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Old 06-04-2017, 06:44 PM
Photojeep Photojeep is offline
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Default Mackie CR3 Monitor Speakers/options

I'm just starting my journey in home recording. I have my Scarlett 2i2 and GarageBand on my MacBook Air.

I've read I should be using some monitor speakers because listening to my efforts through my headphones isn't really a realistic way to mix.

I've come across the Mackie CR3 speakers as a viable option for me because of their size, cost and quality. (I'm limited mostly by size. And price of course.)

I'm wondering if there are other similar priced ($99 for the pair) and size (under 12" in height) I should be looking at?

Remember, I'm doing this for myself and definitely non-professionally so big gazillion dollar speakers,really aren't in my universe...

Thanks,
PJ
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:49 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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The problem with those speakers (I had the older version of same model) and any 3" or 4" speakers is they have no bass response. Although their low end is listed down to 80Hz (which is about the low E on your guitar), in fact, the volume fall-off at that point is pretty steep.
Can you mix with them? yes. Will the mixes translate well to other systems? Not necessarily. You could continue to use headphones for checking the low end on your mixes. Then burn a CD (or transfer the file to a device) to play the mix on other sytems- car stereo, living room stereo, surround sound system, etc.

Personal preference for 'low' cost monitors is the JBL LSR305 - you can get a pair on sale for under $250 is you wait for the best pricing. They stand under 12" tall, too. The low end is rated to 43Hz, which is the lowest published spec you will see for any 5" or 6" monitors around.
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Old 06-15-2017, 10:53 AM
Photojeep Photojeep is offline
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Thank you for the recommendation. I'm a couple months from actually getting anything so I appreciate the information. I've "heard" various comparisons of the CR3s with various other speakers and even through a youtube video I can hear the lack of bass.

A couple other things I'd like to ask:

1. These have a bass port on the back, as do many others, and I'm wondering why this exists. Is it to allow sound out? Or does it serve some other function.

2. I'll be placing these speakers (whatever I get) fairly close to a wall (within 6 inches or so) because of furniture configuration. Will this affect the speaker's effectiveness?

Thank you all again for helping a noob!
PJ
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Old 06-15-2017, 04:18 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photojeep View Post
A couple other things I'd like to ask:

1. These have a bass port on the back, as do many others, and I'm wondering why this exists. Is it to allow sound out? Or does it serve some other function.

2. I'll be placing these speakers (whatever I get) fairly close to a wall (within 6 inches or so) because of furniture configuration. Will this affect the speaker's effectiveness?
The bass port on the back directs the low frequency sounds out the back. Having those speakers 6 inches from the wall is going to be problematic because the lower frequencies will be overly emphasized. If this is just for yourself and no one is going to listen to your recordings outside of your recording environment, you're fine. But if you intend to play the music in other places, your mixes won't sound very good.

So would it be impossible to get something to sound decent in that setup? No. But it would require that you do a lot of A/B-ing in other listening environments and hopefully over time you'd get to learn how your bad setup needs to be adjusted to produce better sound.

For what it's worth, you're going through the same stages that most home hobbyists go through. First we think we can mix on headphones. Then we learn the shortcomings of doing it that way. Then we think we can get away with cheap monitors. And we soon realize they sound so bad we go back to using the headphones. At some point, if we stick with the hobby, we realize we really do need a decent set of monitors.

You don't NEED "big gazillion dollar speakers," but you're not likely to find anything good in your $100/pair price range. I've never heard the JBL's that Mike recommended but I've read a lot more comments from people that like them than dislike them. If I were you, however, I'd steer clear of any monitors with a rear bass port unless this really is just for your enjoyment in your studio.

Aside from asking here, you might want to search for information in the "Low End Theory" subforum at Gearslutz.
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:23 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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Due to my overall room size, I don't have the option for moving my JBLs out in the room, either. But what worked was adding 4" thick rockwool 'bass traps' on my front wall (directly behind the JBLs).
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73 Epiphone 6830E 6 string (evidence shows made in 71?)

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Chinese Strat clone ($25!)

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Seagull 'Merlin'
Washburn Mandolin
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  #6  
Old 07-19-2017, 10:33 AM
Photojeep Photojeep is offline
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Default Update and purchase

Update:

First off, thank you again for answering my original questions and giving me a lot to think about!

Being the noob I am, I am VERY GLAD I asked the question in the first place. I realized I didn't know what I didn't know. I had no idea about frequency response in monitor speakers, "near field", bass ports, room acoustics, etc., etc..

Armed with the information I learned, I just recently purchased a set of Sterling Audio MX3 monitors and have to say I am very impressed!

While I have no way of measuring the accuracy of their claims of 55 Hz low end is accurate but I can hear clear low acoustic guitar tones from them very well!

I am limited in their placement on my desk (apparently I'm committing the unpardonable sin of putting them under a desk hutch as well) but for my needs and space limitations, these are exactly what I need and I couldn't be happier!

Long story even longer, if you are limited in space and funds, look into the Sterling Audio MX3 monitors. I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

Best,
PJ
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