Skip to main content

Was simply wondering what amplifier I should get for my studio monitors. I do not have powered speakers nor do I want to buy them. Not sure on the specs on my 2 monitors but I'm surely going to need an amplifier w/ 2 outputs that would bridge out in mono to each speaker. This setup is strictly going to be for my home studio. They are Pulsar monitors and were given to me by a DJ. They will not be used for gigs... I was thinking a Crown amp but am open to other opinions. I'm looking for value = Good quality, fair price. Looking forward to many comments.


Boswell Fri, 04/13/2012 - 03:54

ibanez4life, post: 388046 wrote: amplifier w/ 2 outputs that would bridge out in mono to each speaker...

This doesn't make sense. You either use two separate outputs for conventional stereo (one driving each speaker), or you configure the amp for a mono bridged output to get at least twice the power and drive one or more speakers as though they were a single unit. You might use the second method for PA, but not for studio work as you almost always need stereo. There is no need to look for bridged mode operation in the amplifier specs.

Crown is a good make, but to be able to give other sensible recommendations, we would need to know the details of your monitors (power handling, impedance etc), and the sort of studio setup you have.

RemyRAD Fri, 04/13/2012 - 09:06

Crown was always known for making good direct coupled amplifiers such as their D60/75/150/300's. Since their acquisition by Harmon industries, they have ventured into the more industrial oriented marketplace. So they have a far broader selection to consider. Many studios have preferred Bryston, which I also quite like but do not own.

Your desire for a bridged output feature is rather pointless for your application. It's something most of us do not bother with in a professional studio application. So you have been reading too many advertisements my friend. But I also must ask you what Boswell did not request from you is what your budget might be? I don't think much since your speakers were not an actual investment? So I think any freaking hi-fi amplifier like a JVC, Pioneer, Panasonic, Yamaha would be more than adequate for your purposes. And you'll save a healthy chunk of change. I possess more than a half a dozen different brands of amplifiers my favorite being my Crown DC-300 A-I I which I've had for over 20 years now. Maybe that's 30 years now? Either way, that one is almost impossible to blow out. Not so with others such as old DYNACO's by David Hafler. Those would blow out instantly if they were not properly loaded at their output. So if a wire came off inadvertently, it would blow out. If you loaded down with more than 4 ohms, it would blow out. Lots of hi-fi amplifiers utilize output protection fuses which do the same thing. But then there are those amplifiers that don't care. So what's it going to be for you? $100? $1000? More? Less? Why not purchase a good pair of powered speakers and solve all of your problems? I've got one pair of KRK,'s like that where all the rest of mine are passive. As long as it plays without too much grit, I'll use it.

I'll drink blended but prefer single malts
Mx. Remy Ann David

dvdhawk Fri, 04/13/2012 - 10:10

I read recently Crown's venerable D series has just been discontinued. The D75A and D45, being the last two survivors of that line. On paper they would look expensive per watt, but what smooth sounding watts they are with good speakers. Detail trumps sheer power at normal monitoring levels.

As Remy said, Crown has been focused on live sound products for quite some time. I don't think there's anything else in their current product line as well suited for studio monitors as the D's. Anything they've built lately for studio use has been integrated into their sister company's powered studio monitors [JBL].

moonbaby Fri, 04/13/2012 - 15:40

Are these "Pulsar monitors" the ones by Joseph Audio? Or are these a version of the "Pulsar" speakers that online/mailorder DJ supply houses sell?
If they are the Joseph Audio line, the venerable Crown D75a would be a good fit, and you can buy a new one, with the factory closeout price of $399 from places like BSW. Like DVD stated, these are no longer manufactured by Crown due to their moving more to the commercial sound side of the biz. And they DO sound great. Later on down the road, if you expand your studio and want to go with a bigger playback system, that D75a will make a great headphone amp, too.

If these are NOT the Joseph Audio Pulsars, but the Pulsar brand of DJ speakers, these are totally in inappropriate for recording playback. They are cheap crappily-built boxes with lousy stamped-frame woofers and piezo tweeters better suited for a pool hall. I'm hoping it's the former and not the latter. Those cheesey Pulsars don't deserve to be heard, much less powered by a nice little amp like the D75a.
FWIW, I use a D75 to power my JBL 4410 monitors, and they rock. I used to power them with a McIntosh 2105 power amp, but the autoformer output stage on one channel died and I had to ditch the amp. The D75 has been an angel in that regard.

