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best monitors on a budget?

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by mannyr, May 9, 2012.

  1. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    Whats the best monitor to get for mixing and mastering under 100$? Is the quality going to be so bad that it will affect the mixing so much so that it will sound bad, if I try to buy monitors under 100$? Could i get better reference headphones for 100$ or should I take a shitty monitor over a good reference headphone?
  2. Neolexia

    Neolexia Active Member

    Anywhere you look, $100 or less is sadly a dream. If I were you I'd save up and look more towards spending a few hundred each; however 2 of these would be a good start if you're buying on a budget.

    KRK RP5G2 Rokit G2 Active Monitor at zZounds
  3. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    i understand that I'm probably going to get crap for under 100$, but honestly I have absolutely no other budget, I'm broke.. so if we had to keep it below 100, what would my best options be?
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I think Ebay is going to be your friend here. There is a pair of JBL Control 1 monitors going as a BIN for $90 in CA at the moment, or an auction on a pair of Alesis Monitor Ones currently at around the same price level. Neither of these is particularly great, but are a lot better than some the new junk available at that price.
  5. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    unfortunately I need to rush to finish this project, and any ebay items that are for bid and not buy it now would not reach me in time :( so strictly speaking, what are my best options for under 100 dollars? for this price range will my sound really perish considerably? or will it just be more difficult?
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    That's why I mentioned the Buy It Now (BIN).

    Go for something that at least has a whiff of decency. You really won't do justice to your projects using cheap monitors.
  7. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    I'll second the idea of JBL Control 1's. I've had them 5 years now.

    Got mine new for $70. Keep in mind they're passive though so you need an amp to amp them with. I just use an old Sansui AU-505 and get nice translations on them. For such small speakers they really can handle the bass freqs well.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    You won't get crap and you'll be wasting your money on a pair of monitors for $100, guaranteed. You would do better with a pair of old hi-fi speakers. And don't think that headphones will allow you to mix properly, they won't. They present a hugely false image and cannot be relied upon for mixing purposes unless you have lived with them for many years and compared them in sound to quality control room monitors. Having to knock something out with substandard equipment is an exercise in futility and stupidity. That's not how you run a home studio and expect to deliver any kind of a decent product. So you either have to save more money or you are SOL and screwed. Bottom line, you should expect to spend at least $150 per monitor speaker. If you don't have that money to invest, you have selected the wrong business to be in. It's that simple.

    I'd recommend KRK RP 5's at a minimum.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. Laurend

    Laurend Active Member

    Why don't you rent a pair of real monitors to finish this project?
  10. Toothgrinder

    Toothgrinder Active Member

    Or rent time at a studio to do the mix?

    An hour at a real studio with real monitors is going to be >>> endless hours on anything you could buy for that price.

    Maybe get your routing situated, grouping, etc., then bring everything down to zero to actually mix on the real deal. You can get a long way into the mixing process without actual monitors, but I wouldn't touch faders in terms of establishing a MIX until you're there.

    You might even make some tentative decisions, like panning, on a set of regular speakers. They won't be able to tell you how sounds relate to one another frequency-wise, but at least you can start to sketch out a stereo spectrum for the mix-to-be.
  11. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    okay.. as far as the suggestion that id be better of with old hi fi speakers.. I have a pair of Klipsch Heresy speakers.. will that suffice? If not i'd love to rent monitors, truth is i don't know where from! I live in manhattan so you would think I could find a place, does anyone have any suggestions? And as far as renting a studio.. in manhattan we're looking at at least $1000/day I'm guessing, .. if I can't afford 150$ monitors then I can't afford that. lol
  12. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    Man, just buy what you can afford and keep moving forward. You'll be perfectly happy.

    Not sure why the obvious has to be stated about a pair of monitors for $100 are going to be less than desirable but what's even more obvious is the fact that you have a budget. And a budget so restrictive is still a gift. It's a gift to get yourself something that will give you hours and hours of pleasure and fun. Hours in which you will be able to gain experience too. Eventually you will want to move on to higher quality but by then your budget will have improved.

    Never sacrifice moving forward.

    And BTW while JBL Control 1's are less than $100 they are certainly far from being "crap". If you've owned a pair you'll know this. Here's a nice little review to enjoy.


