Echobelly's Ash Hall Chooses Focal Studio Monitors

Ash Hall is a professional drummer, producer and composer whose career portfolio includes work with prominent bands such as Secret Cameras, Brit Pop band echobelly and My Preserver.

SCV were lucky enough to catch up with Hall in 2019 during the construction of his personal mixing facility. Based on prior experience with the Focal SM9s at Abbey Road Studios, Hall made no hesitation in selecting the same iconic model for his new studio's monitoring mains...

Focal SM9s, in use at Abbey Road Studios' Gatehouse facilityI was first introduced to the Focal SM9s during a recording session at The Gate House, Abbey Road Recording Studios, where I was recording some tracks with 90’s brit pop band, echobelly.

The studio was beautifully equipped; hovering above the gorgeous Neve console was a pair of Focal SM9s. I’d previously heard a lot of great things about them, having read many reviews, so was excited to hear them first hand. The sound from the SM9s blew me away! As soon as I heard them, I knew I had to have a pair.

At the time of Hall’s recording facility reaching completion, the producer was already working on new material for his band Secret Cameras. On arrival of the SM9s, the sonic qualities made a resounding entrance:

Having recently finished building my new mixing studio, I ordered a pair of SM9s as I was recording and producing Secret Cameras' latest single - Sky. After a while of wearing the speakers in, the sound really opened up. Beautiful transparency, exceptionally detailed and enough weight from the subs to make you move!

Hall also gave us with some additional detail on the most useful benefits that his Focals afford him in day-to-day use including versatility at multiple volumes, Focus mode for comparative mixing, and on-board EQ adjustment for monitoring in less-than-ideal acoustic environments:

I often find myself mixing at different volume levels depending on the track, type of music, referencing etc. The clarity of the SM9s is sublime on all volume levels, but when cranked up, they are superb. Classed as nearfield / midfield monitors, they work well in both instances. They are quite large and heavy, so need a large room  to optimise their range. However, this goes hand in hand with their craftsmanship, overall build quality and outstanding bass response. Good quality speaker stands are necessary to do these speakers justice.

Ash Hall's personal mix studio featuring the Focal SM9 studio monitor mains

Having the option to engage the focus mode, where by the subs are disengaged is a very clever and practical feature, which saves the need for having an additional pair of two way speakers; it also lets you know immediately how the track translates on smaller systems. Additionally, the EQ feature on the back is helpful for non-acoustically treated studios. 

The SM9s are an essential and valuable investment, which surpass other speakers in their retail class.

For more information on Focal’s current range of studio monitors, check out our Focal product pages or contact the SCV pro audio sales team.

To get more news on Secret Cameras, echobelly and My Preserver, be sure to follow Ash Hall's official handles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

  • Posted on 23 September 2020 by Roy Brockington