Recording - December 2010 - 22

Note that the FBV units can do much more than MIDI Control Change data; they can send MIDI Machine Control messages, Bank and Program Changes, and even emulate the Mackie Universal Control protocol for DAWs that like to work with the HUI and its many descendants. You can use these pedalboards for anything you can think of: transport control, automation of effect parameters, realtime virtual instrument control, rapid program switching... gosh, I’ll bet you could even control your guitar amp plug-ins with them! All kidding aside, these are great little pedalboards—I got to work with them for several months and very quickly fell in love with them both. My preference is the Shortboard, with its larger number of controls and onboard LCD that displays control values being sent, but the Express could well prove handy to users who have less money and space or who just don’t need that much control. Whichever you choose, the FBV Shortboard MkII and FBV Express MkII offer a great combination of tightly integrated controls for Line 6 products and perfectly smooth universal control for other computer devices. So let your feet get into the act!—MM Focal Professional CMS 50 Monitors and CMS Sub CMS 50, $695 each; CMS Sub, $1095; www.focalprofessional.com In July 2008 we brought you our first review of a Focal speaker, the Twin6 Be studio monitor, and in July 2009 our Mike Metlay reviewed a then-new model, the CMS 65 with a 6.5" woofer that is the larger sibling of the CMS 50 we’re reviewing today. (See the Featured Reviews page on our website to read more.) The CMS 50 with its 5" woofer is by now the model in the middle—there is now also a CMS 40 with a 4" woofer. For this review we’re pairing the CMS 50 with Focal’s new subwoofer, simply called CMS Sub. The CMS 50 has a 5" woofer, with listed specs of 80 and 50 Watts RMS of amplification, 107 dB peak SPL at 1m, frequency response 55 Hz—28 kHz (±3 dB). Its all-aluminum cabinet construction makes it heavy at 17 lbs. for its smallish size of roughly 11.5 x 7.5 x 7.9 inches. Setup involves the same proprietary accessories described in Metlay’s review of the CMS 65—a rubber pad and screw-in feet for the curved speaker base, and removing the woofer grille and popping in the phase plug over the tweeter. The CMS 50 accepts audio on balanced XLR or on unbalanced RCA. The front has a rotary volume control, a Mute button with status LED, and an overload LED. Numerous controls on the back allow for fine adjustments to match the speaker to your audio system and room: Hipass filter, high- and low-frequency shelving, a “desktop notch” centered at 160 Hz to mitigate splash from table or console surfaces in front of the speakers, and a three-position selector for matching input sensitivity to your +4 dBu or –10 dBv system, with an intermediate “0” setting. The CMS Sub is a hefty box of just over 50 lbs., measuring a bit over 17 x 17 x 14 inches. It comes with feet affixed, there is no need to go through the setup routine of the CMS 50 except for the grille that has to be pulled off the 11" woofer.
22
RECORDING DECEMBER 2010

The amp is rated at 300 W rms, max. SPL is stated as 113 dB at 1 m, and the frequency response as 30 Hz–250 Hz. In a 5.1 setup you’d simply connect your audio system’s LFE output to the single LFE input on the sub. With a stereo-plus-sub setup you bring the left and right channels to the sub’s L+R XLR inputs and you connect, XLR-toXLR, from the sub’s L+R outputs to the left and right CMS 50 speakers’ inputs. Now you match satellites and sub: On the CMS 50 you use the 12 dB/octave Highpass Filter (45, 60, or 90 Hz), on the sub you adjust the lowpass frequency and level, and—if necessary— phase. There is also a polarity switch, and a toggle switch for muting of the sub. Muting can also be done remotely with a foot- or other switch connected to the dedicated 1/4" jack on the sub’s back. With all these technicalities out of the way, how does the system sound? In three words: Beefy yet subtle. No contradiction here—small as they are, the CMS 50 can get l-o-u-d in no time; at extreme levels your room will add distortion long before the speakers will distort—and that’s before you add the sub, which

