Focusrite VRM Box

With the proliferation of home studio set ups today meaning practically anyone can produce high quality recordings with a fraction of the gear, and the cost, of using a top of the range studio space, it’s the tricky issue of finding the perfect space to mix your finished recordings that’s increasingly an issue. It’s been standard practice for donkeys years for engineers to listen to working mixes on everything from high end studio monitors to tinny ghetto blaster speakers, booming car stereos or audiophile home hi-fis all in the name of nailing the perfectly balanced mix.

Yet music technology company Focusrite have come up with a neat solution to this messy, time consuming, problem By using monitoring headphones with their VRM – Virtual Reference Monitoring – box this pocket-sized device enables the listener to reference multiple audio perspectives all at the touch of a button. The slick looking box with its single volume control and headphone socket (priced £79) is both Mac and PC compatible, the software loads easily and as the unit runs off a USB input there’s no need for an external power supply (great for mixing literally anywhere on your laptop), it also has a digital input making it compatible with Pro Tools HD. The three virtual listening environments on offer are logically divided into Professional Studio, Living Room and Bedroom, each with its own set of monitoring selections to choose from.

These include the likes of KRK Rokit6 62s, Japanese White Classics (based on Yamaha NS-10M Pros) and some British 90s Hi Fi speakers (based on KEF Q55.2) among 15 speaker choices available. In practice the differing sounds are uncannily accurate with each environment and set of speakers all revealing potential frequency imbalances created by hearing the mix in a specific room and speaker selection. The really ingenious part here though is that by using the VRM Box as your audio interface while working on a mix, one is able to go right into individual parts, isolate them and adjust the mix accordingly. While the VRM Box isn’t a total solution to solving the headache of hearing things ‘accurately’ it’s a compact, affordable and ultimately a hugely practical step towards it. For more go to www.focusrite.com/products/

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