KINDERHOOK, NEW YORK – APRIL 2009: John Holbrook commands a deep respect from his peers for engineering many of the world’s most vibrant rock ‘n roll albums. His career started in the seminal 1960s, where, as a disc-cutting engineer for IBC studios, he worked on masters for The Who’s “Tommy” and Jimi Hendrix’ “Electric Ladyland,” among many others. He has worked for analog synth manufacturer EMS, designed several well-regarded recording rooms in New York, and maintains an active freelance engineering schedule. His work has earned him five Grammy Awards and innumerable gold and platinum albums for work with such acts as Natalie Merchant, Elton John, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, B.B. King, and The Isley Brothers. He recently upgraded the monitors in his personal studio to a pair of Klein + Hummel O 300Ds.
In the late 1970s, Holbrook came upon a pair of Chartwell bookshelf, two-way monitors that were built to BBC specifications. He relied on them for nearly three decades, but with age and the industry’s subtly shifting expectations of deeper lows and higher highs, his confidence in them began to wane.
In searching for a replacement, Holbrook read reviews of all the leading high-end monitor brands. “The reviews of Klein + Hummel, including posts to gearslutz.com, contained a lot of positive words,” he commented. “My room is fairly small by most standards, so I needed speakers that wouldn’t overwhelm the space. Moreover, I wanted something that would give me an accurate picture of the low-end without having to rely on subwoofers. On paper at least, the Klein + Hummel O 300Ds seemed to fit the bill.”
The Klein + Hummel O 300D is a modestly-sized active monitor with eight-inch, three-inch, and one-inch drivers. Its frequency response is flat from 35Hz to 24kHz, in keeping with modern expectations and as one of the few three-way monitors on the market, delivering a precise midrange for discerning ears.
Holbrook brought a pair home to audition for a week. “They sounded fantastic,” he enthused, “but I called my engineering friends over to make sure I wasn’t crazy. Across the board, everyone who sat down said, without prompting, ‘I could listen to these all day!’ That, of course, is hugely important.” He purchased the pair without hesitation, and the Chartwells finally took a well-deserved rest.
After mixing several projects, Holbrook has a handle on the qualities that set his Klein + Hummels apart. “Midrange is incredibly important,” he explains, “and these seem to translate very well. They help me place a vocal in the mix with greater confidence. At the same time the low-end on the O 300Ds is really smooth and extended. It’s been a refreshing change!”
ABOUT KLEIN + HUMMEL Klein + Hummel is a Sennheiser Group company. For over 60 years, Klein + Hummel is revered in the professional audio industry for its advances in sound reinforcement combined with unparalleled quality and innovative solutions. Klein + Hummel products are distributed exclusively in the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean by Sennheiser Electronic Corporation, located in Old Lyme, Connecticut.
The Sennheiser Group is also proudly affiliated with Neumann (Technical Grammy(r) award-winner) and the joint venture Sennheiser Communications (technologically advanced headsets for PCs, offices and call centers).