Owner Guy Charbonneau selects JBL 708P reference monitors for their exceptional accuracy, transparency and smooth frequency response
Emmy® award-winning audio engineer and studio-owner Guy Charbonneau recently equipped Le Mobile, a remote recording and mixing studio custom-built into the back of a semi-truck, with JBL Professional 7 Series reference monitors.
Guy has relied on the accuracy and transparency of JBL monitors for more than 40 years to mix legendary artists like Joni Mitchel, Eric Clapton, Sting and more. Le Mobile has been equipped with a custom tri-amped JBL monitoring system since it was first designed in 1977. In fact, the system in Le Mobile has been personally tuned by former Director of JBL Technology Mark Gander over the years, who met Charbonneau while he was demonstrating Le Mobile at the AES trade show in the 1980s.
Recently, Guy and his son Ian were asked to record and mix “Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration Live”, a tribute concert that was held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles to celebrate Joni Mitchell’s 75th birthday. The performance will be released as a PBS special as well as a 16-song live album and DVD, and features an all-star band under the direction of Brian Blade and Jon Cowherd with performances by Diana Krall, James Taylor, Norah Jones, Los Lobos, Emmylou Harris, Graham Nash, Seal, Brandi Carlile, Chaka Khan, Glen Hansard and Rufus Wainwright.
Guy mixed the performance in Le Mobile using JBL Professional 708P reference monitors, which he selected for their stunning detail, clarity and smooth frequency response. The new JBL 7 Series monitors have changed his approach to mixing live shows, allowing him to mix at low levels without losing any detail.
“My approach to recording a live show is to really feel the show, and sometimes you have to monitor fairly loud to do that,” said Guy. “But with the 708s, you don’t have to play them very loud to feel something. It makes a big difference when you’re working 14 or 16-hour days. The 708s are very transparent and pleasant. You can work long hours without having to turn them up as loud as other monitors.”
Ian says the new JBL 708Ps have been very reliable both in the studio and on location.
“JBL has done an incredible job with the 708s,” said Ian Charbonneau, Engineer, Le Mobile. “Even the compression driver is very smooth. And whether you play them at low level or high level, they’re still extremely pleasant. That’s a big plus in those monitors, and I think they sound very solid. They’re definitely not a vanity product like a lot of studio monitors today—these are workhorses. The 708s are well built for many applications, whether it’s a broadcast or studio environment.”
Guy fell in love with the even and balanced imaging of JBL 7 Series monitors while working in studios with large-format consoles in New York. Since installing a pair in Le Mobile, Guy has been using the 7 Series monitors to ensure his mixes will translate to other systems.
“You don’t have to sit in one place—you can move left or right, stand up or sit down and the sound doesn’t change,” said Guy. “Most speakers aren’t like that, you have to be in the right spot. But the 708s sound good no matter where you sit. They translate well to any source—I can listen on the little speakers in my kitchen, in my car, or even on my laptop and everything is still there. If it sounds good on the JBLs, it will sound good anywhere.”
Ian says his favorite thing about the new JBL 708Ps is how they complement the existing JBL system in Le Mobile.
“I’ve probably owned every pair of speakers JBL has released over the years,” said Ian. “They’ve made some great speakers, but these really stood out to me. Right away, I recognized that sound. This is the JBL I remember when I was younger. The 708s translate so well to our original mains from 40 years ago, it’s like a father and son relationship.”
The 16-track “Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration” concert CD and DVD are currently available for pre-order, and is set for release on March 8, 2019.