Davedog Fri, 04/13/2012 - 16:14

I still own a D150 (no 'C') a three digit serial number unit. Still sounds great. I bought it used and paid a whopping $50.00 for it. I had a friend in the audio repair biznezz that used to say about Crowns when asked why they didnt have such high wattage ratings..."Voltage in equals voltage out". I dont think you can distort one of the old ones.

ibanez4life Fri, 04/13/2012 - 17:53

Alright thank you for all the feedback! I'm going to check the specs on these Pulsars and see if they're the good ones or the shits. I'm thinking about getting powered speakers too but, if these Pulsars are decent, I'm going to stick with them and possibly try that D-75 Crown. If I could also use this D-75 for a legit, headphone amplifier, that would be great. I've seen fair prices on eBay too for these particular Crown amps. Maybe get one used?

About the bridged mono; I don't understand that if I'm panning tracks and I use stereo for output, won't the panning get all %$##ed up while listening to the master track?

I will post the specs and add a pic of the Pulsars I have. But until then, thank you much! I learn a lot from this community.

bouldersound Fri, 04/13/2012 - 21:06

ibanez4life, post: 388082 wrote: About the bridged mono; I don't understand that if I'm panning tracks and I use stereo for output, won't the panning get all %$##ed up while listening to the master track?

You seem to be confused. Bridging means combining two channels of a stereo amp into one mono channel. You need more than one channel to have stereo and you need stereo to pan anything.

mberry593 Sat, 04/14/2012 - 14:15

I have some thoughts that you might want to consider if you are interested in a used Crown amp.

IMO the D75 is a reasonable amp. I have used many over the years and I am still using one in my living room for my surrounds.

They were widely used in broadcasting where they obtained a reputation for burning up. Indeed I have repaired many of them and they all failed for the same reason. Most of the amp runs on unregulated bipolar 30 volts. There is an input opamp (LF357H) that runs on bipolar 10 volts. They get the 10 volts by zener regulating down the 30V through 820 ohm/1 watt resistors. What happened in every amp that I repaired was the zener shorted and burned the resistor. If the amp was shut down quickly after the failure, the repair was easy and only about $5 worth of parts was involved. Unfortunately if the amp was not shut down promptly severe heat damage burnt the nearby components and circuit board. I saw two of them that were so damaged that it was unreasonable to repair them. Please understand that this is a component part failure. None of the amps that I saw were damaged by being overdriven or by bad external wiring. This is not an infant mortality situation. Some of the amps that failed had been running for over 20 years. There is nothing wrong with the design. Crown just had the misfortune to get a questionable batch of parts.

There were several different D75s and the challenge here is to avoid the ones with the possibility of failing. I can say that the newer ones with the black panel and the stepped controls are probably ok. If you find an older one with the grey panel, take a look at the back. Some have a slide switch for groundlift and some do the groundlift on a terminal strip. I recommend that you stay away from the ones with the terminal strip. IIRC all of the ones that that I saw problems with had the terminal strip.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

BTW, I use a Bryston 4B for my DAW monitors. I highly recommend it. No, I don't need that much power. I was just fortunate enough to be in a situation to get it reasonably.

ibanez4life Sun, 04/15/2012 - 20:45

Okay, so I checked the specs on my Pulsars. I cannot find them online at all. It says check out on the back and the website doesn't show up.
So the info on the back is:

-Power Handling
-150watts Continuous
-300watts Program
-600watts peak
-impedance: 8 OHMs

Then there are parallel inputs with one side being; 2, 1/4 jacks and the other, 2, speakon (I think they're called speakon jacks?) cable jacks.
I have 2 of the same speakers with the same specs.

So hopefully this is enough info for you guys to help me out with a power amplifier. If these are poor quality monitors, I may go for powered speakers. But if I can get good quality with what I got, Ill go for the amp.

RemyRAD Mon, 04/16/2012 - 19:46

Those pairs of jacks are merely what we call loop throughs. That means you go into either one and you can also come out from either one to an additional single speaker to create a 4 ohm load. You don't want to go more than two because then you would go down to 2 ohms. And most common amplifiers except for certain high-end industrial amplifiers DON'T want to see a 2 ohm load. So you could go NA 1/4 inch jack and come out of a speakon or, vice versa, a pair of 1/4 inch or a pair of speakon's.

