Focusrite VRM - Virtual Reference Monitor Box  

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Focusrite' VRM overcomes the major obstacle for mixing with headphones by giving you multiple perspectives on your mix, as if you were listening through speakers. Indeed, noise levels from mixing thro... Read More

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Focusrite' VRM overcomes the major obstacle for mixing with headphones by giving you multiple perspectives on your mix, as if you were listening through speakers. Indeed, noise levels from mixing through speakers can make it impossible for most to mix at home, especially late at night; with VRM, you can mix any time, anywhere. Using any pair of monitoring headphones, VRM lets you choose your mixing environment from a living room, a bedroom studio, or a professional studio. You then simply choose from a list of industry-standard studio monitors and speakers

VRM Box delivers audio quality worthy of your headphones. Boasting a dynamic range of 108dB, it provides a sound that' more precise with lower distortion than other low-cost audio interfaces, and far superior to built-in laptop headphone outputs.

VRM Box functions as a high-quality 24-bit/48kHz USB audio playback interface. So, whether you're mixing, creating music or simply listening to tracks, VRM Box is perfect. What' more, there' no need for a power supply or batteries, because it gets all the power it needs from your computer' USB port with full audio quality. VRM Box also features a digital S/PDIF input, which supports sample rates up to 192kHz. This allows you to run it in conjunction with your Pro Tools HD system or any other interface with an S/PDIF output.

Pocket sized and built to last, VRM Box places Focusrite' proven and patent-pending VRM”Virtual Reference Monitoring”technology in a robust, palm-sized audio interface.

Virtual Reference Monitoring

The Problem
VRM (Virtual Reference Monitoring) is Focusrite' own loudspeaker and room simulator designed for headphone listening. Until now, accurate mixing has required expensive monitors and a carefully designed and treated control room. Currently, both professional music producers facing budgetary limitations, and project music makers without access acoustically treated control rooms frequently encounter mixing and auditioning difficulties.

The Solution
VRM allows you to choose from 10 pairs of industry standard nearfield and main monitors in an acoustically treated control room.

Engineers routinely A/B their mixes by burning CDs and taking them into untreated rooms to reference on consumer stereos. VRM eliminates this process by simulating two extra rooms: a large living room and a smaller bedroom. You can choose between a range of speakers including quality hi-fi, computer, cheap stereo, and television speakers.

The Method
VRM Box uses standard headphones to reproduce the direct sound along with software running on your computer that is used to simulate specific monitoring scenarios. VRM's room models are mathematical models that provide greater flexibility in the possible combinations of loudspeakers. The loudspeaker simulations are created using convolutions of impulse responses measured using the original loudspeakers. The accuracy of these simulations in different environments is taken care of by the impulse responses themselves and the way they are calculated and manipulated.

  • VRM lets hear your mix in different environments through different speakers and from different positions with headphones
  • VRM Box provides a significant audio upgrade from laptop headphone outputs with the audio quality of interfaces ten times the price
  • The compact size and robust build quality of VRM Box means it' ready to go anywhere, any time
  • A S/PDIF digital input lets you use VRM with Pro Tools HD or any interface
  • Operating System Requirements:
    Windows XP (service pack 3), Vista, 7 (32 and 64-bit); Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (Intel only), OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

    Headphone Outputs (Outputs 1-2)
    Output impedance: < 10 ohm
    Power output into 150 ohm: 15mW
    Power output into 50 ohm: 30mW
    THD+N: -100dB (0.001%) (-1dBFS input, 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter, 150Î load)
    Signal to Noise Ratio: > 105dB

    S/PDIF Digital Input
    Automatic Sample Rate conversion
    Supported sample rates: continuous from 32kHz to 192kHz
    THD+N: < -110dB any sample rate
    Crosstalk (Channel Isolation): Any output to output: > 100dB

    Digital Performance:
    D/A Dynamic Range: 120dB (A-weighted)
    Measured D/A Dynamic Range: 108dB (A-weighted)
    Clock Source: Internal Clock only Clock jitter < 250 picoseconds
    Supported Sample Rates: 44.1kHz & 48kHz
    Input channels to computer: S/PDIF (stereo)
    Output channels from computer: Headphones (stereo)

    Connectors and Controls
    Stereo S/PDIF input on RCA
    Stereo Headphone Output on 1„4 TRS
    Headphone Output Level control (analogue)
    4-pin USB2.0 compatible socket

    1 Green LED Indicator:
    - Flashing: Unit not installed correctly on host
    - Off: VRM effects turned off
    - On: VRM effects turned on

    Power: Bus power via USB

    Dimensions: 2-11/16"W x 1"H x 2-11/16"D (68mm x 25mm x 68mm)
    Weight: 4.3 oz. (123g)

All Focusrite products are built to the highest standards and should provide reliable performance for many years, subject to reasonable care, use, transportation and storage.

