Studio Monitors vs. Regular speakers

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by peterhaunted604, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. peterhaunted604 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    #1
    So I was checking out some studio monitors the other day and my overall impression was that these are going to be too expensive for me. I have already spent tons on software (not to mention my iMac) but the final piece still remains elusive.

    Does anybody here have experience with digital mastering? I guess what I am asking is, will a high end regular speaker be sufficient for rudimentry engineering or should I just bite the bullet and save up 800-1200$ for a decent pair of studio monitors. I mean if it came down to it, I would send material to a proper studio for the final mix down but I want to be able to mix it so I get a better idea of what the final product will sound like.

    Any suggestions (brand/make/model etr.) would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #2
    monitoring should be the most important thing in your studio. this includes:
    - the monitors & amp(s)
    - room treatment
    - your position and monitor placement
    - quality of your d/a converter
    - quality of your cables
    - quality of any gear between the converter and amps

    skimp on any of this and you will hear a signal which is different than what your computer putting out. this means all your engineering and mix decisions are based on bad data.

    the goal of nearfield monitors is to put out a signal which, as closely as possible, mimics the signal it's getting. the better it does this, the more we can call the monitor "flat". the less flat the monitor, the less you'll be able to tell what's really happening with your music.

    the goal of consumer speakers isn't to give you a flat listening experience, it's to make the music coming out sound good. which is exactly what you don't want when engineering. what you want is the truth. the harder it is to make the song sound good, the better it's going to translate to other systems.

    btw, if you treat your room properly (i have a number of panels from these guys, though i'm looking at picking up some from these guys), you can get away with cheaper monitors. imo.
     
  3. peterhaunted604 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 9, 2006
    #3
    ya I guess the answer was pretty obvious, time to start saving up!

    thanks for your help
     
  4. e-clipse macrumors 6502

    e-clipse

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    #4
    yep....
    you cant accurately mix what you cannot accurately hear.
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #5
    in the meantime, drop $120 on a pair of these, prop 'em up in two corners of your room and everything will start sounding a lot better. where "better" equals "more accurate to what your speakers are putting out."

    i don't usually recommend stuff that i either don't have or haven't used, but the 244 numbers are similiar to those of the minitraps, which i *do* have, and they're awesome. and because the GIK stuff is so much cheaper, i'm probably going to buy a bunch of those.

    they'll be the best value for money in your space.
     
  6. gallinger macrumors regular

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    Jul 19, 2006
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    Canada
    #6
    I have a pair of Yamaha HS-80 monitors and I love them. I think Im going to buy some NS-10s on ebay soon.
     
  7. dogbone macrumors 68020

    dogbone

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    #7
    I don't know if you have to spend that much, unless you are talking $AUD

    Just bought a pair of demo series one KRK V4's for $250 and the latest series II are only $500 new they are truly awesome nearfields.
     
  8. Derwood macrumors regular

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    Dec 21, 2005
    #8
    Hmmm...

    I don't know any producers worth their salt who, irrespective of monitors and mixing environment, don't end up road-testing their mixes on a variety of consumer level equipment. In my experience this is always the final test: kitchen hi-fi, car stereo, living room stereo, sh***y walkman headphones etc. etc.

    Now, you'd be right to chime in and say that in order to get to that point you would require a decent pair of monitors that colour your mix as little as possible, and that to test it on consumer level monitoring is fine but must come after this and not before or instead of. Agreed.

    Personally... given the impracticalities of engineering an acoustically neutral room in a home setting, and what many might regard as the prohibitive cost of NS-10's or similar, a more cost effective solution might be a really decent pair of open-backed cans coupled with some rigorous testing on consumer level equipment (which you should always do anyway).

    Fair point?
     
  9. devman macrumors 65816

    devman

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    Location:
    AU
    #9
    yep, studio monitors are the go but it's also true that you want to check your mix on something consumer level. Many years ago (last time I was doing this) a little pair of Auratones were popular for this.
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #10
    a new auratone was recently announced. and it's not always a pair that's popular, i've seen places that have one and they use it to check mixes in mono.
     
  11. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #11
    fair, yes, but i think that's suboptimal. not all engineers obsessively check their mixes on a bunch of systems, because they know their rooms/monitors/music and know a priori how they will translate.

    otoh, a friend of mine does exactly what you describe, sans a treated room or monitors, and he does okay.

    for those who regard the ns-10's as cost prohibitive, then yes, turning an extra bedroom into a well-treated room will be even more cost prohibitive. but really, it can be done with just a couple grand USD. in fact, i'm about to embark on such a project myself (cross fingers).
     
