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> Monitors Frequency Response Vs Frequency Range
Todd Simpson
post Nov 8 2018, 10:45 PM
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When you are looking at studio monitors, you will often see FREQUENCY RESPONSE and FREQUENCY RANGE listed in the specs. These two ranges are likely to different. This can be a bit confusing. Let's try to clear this up. What's the difference?

Frequency Range is the actual span of frequencies that a monitor can reproduce, say from 30 Hz (Bass) to 22 kHz (Treble).

Frequency Response is the Frequency Range versus Amplitude. In other words, at 20 Hz, a certain input signal level may produce 100 dB of output. At 1 kHz, that same input level may produce 102 dB of output. At 10 kHz, 95 dB, and so on. A graph of all the frequencies plotted versus level is the Frequency Response Curve (FRC) of the monitor.

When you see a Frequency Response specification for a monitor, the manufacturer is telling you that for a given input signal, the listed range of frequencies will produce output within a certain range of levels. For example: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +/- 3 dB. For these frequencies, the monitor will output signals that are within a 6 dB (+/- 3 dB) range. This does not mean that the speaker won’t reproduce frequencies outside this range, it will! But frequencies outside the range will be more than 3 dB off from the reference level.

So in practical terms, the FREQUENCY RESPONSE is probably what you should be looking at closely as it's the range of the monitor that you'll actually hear during mix/playback/recording etc. The monitors may be able to go lower/higher than what is listed in the FREQUENCY RESPONSE, but you won't hear much of what is outside of the RESPONSE range typically.

So don't be fooled by a pair of monitors claiming a FREQUENCY RANGE of 20hz to 25khz, because the actual usable range (the RESPONSE) is likely to be far more limited. This is why RESPONSE is the spec to look at IMHO.

The human ear can hear roughly 20hz to 20khz, but VERY few monitors can reproduce that range of sounds faithfully. Certainly NO small monitors can do it. Smaller monitors, like the Yamaha NS10 or any Bookshelf size monitor are typically "Near Field" monitors as they are placed "Near" to the mix position. "MAIN" Monitors are the big speakers that you see mounted in the walls in professional facilities. These are usually crazy pricey. They have much wider Frequency Response" than near field monitors and allow one to hear what is going on in the Bass range that near field monitors just cant reproduce. This is why folks often add a subwoofer to a set of Near Field Monitors in Hom Studio situations. To try to reproduce the bass that smaller monitors have a hard time with.

In a professional studio, you may see 3 or four pair of monitors. They will NEVER be used all at once. They are used on pair at a time to see how a mix will "travel" between various playback systems.

Hope this helps explain a bit about "Monitors" and why a Subwoofer is often important in a home studio smile.gif

Here is a typical KRK monitor seen on top of a matched KRK subwoofer. One sub is typical for pairing with two monitors.
Attached Image

This is a "FULL RANGE" set of MAIN MONITORS that has a Frequency Response of 20hz to 25khz. They only catch is that they cost $80,000 a set.

Attached Image


Todd



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Mertay
post Nov 9 2018, 09:53 AM
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Nicely explained.

My only thought is for adding a sub, its not really something to rush into and some might even feel after a while (as they learn the monitors) they may not needed. Long subject but in short there are up's and downs to adding a sub specially in a homestudio.


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Todd Simpson
post Nov 9 2018, 11:06 PM
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Very true. In a home studio, it can sometimes create more problems than it solves. Standing waves etc. One thing people run in to mixing on small monitors is increasing the bass and then, without knowing it, over doing it and then someone with a full range system plays it and the bass is way over the top. Headphones are a quick / cheap way to check for over bass though.
Todd
QUOTE (Mertay @ Nov 9 2018, 04:53 AM) *
Nicely explained.

My only thought is for adding a sub, its not really something to rush into and some might even feel after a while (as they learn the monitors) they may not needed. Long subject but in short there are up's and downs to adding a sub specially in a homestudio.


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