Recommendations for a good listening room to audition monitors

Discussion in 'Monitoring' started by vibrations1951, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    First, I live in Northern Maine at the end of I95 just before the Canadian border. I'm only doing research and will not likely be making a purchase until my professionally designed CR is completed. This could easily be a year or two in the future.

    Auditioning monitors here for recording and mixing, once the room is completed, would require a lot of purchasing, shipping and postal charges even though I'm sure my final choice will depend upon my room. I'm looking for a shop where I can listen to and compare units like the ATC SCM25a, Focal SM9, Barefoot MM27, Quested V3110, Genelec 8250, jbl lsr6328,... well, I think you can see where I'm going with this.

    I am willing to travel of course and expect to go as far as MA, CT even NYC and over to Canada as well. I'm thinking that a maximum, 500-600 mile radius from here would be a sufficient catchment area for my trip. This will take some significant planning and time for me so I want to start identifying as ideal a listening room as possible, with the available stock to try out.

    So if anyone has a suggestion about specific shops/rooms or even some other ideas, I'd love to hear from you. Internet searches are not helping me much. It would be a kind of working vacation for me so it wouldn't be out of the question to hit many shops on the way and plan my search accordingly.
    @kmetal ????Hey K! Any thoughts?
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    i would imagine the designer of the room would have something to say about it.
     
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  3. whowhat

    whowhat Member

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    California
    Years ago, attending an AES show was a way to audition monitors and audio gear, but not many manufacturers exhibit lately.
    You definitely need to compare monitors to make a decision. Beware: if you hear the Barefoot MiniMain 12's you will be spoiled.
    Chuck Levin's sells Barefoots near you:
    Washington Music Center
    11151 Veirs Mill Road, Wheaton, MD 20902, United States
    (301) 946-8808
    sales@chucklevins.com
     
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  4. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    Good suggestion Kurt. You are very right. Our very own Rod G worked with what I had started 8 years ago for design and asked me at the time what I was thinking about for speakers.
    At that point I was thinking about midfields in the range of the Focal Twins, Genelecs, JBL's and the like, but couldn't be more specific then due to my lack of experience and knowledge base.

    I'm not so sure I'm that much further along at this time but I'm a work in progress, just ask my wifey...but that's another story! I had thought about giving Rod a jingle and didn't want to bother him over the Holidays. I will definitely connect with him about this as well. He probably would also have some thoughts about shops/rooms in the CT area. I even thought about trying to connect with Ethan W. down there but I wanted to cast a broad net here first. I'm guessing he and Rod are both pretty busy guys these days and I want to wait until after the holidays.

    In a way I'm jumping the gun because my funds have to keep channeling (bleeding!) into construction materials and it's likely my gear lust right now. At the same time it could be a fun and informative adventure and help me see I'm making progress. I've been at the HVAC for about 3 years now and it's nearing completion once I finish insulating another 1k miles of ductwork and finish electrical hookups! I get feeling pretty isolated come winter (we already have 3' of snow on the ground) and this could make a good short getaway before spring to keep my spirits up. I hope I don't sound ungrateful because I'm damn lucky to be this far along and even able to do this at all, with the generous help of others here, both present and past.

    Thanks Kurt and have a great holiday season!
     
  5. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    Thanks WW. I've often thought of pulling the trigger on a show but haven't been able to quite justify that yet. I think maybe I worry about my gearlust and my lack of self-control! Besides, I want to be able to compare speakers in as pure a comparison environment as possible and avoid psychological factors as well. I'm hoping to keep my search a little closer to home. That said, my son lives in VA so a road trip that far might be a possibility, but I'm not so sure I could talk my better half into it or get that much time and expense away next year.

    Thanks for the heads up on the Barefoots!LOL! The 12's are way way out of my ballpark but I'll bet I'm gonna take a listen!
    Happy holidays!
     
