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Looking for Studio Monitors

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by adam79, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. adam79

    adam79 Active Member

    'm looking for a pair of monitors for recording. I'm currently using Bose 301 Series IV bookshelf speakers to mix (they're also the speakers I use for my stereo system) . I've worked with them long enough to know what my mixes should sound like on them for it to sound proper on any stereo system. However, I would like to get a pair of actual studio monitors with a flat frequency response. I originally was thinking about the Yamaha NS10s, since they seem to be an industry standard. That quickly changed after hearing about how Yamaha was giving them out by the truck load to all the studios back in the '70s. They're also pretty expensive these days.. way overpriced imho.

    Anyways, I've gotten a few suggestions: Paradigm Mini MKII and/or MKIII (not the MKI, which use titanium tweeters; I'm not a fan), NHT SuperOnes, Yorkville YSM-1 and EV Sentry 100A. Anyone have any experience or comments with these models? I haven't had the opportunity to hear any of these, nor the NS-10s. It's not like I can go to Guitar Center to listen and compare because none of these speakers are made anymore!

    I don't have a much money to spend, so I'm looking for something with the most bang for the buck. If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    if I was on a budget, I would do the yamaha's then.
  3. adam79

    adam79 Active Member

    Well the Yamaha NS-10's go for $400-500, which isn't that much of a budget price. You can pick up a pair of any of the speakers I mentioned in the original post for around $200. Do most of you agree that the NS-10s are mostly hype and not worth their inflated price tag?

    Like I was saying, I'm on a super tight budget. If there isn't a pair of speakers in the lower price bracket that will give me a better representation of the mix, compared to the colored Bose 301's I'm using, I'd rather just hold onto my money.

  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    If you can find a pair of the EV Sentry 100's with a decent condition surround on the woofer for under $200 you should go that way. Another company that makes really decent sounding speakers you could learn for studio work is Boston Acoustics. Passives in the model5's will run you about that price used. Celestion makes studio boxes as well. Since you seem to be looking at passives, dont overlook the original Alesis M1's as well as the passive KRK's. Passive monitors run less than half the cost of powered monitors. Most manufacturers make a passive model of some sort. I have a set of passive Tannoy's to complement the Genelecs.

    NS-10's are something everyone should at least experience. I sold mine after a year but they were killer for getting the guitars in balance with the vocal. Gave me a headache after 3 or 4 hours.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Well, Adam, with your name, I think you should save up some money and purchase yourself a pair of Adam's. Then you can tell your friends that you own that company LOL. And that would really impress everybody especially when they hear how fabulous your speakers sound. Not what I would call budges speakers however but you get what you pay for and they are fabulous sounding.

    Remy only makes cognac. (hic) I don't make anything but trouble. Let me have another shot of that... stuff...
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. adam79

    adam79 Active Member

    From the research I've done, it seems like anyone with a valid opinion prefers passive monitors to active. Especially when comparing a passive model to it's active counterpart.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Adam, people with valid opinions don't necessarily prefer passive monitors to active monitors. We like both types. They all have their place. With an active monitor, you get a device that has been very tightly integrated design to produce a very specific signature. With the passive monitors, for instance, at a studio I built years ago, we utilize one of my favorite passive speakers the JBL 4311's. The same ones that were even George Massenburg's favorite at the time. My buddy had a Macintosh 2100 transistorized amplifier. It sounded gorgeous. Full, round, fat. But at the same time and I had the same monitor speakers also, I actually preferred them with the Crown DC 300 A type II. The Macintosh utilized a auto-former output and the Crown was a direct coupled output. The Crown had a higher damping factor making my 4311's sound a lot tighter. Where on the Macintosh, I found an almost flabby. It really did make much difference since I could mix just as well with the Macintosh amplifier as I could with the Crown. But it made the JBL's almost sound like two different speakers. And if you had been blindfolded, you would say they were two different speakers. We just merely like the ability to mix and match for our individualized personal tastes. And I also have powered and passive KRK's. But I'll utilize and mix and record with most anything. As Dave pointed out, some speakers while they may sound better than others initially may cause a higher degree of ear fatigue. And that's why I could never stand Yamaha NS-10's. I won't use them, I hate them. I could give you a whole list of both passive and active monitors that I both love and hate.

    Those Adam's, when I heard them, I simply love. I love Meyer HD powered. Mackie's, not so much so. It's as subjective as the underwear that you wear. Boxers or jockeys? Nylon or cotton? Which one is better? Answer: all of them. In fact I think you'll find that most studios today utilizing near field monitors are in fact all active ones. Far field monitors, mostly passive with Bryston's, Crown and other direct coupled amplifiers. I like some passive monitors with internal passive crossover networks. Others, I prefer with active crossover networks powered from multiple amplifiers. You just have not experienced the full gamut of good monitors. But then how could you know since you're still so new at this?

