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Anybody else using studio monitors? - Page 9

post #121 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post
Depending on what you mean by decent, I would agree with you. I've worked professionally with various KRKs, Genelec, Alesis, ATC, Yamaha, PMC, Blue Sky and quite a number of other near-fields over the years. None of them are particularly good and some are truely awful, although they can all be usable tools provided you have a good mental image of how you have to compensate for their weaknesses while mixing.
I'm currently using KRK ST6's and am really happy with them. For 100.00 a speaker, I'm pretty confident they can't be touched. Pairing them with a sub has improved things further. Anyway, I'd qualify all of the above mentioned brands as making monitors that are a pretty good value. Maybe they don't meet your needs for mixing, but for listening they sure do a great job in my opinion.

Quote:
I've never heard near-fields produce any sort of balanced quality across the frequency spectrum. The are normally very mid and top heavy, with good separation and placement. It's that unusable frequency response that's the real killer.
Obviously your never going to get a perfect frequency response from a speaker that fits on your desk. That said, my KRK's are as close I have come. They blow my previous Athena speakers out of the water. They sound great to me, and several people have remakred that they think they sound great. On top of that, they are solidly built and can stand up to the rigors of college life.

I mean honestly, what speaker is better for desktop use other than a nearfield monitor? I can't think of anything.
post #122 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post
Depending on what you mean by decent, I would agree with you. I've worked professionally with various KRKs, Genelec, Alesis, ATC, Yamaha, PMC, Blue Sky and quite a number of other near-fields over the years. None of them are particularly good and some are truely awful, although they can all be usable tools provided you have a good mental image of how you have to compensate for their weaknesses while mixing.

I currently own a set of big Genelecs but again, I know how I have to compensate relative to top class monitors because even these ($4,000 per monitor) Genelecs still have weaknesses. It's not until you get to the high end professional JBL and custom monitors in the right environment that you no longer have to compensate.

I've never heard near-fields produce any sort of balanced quality across the frequency spectrum. The are normally very mid and top heavy, with good separation and placement. It's that unusable frequency response that's the real killer.
Your comments bely your supposed experience. Even at ludicrous sums of money no monitor or near-field monitor will be perfect for music production. Producing in a studio, however good it may be will never have one set of 'perfect' '$100,000' monitors. If you are saying this is the case you are full of ****, or the people who 'told' you that 1 speaker will do the job is full of it. Most studios today will have several sets of monitors, near field and otherwise. They will have expensive speakers and some real shockers.

Totally flat response is pretty much unachievable regardless of price, even if the speakers are really expensive. A good producer will listen to their mix on a variety of speakers to truly assess the end listeners reception of the production.

The reality is, unless you are a very successful producer (which almost no one on this site is) you will be compromising in some way with the equipment you are using, or at the very least the environment you are using.

For general home production & recreational listening, you will get a far better listening experience and quality production from average to decent active monitors than you will from any 'home hi fi' equipment of the same price. FACT.

If you were to put 200,000 worth of speakers in the 'home studio' of most of the people on here I guarantee they will not perform better than a set of Alesis mk1activemk2s or KRK K6s. Likewise, most home hi fi equipment is so overpriced based on the 'name' it becomes a joke. You will pay $5,000 just to power your home speakers before you have even bought them where as the amplifiers built in to a $500 active monitor will have an SN ratio that wil piss all over that same hi fi amp.....

You sound a little like a brand and price snob. M I T did a study and found that people enjoyed coffee more knowing it had a higher price, this was also true of Wine and was independent of eithers quality. I suggest doing a double blind test on yourself and seeing what results you get. You will be sad to find that your $4,000 home studio speakers are no better than a well chosen $400 set. Meanwhile I will spend my saved $3,600 on a good holiday :-)
post #123 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by vulc4n View Post
Maybe they don't meet your needs for mixing, but for listening they sure do a great job in my opinion.

I mean honestly, what speaker is better for desktop use other than a nearfield monitor? I can't think of anything.
First of all, placing a monitor on a desk is always a bad idea. You're going to get all kinds of reflections from the desk (and any items on it). These reflections are going to blur the stereo image and placement and at least partially negate the main reason for using near-fields in the first place!

I don't agree that near-fields are good for listening. Generally a good mastering engineer is trying to create a product which is going to sound good on consumer equipment. The colouration of near-fields is completely different from the colouration of consumer speakers. In other words, what you are hearing is not what was intended by the producer or mastering engineer. Sure, they are likely to sound more defined but the frequency response and placement are going to be quite different.

