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Mastering Speakers?

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by kosmas31, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. kosmas31

    kosmas31 Active Member

    my students some times record demos for class review, auditions etc and i usually do the mixing. nothing fancy, I use karaoke pre-recorded songs and I add their voice on top.

    I use an Oktava MK-319 through my Prism Sound Lyra straight to Sequoia. my students can't afford professional mastering, since they record back and forth and listen to the results through ipods. so i thought i would do some home mastering using sequoia.

    but I need a set of decent studio monitors to allow me to listen to the subtleties of eq, compression and limiting. out of these, which one would you recommend for home use?
    this is as much as my budget goes.

    KS Digital C-55
    KS Digital D-606 Coax
    Sonodyne SM 300Ak
    Event 20/30
    Prodipe Pro 8-3W
    Adam A77X
    Avantone Mix Tower
    EVE audio SC307
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Those are some nice choices, they ar mix monitors. Something geared toward mastering starts around 10k per speakers and usually has an entire specialized room built around them. Vice versa.

    I don't like the Adam tweeters, and while they re great for hearing errors in the vocal range, they tend to put things forward. But I only used the Adam a 7s.

    You might consider something from focal. They have a great rep.

    A lot of it depends on the size and shape of the room itself, and that's and budget is gonna determine the best monitor range for you, the it's personal preference from there.
    pcrecord likes this.
  3. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    A7's are very clear in the top end. You'll need the sub for them to be trustworthy as they are great for top end but judging bass/low mids is hard.
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    You didn't mention the environment you are working in.... in relation to acoustics. Much of a monitor's ability to do what it does will depend on this.

    The list of your choices is solid... but if your room is inaccurate acoustically, even the best monitors will only ever serve you so much and to a certain point....and if your room has phasing issues, standing waves, null points, flutter echo, or any of the other common problems associated to mixing in "just any room" without proper acoustic treatment, not only will the room's issues effect your ability to accurately hear what the mix is doing frequency-wise, but it will also effect the clarity and definition, the imaging, and, your ability to hear those subtleties and nuances you describe.


  5. pcrecord

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

    Adding to what Donny is saying, even with accousticly accurate rooms, it also depends on where the monitor will be placed.
    (near a wall or not, on a mixer shelf or on a desk) All those variables may change your choice because some monitors need space behind them to build bass and some don't really need it (or need less space)
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    From a pro audio pov, forget using the term "Mastering Speakers". You are thousand of $ away from commercial mastering accuracy. Room and acoustics, conversion, monitor controller and HD speakers are all part of that step. But this doesn't mean you can't get a the best possible sounding mix on those already mentioned either. There is a lot of hype in this industry.

    Beings said though,
    Save your pennies and start with Event Opals. They aren't "high end" mastering but they are so accurate you'd be hard pressed to find anything better in the price range. I own a pair and love them. Avatones are also excellent for dialing in mids.
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I suppose it's all subject to how serious you want to get with this.

    First off, let's start with this question... are you interested in Mastering, or Mixing? Because there is a difference, and many people commonly mistakenly refer to one when they actually mean the other.

    A very brief explanation: http://www.audioshapers.com/blog/difference-between-mixing-and-mastering.html

    If you are indeed Mastering, then, as Chris pointed out, from a truly professional POV, monitors for critical application (mastering) are rather expensive, as are the other facets involved - room acoustics, conversion, monitor controllers, etc., And, Marco's statement regarding placement is also spot-on. All of these things mentioned will play a major and equal part to the quality of your production chain. If even one thing in that chain is of lesser quality than the other parts of the chain, then everything else in that chain will only ever be as good as that weakest link.

    If professional standards are important, then yes, you would want to get into a pro specification monitor designed for critical listening applications... but, as mentioned above, there are other things beyond just the monitors that are going to matter quite a bit as well.

    If, however, this is something you are doing to just have fun with, or to simply demonstrate to your students the basics of audio production, then any of those monitors you mentioned would certainly do the job for you, and in fact, you could get by with more inexpensive solutions. As Chris stated, Events are a good, accurate NF monitor for average level production needs, and Avantones - which are the modern equivalent to the old Auratone cubes - are also very helpful when determining what your mixes will sound like through "average" listening scenarios.


  8. pcrecord

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

    Doing demos and karaoke recording isn't like a full band productions with critical mixing/mastering intended for mass distribution. It in no way disminish the importance of a good monitoring system but I think you will be well serve with any of the choice you presented.. ;)
  9. kosmas31

    kosmas31 Active Member

    Exactly as you put it! I need a quick polishing of tracks produced by students. I have used prism lyra with sennheiser 600 along with some t-racks and melda plugins and I have achieved better results than local mastering studios with lipinski monitoring and Weiss converters. There is no sense to treat my room for student demos, unless we talk about monitors with autoEQ build in or other room correction software
  10. pcrecord

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

    Well, it's kind of a catchy thing.
    If you were using headphones to mix and master. When you switch to monitors, you add the room factor that wasn't there with the HD600
    If the room is so deffective that it boost certain frequencies too much. Even with the best monitors in the world your mix will suffer from the room. One doesn't go without the other if you seek success.