In the event of a Manufacturing Defect becoming evident within 12 months from date of purchase Focusrite undertakes that the product will be repaired or replaced free of charge if the product is returned to the authorised dealer from whom it was purchased. In these circumstances, or if you need an out-of-warranty repair to your Focusrite product, please contact your local Focusrite distributor in your country of residence or business : Find your local distributor here and you will be advised of the correct return procedure.

Alternatively contact the Focusrite Reseller from which you purchased the product. If you purchase a Focusrite product outside your country of residence or business you will not be entitled to ask your local Focusrite Distributor to honour this Limited Warranty, although you may request a chargeable repair.

Alternatively, the unit may be returned at your cost to the dealer you purchased the unit from so that they can organise a Warranty repair with their Focusrite Distributor.

This Warranty does not include cost of shipping to and from the authorised dealer from whom it was purchased. In every case it will be necessary to provide the original invoice or store receipt to accompany the defective product to the supplying dealer. This Limited Warranty is offered solely to the first purchaser of the product from an Authorised Focusrite Reseller (defined as a reseller which has purchased the Product directly from Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd. in the UK or its Authorised Distributors outside the U.K,) and is not transferable.

This Warranty is in addition to your Statutory Rights in the country of purchase.

Please note: A Manufacturing Defect is defined as a defect in the performance of the product which may be expected from a reasonable interpretation of the published description and performance specifications as published by Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd. This does not include damage caused by post-purchase transportation, storage or careless handling, nor damage caused by misuse.

A significant proportion of products returned under Warranty (which are very few in number compared to numbers sold) are found not to exhibit any fault at all. Please check that the mains voltage is correctly set for your local supply and that your connecting cables are in good order and correctly connected.

If in doubt about the product functions please read the user guide and if necessary contact your dealer for advice before returning the product to the supplying dealer. You can also contact the Focusrite Tech Support team at the Focusrite Answerbase for general advice.

  • Customer Reviews

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
FocusriteVRM - Virtual Reference Monitor Box

(based on 7 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

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Reviewed by 7 customers

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It's a Time Saver!

By Andrew

from Florida

Comments about Focusrite VRM - Virtual Reference Monitor Box:

I just recently go it and I already have done several projects using it after referencing on monitors for hours. It really gives you a fresh set of ears when you go back to your monitors. It has saved me a ton of time from making mistakes with eq. I still do reference my mixes on other systems like tvs, car stereo's, laptop speakers but this little device really helps just give you an idea so your ears don't get bored and its quick so I don't have to go everywhere when I don't have time. My mixes have started sounding better since Ive started using it!

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This will pay for itself in saved CD burns!

By Larry Davis

from Amarillo, TX

Comments about Focusrite VRM - Virtual Reference Monitor Box:

I am using a Presonus Fire Studio Project interface with Presonus Studio One 2-Pro on a PC Windows 7 64 bit system. I had absolutely NO problems getting this box to work like some others have had. My home studio has a pair of Rokit KRK 6 monitors, and a pair of cheap little Zenith speakers that I switch back and forth on for my mastering. I was literally going through 15 CD' know the routine...mix, burn, listen somewhere else, then repeat. This Focusrite VRM is a huge time *and* CD saver. First, you have to TRUST this unit. EQ, mix and master your songs to where they sound good through the VRM and you won't have to waste endless hours and discs, I promise! The easiest way I've found is adjusting a Multi-Compressor during mastering (where you actually compress ranges: low, low mid, mid, high mid, high, etc...) until it sounds balanced through the VRM. Once I do this, my song sounds good on EVERYTHING else I try - Studio monitors, Home system, Car system and Boombox. THE TRICK IS TO FORGET YOUR OLD WAY OF DOING IT, AND TRUST THE SOUND COMING OUT OF THIS VRM BOX. You HAVE to trust the VRM - that was hard for me to accept, but that's all there is to it.

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Fun little box

By Jeremy

from Ft Collins, Colorado

Comments about Focusrite VRM - Virtual Reference Monitor Box:

I will say that the VRM box is for the guy's and gal's that only have headphones to reference from in an untreated environment. I spent about 3hrs running the VRM through it's paces and must say that it comes in under the mark. I took professional mixes and ran them through the VRM and in 98.99% all the professional mixes sounded absolutely horrible. It's just like adding a convolution reverb to the master bus except there is nothing to control the environmental variables like listening distance or position. It does however make an excellent headphone amp with tons of gain! and I will keep the VRM for experimentation and such, but if your at a serious level with your music I would not recommend using this little guy for professional reference. Now for the guy's and girl's just getting started, I think it is a fun little box to get you going, and when you get to that level you can invest in some good monitors and room acoustics. I still absolutely love focusrite and the gear that they make, I have several products from them that I could not live without at this point, but as far as the VRM box, sorry guy's it's just not a practical application for my needs.

