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Studio monitors for $600-$1200/pair; special needs

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by soapfloats, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    I realize there have been a bevy of posts along these lines lately, but I think I am in a unique situation.

    I currently own a pair of Bx5as and Alesis M-1s. I like some things about both. I do not like to have to compromise between the two and make educated guesses.
    I work in a room that's roughly 12'x13'x12', with a corner cut short by a fireplace. This is where the mix desk is. I have decided that for the interim, this is where it will remain for logistical reasons. Below is a rough model of the space.


    I am looking to purchase a pair of monitors in the above-mentioned range to replace both of my current pairs. They will likely travel home w/ the old interface to give me a second place to work.

    A few points:

    1. I am a little concerned about getting something w/ a lot of bottom end (8" drivers) in this space. I already have a lot of trouble w/ the low end (working on some bass traps, absorbers, and clouds as well). Another problem is translation. I can get where I want w/ what I have, but it takes several mixes, listening on other systems, etc. It's a convoluted ride with my current monitors/room. I just can't trust what I'm hearing on a consistent basis.
    2. The price range is so wide b/c I am most concerned about getting the best fit for my space. Also, while I might not be interested in spending $1400, I might be interested in buying something that retails for $1400 but can be had for much less.
    3. This is an investment for life. Every purchase is for me nowadays. I've looked at, specifically: Tannoy Reveal 8d, ADAM A7/A5, Genelec 8020A, and JBL LSR 4326P.
    Powered is preferable.

    FWIW, this will be one part in a series of upgrades over the next year or two including: RME FF800, API3124+, and a new machine. Like I mentioned above, the idea is to get some keystones for life for the studio, and gradually phase out the other stuff to a home space.

    Any advice/direction would be greatly appreciated. I've still got time to spend and some homework to do, but I wanted to get an idea of what you folks thought.
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    6" monitors are way more than adequate for near fields in most rooms IMO. In fact there are several different manufacturers where the 6" outperforms the 8" models. Mackie HR624mkII series comes to mind. Much better performers than their 8" brothers. You should look at the Adam A7 or the NHT M00/S00 combo. The Tannoy Reveal 6D are not bad speakers either. That's what I have. I'd skip the Reveal 8D for a room that size. The Precision 6D series is better but is just outside your range.
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    John's right. The 624 Mackies are better as far as tight bass than the 824's.....I think mostly because of the passive radiator in the 824's....

    Buy Genelecs. You should be able to get a pair of 1031's used at that price. Or 8030's. Either way, you will be set.

    Actually there's a pair of 1032's on fleabay now. About a day and a half left on them. Didnt see a reserve. Act fast these are great speakers.
  4. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    I can only give the little experience that I have to offer... I recently purchased a pair of A7's "used", and at a price of $700 for a pair. They are in great conditioning and I still can't believe I got such a great deal. I really like the sound of them and I am even in a small room. Although I would love to hear the A5's and might like them in my room better? I really love these monitors. I was using similar sized Alesis model type monitors before and there really is a great difference in sound now. That's about all I can really say since I am not all that experienced w/ many brands.
  5. niclaus

    niclaus Active Member

    I have been listening to my brand new NHT M-00s + S-20 for a week now, and they really are amazing.... And that's for 1000$...
  6. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I'm afraid without adequate room treatments, you might always be guessing with those room dimensions - no matter how good the monitors are.
  7. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    I realize this, Mr. Hawk - and building portable traps, absorbers, and clouds are part of the upgrade.
    I'm looking for a solid improvement on the Alesis + mAudios, one that will do better in less than ideal rooms.
    I'm not sure how long I'll be in my current space, so I wanted something that improved upon it, and would be a lifetime "safe bet" wherever I took them.

    Thanks for the advice, fellas!
  8. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    btw - chances are, whatever my next room is won't be ideal either. I want something like Genelecs or Adam I can use going forward, but also one that maybe means guessing a little less
  9. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I can sympathize, all of my previous recordings had to be done at remote sites, so I can relate to less-than-ideal listening environments. I use the JBL LSR4328, that way at least if I get into a nasty sounding room I can use the Room Mode Correction to notch out the worst freq.

    I don't think you could go wrong with any of the monitors on your list.
  10. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you brought up the JBLs...
    I was ready to pull the trigger on those about a month ago, but have heard a lot of mixed opinions on the actual benefits of "room correction" in speakers.
    Can you (or anyone else) speak to that at all?
  11. Mauisnow13

    Mauisnow13 Active Member

    I personally LOVE my KRK's.
  12. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I like mine alot, they sound great. I don't always use the RMC, but when I have to go from room to room - the consistency I get from one less-than-ideal place to the next is pretty impressive. The general consensus is that you should avoid EQ'ing your monitor chain - and RMC is a form of notch filter that seeks and destroys the room's dominant mode. It does a nice job though, it doesn't do it in a heavy-handed way that leaves a noticeable hole in the spectrum.

