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  #1  
Old 06-01-2010, 04:53 PM
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open-road-matt open-road-matt is offline
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Default Recommendations For Active Nearfield Monitors?

Hi Folks,
I am seeking recommendations for active nearfield for my "studio."

My budget will be about $600 total. I could budge on that a little bit if there was something really great for a bit more money. But I can't do much more than that right now. (I just bought another guitar! )

I use an Apogee Duet into a MacBook Pro. I have Logic Pro but I still mainly work in GarageBand.

My projects are of the acoustic singer/songwriter type and consist of acoustic guitar, ukulele, vocals, harmonica, bass, some piano and some percussion.

So nothing fancy but I'd love to hear what folks have to say.

Thanks!
Matt
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:14 PM
Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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While there are others I prefer, they are beyond the price limit you mentioned so you might consider the KRK VXT4 and the KRK V6II V Series 2 monitors.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...T4_45W_4_.html

http://www.guitarcenter.com/-i1153146.gc

The V6II V Series 2 are discontinued but still available.

http://www.krksys.com/product_v-series2.php
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:30 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default Aloha Matt - I've been on the same quest

Aloha Matt,

Parallel universes again. I've been on the same quest for near-field monitors, although I've learned to use the Daed 803's and AKG 240mkII headphones in the interim.

NOTE: Ya know, I just saw your $600 limit. So the opinions below may not apply to now. But I'll pass it along for future reference. If you had double that limit I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the ADAM A7. In fact, it might be worth saving up for, I like them that much for acoustic guitar and my voice.

One that could work for you now is the B]Yamaha HSS80M's active monitor, [/B]. I really like that surprisingly natural acoustic sound on my guitars, slightly less on my vocals. Very affordable though.


Thoughts for future monitors:

In terms of active monitors, I haven't liked what I have been able to here in the limited selections at Hawaii's music stores, with one exception: the Mackie HR824 powered monitors. Great for guitar and voice. Detailed, power, & low end. Not the smoothest.

I thought I'd kinda evolved past most Mackie products. But I really liked those actives in the just-under-$1K range. Good for everything.

Have also heard this smaller one: Dynaudio Acoustics BM5A Active Monitor on a Mainland trip I took recently. Very detailed, accurate sound and smooth. I could use that for both vox and guitar easily.

At $2K/pair, I like this one: JBL LSR6328P, which I heard at a friend's studio. Very, very good all around to my ears. In the slightly above that price range, Sdelsolray really loves his active Quested 11's.

Not a fan of ANY KRK's, but they are more affordable. They are NOT the value that so many home recordists claim to be, IMO. Too mid-rangey. Couldn't bond with them and they're like a rash all over Hawaii.

However, the active monitor with which I am currently most enthralled is the Adam A7 active monitor. That has really have caught my ears' attention - has it all for my purposes. About $1.2K/pair new. So I'm still saving now.

Whatcha lookin' at?

At work now.

A Hui Hou!

alohachris

Last edited by alohachris; 06-17-2010 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:30 PM
Pokiehat Pokiehat is offline
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You should not listen to anyone's recommendations on this subject because it is an incredibly personal thing and what you get is highly dependant on your room and the placement of your monitors in that room.

The best thing you can do is take advantage of home trials and/or make full use of the grace period you get when purchasing at retail which I call the 'no quibbles return period'. This way if you buy a pair of monitors and you aren't happy with them you send them back in the condition they arrived and get a full refund or a different pair of monitors. Yes its a hassle having to baby them and send monitors back and forth whilst being out of pocket in the interim. However you only have to go through this process once and the end result is that you will personally end up with something you are happy with, simply because you've tried everything else you can afford. Don't trust anyone else's opinion on what good speakers are. One man's meat is another man's poison.

I personally have Dynaudio BM5as and frankly they sound different in every room in my house and they sound different to what they did in the showroom. This is just room acoustics at work. I do not use these speakers much in my room for several reasons.

1) I have no acoustic treatment which involves making permanent alterations to the room which I can't do because I'm renting and tend to move every couple of years. Due to the lack of acoustic treatment I suffer from many strange problems related to comb filtering which makes the sound from the monitors change dramatically when I move/fidget.

2) They go freakishly loud and I'm house sharing. Its just not fair to my housemates (and my neighbours).

Quote:
Very detailed, accurate sound and smooth. I could use that for both vox and guitar easily
These words mean different things to different people. 'Accurate' is a very misleading term when talking about monitors. Accurate compared to what reference? Frequency response charts are more or less meaningless given the non linearity of your sources (mics and signal processors), non linear response of the ear which changes depending on volume (see Fletcher Munson) and the fact that your ear is much more sensitive to certain frequency ranges than others.

Then theres the fact that everyone's hearing deteriorates over the course of their life at different rates and in different ways (presbycusis, noise induced, a whole range of ear related diseases etc)

It should become clear after all of this that the individual is more likely to be the more significant source of variance than the speaker is. The stated frequency response of the speaker is most likely measured in a very controlled environment anyway with perfect acoustics and its very unlikely that your room will be similarly controlled so that will introduce even more variance.