As I indicated earlier your speakers are rated at 150 W continuous and can accommodate a 600 W peak on numerous occasions without fear of destruction most of the time. But that too depends upon the frequencies being generated. Too many high frequencies and you will pretty much be guaranteed a blown tweeter and the same goes for too many low frequency peaks too close together. So the speakers might be slightly more industrial oriented than control room oriented? As you do not generally see loop throughs on professional control room monitors. That doesn't mean that they are not usable in that application but they weren't necessarily intended to be utilized in that application. As long as you like the sound and you play your reference CDs, you can learn to live with most anything. That doesn't mean that they'll have a high degree of accuracy but if you can acclimate and understand what you are listening to, they should be adequate. My old school JBL 4310/4311/4312/4411/4308/L. 19's wouldn't be considered high accuracy control room monitors today but they were in years earlier. So I'm used to them and I know what I'm hearing. So I don't find any necessity to step up to anything newer just because a manufacturer wants to sell you something. They do that because Detroit does it. Which doesn't mean that your last years Chevrolet or your 10-year-old Chevrolet isn't as good as today's Chevrolet. It might mean that your old ones which have had the crap kicked out of them might not be as well off as something brand-new. And that only matters if it matters to you.

Many of these older speakers utilized a soft polyurethane suspension around the woofer. After about 10 years those soft polyurethane suspensions rotted away. With some speakers, that soft polyurethane suspension can be replaced with a soft rubber suspension designed to last longer. There are kits out there one can purchase to try this themselves. Or, you might be able to take it in to have it done professionally by a company that specializes in doing that. I have a couple of old JBL's that need to have that done otherwise, I would have to replace the entire woofer of which some of those are no longer made nor unavailable. So then you are dealing with a different speaker altogether, but has a different response, has a different efficiency rating and you're not getting the same sound as it once delivered but something different. Different can be okay if you don't mind different. I do. I don't want different. My hearing is highly attuned to the originals. Not that I couldn't get used to something else but I don't want to. And it's not that something can't be made better but better merely means, different. So you might like it or you might not? If you're not used to anything in particular, it may make no difference to you. I'm actually using a series of older JBL's that didn't utilize polyurethane suspensions. That meant that the low-frequency drivers excursion may not be as great as the newer one was capable of with that softer polyurethane suspension. I don't care. I don't need that. But if I want my 4411's & 4408/L 19's working again, I'd want to have my suspensions replaced without actually replacing the low-frequency driver itself with something else. These were designed to sound a certain way and I'm accustomed to that sound. I have numerous pairs of similar monitors in numerous different places, around the house, at my partners place, in my Main control room, in an alternate control room and formally at the home control room. Utilizing my 4310/4311/4312's they are all very similar to each other and so I can expect a similar sonic consistency from those particular models. My 4411's in many ways, sounded better than those earlier incarnations. But I only have a single pair of those and I have more than three pairs of those older ones. So I go for the consistency. My 4411's would end up as rear surrounds in my living room, if I still had a living room, which I don't. Or I could just make those my center channel drivers by paralleling those two together and live with the slightly different sonic signature they present in comparison to the older versions I mostly utilize.

Having just that one pair that you have, you don't have to worry about such nonsense. The only thing you'll have to discover is if they cause you ear fatigue over a certain period of time. There are speakers out there that have initially sounded better to me than my old JBL's. But after a few hours of monitoring, the ear fatigue was so hideous, I couldn't and wouldn't use them any longer ever again. My old JBL's don't cause me that kind of ear fatigue.

And of course there is the issue of the amplifiers. In one of the studios I built with my best high school friend, he really enjoyed his Macintosh transistorized 2100 on his JBL 4311's. Where I've prefer the Crown DC 300 A type II, which sounds way different than the Macintosh 2100. I still acclimated and utilized the 4311's with the 2100 Macintosh but the difference between that and my Crown was the difference between night and day. So I prefer a direct coupled output amplifier with a high damping rate compared to the sloppier sounding Macintosh 2100 to my ears. It didn't mean I could mix well with the 2100 Macintosh, I could, I did.