Adding a sub to near-fields does not solve the problem either. I've yet to hear a 2.1 system that doesn't have significant problems in the crossover frequencies. Not to mention that all your bass is coming from the same speaker which isn't necessarily the sound that was intended, even baring in mind that low frequencies are much less directional.
post #124 of 172
Lock - I think you're getting confused. A studio does usully have several sets of monitors, near-fields, main monitors and reference speakers. Main monitors to check all the frequencies are being respresented well and reference speakers, which are usually consumer speakers to get an idea of what it will sound like to the consumer. Ultimately of course the producer only uses the reference speakers as a rough guide, as it is the mastering engineer whose job it is to get the mix sounding good on a variety of consumer equipment. Top mastering engineers generally use a single set of very high quality monitors.

Even a beginner could tell the difference between top class monitors and cheap near-fields, all you have to do is ask yourself if there is any definition whatsoever in the frequencies below 80Hz. If you don't think there is much of a difference then why spend money on near-fields in the first place, you'd be better off with a $5 set of ear buds. Agreed a bedroom studio is not going to give you anywhere near the clarity of a professional environment but anyone with a pair of ears (and some grey matter inbetween) will still be able to tell the difference.

Any monitor needs to be placed in a professional environment to get the full benefit. A little bedroom or home studio might be the environment you are used to but don't assume that it's mine too! I don't have to rely on what people "told" me, I've worked in a number of world class recording studios. Most of these studios do acheive quite a flat response, not absolutely perfect but pretty damn close.
post #125 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post
First of all, placing a monitor on a desk is always a bad idea. You're going to get all kinds of reflections from the desk (and any items on it). These reflections are going to blur the stereo image and placement and at least partially negate the main reason for using near-fields in the first place!
I'm attending college. I'm living in a dorm. I do the best I an with what little space and money I have. I know its not the perfect setup, but I am extremly happy with it, and its the best I can do at the moment.

That said, I wouldn't hesitate to use monitors in a full size system. I think they are a better value than traditional speakers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post
I don't agree that near-fields are good for listening. Generally a good mastering engineer is trying to create a product which is going to sound good on consumer equipment. The colouration of near-fields is completely different from the colouration of consumer speakers. In other words, what you are hearing is not what was intended by the producer or mastering engineer. Sure, they are likely to sound more defined but the frequency response and placement are going to be quite different.
I thin kyour blanket statements here are totally inaccurate, and on top of that they contradict what you have said in previous posts.

The coloration of the nearfield monitors I have checked out is not that much different from a consumer speaker that is considered to have relatively flat frequency response. Honestly, I think your room plays a much bigger role in overall sound coloration than the speakers themselves. Monitors by nature are going to be more analytical by nature, but thats not a bad thing in my opinion. I can't help but think of the ER-4p vs Super.Fi 5 Pro argument. A good mix is going to sound great on either one, its just a matter of weather you want something musical or if you would prefer a sound that is more analytical. With a bit of EQ'ing you should be able to add some musicality to any minors pretty easily if thats what you really what.

What exactly do you suggest people such as myself use if nearfield monitors really are such a horrible thing?
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post
Adding a sub to near-fields does not solve the problem either. I've yet to hear a 2.1 system that doesn't have significant problems in the crossover frequencies. Not to mention that all your bass is coming from the same speaker which isn't necessarily the sound that was intended, even baring in mind that low frequencies are much less directional.
It's not perfect, but it works for me. My Harman Kardon receiver does a rather good job, I think.
post #126 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post
Lock - I think you're getting confused. A studio does usully have several sets of monitors, near-fields, main monitors and reference speakers. Main monitors to check all the frequencies are being respresented well and reference speakers, which are usually consumer speakers to get an idea of what it will sound like to the consumer. Ultimately of course the producer only uses the reference speakers as a rough guide, as it is the mastering engineer whose job it is to get the mix sounding good on a variety of consumer equipment. Top mastering engineers generally use a single set of very high quality monitors.
Not really getting confused. If you read my post you will see the point I was making. I'm asserting that for the majority of people they will not be producing or as you have made the distinction 'MASTERING' in an ideal environment. Negating some of the benefit of forking out for expensive monitors that are unlikely to be any better than a relatively cheap set.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post
I can understand that you may not be able to appreciate the quality and purpose of decent quality monitors but I can. Even a beginner could tell the difference, all you have to do is ask yourself if there is any definition whatsoever in the frequencies below 80Hz.
I'm sorry, I wasn't aware you were one of the extreme minority of the people on the planet that are naturally pitch perfect; Good for you. Without a sub, most home hifi will be putting out very little audible frequencies below 80Hz so lets be clear here. It is perhaps you who is confused..... so it is the mastering engineer making sure the frequencies below 80Hz on his 'amazing Monitors' will sound good on home hifi?... I am being obtuse really, but to be honest I'm not arguing the use of monitors, or the validity of the production and mastering process. I'm simply saying that there is very little point paying for top end monitors unless you are in an environment to take advantage. This is a specialist environment and I don't believe it will make any difference to you or any of the producers who have time to visit hifi forums. 4k, 400, the speakers if chosen wisely will do the same job will little difference. In sure the $4k speakers give a much more satisfying feeling to you ear though as you hand over the cash in the Pro Audio store.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post
Any monitor needs to be placed in a professional environment to get the full benefit. A little bedroom or home studio might be the environment you are used to but don't assume that it's mine too!
I made no assumption about your recording environment, I addressed most people on this forum as not being able to reap the benefits of this equipment in a home studio. I'm sure you are very successful and have an excellent set up. I'm also sure that those unnecessary possessions make you feel more content.


