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Old 12-18-2016, 07:14 PM
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Default Home Studio Monitors

Last March, I asked about the wisdom of buying used studio monitors. http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=424287 Since then, I've watched for threads discussing this basic element of nearly every home studio. There have only been two or three threads here about home studio monitors in the past nine months! This surprises me. By comparison, we've had dozens of threads about mics, recorders, various software - everything else related to home studios - but almost nothing about monitors. Am I the only one interested, or is the AGF just not a very good place to discuss such things?

What home studio monitors do you use? Why do you like them? If you were buying today, would you choose something different?

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Old 12-18-2016, 07:16 PM
HHP HHP is offline
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I bought some Roland Cube Monitor 30's. They do dual purpose as a mini-PA and are otherwise connected to my recorders as monitors. Not exactly state of the art but they do both job as well as I need them done.
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Old 12-18-2016, 07:39 PM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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I bought a set of Yamaha HS8's. I put them on some Auralex Isolation pads and wouldn't trade them for anything, they sound fabulous !!
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Old 12-18-2016, 07:56 PM
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Many forums have their specialties, guitar happens to be the focus here. As such there's only going to be a small subset of readers who have home or small scale studios, so it's not going to have a lot of discussion going on.

A few of the "hot button" topics get active participation here, but if you're really looking for LOTS of specific info on recording there are other forums devoted to that sort of thing.

As far as monitors go, I used to run Event 20/20 (8" two way monitors) but I've been actively downsizing due to the small size of my room, purchasing Presonus Eris 5s as a desktop solution. I like them very much, but check my mixes with my much more bass-responsive headphones. The 5's are a bit deficient if you're looking for low bass, but I know how to listen to them and understand that. (Any smaller monitor is going to have that problem, so a sub woofer would be a good addition if you're mixing material needing low bass response.
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:20 PM
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I find my Adam A7s to be so revealing that all I hear are my mistakes. Yes, I'm blaming my monitors.
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Old 12-18-2016, 09:24 PM
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So if I get some nice monitors, I'll lose that excuse? Hmmm. That's worth careful consideration!

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Old 12-18-2016, 09:50 PM
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Just get a great pair because great or not, you can always find an excuse to blame them. I know I do.
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Old 12-19-2016, 05:33 AM
GuitarsFromMars GuitarsFromMars is offline
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http://www.equatoraudio.com/D5-Studi...-Pads-p/d5.htm


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Old 12-19-2016, 06:19 AM
RedJoker RedJoker is offline
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I want to upgrade my crappy computer speakers with something better but I don't want to break the bank. I've actually been thinking about the Mackie CR4 speaker pair. I know they are not professional level but neither is my room, my playing, my mics, my mixing, etc. I was just thinking they'd be better than my 10 (15?) year old computer speakers.

Maybe some day I'll pull the trigger on something...
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:34 AM
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A few notes from when I started my career as a recording engineer, thirty-five years ago:

1. Monitors are quite often simply overlooked as one of the most important part of the recording chain. It's just a fact of life that people often forget how important they are. Your monitors are more important than your mics because your perceptions of your mics will occur through your monitors. Think about that.

2. Monitors are like glasses: Through them you will "see" your whole world. If the prescription isn't good you won't see the world right and will make bad decisions. My ophthalmologist once prescribed for me and sent me to his in-office glasses shop where they made my glasses. I put them on and everything looked really weird. I asked the doctor and he chortled, "Give them a couple of weeks. You'll adjust." I immediately experienced severe eyestrain. Within a short time I had a headache. That day I misjudged distance and fell down a short set of stairs. I had trouble drawing a straight line. The symptoms continued rather than abated. Within a few days I went back to the doctor and asked him to check them. After he checked their correction he cried, "Good grief! These aren't what I prescribed at all!"

It is the same with monitors. If there is a resonance or peak at a certain frequency that annoys you or fatigues your ears you will instinctively try to take it out of your recordings so they don't annoy you. But your recordings may not need that frequency removed. The opposite is true for a missing frequency or band of frequencies.

3. Transducers (mics and monitors) are the most expensive thing in the signal chain to get right. Buy the best monitors you can afford... and then a little.

4. Once you get a set of monitors, play lots of recordings of the kind of music you will be working with on those monitors. Those recordings you think are the best? Play them repeatedly on your monitors. Familiarize yourself with what greatness sounds like... on your monitors. And then when you are starting a project or beginning a mix, go back and play those recordings again to acclimate your ears to greatness. There is no substitute for knowing your own monitors, both their strengths and weaknesses.

5. "Shop" your mixes around to as many different monitors and speaker systems as you can. There are six control rooms with eight different types of speaker systems in the complex where I work. I shop my mixes around onto as many as I can and take them out to my own and my wife's car systems as well.

All the best,

Bob
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:53 AM
RedJoker RedJoker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
A few notes from when I started my career as a recording engineer, thirty-five years ago:

<snip>

3. Transducers (mics and monitors) are the most expensive thing in the signal chain to get right. Buy the best monitors you can afford... and then a little.

<snip>

All the best,

Bob
Bob, how big a difference is there between 'low end' monitors and expensive monitors? I know you get what you pay for but at what point do you think a beginner / home studio hack is just throwing money away?

