Gavin Lurssen began his career as a mastering engineer in the early 1990s, working for the late Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab, with recording engineer George Massenburg a regular client. Recently, he has made Genelec’s 8341A loudspeakers the centrepiece of a portable reference set-up used to do much of his preliminary work.

Gavin Lurssen ‘I was first exposed to the 1031A and 1030A monitors through Doug,’ he recalls. ‘I was particularly taken with the 1030As after hearing them in a mix room at what was then Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood, so Doug surprised me with my own pair, which I still own – I just had them re-coned and the amps rec-capped but kept the original bulletproof tweeters.

‘Like most mastering engineers, I own multiple sets of monitors, but the 1030As have been an important reference for me over the years, especially when it comes to a mobile environment,’ he continues. ‘There are various ways in which a close-field monitor can be useful to a mastering engineer. And one of the most useful things is to be able to go mobile while still being able to listen to and evaluate mixes and give feedback to clients with confidence.

‘The 8341As provide me with very, very accurate playback, even if I’m in a compromised environment. When you have something like 8341s, if you put them in the road case and take some computer gear with you, you can actually set up a pretty accurate listening environment.

‘I can also listen after the fact, and have access to any project I get access to, and this is very helpful at times when discussing projects with clients after they have received their reference materials or even masters.

‘lf my mastering partner Reuben is working on something and I need to give it a listen, I can listen in a remote environment and discuss what’s going on with the project. We frequently do joint projects where we rely on each other and the client will get both of us. There is another value too, when mixers work on smaller speakers there are often issues regarding the bass, and big discussions ensue. So if I take these near-fields into my studio environment and integrate them, I can listen to what the mixer is listening to and we can further the discussions. The great thing about this mobile setup is that you can save the settings of each environment so that once you strike the room it takes mere moments to setup and be listening.’

The accuracy of the 8341As comes from their high level of adaptability and optimisation for any room – a result of the advanced proprietary technologies that Genelec speakers are known for.

‘Through Genelec’s GLM software, these speakers have the capability to measure the room and adjust themselves. And then on top of that, you have the freedom to make further adjustments based on personal preferences, using reductive EQ to create the curve you are looking for. So through the use of GLM, these speakers allow me to match my workflow to any room, which lets me travel a lot, which is frankly important in the current music business.’

Lurssen sees mastering as the last line of defence against a sub-par recording: ‘A meticulous recording, production, and mixing process is optimal, but you can also get away with a lot in those early steps. You can skimp all along the way, and I think you can even mix in a compromised environment, but as long as there is great mastering, the end product will be a highly professional record. But again, accuracy is the name of the game – if I know exactly what I’m hearing, I’m able to contribute that step that puts the finishing professional touch on things. And tools like the 8341A are one of the tools that I rely on for that accuracy, and for the work to translate across any device. I would also say they help me work more efficiently, in confidence they inspire to the process, which is also borne out of the accuracy they provide.’

He also praises the 8341As for their ability to give him what he needs in long sessions without ear fatigue: ‘I emailed George Massenburg and asked, “Why is it that I can sit in front of these Genelecs all day and not get fatigued, when every other speaker that I listened to with DSP fatigues me?” He replied that there was much under the hood going on.

‘There’s something about how the Finnish engineers that develop these products are implementing the technology available to them that results in a speaker that I can really use in long sessions. I don’t lose my focus, and my ears don’t get tired. It’s a smooth and accurate sound, and it always tells the truth.’


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