Broadly speaking there are a few things to think about that will remain constant. If you are boxed in a tiny room with your desk flush against a wall you may want to avoid rear ported monitors. Physics always apply - bigger woofers and larger cabinet volumes can produce lower bass at higher amplitude without distortion. If the music you write requires much critical listening at low frequencies then you are better off with 8" woofers as opposed to say 5". Bass is quite difficult to control in small, untreated rooms so be cautious.

Other things that are important are - do you have a panic button/gain control within arms reach? Some monitors are designed to sit on meter bridges so they either have no gain controls at all or they are on the ear of the cabinets meaning you have to walk around your desk to turn the volume down or switch them off incase you play a sound thats way too loud. If you don't have hands on access to master gain controls, consider getting monitors with gain controls on the front baffle. I have had some unfortunate accidents with buggy software that has blown my head off. There comes a point where you are using monitors so powerful that they can deafen you if you aren't careful and keep tabs on your levels at all times. Poor discipline when switching on signal generators can also be a problem. Some of my synths for example emit a loud popping sound if you switch them on and the monitors are live. The solution of course is to get into the habit of turning all your gain controls down to 0 or 1 and always turning on your amps/monitors last.

Owing to the many problems with using monitors in small, untreated rooms, I actually do most of my critical listening using in ear monitors (Shure SE420). Headphones will entirely eliminate the issue of room acoustics and reverberation and attenuate background noise but will introduce a new set of problems. Panning is unusual in headphones because it doesn't work binaurally unless it was recorded that way. I personally find the headphone issues easier to deal with day to day than using desktop monitors in a bad room however.

Last edited by Pokiehat; 06-02-2010 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:53 PM
SteeleString SteeleString is offline
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When I bought my first monitors, I wasn't going to be able to rely on hearing them myself--as the rooms where monitors were kept weren't ideal to come to any conclusion. So, I sought out the opinion of professionals and read a ton of reviews.

Ultimately, I bought a pair of KRK VXT4s. Without a doubt an incredible monitor for the price of your budget. I also purchased where I could get a no hassle return if I had any issues. After that it's a matter of training your ear and treating your environment.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:08 PM
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I'm going to be the guy who will not recommend any nearfield system. Regardless of what anybody says, you can't put 10 lbs of sound in 5 lbs worth of speaker system. In addition, once up on stands, a large system doesn't take up much more space than a smaller one.

Powered systems are convenient but if the power section goes down, a more likely event than blowing a driver unless you listen @ killer levels, you lose your entire system while repairs are being made. With a separate power amp you just swap a working one in for the dead one. It's still a pain but at least you can keep working.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:47 PM
Pokiehat Pokiehat is offline
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1) you don't measure sound in 'pounds'.

2) The whole point of near field monitoring is to reduce undesirable influence of the room on the sound you hear from the speakers. If you listen 3 feet away from your head, you hear less room reflection/reverberation. If you sit back a couple more meters (assuming your room is even that big) then you start to catch flutter echos and reverb unless the room has very controlled acoustics.

In practice there are many other things to think about but the term comes from the recording industry practise of putting small speakers on the meter bridge to simulate a point source that is within the 'near field' of the sound board operator (i.e. at or just beyond arm's reach when leaning over your desk).

3) You don't ever want to listen at 'killer levels' because you will destroy your ears.

4) If you destroy an amp you gotta replace it. It doesn't matter if you have actives or passives. If you have a spare amp lying around matched to your speakers then whats the difference with having spare active monitors lying around if you destroy your actives? More particularly, why are you blowing speakers and killing amps in the first place if you are driving them at reasonable listening levels?

Last edited by Pokiehat; 06-02-2010 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:22 AM
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Understand these are out of budget but I want to comment on the Adam Audio A7's which I've had for a while and another furm member recently purchased on my recommendation. 3 of the employees at the GC where I got mine also bought systems, they are the current darling of the Pro Audio boys.

They are wonderful!! I auditioned against Mackie, Dynaudio, Genelec and JBL. The Adam Audio have ribbon tweeters and that was the difference in all comparisons, the highs are sweeter, still well defined but not edgy or brittle, and there is no ear fatique, I've had these puppies on for hours untold numbers of days.

I added the Sub8 bass and the Adam Audio system blows away my fairly expensive 3000 watt home theater system for critical listening. The only thing I have heard better is the higher end Adam Audio nearfields, all with ribbon tweeters and that sweet and soft high end.

Worth stretching a budget if possible in my opinion. Around $2K with the Sub8but you have a very pro level nearfield system and they do not lie, screw up the tiniest thing and you'll hear it!

I run mine through a Mackie Big Knob Studio Commander so I can use them with my Pro Tools rig, and my work and personal computer, they are hardly ever off. Highly recommended!!
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:52 AM
Steve Berger Steve Berger is offline
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You've been given a lot of goodj advice here.

