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Possible explanation for polarised opinions on Barefoot MM26 Studio Monitors
Old 18th June 2017
  #1
Gear Head
 

Possible explanation for polarised opinions on Barefoot MM26

Having noticed the polarised opinions about the Barefoot MM26 ("thin and honky"!!!!), I wonder if my experiences with the MM12 might offer a possible explanation for such a divergence of opinion.

When I first took delivery of the MM12's over three years ago, I set them up with the MEME set to "flat" but found they sounded kind of odd: superb in part but weird (perhaps even "thin and honky"!) at the same time. And the bass was a lot more lightweight than I'd been expecting. Upon further investigation this wasn't surprising: the subwoofers on one of the monitors didn't appear to be working at all! I tried a number of bass-heavy recordings to try to pinpoint the anomaly but that sub adamantly refused to budge. When I contacted the dealer he relayed the problem to Barefoot who were astonished at the situation. The monitors had been tested multiple times before shipping; the only thing they could suggest was that possibly a wire had come loose but this was extremely unlikely. While wondering what to do next (the prospect of repacking the monitors and sending them 2000 miles back to the dealer was extremely depressing), I came across the following in the MM12 manual regarding the MEME:

"Caveat: Plugging the speaker into different mains outlets can potentially cause erratic behaviour in the voice control. The safety grounds of different outlets can sometimes have ground potential differences of a few volts or more. The resulting voltage spread between the grounded chassis of various speakers can cause the Voice control inputs to read incorrect settings or become unstable".

Well, I'll be damned! The monitors WERE plugged into different outlets! Maybe THIS was the source of the problem! With trembling fingers I unplugged the MEME, put on a bassy recording, and stuck my ear next to the recalcitrant sub.

POW! The sub was suddenly working - and HOW! The bass I'd been expecting was now there in all its glory and the overall sound was dramatically improved. My assumption was that the MEME had been selecting the "flat" setting for one of the monitors but the NS10 simulation for the other. Which is why the sub didn't seem to be working: the NS10 setting with its attenuated bass wouldn't be using the subs. I subsequently listened without MEME for the next six months without the slightest problem. Then I decided to give the MEME another go and this time - with both monitors plugged into the same mains outlet - it worked beautifully.

However, I have since had the same problem happen once again - this time with the monitors plugged into the same mains outlet so I'm not quite sure what caused this. Every other time the MEME seems to have functioned correctly but the only way I can be absolutely sure of getting the "flat" setting right is to disconnect it.

I'd recommend that the MEME be disconnected unless required. If you use Barefoot monitors flat most of the time why take the risk that the sonic output is tainted by incorrect MEME settings. And if you need to use it it's a minor task to simply connect it: you probably don't even need to switch of the power to do so but check with Barefoot to find out if it's safe to do so.
Old 7th September 2017
  #2
Yeah I noticed the MEME speaker box Knob actually is not stepped or switched and can actually get stuck or stick in between meme settings. This does sound weird... On my meme box that came with my FootPrints I have to make sure the line meets the MEME choice. Then I double check to make sure it's " selected " .. on my box when turning the knob it kinda clicks in halfway instead as of a switch or step where it can't go in between and locks in..

FootPrints sound great in my smaller heavily treated room. Not bright to me at all. If the song is bright they will show you. Californication was almost unlistenable by RHCP, as well other hyper compressed, super bright songs lol.
Old 10th September 2017
  #3
Gear Head
 

Yes, the MEME switchbox could have better demarcated settings; it can easily slide from one setting to the next without you knowing. There is also the potential problem with mixed MEME settings between the two monitors that I referred to in my original post. I'd advise disconnecting the box if you're using them flat and only connecting it if you need the different voice settings.

Judging by your comments on the Footprints - which I haven't heard - it sounds like they have a broadly similar balance to the much larger MM12. It too doesn't sound at all bright - until you play a bright recording through them. I find the difference between recordings is far more apparent through the MM12 than through anything else I've tried. It's as though you're entering a different sonic universe with each recording. The "flavour" of the different recordings is really obvious.
Old 5th January 2018
  #4
Gear Head
 

More on the ongoing saga.....today I switched my MM12's on and set the MEME to "HIFI" but was puzzled by the feeble bass-light sound I was hearing, and this from a recording I knew was anything but feeble and bass-light. I immediately switched the MEME back to the "FLAT" setting and was greeted by glorious sound with as much bass power and weight as I could wish for. After listening this way for an hour or so I switched it back to "HIFI" to see if my original experience had been an anomaly. No such luck; I was back with the feeble, bass-light sound.

A couple of observations: I'd assumed from past experience that (1) the MEME could only be "off" by a single position, not at least two, as in this case; and (2) that it could be off in only one of the monitors, not both. If you know the MEME it moves from HIFI at the top, then downward to FLAT, OLD SCHOOL (NS10 simulation), and finally CUBE (Auratone simulation). So in this case what was coming through the HIFI setting was either OLD SCHOOL or CUBE. This is the first time this has ever happened.

So beware of using MEME with your Barefoots; you may not be getting quite what you think! My advice: if you generally use them Flat, disconnect the MEME, and only use it when you want to monitor through one of the non-Flat settings.

Last edited by John Galt; 5th January 2018 at 06:15 AM.. Reason: redundancy
Old 5th January 2018
  #5
Lives for gear
 
dbjp's Avatar
 

I think you should just get a replacement MEME controller.
It’s pretty damned obvious yours has been broken from the start.
Old 6th January 2018
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbjp View Post
I think you should just get a replacement MEME controller.
It’s pretty damned obvious yours has been broken from the start.
Well, it works fine 90% of the time. What you're overlooking is that Barefoot, in their MM12 manual, advise about the possibility of this happening - so it isn't just me. I'm just trying to warn Barefoot users that they may be judging the monitors unfairly if the MEME settings are unstable.

Last edited by John Galt; 6th January 2018 at 05:26 AM.. Reason: misspelling
Old 6th January 2018
  #7
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dbjp's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
Well, it works fine 90% of the time. What you're overlooking is that Barefoot, in their MM12 manual, advise about the possibility of this happening - so it isn't just me. I'm just trying to warn Barefoot users that they may be judging the monitors unfairly if the MEME settings are unstable.
Thought you said the manual stated it was a possible issue only when it’s plugged into different outlets?
Honestly, you must have Buddha like patience if you’ve already accepted that a key feature of monitors as expensive as yours is okay if it fails 10% of the time.
Old 6th January 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
 
dbjp's Avatar
 

Id definitely try and get a replacement sent over to test if I were you.
Old 6th January 2018
  #9
Lives for gear
 

I had an issue with the really cheap 3.5mm cable provided for the MEME controller...I had a similar thing happen until I replaced them with better ones.
Old 7th January 2018
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbjp View Post
Thought you said the manual stated it was a possible issue only when it’s plugged into different outlets?
Honestly, you must have Buddha like patience if you’ve already accepted that a key feature of monitors as expensive as yours is okay if it fails 10% of the time.
To be accurate, in four years it's happened about three times to my knowledge and as I rarely use the MEME (the flat setting sounds just perfect to me) I haven't bothered to replace it; I don't think it's a hardware problem, anyway. My monitors are powered on the same powerbank but obviously there's an occasional mismatch between the safety grounds.
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