The Focusrite VRM Box is useful just for the mere fact that you have 15 speakers to choose from! The most useful in my opinion are the small computer speakers, the LCD monitor speakers, and the Aurotones. It may not be identical to owning thousands of dollars' worth of speakers, but it's the closest way to get there in a home studio!
lots of bang for the buck
My background - long time musician. Running Logic Pro X on a Mac. Often round sound for Open Mikes and Large Seminars. (I actually get complements on how I run sound.) Amateur Recording Engineer.
I love this box, I would have given 5 stars if they had added one more headphone port but i feel like I am being hypercritical at that.
I found this really useful in helping get a much better EQ and Master of my recording. I do not have studio monitors worth mentioning. The Pros here can probably give more accurate reviews of the worth of this device, but I say, if you can't afford high quality studio monitors, the VRM box and a very good pair of headphones is a very worthwhile purchase.
This is just a toy
This thing is just a toy. Really weak (non-real) impulses. Only 2-3 modes works somehow. I wish focusrite made plugin for that purpose. I recomend you not to waste your time and money. Thanks
TRULY , TRULY MUSICALLY INSPIRING !
this is one of the greatest pieces of gear i have ever purchased for music production. i remember my first real pair of studio monitors-event project studio 8's in 2001 . the feeling of having monitors that help you evolve your musical craft. i purchased this product in march 2013 after looking at it in sweetwater pro gear catalogs for more that 4 years thinking what a gimmick LOL !! i was really upset when i realized that focusrite did not have support for windows 8 after i had purchased it. so i emailed focusrite tech support and after like 2 months i got the email for the new software version 1.3 supporting windows 8 . downloaded it to my thinkpad t510=premium laptop for music production, plugged in the usb cable to to VRM BOX and was not expecting what i heard. well to make a long story short the VRM BOX alone has given my production sound that pro level that has been so elusive my entire production career. honestly speaking i would take just this vrm box over any modern day pair of physical studio monitors on the market today because of its simple operation .
it has helped me considerably due to the fact I can do some of the mixing while using headphones. My overall quality improved twice as much just using this to listen to balances of different speaker setups. If you have a limited studio I highly recommend.
A Great Addition For Mixing
First of all, a huge shout out to Ryan Murray, my Sweetwater CS Rep, for timely and cordial service.
The VRM box does just what it describes in the name. I can virtually reference my mixes on headphones with great room and speaker emulations. This works great for me since I mostly work at night and waking the neighbors is not in my best interest. My mixing environment is also not treated and so can yield some difficulties in mixing by my real monitors. The VRM box can work by itself or with an additional interface that has a s/pdif out. Either way it needs to be plugged in to a USB port for power, which is a little inconvenient since I only have two ports on my Macbook Pro. But I worked that out with some thunderbolt adapters etc.
The only other problem has been that it's a bit finicky when using it with another recording interface. The best way to do this is to plug in/power up the interface you'll be using and then plug in the VRM box. That way your OS should have your primary interface pegged as the master and the VRM box will sort of sync to it.
And of course, as with any computer interface, make sure you download the latest software and drivers for your OS from the manufacturer.
Great tool to fix translation issues
Let's just tear the bandage off quickly and acknowledge that this little box does not perfectly replicate the environments or hardware it references. If you expect the $99 box and a pair of headphones to replace $3k Genelec speakers and a control room... well, that says a lot about you, not the VRM.
That said - Oh, my sweet lord, what a gem this is. I can almost guarantee that if you use good, open-air headphones, e.g. Senn 650's or AKG K701's, and reference your mix across all the speakers, your mixes will improve.
I took a little time upfront to listen to my reference tracks through various speakers in the three environments to calibrate my expectations, and that was helpful. It's sort of like a speed-dating version of actually spending the time necessary with the real monitors to get to know all their nuances. Armed with an idea of what a "great" mix sounded like, I went to work getting my own mixes to sound as good as possible, and ensured they translated from speaker to speaker and room to room. The results were impressive.
For anyone working in a small space, an untreated room or with sub-pro monitors, this is a highly-recommended and inexpensive tool for the arsenal.