And on and on and on.
Mx. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Tue, 04/17/2012 - 09:01

Well, sure, but as Mike indicated, some of those particular Crown amplifiers seem to have a tendency to randomly blowup after a fair period of time. Mike actually recommended the black face plate accented unit with click detent front panel volume controls. So perhaps you are not reading the posts very carefully? And I think, with your current speakers as you have also indicated, this particular amplifier would not deliver the serious power that your speakers seem to want to gobble up. I believe you should have at least a 150 W per channel amplifier for your particular speakers. Unless you are not really seriously into this? Or weren't you reading your own specifications very closely?

You really don't want to get an underpowered amplifier unless you are a lamebrain. And it doesn't have to be a Crown either. That's a brand I particularly like with my speakers. And I utilize their 150 W per channel DC 300 A type II, of which I have never had any problems with over a period of more than 20 years. Though at this stage, it's not a bad idea for me to get the large electrolytic capacitors replaced. I just haven't bothered as yet.

I actually even utilize some consumer JVC & Pioneer & BGW & Nikko, amplifiers on my other speaker systems and they are perfectly adequate sounding. I don't suffer through them and rather enjoy them overall. Your bottom line is merely your budget. So if you have a reasonable budget (which I believe you don't) I'd recommend a Bryston. Because if I had any budget whatsoever these days, that's what I would get for my primary control room monitor amplifier. Or didn't you get that earlier either? You really need to read these things as it doesn't seem that you are taking much in? Perhaps there is a language barrier here? In which case me calling you a lamebrain would not compute either. After all, you really didn't go shopping for the speakers you currently have. So why should you be so concerned about the amplifier you are going to connect to them? I'm not trying to be rude nor hard on you but really... what's up?

I use whatever is handy
Mx. Remy Ann David

ibanez4life Tue, 04/17/2012 - 22:01

Okay, I appreciate all the info you are giving me. I'm learning a lot. I should be taking all this in more, re-reading, and applying.

You mentioned the soft polyurethane suspension around the woofer. Would I be able to see this on the front of the woofer or is it inside the cabinet on the back? I'm not even sure how old these Pulsars are? Also, there's no shop in my town where I believe someone would even know about these soft, rubber suspensions that you say last longer. I will have to research on that to find a local shop to check out my Pulsars...

I realize I can get a more powerful amp than the Crown D75, but I heard that some of those smaller amps can still get you a very nice, clear sound with minimal distortion... Or I think what you're telling me is if I want the loudest, clearest sound, I should get an amp that can load that 150watts continuously. I know very minimal in this area of audio. Actually, in all areas. Hence the reason I'm using this helpful forum. When I run my monitors with a 1/4" plug from my M-Audio sound card's output via RCA, I'm obviously not getting much power. In fact, that's probably not good for my laptop because I'm powering a mouse, sound card/Digital interface(which is also powering my Pulsars); all via USB without a USB hub.

I checked some prices on Ebay for some used Bryston's. The ones I found were $600 used! I don't have that kind of money. My budget for an amplifier to power these Pulsars is $150-300 at the most. Otherwise, I'm just going to get myself a decent pair of powered speakers. However, I do want to utilize these speakers because I have a gut feeling that these will sound good with the right power loaded into them. I can hear much clarity when the Pulsars are powered just through my Audio interface. I also want to know more about this part of audio production. Someday down the road, I may want to take my instruments to a local venue and play there.

Someone once told me that if I'm not comfortable with something, I should deal with it and learn it until I feel on top of it. This is surely true in this application. So once again, thank you for your knowledge and taste of experience. I'll try my best to keep up with the flow of wisdom.


RemyRAD Tue, 04/17/2012 - 23:14

Ryan, right, $600 it is what one spends on a decent control room monitor amplifier. You can certainly get away with 35 W per channel for personal listening and enjoyment purposes. When you start to try to make recordings, that's when it's going to be insufficient to deliver any kind of decent sound pressure level with freedom from overload distortion and possible driver burnout from that distortion component to your speakers. That's why an underpowered amplifier can be much worse than an overpowered amplifier. When they start to distort, they produce this rich harmonic distortion that goes into the ultrasonic region. That makes those little tweeters heat up and burnout. An overpowered amplifier will merely be delivering clean power without those ultrasonic harmonics to the tweeters.

