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Need new monitors and amp

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by Soundhound, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Soundhound

    Soundhound Active Member

    Looking for recommendations for good mid-level amp and speakers. We had an electrical fire in the back house where I have my studio. Luckily not much damage, it was contained, but there was serious smoke and some things got really well smoked. But they put everything in an ozone chamber to get rid of the smell, and they are saying my amp and speakers still stink, so they will probably count them as a total loss. So yippee I get new stuff, but boo because I've had that amp and speakers for about 30 years and am sooooo... used to them.

    The amp was just a home stereo amp, a Denon 20 W, but very nice warm pleasing sound with good depth and richness. The speakers were Tannoys that I got after a few years with NS10Ms that just hurt too much to listen to.

    What would you recommend? I'm all over the lot with what I do. Mostly songwriting, soul/funk/old style muscle shoals stuff, and some scoring work as well, from straight orchestral to the usual Zimmer-ish stuff.

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Are you committed to having a separate amp and speakers? These days, "powered" or "active" speakers that house their own dedicated amplifiers generally give better performance for the money, as the two parts of the system can be set up by the manufacturer to work well together.

    It's difficult to give a list of makes and models you should consider without knowing what budget you are working to. If it's in the price range of a 20+20W Denon amp plus a pair of Tannoys, then you are not going to be able to get too far into the better end of things unless you use the cash to buy second-hand.

    The other thing we need to know is the studio environment in which you are listening to them. Near-field or mid-field? Acoustically treated room?
  3. Soundhound

    Soundhound Active Member

    Thanks Boswell. I'm up for active or powered, I had read recently that the less expensive active models tend not be be that great, since you're buying both amp and speakers etc. And there are the long term concerns with the electronics having to deal with the constant vibrations over time... But if it's a good solution I'm all for it!

    I'm not sure yet what the price range is going to be. I bought the Tannoys in the mid-eighties for $350 or so I think? I think they are PBM 6.5s? Maybe they were $500? and the Denon probably the same amount. So that was decent home studio quality back then, nothing spectacular. Our insurance does cover replacement cost though, so I should be able to get amp and speakers or active monitors of equivalent quality, and that's what I'm wondering what the modern equivalent would be I guess? Not in terms or reproducing those same speakers, but speakers of similar quality in today's market.

    My setup is near-field. I've my Tannoys sitting on the desk the last 10 years or so. It's a refurbished garage which we set up as a room for my writing, as well as for entertaining etc. One wall is a glass garage door, another is windows. It's a great place to write in, but pretty most definitely not acoustically treated. I have kept a large rug covering most of the floor.

  4. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    My first thought was ns10s and a hafler amp, but if you don't like them you don't. I use Mackie at home and Meyer at the studio, as well as the ns10s/urie 813s which are passive. I actually like the concept of a purpose built amp for a monitor. I'm not super tech oriented, but if accuracy is what we are looking for from a box w some moving parts that
    re create sound vibrations then I welcome the concept that the speaker designers have an idea of how the amp is gonna sound thru the speaker. Ya know I've talked to cats who insist on expensive tube amps modified and then connected to urei mains which were tweaked, but in the mid range, why wouldn't you expect the manufacture to suss that out. That's how they get the overall sound.

    if your not using active studio monitoring, for near fields, then it has to be some custom case by case, at this point in time,

    I'd say either jump ship get something awesome, like Meyer hd1s which are old, or grab a new set of focals, or something else we'll re guarded. The Alesis monitor1 mk2 powered are good sounding, and only a couple hundred bucks. Or just replace what you had. I'd take the time to upgrade and learn, you should consider how the signal is getting to the speakers as we'll, so maybe an Orion or comparable converter, or new interface as we'll. a nice converter and set of speakers are bare bones for a studio. speakers response and preference on a room by room by personal taste, make a big difference, conversion and clocking make a commonly accepted difference
  5. Soundhound

    Soundhound Active Member

    thanks! Maybe I'd like the NS10s after all these years this time. It was almost 30 years ago (!) that I had them in my studio after all. I'll look into your suggestions as well, Focals, the Alesis you mentioned, Mackies and Meyers as well.
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    LOL... don't bet on it.

    They are what they are. And I totally understand the concept. But in the real world, where you may be working on a mix for hours at a time, you're gonna end up just as fatigued as you did 30 years ago... maybe even more so now because you're 30 years older. ;)

    I have several "go to" monitor rigs. I have an old pair of JBL 4406's that I use, powered by an ancient Crown SA 20-20 ( which I love), and I have a pair of passive Alesis Monitor One's powered by a Hafler Transnova.

    And.... I have a pair of NS10's.

    And I would choose the JBL's or the Monitor 1's hands down, all day long and twice on Sundays, LOL , than to mix (or track) using the NS10's for any longer than around an hour. ;)
  7. Soundhound

    Soundhound Active Member

    Thanks! Yup I remember getting tired listening to those and I had way more stamina (and hair) back then. :) I got a few recommendations, one of which are JBLs that are inexpensive but some people seem to really like them - JBL LSR305s, anybody familiar with those?

