Hip-hop founding father and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Grandmaster Flash is recording his upcoming full-length album, “The Bridge,” with a new JBL Professional LSR4300 Series studio monitor system. Revolutionizing modern music by helping to create arguably the most popular genre of the past 30 years, Grandmaster Flash remains on the cutting edge of technology, recently installing a state-of-the-art recording studio that includes a pair of JBL LSR4326, bi-amplified 6-inch studio monitors, a pair of LSR4328, 8-inch studio monitors, and companion LSR4312SP subwoofer. In addition to “The Bridge,” Grandmaster Flash also uses the LSR4300 Series studio monitors to mix his syndicated Sirius Radio show, “The Flash Mash.”
Grandmaster Flash is recognized as the first DJ to use a turntable as an instrument, preceding the late-1970s emergence of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, one of the first groups to feature rapping over beats. These innovations placed Grandmaster Flash at the epicenter of hip-hop, and in 2007 Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five became the first hip-hop act to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Prior to beginning production on “The Bridge,” Grandmaster Flash learned about the JBL LSR4300 Series studio monitors. “A friend of mine brought me to Guitar Center and told me to check out these speakers,” Flash recalled. “I played a Dr. Dre song that I really love, and I couldn‘t believe what I heard. The vocal was right up front, the bass line was at my feet, the trumpets were right at my chest. I played a couple of songs that I mixed on other speakers, and I have to admit that when I listened to them on the LSR‘s, I was slightly pissed off because I was hearing things I never heard before! The LSR monitors will show you exactly where things are in the mix. They tell you the whole story.”
Grandmaster Flash most often uses his pair of LSR4326P, 6-inch monitors with the LSR4312SP sub, although he will sometimes use a setup with two additional LSR4328P 8-inch monitors for added output. (Or as he puts it, “When I want my head ripped off!”) Regardless of the setup, he consistently uses JBL‘s RMC™ Room Mode Correction software to correct any acoustical problems that may exist in the room. “I use the RMC feature, because my studio is shaped a little strangely, so when I‘m using the RMC I know I‘m getting the right sound. I used to spend tons of money having the room acoustically tested and treated every six months. Now I can correct the same problems with this software.”
While his eclectic and inquisitive approach to technology is at the core of his success, Flash has very specific criteria when it comes to studio monitors. “To create a great composition, you have to listen to the nuances, the tiny details,” he said. “It‘s not always about what‘s playing at that second, it‘s also about what hasn‘t been played yet. It‘s those spaces in between the notes. To trust the mix, I need monitors that are reliable enough so I can hear each minute detail, because everything has its place.”
While maintaining a steady schedule of live performances, Grandmaster Flash plans to have “The Bridge” ready for release later this year. “I‘m in the musical stages at the moment and haven‘t decided which vocalists I‘ll be working with yet, but I‘m having a lot of fun taking all these ideas I‘ve had on my voice recorder for the past 10 years and putting them together,” Flash said.
An artist that relies on spur-of-the-moment creativity, Grandmaster Flash has found himself pulling all-nighters in his studio since installing the LSR system–a difficulty in the past because of inevitable listener fatigue. “When I‘m using the 6-inch models, I can stay in the studio forever,” Flash said. “The other night, I started working in my studio around 9 p.m. and didn‘t get tired until I came out of the studio at 7 the next morning. My ears just don‘t fatigue with these speakers.”
Grandmaster Flash‘s memoirs, “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash–My Life, My Beats,” penned by David Ritz, is scheduled for release June 10, 2008. Please visit www.grandmasterflash.com for more information.