Yearly Archive for 2007

Christmas Party

Got my Christmas party tonight at a place called “Umspannwerk Ost” which should be fun. It’s a really nice location and there should be good food and drink. The only pity is that I’ve been sick as a dog for the last few weeks so I don’t think it’ll be a late one coaxed with countless beverages. I guess that’s good in a way though, no feeling ill from a hangover tomorrow!!

Saga Cont’d

So, received a response from Thomann via email:

Hallo.

Wir haben die Lautsprecher erhalten und getestet. Dazu haben
wir Sinus-Töne über die Lautsprecher geschickt. Wir haben alle
relevanten Möglichkeiten probiert; d.h. Monitore physikalisch und
auch per Audioausgang getauscht. Wir konnten keinen unterschied
messen, der einen Defekt eines Lautsprecher bestätigen würde.
Unabhängig davon hat auch unsere hausinterne Werkstatt die
Lautsprecher geprüft; ebenfalls ohne Feststellung eines Defekts.

In solchen Fällen ist in 99% davon auszugehen, dass die
Raumakustik das Klangbild formt. Haben Sie bei Ihrem Test
die Lautsprecher (physikalisch L->R bzw. R->L) getauscht?
Haben Sie auch den Ausgang ihrer Soundkarte bzw. Mischpultes o.ä.
getauscht?

Da es sich um einen Versandrückläufer handelt, können wir Ihnen anbieten,
die Lautsprecher an Klein&Hummel einzuschicken um sie dort vom
Hersteller einmessen zu lassen. Falls dies Ihren zeitlichen Rahmen übersteigt
können Sie auch gerne von Ihrer Money-Back-Garantie gebrauch machen und
sich das Geld zurück überweisen lassen.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen / with best regards

Daniel Oppl

Studio-/Synth-/Softwareabt.

Basically, what he’s saying is that they’ve tested them and can find no fault. I don’t believe a word he says since I trust my own ears and own tests absolutely. He tries to infer that they have carried out similar tests to mine and then tries to suggest that it may be my room acoustics. Well, I certainly sent a reply, which is as follows (English version for you guys!!):

Dear Daniel,

Firstly, thank you for your response, however contradictory it may be to mine. May I apologise for writing in English as up to this point it has been a friend constructing my words into German for me as my German is still not very good.

I tested these monitors in a few different ways, the first way only natural when plugging a new set of monitors in. I simply played some familiar mixes/songs through them. I noticed a discrepancy straight away so then I A/B’d them which made the difference stand out more. I then physically swapped them over, as you mention, from left to right and vice versa. After having done this, and the difference could still be heard, I simply monitored a CD player through my monitor controller to assure me that it wasn’t my sound card causing this problem. I then swapped the outputs of my monitor controller to also rule it out of the problem. Having done this, it was time for a more exact type of testing.

You say you sent sine waves through the speakers, as I did, and came to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong. Did you actually record the output in a close mic’d situation, or were you all rather standing around and listening for the differences??

Believe me when I say, I sent a sine wave through the monitors starting at 40Hz and increasing in semitone steps over 4 octaves. I close mic’d each speaker (using the same channel, the same cable, the same directional mic, in the same position) and came up with a very different bass frequency response from each speaker. Due to them being close mic’d, room acoustics played very little, if no part in the result. In any case, even if room acoustics did play a part in my test, I dare say my studio would acoustically compare rather favourably with your shop studio.

The fact of the matter is, that although both of these speakers are (independent of each other) in good working order, they DO NOT reproduce bass frequencies in the same manner as each other nor as any other matched pair of monitors do and should.

I have recently spoken to Just Music who have offered me a new pair of 0300’s for only a couple of hundred euro more and would therefore like to request a refund from you. I thank you for your time and bid you good day.

Regards,

Jordan Kerr

Anyway, that’s it, a hopeless company with a hopeless end. I will definitely be spreading the word on this one, It must just be a company full of amateurs who have no clue on what they’re doing and I would prefer not dealing with these type of firms.

Klein & Hummel 0300

Got my Christmas/Birthday present a bit early this year and was fully hyped for when it arrived. I haven’t had proper nearfield monitors since I got here and I’d finally made a decision on the ones I wanted. They are made by a German company called Klein & Hummel and the model name is 0300. Essentially they are a 3-way monitor powered by three individual internal amplifiers, 150Watt for the bass, 65Watt for the mids and 65Watt for the highs. They have a moulded waveguide front baffle made out of a proprietry material called LRIM and are crossed over at 650 Hz / 3.3 kHz. I compared quite a lot of different monitors before finally making a decision, some of these included ADAM S3A, Focal Twin 6 Be, Dynaudio AIR 15, Digidesign RM2 along with quite a few others. At the end of the day it was a no-brainer though. The depth of field and transparency combined with the extended bass response could not be achieved by the others. The next closest were the RM2’s followed closely by the S3A’s. Obviously monitor purchase is a very subjective decision quite often determined by personal taste as well as ear condition……this was simply my subjective decision which I’m sure we wouldn’t all agree on. Anyway, enough of the sale, it’s time for the rant!!

