Main Forums >> Production - Mixing, Mastering, Gear & Techniques
        Print Thread

Pages: 1
Jonny DiBergi



Joined: 19/01/07
Posts: 243
Good monitors in an untreated room
      #1040323 - 28/03/13 02:47 PM
Hello all

I'm in a rather unexpected position of being able to buy some decent monitors and would really appreciate some sage advice (but not really about speakers).

I'm a guitarist, and I do quite a bit of recording at home for my own music and online sessions for other people. I record and mix in an upstairs room in my house which is slightly rectangular (a little over 3x3m) with the usual features that a 1960s terraced house has like built-in wardrobes, a big window and a radiator, all on different walls. The room has a futon, a desk and some guitar stuff in it. It's carpeted but has no acoustic treatment.

I've been working with a pair of DT770s (comfy but a bit hyped), some ACS T1 moulded triple-driver IEMS (inconvenient), and a pair of passive Tannoy Reveals powered by a 20 year-old NAD hifi amp (no comment). I've never really been able to afford good monitors but I'm doing enough paid recording now to justify it and they'll be tax deductable which would be helpful if I get them before April 5th - good old AIA.

I'm looking at the Neumann KH120As. They seem very well-reviewed and are at the top of my price range, so I'm not really wondering if there's something superior I should choose instead, but is it absolute folly to use these in an untreated room? The room's just been plastered and decorated, but it's rented and while the landlords are very easy-going, I'm reluctant to start glueing panels to the walls. When the weather improves I think I'll make some free-standing rockwool panels that I can take with me when we leave here whenever that may be and that won't spoil the pretty walls, but until then I have to make do.

So basically, before I hurriedly drop a grand on some great speakers... am I a fool? Should I buy something smaller or some incredible headphones, or just go ahead a get these monitors and work with them as I gradually improve the room?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 22088
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Good monitors in an untreated room new [Re: Jonny DiBergi]
      #1040328 - 28/03/13 03:20 PM
Quote Jonny DiBergi:

I record and mix in an upstairs room in my house which is slightly rectangular (a little over 3x3m)




A word of warning: cube-shaped rooms tend to suffer badly with very discrete standing waves which manifests as an obvious lack of bass in the centre of the room. In many cases, for someone sitting at a desk, their ears will end up pretty close to the dimensional centre of the room and thus experience a lack of bass compared to moving almost anywhere else in the room! it's something we've come across frequently in our Studio SOS visits. Nothing much you can do about it other than try to avoid sitting or working inthe middle of the room!

Quote:

I'm looking at the Neumann KH120As. They seem very well-reviewed and are at the top of my price range, so I'm not really wondering if there's something superior I should choose instead




Excellent speaker, and you'd have to pay a lot more to find anything better in my view.

Quote:

is it absolute folly to use these in an untreated room? The room's just been plastered and decorated, but it's rented and while the landlords are very easy-going, I'm reluctant to start glueing panels to the walls.




It's certainly true that the room's acoustics can only reduce the perceived quality of a monitor speaker, never improve it, and the issue with landlords and all that is a common one. I would recommend finding some acceptable way of installing temporary acoustic treatment as and when you can -- we've found many alternatice solutions over the years in the Studio SOS articles which are all available on this website for free. The easiest way is to build some free-standing rockwool broadband absorbers, as you suggest, and place them at the mirror points, for example.

Quote:

So basically, before I hurriedly drop a grand on some great speakers... am I a fool?




No. You won't be able to appreciate the full quality and precision of the KH120s until you improve the room acoustics, but that will involve only a relatively minor outlay and can be done as and when. But I'm sure you'll still find the new monitors a useful step up from your present facilities.

H

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Jonny DiBergi



Joined: 19/01/07
Posts: 243
Re: Good monitors in an untreated room new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1040333 - 28/03/13 04:06 PM
Thanks Hugh!

Yes, I've been looking into acoustic treatments and have been reading up a lot on the DIY ones in particular. It seems like a job for a nice couple of days in summer. I know the room isn't ideal - I've set up sort of asymetrically and will have more of think about it when I make the panels.

I was really just ever-so-slightly worried that these speakers would turn up and I'd be not only missing a lot of the benefits, but causing new problems for myself. It seems logical that it would be a significant improvement, but I was concerned that excitement might be overriding judgement - and who doesn't get excited about new speakers?!?

Edited by Jonny DiBergi (28/03/13 04:07 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
fay spook



Joined: 09/09/09
Posts: 315
Re: Good monitors in an untreated room new [Re: Jonny DiBergi]
      #1040376 - 28/03/13 10:07 PM
Quote Jonny DiBergi:


I'm looking at the Neumann KH120As. They seem very well-reviewed and are at the top of my price range, so I'm not really wondering if there's something superior I should choose instead,

So basically, before I hurriedly drop a grand on some great speakers... am I a fool?




No, you are lucky. If you have the lump sum get the good speakers and add the treatments when you can- as you are saying. You can wonder if there are other speakers, it wont harm anyone. I am sure the good people at Dynaudio, Quested, ADAM, Focal, Genelec (when was the last time you saw them recommended is this forum?) etc etc wouldnt mind you wondering. I am sure those good reviews will also give you alternatives to look at...........

--------------------
http://soundcloud.com/for-mash-get-ash


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
_ Six _



Joined: 03/06/06
Posts: 1502
Re: Good monitors in an untreated room new [Re: Jonny DiBergi]
      #1040577 - 31/03/13 03:04 AM
A set of DIY bass traps to prop up in the corners will only cost about £50 in materials if you shop around. Spend as much on good quality monitors as you can.

Buy cheap, buy twice!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Jonny DiBergi



Joined: 19/01/07
Posts: 243
Re: Good monitors in an untreated room new [Re: Jonny DiBergi]
      #1041148 - 03/04/13 07:06 PM
Well, the KH120a monitors arrived today - very impressive, tons of detail, easy on the ear and the eq switches are proving useful. Incredible grunt considering their size too. I imaging I'd have been impressed by any of its competitors, but nevertheless they seem very balanced.

There's definitely a disconnect occurring when I hear them and then look at them though... the sound and their physical size just doesn't make sense!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Pages: 1

Rate this thread

Jump to

Extra Information
1 registered and 12 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  David Etheridge, James Perrett, zenguitar, Martin Walker, Hugh Robjohns, Zukan, Frank Eleveld, SOS News Editor 
Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is enabled
      UBBCode is enabled
Rating:
Thread views: 1448

November 2014
On sale now at main newsagents and bookstores (or buy direct from the
SOS Web Shop)
SOS current Print Magazine: click here for FULL Contents list
Click image for November 2014
DAW Tips from SOS

 

Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help

 

Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26

         

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2014. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media