Keeping Up With A Jones: Part 6 – The PMC Heist

MusicTech’s senior editor has finally bought the first items in his studio build – Unity Audio Rock monitors – only for another monitor contender to arrive just after he parts with his cash…   “I quickly bundle them into the car that I just happen to have parked outside the office…” I’m building a studio […]

MusicTech’s senior editor has finally bought the first items in his studio build – Unity Audio Rock monitors – only for another monitor contender to arrive just after he parts with his cash…

 

“I quickly bundle them into the car that I just happen to have parked outside the office…”

I’m building a studio from scratch live, as it were, and reporting my progress (hopefully every week) on this blog. I have my first items installed, a lovely set of Unity Audio Rock MKII monitors, but as I part with my hard-earned cash, a set of PMC two.two6 monitors arrive in the office for review in MusicTech magazine. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m loving the Rocks. They look like big chunks of marble and are called ‘Rock’ ferchristsake – what’s not to like? But throughout this whole process the name PMC has cropped up from various people but, until now, I’ve not been able to get my hands on a set from their newly released twotwo range. But now they are sitting in front of me, in the MusicTech office, awaiting despatch to monitor expert Huw Price for him to review.

It’s early, 630am, no one is here. I’m looking at a set of monitors that, at £4200, are twice the retail of The Rocks. Well out of my league. But I wonder what they sound like,say, next to The Rocks I’ve just bought. If I quickly take them now, just for the weekend, no one will know… I could compare them to The Rocks, just to hear what they’re like. You know, just quickly. But at £4,200, I tell myself, they’re well out of my league, so I really shouldn’t

So, I quickly bundle them into the car that I just happen to have parked outside the office. It’s purely a coincidence as I normally bike it and not like I’d preplanned this daring operation. Oh no. I get them home, bike it back in to the office and I’m there before anyone else arrives. ‘Where are the PMCs?’ my boss asks when he arrives. ‘Damn,’ I think on my feet, ‘I’m running them in for Huw at home. You know, er, running them in…? For Huw.’

That weekend I set them up on my Jerker desk (more on that here). Comparing monitors at KMR Audio was easy (and more on that here). Not only did they have the space, they also had a motorised up and downy thing so you could match the level of your tweeters across your monitor sets. I’ve not quite got that kind of facility at home. I set the PMCs up on their sides and The Rocks up between them. Rather than switching between the two with glorious buttons marked A and B, I have to get two CD players set up to play the same music through each and just fade one to another…

 



After a lot of faffing – and I mean faffing – it’s still not ideal. The Rocks, being in between, are at a clear disadvantage in terms of their footprint and sweet spot. Both sound incredible and I get that hair thing again (see here for more on that). But comparing them directly is not happening as they are not spread enough because of the space I have…

I consider placing the left and right Rocks on top of the respective PMCs on each of the jerker’s wings so I at least have the same stereo imagery. But that means putting £3300 worth of speakers on each wing of a desk that was designed with computer printers and fax machines in mind, not heavy duty studio monitors, and definitely not two of them. So I obviously don’t even attempt that one. Not at all. Who’d be so stupid…?

After more swapping about (The Rocks get the wings, the PMCs go inside and upright) I eventually get to some kind of conclusion: I shouldn’t be trying to compare monitors at home. The Rocks definitely punch above their weight price wise and the PMCs are incredible. I consider buying both but it’s out of the question for two reasons. Firstly that would be most of my budget blown just on the monitors so no more blogging until I’ve saved up enough money to buy something to play through them.

Secondly what would I tell my wife? I imagine the conversation. Me: “well all the best studios have two sets of monitors. You go in Abbey Road studios, they have lots of different monitors…” Her, eyes rolling in that way she does: “this isn’t Abbey Road, it’s our spare room.”

So it’s off to Wales the PMC have to go to Huw, and you can read what he thinks about them in MusicTech soon. But now it’s time for me to get something that makes some noise and just in time, the very item shows up…

Next week: an unexpected addition to my studio. Hint: you can see it in the picture…

Read the earlier entries of Andy Jones’ blog
Part 1, Part 2Part 3, Part 4, Part 5