Which studio monitors should I buy?

Discussions on sound production outside the synthesizer such as mixing, processing, recording, editing and mastering.
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Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by madmarkmagee » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:00 pm

Hey, I currently use a set of old PC surround sound speakers (rather crappy now) and am looking to upgrade to something stereo for mixing and that can handle my Synthesizers better (e.g going straight in). The two options I'm thinking of are a Roland CM-110 (Which I can get for 580 AUD) or a pair of KRK Rokit 5's for 460 AUD. (AUD is parity atm to USD). I don't have a terribly large amount of space or money, so I think these are the best two options. What do you think I should go with? Any advice you can give me would be really appreciated.

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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by madmarkmagee » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:33 pm

Also to amplify the monitor stereo output 1/4 inch of a mixer/usb audio interface...

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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by CS_TBL » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:32 pm

If you want to create decent mixes, and if you have a lot of low energy (basses, deep synth noises etc.), then I'll always recommend full range speakers.. say, starting from 30Hz or something. As Mackie always advertised: how can you judge something you can't hear? But uhm.. yea.. the lower you go, the higher the bills..
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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by garranimal » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:20 pm

madmarkmagee wrote:Also to amplify the monitor stereo output 1/4 inch of a mixer/usb audio interface...
It seems you mean self-contained powered monitors, which don't need a separate power amp to run them. I use and swear by KRKs, and have Rockit6. Great monitors for the money. Haven't used the Rolands.

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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by krzeppa » Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:17 pm

I thought about the Rockit 5's myself too. My issue with them is that they seemed a little coloured. I thought the low end/bass was really loud, which would make it difficult to get mixes right. Maybe after buying them and getting used to them, you get the hang of them.
I would think of maybe looking at something like the Tannoy Reveal 501a or Mackie MR5s. I've also had some friends who really love the Alesis M1 520s.
If spaced is limited, I would look at probably 5" montiors. My room is only about 9ft x 11ft, and my 5" monitors are perfect. I think anything more than that would be too much for my space.

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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by tekkentool » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:56 am

I did a mix on my mate's Adam A5's and was not a fan, the speakers were nice but there's was no down low. None at all, I don't think anything below 6 inches is really worth considering without a sub.

I hear plenty of good things about HS80's.

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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by madtheory » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:47 am

Get to a shop and listen to some. Look for the one with the most detail, not the "nicest" sound, or the "most" bass.

Bearing your budget in mind... avoid the Rolands, they're rather bad. KRK, and the Mackie's or Tannoys krzeppa recommended are decent. Yamaha HS50 and 80 are good too. I haven't heard those Alesis but they never made a decent speaker in the past... The Mackie's are probably the best of the bunch IMO.

In terms of frequency response- something that starts to roll off at 60Hz would be pretty standard, and you can judge the bass well on such a speaker assuming your room is OK.

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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:55 am

I don't recommend drivers bigger than 5" unless you got a big room or some nice acoustic treatment, they may put out more bottom end but you won't get a clear idea of what's going on down there anyway unless your room can deal with the low frequencies. It may seem counterintuitive but having bassier speakers when you're mixing generally leads to mixes with less bottom end, because you don't have to work to make it all clean and precise in the low end.

I've been using Yamaha MSP5As for years and they give a nice picture of what's going on in a mix even though they start to roll off at about 65Hz. The most important thing is to listen to things on your monitors in your room a lot, so you learn exactly what a good mix sounds like on them. I echo madtheory's suggestions, with the addition of the Yamaha MSP5 Studios, which are a little over your budget but are very nice monitors indeed.

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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by Hair » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:13 pm

I like the MSP5s better than the HS50s, but the HS80s more than the MSP7s. The KRKs are great for their price range though, I've also heard cool things about the Tascam VL-A4 and A5.

