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Budget monitors for the meantime

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by kmetal, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    hey fellas,

    Just wanted to get your thoughts on some budget monitors for my inteterim period of about a year. I'm planning on building a multi purpose room in my parents basement with a 350 sqft dedicated room for music making, editing, mixing, and design work. I'm going to outfit it w comercial standard gear, which will be moved to a full size post production room in my own house in about 3 years.

    The 'good' gear isn't gonna start strong here until next summer, so I'd like to grab a cheap set of monitors to pair w whatever interface I decide on for my iPad/mobile rig which will probably be the laptop I have. Just for editing, listening, archive work in the meantime while up still up on the couch and building/design in the 'apartment' downstairs.

    I really like the alesis monitor 1 mk2 powered, cuz they have a nice sound to them, but they don't make them new anymore. At $300 they used to be a steal.

    Anyway I was thinking of these.


    I'm open to any suggestions and would like to stay around $500ish for the pair of these interim speakers.

    I'm heavily interested in the focal CSMS 65's for my near fields in the 'studio' in addition to the qsc cinima system.

    Would love to hear any thoughts. Looking for something that at least 'doesn't suck that much', or at minimum doesn't hurt. obviously better than that is welcome.

  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I have the HS8 and love them.
    Some have said they might be the grand child of the NS10 but I doubt they sound even close.. For me they just do a good job reveilling what I need to hear to mix well.
    The HS5 and HS8 need at least 3 feet behind them to have a good bass response.. if you don't have that space, plan for a sub..

    Man focal's are so hot.. I wish I had the money for the FOCAL SM9 ;)
    kmetal likes this.
  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I actually took home the HS8 when I was purchasing my first pair of monitors, along with the Mackies. I ended up choosing the Mackies. I have had good luck with Mixes translating well on the HS8, because my boss has a few pairs at the various studios. I've used them when the Meyers needed work. I was initially fooled w the mackie big bass and top detail when I was comparing the yams and mackies back in the day. I was totally new to monitors, having mixed on home stereo speakers for my first 6-8 years.

    They don't sound like a lot like the ns10 but the mixes tend to translate fairly well on both. The NS 10s are more boxy with more limited response range. Different timbres, similar tendencies I guess. That's why I was wondering if the HS5s, with the small drivers would be even more so like a poor man's ns10.

    Did your try the hs 5s?

    The 8s would be at the top of the price range. For this interim set. They'll end up either in portable cases w the portBle rig, or as re p speakers in the hall or kichtenette for reverb re amping.

    No subs until the room is done, then I will add two of the three reference subs, to whatever near fields I decide on. Until the reference mains show up. I like the focals because they had 5.1 in mind, and you can buy them individually. The odd 'third speaker' center channel absolutely drives me insane while picking speakers and particularly amps.

    Lol I wonder if where drawn to focals because of our Frenchness.
    pcrecord likes this.
  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Fab Dupont is sold to Focal since many years and I think he participated in some of the designs ;)
    kmetal likes this.
  5. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Ahhhhhh so the theory is developing some truth behind it. Lmao

    Apparently butch Vig uses the cms 65's in his personal studio aside some barefoots.
    pcrecord likes this.
  6. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I have the HS7's as you are aware Kyle, along with the KRK Rokit 5's for my B monitors.

    The Yamaha-ha's are a really good set that may work well for you, that you could use as a B set if you upgrade down the track to better monitors again.

    They have a clarity and definition in the upper-mids that the Rokits just don't have...I hear things with these that I just can't hear with the Rokits.

    But like anything, as you know monitors are subjective to your room / environment...what sounds good in my room or anyone else's for that matter, as I'm sure you are most aware K-man, may be completely different in your environment. YMMV to say the least.

    But having said that, I really like my choice of the Yamaha-ha's and truly believe they are a good performing monitor for their pricepoint / segment, delivering a really good response and representation of my mixes, that translate well across other listening mediums IMO.

    Like many things in this medium we all love, its about finding what works best for you in your environment.

    Disclaimer : I am in no way associated with the brand Yamaha-ha or its subsiduaries...all cheques will not be honoured.
    kmetal and pcrecord like this.
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    kmetal likes this.
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure if I'm upgrading or just walking a tight rope act with no rope lmao. The quote I got a few days ago was $15,780 for a qsc cinema refernce system. (Speakers /Amps) Lol not counting the dsp/control unit, big main steroe pair, of near fields. Geronimoooooo.

