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Focusrite VRM box
4.2 4.2 out of 5, based on 10 Reviews

Focusrite VRM (Virtual Reference Monitoring) is aimed at users who want to test sounds and mixes on different monitors and in different listening environments,.. without the extra expense and legwork.


31st December 2011

Focusrite VRM Box by matsh

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Focusrite VRM box

This is what I have been looking for for a while; a way to easily check what my mix sounds like in different environments, and on different monitors,... all whilst using headphones.

It's early days yet - I am still finding my way with this, but already I have seen a benefit.

The amazing thing was that when I first powered it up, connected the SPDIF, and plugged in my HD650s,... I recognised the surprising sound of my mixes elsewhere, which had previously been a nasty surprise too late.

i.e. the VRM box showed me straight away what my mixes sounded like on speakers in a room somewhere else,.. before I made the master and embarassed myself. That's the idea, I know, but I was still immediately impressed.

I am starting now to get my drum sounds up using the VRM, and testing the kits in a few scenarios to test the sounds EARLY.

PROs:
Wow - it really works, and is easy and QUICK to spin up.
You will immediately recognise some issues you had faced previously,... so you know it is working!
Changing between rooms and monitors is quick, and you can really hear the difference.
You can check your sounds in all these environment/monitor combinations early in the process - and save on heartache later.

CONs:
When using PT9 for a session and using VRM at the same time I am getting some memory problems,.. but this is because I was already at the limit of my system - not a VRM issue. If you nearly need more memory this will push you over the edge.
Could do with some emulations of other common "end use cases" like "in a car" or "tiled kitchen",... (this is getting fussy though, I know to really test your sounds and mixes.

Summary:
I will be using this a lot more in the future. Hopefully focusrite will add on some more room/scenario emulations soon. Great product.

21st January 2012

Focusrite VRM Box by Nick_Dawes

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Focusrite VRM box

A great new innovation in the world of headphone mixing has been the introduction of “virtual reference monitoring” by Focusrite. Better known as the VRM box, this little jewel promised and for the most part delivered the ability to monitor on different speakers in different environments at the click of a mouse.

There are 3 different environments in which you can listen to your mixes, the studio, the bedroom and the living room. Within these rooms there are a number of different speakers that you can choose. In the studio for instance you can check your mix on a pair of NS10’s, Auratones and a nice pair of Adam’s. Usefully, Focusrite have also included many instances of ‘real world’ speaker set ups like an LCD TV and Lo-Fi Computer speakers.

The algorithm used to create this illusion isn’t of course absolutely perfect but it’s as close as you can get at the moment and is certainly a secret weapon for the mix engineer wanting a quick way of checking on your mix on multiple systems. A mix may sound great on one set and not so on another, and it’s the mix engineers job to bridge that gap so as to have the music represented well on whichever system it finds itself coming out of. For this the VRM truly excels!

Nick Dawes

www.mixing-mastering-online.com

13th March 2012

Focusrite VRM Box by cjpulsifer

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Focusrite VRM box

I've been using the VRM Box for about six months now. I'm finding it very useful for a couple of reasons, so if any of these apply to you, you should consider getting the device:

1. I'm living in a basement suite right now. Because I don't want to upset the landlords, I don't have the luxury of being able to do any production/mixing late at night (which is often when I'm feeling awake and productive).
2. I'm on a tight budget. I'm literally eating less food these days so that I can afford my first set of decent monitors, but until that day comes I'll still be working on my headphones. For $100, the VRM Box lets me check my mixes on a number of speaker models, which saves me some time that would normally be spent trying a mix on different sound systems at friends' houses, etc. I still do check my mixes on a few different systems, but thanks to the VRM Box, I catch a LOT of errors before actually exporting my tracks and making my rounds.

PROS:
1. Lets you keep things quiet.
2. Very affordable, for what it offers!
3. Small device footprint makes it easily portable.
4. The quality of the speaker emulations is actually quite good, from what I can tell.
5. Lets you listen to higher quality audio (useful if you don't have another decent audio interface).
6. You don't need room treatment to use this! Which means you can be checking a mix anywhere. If you have headphones that block a lot of sound, you can even use it somewhere with noise or where there are other people if you really need to.

CONS:
1. The device itself is mandatory for program operation. When I'm recording on my small interface and have my headphones plugged into that, I'd really love to be able to activate the VRM software without needing to unplug/replug my headphones and change my audio driver, but I can't.

I think that even after I get a set of good monitors, the VRM Box will come in handy for quickly checking how a mix MIGHT sound through a large variety of different speakers. I don't have enough experience to know how accurately the Box recreates the sound of the speakers Focusrite is trying to model, but the point is that each preset has different sonic character and you can totally use it to hear your mix from different perspectives. I'd say that this is a great buy for anyone who doesn't have the space or money to stock their studio with multiple sets of real monitors (or if you can't afford to TREAT your room).

22nd March 2012

Focusrite VRM Box by orangeoctane

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Focusrite VRM box

Burn a CD. Take it to the car, to the living room, to the Best Buy a few blocks away, then to the neighbor's house across the street. We've all been there. We want to check and see how our mixes fair on another set of speakers other than the ones we just mixed a project on. With Focusrite's VRM, that task has just become a little bit easier.

