After working on larger BoomBocs products for a number of years, I felt it was time to disrupt the portable speaker market with something that wasn’t ‘another boring black box’ with an underwhelming audio performance. I went about designing an affordable, hi-tech speaker that not only sounded impressive but also looked like nothing else on the market. The Studio is all about bold styling derived from the first-generation BoomBocs London vibe, funky colours, packed with features and a great sound.
Bringing the live sound to your living room
With almost 20 years as a touring sound engineer under my belt, I pride myself on knowing what sounds pleasant to the human ear. I’ve worked on concerts with many high-profile performing artists worldwide and have studied for a degree in sound engineering, all the time progressing my skills and ensuring I am at the top of my game when it comes to delivering engaging sound.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the best pro audio equipment available and have had the opportunity to experiment with sound in various venues across the globe. Also have my own ‘lab’ at home helps, where I design and test audio kit to try out new theories before putting them into practice in the real world at live gigs and in BoomBocs products.
When on the road, mixing live concerts is my favourite thing to do. I always aim to reproduce an artist’s ’sound’ to the standard of their records but with live impact. By that, I mean being able to hear the quality and detail of individual instruments and vocals but also feel the dynamics, such as the kick drum hitting you in the chest. One of the things I always say to an artist is that if they hire me, I’m going to try my best to get an AC/DC sound, no matter what the genre. Right now, I’m on tour with Anastacia and I’m pretty confident I have it rocking!
I did recently work on something a little different that I’m quite proud of. I recorded and mixed FKA Twigs in a church in North London for her NPR Tiny Desk concert. Tiny Desk is a series of stripped-back live sessions organised by world-famous, US-based, National Public Radio and they get in some quite famous artists to play in their offices or remotely for a one-off performance.
One of the special things about Tiny Desk is how raw the recordings are – there’s no bells and whistles, so the production is kept to a minimum. It’s a really natural sound. For Twigs’ performance, I wanted to make it sound like it was produced to a high standard, but only using the natural environment and acoustics we had. I took her vocal, projected it towards the roof of the church to create a natural reverb and then recorded the sound. Once I’d captured everything, I took it home and mixed it.
Rising to the challenge
I’m quite often faced with challenging situations, but you have to embrace them and do what you can to achieve the best possible result. There are plenty of venues with terrible venue acoustics, where the sound bounces around everywhere and mixing around that is a challenge. I spent this summer on the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ tour, mostly doing stadiums where the acoustics always leave a lot to be desired. There are natural reflections that you cannot get rid of, so you have to mix in a different way to make the sound as clear and engaging as possible. The key is to not constantly pick at the mix because, eventually, you ruin what you have and make it worse by constantly adjusting things.
Back at home I listen to music on the various generations of BoomBocs’ speakers I have scattered around the house! After all, I designed them to sound impressive and to my taste, so why would I use anything else?
Of course, I do have some extremely high-quality studio monitors that I use for mixing but I only use them for work stuff. I also have moulded in-ear monitors that I listen to when I’m travelling. Aside from those, it’s BoomBocs all the way for music at home!
Explore Jonny’s playlist for Audiograde.
Read our in-depth review of the BoomBocs Studio portable player.