Monitors for $400

Discussion in 'Monitoring' started by gnarr, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. gnarr

    gnarr Guest

    Any suggestions? Active or passive.

    I've been looking for used NS10's, found few, but they were all in pretty bad condition.

    Any suggestion appreciated.
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I recommend the Yamaha MSP5s at $500.

    I know it's a bit more that you say you have but I really can't think of anything less expensive that is even worth the materials used in them. Most inexpensive "monitors" are not worth a sh*t.

    Behringer, Events, M Audio all of those kinds of things .... mostly junk.

    Good mics, pres and monitors are the one area where you should not skimp. There are a couple of inexpensive mics worth considering and there's one decent pre under $400 I would recommend but there's nothing in the monitor category I have come across yet that is really up to snuff.

    I reviewed the MSP5's and was able to compare them to both NS10s and my big Tannoys with 12 woofers ... and they held their own very well. Decent bass extension (for their size) and very good imaging ... and very linear at different volumes, which is where many of the "budget" offerings fall short.
  3. Do you have a link where I can read the review? Im also interested in getting the MSP5 monitors...before I've considered those I've gone through trying out a lot of 'budget' monitor quality and sure enough all of them really sucked, haha. I'm guite happy I didn't go with a Event I was looking at getting, I was able to talk myself down from buying them.
  4. gnarr

    gnarr Guest

    Thanks alot Kurt! 8)

    I have to agree with you. I've had a par of Behringer Truth for trial for a month now, and i don't like them at all!

    I would really like to read that review on the MSP5's :)


    found it ;) (Dead Link Removed)
  5. Great review Kurt! As soon as I get the money these are the next big purchase towards my studio.
  6. jahme

    jahme Guest

    why pay so much for monitors? i dont get ur complaints about these monitors. does it really matter if u dont get that extra power from the monitors? cant u hear every single instrument playing from the monitor or what? if not then it is NOT ur monitors fault.
  7. gnarr

    gnarr Guest

    it's not the power i'm looking after, I want monitors that don not lie to me (like the Berhinger Truth does). 500$ is not that much for some good monitors.

    and yes.. if your mix sounds bad, in most cases, thats because of not so good monitors.
  8. digiduzer

    digiduzer Guest

    I hate to get off on a rant here.... but doesn't it strike anyone as sort of redundant that people would demand and insist to MIX on ten thousand dollar monitors and then have their music listened to on 100 dollar home mini-system stereos or discmans??

    fine... expensive monitors supposedly give you "true" response... but what if "true" sounds crappy to the end listener?
    What if "true" sounds like garbage on someone's ipod?
    What if "true" sounds irritating through someone's car stereo?

    my personal philosophy is this....
    learn your monitors... Yamahas, Events, KRKs, M-Audios, even Behringers...
    if you have it, learn it. Mix often. Listen even more often. And listen back on a variety of playback systems. Learn your room. Depending on where you sit, how loud you listen, and how the space is layed out, your mixes will have a certain character. Learn to recognize this character and adapt accordingly!

    You can spend a fortune on expensive boutique brand monitors, and consistantly make aweful mixes cause you don't know how to recognize the nuances of the setting and speakers.

    Best monitor investment? a good set of ears.... if you can train yourself to listen to all these little changes and teach yourself to compensate slightly here and there in the mix, you can get by with almost anything. if you want to mix with earbuds, more power to you...after all, lots of people will hear your mixes through something like that anyways...

    Until the average music listener is hearing your tracks on thousand dollar Genelecs, the benefit of YOU knowing what they sound like on uber-expensive speakers is irrelevant.

    I await the reply of the many of you who I'm sure disagree with me.

    forgive the rant

  9. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    You're right of course!

    Certainly learning what one has, whatever it is, can "cover" for a wide variety of evils.

    However, completely disparaging the use of quality equipment(of any type), I think, is probably a bit overboard.

