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> Studio Monitors?, Flat response and budget :)
Adrian Figallo
post Sep 9 2011, 02:38 AM
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Hey guys, i'm looking on what to invest next, and i'm thinking i might need better mixing monitors, i would like something with a flat response and just stereo, any thoughts on some good and budget (if possible) ones?

I don't know much about monitors tongue.gif


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JamesT
post Sep 9 2011, 02:55 AM
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I am using these...

Alesis M1 Active


They sound good and accurate and are reasonably priced. I've had them for about 4 years. I noticed a difference in how "tight" they sounded after I treated the room with acoustic panels. They could be louder, but not bad for 5 1/2"s and plenty loud for near field.



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Adrian Figallo
post Sep 9 2011, 03:13 AM
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hey dude, those actually looks very interesting, i'm checking them online, just $300 uh.. i'm wondering, i got a pair of JBL's that i bought second hand for more than that, they are fantastic, but they don't have a flat response at all tongue.gif

gotta hear them live!


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JamesT
post Sep 9 2011, 03:47 AM
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I've always liked the Alesis stuff. Good value for the money. Funny, I've seen a lot of these same monitors on peoples You-Tube vids. I think Muris even has a pair.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Sep 9 2011, 04:00 AM
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I want to buy a pair of KRK monitors.. I heard them and I liked it and the price is good.


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 9 2011, 04:07 AM
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QUOTE (Adrian Figallo @ Sep 8 2011, 09:38 PM) *
Hey guys, i'm looking on what to invest next, and i'm thinking i might need better mixing monitors, i would like something with a flat response and just stereo, any thoughts on some good and budget (if possible) ones?

I don't know much about monitors tongue.gif


I use two pair of monitors, KRK ROKIT 6 and Alesis MK2.
Both are paired to a subwoofer. I go back and forth between them when mixing and get much better results than when mixing on just one pair. Also I added a sub which was a game changer. You cant go back once you add a sub and see what you've been missing. Both of these sets are a bout $200 new. These alesis are passive though.

Attached Image

Here is a great Wiki Entry on what a sub is and does.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subwoofer

The good news is. A "decent" sub can be had pretty cheap. You don't need to buy them in pairs as low frequency sounds don't "localize" which means it's hard to tell where they are coming from. So one sub will do you in most cases. Here are some pics of my home studio sub which I FINALLY got hooked up after the move. (need to find a new place for my xbox now)

This unit was about 75 EURO and has really been AMAZING in terms of letting me hear whats going on in the dep end of my mixes. Get a sub. You'll be glad you did.

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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Sep 9 2011, 04:09 AM


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Daniel Realpe
post Sep 9 2011, 04:38 AM
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I used to have the Alesis MK2 active, I liked them alot, but if you can get your hands on some genelecs!


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Sep 9 2011, 09:06 AM
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It depends a lot on the budget mate. Usually studios have at least two pairs of monitors, one bigger pair that can produce low end accurately, and one smaller, for long hours mixing. You will need smaller ones, but as Todd said, low end is lacking no matter how good the monitors of this category are. One solution may be subwoofer, but although Todd has much more expertise there than me, I cannot comment how good that solution is. Based only from I've been told from professional studio owners, subwoofer is a no-no in the studio. But, we talk about pro studio then.

If your budget is tight, I suggest you spend some time looking for second hand monitors, if you're not in a hurry. For example, if you can find Yamaha NS-10 second hand monitors in a good shape, you can be sure that you will get one of the best monitors around for mixing. NS-10 is a living legend, and you can work hours at a time on them and don't feel fatigue. They are not perfect, but they are proven in work for over 20 years.

As far as new monitors go, I suggest something from Tannoy Reveal series. They are a bit pricey, but if you spend your money on something so important, it's good to stretch out a bit - you'll be listening to them every day. You cannot make a mistake with those Tannoys.