  12. Mydriasis macrumors 6502

    Mydriasis

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    Mar 17, 2005
    #12
    I don't think you need to spend $800 on studio monitor, by all means if you have the money and need them get em, but there are lots of really good speakers out there for less.

    I agree with everyone about testing your mixes on lots of 'consumer' speakers, but don't get regular stereo speakers to do your mixing. You will never get a consistent representation of the sound, it would be frustrating.

    Look into what zimv20 said, it's not just good speakers you need there is a whole chain of things that will degrade the sound before it even gets to your speaker.

    The audio card in your iMac, to start out with, probably doesn't have a very good d/a converter.
    Your cables. etc. etc.

    If you do get nearfield monitor, get aktiv one... that way the amp matches your speakers and the cable is as short as possible.
     
  13. Derwood macrumors regular

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    Dec 21, 2005
    #13
    You're not kidding! It's defo suboptimal, and certainly less than desirable. Only reason I mentioned it is because yer man peterhaunted604 sounds more like your home-studio-jonny-come-likely than your let's-build-an-acoustically-isolated-room-suspended-inside-the-spare-bedroom-by-the-way-honey-stick-a-video-in-for-home-improvement-for-me kinda guy. ;)

    Know what your're saying and you're right: time won't always permit. It's a good idea to though. You think that's obsessive, you should check out our shoe rack!

    Sounds sweet. Hope it goes well. What kinda timescale you working on and what's the rough plan?
     
  14. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #14
    it's a rectangular spare bedroom, roughly 8' x 13'8" x 9.5' (h). i must get it up and running by november, when we'll be mixing my band's album. it will be a CR-only.

    if i can get my crap together wrt a contractor, there'll be a new (acoustically dampened?) outside window, new drywall on the outside wall so that i can 1) insulate, 2) put in new electrical, 3) add the window, 4) run cabling to the live room and machine room (closet).

    having my crap together would also entail combining two adjacent closets (now serving two bedrooms) to make the machine room. i also want to run a dedicated electrical circuit for the room (to which some day i'll add a conditioner), plus run in telephone and cat-5. my g5 would go in the machine room, so all USB/firewire/monitor connections would go down into the basement and up into the closet.

    ...

    regardless if my crap is together or not, i'll be putting in a number of bass traps and other treatment at first reflection points. i've already calculated my sitting position and where the treatment will go, i'll wait until everything's in to finalize monitor position. atm, i'm looking at 13 traps, plus any extra dampening i may have to do once everything's in (i have an acousitician friend who'll come by and shoot the room to help me determine that).

    my budget aside from the construction is $5k (new monitors, 9 of those traps, some new gear). i'm hoping to be somewhere around $3.5k for the construction.
     
  15. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #15
    my studio does not have a shoe rack, and i'm feeling a little 20th century about it :)
     
  16. scottlinux macrumors 6502a

    scottlinux

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    Sep 21, 2005
    #16
    The klipsch pro media 2.1 are probably the best made 2.1 speakers on the planet, if you are looking for an inexpensive alternative. You can find them on amazon for about ~$100US now. The klipsch company engineered the THX cert., and they make most of the speaker systems for movie theaters. I think this 2.1 set is something like 200 watts.
     
  17. Mr Skills macrumors 6502a

    Mr Skills

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    Nov 21, 2005
    #17
    Still popular! Use them every day. :) Every major studio has a pair or two lying around.

    .

    .
     
  18. Mr Skills macrumors 6502a

    Mr Skills

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    Nov 21, 2005
    #18
    I'm not sure I would recommend NS10s as a starting pair of monitors, anyway. Don't get me wrong - I love them! It's just that their sound is anything but flat - I think you have to have a good deal of experience of how things should sound on them before you actually try working on them.

    I'd recommend something like KRK V6s - they sound hi-fi enough not to confuse, but also translate well and have decent detail. Plus they are active so no need to worry about amps (although you will need some sort of volume knob...).

    .

    .
     
  19. Mr Skills macrumors 6502a

    Mr Skills

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    #19
    Any chance of a link? I couldn't find it on Google but I'd be really interested :)

    .

    .
     
  20. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #20
    the search terms "auratone namm" turned up a good number of links, such as this one.
     
  21. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #21
    i wasn't, i was just echoing a previous post about some people finding that price point to be unaffordable.
     
  22. Mr Skills macrumors 6502a

    Mr Skills

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    Nov 21, 2005
    #22
    Wow! They're cheap! You can pay 500 dollars on eBay for originals, and these are only 169! Definitely worth investigating :D
     
  23. KidPsych macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    #23
    M-Audio Monitors

    anyone tried these? I am considering them, but the monitors mentioned above might be slick too....

    Anything has got to be better than my 8 year old altec lansings and Shure E3s.
     

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