    These little guys are not your typical low end monitor's. They're super rugged, very heavy, with fantastic sound representation. Get hit in the head by one of these things and you're going down for a few minutes.
  13. mberry593

    mberry593 Active Member

    Heresys are decent loudspeakers IMO. You will need to spend some serious money to improve on them.
  14. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    okay I found a studio that is within my budget that has m-audio studiophile bx5's.. will booking this studio for 25$/hr and using those to mix with be better than buying those 100$ JBL Control 1's?
  15. Toothgrinder

    Toothgrinder Active Member

    It's up to you!

    If you are inexperienced the difference between mixing in a real studio and buying your own monitors may not be that different anyway, but others may disagree. I'd say there are advantages and disadvantages of both:

    Renting studio time -

    Advantage is you solve the equipment problem FOR YOUR PROJECT. Disadvantage is it is a rental and you get no equity in the investment.

    Buying the JBL's -

    Advantage is you have really great speakers. Might the quality of this project suffer vs rental? Perhaps, but I don't know. It depends on how serious of a project this is and how much money is wrapped up in it.

    If you are being paid a bundle of money for pro work, then by all means rent a studio. That's what they are expecting. If this is something you're doing to help out a friend, or making a couple hundred bucks to produce a demo? Then buy your JBL's!

    Every pair of speakers I've ever bought has found a new "home" somewhere in my life! I even have a pair I bought for $5 at a church that I stuck in my kitchen so I can listen to basketball games while I cook.

    When you upgrade, just take the old speakers and buy or repurpose an amp from somewhere else in your life (say your old amp!) and hook up sound on.. let's say your back patio. Or hook up a second system in your bedroom.

    It's never a bad idea to buy speakers unless they are hundreds of dollars and complete crap. A $100 pair of speakers will have a home even if it is not your monitors. Good luck!

    EDIT: Just don't become a speaker hoarder! LOL
  16. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    My God...Klipsch Heresy are as good as any full-sized JBL studio monitors. In fact one of the top studios in Baltimore, owned by a millionaire who also used to have a stereo shop utilized Klipsch for his studio monitors. And he's known the world over Sheffield Recordings Ltd.. So you already have what you need, you don't need anything else. Even the studio at $25 per hour is going to outweigh the cost of your budget for a decent pair of other monitors. You are not thinking this through very well. The Klipsch Heresy even exceed the JBL Control 1 monitors. Sheesh! What are you thinking? Are you thinking? I don't mean to sound like a prick but I frequently do. I just cannot believe all of this back-and-forth we've had thus far and you never once mentioned that you had available to you, Klipsch Heresy's. So now you have everything you need to do a proper job. You don't even need to ask any more questions. You just need to get down to business and do it.

    I'm good at being a prick even though I don't own one
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  17. mberry593

    mberry593 Active Member

    IMO the Heresies are superior to the Control 1 or the M-Audio BX5. BUT you may be getting more with the studio rental than just the monitors. Hopefully at the studio they are installed in a reasonably treated room. The room is very important.

    Please don't rush into buying any monitors. Take your time and try to listen to several. Rental studio time is great as you actually get to use the monitors - not just a quick listen. If you use some in a studio that appeal to you, you may still want to wait for a deal on ebay before you rush out and buy anything.

    FWIW the last 4 studios that I built used Tannoy DMT 12 loudspeakers & the users were happy with them. Those are no longer made & even if they were, they are out of your budget. But you can find smaller Tannoy DMT 10 loudspeakers on ebay for reasonable prices if you are patient.
  18. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    You're kidding me... I just assumed they weren't "monitors" so they wouldn't produce a flat frequency so they wouldn't be proper to mix with..

    But one question! They're a bit old!... should I still use them?
  19. Toothgrinder

    Toothgrinder Active Member

    Age is not as important as HOW they were used.
  20. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I'm still using a pair of vintage 1978 JBL 4311's & 1998 JBL 4312's. Perfectly lovely. And I utilize those on a 30-year-old Crown DC 300 A MK I I amplifier, sweet. Crisp and right to the point. While you may have thought those are purely consumer monitors, they really aren't. They are just superior speakers. As long as they don't have any polyurethane speaker suspensions around their periphery that are rotted out with holes in them, they're fine. Some of my newer JBL's, woofers have succumbed to the urethane suspension rot and are no longer usable because of that while my oldest ones don't utilize the urethane periphery suspensions. Those in fact can have their polyurethane suspensions replaced with rubber ones when I feel like investing in that. Otherwise they are sitting in the storage unit. So, my older JBL's, they still rock.

    You're on your way now
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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