    I DO believe a good, reliable, accurate set of speakers, in a proper listening environment can prevent alot of problems, be easier to "learn" and AT LEAST YOU will hear what you're doing more "correctly". Hard to guess how what you do will be listened to by anyone else..? Though, as you point out, "checking" things on what YOU BELIEVE some sort of majority of listeners will use, in what you believe to be their "normal" listening environment, is worth a shot. HOWEVER, to intentially compromise a mix to anticipate your listeners..? That should be undertaken with some rather extreme care......

    I say, buy the best you can, learn it, use it. Of course, what "the best" is, for any particular budget..? And whether "good" work can be done on equipment that is not "the best"..? Well, that's what these forums "discussions" are for......

  10. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Feb 26, 2005
    North Carolina, USA
    all things

    Seems to me that one of the benefits of having the best equipment you can get is in listening and relating things. In listening to other people's music on better quality gear, you hear more accurately the process. This allows you to make connections to different ways in which to approach your mixes and recording technique. That being said, I feel that even if you can only afford modest gear, you will still learn from it. Then you become ready for the next step over time.
    Of course you can go learn this from someone else, but I've always enjoyed the process of discovery. It really depends on what your goals are.
  11. From the recording studio forum:

    For my humble little home setup, I just swapped my M-audio BX5's (which I bought off Ebay really cheap) for the KRK rp5's and so far I am very pleased. Much less hyped in the hi freq's than the M-Audio's. (though I have not heard the new BX5a's) They sound really flat by comparison. maybe a little less exciting for playback but I can clearly hear the bass and kick drum, which is a big improvement. I think mixing on these should be really easy by comparison. (or at least I hope)

    I only got them two days ago and I am still evaluating them, so....

    Good Luck!

    P.S. - I didn't get to listen to the MSP5's cause they weren't set up in the store, maybe I'll go back and check them out, but I think I am going to be happy with the KRK's.
  12. digdoug

    digdoug Guest

    don't laugh...

    This may sound rediculous, but if you're not afraid of a drill and screwdriver, you might try a little something different. Kit speakers. I A/B'd the $499 Blue Sky MediaDesk system last night vs. a pair of $340 kit 2-ways that I built for my folks, and the kit, IMHO, blew them away. The kit speakers were designed by a guy named Ed Frias and are reviewed extensively at (see DIY kit), with parts available at They are 2-ways with all peerless components, the crossovers come pre-wired, cabinets are included, and the cost is something like $340 a pair. Assembly is simple and takes 2 hours.

    Powered by and Alesis RA100, the speakers have great, tight (and suprisingly strong) bass, and detailed "airy" highs. They are a joy to listen to once broken in and rarely fatigue your ears. The Blue Sky system is pretty good, but suffers from (IMO) a bad lower-mid dip and satellites that sound slightly "cardboard", or boxed in. Highs were nice and smooth and of course the sub-bass was there, but I never really fealt like the system was all that "integrated". It didn't sound "real" to me and I fealt like they would be a bit confusing to mix on. Maybe its just me not being used to a 2.1 system, but it seems to have real disadvantages.

    Anyway, i'm going to build (another) pair and use them for nearfields. From what I understand a 6.5 inch driver is the best compromise in a 2-way for delivering strong bass and still being able to accurately deliver higher mids. That said, I may go check out the Event 20/20s, which have an 8" woofer, but I don't expet them to hold a candle to this kit...

    Good luck, just though i'd throw out an unusual suggestion...
  13. Jeremy

    Jeremy Active Member

    Aug 9, 2005
    From LV but Army brought me to TN
    Go ahead and fire up the laugh at crappy gear comments, because I got something here for you to scoff at. SAMSON 65a. I havent heard the new ribbon monitors, but I really do enjoy these 65a's. Great for a budget, bi amped, plus you have five( I believe, maybe 6) adjustments for midrange. Not the best monitors, by any means, but for monitors on a budget, especially the 400 budget this is a good set. Get past the name, because they are trying to get past their less than spectacular gear, and build some things worth more than T.P.
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