The VRM is a small box with a large volume knob on the top, 1/4" headphone jack on the front, and both a USB and S/PDIF connection on the back. It utilizes a psychoacoustic ‘virtual speaker’ algorithm to present 15 different "industry standard" virtual monitors in 3 different virtual spaces.

Of course there is no substitute for mixing on a great set of monitors in a well-tuned acoustic environment but for many smaller studios, this simply isn't an option. In this case, the VRM becomes a very handy tool to help you analyze your mixes on different sets of virtual monitors in virtual acoustic spaces to gain an additional perspective that can help you spot and isolate problems that you might have missed using your real-life monitors.

This device is somewhat of a one-trick-pony but what it does, it does pretty darn well. The dynamic range of the device comes in at 108dBA which is often better than a stock laptop headphone jack.

Affordable and easy to use, the VRM is a great bang for the buck!

25th March 2012

Focusrite VRM Box by Niallerrity

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Focusrite VRM box

This is a great idea, but there's a few things that really let it down.

As a sound card it's great, better than using your computers sound card but as for the ability to reproduce studio quality speaks it's not quite up to scratch.

Cons:
I've had this for a few months now and actually ended up finding it more of a hindrance than an advantage for mixing songs, I know my headphones quite well at this stage and consider them a fairly flat set but a little lacking in the low end. When I used the VRM Box I found (mainly in the low end) it was either greatly exaggerated or lacking. I think this could partly be because there is no consideration for the headphones you are using with the box and it's the only thing that bugs me about it.

Pros:
On the plus side it's a good sound card and better than using your computers built-in sound.
It actually manages to close the stereo image of a mix. Something that's a bring problem with headphones is because you physically have a separate speaker at each ear the image is naturally much wider and thus doesn't give a natural representation of what is actually happening with the width.

Who should buy?
If you travel a lot or need the ability to mix without monitors this is a good solution but don't rely on it for all the answers.

31st January 2013

Focusrite VRM Box by Lymmusic

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Focusrite VRM box

Been using this product with hd650s for some time now.

Pros

Small footprint
Buss powered
Excellent sound quality
Easy to use software

Cons

Needs headroom (explained below)
No physical bypass switch
Software could be supplied standalone

Details

In use, the vrm box clearly has an effect on audio output to headphones, the various speaker and room simulations are varied. The software colours the sound in a number of ways, but not merely through eq and reverb. It comes across as a variation on impulse reverb technology. The result is a headphone sound vastly different, particularly with regard stereo width. Headphones always give a very artificial stereo image and as a result mixing or mastering with headphones is not amazingly practical.

In situations where low volume is needed you can carry on mixing or premastering using a vrm simulation without worrying about over or under mixing stereo imaging. Bypassing the vrm box after using for a while really brings home the unusual stereo seperation inherent in normal headphone use.

The variety in vrm simulations is welcome, but some are obviously not ddestined for longterm listening, the pc speaker simulation in a bedroom does highlight if your bass is too low frequency for some systems, and can highlight a bad mix. Might be perfect for a club but anyone previewing your track on itunes through tv or pc speakers might miss the entire bassline for example.

Volume is an issue, and those who like to listen with the phones cranked might be frustrated. The headroom needed for the vrm effect is quite high. The software offers a 6db and 9db cut, and if you like to push average rms up there with amon tobin or venetian snares then you'll be reaching for the 9db cut, or get artifacts and distortion.

For (pre)mastering i find it useful to choose a vrm model that sounds "right" while listening to some of your favourite music for ten to twenty minutes and settling on one (i find the british studio monitor simulation to be good, if a little bassy or the yamaha ns10, which are bright).

Then you can work on your mixes with trained ears, and once happy, check on a few other settings just to check for any obvious imbalances, or rogue frequencies - but remember, don't go fixing a single booming bass note or such if it only shows up on one of the simulations as it may be that rooms resonant frequency.

For the most part you will check each simulation for general consistency, but occasionally you'll come across a whacking great error, and its here where you'll really love the vrm box.

No-one likes to take a mix round to a friends house only to find that it sounds like a chimp belching into a drainpipe on their sound system, despite it sounding great elsewhere. The vrm box really helps eliminate the possibility of this happening.

Until my monitoring situation changes i will be using the vrm box in this way, particularly in low volume situations. A good buy.

11th November 2013

Focusrite VRM Box by BryanK

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Focusrite VRM box

Ever been in that situation, you listen to a track and you’re fascinated by the superb production. You feel inspired, full of fresh energy, you just learned a new mixing technique and you can’t wait to get to your desk to fire up your monitors. Bam this track is gonna skyrocket your street cred! Every producer is going to beg you to mix their tracks. But…it’s 2am. And since you’re a friendly guy that respects his neighbors, you go back to bed and watch an episode of Seinfeld…with your Headphones!

Headphones…if only headphones could get you decent mixes.