    I often work with a friend of mine, and we've done a lot of projects with his trusty KRK 7000's (passive) and Event 6.5 (active). The KRK's are probably the most accurate and brutally honest, the Events might be the most flattering, and the JBL's seem to fit somewhere in between in my estimation.

    I hope that helps!
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I look at room correction with a great deal of wariness. You can't fix a room with an equalizer. I've never liked studio monitor systems that have been tweaked with active equalization. I prefer to purchase a speaker for its particular sound and character just like a microphone. If the room destroys that character, you have to fix the room. Otherwise, like most of us, you always want to monitor your final mix on more than one monitor. Your car, your boat, your motorcycle, your wife's car, your kids car, at your favorite stereo shop, at the AES conventions, I-pod, etc.. If you think you can live in this world with a single pair of speakers you are kidding yourself. What book were you reading? I don't know any engineer that works off a single set of monitors always. I'm still working off of 6 old pairs of JBL 4310/4311/4312's, 4411, 4408, KRK Rock-It's & V6's not to mention a bunch of Radio Shaft Minimus 7's, Fostex. Some self powered, some not. Then it's just the matter of listening to some superbly engineered recordings and getting used to what those sound like on your current monitors. Once you become intimately familiar with your monitors sound in your room, only then can you move forward. So it's more getting used to the sound of your speakers in your room than it is your speakers. If your room was designed first for its acoustics and then you stuck some speakers in it, virtually all would sound good. And sticking a bunch of foam on your walls is not going to really change the character of your room much. It could make things worse. Your question is much like what's better, chocolate milk or white milk? I'll take mine with three olives.

    Martinis matter
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  14. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Room correction, from what i know, improves on axis response at the mix position. As a compromise, off axis resposnse is degraded. I think it basically uses advanced eq compensation, to create a flat response at a specific tested location (most likeley the mix or producer position in your case.)
    I've read about enginners using them when they have so set up "temporary" conrtol rooms, for instance when recording a band live, while in a back room instead of FOH.
    My humble opinion is the best "room correction" you can get for your money is w/ bass traps, and mid/high absorbers. That way you hear your speakers, or ideally just the music, not the room. You can download free room testing software "REQ Wizard" by signing up at Home Theater Forum - Home Theater Systems - HomeTheaterShack This + a $40 radio shack spl meter w/ give you a nice idea of what is actually going on w/ your room and speaker position. In fact after using the mode calculator spreadsheet that came w/ Rod's book, my room mode measured .2db off from math, when tested w/ this system. (producer's position)
    As an owner of HR824 mk2's, Measurement/Room treatment made a huge difference in the amount of trips i had to make to my car/buddies house to check mixes. Making it a lot more fun to mix.
    BTW i am in the market for some smaller monitors too, because 1) they are quieter to get moving, as i mix till 4am below my parents bedroom 2) want something closer "an average" speaker.
    My mixes from 6 years ago i did on a consumer stereo system, in my cuurent room w/ no treatment, translated better than my HR "studio monitors", w/ no treatment. Consumer speakers consider common room modes, and reflective/ smallish rooms in their design.
    Focal has a good rep around RO, however i have never tried them.
  15. niclaus

    niclaus Active Member

    Some time ago, I ask myself that question, and tried EQing my monitors using a 31band EQ and some measuring tools...

    That's the before/after curve, and i have to say that, after doing so on both speakers, everything seemed much more precise and clear....
    And it was hard going back from it....

    Room calibration is used in live shows, isn't it??

    Attached Files:

  16. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Thanks to everyone for the responses.
    After speaking w/ my partner this morning, will be running some room tests soon, and then making some adjustments.
    The only foam I have up now is at major reflection points - behind the monitors, and on the wall directly opposite the monitors. We have a bunch of the LERND traps ready to put up, pending the analysis. I'd rather use traps w/ 703 framed, but we have the LERNDs right now, and don't have the 703. I'll eventually be getting some 703 to make traps, absorbers, and a a cloud or two, as mentioned.

    Remy - I do use two monitors, and check afterwards in my car and at home, as well as on cheap headphones. I am learning my main two monitors right now, and have already made a lot of progress in that respect. The biggest issue for me is consistency - just when I think I'm starting get a handle on how the monitors in the room sound (using reference recordings, of course), something changes. This may be only psychoacoustics, or the variety of material I record making things more difficult.
    Stuff like this makes me realize just how far I have to go!

    Regardless, I will be getting new, better monitors at some point. Like I mentioned initially, this is as much b/c I want to have the ability to work at home some (on the monitors I'm already learning) as it is b/c I want better/more accurate monitors.

    Based on the discussion I had w/ my partner, it looks like we're leaning towards the ADAMs or Genelecs...

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