Nashville mastering facility Mayfield Mastering has become one of the first studios in the world to invest in PMC’s award-winning MB3-XBD-A 3-way active main monitors, which were launched earlier this year at NAMM.
Facility owner and founder John Mayfield was so convinced these monitors were exactly right for his mastering room that he ordered them with PMC’s reputation alone. And now that they have been installed he says he hasn’t regretted the decision for a moment.
“The new MB3 system has been in my room for close to two months now and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results,” he says. “With the help of Maurice Patist [PMC USA’s President of Sales and Marketing], the room is now stunningly accurate. The upgrade was totally worth it.”
Mayfield Mastering was established in 1996 by recording and mix engineer John Mayfield in response to repeated requests from clients who wanted him to master their projects. Citing the golden rule in audio engineering – never master our own mixes – he felt he could offer his clients a better finished product if he concentrated on mastering.
While developing his new facility, John Mayfield acknowledged that his mastering room would require highly accurate speakers. To this end he was introduced to the PMC range by Nashville pro audio supplier Mike Poston.
“After performing proper comparisons, the decision to go with PMC was easy,” Mayfield says. “The IB1S monitors that I bought in 2001 are now being used in Studio Two, which is run by my colleague Glenn Meadows. Prior to installing the new MB3-XBD-A powered system in my studio, I was working on older PMC MB1 monitors powered by Brystons. Upon learning that PMC had designed their own Class-D amplifiers and integrated them into their newly designed MB3 active system, I placed my order, sight unseen. Having been on PMCs for over 16 years, I knew this new system was going integrate into my room perfectly and be well worth the investment.”
Mayfield believes that PMC monitors are ideal tools for mastering because they deliver such clear and transparent sound.
“Mastering requires rock solid and dependable aural representation of the product you are creating, therefore the monitors you use to represent that product must not ‘colour’ or skew that representation,” he says. “If they do, then interpolation must be employed in every decision-making process. This greatly complicates the process and can lead to inconsistent results. I’ve never really had to interpolate when using PMCs but now, with the resolution I now have, the decision-making process is quicker, more absolute and extremely reliable.”
Another feature offered by the new MB3 monitors is advanced DSP which optimises the response of the drivers and provides shelving EQ for in-room integration. Up to four presets are available and these can be accessed via a desktop remote control that allows input switching and shelving EQ adjustments to be made from the listening position without the need to constantly refer to the rear panel of the monitors.
“Implementation of the RC1 (remote) allows for precise customization to the users’ preferences.” Mayfield says. “This is the icing on the cake for me.”
Since installing his new MB3 system, John Mayfield has used them to master Naturally 7’s new album Both Sides Now for CD and vinyl release. He has also been having great fun mastering a big band Christmas album entitled That Christmas Feeling for new artist, Reta Watkins. This will be released in November through Naxos Records.
Mayfield adds that, in his view, the relationship between room acoustics and monitors is the most important tool a mastering engineer has. Now, with his new PMC MB3 system, he believes he has the ideal set up.
“I never thought I’d be able to use the term, but now I have a “perfect” marriage between room and monitor,” he says. “And that all thanks to PMC – and to Maurice Patist.”