Focusrite has taken care of this widely known issue and released a system called Virtual Room Monitoring Box or in short – the VRM BOX. A small usb powered unit (2? x 2?) that not only promises to provide you with accurate simulations of well known studio monitors, no, you can also listen to your mix in 3 different rooms (Studio, HomeStudio and Living Room) to check if it will still sound good. And all that using your headphones for a price of around 100$ new. Big expectations on a small budget!

What does it deliver?

I’m fairly new to mixing. I always tried to mix with headphones (AKG K271) and continuously faced two main issues. Low end and depth. What sounded good on my headphones sounded boomy on the home stereo. What worked for the home stereo, didn’t work in the car. No need to tell you that this isn’t only annoying but also really frustrating.

The first thing that you will notice when you turn on the Box is that you definitely get a more 3D sounding impression. Everything has more room, the sound isn’t that flat. The high end gets a bit cut. All in all it’s a more realistic image of your mix than without the VRM box.
For the studio setup you get to choose between:

Auratone 5c
Adam S2.5A
Genelec 1031A
KRK RP6
KRK VXT8
YAMAHA NS-10
ROGERS LS3/5a
Stirling LS3/5a
Alesis Monitor One
Quested s8r

In the Homestudio and Living Room setup you also get to hear your song through more common units such as desktop speakers, flat screen TVs or Hifi speakers. Basically you’ll hear a sound that’s not as tight as in the Studio setup and has added reverb.
Personally I mostly use the Studio with Genelec, Adam and the KRK cause I like their sound most. The Yamaha sound kinda harsh to me and the monitors with smaller speakers such a the Auratone sound flat and lack low end.

So..did I get results??

The answer is: Yes I did. Compared to my old mixes, my new mixes are a lot cleaner and defined. I’m still not where I want them to be (keep in mind I’m still a student) but compared to the mixes I did without the VRM they definitely improved. I’m still figuring out how to deal with the low end, but rather than having too much of it, I feel that my mixes need more of it. (Just a thought – Considering that, as mentioned earlier, the Stirling Model exactly shows this lack of the lower frequencies, I probably should use them more to manage this)

How close do they sound compared to their bigger brothers?

I can’t comment how close these models sound compared to the original cause I haven’t heard the originals. Question is, does it matter how close they sound? To me – no.
In my opinion it’s more important that the VRM Box can help you create better mixes than how close it really gets to a Genelec. If your mix sounds great – why care about how accurate the modeling is?

Would I recommend this unit?

Definitely yes! Specially if you’re a starter this is a great tool. No need to worry about the room, your budget or the neighbor. It might even help you to decide which Monitor to buy.
But also for experienced mixers this little box makes sense. You can do rough mixes on your laptop at home and refine them once you’re in the studio. I am also positive that an experienced user can get great results right “out of the box.”

4th August 2014

Focusrite VRM Box by tablatom

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Focusrite VRM box

I bought the VRM just after the i bought a Focusrite Saffire pro40.

Its been a week now and it is A GAME CHANGER for me.

I produce about 5 to 7 CD's per year from my home studio.

The monitors i use are a pair of KRK rockit 6 mkI.

My headphones are Beyer dynamic DT770's.

I know my "end-result" mixes are ok and my clients are happy with the results i get.

Finishing off a CD for someone has always been a challenge for me, getting the mixes sounding ok the KRK's, Roberts digital radio in the kitchen, my car stereo and several pairs of headphones.
I get there in the end, but it takes quite a bit of time.

SO,

the VRM makes this job SO EASY.

Last night i used the VRM's KRK ROKIT6 G2 "bedroom" option and made a mix of a song i am working on.
After 10 minutes i took my headphones and turned on the real KRK ROKIT6's
(not G2's, but maybe there isn't that much difference between the G1'a and G2's) and i was pleased to hear not that much difference from my head phones and monitors.
Quite incredible.

The VRM simulations are so real at first i had to take off my headphones while working late at night in my house just to check my monitors weren't on!!

Personally i am genuinely excited about my future work as a small time self employed producer because of the VRM.

For us guys on a budget i think the VRM is a very important bit of kit.

Well done Focusrite

15th February 2015

Focusrite VRM Box by tamiya

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Focusrite VRM box

bought it a couple years back but couldn't get used to it. / didn't like the sound when monitoring.

just recently hooked it up again because of mixing despair / bad current room.
wish i gave it some more time earlier because it can really make mixing decisions a lot easier. though i wish the reverb / delay could be turned down or off / still don't like the way it sounds it really does help a lot with spotting / correcting the bad stuff when mixing.

31st March 2015

Focusrite VRM Box by amajorguy

  • Sound Quality 2 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 1 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 1 out of 5
  • Overall: 2.25
Focusrite VRM box

After auditioning this VRM box I had to think "how the hell can anyone think this sounds like anything even close to real?" Did the Fostex design engineers actually listen to this thing?

The simulated delay / room effect sounds awful and unlike any control room I've ever been in.

Too bad, I really needed a product that does what this is purported to do.
What in the wide world of Hi Fi is going on if people think this sounds good?

Mind you, I am using a pair of Focal Spirit Headphones which are very good non hyped headphones. It's not my headphones.

The only setting it sounds good on is "bypass"
My review - "crap". I'm sending it back. Save your money.

 

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