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Mastering Speakers?

my students some times record demos for class review, auditions etc and i usually do the mixing. nothing fancy, I use karaoke pre-recorded songs and I add their voice on top.

I use an Oktava MK-319 through my Prism Sound Lyra straight to Sequoia. my students can't afford professional mastering, since they record back and forth and listen to the results through ipods. so i thought i would do some home mastering using sequoia.

but I need a set of decent studio monitors to allow me to listen to the subtleties of eq, compression and limiting. out of these, which one would you recommend for home use?
this is as much as my budget goes.

KS Digital C-55
KS Digital D-606 Coax
Sonodyne SM 300Ak
Event 20/30
Prodipe Pro 8-3W
Adam A77X
Avantone Mix Tower
EVE audio SC307

Comments

Profile picture for user Thomas W. Bethel

Thomas W. Bethel Wed, 12/31/2014 - 06:36

Dynaudio makes some very good low cost (relative) speakers. http://dynaudioprofessional.com/en/bm-series/bm-mkiii-series/bm6-mkiii/ is very good for mixing and mastering. Tannoy also makes some excellent low cost speakers that are of mastering quality. If you can find a use pair of Tannoy DMT-10 like these http://www.ebay.com/itm/USED-PAIR-OF-TANNOY-SYSTEM-10-DMT-II-SPEAKERS-STUDIO-MONITORS-WITH-GRILLS-/231414331808?pt=US_Pro_Audio_Speakers_Monitors&hash=item35e15e79a0 you wll be well served. I used these for mastering the first two years I was in business. Also KEF makes some very good speakers and if you can find a pair of KEF 104.5 they will make mastering a whole lot easier. We now use the ALON IVs which I dearly love and you could probably pick up at pair for under $2K.

As to room acoustics. The most important money you can spend for mixing or mastering...

DonnyAir Wed, 12/31/2014 - 07:53

Chris Perra, post: 420633, member: 48232 wrote: I think I read somewhere in a Bob Katz book that 84 db is optimum for the average listener, that movie theaters go for around 84 db.

I know that many pros recommend this level, related to the FM curve and such, but personally speaking, I have to be honest and say that 84db is - at least to me - damned hot for any real length of time.

I can periodically check the mix 85db, but I can't sustain a mix at that level for very long without getting fatigued pretty fast.

I mix at lower levels than most of my peers, for extended sessions, I'm probably around 70 - 75 db or so, with 75 db being about the hottest I like to get, if I have to be at it for any longer than about an hour or so.

The very first frequency that I become hypersensitive to is that honky 900 - 1k region, especially on vocals. The next is around 3.5 - 5k, where I'll actually start to encounter some pain if I mix at anything hotter than 80db, max. The third - but certainly no less important - band, is that ssssssibilance (LOL) range, which is around and generally within the 5 - 8k (I'm speaking generally, of course. There are exceptions).

I do know that there are indeed engineers out there who routinely monitor at 85 - 90db all the time; personally speaking, I can't see how they do it. If I tried to monitor at those levels as a matter of routine, I'd be worthless within an hour.

But, that's just me. ;)

FWIW

d.

Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Thu, 10/23/2014 - 03:57

Those are some nice choices, they ar mix monitors. Something geared toward mastering starts around 10k per speakers and usually has an entire specialized room built around them. Vice versa.

I don't like the Adam tweeters, and while they re great for hearing errors in the vocal range, they tend to put things forward. But I only used the Adam a 7s.

You might consider something from focal. They have a great rep.

A lot of it depends on the size and shape of the room itself, and that's and budget is gonna determine the best monitor range for you, the it's personal preference from there.

Profile picture for user Chris Perra

Chris Perra Sun, 10/26/2014 - 19:37

A7's are very clear in the top end. You'll need the sub for them to be trustworthy as they are great for top end but judging bass/low mids is hard.

Ira Seigel Sun, 06/21/2015 - 06:03

audiokid, post: 420546, member: 1 wrote: I liked that.

I often wonder how close we would all mix if we used the exact same room to mix in.
fwiw, I've own about $200,000 in really nice equipment and none of that would make a difference if I didn't have excellent room acoustics and a serious monitor control system to go with it. The speakers I have are only 1 part of it. I can get by on less then special speakers but not the acoustics and monitor controller.
When I first started in this business, I knew I was gifted with great ears, but I soon found out that didn't matter if my room was lying to me.
I used take bass traps and acoustic treatment around with me even when I toured as a band. Treatment is the number one priority for me.

