“For classical recordists, there are generally two types of recordings,” says Zechowski. “One is taping concerts, in which you are more or less battling a recording environment that has already been chosen, and the other is â€˜co-creating' a recording with a client where you can exert more artistic control. Both scenarios — and in fact all the work I do — require top-notch studio monitors and now I am 100 percent dependent on the Neumann KH 120s.”
Zechowski is a native of Poland who studied at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw and more recently at the Yale School of Music in New Haven. His recordings regularly appear on internationally regarded classical labels such as Naxos, Carus Verlag and Dels. The Neumann KH 120 active near field monitor is his monitor of choice whether he is on-location or working in his mastering suite in the lower level of his home. He was introduced to the KH 120 during the AES show in New York, when he met Sennheiser product specialist for studio products, Christopher Currier.
“I asked Christopher about the Neumann KH 120s at the booth, and he said he was happy to bring a pair by for me to demo in my studio,” Zechowski recalls. “When he did, I was in pretty deep shock because when compared to my other set — a respected large format British monitor — it was immediately apparent that the Neumann's clarity, openness and large sound stage was far superior. My first impression was that they were on the bright side, but later I realized that this was due to its extended clarity.” The other thing that struck Zechowski was the amount of sheer bass force and dispersion in the low end: “It is quite incredible that such small monitors can generate such a large sound stage — especially in the lower frequencies. It is quite a remarkable achievement.”
Once Zechowski acquired the KH 120s and began using them on a regular basis on his work with choirs, small ensembles and large orchestras, the sonic attributes of the KH 120s became even more apparent: “These speakers are very precise, and this becomes very important when you have singing voices. With this kind of precision, you can hear and fix things immediately, whether it is a miking set up, EQ, or whatever. They give you an exact read.” The compact size and extreme portability of the KH 120s also enable Zechowski to bring them on location to his sessions. “They are a real winner for what I do and help me quickly assess what kind of mic set up I want to use, whether it is a Decca tree, a traditional spaced pair or a coincident mic arrangement.”
Zechowski now relies on the KH 120s to ensure his work sounds good outsideof the studio, as well. “All the mixes I do on the KH 120 translate beautifully to the external world, whether it is a mundane car stereo, a home-based system or audiophile setup alike,” he says.
As Zechowski continues his relentless pursuit to increase the quality of his recordings, the phone keeps on ringing: “In this profession, everything depends on word of mouth,” he observes. “Musicians relate to each other and recommend recording engineers like other people might recommend dentists. I've managed to build a steady group of loyal clients, because I am always looking to improve on what I'm doing.”
The Neumann KH 120 studio monitor
The Neumann KH 120 is a compact near-field studio monitor that delivers unprecedented accuracy and versatility within a broad range of monitoring environments. The KH 120 is perfect for tracking, mixing and mastering in music, broadcast, project and post-production studios.
The KH 120 represents the latest in acoustic and electronic simulation and measurement technologies to ensure the most accurate sound reproduction possible. It has a Mathematically Modeled Dispersionâ„¢ (MMD) waveguide, flexible acoustical controls, analog class-AB amplifiers, various input formats and an extensive mounting hardware range. All of this provides the user with the maximum versatility over a wide variety of acoustic conditions, source equipment and physical locations.