Recording - October 2015 - 46

B Y M I K E M E T L AY

Several years ago I attended an open
house for a recording studio in San
Francisco. As is all too common with huge
parties held in studios that aren't meant for
them, I found myself trapped in a traffic
jam on an overcrowded staircase. As people slowly shuffled up and down the stairs
with many grumbled apologies, balancing drinks and plates of snacks, a frail old
gentleman just in front of me turned to look
at me with a mischievous gleam in his
eye. He winked and said, "I'm not waitin'.
Cover me, kid, I'm slidin' down the bannister." As fond memories go, that last
time I saw Les Paul is a pretty good one.
If you're new to the world of audio
recording, you might wonder why something like a studio reference monitor
would be named after Les Paul. After all,

Gibson Pro Audio
Les Paul 4 and Les Paul 6 Reference Monitors
An iconic name and a unique look decorate some pretty remarkable speakers
he played and designed guitars, didn't
he? Yes, but Les was also a pioneer in
multitrack tape recorder technology and
a well-respected recording engineer. So a
line of reference monitors with the Les
Paul name isn't all that farfetched.
A very "Les Paul" look
The Les Paul monitors are designed to
invoke the spirit of Les himself and the
famed guitars that bear his name. Each features an exquisitely detailed flame-maple
front fascia, carved in a manner reminiscent of an archtop guitar and decked out in
one of three classic Gibson guitar finishes:
cherry, cherry sunburst, or tobacco sunburst. Photographs don't really do these finishes justice-you have to see them for
yourself in good lighting to appreciate just
how beautiful and tasteful they are.
The LP monitors are 2-way biamplified
designs with dual front ports. They're numbered and differentiated by sizes of their
non-woven carbon woofers: 4" on the Les
Paul 4, 6" on the Les Paul 6, and 8" on
the Les Paul 8. For this review, I worked
with the LP4 and LP6 for several weeks.
All three monitors have the same 1" carbon-coated titanium tweeter, placed inside
a custom waveguide for smooth treble dispersion, while the woofer is set back into
46

RECORDING October 2015

the cabinet and covered with a protective
mesh grille that only partly obscures the Les
Paul signature on the woofer. The "archtop"
carving of the front fascia isn't just for decorative purposes; it combines with the
placement of the tweeter and woofer to provide a surface that's free of nasty edgedistortion effects while simplifying the
shape and build of the rest of the enclosure.
The rear panel of all three speakers features the same inputs and controls. A combination input jack allows for balanced XLR
or 1/4" TRS cabling, and an unbalanced
RCA connection is available as well. There's
a rear-panel Volume knob, 7-position click
knobs for Bass and Treble adjustment (both
-4/-2/-1/0/+1/+2/+4 dB), a Standby
pushbutton that when engaged puts the
speakers to sleep after 30 minutes without
audio, and a power switch with standard
IEC 3-prong power cable socket.
All three speakers quote a frequency
response topping out at 47 kHz (-10 dB,
a rather generous tolerance compared to
the ±3 dB quoted in most speaker specs);
the low end (also -10 dB) is listed as 55
Hz for the LP4 and 37 Hz for the LP6. Both
speakers are rated at greater than 92 dB
signal/noise ratio; maximum rated SPL
before the built-in limiter kicks in is 109 dB
for the LP4 and 117 dB for the LP6.

The Les Paul 4
Compact and weighing in at 10.5 lbs.
each, the Les Paul 4 speakers are well suited to close-in monitoring setups where
space is at a premium; I tested them in my
standard work-desk environment, mounted on IsoAcoustics speaker stands and
angled so the tweeters were aimed at my
ears in an equilateral triangle roughly 36"
on a side. I burned them in for 48 hours
before doing any serious listening; the
woofers did loosen up just a bit, nicely
mellowing an initial harshness in the mids.
The LP4s have a usable sweet spot that
is very wide for such a small speaker, and
when you get outside it, the first thing you
notice is thinning in the bass. Normally
you'd expect to lose treble first, since
highs are more directional than lows. The
woofer's recessed position behind the
carved fascia makes the lows more directional, and the tweeter's waveguide gives
a broad dispersion so that the lows are
actually slightly more "beamy" than the
highs! Given the very wide sweet spot the
LP4s have to begin with, this behavior is
interesting but absolutely not a problem.
As you would expect from a monitor
with a 4" woofer, bass on the LP4 isn't as
strong or extended as you'd need for it to
serve as a do-it-all system without help from



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - October 2015

Contents
Recording - October 2015 - Intro
Recording - October 2015 - Cover1
Recording - October 2015 - Cover2
Recording - October 2015 - 1
Recording - October 2015 - 2
Recording - October 2015 - 3
Recording - October 2015 - 4
Recording - October 2015 - 5
Recording - October 2015 - Contents
Recording - October 2015 - 7
Recording - October 2015 - 8
Recording - October 2015 - 9
Recording - October 2015 - 10
Recording - October 2015 - 11
Recording - October 2015 - 12
Recording - October 2015 - 13
Recording - October 2015 - 14
Recording - October 2015 - 15
Recording - October 2015 - 16
Recording - October 2015 - 17
Recording - October 2015 - 18
Recording - October 2015 - 19
Recording - October 2015 - 20
Recording - October 2015 - 21
Recording - October 2015 - 22
Recording - October 2015 - 23
Recording - October 2015 - 24
Recording - October 2015 - 25
Recording - October 2015 - 26
Recording - October 2015 - 27
Recording - October 2015 - 28
Recording - October 2015 - 29
Recording - October 2015 - 30
Recording - October 2015 - 31
Recording - October 2015 - 32
Recording - October 2015 - 33
Recording - October 2015 - 34
Recording - October 2015 - 35
Recording - October 2015 - 36
Recording - October 2015 - 37
Recording - October 2015 - 38
Recording - October 2015 - 39
Recording - October 2015 - 40
Recording - October 2015 - 41
Recording - October 2015 - 42
Recording - October 2015 - 43
Recording - October 2015 - 44
Recording - October 2015 - 45
Recording - October 2015 - 46
Recording - October 2015 - 47
Recording - October 2015 - 48
Recording - October 2015 - 49
Recording - October 2015 - 50
Recording - October 2015 - 51
Recording - October 2015 - 52
Recording - October 2015 - 53
Recording - October 2015 - 54
Recording - October 2015 - 55
Recording - October 2015 - 56
Recording - October 2015 - 57
Recording - October 2015 - 58
Recording - October 2015 - 59
Recording - October 2015 - 60
Recording - October 2015 - 61
Recording - October 2015 - 62
Recording - October 2015 - 63
Recording - October 2015 - 64
Recording - October 2015 - 65
Recording - October 2015 - 66
Recording - October 2015 - 67
Recording - October 2015 - 68
Recording - October 2015 - 69
Recording - October 2015 - 70
Recording - October 2015 - 71
Recording - October 2015 - 72
Recording - October 2015 - 73
Recording - October 2015 - 74
Recording - October 2015 - 75
Recording - October 2015 - 76
Recording - October 2015 - 77
Recording - October 2015 - 78
Recording - October 2015 - 79
Recording - October 2015 - 80
Recording - October 2015 - Cover3
Recording - October 2015 - Cover4
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