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What monitors should I buy?

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by ulrichburke, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. ulrichburke

    ulrichburke Active Member

    Dear Anyone.

    I've got £200 budget. Not great but right now that's it.

    What monitor speakers can I go for? Don't have to be new, if there's a RELIABLE used site on EBAY or somewhere, cool. I'm just looking for a pair of live amps to plug into my computer to mix with.

    Any ideas?

    Yours hopefully

    ulrichburke (noob beyond belief.)
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Monitors? "Live amps"? What are you actually looking for? What type of audio interface do you have attached to your computer?

    You won't get much worth having for £200 for new active monitors, but Ebay could be your friend here. Provided they are not physically damaged, monitor loudspeakers are a reasonable bet second-hand, and they are usually broken-in as well, saving you a week of pumping pink noise through them. Older model KRK Rokits are reliable and come up regularly in your sort of price bracket.
  3. ulrichburke

    ulrichburke Active Member

    I meant ones you could just plug into the soundcard.

    Dear Boswell

    I meant ones you could just plug into the soundcard and use without having to buy an amplifier box as well. Someone told me they were called 'live' when they were like that, so that's why I used the phrase.

    Are the ones you mentioned 'live', or do I need to buy an amplifier to go with them? I don't really know what I'm talking about, just what other people have told me so be gentle with me!

    Yours hopefully

  4. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Ok, be gentle. What you are talking about are "powered" monitors meaning the amplifier required for nearly any decent speaker is built in to the device and as such will usually have a plug that goes to the wall outlet. These will typically have some sort of volume control and often crossover or tonal adjustment. Monitors however are not computer speakers and are not designed to be turned up and down as a way of controlling listening volume on an everyday basis. Monitors are typically controlled from your DAW (digital audio workstation) software program and hooked up through an interface (sometimes erroneously referred to as a soundcard.) While it might be possible to hook them up to a computer's built in sound card this would be atypical. So that's why Boswell asked "What type of audio interface do you have attached to your computer?" Which you did not answer, which causes me to presume the answer is none. So are you sure you are looking for monitors?
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Monitors that have amplifiers built into them are called "active monitors" or "powered monitors". To some extent, the type of monitor to get depends on the type of soundcard you have. It would be best to look at monitors that can be used with high-quality audio interfaces as well as with consumer-grade soundcards, as you will then be able to continue to use them when you realise that the next weak link in your chain is your soundcard.

    To this end, you need to look for monitors that can be switched to take their input from professional line-level (+4dBu) balanced signals on TRS jacks or XLR connectors, or from unbalanced domestic levels (-10dBV), usually on phono (RCA) connectors. You may not be familiar with all these terms, but I am quoting them so you can match them against the specifications of possible active monitors.

    There are some KRK Rokit 5s going on Ebay UK at the moment (item 190368001620) that are worth keeping your eye on. They are reasonable monitors, and would work with a soundcard and also with an external audio interface of the type that had its own monitor volume control.
  6. ulrichburke

    ulrichburke Active Member

    At the moment I've got my computer linked into a hifi.

    It's a fairly good hifi and I'm just using the speakers that came with it to mix in, the theory being that if it sounds good on my hi-fi speakers it'll sound good on most others, because mine are fairly bog standard, most others will be of the same sort of level and thus what sounds good on mine will sound good on theirs.

    However, I've been told this isn't necessarily the case. I've been told by someone doing a music training course - wish I could afford one of those! - at Berklee that you have to have speakers with a 'flat sound', if it sounds good on 'flat sound' speakers, THEN it will sound good on most others. He told me how much he'd paid for his speakers - about 700 bucks each, he's in the States, I'm in England - and after getting over my instant coronary at the price, started wondering if there was a slightly lower budget way of getting a mix right.

    So I did a bit of research and started learning about the difference between speakers and amplifiers - I thought they were two different names for the same thing but apparently not - and that hi-fi speakers were designed to make $*^t smell of roses whereas flat sound speakers were designed intentionally the opposite ways around - which is why anything that sounds good in them will sound great in hi-fi speakers - but they all seem to cost an absolute fortune which I currently do not possess. I wish!

    I'm sorry I missed the other guy's post. I've been having trouble with my E-mail, I got my E-mail hijacked, couldn't get into my IN box for a while and some dumbass bot was sending crazy spam all over the place with my e-mail addy on it! Looked for it, can't find it in the IN box so I'm going to look for it here and answer it. Apologies. The bot seems to have gone now and I hope it falls into a virtual acid bath somewheres.

    I'd thought about getting a good pair of headphones to mix in, their other advantage being it might stop the neighbours where I live from constantly threatening to 'do' me under the Noise Pollution Act when I'm playing my tracks a little louder so I can hear all the problems they have. But apparently that's fraught with problems too - for reasons I'm still not too certain about it seems that if you use headphones, the results sound 'flat' on normal speakers.

    If I get a GOOD - like Bang and Olufsen - pair of hi-fi speakers - there's a shop that sells second-hand stuff like that near me - would I be able to mix passably using those? Some of the affordable ones he sells have woofers and tweeters like a Great Dane and Tweety-Pie! Bass makes 'em bounce. Surely those would be OK, wouldn't they? I do New Age, not drum'n'bass or anything, so I'm not exactly after the world's mightiest bass sound.

    Yours respectfully - apologies to the other guy -


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