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Portable decent active monitors.

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by mrelwood, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. mrelwood

    mrelwood Active Member

    I need a pair of monitors to be taken with me for recording sessions. I have Adam P11's at home, and I'm not going to take them with me. Small monitors would be adequate and easily portable. So far I listened to:
    -Roland 10 (good bass, lack of midrange, harsh treble)
    -Edirol MA-7A (Good treble, lacking mids, no bass/exaggerated bass)
    -ESI nEar 05 (Overall good, but too dark for listening to raw mixes)

    As You can see, they are really small and affordable. Behringer 2030A would be very adequate for the sound and price, and I could use them for serious reference at home. However, they aren't as portable as I'd like. Since the smaller ones obviously could produce a decent bass, I just need to find the ones that also has good midrange.

    Monitors that could fit the bill, and I'd like to hear:
    -Behringer MS-40
    -Edirol MA-15D
    -ESI nEar 04
    -Yamaha MSP3

    Which ones shouldn't be on this list? Which ones should I add?

    The market for used monitors is next to dead in Finland, adn for this price, I don't see a reason to order from abroad.


  2. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    None of those qualify as "decent".
  3. alexaudio

    alexaudio Active Member

    I agree with the above list. Budget concious is one thing, but good monitoring is another. I have found the NHT Pro M00s to be decent for something very small and self-amplifiered. Of course there is better, but I think these will do the trick. I am sure other suggestions will come.
  4. mrelwood

    mrelwood Active Member

    Decent for playing back recorded tracks for the band during a cigarette break? I think yes. For mixing a song? Ofcourse not. Good monitoring is one thing, tiny portable demo monitors is another. I woudn't get more recording jobs if I had a bashed Dynaudio pair in my trunk, but I would if I used the cash to things that make difference.

    Thanks! I'll check if they have an importer in Finland.
    I found out that a Finnish company Profel makes monitors that could fit on the list.
    English pages don't show all models.

  5. anxious

    anxious Guest

    If you like the M00's, but have trouble getting them, post me a message here. I might be able to help you out finding a dealer or distributer.

    Finding M00's in the kingdom of Genelec might require a bit of cloak and dagger.... :)
  6. alexaudio

    alexaudio Active Member

    Just wanted to clarify that even though I agree with McCheese's posting, that is not what I personally said. I do agree that there are certainly more appropriate monitors for mixing a song. However, if you need a quick/dirty pair of monitors out in the field that are small, durable and sound ok - the NHT Pro's are a good value IMO. I actually carry around NHT Pro A-20s to things that I are remote and I actually need definition on. Otherwise, I carry a variety of quality headphones.

    You can email NHT Pro direct. They sell direct in the states and would likely deal with you directly if you needed something.
  7. mrelwood

    mrelwood Active Member

    Woops... Sorry! I messed up with the quotings.

    A few phone calls clarified that the NHT M-00 is available, and actually to be heard not that far away from my place. It is priced almost as high as the Yamaha MSP5, but the retailer promised to make me an outstanding deal. So I'll go listening them today.

    I guess the A-20 is quite a lot more expensive. I were almost backing away even from the M-00's for the price while I was on the phone, and the retailer got a bit desperate and promised me to make me a deal of the world. We'll see how it goes.

    These are the kind of things that I will never buy without hearing myself. There are people who actually like ATH-M40fs headphones! I didn't.

  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Uhh, trust me, you won't be disappointed!!!

    Let me know off-line what kind of deal the dealer makes - I might be looking to add a pair too. The NHTs DO qualify as decent, even by the McCheese standard. Put a sub in your studio and you can jockey the NHTs in and out of place at will.

    If you're looking for far cheaper solutions, the Audix PH-5V is a good portable monitor (they even sell a bag that goes along with them.) They're cheap and sound halfway decent. I could actually mix an album on these and still have it playable out in the real world.

  9. mrelwood

    mrelwood Active Member

    Been listening to a lot of speakers today. Lean back.

    NHT Pro M-00 (~608€ pair, MSRP)
    Smaller than I expected, but very good sounding. I recognized a small boost at around 130Hz, but it was a lot smaller than all the others I listened to today. High treble was a bit sharp, "s"s were prominent on some songs, but it would be more than okay for the purpose of listening to raw mixes.
    However, they weigh almost as much as me. It's incredible, those small boxes truly weigh like a truck! They must have a small "black hole" inside.... So much for portability for a bad back.

