Extreme Innovation.

Opal

Opal
Introducing the Opal

The no compromise design brief for these speakers was essentially the impossible - to create the most accurate studio monitoring system available.

The Opal was to be an 8-inch two-way speaker with the same dynamic and extended mid-range as the most expensive esoteric three-way systems. It had to feature extended and powerful bass response, and have seamless and transparent integration through all the frequency range. Distortion was entirely unacceptable.

After many years of research and engineering, Event has defied conventional audio philosophy and created the Opal. Its woofer, tweeter, amplifier and cabinet all feature innovative and unique design and technology elements, combined to create one of the finest and most accurate studio monitoring systems ever released.


The Woofer

The Opal's EX8 mid-low driver is a technical innovation. As a raw speaker it provides a practically unheard of response of 30Hz -10kHz and a power handling up to a staggering 1000 watts.

Designed completely from scratch and specifically for the Opal, the EX8 is capable of reproducing mid-range frequencies with the clarity and speed of dedicated mid-range drivers. At the same time it can deliver defined and accurate frequencies down to the Opal cut off of 35Hz, without resorting to rear-porting and manipulation of the listening space.

Two proprietary EVENT technologies allow for this previously unimaginable performance from a single driver - X-Coil and XBL.

X-Coil

X-Coil refers to the use of a secondary shortening coil on the driver's pole piece. This magnetic coil is set in opposite polarity with the speaker's moving coil, creating a magnetic resistance between the two elements and dramatically increasing both the driver's control and speed of the cone. This in turn improves the mid range dynamics, while exhibiting incredibly low distortion characteristics.

XBL

Event's patented magnetic motor design, XBL, dramatically increases the effectiveness of the magnetic circuit. This has resulted in the EX8 possessing an unprecedented 36mm of linear excursion.

Paper over plastic

The EX8 features a bespoke cone comprised of a paper pulp and long strand carbon fiber composite that provides extreme stiffness and low mass. While materials such as polypropylene are popular amongst other manufacturers, paper composites provide the finest clarity and 'realness' of sound.

The Tweeter

The Opal's high frequency assembly features a metal-dome tweeter mounted in a unique elliptical waveguide.

It combines an ultra-light and rigid aluminium-magnesium alloy with a low resonance Sonomax surround to provide the Opal with unbelievable high frequency definition while minimising any distortion, this results in incredibly low harmonic distortion at all power levels, up to several factors lower than tweeters found in other esoteric Hi-fi and monitoring speakers.

Painstaking attention was given to the relationship between the tweeter dome, suspension, motor and waveguide, to ensure that output, directional control and power response was acoustically optimised, and in turn tuned to work in perfect synergy with the EX8 woofer.

Waveguide

Early in the Opal development it was decided that a detailed waveguide was critical to controlling the horizontal and vertical dispersion characteristics of the speaker system.

This in turn indicated that a metal tweeter would be required to provide the rigidity required to work correctly within a waveguide, as even shallow waveguides create an acoustic load on the surface of a speaker cone.

Opals in horizontal configuration

Have it your way

For those that prefer to work with their monitors in a horizontal position the Opal's entire waveguide assembly can be easily rotated to allow for correct usage.

The waveguide is designed to align precisely with the EX8 woofer in this orientation to minimise diffraction and discontinuities.

The Cabinet

The Opal's no compromise cabinet is cast from aluminium to provide a high level of strength and rigidity that minimises resonance.

Almost every surface on the Opal is a curvature of complex radii, minimising any diffraction that can be caused when the energy from the drivers reflect off flat surfaces.

Internally, the cabinet design is no less complex, assisting in the elimination of standing waves and resonance and thus minimising any mid-frequency leakage.

Front Porting

The Opal features front mounted bass reflex ports, contradicting current porting trends that see manufacturers placing ports at the rear of the cabinet to enhance the perception of low frequencies by relying on room reflections, or passive radiators that introduce other acoustic compromises.

The primary issue is the introduction of port noise and artifacts caused by increased air turbulence, often heard as a "puffing or "chuffing" sound. In the Opal this is overcome by the introduction of asymmetrical geometry across both the horizontal and vertical axes of each port. This variable impedance lowers the velocity and associated air distortion to the point where it is inaudible even at high output levels.

The Amplifier

Like all other elements that combine within the Opal, the amplifier is a completely custom design. With such transparent, low distortion drivers as the EX8 and ULD1 it becomes imperative that the amplifier must have the lowest distortion levels possible.

By focusing on sound circuitry design the Event engineering team has achieved a four-layer PCB that exhibits less than 0.005% total harmonic distortion (THD). Additionally a 'soft clipping' circuit is employed, allowing the signal to maintain an organic wave structure even as the amplifier eventually enters clipping. This dramatically decreases the perceived distortion of the audio signal.