What I did when picking out monitors was brought a CD of familiar music to my local Sam Ash/Guitar Center type place, and just listened on all of their different speakers no matter the price range (just to see what was what). Listened both for overall sound, but also how well you could pick things out in the mix. Ended up coming home with a pair of HS-80s and couldn't be happier.

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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by Shleed » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:04 pm

Had my Yamaha HS50ms since 2005-2006 I think. They're not very bassy or flattering if something sounds wrong, but I find they're quite nice for mixing. Anything made on them sounds pretty much the same... on nearly everything. I'm not really into blasting the room with IMO boring Dubstep wubbing, so I don't really see the point of a subwoofer.

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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by ninja6485 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:01 am

Shleed wrote:I'm not really into blasting the room with IMO boring Dubstep wubbing, so I don't really see the point of a subwoofer.
triple eye roll?

I took stabfrenzy's recommendation on the msp5A's. They're very nice, although the bass is definitely subdued, I don't feel like I'm not hearing something I should be hearing. And I love sub bass lines! The roll off of the msp5 isn't a problem if you compare your mix to other mixes, and get used to the sound by listening to music on your monitors. You end up with something that is a little extreme in the low end, but spot on otherwise which is very easy to compensate for. I usually reference my tracks against examples in a dj program using some Vsonic gro7 iems, the msp5's, my laptop speakers, etc. I seldom have to adjust anything but very coarse adjustments to the Bass, and you end up being able to easily make the track more powerful by simply not taking away as much. Granted, my msp5's are on special stands relatively spaced away from walls which are covered by bookshelves and other non smooth surfaces. How unique this makes my bass response compared to others, I cannot say.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by CS_TBL » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:56 am

Shleed wrote:I'm not really into blasting the room with IMO boring Dubstep wubbing, so I don't really see the point of a subwoofer.
I don't wobble at all, yet I'm quite happy with my speakers going down to 25Hz. The orchestra can go quite low, take the double basses, the contra bassoons, the bass drums, anything low really (taiko, anyone?). Low tones aren't exclusive territory of the dance genre, you know. Anyway, you may not be into orchestras or otherwise instruments that go really low. As far as I'm concerned, during a mix your speakers should completely represent the instruments you want to play.
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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by Shleed » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:55 am

ninja6485 wrote:
Shleed wrote:I'm not really into blasting the room with IMO boring Dubstep wubbing, so I don't really see the point of a subwoofer.
triple eye roll?
The Dubstep comment was somewhat done tongue in cheek, although I have seen a lot of people on other forums touting subwoofers for... Dubstep. Don't take it too personally.
CS_TBL wrote: I don't wobble at all, yet I'm quite happy with my speakers going down to 25Hz. The orchestra can go quite low, take the double basses, the contra bassoons, the bass drums, anything low really (taiko, anyone?). Low tones aren't exclusive territory of the dance genre, you know. Anyway, you may not be into orchestras or otherwise instruments that go really low. As far as I'm concerned, during a mix your speakers should completely represent the instruments you want to play.
I'm well aware. For my purposes, I usually roll off most frequencies at 60hz or lower because they can easily mess up a mix. Most radios, home stereos etc. can't even go down at low as 25hz, so to me such frequencies are wasted for the most part. So for that, I do not see why I need a subwoofer. If you find purpose with yours, then that's completely fine.

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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:30 am

CS_TBL wrote:I don't wobble at all, yet I'm quite happy with my speakers going down to 25Hz.
This must be a typo, even 18" subs generally roll off -3dB at 45-50 Hz. 25Hz in the studio is absurd, do you even know what that sounds like?

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Re: Which studio monitors should I buy?

Post by Ashe37 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:23 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:
CS_TBL wrote:I don't wobble at all, yet I'm quite happy with my speakers going down to 25Hz.
This must be a typo, even 18" subs generally roll off -3dB at 45-50 Hz. 25Hz in the studio is absurd, do you even know what that sounds like?
It sounds almost exactly like the club owner screaming at you for damaging his speakers. :)

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