Hands-On Review:The Direct Field Solution

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Event Electroincs Precision Direct Field Monitors

Your studio monitoring system sits in the critical path of the artistic, scientific, technical, and human aspects of the recording process. It must deliver a sound that is musically pleasing-even inspiring-while at the same time providing an accurate, trusted frame of reference. The first objective can be met if the design engineer has a finely tuned aesthetic sense. The second requires that careful attention is paid to the physics of the system-the drivers, crossover, amplifier, and cabinet components must all work together in harmony with each other and with the control room acoustics. Given the diversity of today's recording environments, controlling the room's contribution to the sound isn't always easy. The solution: minimize the room's negative acoustic effects by placing the listener in the speakers' far field and the room's semi-reverberant field. This provides a high ratio of direct-to-reflected sound, while at the same time maintaining sufficient distance to allow the energy of the speaker's woofer and tweeter to combine acoustically. This proven technique is called Direct Field monitoring. Of course, the Direct Field sound is only as good as the Direct Field monitor you're using. And let's face it, not all monitors are created equal. Not all monitors are within easy reach of your pocketbook, either. But here at Event, we believe that you deserve accurate, pleasing sound regardless of your finances.


Precision Direct Field MonitorsThe 20/20 Vision

he Event engineering team of Frank Kelly and Walter Dick have decades of successful speaker, crossover and amplifier design under their belts. You may not know their names, but you certainly know their products: major hits from major companies like UREI, JBL, Gauss and Alesis. Frank and Walter have long recognized the problems inherent in small monitoring systems, and they've been passionately driven to solve those problems. Based on their vast design experience, a good deal of scientific research, and hours upon hours of critical listening, they systematically engineered the deficiencies out of the next-generation small reference monitor. The result: The 20/20 Direct Field Monitor.

In the Beginning

The development process began with the decision to design everything-woofers, tweeters, crossovers, and cabinet-from the ground-up. All components were to be custom and proprietary-off-the-shelf parts simply wouldn't do. Three goals drove the design process: The speakers had to be sonically pleasing yet have extremely flat frequency response. They had to be exceptionally reliable. And they had to be truly affordable. First came the tweeter, a magnetically shielded 25mm natural silk dome that provides accurate, detailed high frequency reproduction-without the harshness and ear fatigue associated with metal dome tweeters. An internal high frequency pole piece damping element aids in smoothing out the signal, allowing for extended listening periods. And for improved reliability, there's a ferrofluid-cooled aluminum voice coil support that reduces heat; a special flexible lead wire minimizes wire fatigue as well as insures consistent performance.


Click to EnlargeThe woofer was designed to provide smooth, consistent extended-range frequency response without the need of added EQ. (Equalization circuitry can introduce amplitude and phase anomalies, as well as rob the amplifier of headroom.) The driver itself is a magnetically shielded 8" mineral-impregnated polypropylene cone with a highly-damped linear rubber surround. It also boasts a 1-1/2" high-temperature voice coil for reliable operation at high power levels. Frank and Walter then set about designing a cabinet that would be the perfect acoustic complement to their new transducer components. From their efforts came a 5/8" laminated MDF cabinet filled with acoustical damping material to reduce internal standing waves. The cabinet also features a front-mounted large diameter low air restriction bass port, engineered to deliver direct, uncolored low frequency reproduction at all monitoring levels-even at very high volumes. The port is front-mounted, allowing the speakers to be placed in close proximity to walls without compromising the low end response. *Specifications subject to change without notice. Event, 20/20, 20/20bas, 20/20p and Tria are trademarks of Event Electronics, LLC.


Attention to detail permeates every aspect of the design, though not everything is immediately obvious. For example, you can't see the custom asymmetrical second-order passive crossover. But you can hear how smooth the sonic transition is from the woofer to the tweeter at the crossover point. Or maybe you didn't notice that the tweeter is recessed to provide flatter frequency response. Even the diecast aluminum trim ring has more to it than meets the eye: Not only does it minimize acoustic discontinuity between the driver and the cabinet, it's also a unique, self-aligning four-point mounting system for the woofer. When all was said and done, Frank and Walter had succeeded in their task. The 20/20 Direct Field Monitor delivered wonderfully clean, accurate, pleasing sound at a price most musicians considered eminently affordable.