Legendary producer/engineer Eddie Kramer has participated in some of rock music’s most important recordings, including the soundtrack to the original 1969 Woodstock festival and albums by Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Santana and many more. A major recent project for him was to remaster a wide range of Hendrix recordings for the new CD and DVD Hendrix box set, “West Coast Seattle Boy - The Jimi Hendrix Anthology.” The set spans Hendrix’s recording career from beginning to end, including his early work as a sideman for The Isley Brothers, King Curtis, Little Richard and others. The project includes more than 40 unreleased tracks and alternate versions of classic Hendrix songs.
Kramer used JBL LSR6300 Series studio monitors for the remastering, which took more than a year and a half to produce.
“I was determined to present these recordings with the best possible sound quality,” he said. “With this project, the quality of the original recordings varied from hotel room demos that Jimi did using just his own personal tape recorder and microphone, to full-blown multitrack masters recorded at Electric Lady Studios. In order to get the most from a wide variety of source material, I needed equipment that let me hear every last detail that was on these recordings and enable me to make accurate judgments about EQ, compression and dynamic range to bring out the most in the source material.”
Reflecting back on his time working with Hendrix in the 1960s, Kramer noted the wide breadth of recordings contained in his source material.
“Hendrix was a workaholic who lived in the studio when he wasn’t touring, and in the four years I worked with him, we recorded an enormous amount of material, some of which is being heard for the first time on ‘West Coast Seattle Boy,’” he said. “The four CDs on the anthology trace Jimi’s career from the very beginning to the very end. It’s just amazing hearing the progression of Jimi trying to burst through the early tracks, all the way to later recordings where Jimi’s absolute mastery of tone and technique enabled him to create sounds that were just nonexistent in anyone else’s mind.”
To extend the Hendrix legacy through remastering this diverse material required the most modern of recording and monitoring techniques and equipment, with the final connection coming through a JBL LSR6328P Series studio monitor system.
“The JBL LSR6300 monitors reveal tremendous detail,” he said. “I am very happy with these speakers, because they give me the resolution I need, particularly in the high end. I love the LSR6300 monitors because they’re so smooth, and the top end doesn’t take my head off. They’re not fatiguing to the ears, which was crucial for the extended listening sessions that were often involved in this project.”
“One particularly important aspect is that I can easily tell where certain instruments are in the stereo image,” Kramer continued. “That to me is critical because I do a lot of very careful placement and a lot of panning.”
The JBL monitors also gave Kramer the ability to accurately monitor at low as well as high volumes.
“I do a lot of my mixing at low volume. Anybody can turn a speaker up. But when the volume comes down and the relative quality and definition doesn’t change, that is a key element in what I’m doing. I want to hear all the detail that’s on the recording, and I can hear tremendous detail in these monitors,” he said.
JBL’s LSR studio monitors combine advanced driver technologies with a design that ensures exceptional accuracy at the mix position. Starting with JBL transducers in a biamplified system, JBL applies LSR design criteria for 72 off-axis measurements to provide a flatter off-axis response. This ensures that both the direct and reflected sound heard at the mix position is smooth and accurate.