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(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


The Future

By Jaret

from Austin, TX

Comments about Focusrite VRM - Virtual Reference Monitor Box:

I master all of my own recordings. I have spent a ton of money on different monitors and on setting up my mastering room. I have a special room separate from the room that I record in just for mastering. One thing every single person who mixes and masters will tell you is that you cannot, in any way shape or form, master on headphones. Well, that was until now. I have mixed and mastered a few songs on this thing with my Beredynamic 770s (one of the cans they used to create this thing) and every time I referenced my real monitors, I was amazed how well the simulated KRK monitors on headphones sound like my real KRK monitors. For a good price you can pick this and a good pair of phones and get practically the same mix you would spending well over a grand setting up a room. A few workaround able cons are that distorts music that is mastered, fix it by checking the -6db toggle. 2. You cannot crank it when you do this, it�ۡ���s probably fine for most, but I like it loud, fix by running to a headphone amp, which I do anyway. 3. When you do this you get a small ground loop, high pitch whine. Fix with a good ground loop isolator. I will still recommend real equipment, but the price, knowledge, and space for setting up the right room is more than 90% of musicians can afford or have. These are the best alternative I have ever seen. Amazing product!

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(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


Takes time to get used to.

By Shivermetimbers

from Parts Unknown

Comments about Focusrite VRM - Virtual Reference Monitor Box:

I was skeptical about this thing. All I have to say is that it takes some time to get used to. I am using it as a headphone amp and enjoying music with the VRM active. If you are going to record/mix with this, the secret is to get the sound of each track as close as possible on most if not all the emulated speakers. I can't say that the speaker emulations sound like the real thing, but each speaker emulation will bring out the flaws of your mix. I remixed a song that didn't translate well and after getting all the tracks/overall mix referenced, the mix translated as clear as a bell (what-ever that means). I was extremely pleased with the result. If you learn to use it properly, you won't have to worry about burning CDs and running all over the place to check the mix. If you do get one, play some of your favorite artists and listen if the mix sounds pretty close on most of the speakers. That's the way YOUR mix should be sounding. You should still mix on very good speakers in a treated room. This box is mainly for referencing. BTW, I use a set of AKG k702s, but a $16 earbud set (with gels) sound good too. The keys is that the mix sounds close on all emulations.

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(3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


It Might Be Helpful, but...

By Studio 139

from Kalamazoo, MI

Comments about Focusrite VRM - Virtual Reference Monitor Box:

I like Focusrite products, this unit seemed like it could be useful. The recreation of space and a natural stereo image are handled well. The speaker / monitor emulations seem hit or miss, some seem very close, others seem like the highs are masked, like you are sitting just out of the sweet spot. I did not think the unit worked well with sealed headphones. It seemed more accurate with open headphones. If you were mixing in an untreated environment and had to use headphones, I can see where it might be helpful, but for me using a very good set of open headphones is more accurate, more useful. I did not have any technical issues with the unit. It is easy to setup and is about as simple as can be to use. In the end I will return the unit as it comes across as an interesting idea rather than a useful tool.

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(7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)


Amazing, but not without technical hiccups.

By Alan

from Detroit, MI

Comments about Focusrite VRM - Virtual Reference Monitor Box:

I bought my VRM box a few days ago at the Guitar Center in Southfield, MI. So far, I like it. It took a while to get it working (after installing on my Mac Pro, I couldn't get Pro Tools 9 (Native, not HD) to open for an hour and a half - only reinstalling Pro Tools (9.0.2) fixed it. But once I got it working, it blew me away- I actually freaked out for a minute because I thought I heard sound coming out of my speakers at 2 AM (OH NO! I'm gonna wake my fianc���e!) but I realized it was coming from my headphones and the VRM box. Got it working on my MacBook Pro today, I'm working on a mix in a public place, and I'm paranoid that everyone else around me can hear what I'm working on (it's THAT convincing). Two gripes- 1) I can't sum to mono unless I do it on PT's master fader, which makes the room simulation on the VRM sound unrealistic. The VRM box should DEFINITELY include a Mono sum switch, either on its hardware or in its companion software. 2) I have to manually launch a piece of software to use the thing. Maybe Focusrite will come up with a way to automatically launch it, like they did with the LiquidMix (my favorite piece of equipment). I'm very used to mixing on Genelec 1031's and Yamaha NS-10's in a pro studio so I was skeptical before listening to the VRM box's emulation of said listening environment... but it's pretty close. Maybe, eventually, Focusrite will come up with some additional emulations, much like they did with the LiquidMix. Now if only they could include an emulation of a 2006 Chevy Malibu LS with a stock stereo and stock speakers, it'd save me a lot of trips to my car to check my mixes! So, technical difficulties aside, I think Focusrite pretty much nailed it. Early adopters beware - you might have to deal with some technical issues here and there until Focusrite updates their software.

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