So considering your budget, I think just a decent stereo receiver/amplifier would be more than adequate for your purposes. Something that has at least 40 W per channel for your personal enjoyment purposes. If you're talking about a control room monitor, yeah, 150 W per channel. And then you are talking some bucks beyond your budget. I use a simple JVC receiver/amplifier to power my secondary monitor is in my secondary control room which is quite small. Not as loud as I liken my Main control room but this isn't my Main control room. It's the lounge, disc jockey booth, electronic keyboard room, video control room and the JVC receiver is perfectly adequate for this small control room. It's somewhere around 50 W per channel. And these are smaller speakers in here than in my big control room. Though the sound of your speakers would make me think that they were more designed for PA purposes and not necessarily as control room monitors? I don't know that brand or monitor at all. You say you are powering it up from your computer audio interface? With less than 1 Watt? Not bad. Are you in an apartment or a house? If you are in an apartment, 35 W per channel is all that you'll ever really need. Because if you do go higher, you're likely to get evicted? We don't want that to happen do we, no. So while you're telling us what you don't know, what are your intentions with all of this stuff? Most computer audio interfaces only offer enough power for a pair of headphones. They really aren't designed to drive any speakers at all. Not that you can't listen to some little tinkly sound. But that's not the way it's done. The output of your computer audio interface is supposed to be feeding an amplifier. So do you have a home stereo system? In my smallest control room, a simple stereo receiver has numerous benefits to it. I get multiple input sources to choose from. Bass and treble controls, balance, pseudo-surround to an additional pair of smaller speakers, digital phase locked loop FM AM tuner. I've got the JVC, I've got a Sony, I've got a Yamaha, I've got a Kenwood and all around the 45 W per channel rating. Perfectly adequate. In the big control room with the double pair of JBL control room monitors, I want the big amplifier. You're not there yet so you shouldn't worry.

Dammit I couldn't see them flying in the space shuttle on the back of the 747 earlier today. Only the choppers flying over top of my truck and buzzing me for about an hour. It's okay, I saw a launch 10 years ago at Cape Canaveral.
Mx. Remy Ann David

ibanez4life Tue, 04/17/2012 - 23:48

Okay. So my true intentions are to have a quality sound come out of my 2 monitors. I have a M-Audio Fastrack interface connected via USB from my laptop. It's all I need at the moment. I'm going to upgrade that in the future. I use the Fast Track to record using the 1/4" jack and the mic, XLR jack w/ phantom power. I also use this as a headphone amp at the moment. I don't currently use the monitors for recording purposes but, rather to hear my developing song come to life on the speakers. The sound has more life coming out of the Pulsars rather than my headphones I feel. My thought process believes I'll be able to hear better sonic quality with these 2 monitors being powered with an amplifier. Also, I may use the monitors as a PA for recording in the future so that I can experiment with different types of reverb and effects. These monitors won't be strictly used for radio or CD's, if at all. This is my control room and my only room for my studio. I want to be able to blast these when I need them to. I just want a clear sound that I can bring up or down with ease.

Perhaps you may recommend a headphone amplifier? Is that what I'm truly looking for? I've only experimented with the M-Audio Fast Track and the slightly powered monitors that I'm thinking about adding some juice to. So if I'm going to need a $600 amp that will last me 20 years, so be it. I can save up for that.

I'm kinda lost and feel a little uncomfortable. What equipment did you start with that motivated you deeper into being an audio technician?

RemyRAD Wed, 04/18/2012 - 10:14

When it comes to your headphones, the headphone output of your computer audio interface and others, I generally find more than sufficient. My studio headphone distribution system is different since it's designed to feed 1-100 or more headphones at a time. The most I've ever had at any one time has been around 15 but it's capable of feeding 100 or more from a 35 W per channel BGW amplifier. It required specialized custom built headphone boxes with some switches and volume controls that plug into a distribution box connected to the amplifier.