  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I don't know any places in your area. Thing is, the best place to listen to monitors is in your own room.
    A monitor set could be perfect in a place and not so in another.
    It might be a good idea to research a supplier who allow try before you buy or with a good return policy.
    Just saying ;)
     
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  7. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    I hear ya loud and clear PC! I see my final decisions being done that way once my control room construction is completed. That could be a while so I thought I might start narrowing my search before then and have some fun on the way.
    Thanks so much for chiming in and have a great holiday season!

    By the way, we have gone to Old Quebec City and it was only a 5 hour drive from here. Perhaps you know of a good listening source or 2 around your neck of the woods? I know Quebec is a big province and I don't know how close to Old Quebec City you are.
    Thanks again!
     
  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    The only place that might have a good listening environement is studio economik in montreal.
    You may want to send them an email first ; http://www.economik.com/

    Other than that stores rarely have good listening environement. That's why I suggested doing it in your own room.. ;)
     
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  9. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    Yes, I fear many shops can have unseen/unknown/known anomalies or characteristics for good fair comparisons. That's one big reason why I'm asking folks here on a forum I greatly respect and trust. I don't want to waste my time, efforts and money.
    Studio Economik looks like the kind of place I had in mind judging from their web site. Thanks for the suggestion! This is the kind of feedback I'm mostly looking for. I intend to keep collecting all the suggestions I can, map out options for a road trip and then start contacting places.

    Your advice is spot on and I totally agree with you that my final choices will have to be auditioned in my room. At the same time I feel I have to start somewhere trying out my ears and learning my preferences in real life rather than other's experiences, magazine reviews and company specs. Not to say that they may not be valid, but as you say, I won't really know until I put them through the paces in my room.
    Again, thanks so much for taking the time to help out...it's a good start for me!
     
  10. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    Lowell Massachusetts
    Of that list I have only heard the 6328's (6328p if that matters) I didn't own them, but I got to listen to them with material I know very well, Sheffield Labs, Dire Straits, Focal's cd's etc. Elite level recorded material that I have listened to hundreds of times on every kind of high end system you can imagine.

    I wasn't a fan for that amount of money. The woofer is very well done. Very, very good. Not a lot of low end extension, you would definitely need a sub to get the full experience, but the room was also fairly small, probably 9' x 12' -ish. The tweeter is a little fatiguing after a while, imo. The tweeter is larger than it looks, it's a full 1". The crossover design is unusual. I sort of understand why they did it, but I don't understand why they just didn't go full 8th and eliminate any phase issues bc the 1.7 kHz crossover point is a pretty important part of the spectrum. But I wasn't there when they designed them, perhaps it's related to the room correction software? Or perhaps 6th acoustic is enough drop that any phase issues aren't heard? They certainly don't sound like they have phase issues. My only complaint with their sound is that the tweeter seems a little loud after a while. I found myself really enjoying the woofer, and after a while, the tweeter seemed to be crowding it out. It's slight...but it shouldn't happen at all for that money imo.

    I did not mess with levels or room correction etc, they were setup and the guy was kind enough to let me listen for a while. I don't even know if there are level switches on the back...E.g. Perhaps the tweeter could be turned down 1-2db? If they could, I would like to hear them again.

    But the other thing that kind of ruins it for me is that 80% of what they are saying here is just gross marketing garbage or absolute nonsense. I can't help but roll my eyes.

    http://www.jblpro.com/www/products/recording-broadcast/lsr6300-series/lsr6328p#Features

    Like I said, those are the only ones on that list I've heard. I don't get to hear that level $$ monitor often, but I wasn't impressed....not for $2500 a pair or whatever he paid. So personally, I would remove those from the list...but whatever makes you mix better. I didn't find them to be anything special.

    If you do listen to any of these you have (including the JBL's) I'm sure everyone here would be curious of your impressions. I have worked with ATC drivers before, (the 75, 150, and 150s http://studio-hifi.com/images/ATC75-150S_JeffBagby.pdf ) imo, it's one of the best drivers you will ever hear, bar none. The 150s is #1 of all time for me. If it's the same ATC, that monitor would be very high on my list, very high indeed.

