What made this system work in this room was the GLM calibration. Sure it took a bunch of bottom end out but what it left was a perfect in phase, perfectly aligned audio synchronicity. This system is by far the best audio system I have heard and I have been doing this for over 20 years.
Naderi has been involved behind the scenes as an engineer to some of Australia’s most prominent electronic music artists including Nicole Millar, What So Not, Flume, LDRU and more. His mixdowns have made their way to Aria award winning and Grammy nominated works and can list a who’s who of clients from labels such as OWSLA, Mad Decent, Future Classic, Universal Music, Sony Music & Warner Music.
What Shawn thinks of the Genelec 8351 SAM and Genelec 7271 Sub-System:
"I never imagined speakers could sound this good and accurate. I feel like my search is over and I can just focus on making music."
"I have a fairly small, (but well treated) room and I didn't think a subwoofer could even work in there, but the Genelec sub is amazingly clean and with the SAM system, everything just works."
"Everyone who hears it is jealous."
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