I know this is an old thread, but I hope you see this.
I'm very interested in your comment about carrying acoustic treatments with you when you toured. Could you explain this a little? Describe what you carried, how much they weighed, the amount of space they took up, placement on stage, etc? Many thanks.

DonnyAir Mon, 10/27/2014 - 01:56

You didn't mention the environment you are working in.... in relation to acoustics. Much of a monitor's ability to do what it does will depend on this.

The list of your choices is solid... but if your room is inaccurate acoustically, even the best monitors will only ever serve you so much and to a certain point....and if your room has phasing issues, standing waves, null points, flutter echo, or any of the other common problems associated to mixing in "just any room" without proper acoustic treatment, not only will the room's issues effect your ability to accurately hear what the mix is doing frequency-wise, but it will also effect the clarity and definition, the imaging, and, your ability to hear those subtleties and nuances you describe.

FWIW

d.

Profile picture for user audiokid

audiokid Sun, 06/21/2015 - 09:57

Have bus will carry ;)
Well, for what I knew back then, this definitely made a more pleasurable space for us.

I travelled with large amounts of cargo blankets, foam, gobo's and thick black felt that was stitched together. I've even placed traps above for the horrifying staged that are like domes.
Before setting up lighting and backline, I placed treatment where I could, then hung a thick felt wall around the entire stage. I had about 80' x 12 ft of it sewn together in 20 lengths. Used Ultimate Support tubing and a variety of hooks to keep it up. It also looked really good.
It didn't do much for bass but it definitely helped the slapback and upper freq's.
I started doing this in 1981. Treatment, low stage volume and good PA systems makes touring more fun. After 18 years touring out of a suitcase, I still have my hearing.

Jensenmann Sun, 06/21/2015 - 11:16

There´s a new mobile absorber product out by the german company Gerriets. It´s made out of microperforated foil and can be inflated like a ballon to get a huge surface for absorption. After use it can be deflated and folded like a curtain, hence low transport volume. Here´s a link: Link removed

pcrecord Mon, 10/27/2014 - 05:57

DonnyThompson, post: 420476, member: 46114 wrote: You didn't mention the environment you are working in.... in relation to acoustics. Much of a monitor's ability to do what it does will depend on this.

The list of your choices is solid... but if your room is inaccurate acoustically, even the best monitors will only ever serve you so much and to a certain point....and if your room has phasing issues, standing waves, null points, flutter echo, or any of the other common problems associated to mixing in "just any room" without proper acoustic treatment, not only will the room's issues effect your ability to accurately hear what the mix is doing frequency-wise, but it will also effect the clarity and definition, the imaging, and, your ability to hear those subtleties and nuances you describe.

FWIW

d.

Adding to what Donny is saying, even with accousticly accurate rooms, it also depends on where the monitor will be placed.
(near a wall or not, on a mixer shelf or on a desk) All those variables may change your choice because some monitors need space behind them to build bass and some don't really need it (or need less space)

bigtree Mon, 10/27/2014 - 09:18

kmetal, post: 420376, member: 37533 wrote: Those are some nice choices, they ar mix monitors. Something geared toward mastering starts around 10k per speakers and usually has an entire specialized room built around them. Vice versa.

indeed.

From a pro audio pov, forget using the term "Mastering Speakers". You are thousand of $ away from commercial mastering accuracy. Room and acoustics, conversion, monitor controller and HD speakers are all part of that step. But this doesn't mean you can't get a the best possible sounding mix on those already mentioned either. There is a lot of hype in this industry.

Beings said though,
Save your pennies and start with Event Opals. They aren't "high end" mastering but they are so accurate you'd be hard pressed to find anything better in the price range. I own a pair and love them. Avatones are also excellent for dialing in mids.

Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Sun, 06/21/2015 - 23:14

Jensenmann, post: 430061, member: 18198 wrote: There´s a new mobile absorber product out by the german company Gerriets. It´s made out of microperforated foil and can be inflated like a ballon to get a huge surface for absorption. After use it can be deflated and folded like a curtain, hence low transport volume. Here´s a link: Link removed

I went to the link you posted, and what I read was fascinating. When I think back to all of the concerts that I've attended in places that sounded horrible - The Richfield Coliseum located southeast of Cleveland was the worst, a gigantic concrete tomb, where, during the 70's and 80's I saw acts like McCartney and Wings, Petty, Tull, Genesis, Yes, Utopia, Alice Cooper, and even Frank Sinatra - all of these artists put on great shows, but the acoustics of the place were so bad, that no matter how well the act played, it was always just one big wash of noise. ( Thankfully, this venue is gone now)