It is very well to give advice, and I would not want you to stop. You are clearly knowledgeable, but you cannot assert that $ for $ it is worth spending 10 times the money. The reality is, it is not worth it, unless you are in a very specialist environment. Most people are not so don't assume they are in a 200sq ft studio with electrical and audio isolation and a separate mastering booth.
post #127 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by vulc4n View Post
The coloration of the nearfield monitors I have checked out is not that much different from a consumer speaker that is considered to have relatively flat frequency response.

With a bit of EQ'ing you should be able to add some musicality to any minors pretty easily if thats what you really what.

What exactly do you suggest people such as myself use if nearfield monitors really are such a horrible thing?
If the colouration of your near-fields is pretty much the same as consumer speakers then your near-fields have a serious fault or have been incorrectly labelled. Monitors with the same colouration as consumer speakers are not near-field monitors but reference monitors.

You can't add bass EQ to monitors which are incapable of reproducing those frequencies, all you are doing is making your mix muddy and losing the clarity.

Instead of near-fields monitors, consider a second hand set of Keffs or any other maker of decent consumer speakers. You'll get a much better representation of the intentions of the producer and a much more rounded listening experience.
post #128 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post

Instead of near-fields monitors, consider a second hand set of Keffs or any other maker of decent consumer speakers. You'll get a much better representation of the intentions of the producer and a much more rounded listening experience.
There are valid arguments for and against and agree that I would always go the consumer speaker route in a listening room/living room environment. I am pretty sure though that many of the posts in this thread relate to small, dorm, study environments where near-fields behave pretty well considering the cost, active amplification, magnetic screening, compact, durable construction et al.

You mentioned Yamaha and PMC in your posts as monitors that are either 'not particularly good' or 'awful'. I am interested in your perspective for two reasons. Firstly, I have been very satisfied with a pair of Yamaha MSP5 over the last 5 years. They do not get close to my Naim/Epos ES11 based system but they sound OK in my 'cupboard' of a study at low level listening where I am sitting less than a metre from each speaker. Secondly, I have heard several consumer hifi systems using PMC consumer speakers, namely the FB1 floorstander and the TB2 and not only did I enjoy the sound but the owners were satisfied too. What's wrong with their 'professional' monitors??
post #129 of 172
It really doesn't make sense to say that studio monitors are any worse than consumer speakers for home use. Both studio monitors and farfield speakers rely on the same design principles. You need good dispersion, flat FR, low distortion, wide bandwidth etc. There are a lot of budget studio monitors that don't measure well and similarly there are a lot of budget bookshelf speakers that have uneven frequency response, poor dispersion, humped up midbass as well. If you choose a studio monitor is known to be tonally accurate, you can certainly use it well in a home environment. Because of the EQ trims on a lot of active monitors, you have even more leeway in placement to compensate for boundary gain, floor bounce etc. One should always take a look at the whole speaker and judge the sound on its own merits, not the label that was attached to it. Studio monitors tend to have features that allow them to be used more effectively in studio environment and survive abuse which is where they differ most, but you can effectively use their inherent advantages effectively even in a home environment. Whether you use a studio monitor or consumer speaker, placement and acoustics is always going to be an issue so equal care must be taken regardless of what you choose. In a nearfield use case like many of the people here are considering, having fewer boxes, EQ trims, and the right size for the desktop is very nice to have. I was using entry level bookshelf speakers with a separate amp, and now switched to active monitors and wouldn't go back.