I was introduced to broadcasting and recording studios at a very early age. So by the time I was 12, I had a full-blown radio station style production system consisting of a 1943 Western electric 23 C radio broadcast console. A large Magnacord 10.5 inch reel capacity mono recorder, Presto 800 recorder, Aikai recorder, Telex NAB Cartridge recorder, Aikai speakers, Bogen & Recocut turntables, Bogen tube amplifier, Electro-Voice 636 omnidirectional microphones, SHURE tube preamp. This was a system that had been installed by a CKLW Canadian broadcast engineer for my father's advertising agency. When my father had to move into a smaller building, all this junk came home and sat in the basement until I reconnected it myself at age 12. By 14, I had become a novice amateur radio operator & Recordist utilizing my Sony 630 with its outboard speakers and built-in amplifier, homemade reverb & homemade three input mixer. At 15 I became a professional third class FCC licensed broadcaster. I was also working for the Community College of Baltimore as a radio station engineer doing an opera program every Thursday night and a jazz program every Saturday afternoon. I also built my high school radio station at that time. By 17 I was hired by the same large recording studio that gave George Massenburg his start. 19 I was a disc jockey on the number one rock 'n roll station in Baltimore. Then I had a small production facility again of my own utilizing a couple of SHURE M. 67 mixers, BSR octave graphic equalizer, Sony cassette deck that had a built-in limiter utilized only as a limiter. Sony 650, Revox A 77 & TEAC 7030, home built reverb system utilizing the same springs you found in guitar amplifiers. By 23, I designed and built the second-largest recording studio in Baltimore. With my custom-made console & 16 track Ampex MM 1200, EMT reverb plate, a Lexicon Prime Time, UA 1176, Neumann 87, Sony C. 500, SHURE SM 5, others along with the JBL & Macintosh monitor system. And it's only gotten worse from there. Today I have my facility that I built up 20 years ago overlapping by employment with my 20 years spent at NBC radio and TV in Washington DC. So it's difficult to answer your question what I started with. I was damned lucky that my father was not only a musician, he was an advertiser with his father. He would take me down to the radio and TV stations and the recording studios on the weekends in Detroit. Then my parents got divorced, he moved to St. Paul Minnesota or want to live with them for a while and found myself wandering the hallways at the legendary Sound 80 in Minneapolis. It was there that I saw Tom Jung's Roseville, Michigan built ADM console and 16 track Bridgeport Scully along with their ARP 2500 synthesizer, Scully 280 quarter inch stereo machines, etc.. And I would go out with their remote crew when they were recording the St. Paul chamber Orchestra of which my father was the concertmaster. Then back to Michigan and then to Baltimore. This is way too much information. Those are the early years. I haven't stopped yet +40 years of this. I can't. It's in my blood. I don't know how to do anything else! So I'm stupid but I'm good. I was also a high school dropout because I wasn't learning diddly squat. So I just took my GED test and went on. Later came the FCC first class license, NBC radio & TV, Grammy, Emmy, Soul Train Music Award nominations and currently mostly unemployed with no business coming in. And that's the state of the industry today. It's sad you know. The entire industry has been decimated from broadcasting to recording. It ain't what it used to was.

So you start small with practical equipment. You've got a good computer audio interface. Perfectly adequate for now and sometime to come. Until you need to start recording 8-16-24 tracks simultaneously that unit should do just fine. You can even supplement that with a second similar unit providing up to 4 simultaneous channels of recording capability on the cheap. A couple of SHURE SM57/58 microphones. A pair of self powered control room monitors where you would use your current Pulsar speakers with any old amplifier such as a Peavey for studio playback and/or light PA usage. Than maybe a couple of cheap Chinese large and small diaphragm condenser microphones to add to your collection and round it out. So stop stressing over the amplifier situation. Most anything will do provided it works and it's around 40 W per channel. Your recordings will only sound as professional as you know how to make them because it really doesn't have much bearing upon the equipment you use provided the equipment is functional. When you become super proficient with what you have, you may then decide to move up to some better quality gear. Until then, it's highly unnecessary. What you have are learning tools. If I played for you a recording I made at 14 years of age, you'd understand. I still enjoy listening to that recording I made at 14 despite the little bit of analog tape saturation I hit when the soprano sang a high note. It was okay, it was my mother a former Metropolitan Opera Star who is still alive today at 88 and I am looking after. My dad passed on at 80, 10 years ago as Associate Concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra. So I started with Mozart in the womb. It was so good sounding, I didn't pop out for 10 months. So I guess I was a little overcooked early on?

I'm crispy around the edges
Mx. Remy Ann David

ibanez4life Thu, 04/19/2012 - 00:56

Hmm. I like the sound coming out of my headphones. But I believe I could get a better pair of headphones. The ones I have are made for heavy bass. I don't have much experience with headphones other than Sony and Skullcandy. I believe I have enough power flowing from my computer audio interface into them. Maybe I should try some different sets? I'm looking for a clear(almost said best), sonic quality sound for Rock and Indy music mostly.

At the moment, all I need is 1 headphone output. It's interesting how many headphone jacks you have. Why do you need all of them?