The place also doubled as a Hockey arena for Cleveland's Crusaders, and for The Cavs, so I'm sure that acoustics were not really a big priority at the time. But, thinking about what can be done now with treatment methods such as this, is very interesting. I'm wondering how long it will be before this company starts making studio treatment devices. If they can reduce the RT60 of bass frequencies from 13 seconds down to 4 seconds in a space as large as an airplane hangar, certainly they should be able to make something that would allow me to treat my little 10' x 12' x 8' space. LOL

;)

DonnyAir Tue, 10/28/2014 - 03:01

I suppose it's all subject to how serious you want to get with this.

First off, let's start with this question... are you interested in Mastering, or Mixing? Because there is a difference, and many people commonly mistakenly refer to one when they actually mean the other.

A very brief explanation: http://www.audioshapers.com/blog/difference-between-mixing-and-mastering.html

If you are indeed Mastering, then, as Chris pointed out, from a truly professional POV, monitors for critical application (mastering) are rather expensive, as are the other facets involved - room acoustics, conversion, monitor controllers, etc., And, Marco's statement regarding placement is also spot-on. All of these things mentioned will play a major and equal part to the quality of your production chain. If even one thing in that chain is of lesser quality than the other parts of the chain, then everything else in that chain will only ever be as good as that weakest link.

If professional standards are important, then yes, you would want to get into a pro specification monitor designed for critical listening applications... but, as mentioned above, there are other things beyond just the monitors that are going to matter quite a bit as well.

If, however, this is something you are doing to just have fun with, or to simply demonstrate to your students the basics of audio production, then any of those monitors you mentioned would certainly do the job for you, and in fact, you could get by with more inexpensive solutions. As Chris stated, Events are a good, accurate NF monitor for average level production needs, and Avantones - which are the modern equivalent to the old Auratone cubes - are also very helpful when determining what your mixes will sound like through "average" listening scenarios.

FWIW

d.

pcrecord Tue, 10/28/2014 - 04:45

kosmas31, post: 420353, member: 48544 wrote: my students some times record demos for class review, auditions etc and i usually do the mixing. nothing fancy, I use karaoke pre-recorded songs and I add their voice on top.

Doing demos and karaoke recording isn't like a full band productions with critical mixing/mastering intended for mass distribution. It in no way disminish the importance of a good monitoring system but I think you will be well serve with any of the choice you presented.. ;)

Profile picture for user kosmas31

kosmas31 Wed, 10/29/2014 - 04:39

pcrecord, post: 420496, member: 46460 wrote: Doing demos and karaoke recording isn't like a full band productions with critical mixing/mastering intended for mass distribution. It in no way disminish the importance of a good monitoring system but I think you will be well serve with any of the choice you presented.. ;)

Exactly as you put it! I need a quick polishing of tracks produced by students. I have used prism lyra with sennheiser 600 along with some t-racks and melda plugins and I have achieved better results than local mastering studios with lipinski monitoring and Weiss converters. There is no sense to treat my room for student demos, unless we talk about monitors with autoEQ build in or other room correction software

pcrecord Wed, 10/29/2014 - 05:00

Well, it's kind of a catchy thing.
If you were using headphones to mix and master. When you switch to monitors, you add the room factor that wasn't there with the HD600
If the room is so deffective that it boost certain frequencies too much. Even with the best monitors in the world your mix will suffer from the room. One doesn't go without the other if you seek success.

BUT ! let's talk balance. Since you will not do critical stuff to sell broadly.
Buy a middle range monitors kit and a minimum of treatment to control the early reflections and you'll be ok !
In the end, you will still need to get used to the new environement.

Profile picture for user Reverend Lucas

Reverend Lucas Wed, 10/29/2014 - 07:27

kosmas31, post: 420532, member: 48544 wrote: There is no sense to treat my room for student demos, unless we talk about monitors with autoEQ build in or other room correction software

This is not the case. There are likely large variations in your room's frequency response. Mastering requires decision making in levels that are much smaller than the variances in an untreated room. As the gentlemen above pointed out, your acoustical environment is just as, if not more important than your monitors.

If you're serious enough to spend as much as you are on monitors, you're serious enough to treat your room. I think you'd be amazed at what even a few hundred dollars can do.

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