If I take a $1000 set of Dynaudio Audience 52 consumer bookshelf speakers and compare it to a similarly priced Dynaudio BM5A, you will find that the BM5A is actually a better value since you get the amps included. The Audience comes in nicer finishes and has a grille...but otherwise they sound similar in many ways, nearfield or not. I would actually recommend the BM5A over the Audience line if you are looking for a compact monitor for a desktop. If you need a 5.1 system, there is actually no reason you couldn't use the BM5A actually except for the fact you need power plugs for all 5 speakers. I have heard the BM5A in a home setting and it sounded as good as any passive minimonitor that I have heard from anybody in the consumer world.
post #130 of 172
Thread Starter 
Another great post warpdriver.
post #131 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by mercbuggy View Post
There are valid arguments for and against and agree that I would always go the consumer speaker route in a listening room/living room environment.
Just thought I should qualify my last post. I should have made clear that consumer could of course also mean active. Furthermore, my reasoning for 'reception rooms' (e.g. living room) is one of aesthetics not audio performance.
post #132 of 172
The difference between the vast majority of near-fields and consumer speakers at similar price points is just a case of priorities. A near-field manufacturer is going to concentrate their efforts on clarity, separation and imaging in the mid and high frequencies and not bother with the low frequencies. A consumer speaker is going to attempt to represent all the frequencies, with the likely trade off being less clarity and separation. So frequencies of say 60Hz or 70Hz, very important frequencies in just about every genre of music, are much more likely to be better represented on consumer speakers than with near-fields. So I would disagree that the design principles are the same. The situation is similar between the design principles of full range monitors and near-fields. Full range monitor manufacturers are going to be spending a lot of effort (and money) getting an accurate representation of the low freqs, near-field manufacturers are not going to bother much.

If near-fields are being used as speakers because they are small, active and cheap, I've got no objection. The objection I have is if the consumer is using near-fields because they think they're going to sound better than consumer speakers.

Lock - The acoustics of a listening room are very important to the perceived quality of the speakers/monitors. So, if you were comparing $80,000 monitors against say $30,000 monitors then you may not hear much of a difference and of course, you're only get the full benefit of both monitors in a high quality listening environment. However, the difference between top quality near-fields and top quality full range monitors is so obvious that just about anyone could tell the difference in pretty much any listening environment. You don't need perfect pitch, just average ears. If you are unable to tell the difference you probably have quite serious hearing damage and I would suggest an urgent meeting with an audiologist!

MercBuddy - When mentioning Yamaha near-fields, I was particularly referring to the NS10s. There are particular reasons why NS10s so dominated the professional marketplace but none of these reasons were related to the sound quality, which was widely accepted as awful!! I've got nothing against PMC monitors, they are good for the money but they still suffer from the same problem of all near-fields, which is very poor bass response. The more expensive PMCs are much bigger than your average near-fields and include a bass cone. Again, they are good for the money at around $2,000 a pair but can't really be classed as near-fields.
post #133 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post
A near-field manufacturer is going to concentrate their efforts on clarity, separation and imaging in the mid and high frequencies and not bother with the low frequencies. A consumer speaker is going to attempt to represent all the frequencies, with the likely trade off being less clarity and separation. So frequencies of say 60Hz or 70Hz, very important frequencies in just about every genre of music, are much more likely to be better represented on consumer speakers than with near-fields. So I would disagree that the design principles are the same.
Assuming that a speaker designer has really does have different design goals in studio monitors....

You stated "The objection I have is if the consumer is using near-fields because they think they're going to sound better than consumer speakers."

But let's talk about the people here, many of which are audiophiles or at least very critical about their sound. I know I'm very critical about how well my headphones sound with vocals, how well they image and their linearity and clarity. Detail, separation, and imaging are qualities that many audiophiles value highly and that is exactly why people here (on this forum) would/should choose a studio monitor. Because to me, an accurate speaker *is* the better sounding speaker even if it is at the expense of a bit of low frequency extension. Too many consumer speakers attain bass extension at the expense of linearity (a humped up midbass) or high THD leading to fat and/or loose bass. This is why most "computer speaker" sets sound bad, their bass is literally all harmonics which sounds more impressive at first, but is really just muddying up the sound. I own a few sets of consumer bookshelf speakers. Quite a few of them are tipped up a few dB in the critical 50-70Hz range, and placed in a nearfield position, against the wall (most are rear ported), they sound very congested and boomy.

