Kinderhook, NY (April 27, 2009)–John Holbrook has engineered many of the world’s most vibrant rock ‘n roll albums. His career started in the 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 recording rooms in New York, and maintains an active freelance engineering schedule. His work has earned him five Grammy Awards and 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.
In the late 1970s, he 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 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.”
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, and the Chartwells finally took a well-deserved rest.
“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!”
Klein + Hummel, a Sennheiser Group company