I got lucky and found superb Marantz hi-fi speakers for 40e pair at second hand market. The guy just didn't know what he had, and I like to bargain so.. cool.gif They were only scratched, I repaired it, and I got very pleasant, almost neutral and very tight speakers just for the fraction of a cost of a new speaker. So, it can all be worked out, but it takes some patience and diggin.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 9 2011, 11:46 AM
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QUOTE (Adrian Figallo @ Sep 9 2011, 02:38 AM) *
Hey guys, i'm looking on what to invest next, and i'm thinking i might need better mixing monitors, i would like something with a flat response and just stereo, any thoughts on some good and budget (if possible) ones?

I don't know much about monitors tongue.gif


Monitors that are designed for tracking/mixing studios are not designed to be flat across the 20-20kHz response range. All of them start to roll off significantly above 20Hz, some as high as 80Hz. All of the spectrums that I've seen also show that they tend to be voiced to produce a lift somehwere in the low frequency range from 60-150Hz and/or also in the midband, usually around the 2-6kHz: exactly where depends on how the monitor is voiced, whether its a closed or open deisgin, speaker maufacturing, crossover and so on. Essentially monitors that are designed for tracking/mixing tend to be designed to emphasis the bass and and vocal presence but cannot produce low and sub bass and so flatter the sound a bit.

The closest you can come to flat are monitors that designed specifically for mastering. These tend to be flat from 40Hz up to 20kHz, with a gentle roll off around 40-60Hz. Monitors for mastering though are expensive, 'cheap' ones - i.e K&H300D - start at @4000USD and the better ones i.e ATC and PMC are over 10k USD.

To get a good, accurate response from mastering monitors also requires that you have a suitable room that has been treated properly and that the monitors are sited correctly. A suitable room isn't just about treatment its also about size, shape and how it was built. Treatment nearly always requires considerable bass trapping - treatment in recording/mix studios tends to be much more about high end reflection. To site your monitors means that they must be placed on heavy, inert stands (ours cost 1400USD) and in open space with nothing between you and the monitors to allow the sound and the reflections to develop properly. By nothing I mean that literally, put a mixing desl, a computer monitor, anything infront, or between them and you will get odd reflections, comb filtering and so on.


QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Sep 9 2011, 09:06 AM) *
It depends a lot on the budget mate. Usually studios have at least two pairs of monitors, one bigger pair that can produce low end accurately, and one smaller, for long hours mixing. You will need smaller ones, but as Todd said, low end is lacking no matter how good the monitors of this category are. One solution may be subwoofer, but although Todd has much more expertise there than me, I cannot comment how good that solution is. Based only from I've been told from professional studio owners, subwoofer is a no-no in the studio. But, we talk about pro studio then.

...


I'd have to say that very few subs are chosen and set up properly because many do not know how to do it or do not realise how important it is. If the subs are not set up properly they introduce more problems then they cure. You get issues with improper bass level, poor crossover and therefore poor balance, timing innaccuracy, phase and reflection issues and so on.

Pro studios often use big 3 way monitors partly to avoid the issues with subs and partly to try and deliver a better, more accurate low end. A big, 3 way allows for a larger (i.e. 7inch or bigger) bass speaker that is better integrated with a dedicated mid range and high end speakers, along with dedicated power amps that drive each speaker individually. Reflection, timing and phase can be better controlled as the system is deisgned for it. The bass speaker can have a lower roll off at a lower point, the size of the speaker also means it can physically move more air without unwanted distortion and so on.

Personally, although NS10s were used widely in mix studios for many years I'd avoid them if you want anything close to flat. They very definately are not flat and I'd go so far as to say that the high mid is problematic and that there is very little bass end below 90Hz. To use them with any degree of confidence you would have to spend a lot of time getting used to their sound. They were used in a lot of mix studios because they were good for their time at their price point but monitor design has moved on quite a bt since then. There's loads available used but some have been hammered in studios and so not at their optimum anyway and may need refurbishing quite quickly. Whilst many are in good condition you really need to audition them properly, don't buy without hearing them first.