I was completely open to choosing either a passive speaker or active speaker. I went and heard a whole bunch of $200, $400, $600, $1000 monitors and passive speakers. I was pleasantly surprised how much value I got with the studio monitors. They also sounded better to my ears for the same money. Add to the idea that I don't need to clutter up my desk with an extra amp, and that I could use the trims to fine tune the sound better than any consumer speaker, I was won over.

Many people that compare pro monitors from companies like JBL, Dynaudio, Focal to their passive consumer counterparts find that the pro monitors offer exceptional value in features, technology and accuracy, and IMO are a better value than their own consumer line. Whereas JBL speakers are hit and miss, their pro monitors are excellent. Dynaudio monitors are highly recommended by many, and I actually sonically preferred the BM5A to their Audience line, and possibly even their much pricier Focus line. Focal Solo monitors are a much better value (offering the same technologies like their Be tweeter) at a lower price point

So I disagree with your recommendation that people here should not look for studio monitors. I recommend one compare both, with their own ears. And if you do so, one may come to the same conclusion I did, that studio monitors are a real and high value alternative to consumer speakers in sound quality. Their versatility is exactly what many people are looking for in the type of setup they have. Critical listening in a nearfield with restricted space and placement options.
post #134 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post
If near-fields are being used as speakers because they are small, active and cheap, I've got no objection. The objection I have is if the consumer is using near-fields because they think they're going to sound better than consumer speakers.

However, if one is willing to spend a little more, one can get monitors that easily trounces most consumer speakers in sheer accuracy. Say for instance, one purchases the Adam P11A active monitors together with the Adam Sub10 Mk2 subwoofer. As fantastically accurate as the P11A's are at high/mid frequencies, they reputedly get a little loose in the lower registers. So the simple, if expensive, solution is to complement the monitors with a companion subwoofer to achieve high accuracy throughout the entire audible frequency range. (It need not be the $900 each P11A monitor. I am simply using this near-field as a dramatic example. )


Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdriver View Post
So I disagree with your recommendation that people here should not look for studio monitors. I recommend one compare both, with their own ears. And if you do so, one may come to the same conclusion I did, that studio monitors are a real and high value alternative to consumer speakers in sound quality
I too, like Warpdriver and others, value high accuracy and great details as premium qualities in headphones or speakers. I have not really started looking at speakers (or more accurately, monitors) until fairly recently, being content to use my CSW MusicWorks 300 system, which cost me all of $300 discounted. My apartment is close enough to other dwellings that it obviates the need for large home speakers. Since detail and accuracy are the primary concerns, monitors with a suitable subwoofer is a much more reasonable solution.
post #135 of 172
I suppose it depends on what you consider "accuracy" to mean. For me, accuracy is the reproduction of the producer's/mastering engineer's intentions. Good near-fields are going to give you a highly accurate and well placed mid and high end but not in the low end. So if you're only interested in great clarity in just certain areas of the frequency spectrum, then near-fields are the way to go. For me though, accuracy is not just clarity in certain areas of the spectrum but also the ability to represent all the frequencies contained in the music. With near-fields you get exaggerated clarity in one part of the spectrum at the expense of virtually no clarity in some of the others. It's a bit like having a car that can accelerate from 0-60 in 2 seconds but has a top speed of 65 and does 2 miles to the gallon. Great fun in certain circumstances and very useful in certain circumstances but for general use you'd be better off with a Ford!

So, should you listen to near-fields or consumer speakers? As a general rule I'd say consumer speakers because you are going to hear more of the intentions of the producer/masterer. If you can't live without the exaggerated clarity of the mid range provided by near-fields then get near-fields but remember you are not listening to what was intended by the producer. I personally would never buy nor advise the buying of near-fields for pure listening. If you want analytical accuracy at a relatively cheap price, I'd go for a decent set of linear cans and forget about monitors. The cans will give even more separation and imaging than near-fields, plus you are likely to get a much better response throughout the freq spectrum.

Adding a sub will help put some of the missing freqs back in and alleviate some of the weaknesses of near-fields. Although we have lessened the problems we have by no means eliminated them. We are likely to hear a well extended, though not necessarily a very accurate bass with a significant hole in the crossover freqs. Again, a quite different sound from that intended. The decent quality cans route will still give better results than a 2.1 monitoring system.

Ultimately of course, it comes down to personal tastes, which systems sounds better (to you personally) and what your priorities are. Just be careful though, it's easy to be seduced by the clarity of the mids provided by near-fields.
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