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Oberlin College Installs PMC Reference Monitors

Paul Eachus, Oberlin Conservatory of Music’s Director of Audio Services, is pictured in the conservatory’s recently completed control room with the new MB2S cabinets and Parasound amplifiers

The Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio, has installed PMC MB2S-XBD reference monitors in the control room of its Joseph R. Clonick recording studio, which has surround-sound speakers. The studio is housed in the conservatory’s new Bertram and Judith Kohl Building.

“We selected a pair of MB2S-XBD cabinets for left and right channels, plus an MB2S-C for the center,” explains Oberlin’s Director of Audio Services, Paul Eachus. “We went for PMC because our MB2S system offers a very large soundstage in terms of both width as well as height—the image extends far beyond the system’s physical dimensions, which means that our students can work throughout the room on tracking and mixing sessions and not lose that essential sweet spot. MB2S offers lifelike reproduction, just as if the band was right there in the room with you. The PMC system is a major contribution to our new facility.”

The three up-front PMC monitor loudspeakers are augmented for surround-sound projects with a pair of PMC IB2S reference monitors located in the rear of the control room on 34-inch stands. Parasound amplifiers power all PMC reference systems: three JC 1 single-channel units for left, center and right, plus a single 2-channel A21 unit for the surrounds.

The MB2S-XBD is a development of the successful MB2S, with increased dynamics and LF performance. According to Maurice Patist, PMC’s Strategic Sales Manager, Specialist Systems Group: “The addition of the XBD cabinet containing a second precision 12-inch Radial driver increases the LF headroom by 3 dB below 380 Hz, which allows a larger room to be driven to greater effect. The MB2S XBD is featured in many quality-conscious films scoring, music recording and mastering facilities.”

Oberlin College’s new performance area measures 55×38 feet and has 30-foot ceilings. It features an isolation booth connected to the control room. Acoustical consultant Dana Kirkegaard designed the new space; project designer Jonathan Kurtz of Westlake Reed Leskosky, a Cleveland-based architectural and engineering firm, integrated the new space into the Kohl Building.

“We needed a studio large enough to accommodate jazz and classical recordings, as well as performances, including rehearsals with the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble,” Eachus says. Recent events at the college included a grand opening celebration weekend in early May with Bill Cosby and Stevie Wonder, both of whom received honorary doctorates from Oberlin, together with performances by the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble, with Stevie Wonder as special guest.

“I first heard these new MB2S systems at the AES convention in New York a few years ago, and was very impressed,” Eachus says. “[PMC’s] Maurice Patist set up critical listening sessions in Los Angeles to audition the PMCs. I was totally convinced. The sound quality and detail is outstanding and extremely accurate through the entire frequency spectrum. And the correspondence between the front and rear soundstage is seamless—the IB2Ss are a perfect match for the surrounds. I want a pair of IB2S reference monitors for my living room!”

For more information, visit PMC-USA at and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.