1kW of Power

In order to reproduce the dynamics and transient of music facilitated by the EX8 driver, the Opal's power capabilities were focused on burst power over constant power. Up to 1kW of burst power is available to the Opal to deliver the acoustic energy required at low frequencies.

EQ Correction

The Opal's control electronics were carefully designed, using phase coherent, basic filters that maintain a flat phase response at crossover and equalisation.

A set of acoustic filters are hidden behind a panel at the front of the cabinet, allowing for painless and simple adjustment of the speaker's response curve while in position.

System

Frequency Response
35Hz - 22kHz (see graph)
Crossover Frequency
1600Hz
Crossover Type
Acoustic 8th Order (48dB/Oct)
3rd Harmonic Distortion @ 90dB SPL, 1m,
500-7kHz
0.08%
3rd Harmonic Distortion @ 90dB SPL, 1m,
200 - 20kHz
0.2%
3rd Harmonic Distortion @ 90dB SPL, 1m,
<200Hz
1.5%
Acoustic Output - SPL @ 1m, Long term
(80Hz - 20kHz)
111dB
Acoustic Output - SPL @ 1m, Peak
(80Hz - 20kHz)
114dB
Signal Input
Combo XLR, 1/4" TRS (balanced/unbalanced)
Input Sensitivity
.755 v/rms is 0dBu
AC Input Voltage
90-110V, 110-120V or 220-240V (preset at factory)
AC Input Connector
3-pin IEC
Average Long-Term Power Consumption
220 watts
Quiescent Power Consumption
<20 watts
Opal Frequency Response Opal Frequency Response vs 3rd Harmonic Distortion

Low Frequency Transducer - EX8

Piston Diameter
180mm (7.1")
Voice Coil Configuration
X-Coil double low distortion design
Voice Coil Diameter
66mm (2.6")
X-Coil Diameter
65.2mm (2.56")
Former Material
High-strength Polyamide - Glass Fiber
Voice Coil Wire
Copper Clad Al
Magnet Type
Neodymium
Magent Gap Design
XBL - Split Gap
Impedance Nominal in Cabinet
5 Ohms
Cone Type
Carbon Fiber Composite
Power Handling - Continuous Pink Noise
240 watts
Power Handling - Program Power
360 watts
Power Handling - Peak Power
720 watts
EX8 Woofer

High Frequency Transducer - ULD1

Dome Diameter
25.4mm (1")
Voice Coil Diameter
25mm (0.98")
Magnet Type
Ferrite
Impedance DCr
6 Ohms
Impedance Nominal in Cabinet
5 Ohms
Dome Type
Anodized Aluminium Magnesium Alloy
Power Handling - Continuous Pink Noise
25 watts (above 1.6kHz)
Power Handling - Program Power
50 watts (above 1.6kHz)
Power Handling - Peak Power
100 watts (above 1.6kHz)
ULD1 Tweeter

Low Frequency Amplifier

Frequency Response
20Hz - 20kHz(±0.1dB)
Operating Band Pass
20Hz - 1,600Hz
Total Harmonic Distortion
0.009% @ 300 watts into 5 Ohm load
Voltage Gain
24dB
Long Term Power @ 5 Ohms*
270 watts
Continuous Power @ 5 Ohms**
387 watts
Burst Power @ 5 Ohms***
600 watts
Output Topology
Class AB
Cooling
Convection - Aluminium Heat Sink
Opal Amplifier

High Frequency Amplifier

Frequency Response
20Hz - 20kHz(±0.1dB)
Operating Band Pass
1,600Hz - 20,000Hz
Total Harmonic Distortion
0.003% @ 300 watts into 5 Ohm load
Voltage Gain
15dB
Long Term Power @ 5 Ohms*
50 watts
Continuous Power @ 5 Ohms**
112 watts
Burst Power @ 5 Ohms***
140 watts
Output Topology
Class AB
Cooling
Convection - Aluminium Heat Sink
Opal Amplifier

Physical

Cabinet Volume
28 Litres
Cabinet Construction
High Pressure Injection-Moulded Aluminium
Cabinet Finish
Black Powdercoat
Low Frequency Vents
Two Variable Impedance Ports (patent pending)
Waveguide Construction
High Pressure Injection-Moulded Aluminium
Waveguide
Eliptical Waveguide - Rotatable
Mounting Points
Four Each - M8 Omni-mount Pattern
Cabinet Dimensions
295mmW x 450mmH x 273mmD
(11.6"W x 17.7"H x 10.8"D)
Cabinet Weight
21.2kg (46.74lb)
Shipping Dimensions
390mmW x 575mmH x 380mmD
(15.4"W x 22.6"H x 15"D)
Shipping Weight
24.3kg (53.57lb)
Operating Temperature Range
5-35°C (40-95°F)
Agency Approvals
CE, UL, CCC, C-Tick, SASO, NON, EK, PSE
Opal Cabinet

* Both high frequency and low frequency were measured simultaneously for this specification.