    Edit - It is the same ATC...you will definitely want to hear that if it's in your budget and not too hard to find.
     
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  11. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    Btw, I live in Lowell MA area, about 25 minutes from 95. If you venture down to MA or NH, etc to audition any of these and you want some company, I'd love to hear more of this level gear. It's not affordable for me, so I've never actively looked for them. I just stumble upon people who have some nice stuff from time to time. But I'd love to hear any in that list. I live right on the MA/NH border, I could just meet you somewhere.

    But it sounds like you are way up there, like past Bangor even. So, if it works out, great. If not, I'll be ok lol. You will want to hear the ATC's if you can, just so you can hear that legendary midrange. It's memorable.
     
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  12. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    I listed the ATC's first because that's the way I'm feeling pulled the most. The scm25's are really stretchin the budget because I was strongly considering the Focal Twins/or in that range for a while and heard them in a well designed studio but have since been cahnging my mind on a one-time monitor purchase considering my age and finances. That said, I haven't had the opportunity to hear any of the ones on my list. I appreciate your informed feedback on the JBL's. I presently have a pair of 4311's driven by Crown DC300 that have both seen better days and I always loved JBL's for live sound as well, but of course this is a whole different deal.

    Oh, I think I should have mentioned earlier in my post that my CR is a corner design I grabbed from John Sayer's site years ago. I would do differently today but fortunately Rod G. worked with it to give me a solution that should be fine. Basically it will have a massive bass trap at the back (about 35% of the room volume). Ceilings heights go from 8'4" front wall to 11' 3" back wall at a distance of 24' front to back. The front wall is 13'4" wide and the walls splay out to about 17'+ at about the 38% listening position at the console area from the front wall. So it's a medium to small room with about 3200 cubic feet shell as near as I can figure. I'm looking at midfield monitor placement.

    Since you are not that far from me, relatively speaking, do you know of a shop with a reputable room to audition the ATC's, Barefoots, and others on my list in your area or close by? I'm especially curious about the bottom end on the ATC scm24's compared to others because I really don't want to face the challenges or expense of a sub if I can avoid it. I'm more concerned about accuracy and ease of producing mixes that translate well over impressing clients, though I think I understand the benefits of that as well.

    Thanks so much Brother!
    As I said, if you know of any good audition spaces around I'd really appreciate a heads up.
     
  13. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    Opps! i was typing to you when you sent this. I'd love to connect if I head that way neighbor! Actually I'm 2hrs north of Bangor but you are only about 5hrs away! We get used to travel living up here! maybe we can hook up and check some shops from there if you know some??
     
  14. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    As have I! When I was actively dj-ing, they were my main monitors (live sound I mean) I even bought the LSR 308's (?) or I believe that's the number, or 328 maybe for my studio. They are fairly new, about $500 a pair. Similar look, inferior drivers. I returned them within the week I bought them. I got the Yamaha HS8's because, I have a good amount of listening experience for my age. Not like many on here, who are superhuman in experience level, but I have a lot, and the HS8's were the only thing in my price range that I heard as unbiased. Take that fwiw, you don't know me [or my ears] from Adam. The problem with the 6328p's was not the driver selection, it's genuinely the spectrum that the woofer starts to become "less than amazing" and the tweeter picks up, but is also "less than amazing." Imaging is great, I don't notice any "horn" type sound, it's simply that (in my hack assessment) they chose a tweeter that isn't as capable, in the range they are using it. And at first, you don't notice it. After say, 9 tracks, I started to notice a tone to the treble that I wasn't a fan of. Once I noticed it, it was all I could hear. But, I'm also not a fan of Rokits, and a lot of people love those...so this is all just a stranger's opinion.

