At the Noel Coward Theatre today starting sound system design for The Cripple of Inishmaan. That’s Ella my assistant in the balcony seat checking out the worst position in the house, four levels up….
Some good vinyl found today. Including this 1st press 1965 soundtrack to Thunderball. Got to love that John Barry.
Speakers… thoughts on a noisy box
I’m lucky in my job that I often get new toys to play with rather regularly.. my writing room is strewn with instruments, microphones, outboard, computers, cables, manuscript, books etc and so it’s very easy to get desensitised to new “tech” stuff. As a composer, my only piece of equipment still here that has been with me since the *beginning* - bought whilst studying Sound Technology at LIPA - has been my trusty Genelec 8040 speakers. I was one of the first people to own a pair in the UK having ordered them just as they came out here. And I absolutely love them - they’ve seen me through my student days and into my professional composer life, through good & bad, with every project I’ve ever done written on them (from my first student short film to my first big theatre project, my first feature film in cinemas, to working with The xx, Danny Boyle etc etc right up to now). In essence, they’ve been my rock, and I’ve never even considered replacing them. Ever.
So when Andy, a good friend of mine from LIPA, offered to lend me a pair of PSI Audio A-17 M speakers he’d been working with, I wasn’t too fussed about the idea to begin with. I had some projects to mix so thought it might be an idea to have an alternative pair of speakers to compare to temporarily - but hadn’t thought I’d end up having them for more than a week when I’d politely give them back.
But it didn’t take long to realise that Andy was more than a little bit right about these speakers (it is his job, after all..). Mixing an orchestral/choir project I’d just recorded in Abbey Road was an absolute joy on these things, as well as mixing a smaller string quartet session for a war film later in the week - both very different musical textures - which the A-17’s glided through into my ears with ease, giving me exactly the information I needed to make the mixes sing out in the subsequent sound dubs. I didn’t even refer back to the Genelecs which started gathering dust in the hallway.
As someone who likes to monitor relatively quietly most of the time, my one fault with the Genelecs has always been having the right sort of bass response at lower levels. But these PSI A-17’s gave me something I’d never heard before in my writing room whether listening quietly or cranking up the volume. The detail in the stereo imaging and sound quality has just blown me away this whole week I’ve had them.
So now the tricky bit. I’ve got to give them back tomorrow. Which is thoroughly confusing me. Do I stick with the trusty Genelecs? Or add something new to the palette? My response is to now try to try out the slightly bigger PSI A-21 M… or maybe even the PSI A-25 M. I could shoot out a whole load of speakers from different manufacturers (I’ve heard the famous Barefoots but in relation to these for size/price the PSI’s pack a fair punch). I’m not sure I need to bother.
I don’t ever write blog posts about tech gear.. so this is a first. The tech geek in me getting excited I expect. Anyway. If you get the opportunity to try these things…. make sure you do. But be prepared to change your thoughts on noisy boxes for a while to come….
Recording a project in Abbey Road Studio 2 with the London Metropolitan Orchestra.. strings, brass, choir and celeste overdubs. Can’t talk about it yet but should be hitting screens soon…
Masterclass at the Barbican with uber composer Harry Gregson-Williams. What an inspiring guy….. scored over 50 films in Hollywood in a relatively short amount of time……
Writing session with some other composer friends. Maybe one day an album will come out of it. Maybe.
Director Patrick Gather shows the string quartet clips of the film - which really helped them gauge the feeling we were trying to create. #Shelter
Recording strings for “Shelter” - a WWII drama short, filmed on gorgeous 35mm film. Studio is Soho Sound Kitchen in London’s Kings Cross
Exploring the Globe’s instrument store today - came across these wooden Navelur Trumpets. HUGE and amazing. On my list for Henry VI this summer….