Monday, 3 December 2012

In search of bass

Some 14 months after starting I’ve finally reached the point where I can listen to music in my new mix room only to discover that all the bass has escaped.

Well, not quite escaped, more like emigrated to the back of the room which, rather crucially, is not where I’d planned to sit. When I do take up position in what I have calculated to be the mixing ‘sweet spot’ (marked with a masking tape X on the floor) it’s almost as if I’ve suffered a catastrophic crossover malfunction to the extent that I did at first believe the woofers had blown. A quick walk around the room however clarified that all my low end was simply gathering some 2 feet behind my carefully plotted position.

Luckily this is a common complaint. Small rooms and bass often come into conflict and the internet is full of helpful solutions as well as amusing anecdotes (one poor chap loaded 2 subs into his tiny cinema room in an attempt to retrieve his low end. While this completely failed to solve his problem it did cause a seismic wave through the rest of his parents house leading to the demise of a number of his Mum’s pieces of crystal tat). I have little doubt that given enough fiddling, fettering and blu-tack I can get some of my bass back, likely at the expense of my carefully calculated X spot.

In the meantime however over the weekend I discovered a rather unlikely source of earth moving bottom end in a grotty pub in Bristol. Upstairs in the hilariously miss-labelled ‘Pool room’ (no pool table) we instead found a ramshackle assortment of bookshelf speakers. Small faux veneer boxes built in a style synonymous with your grandparent’s hi-fi. One of them, possibly accidently, was hooked into the pubs sound system and, lo and behold, it sounded bloody good. So good in fact that a few pints later I asked the barman if I could buy them. Sadly either through an extreme fondness for the speakers or perhaps the sheer idiocy of my request he told me to f**k off. It turns out he was probably smart to hang onto them as the company, RAM Electronics, made some decent speakers in the 80’s including a version of the BBC’s LS3/5A’s, a pair of which sold on Ebay recently for £1,827.00.

I’d hate to think that I was listening to a pair of these highly sought after speakers in a dark, dirty, upstairs room in a crappy Bristol boozer but it does seem likely. If I’d known I’m pretty sure I would have legged it with them. 

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