If you want reasonable (i.e. not as expensive as mastering ones) active monitors designed for tracking/mixing at an ok price then as Ivan says Tannoy Reveal. I'd also add Adam A7, K&H/Neumann100, Genelec (can't remember the model numbers - think its 8030 or 8040/8050), Focal 6 or opal, JBL LSRs, Mackie HR826 (cheaper option is the 624), Dynaaudio BM5/6...

With the use of multiple monitors in studios... A bit like Ivan my experience is that pro studios often have an ok small pair and another bigger 3 way set. Bigger 3 ways often have to be driven quite hard to produce their best: that usually means a much higher SPL at 1 meter and in a a mix studio environment where the monitor is very close to where you sit that also means that you get high volume and high SPL, which can be fatiguing and potentially damage your hearing over extended time periods. Pro studios nonetheless often have big 3 ways as they reproduce the bass etc better and can go to higher volumes without distortion etc than 2 way and as Ivan says they often use them to check a mix.

Some mix studios have several 2 way pairs that are in different price(i.e.1 over 1000USD and 1 under 400) ranges to check translation. Very few pro mix studios have multiple sets of 2 way that are all in the same price range as many believe that in general if you routinely compare a mix as you do it on similarly priced monitors its an indication of a lack of experience/confidence with the monitors. That's a generalised opinion of course and certainly isn't true of all those who do use several sets of similar 2 ways.

In a mastering studio because we sit much further back (usually 2-4 meters away) and so can drive them as intended with less chance of fatigue and hearing issues. Most mastering studios only use a single set of 3 ways and we do translation checks elsewhere (having multiple monitors in a room causes its own issues with comb filtering, resonance and so on).

With smaller, less expensive studio monitors you will not reproduce the bass end without adding subs and all the issues that that entails. However if you can only have a small 2 waya sub may be the only way that you can reproduce a low end. If that is the case you'd need to decide if hearing the low end is more important than potential issues with a sub. If you get a sub then make sure that it is properly installed and integrated.

Regardless of what you do you need to run the monitors in - i.e. play music through them for an extended period. The cones etc need to 'loosen up' before they deliver their best consistently and this can mean several hundred hours of use at moderate, and some at highish, volume. You also need to get used to them and how they reproduce the audio in your studio with your monitoring chain: so you need to listen to a lot of pre-recorded music that you know well. That way you can get used to how they present audio and what their idiosyncracies etc are.


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nikeman64
post Sep 11 2011, 06:31 PM
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Hey Adrian,
I'm using Tannoy Active monitors. They where really budget and for amateur purposes (like me) they work fine. Of course , a couple of pro Genelec's would be better but let's face it, I'm not a professional mixing or mastering engineer either so .....
I agree with Todd that having a Sub is really an advantage. Most important thing is to get to know the monitors and how they sound (what is flat anyway ???, How strict is this ??) This does not only depend on the monitors themselves but also on the environment they work in. Very often, low frequencies are the toughest part. I made mixes that had a real tight and punchy low end on my studio monitors, but when I recorded it on a CD and played it in my car, the dashboard almost came loose because of low frequency madness laugh.gif
An excellent tip , but you probably knew that already, is to listen for 20 minutes to professional mixed music. The kind of colour you want to achieve, and how that sounds through your set up, in your specific personal environment (think accoustic circumstances), and then try to work towards that same colour with a constantly A - B comparison. And then, my friend, comes the wonderful (and very complicated!!!!!) world of compression, equalising, frequencie analyzers, reverbs, delays, enhancers, limiters ........ etc etc.
I had a subscription on Computer Music Magazine, for years and what I remember is that they where very excited about Genelec monitors. I don't know if they are sold in your country, but check them out if you can. They have a professional line but also budget versions for home studio's. Comments about these smaller Genelecs where always very good.

Good luck

Nico wink.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 11 2011, 08:03 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Sep 9 2011, 06:46 AM) *
Monitors that are designed for tracking/mixing studios are not designed to be flat across the 20-20kHz response range. All of t

....................