It's OK. A bit Gimmicky.
The headphone amp is OK for lower impedance headphones but not quite enough to properly push higher impedance headphones. Volume wasn't necessarily the biggest issue when using higher impedances (Beyerdynamic HD880 Pro 250 Ohm - great phones by the way) but the low end was never quite right either. Sound seemed fairly well balanced and not harsh up top like some in this range. Just not for me. VRM works fine but I'd never use it as a real reference. I ended up just turning it off after the "neat" wore off, which only took about 30 minutes. Have use my headphones through higher end head amps with great results so maybe spoiled - but overall this just didn't cut it. Maybe with some different cans it would have been fine. I think they tuned this box for Sennheiser HD280 headphones. Maybe it works great with those.
The Focusrite VRM Box
This box makes a difference in hearing your mix over different "modeled" studio monitors and environments. I get all the volume I need from tweaking my gain structure. My mixes have improved 300% since I bought this. If you have a home studio like me and it's in your bedroom and the speakers you have are too large for your room .....? ( i.e you can't really turn them up ) then you need this box. It won't make you sound like universal studios - but you will mix better.
I don't know for sure what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. I am a big fan of products called Focusrite, I think that this is a little more of a toy then I was expecting. If you have good audio gear, you might relegate this to an optional toy box. It is not actually plug and play, which makes it a long road to a small house, in my opinion.
I love this little box!
Worth twice the price...or more.
This little box (actually the software that's behind it) is great. It helps me make sure my mixes will translate well on just about any type of system they're played on.
Make no mistake, it's not exactly like sitting in a pro studio listening to top level studio monitors, but it's as close as you're gonna get without spending a boatload of money.
Keep in mind you're listening to digital modeling approximations of different systems in different enviroments on headphones so the stereo imaging, exact frequency responses, etc. aren't gonna be like the real thing. But for checking your mix and it's overall balance on a lot of different systems it can't be beat. And you don't have to leave your chair.
Amazing Box !!
So far, it works like it says. But, I would still need to mix to compare and complete my review. Absolutely astonishing Virtual Frequency Sound realism !
Amazing gadget! Total Life Saver!!
It's amazing how far we've come with technology. I currently live in an area that made it literally impossible for me to mix on my KRK 8's. I was getting noise complaints from neighbors even if I had all of my levels at their minimum, and even when I was able to use them, I wasn't getting accurate readings due to the reflections in the room.
I started researching this box over a year ago , and I must say I was VERY VERY skeptical, because of it's price. I looked online and saw a lot of mixed reviews, so I took a leap of faith...and I could not be happier!! Out of all the thousands of dollars i've spent on equipment, this has been my best investment by far! My mixes sound amazing, and are now translating on everything I play them through, and clients are asking whose doing my mixing now. So grab a good pair of reference monitor headphones,purchase the VRM Box, and hear what you've been missing in your mixes!!
VRM Box is great
So I don't have a properly treated environment and since I got the VRM Box my mixes are so much better. I'm a teacher, music producer and I work on music for television and when I produce mixes now they just translate. My mastering engineer recognized how much depth my mixes got! For the price it's a steal of a deal! You should buy 1 now and a good pair of headphones like the KRKs
This item is pretty cool. Definitely does what it claims - makes headphones feel much more "room-like". It's also nice to have different sets of virtual speakers to hone your eq choices for a more portable mix. While I'm not sure that I would sign off on a final mix using ONLY the VRM box - it definitely helped get my mixes in the ballpark (when I'm stuck using a laptop w/ headphones)
Not having a good studio for monitoring my mixes, I would mix in headphones, burn a copy, listen then repeat several times. NO MORE!!! The VRM box along with a good set of headphones and you CAN edit mix and master your music using headphones. The VRM box simulates 3 different room conditions and most of the popular speaker systems form the last 30 years or so. When you mix sounds good on any of those speakers and room environments then you can be assured that your mix will sound just like you intended it to.
great tool with one caveat
the S/PDIF port is completely recessed so make sure you get an S/PDIF cable that has a narrow connector. i bought the monster .5m cable from sweetwater (the shortest cable available) and i had to take a dremmel and relieve some of the housing of the VRM box to make the cable fit. it's fine now, and it's a great unit, but it's something to consider when getting a cable.
