Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
My name is Jonas Gygax, I’m 35 years old and music has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I am not a professional in the music sector, but I am blessed with a pair of good ears. I remember exactly how I got an acoustic guitar for my 14th birthday… My dad went to a music shop with me and told the clerk to bring five guitars into the playing room for me to try out, but he instructed him to take off the price tags. I ended up putting those five guitars into order of which one sounded the best to me. The store clerk almost couldn’t believe it, but I put them in order exactly according to their price tag (they were all Yamaha acoustic guitars). As I said, I may not be a professional, but I have good ears.
I have played various instruments since the age of about five years. Violin, Piano, Bass, Guitar, you name it. In the year 2008 I discovered making electronic music (with Drum Machines, Samplers, Sound Modules, Records, etc). Since that moment, I slowly built up a small music making setup, which kept expanding and growing over the years.
I have a small track record with underground artists in the Hip Hop genre, but nothing official. I’ve had close to a thousand subscribers on youtube and soundcloud at one point, but really nothing big. In that sense, I’m the classic small “bedroom producer”.
Beside all this, listening to music has always been a very big passion as well. This started at the age of three years when, according to my mom, I used to sit there for hours listening to classical music with headphones. In other words, music has always touched and moved me. So naturally, a good pair of headphones or speakers has always appealed to me.
How and why did you choose PSI Audio monitors?
It was more or less by accident.
I bought a used synthesizer on a swiss online auction website. When I went to the address of the seller to pick up the synth, it turned out to be a professional recording studio (pixelsound.ch). The seller let me try out the synth to make sure everything worked as described. I was sitting there testing the synthesizer in his mastering room, which happens to be equipped with PSI A25 monitors.
He then asked me what music I like and started playing a few tracks. It didn’t take long, maybe five minutes, until I asked him to please stop the music. My reasoning for this was simple: Upon hearing the A25 monitors, I was simply scared to go home and work on my own monitors again (Adam AX7). I said to Sylvain (studio owner at pixelsound): “This is clearly the best thing I have ever heard in my life.” (I have heard quite a few nice speaker setups in my life).
Since this day, I couldn’t get the sound I heard coming from the A25 monitors out of my head anymore. About two months later I ended up visiting the PSI Audio factory in Yverdon and picked up two PSI A17 monitors. I honestly couldn’t afford more than that, but was still excited like a kid on Christmas morning after auditioning them. Even the smaller models will easily blow you out of your shoes and put a huge grin on your face… goose pimples included (when playing a good reference track).
I told Roger at PSI Audio that I would prefer not to audition the A21 or A25 monitors, because I couldn’t afford them (good ears can be a curse, when you hear the difference, you usually want the thing that sounds best).
Something that also helped my decision to buy the PSI monitors was the factory tour in Yverdon. One example that stood out for me was the following:
Roger showed me some of the parts they use in production. One part in particular was the power switch for the monitors. He showed me a switch in the condition of how they receive them, and pointed out two small holes in the plastic mould and mentioned: “Here you see two small holes, which means air can go through those holes and would alter the sound”. He then proceeded to show me another power switch and said: “This is a switch after we modify them to our standards, as you can see, the holes are closed now.” Just think about this for a second. Such a small detail, but for me it was the best example how much attention to detail goes into the manufacturing of these monitor speakers.
If you get the chance, visit the factory in Yverdon and take the tour. Or watch the video on their website.
I walked out of the factory with my two A17 monitors feeling like I had just bought a truly handmade high quality product. I was convinced (and still am): This was a lifetime purchase.
Did I mention they measure the frequency response of every single monitor they build? You get an individual frequency response measurement paper in each box of every monitor ever produced there. How is that for quality control?
This whole experience really moved me. It’s hard to describe, but I’ve read a small review about PSI speakers from a random guy on gearslutz. He wrote: “These speakers changed my life.”. I remember how this made me smile a little, thinking to myself: “Yeah right, another guy who is in love with the gear he bought.”, but honestly, he was exactly right.
