So my pal Craig Smith stops by one day and says, "Hey, they have these little RCA speakers down at Radio Shack that are just like Auratones." So I laugh (not at Craig, but at Radio Shack, the butt of many jokes around here) and file this info away for future reference. Then the next time I'm in Radio Shack, I see these little speakers sitting there, and they do look a lot like Auratones - plus they are on sale for $14.99 each - so I buy two. These ratty little speakers are a pretty good reference. They have a honky 3" speaker in a plastic enclosure - pretty horrible when you think about it, but fairly useful when you notice what people are listening to your mixes on in the real world. I never really make many changes to a mix while listening to these monsters, but finding out if your balances can survive this "lowest common denominator" is a good thing. The best $30 upgrade I've made to my studio! (

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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