JBL MSC1 by council
So you've worked on your latest mix for hours. Finally you feel you have it nailed. So you burn a cd, take it to your car to listen to it on the way to the liquor store to pick up that celebratory bottle of bubbly, and you are shocked to hear your mix sounds too bassy. Perhaps it isn't your mixing skills, it is your room. Enter the JBL MSC1 Monitor control System. The unit features multiple analog inputs, outputs for three sets of monitors, and a big sexy volume knob. This is all well and good, but I bought this unit for the RMC Room Correction function. Here's what I learned.
The unit is of solid build except for the included cal.ibration mic, which seemed kinda cheap and flimsy. Inital setup is no problem. Simply place the unit between your audio output and your monitors. Any monitors will do. So far so good.
After instillation of the RMC software on my XP 3.0 dual core, things got a bit tricky. The software guided me through a series of loopback tests in order to calibrate my audio hardware. This was a bit tricky as my sstem is quite different than the one the software referenced. After a while, though, I passed the calibration tests. Time to sonically measure my room.
I placed the calibration mic at my usual listening position and started the process. The MSC1 emitted a series of test tones, and then told me to turn up the volume. Eventually I had to crank up the volume to some rather alarming levels before the software could get a good read. Upon completion of the process I was able to examine the results. I had a pretty big bump around 125 hz, a bit of a dip around 4k., and my left speaker was a little lower in amplitude. The software then applied the appropriate 'fixes' and I was ready to mix. Instantly I noticed a better defined stereo field, and after ABing a mix on my car system my bass problem seemed to be better. My mixes overall seemed to translate better on multiple systems. Woo Hoo!
All is good with the world, right? Not so much. After a few months, I went to my studio, fired everything up and had no audio! The MSC1 had died, refusing to pass any signal at all. It is currently sitting at a JBL repair center somewhere, and I have had no contact with them since I shipped it off over a month ago.
Does room correction work? It helps. But it is no replacement for a good treated room. Does the MSC1 work? Mine did, for a minute, anyway...