    Also an old friend who knows me well said he loves the Genelec 8020bs. There's a pair available locally used (claimed new...) for cheap but they are the 8020a. Anyone know if there's any important difference between the 8020a and 8020b? (I know they're now up to c...)

  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I was never a Genelec fan. Let me rephrase that. I like the monitors just fine. The reason I'm not a fan is because I personally find them to be too expensive for what you get in return.

    I've mixed on them many times, and they do the job. I just don't think they're as good as what the price tag infers.

    As far as I know, the only difference between the two models, was that the A's had an XLR out on the back, whereas on the B model, they did away with that... I guess they decided that there was no real practical use for that particular feature.

    Other than that, sonically, I've heard no discernible difference between them. Others may disagree. I'm cool with that.

    As far as the C models, from what I've heard, Genelec has decided to add a "power active" detection circuit, which puts the amp into "standby" when not in use. I could be wrong on this, I'm only going by what I've been told.

    And I still think they cost too much. ;)
  9. Soundhound

    Soundhound Active Member

    Thanks Donny! You haven't heard those JBls I mentioned have you by any chance?
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I have used the Lsr's before not sure if it was the 305 but I didn't like them too much. They were OK, but sounded cheap. Built w plastic cabs an room correction, not my idea of a good speaker, to me they sounded similar to the Yamaha hsm series, which to me are un impressive. Meyer hd1s are the best sounding speaker I've heard, but they are expensive, and not easy to work on because they are so honest.
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I haven't. The last time I used anything current by JBL was back in the mid 90's. I haven't run across any "newer" JBL NF's in my recent "have ears-will travel, hired-gun" engineering gigs. ;)

    Most of what I run into are NS10's, Mackie HR's, Genelec 8020's, and occasionally, Dynaudio's.... and just recently, I mixed through a pair of Presonus Eris NF's for the first time.
  12. Soundhound

    Soundhound Active Member

    Thanks Donny, that gives me a nice list to work from.
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    D- what are your thoughts on the Eris? I've seem some positive reviews?

    also while your upgrading sound hound, u might want to think about acoustic treatment, or more bass trapping, if you have to get used to new speakers anyway, it'd be a perfect time to clean up the room too.

    lol, these forum conversations always end up w people just suggesting progressively more expensive propositions, or to buy an sm57.

    The best advice I have on monitors is to take advantage of credit card billing cycles, and retail store return policies and take home your top 2 or 3 favorite pairs at the store, break them in by playing music thru them for a week straight and then spend a couple weeks using them for tracking and mixing. Then see what gives you the best end result, and just what you like the best. I tend to like non bright monitors that sound like speakers as opposed to monitors per say.
  14. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    My son got a pair of the Eris 8s a few months ago. I haven't spent a lot of time listening to them, but the initial impression I got from them during a quick demo was good. They seemed fairly smooth in the mids and highs, and well-defined in the bass department. He's in pretty tight quarters, but I didn't hear anything in them that I'd be worried about in a marathon session. I'd say they hold their own really well against anything else I've heard in their price range [KRK, Event, Tannoy, etc.].
  15. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Pretty much my impression as well. I mean, they are what they are, which is a budget NF. They're not Genelec's or Dynaudio's.

    If I had any complaints, I would say it was with the imaging, which to my ears sounded a bit "smeary"... yet not in the "phasey" way that lower-line Tannoys can sound, but more like definition thing.
    To be fair though, the room may have been at play as well.

    I was able to mix on them for several hours without any fatigue. I haven't yet heard the final mix outside the room, the client was supposed to dropbox me a copy but hasn't yet, so for all I know it might suck. LOL

    This was only my second time mixing at this place and I'm still getting used to it. The last time I mixed there I expected attenuated lows when playing the mix back outside the room, as I was pretty confident that because of the lack of any traps or diffusion, the lows would have been fooling me, making me think there was enough low end when there really wasn't, but it wasn't too bad when I got the copy and listened to the mix on my own system at home. The lows were a little shy, but not in a deal breaking way. I guess I just got lucky in compensating while I was mixing.
  16. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Rooms can exhagerate as easy as diminish. Rooms are weird.

    so the Eris series is just ok?
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Yeah, they're "okay". To be fair, I've got limited time on them, and with any NF, with the exception of the boutique models, there's a bit of a compensation period where you're getting used to them, and I haven't really had that kind of time in on them yet.
  18. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    In their price range ($500 / pr), they sounded as good as anything else I've heard in that class.

    For a company that's new to making speakers, it's a solid start. I'll be curious to hear the Sceptre series at 3x the price, because there are a LOT of high-quality, well-established monitors in that price range.

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