** Continuous power was measured using 1kHz sine wave signal.

*** Burst power was measured using a 1kHz burst tone waveform where the burst point contains four cycles (on) and the low level (off) signal contains 200 cycles.

This test succinctly represents the strain and demands placed on the amplifier by music content containing high transients.

The Event Opal

The Opal's outer cabinet and waveguide design is a near perfect marriage of acoustic science and aesthetic design.

Almost every surface is a curvature of complex radii, minimising the possibility of diffraction.

Future Music UK

“The Big Test” Monitor Shoot-out, 2009

Following their glowing review of the Opals, Future Music decided to pit them against a range of popular rivals, including the Focal Twin 6 BE, PMC TB2S-A, Equator Audio Q8 and KRK VXT8.

Things were getting tougher and after a long break the team demanded a return of the Focals and Opals... If our test team could take away one set of monitors from the day, which would it be? The answer? Eight unanimous vote for the Event Opals. Gentleman, we have a winner.

First thing you notice is the incredible bass, then you can't believe there's no mid-range driver. Built like tanks, heavy as planets and the 'most exciting' and 'in-depth sounding' monitor we've tested.

You might quibble about their 'flattery' but we'd record and mix on these every time.

It's quite rare for us to convene for our regular monitor round-up gatherings and emerge with such a clear winner but the Opals are so good, we had no such problems. These transparent speakers allow you hear an unprecedented amount of detail in your mix.

“The Opals and Focals are both great. I'd love to mix on either one but the Opals just have so much more.” - Mike Nyandoro, Engineer, Modern World Studios

“The off-axis response of the Opals sounds way better than the Focals. The sweet spot is just much wider.” - Ben Muscat, Producer/Engineer

“The Events have this massive reserve of power, so bass comes through right across the frequency range.” - Ben Muscat, Engineer, Modern World Studios

View the review and round-up [1.3MB PDF]

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Opal
Monitor of the decade 2000-2010 - “Built like tanks, heavy as planets and the 'most exciting' and 'in-depth sounding' monitor we've tested.”

Future Music UK

Robbie Stamp, 2009

The Best Monitors Ever?

The Opals sound so amazing and perform so well I am loathe to return the review pair. By 'amazing' I mean that the frequency response is frighteningly accurate across the audible range, with a wholly acceptable roll-off from ~60Hz to the vanishing point at ~30Hz.... The off-axis response is truly excellent and allows for a uniquely wide 'sweet spot' and first-rate stereo imaging...

In the time spent with the Opals, I have never tracked and mixed so effortlessly and with so little need to reference other speaker systems... I think my ears/brain started to distort before the monitors left their linear performance region!

Even bass-heavy tracks do not seem to challenge the power of the Opals. In fact I have rarely experienced such rapid low frequency amplification and found it a revelation for tweaking the transient shape of bass elements in a mix.

The Opal is a staggering achievement and the best active near-field monitor I've ever heard... The frequency accuracy, transient response, stereo imaging, construction/design quality and raw power of the Opal is staggering and worth more than the price.

I can't recommend this monitor enough, so if you've got the money do not hesitate to buy them. If you don't quite have the money, wait until you have - it will be worth it.

Easily the best active monitor you can get for the money and sets a new standard for the industry.

View the review and round-up [1.3MB PDF]

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Opal
“The Opal is a staggering achievement and the best active near-field monitor I've ever heard...”

TapeOp

Brandon Miller

Fairly young and becoming something of an instant legend, the Event Opal is getting tons of attention. It's not often that a company scales a rather diverse monitor range down to a single product (recently updated to two). So is the attention all hype, or has Event once again created a new class of speakers as they did with the original Event 20/20 (Tape Op #18)? After a few months of really hammering a pair of Opal monitors, it's obvious that Event has a truly unique product that's going to continue to impact the audio industry for a long time to come.

Okay, so it's wild to look at, but what comes out is the important part, and what you get is, in short, unbelievable sound. The incredible transient response achieved by the Opal means no smearing and an amazing soundstage. The first time I powered the Opal pair on, I called our entire staff of composers to our theater to hear what was coming out of them. As I scanned through a number of familiar songs, I was blown away by the well-defined space each instrument occupied.

The first obvious trait of the Opal is its low-end response. It's tight. Like ridiculously tight. Tight like nothing I've ever experienced before. A kick drum at 50 Hz has thunderous power all while not stepping on a bass line at 100 Hz in the least - each having amazing presence. The other thing that becomes quickly obvious and that really sets these speakers apart is the fact that this powerfully tight low end comes with no flattery (and no port noise at all) - something super common in other speakers. There are two proprietary technologies in the woofer alone that lend themselves to this characteristic - XBL being an Event-patented magnetic motor that allows the woofer to linearly extend much farther than other woofers, and X-Coil allowing it to move much faster and with greater control - thus enabling the Opal to produce much lower frequencies with much greater accuracy and almost zero distortion. Clarity across the rest of the spectrum is equally impressive, and phase response is linear throughout - even when using the onboard EQ controls. In something as complex percussively as a Fela Kuti song, it's incredible the way you can aurally "see" where each individual instrument is sitting.