SHURE SM57/58 microphones. Have you had good experiences with these? Are they dynamic or condenser mics? I'm currently using a Nady SCM 960 condenser mic w/ both omnidirectional and... ???unidirectional??? I can also switch from -20db,-10db, or 0db. I'm liking it so far and am still experimenting with it. I may want another mic to compare it to though...

Are you saying that self-powered, control room monitors with my 2 Pulsars(being powered via amplifier) would sound alright? I thought you said you have a couple sets of monitors that kind of have a consistent sound or rather similar sonic quality? Wouldn't it be risky for me to try and find a pair of powered speakers that would sound "good" with my Pulsars? I understand that these are questions that only I can answer, so please bear with me.

Wow. You were born for this then. I'm very fortunate to get some feedback from an experienced person in this area of audio. You're ultimately helping me decide for myself what I really want for equipment on my budget. Thank you.

RemyRAD Thu, 04/19/2012 - 11:04

I'm sorry, perhaps I am not being as articulate as I should be and therefore things are not quite clear?

I have headphones that I can utilize in the control room of which there are basically only one. The headphone system I have built up is for use in the studio when you have multiple musicians that are recording, overdubbing, simultaneously. Sometimes, a brass section with multiple musicians, singers, strings all need to have headphones on simultaneously. Bigger sessions require more headphones. And the way in which I built this up allows for nearly an unlimited amount of headphones being powered from a speaker amplifier. We don't use those commercially available 4 output headphone amplifiers mostly designed for the home project studio. This is brute force industrial that I have built up and have been building like this since 1978.

What I indicated that the self powered control room monitors are indeed a good thing to have, I was not indicating that those along with your pulsars should be on simultaneously. In our control room and others, we have monitor switching that allows to have different monitors on but not necessarily all simultaneously on. You listen to one pair then you switch to the other pair then you switch to the other pair for comparison's sake. We can turn on multiple monitors simultaneously just for kicks (not bass drums per se but for fun). It really isn't good to have simultaneous different monitors on. There are too many differences and there are placement differences which cause phase cancellations or augmentations that would prove to be inaccurate for monitoring. So your pulsars in your control room environment along with a pair of self powered monitors would be switched between each other just for different perspectives of references. Otherwise, your pulsars may work well as studio speakers, not in the control room. That's because folks sometimes like to hear a playback in the studio which will sound different from the control room and/or are available for those folks who do not like or care to wear headphones. But that's a different subject that has to be dealt with on a different level since the speakers would be playing back something like rhythm tracks that would be getting into your vocalists, guitarists, percussionists microphones. And that sounds like crap. But there is a way to deal with that by actually utilizing a secondary pass, without moving or touching the microphones and then phase inverting that second pass recording. You then combine that second pass recording with the first pass recording and through phase cancellation, the speakers that were blaring into the studio with open microphones virtually disappears. This is a technique I utilized back in the late 1970s when recording jingles for an advertising agency where we had 6 brass musicians, then six stringed musicians, then a woodwind section. Most of these symphonic musicians really don't like wearing headphones when they are trying to play their violins and other instruments and such. This worked very effectively provided that no microphone was touched or moved in any way. Soon as you create some kind of minute time differential, nothing cancels out.

When I indicated that I had some self powered monitors along with my main double pair of JBL 4311/4312's being fed from my Crown DC 300 A amplifier, I had heard and selected KRK. There are certainly numerous other manufacturers that all make good and really fine self powered monitors. The KRK's spoke to me better and I felt had a similar sonic feel in comparison to my JBL's. I didn't want something that sounded like a day and night difference though many people do want that. It's all personal preference. So the KRK's I rather like, personally. I've tried Mackie's, Tannoy's, Event 2020's and while they sounded good, I didn't particularly care for them. The KRK's had a punchy quality that I could relate to better much in the same way as I could with my JBL's.