    I'm working various configurations. I found the next step up in amps, which are more expensive, but more powerful, with more ch per unit, and built in speaker management. So it's working out cheaper. A bit. I sacrifice iPad control, but still can save multiple presets, for flat, and wow settings.

    I'm gonna do a thread on the whole process soon.

    I'm not sure if I'm diving in the deep end or trying to breathe under water lol. Raman for life.

    Would you describe it as clarity, as in smooth, but detailed, or just forward or more pronounced.

    Upper mids are a source of contention for me. I really hate them, and am sensitive to them. It's a double edged sword because with my mackies being scooped I like listening to them, but mix in all sorts of hollow and nasty.

    In a $400 pair I don't expect a lot. But in general smooth and or detailed in that order is what I like/am looking for.

    I'm asking that about both the rokits and hs.

    Lol in my parents living room it's safe to figure on a fair amount of terrible as far as response. In all honesty it's not awful with plenty on curtains, and carpet and furniture. Bass response is good because it's like 14x28 and opens to a fairly long hallway.

    There's a big diff between 'sounds good man' and an 'envolping listening experience'. Lol

    The basement studio will be fully treated. The purpose of these is so I can mess around the next 6-12 months while the new rooms and gear are on their way. It felt so good to play guitar at GC the other day I finally got some inspiration brewing. I was dryed up for a few years.

    I'm gonna archive my old stuff, bring it up to date, and start learning samplitude, xara web designer, and xara movie edit. It'll give me something to do in the meant besides building and number crunching.

    I've got my beater squire and trusty old jasmine acoustic for now.

    I've decided to break out the NAS and laptop to get things going once the last few truckloads of junk and building materials are out of the cellar.

    I'm looking new only. It works well with my taxes so I don't feel any hit from the instant depreciation, it's a deduction for me. It's symbiotic, I prefer to have to profit they have to have one, do their 30% gain I'd my 30% loss it keeps me balanced at 0. Right where I need to be at this stage.

    Those alesis (mk2 powered)are something special. One of those diamonds in the rough. There's just something about them i love. I shoulda bought a pair when I knew they were stopping g production on them. Live and learn. I keep my fingers crossed that some watehouse has a pallet of them un opened.

    You seem to mix well on the mk1's.

    Id love to find another budget pair that had that type of sound. Basically I guess a hifi top easy mid, and decent low even if a bit tubby.
  9. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I would describe them as smooth and detailed...compared to the Rokits which to me sound harsher and less defined in the mids when both sets are trimmed in an A / B scenario.

    The lows are there, just not as boomy as the Rokits...which I find ironic considering the Yamaha-ha's are 7 inch and the Rokits only 5 inch. I have read that port location (front or back) has absolutely no effect on low end output, but I believe frequency response can change with rear-ported speakers placed in close proximity to walls. The HS7's are rear-ported whilst the Rokit 5's are front ported below the driver.

    Maybe one of our members with more knowledge and expertise on the subject may chime in on this. In the words of my avitar..."Why Is It So?...."

    Both the Yamaha-ha HS7's and the Rokit 5's are the same proximity from the rear wall, whilst not ideally located I do have four inch thick acoustic panels placed on the wall behind them to try to eliminate any resonance.
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Yes the port location comes into play when speakers are placed closer than 3' to a wall.

    The coupling between the rear port and wall is usually indicative of a boomy response or exhaggerate for bass, your probably just located in a null spot based. The lower frequencies the 7's and they're rear port, are pushing are more likely to exhibit low freq canceliztaion, than a smaller speaker pushing the next octave or so up. The yamahas are just more efficient at pushing lows inherently due to the design, and the placement.

    I personally like sealed cabs, like the mackies are. But the alesis were front ported. So are they Meyers. So it's not a price thing where 'ported means cheap' it's just a design choice.

    I'm wondering if we will see more sealed can designs as subwoofers become slowly more common.

    Seems like the concensus is leaning towards the yamahas so far. Based on price it seems the 5'a or the 8's are the ones I'd opt for, with the 7's being only $50 cheaper than the 8's, I'd bite the bullet.

    But I can get a pair of 5's for $400 asking retail price, or 1 hs 8. Lol so I'm leaning toward the 5's

    Less cost, less space they take up.

    I could get a pair of 5's, the top Scarlett (18i20) interface, and a 57 for 1k total. I could likely talk the salesman down a bit and have some headphones or cables tossed in for just about the 1k mark.

    I think that's a nice little portable setup paired w my i5 laptop, which I've decided to employ soon, because the 'studio' is gonna take a while.