Working on my own music from start to finish with just the pair of Opals, this is where I also started to realize how comfortable the speakers were to work with. Fatigue wasn't an issue at all, and I felt like the fine art of carefully placing all the elements in a mix was made simple due to the accuracy of the Opal. The value of immediately hearing where new elements sit properly can't be overstated. For anybody making music or involved in critical listening, this is a huge part of the game - putting ideas down and knowing they'll translate well the way you're hearing them.

I really, really enjoy working on these speakers, and I think the Event legend will continue to grow. Massively powerful, no distortion, excellent translation, comfortable to work on for extended periods, and great clarity across the board - the Event Opal is a welcome addition to my mixing desk.

Read the whole review on tapeop.com

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“After a few months of really hammering a pair of Opal monitors, it's obvious that Event has a truly unique product that's going to continue to impact the audio industry for a long time to come.”

Mix Magazine

George Petersen, 2009

These sound great right out of the box... Tracking drums on a large analog board, the Opals shined.

They had no problem handling extreme dynamic range. The reproduction of extremely fast transients on snare and cymbals was impressive, like I was standing in front of the kit, rather than seated in the control room.

Thanks to the 600-watt LF amps and the driver design, the level and acceleration speed to the woofers is incredible.

Opals seem to have an inexhaustible amount of headroom and there was no distortion at all. The net effect was like listening to a large three-way system, with chest thumping bass that was full, yet never out of control.

Traditionally the Achilles' heel in most two-way designs, Opals' excellent midrange definition and detail made a huge difference when working with vocals, letting me clearly hear nuances in mic/preamp selections when tracking or making subtle signal processing decisions in the mix. And piano/flute/violin session playbacks showcased the invisibility of the crossover point, which was totally seamless. The balance between lows, mids and upper-end was spot-on at any level-so mixing on Opals was an absolute pleasure. Thanks to the low-distortion performance, there was almost no hearing fatigue, even over long listening periods. You can mix on these for days on end.

Designed to match that of the woofer, the HF waveguide's horizontal splay provides wide, even coverage with smooth response, with no off-axis smearing and a well-defined left/right soundstage over a fairly wide listening area.

With the Opals, Event has created a world-class system that may become the new standard. Combining absolute accuracy and large three-way performance from a relatively compact two-way system, serious studio pros will definitely want to give these a listen.

Read the whole review on mixonline.com

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Opal
“The reproduction of extremely fast transients on snare and cymbals was impressive, like I was standing in front of the kit rather than seated in the control room.”

James Lavelle

Artist, DJ, Producer - UNKLE, James Lavelle, MoWax

They're f**king great! They've got really great definition of both the quiet and loud sounds. Spot on, the range is fantastic.

Working on both levels it's so clear, it's brilliant. Our records [UNKLE] are so dense and bass heavy which can push speakers to distort quite a lot, where as the clarity on these, to mix, you can really monitor well between both areas of sound.

I had a tough time mixing this record [Where Did the Night Fall], and there are some elements I'm not 110% happy with. That was because we were moving between a lot of different speakers. We ended up using the Questeds, but the problem is that they're super bass heavy, which is good for dance music, but we had to keep changing the speakers. These sound really consistent in going between different genres of sound.

Very very very very impressed.

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James Lavelle
“...the clarity on these, to mix, you can really monitor well between both areas of sound.”

Sound on Sound

Paul White, 2009

When fed with high-quality material from a known audio CD, the first thing you notice is the lack of upper-mid coloration that can make a monitor sound squawky or over-presumptuous.

Instead, the mid-range is laid out clearly, revealing things that other speakers might miss, so when you feed in a mix that has problems, they show up very obviously. The low end is deep and powerful, but at the same time very tightly controlled: when playing a damped kick drum, you don't get that resonant overhang that afflicts many more budget speakers... in this respect, there are parallels with high-end speakers from the likes of ATC and PMC.

The stereo imaging is exceptionally clear and wide, with a solid sense of centre-panned sounds as well as those things off to the side, and transient detail is rendered very precisely and smoothly. Some 'ultra accurate' speakers attract criticism for sounding a little uninteresting, but that's not the case with the Opals: they act as a clean window into the mix... Indeed I'd love to have a pair of these in the lounge for serious music listening.

I'm impressed: I can't remember when I last enjoyed working with new monitors as much as I enjoyed working with these, and there was nothing about the sound that felt wrong or out of place.

Read Paul's whole Opal review on soundonsound.com

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Opal
“I can't remember when I last enjoyed working with new monitors as much as I enjoyed working with these.”

