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Shopping for nearfields

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by pantonality, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. pantonality

    pantonality Active Member

    Yesterday (Friday) I stopped by my neighborhood Guitar Center to shop their selection of nearfield monitors. I listened to KRKs, Yamahas, Mackie, M-Audio and Tannoy. Nothing sounded particularly good and it wasn't until after I left that it dawned on me they were playing everything out of iTunes on a Mac, hence COMPRESSED FILES!!!! What's with that? They're trying to sell me speakers for critical listening, tracking and mixing and playing music where at least 75% of the data has been discarded.

    I'm currently using a pair of Celestion 9s (3 way hifi speakers wi 6" woofer) from the late 80s hooked up to a Crown DC300A (reconditioned by Crown about 5 years ago). The music I do is either location recordings of choirs or basement self produced classical and rock music. I need excellent imaging and that's the first thing to go when the files get compressed. At GC I didn't actually see the computer so I guess they could play CDs if I brought some with me, but my salesguy disappeared after a few minutes. I waited for 5 minutes and he didn't come back so I took off.

    Kinda disappointing! Any suggestions? (other than don't go to Guitar Center on a weekend)
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

  3. pantonality

    pantonality Active Member

    Originally I was thinking the 8" JBLs ($350 per), but what I heard yesterday was hyped bass from them. The $200 per speaker Tannoys sounded the best of the bunch, but they didn't have anything bigger. I've heard Dynaudio BM6As in a previous life, but they're a bit beyond the current budget (but sounded awesome).
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    How "near" and how big is the room? Generally speaking, 6" woofers do better than 8" for nearfield monitors. There are exceptions and of course other opinions on that. You should be able to bring a CD or six from home of music that you know really well for auditioning purposes. Also, passive speakers are dependent upon a quality amp to reach their potential and a Behr*** is not it.
  5. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    The last time a sales dude left me standing it was because of a bad diarrhoea he was striken with.
    The guy before that was fired, because I had previously spent about 150 Grand in this shop in one Saturday afternoon...

    Buying monitors is one of the most important and difficult tasks of all. Even in the lower budget area there are usable and bad ones about.
    Testing with known material on CDs, if not in your own rooms, is essential. If a shop can't give you that, turn round at once, leave and don't look back.
    Take your time and listen for longer then 10 minutes in quiet to the speakers of your nearer choice. A wrong purchase will set you back, money-wise and with the work and your professional quality.
    If ever possible stretch your budget and spend more for better monitors. It might give you some sleepless nights, at first, but many months of bright smiling for a long time to come.
  6. pantonality

    pantonality Active Member

    The room is fairly small (roughly 10 x 13) and the speakers are near the corners of the short wall about 4' from the listening position. A pair of monitors with good 6" woofers should be able to fill the room, but the bottom octave will suffer (that's what subs are for).

    The power is a 1960s Crown DC300A that was reconditioned about 5 years ago (including new power caps). It's obviously not state of the art, but will outperform a Behr*** , and it's quiet.

    The whole process seems almost as daunting and confusing as shopping for a grand piano. I appreciate BigK's advice to buy slow and consider spending more (definitely like buying a grand piano). I've heard the Dynaudio BM6As and loved them, but that's quite a stretch from the current budget. How about Mackie 624s? My local Guitar Center didn't have either the Dynaudios nor Mackie 624 (nor 824). The most I could spend there was $349 per speaker. I may have to drive to Chicago or the twin cities to hear anything better.
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    For that sized room you would do yourself a disservice to purchase 8" monitors. Stick with 6". The Mackie 624MKII are decent monitors for their price point. They don't compare to Genelec or Dynaudio but they don't cost as much either. Do not even think about the 824 Mackie as even in a bigger room they are not as good as the 624. In fairness, if you are intending to mix quite a bit of a decent well regulated grand piano then great monitors are going to help you. The detail of the complex piano sound shows the faults of most middle low end monitors. Next trip to audition speakers, take along Liszt's Weinen Klagen Sorgen Zagen or Ballade #2 in H moll. These two pieces will stretch low end monitors for detail. The Chopin Raindrop Prelude would be a good choice as well. Even if you are going to be pounding out Elton or Billy Joel you want the monitors to give you detailed sound.
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Agreed. And get your monitors out of the corners. Give them room to breathe and for the sound to develop.
  9. mdb

    mdb Active Member

    There's a pair of Genelec monitors for sale on Kijiji Edmonton, Alberta. The listing says...

    Recording Studio Close-out! New Genelec 6010A bi-amplified mini-monitors ... rarely used ... original boxes & manuals (paid over $1,000) $645 obo

    Maybe their entry-level model? Could be a good deal.
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    If you were to audition a pair of these, you would leave all thoughts of 'entry level' behind. They are small, yes, but they sound incredible.

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