Klein & Hummel 0300So I bought these for a really good deal from Thomann even though a couple of weeks earlier I’d seen them cheaper at Musik Schmidt, unfortunately at that point I hadn’t made my final decision and didn’t quite have the dosh so I missed out. Musik Schmidt had three pairs and they got snapped up in three days. Oh well, you get that. Anyway, I paid 100 euros more for them from Thomann but it was still a great deal. I was told that one of the boxes containing the monitor was slightly damaged but that was it, the monitors themselves were in 100% condition. i paid them the cash and a couple of days later they emailed that they had been dispatched ………first annoyance, i had to wait 4 days between dispatch and delivery. I can order something in the States and get it quicker. Anyway, having lived here for a bit, my patience has improved. I have to remind myself quite often that this country does things in a different way which usually means a lot more paper work and a lot more waiting. Anyway, they finally arrived and I was only too happy to pull them out and plug them in.

I pluggged them into my monitor controller, a Presonus Central Station and sent some familiar mixes/music through them. Upon doing this I instantly noticed something odd, before jumping to conclusions though I double checked that they were set to flat on their internal EQ and swapped the signal leads I was using. Hit play in Logic and again heard the same strange thing. It appeared to me that the left monitor had a much “fuller” more “defined” (even “attacky”) bass. These were absolutely not a matched pair!! Again, before getting all upset I asked Ina if she could take a listen. I didn’t give her any hint that anything was wrong, I simply asked for her opinion. Well, she had a listen to them and came to the same decision as me, the left was producing a different bass than the right. It is important to mention here that this does not necessarily mean that one of the monitors is broken, they just sound different from each other and cannot be used for mixing in their current state. It was late by then so I slept on it.

Next morning checked again (always better to be safe than sorry) unfortunately nothing magical had happened overnight and they were in the same state so we called Thomann. They were most unhelpful, I wasn’t even given any options, I literally had to suggest my own options that this chick said no or yes to. I wasn’t entitled to a replacement pair since these were on special offer due to the packaging of one speaker being damaged. I could either send them back to the manufacturer (via Thomann) or receive a refund, that was it. I decided to send them back to Thomann because I like these monitors and can’t afford them at the “normal” retail price. Well, they only emailed one courier pick up slip which UPS said was no good since there were two boxes. Called Thomann once again and the person said to send up the broken one and in the meantime they would fax (no sorry, I don’t have a fax) ok then, email another pick-up slip. This could take a while though because all emails only go out at night. Well, I first had to once again explain that there was no “broken” monitor, they were both working fine, just different, I then said that I’d return them together to avoid confusion so waited for the other pick-up slip. Well, yes, it took a while, 48 hours to be precise but not to worry, it was the weekend anyway.

I ended up sending them on Monday afternoon, about 4.30pm and amazingly they turned up back at Thomann the next day. How do I know this? Because the idiots called me to ask what was wrong with them. The first call I received was from some random guy who spoke in German (a bit too quick for me) and when I asked him if he could speak English he said no problem and then hung up on me. Did I receive a phone call back? NO!! I waited till Ina came home and then she called up someone from the studio department to ask what the call was about. They simply wanted to know what was wrong, they’d plugged them in and tested them and could find nothing wrong. My opinion of their studio department at that point just hit rock bottom, how can you sell high end gear if you cannot hear a difference between two pieces of equipment, regardless if they are the same or not. Are they a bunch of fucking monkeys who just plug their shit in, wait for a signal, look at each other and say “well, that’s working, what’s the problem?”. Testing gear is about more than just plugging it in and waiting for a signal as I’m sure you know. Anyway, clarified the situation with the monkey at Thomann, explained that I’d sent a sine wave starting at 40Hz rising in quarter octave to each monitor and recorded the output of each monitor. This showed clear as fucking day that the bass frequency response of each monitor was different and I invited him to do the same.

So, that was last night and I haven’t heard anything since. Perhaps they did the same test as me or perhaps they’re just too unqualified and decided to rely on my test results. Either way, I just want the things working as they should be and that is, a matched pair. I’ve got work to do with them but I can wait, hell, I’ve waited this long.

Lesson learnt: Never, ever purchase anything from Thomann again!!

 

Snow

Well, from gloom the other day to snow today. I was wishing for a proper cold winter and hopefully my wish has come true. Better to walk on ice and snow than shitty melted snow and ice. My new view from work.

Snow