WHERE DID THIS COME FROM?
In 2022 we decided to make the move into Dolby Atmos(TM), but couldn't find a monitoring solution for under £10,000 a pair that satisfied us - and many at £10k a pair didn't satisfy us either. So we decided to make our own.
Many months, over 35 test cabinets and a whole heap of expert help later, we ended up with a design that beat the main mastering monitors we'd been using for years in every measurable aspect - including percentage of revisions, which is the only measurable aspect we really care about.
Folks came in, heard them, fell in love, and asked us if we could build them a pair in a more traditional studio-style cabinet. So we set to work designing and refining the best studio monitor we could. The result is the PresentDayProduction MUM-8. The last monitor you'll ever need to buy - and it's fully upgradable as technology improves and your skills progress.
"I just received my MUM-8's on Monday, and they are easily the best monitors I have ever heard!
They go surprisingly low and solid for an 8-inch driver, and the mids and highs are equally superb!"
FORMER loudSPEAKER DESIGNER,
The magic is in the midrange, and we knew we wanted a 3-way design that moved any crossover distortion or phase shift well out of the way of this critical part of the audio spectrum (although we spent months really nailing the crossover filters, so that's less of an issue than it should be - a very experienced sound engineer tested the system with his Rational Acoustics Smaart rig and his best guess at where the crossover points were was a mile off!)
Our mid drivers and tweeters are manufactured for us by BlieSMa, a company based in Germany and founded by transducer legend Stanislav Malikov. His data sheets speak for themselves and the ears back those claims up - quite simply the highest of the high end. The astoundingly good silk domes can be upgraded to best-of-the-best beryllium for the ultimate in clarity and detail.
For the low end we chose the Purifi 8" driver. With an insane 30mm mechanical excursion and distortion specs that are literally off the bottom of the charts, this class leading bass driver, with its distinctive Sd-neutral surround, is quite simply the finest bass driver we've ever heard, ever - and in the MUM-8 it can be used in either a sealed or ported configuration to suit your room and requirements.
"I’ve been in and around radio and recording studios for 40 years, I’ve listened to a lot of monitors. I also got sucked into the snake oil world of high end HiFi and bought and swapped out dozens of speakers trying to find audio nirvana.
I now have a pair of MUM-8’s as my main speakers for listening to music. They simply run rings round any of those well known brands costing three to four times as much.
Don’t take my word, try a pair."
Radio and music executive
MDF has become the default choice of many speaker manufacturers over the past few decades. It's cheap and readily available. It's also surprisingly resonant and requires a lot of bracing and damping to avoid having the cabinet shout things your way that you don't want to hear. It's also not particularly good for the environment, containing harmful VOC's and formaldehyde-based resins. It has a relatively soft core, making it a pain to work with and even more of a pain to finish.
And, whilst its moisture-resistant cousin is a little better... it's still MDF. And we hate it.
And so we started researching options that meant we could ditch the (also environmentally unfriendly) spray booth, alongside the whole 10-day sanding-and-painting-and-sanding-and-painting process, and discovered Valchromat(TM), by Investwood. Unlike its "coloured MDF" competition, Valchromat(TM) is around 30% denser and more inert than MDF, and its long grain composition makes it a fantastic material to make speaker cabinets out of.
It's also entirely organic, and that includes the coloured resins that permeate it, and very much VOC free and fully FSC-certified (you can even make children's toys from it). What's more, it's a joy to work with.
We love it, and finish it with another entirely VOC-free product that seals it and intensifies the colour - and we do it all in-house at PDP HQ!
Our cabinet has a 38mm-thick front baffle and panels that feature constrained layer damping to virtually eliminate unwanted resonance. It's dead. Very dead. The internal air volume is damped using a very specific type of open-cell foam that doesn't break down and, because it isn't polyester-based fill, that means it also stays where we want it and doesn't all fall to the bottom over time. The cat loves it. It's warm in there...
"I'm loving the speakers, they really show up bad mixing, especially with front vocals."
Producer, UNITED KINGDOM
DSP FRONT END
We've seen many studio monitor manufacturers incorporate passive crossover designs into their loudspeakers over the past few years, especially in models intended for surround or immersive audio applications - and a well designed passive crossover can sound great. But there are issues...
