Focusrite VRM Box: Speaker & Room Simulator Through Headphones

SAN FRANCISCO - Focusrite was showing VRM Box at Macworld Expo this week, a device that brings multiple pairs of studio, reference, home, car, and other speakers and to a set of headphones, allowing musicians and producers to test how their song sounds in many and more environments with just one device.

VRM Box is a digital signal processer (DSP) in a small form factor that features a volume controller (as seen in the images below). When used with companion software on your Mac or Windows PC, the user can choose from one of several speakers and pairs of speakers, adjust where you, the listener is sitting, and the box then processes the sound to emulate that speaker and its environment.

VRM Box Software Control

KRK’s studio monitors were chosen as the speaker, and the listener (in green) can be positioned as needed

The software currently includes several licensed professional studio monitors, as well as a set of living room/office environments, such as a plasma TV or LCD display. The company said that each of these environments was sampled and modeled using the company’s proprietary methods.

VRM Box Front

The VRM Box requires a pair of quality headphones that are “flat,” meaning that they don’t artificially alter the sound (like a bass boost) in a way that would interfere with the device’s own artificial sound modelling. It includes USB-in and S/PDIF-in ports (on the back, as you can see in the image below).

VRM Box Back

We tested the VRM Box on the show floor, and found that the differences in each virtual speaker and room were notable and specific, and we hope to be testing them on our own soon.

The VRM Box is priced at US$99.99/£79.99 (including VAT). It’s scheduled to ship in February of 2011.