The SHURE SM57/58 series of dynamic microphones EVERYBODY has had good experiences with those and one of the reasons why they are one of the staples of the industry. In many ways, dynamic microphones are less sensitive to the surrounding ambient noise environment than are condenser microphones. We certainly utilize condenser microphones in many ways and for many applications but not all and not always. Your Nady are entry-level, Chinese manufactured condenser microphones which are extremely affordable. I actually have a similar pair myself because they were only $80 each which is not $3000 each. You don't want to get you a $3000 microphones clobbered by drumsticks unless somebody is paying you handsomely to begin with. That's usually not the case with most local rock bands when you're giving them a block of time for just $250. And the same holds true when I go out to record on location for a bargain rate. Then you get bargain microphones so that I don't really care if one gets broken. It's still all getting plugged into really fine console preamps which actually sound amazing with even inexpensive microphones plugged in. That Nady microphone in which you have, has features found on the $3000 versions made by Neumann. Yours has the ability to pad down from full sensitivity to -10 & -20. An extremely loud signal sources such as drums, loud guitar amplifiers, screaming singers (if you can call them singers?) The microphone capsule has a tendency to overload the simple circuitry within the microphone. So you would switch in 10 or 20 DB of padding on that microphone to keep the capsule from overloading the microphone output. Which in turn would probably overload the microphone preamp you have it plugged into. This is so one can maintain proper headroom and freedom from distortion. Some of those microphones also include a bass cut off switch to reduce the low-frequency sensitivity of the microphone when you have a singer directly in front of them. That's because, the closer something gets to a directional microphone the more low-frequency buildup happens from the Proximity effect. So the closer you get in proximity to a directional microphone the low frequencies start to rise in a most unnatural way. And then you get mud. Mud is great for a pig but not in your recordings. But not all microphones are equipped with that which requires that you either switch it on is available on your microphone preamp or you utilize some equalization to roll the low frequencies off generally below 80 Hz. This maintains clarity and a flatter response.

Thank you for the complement. I was helped out early on by my mentor. I was already doing this before I met my mentor but with his experience and guidance, I was able to surpass most other folks in this field without having to spend a chunk of change in college since I had no money for college and neither did my parents. Working a local pizza place to put myself through college was not really an option for me. Simply because, I was working in the broadcasting and recording industry from the time that I was in my mid teens. There were no recording degrees to be had. You could major in mass communications, electrical engineering, broadcast journalism, physics, music. Recording engineering degrees are a modern day moneymaking concept for most academic institutions. Folks like yourself who had the money to go to college wanted to become degreed recording engineers. And the universities were happy to take your money. Most of those folks that taught never really worked in the field where others had hit records. Since I don't actually have a college degree though my electrical engineering friends seem to indicate that my degree of knowledge surpasses their training as electrical engineers. Because of that, I really cannot teach professionally as a full-time professor or even as a full-time high school teacher without a degree of some sort. Plus, I really don't deal well with academia and their mindset and ways of teaching. People want to learn from books but I want to teach from experience and practicality. There is a huge difference between theory and practice. My theory is lacking but my practice is precise, highly refined, award nominated, all that. And I enjoy helping people get better recordings that they can be proud of. I actually fell into when I came home and had to recover from brain surgery. Answering these questions started stitching those little synapses in my brain back together again. And I have Chris who owns to thank for having allowed me to participate here at this fine site which I have personally found to be much better than those other folks at Gear Slutz. I didn't much care for everybody's mannerisms. I find Canadians actually to be better people over a lot of other lower 50 American states to their south. Canadians, while they sound very much like many Americans (and they are also part of the North American continent) are in fact a different culture than folks from the United States. And I like that very much and I simply love Canada having been raised in Detroit and frequently going into Canada. I've been to many of those marvelous places like Vancouver, Winnipeg Manitoba, Windsor Ontario, Toronto, Montréal. I just can't stand the cold anymore. So I'm looking forward to as much global warming as we can get! And that's why I leave my car idling overnight while I'm in the house asleep LOL not really. So maybe after the polar ice caps melt, I might consider moving to Canada if they warm up to something like Florida? Actually as an American, I'm not allowed to work in Canada unless the Canadian government actually wants me there which I don't think so? And I really couldn't blame them because I am one of those moron Americans you see. They also live by a different constitution based more upon older European laws. Their rights and protections are actually quite different. For instance, in the United States, you can cuss at somebody and utilize nasty words without any repercussions. In Canada, it can be considered an assault just like hitting somebody physically. So I find them much more polite than us folks in the United States. Freedom of speech is great but in many ways, us folks from the United States have far too many freedoms. But I digress.

So I hope some of this has helped you in obtaining the kind of character of sound you seek? I know being here myself has helped me immensely both through my recovery from brain surgery and in helping me be more well mannered. Particularly because I am one of those smartass Americans.

Thanks to Chris and all of my other fine colleagues here.
Mx. Remy Ann David