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Multi-GRAMMY® Award-Winning Engineer Frank Filipetti Lends His Ears to the Development of HARMAN’s JBL M2 Master Reference Monitor

NEW YORK, New York – Frank Filipetti needs little introduction. Since the 1980s, producer, recording and mixing engineer Filipetti has worked with Carly Simon, Luciano Pavarotti, Billy Joel, Elton John, Korn, Barbra Streisand, Meatloaf and countless other top artists. He has mixed chart-topping singles and albums for Foreigner, the Bangles and KISS and in 1998 won GRAMMY® awards for Best Engineered Album and Best Pop Album for James Taylor’s Hourglass.
Filipetti has been a pioneer in mixing for surround sound, earning a 2012 GRAMMY nomination for his 5.1 surround mix of An Evening With: Dave Grusin. Adding to his resume, he played a significant role in the development of HARMAN’s JBL M2 Master Reference Monitor, a 2-way large-format loudspeaker designed to set new standards for sonic accuracy and dynamic range in professional monitoring environments.

In developing new loudspeaker systems, JBL has always welcomed input from recording engineers and producers and in the development of JBL’s new flagship M2 master reference monitor, JBL turned to Filipetti for his critical review and astute feedback. Like many industry pros, he’s used a number of JBL studio monitors, including his go-to system, the LSR6300 series monitors. When JBL went into production of the M2 in the spring, Filipetti installed a pair in his studio and has been mixing projects non-stop. “About two years ago JBL invited me to listen to a new studio monitor concept they were excited about,” said Filipetti. However, after listening for more than two hours, the loudspeakers didn’t win him over. Filipetti came away from the initial audition thinking this early iteration of the M2 was good, but not special, and encouraged the JBL team to work hard to elevate it to the next level. His comments did not go unheeded by the JBL team.
Fast-forward to the summer of 2012, when Filipetti got a call to come back and listen again. Within the first 20 seconds of listening he realized he was hearing something very exciting. “I’ve been listening to studio monitors all my life and they’re one of the types of products I pay closest attention to, as they’re so integral to my work.”

It took Filipetti less than a minute to realize this new speaker wasn’t like anything he’d heard before—in his experience, it was revolutionary. “The whole experience of the beauty of the music, the sound and the emotional content of the performance all came through to me in a way I had never heard before. I honestly couldn’t sleep the next few nights.” The JBL engineers made a few final tweaks and the production-version M2 was born.

Filipetti attributes much of the special qualities of the JBL M2 to the new D2 dual diaphragm, dual-voice-coil compression driver and JBL’s new “Image Control” waveguide, a patent-pending horn design that delivers more musical detail and smoothness than he’d ever heard previously in any loudspeaker, and never in a loudspeaker with a horn. In his estimation, most horns sound “peaky” in the midrange and don’t provide the extension a soft-dome tweeter can deliver while the M2 has a smooth midrange, high-frequency response up to 40kHz and wide dispersion. “You can stand halfway between two M2 loudspeakers and hear all the top end you’d hear when you’re sitting right in line with the drivers, along with a deep, strong, focused center image. I’ve never heard that from any speaker before,” Filipetti noted.

“Forget everything you know about horns and monitor speakers. The JBL M2 is different,” he emphasized. “I’ve had people that work in music, film and all different genres come by my studio and listen and they all hear what I hear: the closest thing to a universally accurate studio monitor speaker we’ve ever heard.”

HARMAN (www.HARMAN.com) designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of infotainment and audio solutions for the automotive, consumer, and professional markets. It is a recognized world leader across its customer segments with premium brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, and Mark Levinson® and leading-edge connectivity, safety and audio technologies. The company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 14,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.3 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013.

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