Gear Spotlight: PMC QB1 XBD - A Main Monitor System

Posted by The Audio Hunt

The recent 139th Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in New York saw a plethora of established and new products from a variety of companies on display. One of the more impressive new products at the show was PMC’s extension to their already massive main monitoring solution, the QB1-A.

Gear Spotlight: PMC QB1 XBD - A Main Monitor System

Some of you may already know about the high profile installation of two QB1-A systems in studio A and B of the renowned Capitol Studios, LA, and aware of the huge power capabilities yet finesse of the system – nearly 5,000 watts per channel through active PMC electronics, four of PMC’s own 10” flat-piston LF drivers extending down to 20Hz, a signature hand-wound and produced MF driver, a high power handling and wide dispersion tweeter in each speaker, plus all of which is designed around PMC’s trademark Advanced Transmission Line (ATL) cabinet design..

Whilst this beast of a product will satisfy the most power and volume-hungry engineers out there (as well as those looking for a large monitoring system still capable of delivering more delicate and detailed information even at low levels), PMC have raised the bar even higher with the XBD option.

As if there are not enough acronyms in the audio world, XBD means ’Extra Bass Driver’, and is a standard option for many of PMC’s mid and large monitoring system (see PMC’s flagship BB5 XBD-A systems found in Metropolis, Wisseloord and BBC Maida Vale studios).

Not to be confused just as a sub PMC’s XBD option is a duplicate cabinet of the master dedicated to handling all the low end, usually 380Hz and below, in the same manner as the LF driver in the master cabinet and in perfect phase to significantly extend the headroom for larger studios and environments.

Like the master, the QB1-A’s extra bass driver option adds a further four flat piston LF drivers on each side. Along with further active amplification this gives the whole QB1 XBD-A system a whopping 17,650 watts in a stereo configuration. That should be enough headroom for most!

What is the point in so much power you ask? Well a counter question would be, how come such a big system has not been produced before?

So much production these days are biased to low end and bass, an over-engineered system with so much power and headroom means you are guaranteed to never go no near the limits of the QB1, therefore avoiding things like electronic and mechanical compression which will affect the sound of your speakers when you push them too hard. You can listen as loud as you like, go as low as you want, and always know that you are hearing the true, uncoloured audio.

Similarly PMC’s unique cabinet and driver technology offers the ability to maintain consistent audio quality at both high and low levels, there is no one optimal listening level.

So whether you are a Dance producer or Classical engineer, PMC state you will experience your music unadulterated and faithfully whatever the style, whatever the volume. Good news for those of us who tend to steer away from mixing through large main monitors! One size fits all.

For the lucky people who attended this year’s AES New York convention would have had the chance to hear this behemoth of a monitor in their demo room in which a stereo QB1 XBD-A array was part of an 9.1 Auro 3D configuration, along with a centre QB1-A, IB2S-A rears and PMC’s twotwo series as height speakers. Quite an incredible setup I think you will agree!

Throughout the four show days there were endless presentations and demonstrations through this colossal setup including some simply amazing playback session from classical recording virtuosos Morten Lindberg and Dan Shores (Sono Luminous), Wisseloord recording and mastering engineers Ronald Prent and Darcy Proper presenting alongside Ozark Henry plus many, many more.

Find out more here -

About the Author

This article was written by Chris Allen, who is also a sales representative for PMC. Studio Assistant received no payment for the placement of this article.


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