Multiple GRAMMY®-nominated producer engineer Jeff Balding, known for his work with a wide array of music icons including Don Henley, Taylor Swift, Maren Morris and Megadeth, recently set up a pair of Genelec 8331 three-way Smart Active Monitors, to hear the latest introduction from the company as part of their new Ultimate Point Source monitoring series “The Ones.” Balding, who has been using Genelec’s 8351’s for the past year, was interested in hearing what the smaller 8331 could do, as he is considering his options when working in smaller spaces or on the road. Auditioning the 8331’s in his new dedicated workspace in his Franklin, Tennessee home, Balding quickly discovered how these speakers could provide him with extremely accurate monitoring like his 8351’s but with a smaller footprint.
“When creating my ideal home environment, I had this vision of a real clean room setup, that was comfortable, a little bit modern, but not sterile,” stated Balding. “I went to a setup of basically my speakers in front of me, a monitor, chair and a small laptop table that I can set my keyboard and mouse on – a very clean, open listening environment. To me, the whole concept is if you can’t hear what you need to do, then you can’t get there. It doesn’t matter if you’re using one plug-in on a laptop or you’ve got a whole array of outboard gear and the whole setup. If you can’t hear it, you can’t do it. So my whole focus was getting to the point where I feel like I’ve got a monitor setup where I can hear exactly what I’m doing. So monitoring is number-one to me. Once the monitoring is in place, then you can go deeper into plug-ins or outboard gear, but first and foremost it’s about the monitoring. So the concept with this room was to really set up an environment that I could hear in as well as possible, to get the detail I need to do the mixes that I want to do and what my clients ask of me.”
Balding continues, “As a Genelec 8351 user for the past year, I was extremely curious about the 8331’s, as they are the next logical choice for accurate monitoring in a smaller format. I got the 8331’s, tuned them to the room using Genelec AutoCal, and started mixing on them immediately. I just dove in and trusted them. The first thing I noticed was the detail in the high end, especially when I was listening to the low-level monitoring. While fine-tuning a mix, it really struck me: I could hear all the detail at a low level and hear the full spectrum of what I was working with, and most importantly, the mixes transferred accurately to whatever format I chose to listen on.”
Using the 8331’s, Balding has recently mixed three tracks for multi-award-winning artist Cole Swindell. Balding remarks, “Considering their small size and footprint, I was extremely surprised that they’re ‘beefy speakers’ that will definitely crank up and translate well at a low level as well as high level. The other thing I love about them is the size. The cool thing is if I want to go portable, and I travel quite a bit, so if I’m in L.A. or somewhere else, I can take my portable rig with the 8331’s. With the Genelec Loudspeaker Manager, I can tune them wherever I’m at and I know they’re going to be accurate. That’s huge, to be able to travel and be inspired, whether you’re mixing on the beach, in a hotel or my room here — they’re totally consistent.”
Part of the recently introduced Genelec “The Ones” Series of compact coaxial Active Monitors (which includes the award-winning 8351 three-way Smart Active Monitor and the new 8341 and 8331), the Genelec 8331 was developed in response to the need for increasing audio perfection for near-field recording and mix environments. Offering unique size and technological innovations, the 8331 breaks new ground in electro-acoustic engineering, as the mechanical, acoustical, and signal-processing designs are linked closely together. The result is a system that is completely unique in the professional monitoring industry and represents a bold step forward for the active monitoring pioneer.