ERGO

Home studios are, almost by definition, not perfect spaces. For recording, it’s often fine for amps to share space with washers and dryers, or to turn a closet full of canned foods into an isolation booth – provided they don’t clatter. But when it comes to mixing, serious problems can arise when mixing in a space that has dead spots and weird reflections.

That’s when KRK Systems’ ERGO room correction technology can save the day. Available new from dealers at between $400 and $500, and used from $199 and up, ERGO can help when mixing in less than ideal quarters.

When Atlanta-based indie-rock experimentalists Manchester Orchestra gutted the home the band had lived in to create their own studio, ERGO completed the picture. “Adding the ERGO to our setup has just further improved our experience with KRK by balancing our brand new studio without having to discover and correct our rooms’ flaws through trial and error,” says guitarist Robert McDowell. “It also helps to untie us from the studio by enabling us to partially control any makeshift recording space we may end up in. I have a feeling that will be very useful with the amount of time we spend on the road." For the record, Manchester Orchestra also mixed their latest album, the elaborately textured Hope, on KRK VXT8 monitor speakers.

What is ERGO? It’s essentially a small black box with a built-in microphone that enables the room calibration process. It has a volume control for the outs, dual outs for A and B monitor sets, a headphone out volume control and a focal/global/bypass function that allows ERGO to do its job of correcting room acoustics.

The ERGO box, which plugs into your studio computer via a firewire port, assures the correct sound is coming out of your studio monitors — compensating for offending frequencies and room reflections, eliminating the need to foam, rebuilds and other solutions to get the right mixing environment. It is designed to measure and analyze phase and frequency problems and then use its powerful digital signal processor to correct the audio for any offending issues. ERGO uses multiple measurements and proprietary algorithms to create a 3D image of a mixing room. Then it applies dynamic filters to control the audio environment. So what you hear and mix in your studio really is what you get – anywhere you play it. Consistent and correct.