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View Full Version : Do I need an audio interface? / Speaker question




kirreip
Jun 4, 2009, 02:56 PM
I have searched the forums for several weeks now because I want a good pair speakers to enjoy my music. I won't record or anything. Just listen to my music.

As I understand, the best thing is to go for a pair of studio monitors (correct me if I am wrong). I have then searched / listened to some and one of the best fits were the KRK Rokit G5 (but I am open for other suggestions).

Now, the question that I am not sure about is: Do I need an audio interface (like the Apogee Duet) or is it enough to just connect them to my MacPro? I have red that the sound quality and the setting possibilties aren't as good in OS X and that I wouldn't get the most out my studio monitors. So my question would be: How much loss of sound quality would I get?

Can someone enlighten me please? Thanks in advance!



Drumjim85
Jun 4, 2009, 02:58 PM
a) the converts on macs are crap. an interface would help.
b) studio monitors are meant to be accurate, not to sound good. I wouldn't recommend a pair to someone just as a general listening to speaker.

zimv20
Jun 4, 2009, 03:41 PM
i agree with Jim -- don't get studio monitors for casual listening. however, depending on how casual, i think the built-in output may suit you fine.

have you ever hooked up an ipod to a stereo? what did you think of that quality?

VirtualRain
Jun 4, 2009, 06:01 PM
I purchased a Lexicon U22 interface. It's similar in functionality to a Duet but half the price and a nicer form factor (in my opinion). It's a real pleasure to use and looks great! They also have drivers for both Mac and Windows which was important to me.

I also decided I wanted something better than computer speakers this time around. I wanted speakers that were both accurate so I could do some video editing on my Mac Pro and also listen to music.

I went the local guitar center and listened to a ton of different studio monitors and since I have some good Boston Acoustics speakers in my living room, I knew what was good for listening (to me at least) vs. accurate. Some monitors are extremely accurate and sound like crap (e.g. Yamaha) while others are both accurate and sound good (e.g. Rokit and Blue Sky). You can find my thread on 5" monitors here on this forum (just look down the list).

I ultimately opted for the Blue Sky ProDesk ($700 on sale) but if I hadn't stretched my budget, I would own a pair of Rokit's for sure.

thegoldenmackid
Jun 4, 2009, 06:27 PM
The posters above are right. However, it's more that you are paying a lot more money. I don't have any pain associated to my monitors, but to each their own.

My main suggestions would be:
1. Try to look for a good conditioned used pair of V8s (Preferably the Series 1), these are made in the USA and sound much better then what is available now, excluding the Exposes.
2. You probably don't need the duet. Lexicon's interfaces like the Omega and Alpha are fairly coloring free, if you want to go to the low-end, but despite the stories, I love my Alesis MultiMix 8. I've owned a couple of others, check out the Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1. Did its job, plus it's relatively small and has some nice features, like pause play, huge volume knob...

kirreip
Jun 5, 2009, 07:29 PM
Thanks for your input, appreciate it very much!

Benguitar
Jun 5, 2009, 08:21 PM
I personally disagree, I have been using the KRK Rokit 5's for a while now and the quality is absolutely amazing.

You may not NEED studio monitors, but you won't be disappointed with them.

I'd suggest an audio interface, I use the Apogee Duet and it is absolutely amazing for recording/play back.

But since you won't be doing any recording, a cheaper M-Audio interface will work just fine.

I also recommend Monster Cables, just make sure you get the right ones. ;)

thegoldenmackid
Jun 5, 2009, 08:39 PM
I personally disagree, I have been using the KRK Rokit 5's for a while now and the quality is absolutely amazing.

You may not NEED studio monitors, but you won't be disappointed with them.

I'd suggest an audio interface, I use the Apogee Duet and it is absolutely amazing for recording/play back.

But since you won't be doing any recording, a cheaper M-Audio interface will work just fine.

I also recommend Monster Cables, just make sure you get the right ones. ;)

My personal experience would be to avoid both the cheap M-Audio interface and the Monster Cables, for two opposite reasons. Monster Cables are rather overpriced, plenty of good cables can be bought for half the price without paying for the Monster name, with that being said, good cables are important. I would avoid going the cheapest route, stick with Lexicon or Alesis, you are buying much better quality stuff, vs. the dirt cheap and unreliable low-end M-Audio stuff.

zimv20
Jun 5, 2009, 10:08 PM
I also recommend Monster Cables, just make sure you get the right ones. ;)

the only "right" monster cables are those which are not monster cables. imho.

besides being crappy and overpriced, the company is (or at least was) also ridiculously litigation happy (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/11/08/BUG1J9N3C61.DTL&type=business):


The TV series "Monster Garage'' and the Monster Seats above Fenway Park's left field wall have been targeted in what Monster Cable officials say is an aggressive legal strategy to protect the firm's good name.