WOW. I'd say this is one of the best posts I've ever read on considerations for monitors in your studio. Well said Tony Miro. I think this should go in the wiki. I"m gonna mention this to fran. This is a killer thread guys!


QUOTE (nikeman64 @ Sep 11 2011, 01:31 PM) *
Hey Adrian,
I'm using Tannoy Active monitors,.....
Good luck

Nico wink.gif


Well said smile.gif Yeah, the SUBWOOFER makes a massive difference. You don't realize what your missing in your mix until you add one. Most "Nearfield" (E.g. Bookshelf size monitors) just can't reproduce bass very well below as certain point (SEE TONY MIIRO's KILLER POST ABOVE) So you are gonna need a sub honestly. Getting one that is of the same vendor/make/model/line as your monitors doesn't hurt either. I got a great deal on a non-matched sub and it's been great but the KRK (i've got KRK Rock 6's) matched sub does sound better so it's on my buy list.





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Adrian Figallo
post Sep 12 2011, 01:48 AM
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hanks guys for all the posts, i didn't know much and no wi got a ton of things to process, for now i will continue with a stereo without sub woofer setup, you might be able to hear with a sub woofer, but i doubt that's a trusty source on a normal control room without pro treatment.

i also red the other day about voiced headphones, i think those specifically are voiced like abbey road, and they were like $1k, anyone?


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Fran
post Sep 12 2011, 04:43 PM
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Interesting stuff, I'll find a place for it in our wiki cool.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Sep 12 2011, 06:46 PM
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QUOTE (Adrian Figallo @ Sep 12 2011, 02:48 AM) *
hanks guys for all the posts, i didn't know much and no wi got a ton of things to process, for now i will continue with a stereo without sub woofer setup, you might be able to hear with a sub woofer, but i doubt that's a trusty source on a normal control room without pro treatment.

i also red the other day about voiced headphones, i think those specifically are voiced like abbey road, and they were like $1k, anyone?


That is a bit ridiculous smile.gif 1K for headphones.. for that much money you can almost make entire studio on a budget smile.gif


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JamesT
post Sep 12 2011, 09:15 PM
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For headphones, I'm using these...
Sony MDR-7506

They sound great, and are extremely comfortable. I've had them a couple of years and use them about 1.5 hours a day, every day. Th efoam padding is starting to wear a little, but when they are "gone", I'll probably get another pair just like these.


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Adrian Figallo
post Sep 12 2011, 09:31 PM
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Hey i think i got the same sony's or something very similar, they DO sound good!


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Sinisa Cekic
post Sep 12 2011, 10:09 PM
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Great topic, I am in a similar dilemma, what to choose! thanks on a info guys smile.gif


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Adrian Figallo
post Sep 13 2011, 04:12 AM
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im getting scared with the price references tony posted biggrin.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 13 2011, 08:27 AM
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Recording, mixing and mastering only on headphones is generally not a good idea. Headphones do not give an accurate sense of stereo pr the frequency spectrum. By all means you can use them but you really should as a minimum also listen to your mix etc on monitors afterwards to check translation.

Never come across those 'voiced' headphones. I'd have to say the claim of them making something sound like Abbey Road sounds daft. Abbey Road when, in which room, with which producer and engineers, using what equpiment, set up how, with what band, using what gear, and so on...

1000USD for a set of headphones is on the high side but beleavable though for a very good set of studio quality or hifi ones.


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 14 2011, 09:26 PM
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QUOTE (Adrian Figallo @ Sep 12 2011, 11:12 PM) *
im getting scared with the price references tony posted biggrin.gif



If you do go without a sub, try to find out where you speakers "roll off" or stop responding and just be careful with your EQ below that spot. If your speakers roll off around 60hz. I would not boost bass much below there on track or two bus as you don't really know what it's doing down there without being able to hear it. I usually mix with the sub off and then turn it on when i'm really near the end to make sure I"m not going crazy on low bass. Sometimes, it's easy to boost the bits you can't hear a bit too much. Then you turn the sub on and BOOOOOOM.


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