Okay, I should note at this juncture that I just discovered (and dispatched) a moth in my studio that was the size of a well-fed hummingbird. Now, that's not big for a bird, but for a moth, well, it's like fucking Mothra-sized. There is some mutant shit flying around these mountains, I'll tell you what. Anyways, I'm a little freaked out by this whole event, so whether that comes through in the following passages is up to you to decide. Caveat Emptor.
Anyways, I got home from Travels With The In-Laws (wherein sights are seen, wine is consumed, mountain roads are driven, et al) to find a nice big, heavy box on my stoop courtesy of UPS. And what do I find in this box buy a brand spankin' new pair of Avantone speakers. These created quite a buzz at Summer NAMM just past, and I was lucky enough to score one of the very first pairs on these shores, courtesy of my friends at Avant Electronics (yes, the same folks who bailed us out during the Great Chinese Microphone Caper.)
For those of you not in the know, the Avantone is a remake/update of the classic Auratone 5C speakers, found in most every studio the world over. The Auratone 5C, which _still_ commands $300 to $500 a pair used, is the world standard in shit speakers. From the late 70s to, well, today, you'd be hard pressed to walk in to a professional recording studio and not see at least one, if not a pair, of Auratones sitting next to the NS10Ms on the meter bridge of the SSL/API/Neve console.
"Now, Chris, that doesn't make any fucking sense," you say, with just cause. "Why would someone want shit monitors?" Well, Auratones (and the Avantone remake) are designed to answer two questions:
1: How will my mix sound on television, in a car or on a boombox (or, by extension, those shit iPod earbuds or the speakers in a laptop)?
2: How are my guitars and vocals balanced, and is the snare too loud?
The good ol' 5C does this (and only this) in admirable fashion, which is why most every studio has 'em, in addition to whatever they use for nearfields these days, even though they're not made any more.
Enter Avant. They designed and built a modern replacement for the Auratone 5C that clocks in at $169 the pair, and sounds, to my ears anyway, exactly the same. They are finished in a really nice cream-colored... uh... I don't know what it is. Substance? They're solid blocks of something or other. The picture doesn't do 'em justice. They aren't that panelling shit that Auratones were. Anyways, I plugged these little guys up, using what I think are exceptionally nice binding posts...
...and was instantly rewarded with that classic Auratone mid-range knock. These things hit the mark, and are absolute must-haves if you, like me, compose mainly for television. Now, will the Avantones be good as your only nearfield monitors? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But if you want to act like a real engineer and check your mix on more than one set of speakers before you send it to the pressing plant, something like this is a really good idea. I'm not trying to be an Avant Pimp or anything, and no one is ever excited about getting speakers that are singularly unpleasant to listen to, but these are one of the few products you can use and get a quantifiable improvement in the end result of your mix.
So, a STRONGLY recommended from me. Avant has mentioned to me that a group buy is a possibility, with strict limits, since they have experience with the AI userbase and our crazy group buy thing already. Is there any interest in such a thing 'round these parts? Since there's no unknown, it wouldn't be the complete pain-in-the-arse/cluster-fuck that the microphone thing turned out to be. Thoughts?