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Interview with Mr. Shingo Yasumoto of Japanese producer team "Chrysanthemum Bridge" on installing
Shingo Yasumoto is a Japanese producer who has worked with some of the most creative Japanese artists such as Sekai No Owari, Yuzu, Dempagumi.inc, Silent Siren, Scenarioart, Charisma.com, Go-Bang's, Mimi Meme Mimi or Q-MHz. He has been using the EVE SC203 since he first heard it and felt it was the right speaker he needed for music production.
Media Integration visited his state-of-the-art private studio equipped with countless vintage effect pedals, rhythm machines, microphones and instruments to talk about how he uses the EVE SC203 from a composer's, arranger's and producer's perspective.
Media Integration: Thank you very much for installing the EVE SC203. What was your first impression of the speaker?
Shingo Yasumoto: I'm not flattering, but they are really excellent speakers and I instantly felt "gripped" by them the moment I heard them! The sound is tight and the feel of the low end is great, too. I think these speakers make you want to create music right away.
M.I.: What exactly made you feel "gripped"?
S.Y.: When I first heard the SC203s, I knew I would like to use them for composing or producing. What I regard as the most important factor is the feel of the low end. If you play back fat kick sound and you don't hear that certain BOOM, you won't feel like making music. Speakers that fail to reproduce the fat kick sound of a vintage rhythm machine wouldn't make you feel "gripped", you know.
M.I.: Do these "right" speakers influence how you produce or arrange your music?
S.Y.: Yes, obviously. If you cannot "feel" the fat kick and the bass properly, the groove of your music gets affected at the end. That's one of the reasons why I don't use too "analytical" monitor speakers while producing.
M.I.: Like the name suggests, the EVE SC203 is a very compact-sized 2-way 3" speaker. Were both the volume and the quality of low end satisfactory?
S.Y.: Definitely! There was no problem for me at all. For my working environment it was more than enough and I even had to cut the low a bit using the DSP filter! I had a good impression on the DSP as it can adjust various range of values.
M.I.: Talking about the speakers that are "small" and can "deliver low end", we know some of them just have undefined bass...
S.Y.: There are indeed such speakers, but it was not the case with the SC203 and it has a clear and solid low-end that is even "visible".
[Playing back tracks he's been working on:]
This song, for example, has a fat kick and bass, but you can "hear" them clearly, can't you?
M.I.: Yes, we can hear the attack of the kick and the bass line very clearly.
S.Y.: It is essential to have speakers that can reproduce the low frequency range as clear as possible. Working on music without feeling the low end is equally bad as creating music without grooves. So I want to use the SC203s more often for music production.
M.I.: Please tell us more about your insight.
S.Y.: Well, basically I start recording only when everything sounds right and I don't fix in the mix using the plug-ins. When it comes to drum recording, I always try to capture
the beauty of overtones coming from each microphone because that's what makes them sound great.
Let's get back on track again. When I say that the speaker gets me excited, it doesn't necessarily mean the sound is loud, but it reproduces the feel and groove of the track without coloring them. SC203 does exactly that, that's why I love using it. I would even bring a pair to the engineer and ask them to mix with them!
M.I.: Have you ever done that before?
S.Y.: Yes! I often bring a pair of speakers that I used during the production and ask the engineers to hear my tracks on them. I do it because I want to share the idea and feel that I have in mind with them. You don't just record and try to fix in the mix later. That's why the speakers you use for track making is the most important ones.
M.I.: If you sometimes take out your speakers outside of your studio, the size of the SC203 is very much welcome, isn't it?
S.Y.: Absoutely! If your budget is not limited, you have hundreds of other options. But EVE Audio released a speaker that gives me that "feel" I need for this size and the price. That's important. Also, it comes quite handy especially when you're away from your studio for a while. You can make music with it wherever you are. SC203 is a good-sounding, fairly-priced and compact-sized speaker without compromise. I think I will take them out more for an outside use, too.
M.I.: You're also using the attached FlexiPad that allows you to angle the speaker at 0°, 7.5° or 15°.