James Wilshire of Freemasons

Producer, Artist

Firstly, I've heard nothing but praise from reviewers, industry friends and retailers (including some people who I really trust). Secondly, they go down to about 35HZ quite effortlessly, and have so much latent power behind them that you know in normal working conditions they will sound really controlled. Finally, just like Beyonce, you know they're good looking, but the more carefully you study them, the more attractive they become.

It took me all of 10 very excited minutes to set the Event Opals up and get sound out of them.... These speakers simply sound amazing.

For me the beauty spot is the mid range upwards. It is crystal clear without any of the harshness I've noticed on many other high brand monitors connected to purely digital sources, and incredibly easy on the ears. However, don't mistake this clarity and ease of listening with the rose-tinted experience that some speakers offer you. Even on the first day of using the Event Opals, I found myself tutting constantly while listening back to recently mixed material only to hear glaring and simple mistakes that I'd made in the past month.

But the tracks that I'd gotten right sounded wonderful. In my opinion, vocals and drum sounds particularly benefit, which made me excited about future mixes. I was also surprised by the stereo image. I'm no expert in this field, but my first impressions were that some records sounded wide and deep, whereas others were surprisingly flat and one dimensional in comparison.

To test [the Opal's] low-end, I started throwing up current work and having a play with it. I got a real shock. To say some that of our tracks were messy down there is an understatement.

Using the Opals, for the first time I could hear the awful results of my not having set the parameters on these effects properly. The terrible out-of-time sub-wobble that I'd put down to bad club systems in the past suddenly appeared in our room, and it made me realise just how much of the bottom octave I'd been missing for the last few years. But what really got me excited was how darn easy it suddenly was to put right. On a few occasions it just meant some playing with the compressor's release time to get everything singing again. Finally it was easy to place a kick drum!

Within a week I'd settled into using the Event Opal monitors so well that they've become trusted friends.

I actually get excited about turning the speakers on as they've added so much value to all the plug-ins that I've bought over the years. I find I'm using much narrower Q's now on EQ as I can actually hear the results in so much detail, and our constant fight to have a clean and punchy bottom end is finally getting somewhere. This may sound like quite a gushing report on them, but I believe that it's rightly so.

Read James' complete Opal experience on dv247.com (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

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UK Production team, Freemasons The Opals at home in Snake's studio
“...it made me realise just how much of the bottom octave I'd been missing for the last few years. But what really got me excited was how darn easy it suddenly was to put right.”

Snake Newton

FOH specialist - Robbie Williams, Duran Duran

Considering they are on the front line night after night, live sound engineers rarely get the opportunity to create a name for themselves in the same way as studio engineers. Snake Newton is perhaps the exception who proves this rule, having worked front-of-house for TV award shows including the MTV Europe awards, the MOBOs, the Brits, and with artists including Sugababes, Duran Duran and most recently Robbie Williams.

For Snake, the Opals deliver a range of audio that can't be found elsewhere: "The classic problem when doing pre-production with small speakers is that when you put it through a PA, the sub is crushing, because you have no real reference to that area."

"The thing I've found with the Opals is the extended bass and the lack of distortion, which means it's very close to hearing the sound you would hear from a PA. I don't have to think about compensating for a lack of bass-end. So when I did the first of Robbie's shows at the BBC Electric Proms with the Opals it all fell straight into place with the PA."

It didn't take much time for Snake to decide that the Opals were the way to go: "I got my hands on a demo pair and I was very impressed right from the beginning. I ordered my own pair the very same day. Even one-on-one the difference between these and my previous monitors is huge. I could immediately tell that the bottom end was a hell of a lot deeper and the mids were much more accurate. The sweet spot is almost imperceptible; there obviously is a sweet spot, but it's not that different to the rest of the soundfield. The field across the speakers is so even I was taken aback. In the past, I've noticed that I sometimes end up mixing guitar-light during long sessions due to listening fatigue. That doesn't seem to happen with the Opals at all."

His new monitors have even meant Snake feels more comfortable taking creative risks with his pre-production programming: "If you have no accurate reference point, that level of programming is going to lead to disaster. This is the first time I've felt confident enough to not put anything through the PA before show-day. We just rocked up at the Roundhouse for the Electric Proms show and off we went. Now I'm stuck with the problem that maybe I need two pairs, one for the studio and one for the road, instead of carting them up and down the motorway all the time!"

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Snake Newton and his Opals
“...the difference between these and my previous monitors is huge. I could immediately tell that the bottom end was a hell of a lot deeper and the mids were more accurate.”

Ty Ford

F**king Great! Surprising definition, three dimensional recreation of soundstage, wide sweet spot, no sub-woofer required. You need to hear the Opals.

There's a much bigger difference in sound among CDs produced in different studios, as if a blanket has been removed from the monitors.

I can hear the depth and dimension of the soundstage on orchestral sessions. It's a 7.1 LF driver, but I don't need a sub-woofer.