Passive crossover designs contain inductors and capacitors. Inductors and capacitors store energy and release it over time - they act as electrical springs. Not only does this affect phase shift, but also interferes with the damping factor of the amplifier - its ability to control the motion of the cone. Simplified, that means that when the signal stops, the driver doesn't. And so we believe an active front end is by far the best option for studio monitors, with separate low output impedance amplifiers directly connected to each driver.
Active analogue filter networks are a great front-end choice and arguably sounded better than DSP solutions for many years. But DSP has come on a long way and we believe it can now far outperform any analogue design if implemented correctly, and gives you superb control over frequency and phase.
We chose a DSP front-end solution for our monitors. Based on Analog Devices DSP chips with mastering grade conversion, this has enabled us to coax the best performance from the amplifiers that follow it. And that performance hike, in turn, is passed directly to the drivers, and your ears.
"Everyone who has heard the speakers has been blown away.
I did two mixes on them recently and a friend said they were the best mixes he's heard from me."
Producer, UNITED KINGDOM
We are proud to be using Hypex N-Core(TM) modules in our amplifiers. Designed by the legendary "Father of Class-D" Bruno Putzeys (who also founded Purifi, the clever chap!), Hypex amplifiers all but eliminate everything you thought was bad about class-D. Used by many high-end manufacturers of audio gear the world over, N-Core(TM) has become the de facto standard for superior amplification at an affordable price.
They also tick our environmental box, converting far less energy to heat than traditional Class-A/B designs, and are of Dutch design, but manufactured in Malaysia by well-paid adults in a high end facility that even includes a fruit garden for the staff, so they tick the political box too.
Our amplifier pack is also easily removable and can be placed in a standard 19-inch equipment rack, should you wish to soffit-mount the monitors or place them in a location where running signal and power is difficult.
IR REMOTE & OLED DISPLAY
So you get your speakers set up in the optimal position, and then something dictates that you need to adjust a setting on the amp. Maybe something simple like the volume, or switching a preset, or even turning them on or off. So you fiddle around the back... and we don't like having to do that, so we've incorporated an IR remote sensor, complete with remote, to control standby on/off, volume, mute, preset selection and input switching. There's even an OLED display on the front of the speaker that lets you know what's going on at all times.
"I must admit that I am stunned by the level of detail I am hearing. It's to a degree that based on what I can hear, I can visualise the moment the bass player changed the way they were sitting during the recording.
MUM-8s reveal all those little things that actually make a record great for me."
BASS DRIVER LOADING
We love a sealed enclosure (or acoustic suspension) design and so that was the choice we went with for the MUM-8. It offers a tight, controlled low end and the driver stops when the music does due to the air sealed inside the cabinet acting as a spring.
The downside of a sealed enclosure is lower efficiency (although the stock MUM-8 will play LOUD with all that Hypex power behind it!) as you're trying to get rid of the out of phase energy coming from the back of the cone, rather than utilising it. But some engineers (and genres?) prefer a ported design, so with the Purifi bass driver you can use the speaker in either sealed or ported configurations simply by replacing the tweeter blanking plate with the included port conversion kit.
The port is tuned to 30Hz and is a resonant system so it doesn't simply delay the out of phase signal coming from the back of the cone, thereby causing group delay and a smeary low end as many people believe it does, but presents a tuned reinforcing energy at the port (due to the mass of air within it) that is perfectly in sync with the bass driver. So the best of both worlds.
Which is best? That's for you and your room to decide, and we'll help you get there.
We want the MUM-8 to be the last speaker you ever purchase. A system that will progress with you as your budget, studio or skillset grow. To make this happen, we've made every component in the MUM-8 modularly upgradable.
The BlieSMa silk tweeter and mid drivers are phenomenally detailed and revealing, with transient information that puts most other drivers to shame. But if you need the absolute best of the best, then upgrading these drivers to their beryllium counterparts will create a pair of speakers so revealing, you'll never make a mix mistake again.
Finally, built with the future in mind, the MUM-8 amplifier pack can be upgraded as DSP and amplifier technology improves.