Up Close with Reftone Speakers


Long recognized for his expertise in the field of audio recording, production and technical design, Dave Hampton—through his company MATK—maintains his reputation for creating unique audio solutions. As a technical consultant, he has played a crucial role in supporting the production and engineering of projects for numerous artists, including Herbie Hancock, Prince, Maxwell, Babyface, Justin Timberlake, Chicago, Marcus Miller and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

In the course of doing studio design work for various clients, he was asked to produce numerous custom studio solutions. Most notably, he was
asked to create a replacement for the Auratone studio monitors that emerged in the 70s. Hampton, who began his career in product development at Oberheim Electronics, responded by creating Reftone Speakers, passive near-field reference monitors that allow users to hear the full range of sounds clearly at low volumes, for accuracy and placement.

Designed as a reasonably priced ($299) “confidence check” for a wide range of users, Reftone Speakers (http://reftone.com) are small reference speakers­—“mini-monitors” for all types of audio work.

Geared toward helping the user check their sound while recording, mixing, mastering, broadcasting and video editing, the functionality and small size of the speakers translates to numerous audio visual environments. They allow the user to check their sound during all stages of audio production, from tracking and mixing to editing and mastering.

“All types of content creators appreciate Reftone Speakers’ combination of classic audio principles and proprietary driver design,” says Lisa Chamblee Hampton, Project Coordinator for Reftone and a veteran producer and tracking engineer. Dave adds, “Our design emphasizes a high quality plywood-based cabinetry—which is a far cry from the basic particleboard cabinets that similar speakers in earlier generations were housed in.

“In essence, we took a concept that was popular in the ‘70s when music was more acoustic and less artificial tones were being reproduced…and updated it for the variety of sonic environments that exist today. Today, you have to be mindful of everyone who is creating audio and visual content, as well as the new tools they use such as, software instruments, and plug-ins that generate and alter harmonics. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the way everyone worked back when there were few options and you had to train your ears to listen, and the way things are done today.

According to Dave, Reftone Speakers are an additional reference point for
listeners. “They let you hear the full range of audio clearly, and give the user the ability to work longer without fatigue at a lower volume—even in an era where the concepts of ‘bigger’ and ‘louder’ are promoted as the norm.”

The four keys to what makes Reftone different are: accuracy, clarity, portability and affordability. Accuracy refers to the full range of audio without the high and low end hype of a powered monitor. Clarity, due to its focus on the mid range details. Portability, because they’re small, lightweight and ideal
for travel or when desk space is at a premium. And last, affordability.
“The $299/pr price makes Reftone a tool that is accessible to everyone,” explains Dave.

Lisa, currently the studio manager of Oasis Mastering, has traveled to many places sharing the gospel of Reftone, winning over new users simply by sharing the value they have in her work as a producer. “When I use speakers, I’m listening to all the details so
I don’t make mistakes I would have to fix later,” she says. “These allow me to hear what’s in the mix in real time, the correct volume levels and what frequencies are being represented.

“The ability to hear and make adjustments to the little things make all the difference,” she continues. “I especially like to use them when tracking vocals, because the speakers allow me to be critical on issues like mic placement.”

Contact Reftone, 888-339-0006 http://reftone.com