Mastering engineers will really appreciate the Opals.

At least as significant as the Myers HD-1 when they first came out.

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Opal
“F**king Great! At least as significant as the Myers HD-1 when they first came out.”

Michael Stavrou

Author “Mixing with Your Mind”

The Opals are amazing on so many levels. Even someone as experienced as me found surprises.

We tend to think about speakers in terms of their colour, tone, and frequency response. Of course these elements are much better but what's got me is how the Opals reveal the dynamics of the mix so well.

They are so fast and clean without any of the sloppiness of existing speakers, that you can instantly hear the effects of compression and differentiate that from the compression of the air in the room between the speakers and your ears.

For years I've learned the virtues of mixing with the monitors much further away than most engineers mix. I like to use the springy air in the room for effect.

The Opals let you hear that air with incredible clarity because the boxes don't soak up the sound before it hits the air. I can hear the air more easily and make decisions more confidently.

The moment I played a mix I had started on lesser speakers to hear its progress on the Opals I knew exactly what I had to do. I had too much of my third echo effect on the drums, too much kick. The sounds now correlate with the VU meters better.

The bass needed some EQ and was impressed at how now as I fished around the different frequencies I could hear each one. Before I just assumed that this particular bass guitar did not contain energy at what seemed to be dead spots but with the Opals there were no dead spots in the bass.

It's as though the Opals are so clear and lacking of any overriding colour of their own that the colour of the sound itself becomes the dominant attribute - This was a surprise.

Some speakers beef up the sound to impress you and give you a false impression of reality, while the Opals just do their best to step out of the way to hand the sound over to the air in your room with the shortest path of resistance.

For many years I have been concerned how the digital age has lowered the standard of acceptable distortion levels in our audio productions, what with low-fi mp3s and a general degrading of the audio signal path to cheaper and cheaper amplifiers, ear buds, etc.

The Event Opals are so noticeably low in distortion that any distortion in program material that you send them becomes clearly visible to address.

What a fabulous creative tool! They are also just more fun!

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Opal
“It's as though the Opals are so clear and lacking of any overriding colour of their own that the colour of the sound itself becomes the dominant attribute.”

MusicRadar.com

Monitor of the year, 2009

...the frequency accuracy, transient response, stereo imaging and construction/design are all incredible. This is a speaker that you can trust completely and won't fatigue your ears even during mammoth listening sessions.

View on musicradar.com

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Opal
Monitor of the year, 2009

Pro Audio Review

Ty Ford, 2009

Very clear, very clean, good stereo image and curiosity as to how the Opals were capable of such a low end given the 7.1" driver...

The Opals are not small, but their impressive low end certainly makes them sound bigger than they look.

I was very struck by their transparency, how dimensional the sound field was and how live the instruments and voices sounded.

Given what they offer, I think the Opals may be underpriced

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Opal
“I was very struck by their transparency, how dimensional the sound field was and how live the instruments and voices sounded.”

Music Tech Magazine

Huw Price, 2009

Bad mixes will be ruthlessly exposed, so if you're used to hyped bass and the overblown midrange characteristics of some well-known studio monitors, you might be in for a shock.

The Opals are brutally honest and will not gloss over the high-frequency failings of cheap Chinese condensers, heavy-handed compression or over-cooked EQ.

Every frequency seems to occupy its own space in a faultless frequency balance, yet it all sounds joined up too.

The bass is deep, extremely well controlled and utterly effortless. Even in our moderately treated room we experienced no boominess and kick drum dynamics and harmonic content came over superbly.

Percussion sounds incredibly realistic and the sweet spot is as wide as promised; imaging is as crisp as we've ever experienced. These monitors could change your life - frankly we can't really fault them.

View on musictechmag.co.uk

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Opal
“These monitors could change your life - frankly we can't really fault them.”

Resident Advisor

Jono Buchanan, 2010

"...Again, the sound won me over quickly; the bass monitoring is extremely impressive, living up to its zero-distortion billing and offering extremely good detailing even at super-low frequencies. Again, the sound doesn't set out to impress you with gimmicks, instead sounding rounded and, for want of a better expression, completely in control. What also impressed me was the consistency of the monitoring at high and low levels. These are speakers which enjoy being cranked up to impressively loud levels without showing off but also present you with accurate, detailed mixes at lower levels.

Do the Opals justify their hype and almost universal praise? In a word, yes. These are fantastic speakers which offer a hugely pleasing, immediately familiar sound which doesn't falsely flatter the mixes you pump through them but don't make you work unnecessarily hard either. In this way, they almost encourage you to do your best work, with a rich, wide frequency response and plenty of space to allow you to make creative decisions about how to construct your mix positively rather than immediately making you feel you have to squeeze elements of their frequency content in order to fit the space. Particular praise needs to be reserved for the stereo imaging, which is wonderful, with a generously wide optimum listening area, negating the common need for producers to leap out of their chairs to encourage clients to hear their mixes in the sweet spot.