    And I feel you should. I had no idea the 75, 150,150s were monitor drivers, until today anyway. I used them for competition car audio installations, as did many other people. That midrange is regarded by many, myself included, to be the best of all time. That's an incredible benchmark to reach from the people who build audio systems with drivers instead of purchasing an already designed kit. If I were creating a 3-way design, there is not a doubt in my mind the 150s is the midrange to use. No hesitation...it is mindblowingly good. If there is something better, I have not heard it.
    I understand. I haven't looked at those Focals, I may have used those drivers as well, I used a lot of Focal's drivers. I greatly respect their drivers. They genuinely try to be exceptional in their price range, and they usually are. Once you get to the upper tier stuff, it's been my experience that it's exceptional, so long as I can design my own x-over. My only issue with them is that I find their designs (and this is coming from their car or home audio stuff) to be treble heavy. Some of the best drivers I've ever used have been Focal, but I redesigned the x-over. I have not heard a Focal set/design that I thought was right. But their monitors are probably a whole different deal. I would definitely be excited to hear their monitors bc they genuinely care. It's a good company.
    If I knew, I'd tell you ever place in NE. I'm a hack "producer?" that knows about speaker design, and competition car audio. It's rare that I run into these situations (part of why I was volunteering to go w/you) I'm sure a phone call to ATC and they could tell you. Please don't let my opinion of their midrange driver persuade you into something you don't feel right about. The driver itself....amazing is an understatement, and I'm not kidding. It's that good. But the design of the overall monitor may not be to your liking. What I'm saying, is that the 150s, when used right, is almost unbeatable. I've not heard those monitors, to know whether or not they paired it well. But any monitor, using that driver, would be worth checking out. Especially if you don't have to worry about mounting it! (it's a pain in the neck to mount in small spaces)
    Yeah, I wish I did buddy, but I don't. But if you find a place to listen, in which you venture south...I'm willing to venture north and meet up. I'd love to hear some of these, just for the fun of it.
     
  15. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    A while back i got the HS5's and got used to the missing bottom, but i've wanted to upgrade to the 8's. I've got some pretty poor temporary recording and mixing spaces but a work in process...really hard to make this work for translating but I get by. I still have the HS5's along with a set of aurotone cubes as well as the 4311's. My recording and mixing experience is extremely limited but I intend to follow my passion into retirement. I've mostly been a guitar and sound reinforcement guy since early teens and picked up what i could along the way. For the last 10 years I've been getting more serious about studying and practicing recording and mixing as my final "career".

    You sound like a well experienced and knowledgeable "hack" to me. I value your opinions about speakers and like what you have to say about the ATC drivers. What I've read so far supports your take on them and the company.

    So far I've only identified 2 viable resources for auditioning most of my choices listed: Studio Economik in Quebec (Thanks to Marco!) and Alto Music in Brooklyn NY). There is also
    Professional Audio Design in Pembroke MA that may be able to help out as well. They deal Ausburgers but they are way above my pay grade. It would be fun to meet up and research together if things work out that way.

    I look forward to hearing from others here and elsewhere. I will definitely try to do my best to share what I find on this venture. I can only relate what these old ears tell me FWIW!
    Thanks again and I'll keep ya posted.
     
  16. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    Lowell Massachusetts
    I appreciate the sentiment, but the driver/speaker knowledge comes from someplace else. I AM, a hack producer, if you want to even call it that. I've been in studio's while a real producer is at work, and we are doing essentially the same thing. It's just that the real deal producer can do, in 3 hours, what takes me 3 weeks. For me it's sort of between a side gig and a hobby. It's much more than a hobby, but I only make very small amounts of money off of it from time to time, which goes right back into the studio... but it's not much more than that. I'm here to learn from these production giants, just because I enjoy the field.

    The stuff I'm saying that sounds "knowledgeable" comes from building speakers and competition SQ cars. I have a fair amount of knowledge about speakers, speaker design, x-overs etc. On that front, I am not humble. I'm good at it, and I know it. It may be why I love auditioning stuff so much.

