The evolution of the recording studioIndustry
(Monitoring in a modern world)
The recording facility as we know it today has evolved since multi-track recording started in the 1950’s. The way the recording room was designed was based around the needs of the recording engineer and the equipment available. There was always a large “live” room to accommodate the musicians, and a “relatively” large control room to house the 7 foot desk, multi-track tape machines, racks of processing gear, an engineer, engineering assistant (someone had to get coffee to keep the engineer awake), and other room for everything else it took to record.
Monitoring in these facilities also reflected the engineer’s needs. Large wall or “soffit” mounted monitors were used with high current, high power class A or A/B power amps to power them. A small pair of “near field” monitors were on top of the meter bridge (no longer in most studios) so the engineer could get close to the sound to listen for noise, buzz, and other interferences or just to get the room out of the monitoring picture. The recording “client” rarely sat at the desk and neither did the musicians. A sofa was placed in a solid listening area so the client and musicians could hear the results of their efforts.
Today, the studio is a much different (and often better) place. Approximately 90% of all recording is now done digitally (computer recording) and that fact has completely changed the way the recording “studio” is set up and forever changed the way we monitor.
First of all, the “client” (engineer, songwriter, musician, person who gets the coffee and by the way all the same person) is often the only one in the “studio”. There is no “live” room in most cases. The desk and “tape recorders” are all in the computer. The wall soffit monitors are much more a rare thing. This leaves us with one or two people working as musician/engineers, and taking the project from start to finish.
So you may ask, how does this affect monitoring?
This is where the internally powered near field and mid field monitor starts to become a very attractive and important proposition. There is no room for the soffit monitors in most cases, and the power amps it took to drive them would pop all the breakers in the house. If the client is not the engineer, he sits right next to the engineer and this is where near and mid-field, self- powered monitors have a distinct advantage. A monitor like the ADAM S3X-H or A77X allows the Client/engineer the accuracy the engineer needs while the impressive audio quality gives the client the confidence to be creative when recording.
So as you can see, near and mid field monitoring is the way to go in today’s computer recording environment. Large enough for an impressive sound yet accurate, so that your recordings will transfer to a finished product. They physically fit smoothly into the new smaller environment. Their power consumption due to the internal amplifiers draw much less power than monitors from the past, and they give the user both the engineering detail and accuracy needed to deliver what is needed in the world of recording as we know it today.