S.Y.: I'm using it rather as an insulator as I put the speakers on the desk, but I do like the idea that you can actually vary the speaker's angle of tilt. There have been slanted guitar or bass cabinets, but I don't know if there were any angled studio monitors of this kind. EVE must be one of the first that adopted the idea.
M.I.: SC203 is indeed meant for a desktop use.
S.Y.: It would be great if FlexiPad will be available for other speakers in different sizes, too! I mean, it's so correct that it comes with the speaker in order to make the best sound out of it. EVE Audio must have thought it over.
M.I.: You set up your speakers rather inward.
S.Y.: As I put them on the desk, the angle of the speakers is important, too. Being positioned too much "inward" is not good, and facing straight forward is not ideal, either. You need to take time and find the best placement for your listening position. It all depends on the height of the desk and the distance between the speakers and your ears. If you get it right, you'll get the best sound out of the SC203. I recommend all the SC203 users to use the FlexiPad and try to place the speakers just a little inward.
M.I.: As a composer, arranger and producer, what kind of reference music would you recommend us to try with the SC203?
S.Y.: I think everyone should use his favorite CD, but if I'm forced to say, then I'd recommend to play a song that you like and that has a great-sounding kick. For example, I like the way Coldplay layers their sound, so I use their CDs.
M.I.: Why do you recommend songs with a great-sounding kick?
S.Y.: Most audible elements such as guitars or vocals are found in the mid frequency, and there are little speakers that fail to reproduce these frequency ranges. But getting the low end right is tricky. So it doesn't have to be CDs to test the speakers. You can also use your favorite rhythm machine to hear if they deliver the low end you need.
M.I.: You have a lot of various vintage rhythm machines in your studio and all of them still look very beautiful and are in a mint condition.
S.Y.: I love vintage rhythm machines! So I try very hard to find ones in a very good condition. I can say easily whether I like the speaker or not just by playing back a kick sound of LinnDrum. I tried it with the SC203, too. Just don't believe everything what manufacturers write on catalogs or websites, like "these monitors offer a truly flat frequency response" or "they are perfect for mixing". It's important to let your ears decide.
M.I.: When you compared to the other speakers, was there anything that SC203 was better with?
S.Y.: There are many great speakers out there and expensive speakers must have good reasons to be expensive. They must be good, for sure. But I'm not trying to say that the SC203 sounds as good as these expensive speakers of thousands of Euros. No. But in fact, I was truly amazed at what I got for the price I paid for the pair. If you are looking for new speakers and not sure what to buy yet, I'd recommend you to consider what you'd like to do with them. In this interview I kept saying that these SC203s give me exciting sound that I want to use for producing. But I suppose you can use them for mixing, too. If I was to be asked what's best about the SC203, most probably I would repeat the same thing over and over (laugh). I have tested various speakers of less than a thousand Euros, but I never felt gripped by them like I did with the SC203.
M.I.: So, you're not talking about the cost-effectiveness only.
S.Y.: No, and this is the way how I feel not only with audio gear, but with music as well. I don't find it very interesting if it doesn't have individuality. I prefer something that is very competent in one particular field to something that is "Jack of all trades, master of none". Here I have an SP-1200 by E-mu. Its sampling rate is short and usability is very bad, too. But, its sound is so fascinating that I don't care much about its weak points. It's an essential tool for my production and I love using it.
M.I.: When it comes to the compact size, there are a lot of other speakers around.
S.Y.: Exactly. So it's not only the size, but the sound itself that counts. The EVE SC203 made me want to create music right at the moment I heard the sound. Rich low end and smooth high thanks to the Air Motion Transfomer. There are no other speakers that cover both with this size. I think that is EVE Audio's individuality and character. I think it's the same with music, too. Music with a strong individuality is more attractive and will be remembered longer. Music without individuality is soon to be forgotten. I'm seeking this certain individuality not only in music, but also in audio gear I use. SC203 has a "character" that gets you excited and gives you power to be creative. I believe that using audio gear with strong individuality will help you create music with individuality.