Type of monitor? Too many choices!

Discussion in 'Monitoring' started by drubu, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. drubu

    drubu Active Member

    Nov 18, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    My monitors that I have known and loved for 10+ years are "on their way out."

    Time to select the perfect replacements and then spend the time and effort to get to know them intimately.

    My question has less to do with brand or model, but more about the component/arrangement of the monitors. I.e. MTM, AMT, standard 2 way with dome tweeter, coaxial etc... Is there a configuration that is inherently better or is it all just a matter of subjective taste and or matching components to a given room configuration?

    I'm a firm believer that you can get good results with any monitor as long as you get to know it and how it interacts with your room (as long as the monitor is of adequate quality to begin with).
    I just want to have the upper hand with my replacements and know that they are worth the time and effort I'll be putting in to learn them.

    My room is a well-treated 12x9 control room, set up along one of the long walls. Sheetrock on 3 sides of varying density and mass, with a solid brick wall behind me.

    Current monitors are active AMT with 6" drivers. Thanks in advance for any suggestions or insight!
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    There's no doubt that there are monitors that are highly accurate, extremely detailed, and built using high quality components... And like most anything else, you'll pay a price that is commensurate with that quality; Focals, Adams, Genelec, and a handful of others that are well-respected by industry pros.... But there have been a few gems over the years that have been very nice models that weren't all that expensive.
    Of course, there's the obligatory Yamaha NS10's, which weren't originally all that expensive. One of the follow ups to these was the original Alesis Monitor One's (passives); JBL also offered a great series with their 43 and 44 models, and just recently in the last two years or so, Presonus released their Eris series of Near Fields; which pleasantly surprised many who were at first dubious.

    One of the things I've personally always taken into consideration with various NF's, other than their accuracy, is how well they sound to me when I'm mixing for extended periods of time. While the NS10's could (and still can) be found in virtually every studio, they weren't what I considered to be all that good for extended mix sessions. They're inherently harsh in the upper mids, making them fairly fatiguing when mixing for several hours, even at reasonable db ranges ( 70-75 db). Certainly you should put accuracy and translation as a top priority, but don't ignore how the monitors will "sound" to you.

    Having a good sounding space is really important, and from what I read in your post it seems like you've got a handle on that. And it's good that it's a big part of your equation. Personally, if forced to choose, I'd rather mix through a pair of "okay" monitors in a well-treated room, than to mix with top-tier monitors in a poor-sounding space; and as you mentioned, having familiarity with both the monitors and the environment goes a long way as well.

    A few questions...

    You mentioned that you currently short-fire your monitors; choosing to set up along the longer walls so that you have roughly 7 feet (or so) behind you ( I'm guessing at that 7' distance by taking the 9' measurement and subtracting the distance you actually have, by taking your gear and your listening position into consideration...) I'm not saying this is bad, I'm saying I don't know if you might not be better served by firing your mons towards the longer distance. Just a though for consideration...

    How much space is there currently between your speakers and the wall behind them?
    Are they placed in or in close proximity to corners?

    Do you currently have any bass trapping in place, or, any broad band treatment?

    Are you looking for passive or active models, and, how much are you looking to spend?

    Have you had your eye ( or ears LOL) on any particular models?

    It may help us to help you more if we were able to know your budget, and to research certain models.

    Sean G likes this.
  3. drubu

    drubu Active Member

    Nov 18, 2012
    Atlanta, GA

    As far as the orientation of the room, since building it out and occupying it a few years ago I've had it set up in every imaginable configuration. The problem with going long throw, is that nothing feels balanced even with treatment, I assume from having the solid brick wall to one side and sheetrock wall on the other. In the short throw configuration with the monitors are on the brick wall side, there are serious nulls in the low end, but with the monitors on the sheetrock side, those nulls aren't as prevalent (no scientific measurements yet, just using my ears and a simple SPL meter with tones and sweeps, and known source material).

    I'm always open to rearranging again though. My wife has gotten so used to it that she doesn't even roll her eyes anymore lol. She's been awesome and super-supportive .

    About 5" behind and 3'6" from side walls. I know the room isn't ideal, but it's all I have to work with at the moment.

    Broadband ceiling absorber above mix position, trapping in corners and absorption at 1st reflection points. No diffusion, the room is too small for that.

    I'd like to stick with active monitors for simplicity. But I'm open. Budget can be between $1000-$1500. I've been using Studio One for a couple years, and have mostly presonus gear because of the way they interface, so naturally I've been looking at PreSonus monitors just to keep it all in the family lol. But it honestly doesn't matter. I'm intrigued by the Eris E44 and E66 MTM's. I haven't heard them yet though. It's really pointless to me to walk into GC to listen to monitors... All you can tell by that is how loud they get. I'd rather make an informed decision and order them from Sweetwater, because they have an excellent return policy. The only way to know is to hear them in my room.

    I'm also thinking about adding a sub, but I'm hesitant to open that can of worms!
  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    Working in a small room is a pain ! Yes I know..
    Well threated is not always the answer.. to mix well you need a bit of life left in the room specially to evaluate reverbs and other spacials...
    Replacing some of the absorbsion by diffusion makes a hell of a difference depending on the actual response of the room.
    In any case, concentrating on near field monitors is your best bet... What ever you pick, you'll need to learn them by listening to a lot of music.
  5. drubu

    drubu Active Member

    Nov 18, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    I really have decided that in the budget range of studio monitors (sub $1500/pr) I really don't like anything I've heard in the standard 2-way format (dome tweeter/woofer).

    I've narrowed my choices to the PreSonus Eris E66 or the Sceptre S8 (or their respective design equivalents offered by other manufacturers).

    Asking what is the "best" is pointless since its all subjective... But are there any inherent design advantages between the two that would make one more appealing than the other?

    I love the sound of a dual-concentric speaker... The old Tannoys at the studio I used to work at were my favorites, even though they were plagued by interfrequency modulation from the highs reflecting off the woofer cone. Looks like PreSonus has a design that eliminates this problem.

    I haven't done any serious work on MTM's yet, but they look very interesting.

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