    Profel PA-30 (Finnish brand, 580€ pair MSRP, +40€ for front shields)
    These are sized pretty much like a 1,5 liter juice carton. I am not kidding. They look like they'd fit in my wallet. This is the first speaker that actually deserve the title "cute". Honestly, they wouldn't fit two tennisballs inside!
    The sound was incredibly good. My knowledge of physics down the drain. Sounded like they handle 100Hz well, treble was balanced although a bit hifi-like, mids not pronounced but there, very balanced. Within Temptation -style low bassdrum did lose much of it's character though. Still, I'd easily mix with these.

    The distributor (a person) said he'd like to give me a very special discount, since it is important for him to make the brand known. We didn't talk more precisely, but I believe the 600€ MSRP would translate to around 500€ or a bit less. This is Finland I'm talking about, by the way. :eek:)

    M-Audio BX-5 (330€ pair, MSRP)
    I like adjustments. In this case though, they all went in trying to fix the sound that was a bit broken. There was a quite sharp knife at around 6-7KHz, nothing could be done about that. Treble volume was okay, but no separation, I coudn't hear that well what happened in there. Midrange too shy, a bit too much bass. They would serve the occasion okay, I guess.

    Genelec 8020 goes for 660€ pair MSRP. That made me think, the cuteness of the Profel has it's price. Still, I'm afraid the Genelec (8020) midrange is still too shy for my taste. Last time I mixed with Genes (1030 and in-wall), the soft'n'thick sound translated to extremely muffled in other speakers and the music was overcompressed. However, I'm not looking for speakers for mixing, and the Genes would easily have the best resell value. However, for me to use 250€ in B 2030A or 600€ in Gene's, there is a huge difference.

    I felt myself leaning towards the Behringers, until I read this:

    I immediately sent a nagging e-mail for our distributor since they don't have the PH-5V in their web shop. I don't think they have 'em, but they could be the perfect competitor for the B.

    Thanks Cucco, that's exactly what I needed!
  10. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    No problem Dude! I'm here to please... :lol:

    BTW - given that you did like the NHTs except for one minor sound issue (likely to iron itself out after a short break-in) and the weight, I would still strongly recommend them.

    They are part of the same lineage as the mighty Super Zero - one of the highest rated and reviewed speakers on the planet! (and rightly so. For $125 USD each, the Super Zeros sounded as good as ANY $50K per pair speaker I've ever heard. Of course without the bass though. Their imaging, dynamics and realism are absolutely stunning and their small packaging simply astonishing. Not to mention, they really were one of the first ones to do the piano black lacquer thing right!)

    In general, I LOVE NHT stuff. I haven't worked so much with their new lines of hifi speakers, but their older stuff and their pro stuff is the real deal!

  11. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    NHT does make good stuff. I just figured since you already had experienced the bliss that is owning ADAM's, that you would be incredibly disappointed by any of the products you listed.
  12. alexaudio

    alexaudio Active Member

    Far as the previous comments to the NHTs, they are a bit heavy, but I still consider them incredibly light in comparison to other things I carry. Put them in a little rolling case and they are easy to transport - IMO. They are heavy since NHT integrates a high degree of shielding and a quality amplifier in that thing (which I feel other self powered speakers chince on). Also, they do have a matching sub for the M00s as well.

    Please keep in mind, I am a bit biased for NHT as I have been a bit of a poster child for them. After being stunned by the performance of the A-20s performance at a recording session in San Fran that I did for a broadway artist and players of the SFO, I became a major proponent. Shortly there-after, I appeared on their website as a major proponent while I was recording the New World Symphony Orchestra. Of course, after I took a different job, the deal for promotional applications began to alter. They now have bigger poster childs. I still have wonderful relations with them and continue to enjoy their product. If you need to know more detail about any of their product, feel free to inquire. There are things I love about their line as well as have a dislike too. Also note that I do not dedicate myself to NHT and have other monitors (I have Questeds and am looking at PMC and Lipinski's for a surround studio now).

    That all said, one thing I do like about the NHTs - is even though they are a little tweekie as I say in the upper mids, they do reveal a lot of detail or errors that many other monitors mask. I rather have a little sharpness and hear the problem spots in a recording than not knowing about an error that I could rectify. Also, many artists find them enjoyable to listen too, as they clarify their details (both positive and negative) without getting harsh or bitee.

    Far as the bliss of ADAM's - they are very good monitors. However, I have made two consequetive pairs break down on brass quintet recordings (one that I made and another from someone else). This also happened at the AES 3 years ago. All times, the harmonic's made the Ribbon tweeters go into distortion. I was dissappointed as otherwise, the did sound quite good and were in contention for purchase. :(

    I am not familiar with Profel's at all.
  13. anxious

    anxious Guest

    I don't know if the distributor told you this, but there is a small switch on the back of the NHT M00's that adjusts the high frequencies for either near or far-field listening. Depending on where it was set, and where you were sitting, it might influence your perception of the treble.

