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  #1  
Old 09-23-2009, 09:19 PM
Alexrkstr Alexrkstr is offline
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Default Studio Monitors Help! please...

Hi guys... I know this is not a Home Recording forum, but I need different perspectives on this to make a decision. Hopefully LJ, BobWomack, Doug Young, and any other person that is familiar with homerecording can help me make a PRACTICAL decision. (Remember this is not choosing a GUITAR, it's monitors)

Firstly, I am not a "Pro" at home recording but I do enjoy mixing and recording a LOT <I emphasize the "not a Pro">.

My dilemma is: What monitor pair is the most practical for my purposes and my application. . Here are options:

I am moving away from Alesis M1 Actives (6.5" woofer, 1" tweeter) and have these options:
- Yamaha HS80M 8" ($800)
- JBL LSR 2328P 8 ($700)
- KRK Rockit 8 Gen 2 ($500)
- Yamaha HS50M 5" ($400)
- KRK Rockit 6 ($400)
- Behringer TRUTH B2031A ($360)
- KRK Rockit 5 ($300)
- Behringer TRUTH B2030A ($300)

I know it's a lot of options but what I want to make a point is that I am not looking for the VERY BEST, I am looking at the best "bang for the buck", I realize that the HS80M fit almost in another league with the JBLs but I am throwing them in in case the ones below completely suck.

Essentially I am looking for:
- FLATNESS above all...
- Flexibility in adjusting to the room (I live in an apartment)
- No distortion when cranked
- Same detail at high AND low levels
- Trying to stay at or below $400
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Old 09-23-2009, 11:59 PM
daniel1703 daniel1703 is offline
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You could spend $400 on a pair of headphones. After all, bang per buck wise, headphones > in ear monitors > studio monitors.

By the way, you can visit the anythingbutipod forum and get some opinions there. The dudes there are hardcore audiophiles.
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:01 AM
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The only speakers in that batch I've heard is the KRK 5's. I thought they sounded surprisingly good for the price, but I didn't have anything to compare them to, and wasn't mixing on them, which is all that really matters. My guess is that in that price range there's not going to be a lot of difference, and that includes your M1s.

What are you not getting from the M1's? The only role of a recording monitor really is to let you create a mix that sounds good on other people's speakers. Even if they sound bad themselves, as long as you can get the results, that's ok, oddly enough. Yahama's NS10s are widely used in studios, and are basically famous for being so bad that if you can make your mixes sound good on them, they're sure to sound great everywhere else :-)

In that price range, I think the idea of headphones or in-ear phones is not a bad idea, if you're looking for flat. Rather than new monitors, you might consider hanging on to the M1s and just getting a good set of phones.

Here's an interesting article Fran Guidry pointed me to some time back. Read all the machinations this guy's going thru to get a flat pair of reference ear buds, then scroll to the end to see that he's happy with just a pair of Shure EC2s, under $100.

http://www.linkwitzlab.com/reference_earphones.htm
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:25 AM
wcap wcap is offline
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I'm pretty new to this recording and mixing thing, but one of the things that some of the hard core recording folks in the recording subforum at TDPRI.com have told me is that earphones tend to be terrible for mixing. Their reason for saying this is that earphones create a complete separation between left and right, whereas with speakers you hear some of what is coming out of the left speaker with the right ear, and vice versa.

Currently I only have earphones, but I can certainly see the logic behind the above argument to use monitors instead.
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:43 AM
daniel1703 daniel1703 is offline
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wcap, it's not exactly a complete separation. If you have access to some charts of headphones, you will see that the manufacturers deliberately included some crossover so that 'some' sound from the left passes over to the right, vice versa.

Of course, the blending will not be as natural as it will sound on studio monitor.

Another downside of using headphones is that the soundstage will be constricted. You can't have the sound source right outside your ears and have a soundstage that spans a whole field.

but putting that aside, for the same price, headphones will provide you with sound that's a LOT better. Try looking at some brands like AKG, Beyerdynamics, Ultrasone if you've time.

I'm recommending headphones because (assuming you mix and play with your Macbook) you have to have a good DAC and amp to go along with your studio monitors/headphones. Without a good DAC and amp, studio monitors/headphones are just like big pipes connected to a small pump. You can't bring out much quality. That way you might've been equally fine with just a normal pair of speakers.

Ok too much talking.
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:55 AM
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JBL is upping the bar and taking care of the comparison between headphones and small monitors. Between now and Nov. 30th, if you buy a pair of the 2328Ps, they'll send you a set of AKG240 headphones. Their rebate page is HERE.

I don't have any experience with any of your choices. I can tell you that we've added a pair each of their big brothers, the LSR4326Ps and the LSR4328s, here at the facility where I work. They are working out well for the engineers who use them. I consider familiarity with your speakers to be a very important factor in getting a good mix. However, I was able to walk into the control room with the LSR4328Ps last week having mixed no prior product on them, and mix a band doing a live broadcast concert with very good results. For years JBL has been building speakers that not only are pretty accurate but have a reputation of not fatiguing the ears. That's pretty important. Perhaps that has applied downwards to the 2328s?

