Tyler Acoustics Decade D2 Loudspeaker Review (Part 2)

Nearly ten months ago I posted the Tyler Acoustics Decade D2 loudspeaker review, part 1. I upgraded Nagasaki Sound’s main mastering studio monitors with the D2’s, as they seemed to be exactly what I was looking for at the time.  I spent a good deal of that blog post basically saying 3 simple things. They are big, they are extremely well-made, and our custom black/copper versions are sexy as hell. I promised to followup shortly with a performance review, but didn’t anticipate how crazy our schedule would become. Here we are, nearly a year later, and I’m determined to finish this. Its actually for the better, as the extra experience with the Decade D2’s has led me to a more informed perspective. So, let’s get to it.

Tyler Acoustics Decade D2 Loudspeaker Review (Part 2)

First Listen, a.k.a. “WTF Did I Just Do?!?”

Tyler Acoustics Decade D2 review

Tyler Acoustics Decade D2: mastering loudspeakers @ Nagasaki Sound

After setting up the Decades in the mastering studio and hooking them up to a pair of Emotiva UPA-1 mono blocks, I pulled up my “Release the Kraken” Spotify playlist. Its filled with sweet nursery rhymes from the likes of Dimmu Borgir, Mercenary, Devin Townsend, and Kalmah. Yes, Spotify isn’t ideal audio quality, but I was in a rush. I hit play, slowly turned up the volume, and freaked out. They sounded just bad. All midrange, very boxy, and cluttered. For the next 20 minutes or so, my despair grew as everything I played sounded truly horrible. All I could think about was the hassle it was going to be packing these big boys back up for return. It was then that I remembered something Ty (Tyler Acoustics’ namesake) had mentioned earlier. He warned me that they would need a good bit of breaking in. As I was really concerned about the lack of bass response, I pulled up a Chopped and Screwed  playlist and let Paul Wall work the Decade D2’s for the weekend.

Upon returning to the studio Monday morning, the sounds I heard put a smile on my face. There were those mids, but now flanked by tight lows and a burgeoning top end. OK, there’s hope. The frequency response was still not quite there yet, but if things kept moving in this direction, maybe this would work out. I continued to work in the studio for the next week using our nearfield Focal monitors for critical client projects, letting the Tyler Decade D2’s rock out overnight to various playlists. At the end of that week, I knew we were keeping them.

The Brutal Truth

After about 200 hours the Decade D2’s frequency response filled out and I became fairly accustomed to their sound. These speakers are great mastering monitors for me because they are absolutely unforgiving. They are very accurate, revealing every detail in a mix. If you are looking for a flattering or hyped sound, look elsewhere. If a recording is done well, it will sound great on these. If not, the Decade’s will brutally expose every flaw in the mix, which is perfect for mastering. These monitors have highlighted nuances and details in music that I’ve been listening to for years, but never heard before. I’m not a Pink Floyd superfan, but DSOTM is sick on these. Actually, most classic rock sounds really amazing on the Decade D2’s, and I think its due to the fact that they excel with very dynamic material. Which also brings me to the one thing you need to be aware of if considering a purchase. These speakers don’t do well with bad mixes or smashed, clipped, distorted music. I can’t really fault the Decades for that. They just expose every little flaw in a recording. For example, Sleigh Bells’ Treats is not a pleasant experience on the Tylers. That’s not to say that all heavy music sounds bad on them. Sepultura’s Roots sounds great, as does Metallica’s Black Album. Many other speakers cover up modern music’s flaws with hyped and/or inaccurate frequency response. The Tyler Decade D2’s pull no punches, which is why they are great for our mastering studio.

For more information:

Tyler Acoustics website: www.tyleracoustics.com

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