Nieuws & Weblog

Sven Hamilton's A25-M test drive

  Wednesday 15 August 2012, 11:59
Got the PSI Audio A25-Ms in earlier today, and set them up right away. Damn, these things are big. And heavy! A very spontaneous (and over-rambling) first review/impression below.
Sven Hamilton's A25-M test drive
I went straight to work on a mix I've been struggling with, but I'll detour this a bit by stating that I'm definitely a Focal Twin fan, having owned a pair since a couple of years back. In my opinion, the Twins make for some very competent speakers to mix on, that helped me take A LOT of guesswork out of the picture after the first two-three weeks of learning how they sing. Rough mixes have been coming together fast, and for detailed tweaking, switching between the Focals, my HD650s and a pair of Genelec 8030s has worked well for me for these years, even if it's occasionally been time consuming zooming in on those final details in overall balancing before the mix felt properly finished.

So, back to the PSIs. Been playing stuff through the A25s here for some hours now and also started tweaking the previously mentioned mix made on the Focals. Now, I know it's prudent to keep testing new speakers for at least a week or so before relaying a proper evaluation, but what can I say - the Twins went to a new home this very evening (it wasn't all by choice, but I just couldn't fit them both in an ideal way in here, which I was seriously considering doing for a while). Basically, if the Twins made me feel I was "watching through a magnifying glass", the PSIs feel like a microscope in comparison. And the bass detail!

I've always blamed my room for not being able to dial in bass and lower midrangey stuff quickly, which although heavily treated with GIK bass traps on everything but the floor, isn't much bigger than a fairly large shoebox. Room measurements after bass trapping rated surprisingly good with the Twins though, with a couple of annoying but not overwhelming irregularities, and I've been able to get work done here. But there's often been a lot of reference listening happening before feeling content with the end result.

(Also, I never liked what I got from increasing the bass response on the back of the Focals, as it always felt as an 'unnatural' lower frequency addition to me, and not analytical enough to trust. But again, the room is small so that's what I get for trying to break the laws of physics. Says the guy now bringing two 30 kg per piece midfield monitors into the equation...)

But today the bass response, which is a lot more powerful on the PSIs, came through beautifully in my room from the A25s. I'm naturally going to do some proper measuring - and work - and see just how much I'm fooling myself here, but currently everything just seems so very detailed, and I could immediately point out a couple of problem areas in the mix which I until today thought was 'good enough' for a first mix to send back to the client. It took me literally a minute to figure out that the main offender in this particular case was the kick drum and remedy it by EQ; by notching out a couple of frequencies higher up while also adding more bass and low midrange than I was comfortable doing on the Twins, there was now more drive and power throughout the entire track, yet now the kick interfered even less with the rest of the arrangement. A big piece of the puzzle just came together very quickly and naturally.

I also scanned through some reference tracks I often use, and was able to pick up on details I've heard a hundred times in the past but never really noticed until now, like compressor settings, surprisingly steep low pass filters on certain instruments, discreete reverb and delay automations… Scary stuff.

Let it be known that I'm not an overly technical person, nor do I strive to be. I rely a lot on instinct and 'the feel' of things. I'll be mixing a new project from scratch on these speakers later this week to see how they translate, and as I said, also try to assess just how much I'm fooling myself here; maybe I'm mistaking a naive crush for real love?

So please, by all means, take all this excited hyperbole from an unknow forum poster with a big grain of salt - but I'm still clinging to the hope that these speakers do turn out to be The Ones for me. Time will tell.

Initial impressions? I'm happy as hell right now.

The nicest place on GS!


"Please, Captain, not in front of the Klingons." -- Spock