Finally I can mix properly
I bought this unit about a month ago. I use it in conjunction with my m-audio profire 2626. I've used it with Fostex T20/T40 and after I get my new pair of KRK KNS 8400 today i will test it with those as well. I have a small project studio running Cubase 6 and my mastering engineer immediately noted how much more depth and clarity my mixes now had. I love the Genelec and KRK VXT8 models to mix with but of course I utilize all the models. Bottom line the mixes translate. I work for a children's TV program, I work on ads and produce primarily Christian music. This bad boy takes on everything and i love the results. I even use the living room setting to play FiFA 2012 in the wee hours of the morning (I love it) If they had a facebook page for this device I would be the first to like it. i recommend this to all of my producer friends who don't have proper room treatment. It helps you make the right decision from the time you choose a patch for production....simply put I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Awesome alternative for headphone mixers. I'm learning to adjust my ears after years of mixing through the headphones, but this saves me a lot of time in the mixing process. I no longer have to burn a cd to check my mix.
Proved Its Worth In Two Tries!
Bought it and listened to my fisrt mix. Wow, did my mix suck according to this! So, not believing it, I downloaded an un-mixed multitrack recording from my favorite recording site. It, too, was horrible! THEN, I downloaded the finished mix and ran it through: It was virtually the same on all references except the wide-screen TV and general computer speaker simulations, but was still decent (which makes sense, huh?!). Great reference tool! Totally trustworthy! Actually, I'm just blown away :)
I had no problems installing or using, quite simply it just sounds like a filter or EQs put on your mix. It wont reveal anything about your mix IMHO. It just makes it more bassy, less bassy, more treble etc. Im sure there is some technology that goes into this more than eq, but it hasnt made my mixes translate on other speakers any better or hear hidden details in different frequency ranges. I was very dissapointed. The guys that wrote great reviews, im shocked...
Works For Me
The only reason I'm not giving this product a 5 is I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to doing studio stuff. I do know enough to realize that this little box is just what I need. I don't have studio monitors or the right type room for a project studio. I made my first cd over 10 years ago with just a pair of headphones as a reference. I had to keep playing demos on my stereo to see if the sound was okay. I could have used the VRM box then. Now I'm learning how to use Reaper and the VRM box setup took about 10 minutes. I opened Reaper, selected ASIO, and the VRM was right there. From install to mixing took me about 15 minutes. I'm having a blast learning and I'm looking forward to putting out a much better 2nd CD. I've saved 20 bucks and bought the Demo model from Sweetwater. No problems there just savings. Thanks to Charlie Davis and the whole Sweetwater Team!
Works as advertised. This won't take the place of studio monitors but it is a good tool to hear what the mix will sound like with different speakers.
Get low frequency headphones.
It is really a fantastic tool for mixing...seriously, it does sound like you're listening to music through a pair of speakers. Especially if you can't treat your room or have neighbors or roommates who can't stand loud sounds, this is a great choice. As far as mixing on this box goes, you really have to get to know how each simulated speaker set sounds...Ideally, after you use this to mix on your favorite simulated speaker set, try using different ones as well. It really helps in making your mix as perfect as possible.
Not a Interface
I have read some complaints about using this as a Interface. Although this can be used as a interface it is not considered one. It is a monitor management tool (even Sweetwater list it as such). It is intended to carry out its purposes via the spdif input that is what it excels at. This thing is a great tool for referencing different speaker setups. It even has a 26" T.V. setting so if you wanna know what your track would sound like on MTV, BET, or VH1 it can do that. I have found this to be a indispensable tool in my studio. But buyer beware if you are considering buying this remember a few things
1) THIS IS NOT REALLY CONSIDERED A INTERFACE(buy the Saffire Pro 24 DSP if you need a interface)
2) THIS IS A REFERENCING TOOL NOT NECESSARILY A MIXING TOOL.
3) MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A SPDIF OUTPUT ON YOUR INTERFACE FOR BEST RESULTS.
Studio mix in your headphones
I am very happy with the results using the VRM Box, it has exceeded my expectations. I am using the VRM Box with a Tascam 2488 mk II via the SPDIF connection and my not so new Dell computer without any problems at all. I have used it to mix 3 projects so far, a soft acoustic folk group, jazz quintet and a southern rock quartet with all mixes translating on the usual suspect of playback systems.
Several features Focusrite should consider when they upgrade the software 1) mono or sum 2) reverse aspect speakers rear and 3) reverse left and right 4)+6db.
A MUST for aspiring producers with less than ideal mixing space.
For years I had the dilemma of being unable to mix on my KRK V6 Series monitors due to inhibiting living conditions. No one, other than yourself (and perhaps another understanding producer) , can deal with repetitive loops due to intricate mixing. Also, this inhibits your ability to truly personalize your mix and develop your skills. I bought the VRM box because of this dilemma and on a skeptical high hope that it would fix my issue.
I originally bought the Denon AH-D2000 to accompany this box, but due to poor structural integrity (It arrived broken), I had to return the headphones. I then opted to get the $100 cheaper Shure SRH-840's due to their flat frequency response and solid design.
At first listen, I was somewhat disappointed since I honestly didn't know what to expect. I only knew that I didn't like the way that the VRM distorted the sound on my headphones. I was also confused as to what setting to mix with. However, with an attempt to mix on a certain setting, I was blown away by the translation of the mix to my KRK V6 monitors! I also realized that each setting produced perfectly good, but different translations. The mixing possibilities were vast!
As I understand, Focusrite created the VRM box and tested it with Sennheiser HD series headphones and a variety of others. However, my Shure SRH-840's work just fine and I enjoy them very much.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with my purchase. In a perfect world, I would still rather produce with monitor speakers, but we don't live in that perfect world and that's why Focusrite made such a perfect product.
Absolutely fantastic! Improved my mixes so much!
Brilliant idea, flawed execution
I wanted to like this box. The idea is excellent, as those of us who live in apartments where we cannot mix on proper monitors at the levels required for mixing and mastering makes using headphones mandatory most of the time. And the convenience of having models of different environments and speakers (many that we would never have access to) is a huge plus.
Unfortunately, this product has two major flaws: 1) the headphone output level is way too low for any serious mixing or monitoring. Yes, I appreciate the need to protect my ears, but the levels are too low. I had to run the output back through my mixer, adding noise and making the connections more complex than necessary; 2) the driver in its current version (1.1) consumes too much CPU on my PC. Just plugging it into a USB port, without using the application required to select speakers, without firing up my DAW (SONAR), and with all other USB peripherals turned off, took my CPU idle percentage down from about 99% to 80%, and the average DPC latency went from about 100 uS to about 700 uS. Once I fire up my DAW and play even a moderate project, the box stutters and sputters and is unusable. I spent many hours trying it on different USB ports, with and without my other peripherals active, gathering data to send to Focusrite support, only to be asked for yet more data. I finally concluded I would rather spend my time making music.
Fortunately, I am only out a nominal amount for this, and it is small enough to throw into a drawer out-of-sight, since it is useless as is. I am somewhat hopeful that a future driver update will cure the second issue, but until then I can only give this one star. Quite frankly, I would rather return it at this point, but Sweetwater’s return policy means I will lose about $10 = $15 on the shipping, and perhaps another $10 in “restocking” fees, so it isn’t worth the time and hassle to pack it and ship it back.
hmm....more hype than substance???
Well...not sure what to say about this one....
I am still using it, but I cannot say it helps me mix more accurately than my headphones straight out of the board, in all honesty...
I normally love focusrite, but I think this was intentionally made to be a "price point" piece that really is more "in the way" than it is "transparent"...
Sometimes we all need to just put the websites and magazines down, and just use our ears...
This is one of those times...