    There are two reasons why they are so heavy. First, the case is cast metal, the kind good driver frames are made of . The idea is to be rigid, durable and stable when played loud. The other thing is that they use a big transformer inside, one that will keep the power rating up even under demanding use. It's possible to use a smaller transformer and still make spec, but the power will tend to go down as the windings heat up and their resistance rises.

    (eg- you get what you pay for. At best....)
  14. anxious

    anxious Guest


    As an ex-NHT'er, you really made my day! Thanks!

    (Of course, several of their competitors are customers now, so I have to maintain some promotional neutrality. Thus only handles here....)
  15. anxious

    anxious Guest

    Hey Alex,

    Glad you are still in touch with the guys at NHT. Maybe you could talk Don or Jack or JJ into stopping by recording.org once in a while!
  16. alexaudio

    alexaudio Active Member

    I'll likely be talking to JJ in the next few weeks and if I remember, I'll mention it. Howeer, I know that those guys are quite busy and, no offense to this board and others like it, these boards aren't high priority in many peoples minds (mine included), especially with the amount of mis-information on here. That said, these boards are interesting to share ideas and information.
  17. anxious

    anxious Guest

    Misinformation is absolutely rampant on BBS's, Usenet and the Internet in general. Self-defined experts and pros, too. But if people with good credentials and good information abandon it completely, then it willl never get better.
  18. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Well, no offense to you Alex, but this is a rather poor attitude. If it's not your priority (or doesn't rank amongst any of them) and there is obviously bad information here, what's the point of being here?

    I would think that these kinds of boards, particularly those with large memberships SHOULD be a priority of vendors and manufacturers. This kind of forum is where many people get their information. Shouldn't a manufacturer care whether it's correct or not? Folks like Dan Lavry, Dan Weiss, Sebatron, Auralex, Bob Katz and others hang around these boards for just that reason.


    Anxious -

    Please contact me offline - I would like to discuss some NHT stuff with you that doesn't really belong on the forums.



  19. mrelwood

    mrelwood Active Member

    The back of a monitor is usually the first thing I look at. The switch was held in the softer "nearfield" (NF) position for all the time. I don't know if it is the Adams, but nowadays I seem to feel like every speaker or monitor has an exessive treble around 10-12K that is sometimes hiding the actual facts happening in the mostly lower treble frequencies.

    Well, that really doesn't matter here since the amount of $€£ I want to spend is nothing compared to which would take me to _good_ sound. I'm just looking for a tour version.

    I know no-one has ever heard of Profel, but what they do make is a kick-ass monitor! Oh well, if I won the lottery I'd buy me Dynaudio BM5A Compact, Genelec 8020, NHT Pto M-00, Profel PS30, Profel PS40, and just decide which ones to use every time. It really wouldn't make a difference to other than me, so I'll just find a cheap pair that satisfy me _also_.
  20. alexaudio

    alexaudio Active Member

    This is off topic, I apologize. Also, I am probably getting into troubled waters here - so I am only going to post this and likely not respond further...

    The expansions of the forum type services/internet also expand the amount of inaccurate information. This is unfortunate but true. Therefore, those with good credentials, extensive experience and highly respected choose carefully which conversations and forums to participate in. Henceforth why you will find certain collections of professionals on certain boards.

    I communicate with those such as Jeremy mentioned in his above post on a frequent basis (both personally as well as on more moderated/professional forums). At the same time, I do enjoy sharing ideas and providing information that I know to be accurate, with a high degree of credibility, on a variety of forums for exactly the reason that you stated. I find both avenues useful and I am sure others do as well.

    Please note that I do not believe myself to have the amount of extensive experience as with some of those I communicate with. I have earned respect with them and am friends with several and feel blessed in that respect. That said - I too choose the conversations that I participate in carefully, as all the information I post, is captured for a long period of time, for anyone to read. Anytime any conversation is prolific with inaccurate information, banter, gossip, suggestions of poor attitude and/or other means that steer conversations away from our true intention - I simply do not engage or cease engagement.

    I do invite, with a degree of caution at times, manufacturers, distributors, professionals, etc to participate in certain discussions if/when I feel it is relevant to their company/cause. Note that when inviting and having conversations, even with friends, I attempt not to engage in gossip (which for me is any comment that can diminish the listening of another). It can be an uphill battle on some forums to propagate information accurately when content in particular threads is inaccurate, offensive and juvenile in the extreme (i.e. slamming). I'll state that a few conversations on recording.org have been cited, even linked to on distinguished forums, as hilarious for viewing since the content they are citing contains immature banter, if you will, along with inaccurate information which is down right funny. Civility and humility would need to be employed to have those at the top of this field to be involved.

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