All I can add is this: My recording set-up and instruments are similar to yours (except I use an iMac).

On rmyAddison's (Rich's) recommendation . . . about a month ago I bought two Adam-A7 monitors. I couldn't be more pleased, they are wonderful.

Adam Audio has just come out with a new A7 model, so if you can find the A7 model that Rich and I have you should only have to exceed your budget by a little.

Good luck!
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:52 AM
Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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Isn't the street price of an Adam-A7 $500? If so, a pair would cost 66% more than the limit mentioned in the opening post.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:27 AM
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open-road-matt open-road-matt is offline
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Hey Folks!
Thanks so much for all the advice. This is a huge help! Please keep it coming.

Herb,
With the exception of your links, I don't think anyone has mentioned a monitor that fits into my $600 cap. Maybe $600 just isn't enough to get the job done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pokiehat View Post
You should not listen to anyone's recommendations on this subject because it is an incredibly personal thing and what you get is highly dependant on your room and the placement of your monitors in that room.
Pokiehat,
I appreciate that advice and I certainly hear what you are saying. By starting this thread I am hoping to at least be guided to a starting point.

I've been reading about monitors on other forums too and the opinions on different brands/models are widely varied and often night and day opposite depending on the person offering the opinion but at least I can begin to compile a list of brands/models to consider and hopefully try out.

I have some gear for sale on the AGF classifieds and if I can move that out I might be able to bump my budget up to about $1k. Doing so would open the door to several brands/models that I've read about including the A7's that three different people have recommended.

Thanks again for all the help. I'd love to hear more!

Matt
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Hunter View Post
Isn't the street price of an Adam-A7 $500? If so, a pair would cost 66% more than the limit mentioned in the opening post.
Herb,

used may be an option, and I think Steve is saying there may be a street price drop on the A7's now that there is a newer model?

Yes, they are over budget but may be worth saving and waiting for, they are truly great speakers and do make a difference, my thoughts.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:54 AM
Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by open-road-matt View Post
Herb,
With the exception of your links, I don't think anyone has mentioned a monitor that fits into my $600 cap. Maybe $600 just isn't enough to get the job done.
There are guitarists who have produced good recordings in their home studios with a pair of monitors whose price was under your limit. The biggest compromise to remain under your price limit is bass response. Four to six inch woofers don't have a deep bass response but their response is adequate for guitars and one can always add a subwoofer later.
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pokiehat View Post
1) you don't measure sound in 'pounds'.
I was speaking metaphorically.

Quote:
2) The whole point of near field monitoring is to reduce undesirable influence of the room on the sound you hear from the speakers. If you listen 3 feet away from your head, you hear less room reflection/reverberation. If you sit back a couple more meters (assuming your room is even that big) then you start to catch flutter echos and reverb unless the room has very controlled acoustics.
In my experience, regardless of monitor systems used, almost any room will need some treatment.

Quote:
In practice there are many other things to think about but the term comes from the recording industry practise of putting small speakers on the meter bridge to simulate a point source that is within the 'near field' of the sound board operator (i.e. at or just beyond arm's reach when leaning over your desk).
The 1st monitors I ever saw up on a meter bridge were Auratone Sound Cubes which were used to check mixes on "garbage" (single 4" driver) monitors. The theory being that if a mix held together on junk it would sound decent on just about anything. The practice of putting fuller-ranged units such as JBL 4310's (possibly the very 1st pro speaker system with a small footprint) or Yamaha NS-10's up on the bridge came a bit later. These smaller units were more often as not used as secondary devices to check how anything mixed on the main system would sound in a "typical" home and/or car environment.



Quote:
3) You don't ever want to listen at 'killer levels' because you will destroy your ears.
I wasn't advocating that anyone should but know and have known folks that do prefer to crank the levels up on playback. I merely pointed out that it was a good way to destroy speakers.

Quote:
4) If you destroy an amp you gotta replace it. It doesn't matter if you have actives or passives. If you have a spare amp lying around matched to your speakers then whats the difference with having spare active monitors lying around if you destroy your actives? More particularly, why are you blowing speakers and killing amps in the first place if you are driving them at reasonable listening levels?
IMHO, A spare power amp is considerably cheaper and easier to swap than an entire playback system. You can get used Hafler, Crown, BGW amps at very reasonable prices. A back-up amp may or may not be "ideal" for a given passive monitor system but it will get you up and running much quicker than having to move an entire system out and another one in its place. Plus, those amps are field repairable. Some active systems aren't. They must go back to somebody's shop and have complete assemblies replaced. Not fast and often not cheap or even reasonable. .
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:03 AM
Steve Berger Steve Berger is offline
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Quote:
used may be an option, and I think Steve is saying there may be a street price drop on the A7's now that there is a newer model?
Thanks Rich, I couldn't have said it better myself (and obviously didn't.)
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