    At the music store I've been dealing with since 1978, I've occasionally bought some monitors that sounded great there only to return them right after installing them in my control room. Both active and passive types. It's all in what speaks to you and how you interpret them over the long term of a full day of tracking and mixing. Because something that might initially sound better will drive you crazy in a few hours. And something that may not sound all that great, after a 10 or 12 hour day, you'll still love them. Because again, it's all 100% subjective. I've loved the way Electro-Voice monitors have sounded over the years. I have no problems working on those. So you have to try some on and live with them for a while before you should come up with assumptions based upon what you think you've heard or read about. I like cheap powered KRK's. You can get a decent pair for around $300. Others in that price range I mostly loath. But that's just me.

    One of the other advantages of passive monitors is that you can decide what kind of polarity you want to run them at. That alone makes a huge difference. I have fixed monitoring problems in numerous control rooms for others just by reversing polarity at the output of the amplifiers. I'm not talking about having them out of phase. That's reverse polarity on only one of the two.

    Think about this... with passive monitors and an amplifier how do you connect them? Each channel of the amplifier has a red and a black connection for each channel. On the back of the speaker you have a red and a black connection. Most people connect the red from the amplifier to the red on the speaker and black to black. And while the signal going to the speakers is AC, think about DC circuit theory. How do you put two batteries into a flashlight? Which way works and which way doesn't? Apply this concept to the way you connect passive speakers to an amplifier and see how different they sound. You don't have that choice with powered monitors. Though I have considered opening up some powered monitors to actually try that. But I've had really no reason to. That's because you purchase the powered monitors as a single package deal. Though it would be fun to drill some holes and stick in a couple of switches on the back of some powered monitors just to have that option. So plug that into your speaker and smoke it LOL.

    With passive speakers, rated at 75 W, how big of an amplifier should you purchase? I won't use anything less than 150 W. Because if you purchase an amplifier that is underpowered or is only rated at the power that the speaker can handle, you can be pretty certain you'll blow up your speaker. And that's because an underrated amplifier that starts to clip will produce a lot more harmonic content that can actually heat up the voice coils of the speakers. An overpowered amplifier generally won't do that. You generally won't have that kind of issue to deal with with integrated powered monitors.

    What? No Adam's?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    this dude phil i know emphasizes that he prefers the ns10's to be way over powered, w/ couple hafler ?000w's. i guess in an attempt to have it loud, while trying keep any power amp distortions in the headroom..
    he's funny, he'll tell ya about his sessions w/ bob clearmountain and knows what kinda tissue he liked over the the tweeters. . i've read alot of interviews and alotta people say they used the ns-10's because everyone else did. I've only had a few hours on a set of 'em on haflers i'd say kinda ok, i dunno that i'd rush to that. It's seems that the meyers make tracking very apparent. used some questeds there, they were louder, but lacked some depth. i dunno after more sessions my, mackies seem (realetivley) hi-fi and the alesis
    m1 mk2 i used them for a week, i think they sounded good. Not very clinical at all. I enjoyed casually listening to final versions of tool and jack johnson thru them.
    I didnt like the jbl 'lsr speakers'. they sounded cheap, or plastic to me, after listening to the same set in different rooms, it confirmed my thought.
    i guess either way it'd come down to learning. i don't like that molded sound yet. Not on the mackie pa's either.
  9. TeamMusicWhirl

    TeamMusicWhirl Active Member

    Adam, the secret to any great mix lies with (drum roll please)... Your ears!
    I've heard terrible mixes done with NS10's and great sounding mixes done with a pair of Home stereo speakers.

    MusicWhirl - Home
    The SMITH BRAND.com - About Us
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    and first and foremost, I would personally invest in room acoustic treatment and then shop for monitors. Although I have invested in really nice monitors, and put them on my highest list, they are something you learn to use. I have three pairs that I switch between but I know I would be able to live with less expensive if I had to.

    My next pairs are going to be full range and really tiny. :)
  11. adam79

    adam79 Active Member

    I'm leaning towards the EV Sentry 100a's. In another forum I was told that the wrong woofer was placed in the 100a's during a production run in either 83 or 84 which caused some problems. I'm trying to figure out if there's a way to identify the make year via the serial # or something, so I can avoid the off chance of buying a pair from that run. Anyone know about this?

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