can unleash room-shaking volume. The point here is that, unless you overdo it and lose your acuity from the resulting threshold shift in your ears, you will hear subtleties in your music from the CMS 50 that you may not have been aware of. Sure, it takes a while to fine-tune the satellites with the sub, and it’s great to have the remote switch for intermediate A/B reality checks of the lows, but once you’ve found the right settings for your room, you will be amazed at the richness of the listening experience: superb imaging, great clarity, fine detail. I can see why Justin Peacock, who reviewed the first-ever Focals to come our way, spent serious currency rather than letting go of them (and is still more than happy with his pair)—this reviewer is fighting similar impulses at the time of writing this review. Heck, it’s almost Christmas, dream on...—LzR


http://www.focalprofessional.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - December 2010

Recording - December 2010
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Recording’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide
Theme Music for TV—A Production Report
Royer Labs R-101 Ribbon Microphone
Recording SFX—A Career Option?
Primacoustic IsoTools
Avenson Audio IsoDI
Getting Your Music Heard In Today’sCommercial Culture
Preview: Yamaha AvantGrand
It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights.Chapter 9: Trademark Basics
Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack Model 1and FourTrack 4.0.1
Readers' Tapes
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - December 2010 - Recording - December 2010
Recording - December 2010 - Cover2
Recording - December 2010 - 1
Recording - December 2010 - Fade In
Recording - December 2010 - 3
Recording - December 2010 - Contents
Recording - December 2010 - 5
Recording - December 2010 - Talkback
Recording - December 2010 - 7
Recording - December 2010 - Recording’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide
Recording - December 2010 - 9
Recording - December 2010 - 10
Recording - December 2010 - 11
Recording - December 2010 - 12
Recording - December 2010 - 13
Recording - December 2010 - 14
Recording - December 2010 - 15
Recording - December 2010 - 16
Recording - December 2010 - 17
Recording - December 2010 - 18
Recording - December 2010 - 19
Recording - December 2010 - 20
Recording - December 2010 - 21
Recording - December 2010 - 22
Recording - December 2010 - 23
Recording - December 2010 - 24
Recording - December 2010 - 25
Recording - December 2010 - 26
Recording - December 2010 - 27
Recording - December 2010 - 28
Recording - December 2010 - 29
Recording - December 2010 - 30
Recording - December 2010 - 31
Recording - December 2010 - 32
Recording - December 2010 - 33
Recording - December 2010 - Theme Music for TV—A Production Report
Recording - December 2010 - 35
Recording - December 2010 - 36
Recording - December 2010 - 37
Recording - December 2010 - 38
Recording - December 2010 - 39
Recording - December 2010 - Royer Labs R-101 Ribbon Microphone
Recording - December 2010 - 41
Recording - December 2010 - Recording SFX—A Career Option?
Recording - December 2010 - 43
Recording - December 2010 - Primacoustic IsoTools
Recording - December 2010 - 45
Recording - December 2010 - Avenson Audio IsoDI
Recording - December 2010 - 47
Recording - December 2010 - Getting Your Music Heard In Today’sCommercial Culture
Recording - December 2010 - 49
Recording - December 2010 - 50
Recording - December 2010 - 51
Recording - December 2010 - 52
Recording - December 2010 - 53
Recording - December 2010 - 54
Recording - December 2010 - 55
Recording - December 2010 - Preview: Yamaha AvantGrand
Recording - December 2010 - 57
Recording - December 2010 - It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights.Chapter 9: Trademark Basics
Recording - December 2010 - 59
Recording - December 2010 - 60
Recording - December 2010 - 61
Recording - December 2010 - Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack Model 1and FourTrack 4.0.1
Recording - December 2010 - 63
Recording - December 2010 - Readers' Tapes
Recording - December 2010 - Advertiser Index
Recording - December 2010 - 66
Recording - December 2010 - 67
Recording - December 2010 - 68
Recording - December 2010 - 69
Recording - December 2010 - 70
Recording - December 2010 - 71
Recording - December 2010 - Fade Out
Recording - December 2010 - Cover3
Recording - December 2010 - Cover4
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