U2 Producer and Lamb Founder Andy Barlow is Cooking with Genelec
Andy has owned and used Genelec monitors for more than 20 years, in a career that has combined critical and commercial success with Lamb alongside production and remix credits for works by artists such as David Gray, Elbow, Placebo and, most recently, U2. Andy Bensley of UK-based Genelec distributor Source Distribution set up the new 1238s in the Brighton studio. “It’s where I do pretty much all of my mixing, from U2 to David Gray and Lamb in just the past year,” explains Barlow.
Meanwhile, the 8331s were immediately packed for a three month winter sojourn in Goa, where their new owner will be preparing tracks with Lou Rhodes for the next Lamb album. Both the 1238 and 8331 benefit from Genelec’s SAM technology, which allows Andy to use GLM calibration software to optimise each monitor’s performance for his own personal acoustic environment.
Andy’s latest investment in Genelec monitoring comes on the back of several months co-producing U2’s new album Songs Of Experience, already a Number One hit in 20 countries. “We used the big 1238CF monitors in a makeshift studio inside the Canadian Embassy in Dublin,” he reveals. “It was opposite Bono’s house, in a huge room that needed all the acoustic help it could get. The 1238s and the use of GLM software were a huge bonus in that respect. The album was mostly made in places like that – mansions, hotels, venues. The only purpose-built studio we used was Rick Rubin’s place, the Shangri-La in Malibu, where I had a pair of 8050s. The band members really like Genelec too.” A smaller room in the Embassy featured Genelec 8351s, also from The Ones family. “This is where I preferred to mix because they sounded great in there,” commented Andy.
“The 1238s are absolutely amazing, I couldn’t imagine a better sounding monitor in this context,” says Andy. “They sounded great straight out of the boxes but then we ran the room through the GLM processing and they sounded 30% better again. We made a few further adjustments by ear, as opposed to the GLM microphone, and now they just light up the room in such a beautiful way. You can feel every frequency, and play them really loud yet still talk at a normal, relaxed level. The mix is wide and smooth and there’s not a hint of distortion. I’ve never heard anything like it.”
Of his new 8331s, he adds: “I’ve been putting them through their paces in my Goa studio these past couple of weeks, and I could honestly rave about them all day. The definition is second to none. The room is far from perfect with little in the way of acoustic treatment, but with GLM weaving its magic, the 8331s fill the room in an amazing way. Also, for such a small speaker with no sub, the bottom end is physics defying. The top end is refined and smooth, and the stereo sweet spot seems much bigger than any other speaker I’ve used. I’m going through all the tracks I’ve produced and finding new sounds and touches that I’ve not heard before.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, Andy finds a suitable culinary metaphor for his mouth-watering Genelec mixes. “You can almost reach out and touch, and taste, every layer of the sound,” he reflects, “especially with the Lamb material – lots of fine individual layers that make up the overall crunch, like a well-made filo pastry. The intention is similar: very intricate but, at the same time, quite simple.”
SAM (Smart Active Monitoring) technology has been developed and refined by Genelec for more than a decade to allow studio monitors to be networked, configured and calibrated for the user’s specific acoustic environment. Each SAM monitor or subwoofer is equipped with advanced internal DSP circuitry, which tightly integrates with the GLM (Genelec Loudspeaker Manager) software application, running on Mac or PC. GLM’s reference microphone kit allows the user’s acoustic environment to be analysed, after which GLM’s AutoCal feature optimises each SAM monitor for level, distance delay, subwoofer crossover phase and room response equalisation, with the option of further fine tuning by the user. By minimising the room’s influence on the sound, SAM monitors deliver an unrivalled reference, with excellent translation between rooms.
Since the founding of Genelec in 1978, professional audio monitoring has been at the core of the business. An unrivalled commitment to research and development has resulted in a number of industry firsts and established Genelec as the industry leader in active monitors. Almost 40 years later Genelec monitoring products remain true to the original philosophy, offering reliability, neutral sound reproduction regardless of size, as well as the ability to adapt to the acoustic conditions of the listening environment. Genelec customers receive paramount support in the field, from acoustical advice and calibration services to technical service and long product life span. Buying a Genelec product is a secure long-term investment in outstanding and reliable audio monitoring.