Monitoring of this quality comes at a correspondingly high price, but for producers fortunate enough to be in a position to invest at this level, the Opals are certainly amongst the best monitors I've heard in this price range. I'm seriously considering buying a pair myself and what higher praise can I offer than that?"

Read the whole review on residentadvisor.net

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Resident Advisor
“In this way, they almost encourage you to do your best work, with a rich, wide frequency response and plenty of space to allow you to make creative decisions about how to construct your mix positively...”

Audio Technology

Andy Stewart, 2009

I've done a lot of listening to the Opals in recent weeks and to cut to the chase, they're one of the most revealing two-way reference speakers I've ever heard - and I've heard countless nearfields over the years. Whether it be a fret squeak, a miss-hit drum or a subtle overdub tucked away in the corner, the Opals bring out the detail in mixes and the tracking of single instruments with great finesse and brutal detail simultaneously. Their tonal balance is excellent and their bottom-end extension very impressive.

The stereo image presented by these powerful speakers creates the perfect illusion: the monitors themselves seem to vanish from view, leaving you with nothing but a big, glorious soundstage in which to work. Very few speakers have ever tricked my brain to this extent before.

In the dark and with the Opals' backlit 'Event' logos switched off, it's as if the whole control room is the speaker. They don't just make you look left and right, but somehow up and down, near and far as well. Good mixes hang uncannily in the air like a giant sphere rather than a horizontal plane.

The placement of sounds inside this three dimensional space is quite incredible; asymmetrical reverbs stay localised to where they've been panned, acoustic instruments draw you to their position with startling resolve, and the air around individual elements can be heard breathing, rising and falling with the music.

The Opals also make light work of uncompressed, highly dynamic instruments like drums and piano etc that studio tracking sessions invariably dish out. This is one of their greatest strengths in fact. Good Studio monitors must be able to do the hard work of representing loud and highly transient dynamic signals without falling on their arse or distorting the signal... Here the Opals shine, handling a typical tracking session with nonchalant ease. Again their clarity creates the illusion that you could actually step forward onto the soundstage. If my console hadn't been in the way I reckon I'd have given it a go.

Distortion seems effectively non-existant at reasonable listening levels, which gives rise to the extraordinary clarity of the soundstage. Other respectable speaker brands seem decidedly tired and mediocre by comparison.

The Opal is crystal clear, and any distortion is most certainly at the source, not the components.

The Event Opals are one of the surprise packets of 2009. They're incredibly well realised speakers with virtually no flaws I could determine. If you're in the market for nearfields they're definitely a compelling option worthy of serious consideration.

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Opal
“the monitors themselves seem to vanish from view, leaving you with nothing but a big, glorious soundstage in which to work. Very few speakers have ever tricked my brain to this extent before.”

Hayward Parrott

Producer, St. Cecilia Studios

I tell you, they're probably one of the finest sets of speakers I've ever owned in my life.

They're the best speakers for making me work to make my mixes sound good. If you put mediocre work through them, it sounds mediocre, but when you put really good work in there - like, Juno or Grammy Award-winning work - you can't help but go, 'Holy Shit!' You know why those mixes are getting attention.

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Opal
“they're probably one of the finest sets of speakers I've ever owned in my life”

CX Magazine

Jimmy D, 2009

We set up the Opals in the studio and plugged in a CD player, then Peter played us a couple of tracks he selected from a CD. One of them included piano. Andy was the first to make an observation: he could hear two different microphones on the piano in Left and Right respectively. He could also tell that they were different types of mic.

Everything sat where it was supposed to - there are a few inadequacies in the track and these showed up where I expected them to. Top end is accurate without being over-present.

You can only mix the things you can hear, but so far as the Opals are concerned your ears will probably limit before the speakers do.

Read the whole review on juliusmedia.com

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Opal
“You can only mix the things you can hear, but so far as the Opals are concerned your ears will probably limit before the speakers do.”

Andrew Davidson

Opal owner

I set them up in the afternoon and continued to sit in amazement until late night, early morning. I put on every record from every genre in my collection, racking my brains thinking of long forgotten tracks that were sonically superior, be they old or new. Every single track just had this amazing 'living' sound, with an 'unheard before' quality to it. I could finally hear my music. I kid you not; there were moments of sheer musical bliss, complete with goose-bumps and maybe even a tear in eye!

The first thing that struck me is what a lot of the press has also mentioned, and that's the absolute lack of mid-range distortion, at any reasonable level (and when I say reasonable, I mean I haven't even got close to making them sweat). This comes in part from the zero time delay difference between the two cones in each box. On good quality source material, the clarity of the mid frequencies is nothing short of amazing. For example, if there are several sounds or instruments in the mid range at once, like a sharp transient-ey guitar, and a smooth piano chord and say, a harmonica, they simply remain completely separate. My mind struggles to believe what I'm hearing. One is layered over the other, yet they never seem to touch. The sound stage is that incredible.

