Derik Lee Turns to JBL Studio Monitors to Create The Soundtrack for “Bring It On: The Musical”

Musician, composer and recording engineer Derik Lee recorded and mixed the music for “Bring It On: The Musical”

Derik Lee is a New York-based musician, composer and recording engineer who was invited to travel across the country to record and mix the score for “Bring It On: The Musical,” a new theatrical musical comedy which recently debuted at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. On location, Lee had to work in a number of acoustically less-than-ideal environments—including a dressing room, and relied on the accuracy of his JBL LSR4300 Series studio monitors as a sonic reference point.

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“I began recording and producing the music in my Brooklyn home studio, which of course I’m intimately familiar with, and which is based around JBL LSR4328 monitors,” noted Lee, who learned his craft working with renowned producer/ engineer Frank Filipetti. “Soon after, I had to move my setup to a room in Studio 54 in New York, which turned out to be fine.”

However, when composer Tom Kitt and orchestrator/arranger Alex Lacimore asked Lee to come to Los Angeles, Lee knew he was in for a challenge. “When I got to the room—which was normally used by the theater ushers—I took one look and thought, ‘I’m dead.’ I was in an area that was like a little box and didn’t see how it could possibly sound good. I set up my laptop, keyboard, and a pair of JBL LSR4328 monitors—and the sound was way too boomy. My heart sank…but that was before I turned on the RMC Room Mode Correction feature.”

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Using a supplied microphone and internal analyzer, the LSR4328’s RMC system measures and compensates for the misleading peaks in bass response caused by room modes and the speakers’ proximity to walls and work-surface boundaries.

“I turned on the RMC system and the clouds parted and the butterflies came out,” said Lee. “After a huge sigh of relief, I knew I could keep working. Having a reliable reference monitor is important for any project, but it was especially important for ‘Bring It On’ because of the nature of the music. It’s intensely synthesizer-driven and has a lot of sonic elements.”

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Just when Lee was getting a handle on the project, he had to relocate again—this time to an office. “If that wasn’t enough, after a while I had to move once more, to the conductor’s dressing room! The dressing room in particular had trouble written all over it,” Lee said. “But once I kicked in the LSR4328P RMC system, the low-frequency response I was getting was excellent. That and some judicious speaker positioning enabled me to get accurate mixes no matter where they stuck me.”

In addition to smooth bass response, Lee needed speakers that were accurate through the rest of the frequency range, and had resolution of musical detail that would let him know exactly what was being recorded. “I couldn’t have gotten through this project without the LSR’s,” Lee said. “I never had to use the RMC feature in so many places before and under conditions where we were constantly making revisions to the score right up until opening night. No matter what rooms they threw me in, I knew I could trust that my mixes would translate well in the theater.”

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