Learning To Listen Again
Inner Portal Studio Upgrades 2014 #2.
Well, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I ordered some new monitors for the studio, Tyler Acoustic D2x’s. Due to huge snow storms in the US, they took an extra week to get to me, but the wait was worth it. Last Thursday, 4 big boxes arrived via UPS Freight, the 2 speakers and their stands.
The freight truck couldn’t make it up my driveway, and the UPS driver was lazy in his own weird way, so we ended up pulling all 4 boxes at once up a long hill on a dolly. It was sketchy, but soon they were safe inside.
The next step was getting them up to the studio on the third floor, knowing that the large boxes were almost 160lbs each. Oh, and I did it myself, with the injured shoulder, fun. 🙂 A bit of leverage and using my legs to push from below made it not too difficult, but still a bit intimidating as you don’t want to slip and have one of these come back at you!
The only really difficult part was getting them on the 12 inch stands I had made for them (gets the tweeters at ear level), but by that point I was determined. Luckily it all worked out, and after a couple hours playing with the positioning of the new D2x’s (as well as the Opals now), it was all working well. This is obviously a pretty big upgrade for me, so it’s nice to see it all set up in the studio finally:
Of course the $6000 question everyone keeps asking me, is how do they sound?
In a word, different. I know, not very descriptive, but that’s the best way to describe it. Right away I could tell they had real depth to their imaging, placement of instruments was incredibly precise. But I knew before I bought these that they would need 200 hrs to break in, something the manufacturer reminded me of a few times in the process of ordering them.
Like most of the reviews of Tyler Acoustics speakers, at first they come across as a little underwhelming. It’s a big sound, you feel like you’re really IN the music in a way I’ve never experience at this level of clarity. But the lows were frankly weak, and the highs were frankly dull. They sounded “good”, but not reference grade mastering monitor good.
Again, all this I expected, and having confirmed it with my own ears, I set about breaking them in. They’ve been playing non-stop since I got them, so I’m at about 120 hours now. I have the Hilo set up to switch between the Tyler’s and the Event’s with a button press, so it’s been easy for me to compare the way they sound (in a nice level-matched way) quite simply. The Opals are a tiny bit closer together than they used to be, but otherwise they are what I know inside and out, having used them exclusively for the last few years.
Right away it was apparent the Beryllium tweeters on the Opals were a lot brighter than the D2’s, the highs were right in your face while the D2’s were much more muted. It wasn’t bad, but definitely more smooth than I was used to. Luckly I’m told it’s pretty easy to swap out a resistor on the tweeter crossover to make them a little more present sounding, so I always have that option later depending on how they break in.
The D2’s also have a more prounced low end, it’s not so much louder as just deeper and more physical feeling. I had always used the way the Opals made my chest feel for deep bass as a guide for how much was too much, and with the D2’s this is much more a whole body affair. 🙂
Still, I know that I have to break them in fully before I draw any conclusions, so that’s what I’ve been doing. Anytime I’m not listening to music on them and comparing with the Opals, I’m blasting pink noise at 96kHz through them to really get all the speakers working. After 5 days of non-stop use, they already sound a LOT better. The subs are much more apparent, and the tweeters have brightened up a little too. Still a big difference from the Opals, but I’m only halfway there.
It’s been interesting trying to assimilate this huge change in the way I’m going to be hearing things, while at the same time knowing I have work coming in too! When you’re used to a playback system so well that you never have to second guess yourself, learning how to hear music all over again is both a fun challenge and a bit stressful too!
But, I’m not complaining 🙂
I’ll post some more of my thoughts on this change in a couple weeks once everything has been broken in and I have some more mastering done on them!
I just wanted to remind people one more time about my video series on Optimizing Sound Quality In Ableton Live too. Been getting a lot of good feedback on these 4 videos, and I can’t recommend the rest of the Warp Academy stuff enough. If you’re a Live user, you probably won’t find better deal on Live training:
Thanks everyone, until next time!