Duration: 26 minutes
Featuring: Alan Parsons, with Allen Sides, Sylvia Massey, and Tony Brown.
Monitoring is hearing, or listening. Recording and playback devices were developed at the same time and the relationship between a microphone and a loudspeaker remains inextricably linked to this day, as anyone who has ever used the speaker in a pair of headphones as an emergency microphone will testify.
Alan traces the development of loudspeakers from the earliest moving coil designs through to cutting edge systems designed by loudspeaker guru Allen Sides and looks at all the challenges a loudspeaker has to face; as he puts it, having to reproduce everything from the sound of “tweeting bird to an volcanic eruption.”
One of the prime functions of a recording studio is to create a recording that sounds ‘good’ in many different environments and on many different speaker systems. Studio monitors therefore need to be truthful and not flatter to deceive.
Honesty can sometimes be brutal, which is one of the reasons behind the success of the classic nearfield Yamaha NS10M – few people’s favorite listening device, but one that has supplied a consistent level of sound reproduction for more than 30 years.
Alan looks at all shape and size of monitoring device in this section, from nearfields like the NS10Ms to room-size behemoths that you can find in studios like Ocean Way. Alan also looks at all forms of headphone design and examines their role in recording, and the implications of a consumer population that currently largely listens to music on earbuds.
Monitoring also looks at things like feedback, the perception of stereo
imaging and the so-named center image, monitoring positions, volume, and much more.
Alan Parsons has long championed enhanced monitoring systems such as ‘Quad’ (he produced a quad mix of Dark Side Of The Moon) and more recently 5.1 Surround. This section closes with a look at Surround Systems and their role in modern music production.
Above all, what is important about any monitoring system is that you can trust what you hear and this section clearly sets out the parameters and practices to follow.