There may not be a good answer this but I don't know. Something like, if you don't spend at least $xxx, you are just getting cheap computer speaker quality and are no better off. How would I even know if I'm getting something decent?
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Old 12-19-2016, 07:38 AM
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Hi Cotten,
I looked at your old thread, as well as reading through this one. I'd imagine it's going to depend on what recordings you will be listening to. In your old thread you mentioned bass as well as other instruments; is that still the case?

If you are only dealing with your acoustic guitar and vocals, I'd suggest staying with a 5"-6" driver. I'm using the Equator D5's, have had them almost 3 years, and am still very satisfied. They are in the $400/pair range, and for me they easily beat out other monitors in that price range. I haven't compared them to higher end monitors.
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Old 12-19-2016, 08:02 AM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cotten View Post
Last March, I asked about the wisdom of buying used studio monitors. Am I the only one interested, or is the AGF just not a very good place to discuss such things?

What home studio monitors do you use? Why do you like them? If you were buying today, would you choose something different?

cotten
To start : buying used monitors is a two edged sword. On one edge you will or should pay about 1/2 or less of what they cost new and can get better quality monitors for say 1/2 the price.
On the other edge speakers have big moving parts and like anything with moving parts those parts have a optimum functional life span. So at some point they will in fact begin to fatigue and degrade. The question is where are these monitors within that span?

There are several problems with discussing studio monitors

One is that specs only tell part of the story. There is a very general rule of thumb that the flatter the better. But there are so many other factors involved that flatter response is simply a starting point.

Also speakers and sound they produce and how you hear it is in the final analysis also subjective

Another factor is the room they are in also effects the sound.
(which why ultimately one (should) audition speakers in your home studio)

Another factor which Bob addressed in his point #3, but unfortunately many do not want to hear, is price " Transducers (mics and monitors) are the most expensive thing in the signal chain to get right. Buy the best monitors you can afford... and then a little."

Now while I do understand being on a budget BUT
It never ceases to amaze and baffle me, that people will list literally thousands of dollars worth of guitars in their sig lines and understand the reasoning , but do not not want to spend anywhere near the same amount on either mic's or monitors in their studio .

OK enough soap box

After starting with some KRK V6's and then V8's. What I ended up with was a pair Amphion One 18's and Amphion Amp 100
They are by far the most accurate monitors I have had in my studio.
The sound stage placement and detail is superb.
The Low end is tight, the mids are clear and accurate, and highs detailed without being harsh.
No I would not hesitate to choose them again

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedJoker View Post
Bob, how big a difference is there between 'low end' monitors and expensive monitors? I know you get what you pay for but at what point do you think a beginner / home studio hack is just throwing money away?
While I do think there are levels of value for dollars spent, and certainly amount of discretionary funds will factor in.

But I personally think the notion that a beginner may be " just throwing money away" is perhaps not really a completely viable notion (to a point of course).
No matter if its guitars or equipment in general, the better the tool the quicker the learning curve.

And while rules of thumb are simply suggestions and certainly price does not automatically equal performance none the less the "you get what you pay for " has been around for so long for very good reasons.

With that in mind
I would suggest something to think about is, that if your monitors are costing say 2/3 rd's or less than the price of the guitar you are trying to record, you may want to rethink your value judgement criteria.

Because yes there is a definite noticeable difference in monitors as you move up the quality/price scale. (is it a big difference ? and does it make sense for me ) are totally subjective elements
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Last edited by KevWind; 12-19-2016 at 08:16 AM. Reason: .
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Old 12-19-2016, 08:34 AM
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Just use headphones. I bought monitors (M-Audio Studiophile BX8) a few years back but found monitors rather unworkable with acoustics of my room (the typical acoustics most peoples rooms will have) and near field monitoring seemed odd. Sometimes I would check out recordings on my home stereo system but eventually I settled on strictly using headphones (which is how most people listen to stuff these days anyway). I just record solo guitar. YMMV
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Old 12-19-2016, 09:16 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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Some great advice already, I'll just throw in some other thoughts:

Frequency response: 3" or 4" speakers will NOT have anything below 80Hz (and maybe even higher), so you won't hear the full low E string on your acoustic (or any bass if you have it in your mixes) - you'll hear the resonant frequencies above those notes only.

Room treatment: bass traps (or superchunks) in corners and at point-of-first-reflection, ceiling cloud over your mixing position. It's quite simple really - if you have uncontrolled reflections/absorbing going on in your room, it won't matter if you have $200 monitors or $2000 monitors, you won't be hearing them accurately. For $250 you can build 6-8 4" thick traps that will help any room.

I've got 6 bass traps (2 on the front wall, behind the monitors), ceiling cloud, some small chunks in the upper corners of my small room. My budget was limited, and I had the front wall traps, so my choice was easy - JBL LSR305 monitors. They have a rear-firing bass port (many small monitors do), so the traps behind them are needed. On sale, I picked up a pair for $225 (retail is $150 each). They sound good to my ears, and have enough volume that if I crank them, they can be heard clearly in adjacent rooms.
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