MONTREAL, Canada – Widely recognized as one of the world’s finest educational institutions, McGill University in Montreal has graduated three prime ministers, 12 Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer prize winners and hundreds more luminaries. At the Schulich School of Music, Area Chair (and GRAMMY® winner) Richard King and legendary recording producer/engineer and 4-time GRAMMY-winning Associate Professor George Massenburg are on the faculty for the Graduate Program In Sound Recording, one of the only programs in North America that offers both a Master’s and Ph.D degree. Recently, a new arrival was accepted into the prestigious program–the JBL M2 Master Reference Monitor.
The Graduate Program in Sound Recording covers all aspects of recording from old to new and follows the European Tonmeister tradition of training musicians to become sound engineers. The school also offers instruction in video production. King and Massenburg are always on the lookout for equipment that advances the state of the art. “I go back a long way with Peter Chaikin of JBL and a few years ago I heard what was then a speaker in development that blew me away,” said Massenburg. “A few years later I found out the speaker had evolved to become the M2. Naturally, I wanted to hear the finished version. It was a transformative experience.”
At the end of 2014, the Schulich School of Music purchased three JBL M2 monitors, which are installed in the school’s main studio in a left-center-right configuration. “One of the main reasons we picked the M2 is because this room is critical to our operations–we run it 24/7 here,” King noted. The room is used for a multitude of activities including teaching recording and mixing, conducting listening analysis measurements and advanced training programs.
“The first thing we teach our students is how to listen,” King said, “so we need the most transparent loudspeaker available that lets them hear the most accurate representation possible of the mix. Now that we have the JBL M2 we know that’s exactly what they’re hearing.”
The facility does a lot of work in virtual acoustics and studying reverberation characteristics. “As you can imagine, being able to hear the most minute sonic detail is critical,” King pointed out. “A monitor as accurate and revealing across the entire frequency spectrum as the M2 is invaluable for this kind of work.”
Massenburg is impressed with the M2’s dispersion and accurate tonal balance across a wider area than most studio monitors, and with the coherent sound quality and extended frequency response provided by its two-way design. Before deciding on the M2, Massenburg also auditioned the speaker at Jungle City Studios, one of New York’s finest professional recording facilities and a go-to destination for top urban music artists. “I heard the M2 playing back hip-hop at really, really high volume levels with tremendous deep bass and the speaker can clearly handle anything,” he said.
“We don’t want the loudspeaker to get in the way of the mixing process, and the M2 gets out of the way more than any other speaker we’ve heard,” King noted. “We want to hear the most transparent playback possible so our students can properly choose everything else in the recording chain, and be confident that they’re hearing a faithful representation of the effect of that equipment chain. The M2 lets us hear the most exacting sonic aspects of the production.”
Massenburg concluded, “If our students’ mixes don’t sound good, we know it’s not because of the speaker!”
The JBL M2 Master Reference Monitor is a 2-way powered large-format loudspeaker designed to set new standards for sonic accuracy and dynamic range in professional monitoring environments. It incorporates JBL’s latest technologies including the D2 dual-diaphragm, dual-voice-coil compression driver, a Differential Drive™ dual-voice-coil woofer and numerous additional refinements to deliver exceptional studio monitor performance. The M2’s patent-pending Image Control Waveguide facilitates an imperceptible transition between the two drivers, along with precise imaging and smooth frequency response on- and off-axis in both the horizontal and vertical planes.