On and off again

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On and off again

When I am mixing a new track of music at Octave Studio I am moving between two distinctly different means of listening: a full aspen FR30 system and a pair of Audeze planar headphones.

The presentation between the two couldn't be a whole lot different. Not the tonal balance, dynamics, or transients, mind you. No, those are remarkably close to each other. It's the presentation—the soundstage—that is so different. 

Which makes perfect sense since one is a closed loop system and the other encompasses the entire room.

And that presentation difference is the whole reason I go back and forth between the two modes. When mixing, you want to be careful not to make too many adjustments based on the room, for reasons that should be obvious. No two rooms are alike.

The trick in any high-end mixroom is to find a combination of speaker and headphone system that match each other—which in my experience is rare.

Why? If you think about it, the differences between systems is so vast as to make one question whether or not it is even possible. In the FR30 setup we have a big collection of cables: power, speaker, interconnects, digital. Each of these cables makes their own sonic contribution. And those are just the beginning. You have a DAC, preamp, and power amplifier to run the signal through, not to mention the speakers themselves (and their setup in the room).

Compare that to a headphone setup. Indeed, you also have cables (but they play a much smaller role), a DAC, preamp, and power amp to contend with but at this miniature scale, the design challenges are miniscule relative to the big speaker system.

So, it is a real treat to have two planar based sound systems in the same room—one that can be trusted on ear or off ear.

In the end, what you hear on an Octave recording is the finely tuned balance between these two completely disparate systems.


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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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