"We have an obligation to protect our trademark; otherwise we'd lose it, '' said Monster Cable founder Noel Lee.

Critics like Victor Petrucci, founder of a small, family-owned online clothing store called MonsterVintage.com in Camas, Wash., say Monster Cable is going overboard.

"They strong-arm anybody who uses the word 'monster,' '' said Petrucci, who is fighting a lawsuit that Monster Cable filed against his firm in August. "I sell used clothing. How can I damage them at all?''

Drumjim85
Jun 6, 2009, 01:40 AM
I also recommend Monster Cables, just make sure you get the right ones. ;)

you just lost any credibility you may have had.

thegoldenmackid
Jun 6, 2009, 01:48 AM
you just lost any credibility you may have had.

Our friend from Florida also like Speck cases for notebooks... That doesn't lead to any more credibility...

ChrisA
Jun 6, 2009, 01:02 PM
I have searched the forums for several weeks now because I want a good pair speakers to enjoy my music. I won't record or anything. Just listen to my music.

As I understand, the best thing is to go for a pair of studio monitors (correct me if I am wrong). I have then searched / listened to some and one of the best fits were the KRK Rokit G5 (but I am open for other suggestions).

Now, the question that I am not sure about is: Do I need an audio interface (like the Apogee Duet) or is it enough to just connect them to my MacPro? I have red that the sound quality and the setting possibilties aren't as good in OS X and that I wouldn't get the most out my studio monitors. So my question would be: How much loss of sound quality would I get?

Can someone enlighten me please? Thanks in advance!

For listening to music buy a pair of good stereo speakers and a good amp. You can spend anything you want. from a few hundred to a few thousand.

Before anyone can suggest anything you should tell us about the size of the listening area and maybe how it's arraigned. Where the lister(s) are relative to the speakers and the distance. How loud does it need to be? All this really does matter. I really can't beleave that people here who know audio can remend a speaker without knowing if this is going to be places 24 inches from your ears, right next to an LCD monitor or if yo have a 25 foot square carpeted living room. It kind of matters.

Studio monitors are "flat". They are designed for mixing audio.

kirreip
Jun 7, 2009, 11:27 AM
For listening to music buy a pair of good stereo speakers and a good amp. You can spend anything you want. from a few hundred to a few thousand.

Before anyone can suggest anything you should tell us about the size of the listening area and maybe how it's arraigned. Where the lister(s) are relative to the speakers and the distance. How loud does it need to be? All this really does matter. I really can't beleave that people here who know audio can remend a speaker without knowing if this is going to be places 24 inches from your ears, right next to an LCD monitor or if yo have a 25 foot square carpeted living room. It kind of matters.

Studio monitors are "flat". They are designed for mixing audio.

I allready have a good amp and even better speakers. But in my living room.
On my desk in my office at home, I will not put a hifi amp and speakers, since it would take to much room on it. That's why I was looking arround for a pair of good speakers for my computer, when I work in my office at home (for now I only have the built in speakers on my led 24" ACD...). That's why I was reading a bunch of different posts, where people from time to time suggested to others, to buy a good pair of studio monitors. It usually goes like this:
-What are good computer speakers?
-Logitech, Bose, Audioengine, ...
-No, go with a pair of studio monitors, they blow away the audioengines...

But, as I understand from this post, the general consensus seems to be, that studio monitors seem to be an overkill / not adequate just for listening to music.

Thank you very much for all your inputs! I will still wait a little bit before making a decision and maybe you have more inputs for me. Thanks again!
Oh and: I love the Focal XS (not studio monitors, I know)

musio
Jun 7, 2009, 12:01 PM
if you're serious about listening to music, don't buy anything yet and get your room treated.... and i don't mean with egg boxes!

zimv20
Jun 7, 2009, 12:44 PM
if you're serious about listening to music, don't buy anything yet and get your room treated.... and i don't mean with egg boxes!

i agree. look here (http://realtraps.com/) and here (http://gikacoustics.com/).

Sampadan
Jun 8, 2009, 11:15 AM
Genelec 8030's/8020's make awesome surround sound speakers. Maybe invest in a sub as well. Genelec actually make speakers for home surround systems as well. You get the best of both worlds there!