I must admit I had a few reservations before hearing them. For one, when it comes to tweeters I've always been a 'soft-dome' guy. I never liked the Mackie style forward and uber-dry mixes. Every bit of music I made on Mackie's I wanted to drown in reverb, if only to make my ears relax. Although the Opals are reasonably bright and tough in the top end, compared to say an Adam ribbon tweeter, they are so clean and crisp that all doubts just melt away when you hear a string section surge forward in the mix. I sit around and wait for that string section in every track! Another reservation I had was purely an aesthetic one, in that I thought the Opals were dead-set hideously ugly. All that 'Complex Radii'... Couldn't they have made the outside square while the inside curved? But you know what? You really do get used to 'em. Even love them. Especially the very imposing horn plates, which scream 'listen to me!'

The beam of the Tweeters is massively wide. How can they do this? I move my head from side to side, stand up and sit right down. Hell, I even get up and walk around and the image from the tweets is utterly stable. My entire control room is now the sweet spot. This was never the case previously. Yes, the bass changes near the walls, but I swear the tweets have motion sensing cameras and just follow me around the room... I've heard that with some other comparable monitor brands you have to use the software to point the beams at you, and when they lock in, they lock in. This seems the antithesis to the radiating light that is the Opal tweeters.

High sounds remain full and rich, even at relative volumes. There's a ride cymbal hit in a track by 'Lior', panned three-quarters to the right, and I believe it scared the crap out of me with its realism. But more on the mid range, which is I think the defining characteristic of these two way speakers. The Crossover point seems non-existant. Truly a three way sound in a two-way box. A warmly recorded vocal (again, Lior) will sit smack bang in the centre of the stage, and pronounce a thick and rich mid range that has changed the way I'll be recording vocals. I will not be eq'ing anymore vocals 'upwards' to get them to poke out from the sludge. I won't needlessly be pushing 'air' into a sound, thereby degradating it, to feel like I'm breathing life into a dull track. The Opals have lighted the path, and shone a critical eye over my mixing.

The technology behind the low drivers is also worth a read... For me, this aspect of the speaker has taken the longest to adjust to. But after many hours over the last two weeks of just shuffling through music, I am coming to terms with the low end. Although my musical taste is wide, and I produce many varied forms of music for myself and other people, my primary bread and butter is progressive trance, with lashings of techno. I've been doing this successfully for over ten years now. It's essential that I have deep (very deep) bass response, and a quick bass response, too. The most important freq range of my music is from 40Hz up to say 300Hz. I've been getting it wrong for a while now, I see this now. Even worse, I've been releasing music that didn't match up. My old boxes hid freqs and boosted others that made me mix in error. Sure, I learned to deal with them and compensate, and I've done some really nice mixes, but nothing really beats having the honesty right there in front of you. I've already noticed it takes less than half the time and far less headaches to do anything. I just zone in on a frequency, and correct it. No more guessing.

As you can tell, I'm a very happy customer... There really is something about these speakers. Believe the hype.

Read Andrew's whole Opal review on the soundonsound.com forums.

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Opal
“I could finally hear my music. I kid you not; there were moments of sheer musical bliss, complete with goose-bumps and maybe even a tear in eye!”

Anthony Howells

TV, film and documentary music producer

audiotony.com

"My search for [studio monitors] now has ended. I am officially in love with a speaker all over again. I was really searching for a replacement monitor which would provide the low end of the [Dynaudio BM15A]s, with better clarity and transient response, and improvements in most areas with a price that would hopefully leave me with some change. Well, they cost a little more than what I can get for my Dynaudios... but there is no turning back.

I got them with a return policy of try before buy. I really didn't need it because they are staying on the stands. Firstly they represent music the way I want to hear it exactly! They are a joy to listen too. I was worried at first because I thought things sounded too good on them, where the [Focal Twin 6]s seem to reveal perhaps a little more bringing out some faults in a mix. They reveal more than the Dynes... leaning toward the Twins. They have a solid low end and extremely good transient response that I thought would result in perhaps a bass light mix at the other end.

Which brings it down to... the main thing at the end of the day is translation. This is where for me, in my studio, they shine beyond any of the others. The first mix I did on the Opals translates perfectly. I can't explain it, I thought they were a little flattering or something but the proof is in the pudding. No mix I ever did on the Dynes or the Twins translated as perfectly. Bear in mind I've only spent a few weeks with the Opals and seven years with the Dynes.

I also just love kicking back and listening to them. So on the whole I would very highly recommend them.

I am not affiliated in any way with Event or RØDE, and I have no reason to gush over them other than the fact that I have fallen in love."

Read Anthony's whole Opal review on the gearslutz.com forums.

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Opal
“My search for [studio monitors] now has ended. I am officially in love with a speaker all over again.”

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