    But on the production front...and the stuff that is often talked about on this forum, I'm just a booger in these giant's noses.

    So give my opinion on speakers/monitors a little weight. But also heavily weigh the forum people's ears. And on any other subject, defer totally to them lol.

    Pembroke is I believe 1-1.5 hours from me. If you head down there, I'd love to meet you there.
     
  17. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    Ha!LMAO! I certainly can identify with that when it comes to my experience in sound engineering!

    Couldn't agree more.
    I'm going to have to contact them to see what they can offer.
    In my searches I found out that 2 studios at Berklee have the ATC 25's and Barefoot mm27's in the same room. They seem to use the ATC scm25a's in quite a few of their studio's. Could be a lot of reasons for this I guess. Anyway, I'm wondering the odds of getting in there for a listen might be?!! Could be a whoot!

    Found another possibility:DSPdoctor, LLC, Quincy, Massachusetts
    Later1
     
  18. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    Imo, that would be the most interesting comparison. I wish there could be some of the Adam stuff too, reason being, I've used some of the drivers they use. But I'd love to hear any of them.
    I'm not surprised. Like I said, if there is a better driver than the 150s, I haven't heard it. Even the drivers that come in 2nd and 3rd (in my opinion)...really high end stuff, and just brilliant drivers....the 150s still walks it. The only thing that is a surprise is that I had no idea ATC made monitors, and that the 150s etc is a monitor driver. I
    That's about the same distance away. So, I'd gladly meet there as well.
     
  19. vibrations1951

    vibrations1951 Active Member

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    I hope this isn't against forum rules Chris????sorry if so but anyway. Here is a link to another forum discussion that is quite old but interesting and mentions Adam in this range of monitors;
    https://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/479380-adam-s3xh-atc-smc25a-k-h-barefoot-best.html

    I'm not sure I understand if the scm25a's have the same drivers you speak about but I think so from what I've read. It's a bit confusing to me from some contradictory stuff I've been reading. Probably my lack of understanding. can you help me understand if you know?

    Looks like things may be shaping up for a trip to the Boston area so far. Even though I think my wife is leaning towards Montreal! Time will tell. I think I cold talk her into a train ride from Portland to Boston and perhaps hook up with you there. I would love to have you along for another set of ears and to pick your brain. I'm in hopes that others here and elsewhere can help narrow down some locations.

    She and I may not be able to do this until March sometime but ya never know...I'm getting pumped! She doesn't share the interest but wouldn't want to pass up a get-away-trip! Depends upon what I find, where, finances and time off. We have been invited by relatives to visit in FL mid February for a week, so it might be tricky to pull this off before that. Have to see....
     
  20. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    Location:
    Lowell Massachusetts
    Yes, it's their bullet style midrange. The model number isn't very important, between the 150 and 150s are just different volume drivers. It's easier to pair one or the other with another driver. The 75 is different, but it is still an amazing driver. It's just a lil different, but still very impressive. Based on the pricing structure, and a quick look at the other drivers in the design, it's likely one of the 150's.

    It's the most incredible midrange you will ever hear. And if you don't agree, you will be the first. Imagine....just, "heavenly-good".... and then kick it up several notches......no, no, a couple more notches. There you go.

    I'm obviously being a bit silly here, but it's genuinely hard to find the words for how good it is. It's shockingly good. "You didn't know something could be that good"....that kind of thing.

    But I've heard that driver till my ears shut off (paired with the Raven R1's, or Aurum Cantus GS3's) Every time is a joy, but it's not a "first experience" anymore for me. I'd love to see how they completed the design. But I'd most love to hear it next to the Barefoots...A/B them, ya know? Bc the BF get high praise, but now that I know that this ATC driver is used in a monitor design...man, if there is something that can beat it, I want to hear it, because, I just don't see how it's possible.
     

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