And on the contrary to any of the comments saying that monitors are strictly for referencing. Alot of monitors, despite claiming flat frequency response, actually don't have flat frequency response. For instance a pair of Mackie HR824's carry ALOT more bass than a pair of Yamaha NS10's. A good pair of active monitors will also have adjustable settings to cater for the individual acoustics of your room, allowing you to adjust the top and bottom end.

You can always use a graphic equaliser to adjust any speakers sound reproduction. (has anyone remembered to add this detail? If not - why not).

The main thing is to try listening to any speakers you want to buy BEFORE buying them! Reason being - I've used monitors that friends have loved using in their studios - but I've found very uncomfortable on the ears monitoring with for long periods of time. If you're going to be watching 3hr blockbusters and the top end that your monitors produce sound way to "bright" (shimmery - toppy - too many highs - whatever you want to call it) then you're going to regret buying them and effectively wasting your hard earned cash!

Hope this helps - PM me if you need some good resources and reference sites!

Good luck!

VirtualRain
Jun 9, 2009, 02:44 AM
Studio monitors are "flat". They are designed for mixing audio.

If that was true they would all sound the same. I can tell you from first hand experience (having just gone through this purchasing experience) that there are no two brands of studio monitors that sound the same! Add room acoustics into the mix and you have a complete lottery on your hands unless you can audition some monitors/speakers in your intended work space.

OP... At the very least, listen to a variety of monitors and hi-fi setups in stores before you make a decision... and go back and listen to them at least a few times with different material. Ultimately, if you can, see if a shop will lend you a couple of monitors that suit your ears and see how they sound in your environment. But what ever you do, don't even think about buying speakers or monitors sight-unseen over the internet. ;)

I think you will find that even cheap studio monitors will sound better than expensive computer speakers... And don't expect really good bass from a 5" driver. A 2.1 setup with 5" satellites and an 8" sub actually sounds better than a 2.0 setup with 6.5" drivers.

Finally, other good resources are the reviews at www.soundonsound.com (read their reviews of Blue Sky products!!!) and the wealth of guru's on the forums at www.gearslutz.com.

Cheers!

Sampadan
Jun 9, 2009, 05:01 AM
If that was true they would all sound the same. I can tell you from first hand experience (having just gone through this purchasing experience) that there are no two brands of studio monitors that sound the same! Add room acoustics into the mix and you have a complete lottery on your hands unless you can audition some monitors/speakers in your intended work space.

OP... At the very least, listen to a variety of monitors and hi-fi setups in stores before you make a decision... and go back and listen to them at least a few times with different material. Ultimately, if you can, see if a shop will lend you a couple of monitors that suit your ears and see how they sound in your environment. But what ever you do, don't even think about buying speakers or monitors sight-unseen over the internet. ;)

I think you will find that even cheap studio monitors will sound better than expensive computer speakers... And don't expect really good bass from a 5" driver. A 2.1 setup with 5" satellites and an 8" sub actually sounds better than a 2.0 setup with 6.5" drivers.

Finally, other good resources are the reviews at www.soundonsound.com (read their reviews of Blue Sky products!!!) and the wealth of guru's on the forums at www.gearslutz.com.

Cheers!


AMEN!

kirreip
Jun 10, 2009, 10:41 AM
If that was true they would all sound the same. I can tell you from first hand experience (having just gone through this purchasing experience) that there are no two brands of studio monitors that sound the same! Add room acoustics into the mix and you have a complete lottery on your hands unless you can audition some monitors/speakers in your intended work space.

OP... At the very least, listen to a variety of monitors and hi-fi setups in stores before you make a decision... and go back and listen to them at least a few times with different material. Ultimately, if you can, see if a shop will lend you a couple of monitors that suit your ears and see how they sound in your environment. But what ever you do, don't even think about buying speakers or monitors sight-unseen over the internet. ;)

I think you will find that even cheap studio monitors will sound better than expensive computer speakers... And don't expect really good bass from a 5" driver. A 2.1 setup with 5" satellites and an 8" sub actually sounds better than a 2.0 setup with 6.5" drivers.

Finally, other good resources are the reviews at www.soundonsound.com (read their reviews of Blue Sky products!!!) and the wealth of guru's on the forums at www.gearslutz.com.

Cheers!

Thx for your sources! I have red through some reviews and will now look arround for a place and actually check them out.