    @pcrecord or anyone. Have you tried the hs-5's? Seems like everyone who has the yammys has the 7 or 8's

    GC has all of them up for demo at the store, but the focals I'd have to order. So my focus is on the budget set right now.
    Sean G likes this.
  11. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I have not auditioned the HS 5's...I really considered the HS-8's or the HS-80's as I found a new set of those when I was shopping around, but when I built the new desk I just managed to squeeze both sets of the HS-7's and Rokit 5's on top of the racks on either side...even then it was touch-and-go and I knew the extra few inches of the 8's were going to hang over the sides.

    In hindsight I should have let the monitor size determine the size of the top of the rack, but C'est la Vie.
    kmetal likes this.
  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I think in choosing between the HS5 or HS8, the size of the room should also come to play.
    Bigger room calls for bigger speaker, isn't it ?
    kmetal and Sean G like this.
  13. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

  14. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I spent 3hours at GC auditioning speakers. And luckily they had a focusrite scarelett connected to the iMac so I was able to mess a that too. Defiantly found no issues w tha scarelett so that's a go for the interface.

    It came down to the Yamaha hs 8's and hs 5's as far as 'honest' speakers go. I liked the 8's better overall becuase they sounded bigger and fuller, but I think they were on the cusp of hype relative to the 5's. The 5's seemed to have a little less fat overall. I think a little of what I liked in the 8's was not going to be helpful in a mix reference situation. It was a very very close call.

    When I weighed in cost, i felt like adding a sub to the 5's would give me a more useful refernce situation than a pair of 8's alone, and also more ability to tune/calibrate the system. It would allow each component to do what it's job more efficiently. Since the 8's woofer had to do both sub lows and mids, it's a lot to ask for in that price range, when 'accuracy' is a factor. So seperating the sub into a dedicated box w the 5's handling lows and mids seemed to make more sense to me. Cost is about the same for both configurations.

    I think the 5's are gonna make me make more proper mix decisions than I would on the 8's. And really I'm unsure if i will even bother with the sub, becuase I like how small and portable the 5's are. I could easily take them around w my laptop and 1U scarelett when it shows up.

    If I was only going to have one pair id likely opt for the 8's, but since this is just a desktop setting the 5's did the right job and the price is right. I based my decision solely on usefulness since neither was out of the question, and not the sub is a possibility.

    @Sean G I was able to test the rokit 5's and I heard the same way you did as far as the mid range goes, relative to the hs series. Good call.

    Chris I agree! I tried those and I was very impressed for the price, more so w the 8's of that model. The 8's had more propetional lows to highs. Those were my 3rd choice overall and a great bang for the buck.

    If I was buying solely for listening I would have opted for the lsr 308's.

    I typically hate jbl for their tweeters and those were definitely jbl, lol but not so bad relative to the many other jbl models I've used.

    My main problem was the same w the mackies and most of the other speakers that they were hyped/scooped which I love. But when I mix I end up mixing way too much hollow 1-5k in when I work on speakers like that.

    The Yamaha hs were more even in that area without being too forward or harsh there. Even at the crossover point.

    I do like those jbls very much tho Chris, good call!
    pcrecord likes this.
  15. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    If I recall, wasn't it JBL that had an issue with some speakers in the range that had a coating on them that went all soft and gooey as it broke down over time and was a PITA to clean off?
    Not sure if the LSR 308's was one of the models effected, but I remember there was a previous thread her on RO in the last 12 or so months where @dvdhawk found a solution to remove the gooey residue that resulted in the coating breaking down on his particular model...maybe he could confirm if this was the case on the LSR 308's as well.

    Just thinking out loud...;)
  16. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

  17. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I remember that thread I had to google the model number. Those are a big step up from the 303/308's. The 3's seemed to be made of mdf cabinet and a plastic front. In fact I remember thinking that the fronts felt 'cheap'

    I wonder if that sticky thing had something to do w the 3's having that plastic or whatever front. Not sure when they came out relative to the 4 series. But I think the 3 series is pretty new.

    My buddy has the 4 series in surround, and I borrowed another friends pair to track a demo at an old office building once. I remember not liking them much but my tracks translated well so I think when I pick refernce speakers I can't go w what I like. I'm starting to learn what I need from them.

    Jbl has an unmistakable sound to their tweeters in all their speakers. Some dig it some don't.

    Jbl is the defacto standard in cinema sound.
  18. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Mine are the LSR4328p, and cleaning the goo off of them was a PITA, but the polymer cleaning solvent from eBay worked very well.
    pcrecord and kmetal like this.

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