    BUT ! let's talk balance. Since you will not do critical stuff to sell broadly.
    Buy a middle range monitors kit and a minimum of treatment to control the early reflections and you'll be ok !
    In the end, you will still need to get used to the new environement.
  11. pcrecord

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

    I'm a bit surprise to read that ! no insult intended but maybe you don't hear the difference or they have poor audio engineer ;)
  12. kosmas31

    kosmas31 Active Member

    I have conducted orchestras with 120 players, highly unlikely I don't hear well!
    bigtree likes this.
  13. pcrecord

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

    I thought so :LOL:
  14. Reverend Lucas

    Reverend Lucas Active Member

    This is not the case. There are likely large variations in your room's frequency response. Mastering requires decision making in levels that are much smaller than the variances in an untreated room. As the gentlemen above pointed out, your acoustical environment is just as, if not more important than your monitors.

    If you're serious enough to spend as much as you are on monitors, you're serious enough to treat your room. I think you'd be amazed at what even a few hundred dollars can do.
    pcrecord likes this.
  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Putting flat monitors in an inaccurate room, is like driving a sports car on a wet road, it works, but not very well.

    The speakers your considering are pro level, and intended for rooms that are made, or adapted towards that kinda of listening. Not to sidestep the monitors which was the real question, but really I wouldn't bother spending that kind of money without factoring a baic RFZ, Criling cloud, and a couple traps. Really, it's not worth it otherwise. That can be as cheap as some moving blankets and something to stuff in the corners. Your never ever ever come close to hearing what your interface converters and speakers are doing, uses your room allows them to show it. Take the advice and just get it over with, otherwise you'll likely be very dissapointed when the final touches you spend time working on, do not translate as intended.

    Granted it's just vocals over tracks, but that's how it starts, than a acouple db of this and that next thing you know your adding a shaker to the thing at 5 am lol. Really tho, your obviosly a professional and if your conducting orchestras than you must have some appreciation for acoustics, and how the room effects things. Different requirements obviosly between a concert hall and a home studio, but still the effect is real. You don't have to become an acoustician, or spend a lot of money, but if you at least hit the basics, you,l be in far better shape
    pcrecord likes this.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I liked that.

    I often wonder how close we would all mix if we used the exact same room to mix in.
    fwiw, I've own about $200,000 in really nice equipment and none of that would make a difference if I didn't have excellent room acoustics and a serious monitor control system to go with it. The speakers I have are only 1 part of it. I can get by on less then special speakers but not the acoustics and monitor controller.
    When I first started in this business, I knew I was gifted with great ears, but I soon found out that didn't matter if my room was lying to me.
    I used take bass traps and acoustic treatment around with me even when I toured as a band. Treatment is the number one priority for me.
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    It;s possible your ears are more finely tuned to the genre.

    Mastering for classical/orchestral and choral is a different beast than your average, typical rock/pop mastering is. Dynamics and spatial placement is probably the main difference between the two genres.

    Nice gear and a good room does matter. But, if it isn't in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing with it, or, are limited in their knowledge to just that of popular music, then the finest EQ, monitoring and room treatment available won't matter.

    I know several mastering engineers in both genres of music, and the rock/pop guys I know will admit that they aren't good at orchestral styles, and the guys who work in the orchestral mastering end will freely admit that they aren't comfortable in mastering popular music.

    There are many great recording, mixing and mastering engineers out there, who are great at what they do within the waters that they swim.... but bit all that many can move freely, comfortably and effectively between all the genres.

    For example, someone like Mutt Lang - who is a great talent and highly respected within the popular music industry, and who has successfully recorded many contemporary albums - but I'm pretty sure that he wouldn't be the first choice of Telarc Records to record the Cleveland Orchestra. ;)

    Well, I suppose we're just gonna have to agree to disagree on this.

    Luis Berrios likes this.
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Recording, mixing or mastering acoustic music is all about realism. Capturing the room is critical with classical music. Perhaps the OP is missing the critical importance of room acoustics, seeing treatment as something you use for modern music?
    Discovering why acoustic treatment is so important is critical for the students because, if they miss this early on in life, they are sure to have a long journey of guessing followed by developing massive bad habits.

    If the OP is only capturing the music and printing it, (no altering with volumes, EQ etc), then who cares. But, why does he need mastering speakers? Maybe you are only wanting to review your performance for study purposes?
    If he is taking the performance into a control room, (including HD headphones) to tweak anything, you need to treat the room so these changes translate exactly to all other playback systems. This is perhaps even more important for classical music. There is no guessing. Its all about the truth.

    Perhaps the OP is missing the concept about acoustic translation.
  19. pcrecord

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

    Maybe it's a wife problem !:sneaky:
    I had quite an argument with mine (well girlfriend) when I built my studio in our basement
    The trick that I found was to offer her something of interest at the same time. So my control room is also a Home theater. She's not happy about the accoustic pannels but she knows the are needed for the studio and they make the home theater audio system sound better.

    Compromises get you a long way ! (y)
  20. kosmas31

    kosmas31 Active Member

    I know that room matters. That is why I mixed with the senns 600 to take the room out of the,equation. I have brilliant results with,these cans, my mixes translate exactly be it itunes, iPods, car, Lipinski hi end speakers, you name it. So why change this? Two reasons. My house is,brand new and I don't want to put ugly DIY acoustic treatment and I don't want to wear heads for more than two hours per day. Even if I monitor at conversation level. Today I visited a mixing engineer who has a fixed Auralex Acoustics Max-Wall 831 kit and a pair of presonus sceptre. He's even doing DVD audio mastering for warner. I wa sceptical at first but an hour later I realized this kit really worked, at least for his room. And the speakers, well they stand up there with monitors costing twice or more. Also the sweet spot on these speakers is,huge, as if they are midfields. He told me they adapt to amy room. He also has a van when,doing mobile,recordings and he does quick mixes on,these too. I was really impressed. Both monitors and,acoustic kit set him less than 2000€. What is,your opinion?

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