Something to keep in mind is that mixing on speakers is always preferred over mixing on headphones unless there is simply no other alternative. The soundstage from speakers translates much better in your mixes to other speakers than that of headphones.

Bob
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:21 AM
Alexrkstr Alexrkstr is offline
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Thanks guys, I'm definitely going with speakers. I already have the Senheiser HD28 headphones but it's not good to mix with headphones. (Also the rebate kind of cancels out here... unless I resell them ).

I'm leaning towards the Yamaha HS50M right now because I can shape the sound for the room (mine is 12 by 12). But I wonder if they will have enough bottom end....

My questions is - is there a significant difference among the monitors to go higher up in the chain.
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Old 09-24-2009, 07:15 AM
Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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The speakers on your list are all active ones except for the JBLs which are passive. If I were considering the one's on your list, I'd choose the JBLs without hesitation but if you don't have a suitable power amplifier and the budget won't stretch far enough to buy the JBLs plus a power amp, the JBLs aren't a choice for you. In that case, I would compare the remaining choices with your Alesis M1s to see if any of them are better to a degree that would justify the cost of replacing the M1s.

One criterion you mentioned was, "no distortion when cranked". Monitoring should be done at approximately 85 dB. Since these are all near-field monitors I'd expect all of them to capable of that with adequate headroom to spare.
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Old 09-24-2009, 07:32 AM
Alexrkstr Alexrkstr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Hunter View Post
The speakers on your list are all active ones except for the JBLs which are passive. If I were considering the one's on your list, I'd choose the JBLs without hesitation but if you don't have a suitable power amplifier and the budget won't stretch far enough to buy the JBLs plus a power amp, the JBLs aren't a choice for you. In that case, I would compare the remaining choices with your Alesis M1s to see if any of them are better to a degree that would justify the cost of replacing the M1s.

One criterion you mentioned was, "no distortion when cranked". Monitoring should be done at approximately 85 dB. Since these are all near-field monitors I'd expect all of them to capable of that with adequate headroom to spare.
Thanks HH, my challenge is that I cannot compare the M1s to anything... I will take out the JBLs since I didn't know they were passive and cannot afford them.

On the cranking up comment - I know, I don't mix at high levels, I just want to be able to hear them at high levels after mixing.
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:51 AM
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Pardon, the LSR2328Ps are powered, in fact bi-amped. The "P" stands for "powered." Look HERE for more.

Bob
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:11 AM
Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
Pardon, the LSR2328Ps are powered, in fact bi-amped. The "P" stands for "powered." Look HERE for more.

Bob
I'm glad you caught my mistake. I tried to retrace my searches to see where I screwed up. At first, I thought I may have omitted the, P, in the Google search field which might have inadvertently led me to a passive version but since JBL doesn't seem to make such a version, I'm not sure exactly where I went wrong. Maybe I should just go to lunch.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:34 AM
Alexrkstr Alexrkstr is offline
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So... where does that leave us? Too many options...

I think brand-wise I am leaning toward the Yamahas and Mackies.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:41 AM
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Studio gear is like computer gear: There are always too many options and the moment you sink you money into any option it is out of date. The best solution is to narrow your choices as best you can and then go listen to them. Make a choice, and be satisfied that you did your best.

Bob
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
S The best solution is to narrow your choices as best you can and then go listen to them. Make a choice, and be satisfied that you did your best.
Bob's advice is excellent as always. The thing with monitors is that it's not always a matter of "better". Each speaker is going to sound different. You just have to find what works for you, and learn what the kind of music you're creating sounds like on them, so you can "know the speaker" and mix accordingly.

A little explanation of the headphone option a couple of us suggested. I agree with the conventional wisdom that headphones aren't a good way to mix. But, if you are budget constrained, they have some benefits. $400 doesn't really get very much in a studio monitor, but it will get you really good headphones (as an add-on, not a complete replacement, to your current monitors). The other issue is room acoustics. Even the best monitor won't let you hear correctly if your room acoustics aren't reasonable. You might be better off spending that $400 on room treatment, and suddenly your M1s may sound better than you thought they did. One supposed benefit of in-ear headphones is that they eliminate the room from the equation, which is the other thing I had in the back of my head in my first response. Few pros would recommend mixing over headphones, but in a budget home studio, it's all about compromise.

I think, as with the "do I need a new guitar" option, I'd start with identifying the problem. Not "I need better monitors", but something like "my mixes always sound too bassy on my friend's stereo" or whatever. Then look at your budget and figure out what the most effective solution within that budget is, from a new guitar to new monitors, to room treatment, to a class on mixing at the local community college (gaining access to their studio along the way...), to booking some time in a pro studio to compare results, etc.

The upgrade path is endless, there's always something better out there that costs just a little more, and the differences are pretty incremental unless you throw a lot of money at everything at once. Going from a $300 speaker to a different brand of $400 speaker will change things, just as going from an 814 to a 614 will change things. But it may not be better, just different.
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:28 AM
SuperB23 SuperB23 is offline
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I had those same Alesis M1 studio monitors and I hate them and got a lot of screwed up mixes with them. I later on bought the simple 2.1 Blue Sky EXO and I have had nothing but successful mixes with them. They are a bargain IMO!
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