The A17 made me listen through all my CDs and records. I’m now on a constant quest to find the best albums (in regards to recording and mastering quality), because bad recordings sound bad in a brutally honest way, and good ones… like I said, give you immediate chicken skin!
About a month or two after purchasing the A17 monitors, I called my bank and asked for a loan to buy two A225 subs and A25 monitors (I just couldn’t get the sound out of my head anymore that I’ve heard at the pixelsound.ch studio).
I have since re-arranged my apartment for the third time and am starting to take up the task of acoustically treating it (something I never even thought about before). Like that guy on gearslutz wrote… These speakers are a life changing experience.
What are the main advantages of PSI Audio monitors?
In short: Brutally honest monitors. You can hear everything, even things you’ve never even noticed where there before.
Long answer: PSI Audio monitors are possibly the closest representation of having the live orchestra / show / band play in front of you in real life. It’s like sitting in a concert hall hearing the real thing, but on your couch at home. Especially with the A25, the speakers seem to completely disappear. Close your eyes and you are lost in a three dimensional sound stage where you can hear the triangle player cough, and exactly from which direction in the orchestra the cough is coming from… and if you were a doctor, you could probably also tell from his type of cough what is wrong with him. 🙂
This helps especially in mixing music. When you can hear every little detail, it also means you can hear every little change in equalization, level changes, effect amount, etc. You suddenly are able to pin-point sounds, to hear reverbs, compression, to hear when you overdo something, or when it needs more. Mixing becomes very intuitive as a result of this. A good friend of mine has started to bring his mixes to my place since I have the A17 monitors, as he can hear immediately if the mixes are good, or if there needs to be some changes made (he’s mixing with Event 20/20, in a much better room than mine).
I know now that if I don’t hear something correctly, it’s my room, and not the monitor speakers. In other words, I know I can trust these monitors 100%, always.
Another advantage I should mention again is that these monitors are hand-built with immense attention to detail and quality control. Soldered by hand, individually tested and measured in an anechoic chamber at the PSI factory. This is simply as good as it gets.
It’s also worth mentioning the technology they put inside these monitors. You can read the technical part of that on their website, but I can simply say: “It works and you can hear it!”. For the technology you get, and how they make everything by hand and individually test everything to perfection, you really get A LOT of value for your money.
The biggest advantage for me personally is perhaps how true to real life the PSI Audio speakers sound. I always had this experience of being moved by music, for example at a concert, or in a jazz club with a live band on stage right in front of you. When you can feel the music, when it grabs you, when it moves you… those who have experienced this will understand what I mean. The PSI monitors are able to replicate this, which is something I have NEVER experienced with other speakers in my whole life.
I remember the first evening when I was sitting at home with my newly purchased A17-M monitors. I had several moments of sitting there and commenting out loud about how incredible the sound coming from those small speakers was. I also started crying one or two times. This was then multiplied by a thousand with the A25 and A225 subwoofers.
I guess one of the best examples would be when my parents visited me and both of them took turns at listening to the A25 + sub setup. I have to mention that my mother comes from a family of professional musicians and artists and has half a century of classical music experience under her belt.
My mom is 70 years old. My dad is 80 years old and has hearing aids.
I told them to bring their favorite CDs.
I could repeatedly watch my mom getting physically moved by the music. You know, when your body shakes a little for a second from a wave of emotion, joy, amazement, etc. It was during a piece of Pavarotti where she commented out loud: “It’s so nice, it makes you cry.”
The response of my dad was more simple: “Even at 80 years and with hearing aids, I can still tell when I hear something TRULY exceptional.”
So in other words: One advantage of PSI Audio monitors is having a speaker setup which brings the concert hall, the musicians, the stage, etc. into your own room. I personally have never experienced something like this before, and it is truly a very eye-opening, emotional and moving experience.
It’s not easy to put it into words how incredible monitor speakers are made at the PSI factory. So come and have a listen, but be prepared to call your bank for a loan. 🙂