An Essential for Home Studios
I have a home studio and am just finishing a CD project. I have good flat monitors and other quality gear but I was still concerned about my final mixes because my listening area is less than ideal. The VRM Box turned out to be a great solution for checking mixes. After listening on my AKG K200 Studio phones to my mixes through the VRM's professional studio monitors I immediately found out that I had way to much bass and kick drum. The VRM Box simulates ideal studio and bedroom and living room environments on everything from high end monitors to cheap and cheesy speakers. I am now far more confident in my mixes.
I had a concern at first that I wouldn't be able to connect to the VRM Box because my interface uses optical rather than SPDIF outputs. My sales engineer suggested a 2-way converter box that converts the optical signal to SPDIF. The entire installation of the converter box, VRM Box and software took me less than 10 minutes and it performed flawlessly right away. There is a slight playback latency as the signal must pass through your audio interface and though the VRM Box. FYI I am running Cubase SL on a 5 year old Pentium 4/3.20 GHz Dell desktop with Windows XP SP3 and 2 GB of RAM.
Amazing, but not without technical hiccups
I like it. It took a while to get it working (after installing on my Mac Pro, I couldn't get Pro Tools 9 to open for an hour and a half - only reinstalling Pro Tools (9.0.2) fixed it. But once I got it working, it blew me away- I actually freaked out for a minute because I thought I heard sound coming out of my speakers at 2 AM (OH NO! I'm gonna wake my fiancée!) but I realized it was coming from my headphones and the VRM box.
Got it working on my MacBook Pro today, I'm working on a mix in a public place, and I'm paranoid that everyone else around me can hear what I'm working on (it's THAT convincing).
Two gripes- 1) I can't sum to mono unless I do it on PT's master fader, which makes the room simulation on the VRM sound unrealistic. The VRM box should DEFINITELY include a Mono sum switch, either on its hardware or in its companion software. 2) I have to manually launch a piece of software to use the thing. Maybe Focusrite will come up with a way to automatically launch it, like they did with the LiquidMix.
I'm very used to mixing on Genelec 1031's and Yamaha NS-10's in a pro studio so I was skeptical before listening to the VRM box's emulation of said listening environment... but it's pretty close.
So, technical difficulties aside, I think Focusrite pretty much nailed it. Early adopters beware - you might have to deal with some technical issues here and there until Focusrite updates their software.
A must for your tool kit in this age of project studios!
I just got my VRM and I am listening to mixes done on Genelec 1031's, Auratones and Yamaha NS-10's over the past 30 years and the representation is amazing!
For $99 plus a set of Shure 440 headphones you get an amazing reference tool!
Think you've been getting the most out of your headphones? If you haven't been using VRM, then you could be missing out on something pretty amazing. What's VRM? It stands for "Virtual Reference Monitoring," a technology developed by Focusrite that simulates a variety of monitoring environments inside your headphones. You're given emulations of 15 different sets of studio monitors, stereo speakers, in-wall speakers, and the speakers in an LCD TV, along with models of three rooms (pro studio, living room, and bedroom studio). By switching among the various speakers and rooms, you can hear how your audio will sound played back in many different situations, just by listening on headphones.
First introduced as part of the company's Saffire PRO 24 DSP audio interface (and reviewed in the Summer 2009 issue of SweetNotes), VRM is now available in a standalone form, as the VRM Box. At its most basic, the VRM Box is a headphone amplifier with a USB input for direct connection to your Mac or PC and a S/PDIF digital input that can be connected to any compatible audio interface. Plug it straight in and cue up the music; you'll be treated to excellent sound quality, with volume control accessible via a knob on the top of the VRM Box.
But load the included software into your computer, and the VRM Box jumps to entirely new heights. As mentioned earlier, you can hear your audio played back with emulations of different speakers and rooms, allowing you reference your sound in various environments. The VRM control panel software, with its clear user interface, is simple to use.
In practice, the VRM Box and software do their job - there's a clear impression that you have changed speakers or location as you switch among the speaker and room emulations. It really does work!
Though the ideal is to have a purpose-designed studio with top-of-the-line monitoring and acoustic treatment, many of us must monitor at least part of the time on headphones. Why not optimize your time in the 'phones with the VRM Box?