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Some monitor advice please

Postby Casp » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:41 pm

Hi there,

I have a pair of KRK VXT4 monitors I have generally been very happy with. However, after reading Mike Senior's book, he seems strongly opposed to monitors with porting. So, I thought of putting some foam in the port but this leaves it bass light as it is only a 4 inch monitor, although the music I record has no need for really low bass or synth parts. That led me to think of adding a sub to compensate, but the matching sub (the 10S) is also ported. Does this just put me back where I started? Is there a better option of sub in that price bracket and is my thinking even sound?

Thank you in advance for your knowledge.

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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby Skerrick » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

man, maybe keep the vxt's for referencing, and buy a set of krk rokit 8 g2's.. theyre pretty cheap atm..
the 8" cone has great bass response and does away with the need for a sub so you could block up the ports and essentially not lose as mch of the bass as youre suggesting you currently are..
if thats what youre getting at?
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby John Willett » Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:27 am

Casp wrote:Hi there,

I have a pair of KRK VXT4 monitors I have generally been very happy with. However, after reading Mike Senior's book, he seems strongly opposed to monitors with porting. So, I thought of putting some foam in the port but this leaves it bass light as it is only a 4 inch monitor, although the music I record has no need for really low bass or synth parts. That led me to think of adding a sub to compensate, but the matching sub (the 10S) is also ported. Does this just put me back where I started? Is there a better option of sub in that price bracket and is my thinking even sound?

Porting is there for a reason and, personally, I would not mess with it as it would cause problems elsewhere.

I have heard that some people have put straws in the port to help control things as the air now comes out of lots of little ports instead of one big one - but this, too, will change the characteristics.

Also - if the port is on the front the monitor pumps the port air at you. If it's on the rear, it pumps air to the rear wall where it can reflect back. On my own ported monitors, the ports are actually on the top so it goes into the room without making nasties.

I can understand Mike not liking ported monitors, but a well-designed ported monitor can be very good.

But if you have ported monitors already, I would not mess with them as they would have been designed to give their best with the port as it is.
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby James Perrett » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:09 am

John Willett wrote:
I have heard that some people have put straws in the port to help control things as the air now comes out of lots of little ports instead of one big one - but this, too, will change the characteristics.

I think it was a hifi manufacturer, maybe Celestion, who first did that.

A good ported design will be no worse than a sealed design. The big problem is finding good ported speakers as many manufacturers tend to design the port without sufficient damping so that the speakers produce bloated woolly bass.

James.
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby Skerrick » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:01 am

James Perrett wrote:

A good ported design will be no worse than a sealed design. The big problem is finding good ported speakers as many manufacturers tend to design the port without sufficient damping so that the speakers produce bloated woolly bass.

James.


have a geeze at the KRK g2's.
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby planetnine » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:44 pm

I have some VXT-8s. It's a while since I heard 4s, but my 8s are better than most budget ported monitors when it comes to bottom-end eveness and port noise, I guess the 4s rely on it a bit more...

Also I think Mike suggested temporarily blocking the ports to concentrate on the midrange and bass, without relying on the bass-extension to carry it, a sort of A-B comparison technique.


>
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby Casp » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:27 am

Thank you all for your responses on this. I think it's fair to say the jury is out on this one, so I think I am going to stick with what I have got until such stage as I notice something negative.

Thanks again.
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:01 am

Casp wrote:I have a pair of KRK VXT4 monitors I have generally been very happy with.


First point, if you're happy with it, why worry. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

However, after reading Mike Senior's book, he seems strongly opposed to monitors with porting.


That's something of an over-simplification. Not all ported monitors are 'bad', and those that are vary in their badness quite dramatically.

The issue is that some monitor designs use the port to hype up the bass end by deliberately using a higher Q value -- they underdamp. This is more common on very small speakers as the response peak and resonance tend to give the impression that they are more capable than they really are. However, the peak (and associated very steep LF roll off), and the resonance all create unhelpful side affects.

The primary one that Mike is complaining about is the time smearing of low frequency signals which get extended through the port resonance. You record a kick drum going 'thud' but the speakers reproduce it as a 'boooom'. That sounds mighty impressive and is very enjoyable if you just want to kick back and listen to music uncritically, but isn't much help if you're trying to EQ and compress bass instruments.

So, I thought of putting some foam in the port but this leaves it bass light as it is only a 4 inch monitor...


Quite -- and that's why the porting was used in the first place. Changing the cabinet 'alignment' by bunging the port can be helpful in some cases, but the disadvantges usually outweigh the benefits with very small monitors. You're never going to get decent bass from a very small box -- the laws of physics and all that.

That led me to think of adding a sub to compensate, but the matching sub (the 10S) is also ported. Does this just put me back where I started?


Yep! Cheap subs do far more damage than good. The relatively high levels of harmonic distortion that are common in such designs trash the midrange response of the main monitors, and you have all the grief of trying to match the sub and mains responses. You'd be better off using the extra money to trade in your existing speakers and get better ones.

But as I said at the beginning, if you are happy with your monitors as they are, don't worry about it and just record your music. Check the bottom end of your mixes on headphones and other systems. When you have enough experience to recognise the weaknesses of your current monitors then you can trade up.

H
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:04 am

John Willett wrote: I have heard that some people have put straws in the port to help control things

This is done in an attempt to reduce turbulent air flows which can be audible as 'chuffing'. it doesn't help with the time domain issues or LF response.

On my own ported monitors, the ports are actually on the top so it goes into the room without making nasties.

And they're very handy if you've run out of flower vases...

I can understand Mike not liking ported monitors, but a well-designed ported monitor can be very good.

Agreed... but good design generally equates with higher cost...

H
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby fay spook » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:04 am

Casp wrote:Hi there,

I have a pair of KRK VXT4 monitors I have generally been very happy with. However, after reading Mike Senior's book, he seems strongly opposed to monitors with porting. So, I thought of putting some foam in the port but this leaves it bass light as it is only a 4 inch monitor, although the music I record has no need for really low bass or synth parts. That led me to think of adding a sub to compensate, but the matching sub (the 10S) is also ported. Does this just put me back where I started? Is there a better option of sub in that price bracket and is my thinking even sound?

Thank you in advance for your knowledge.

Casp

If you are happy with your KRKs then stay happy. Read another book that likes ported speakers or look at all the expensive speakers you can get with ports to make yourself feel better!!! Just leave them alone and carry on making music......

The straws etc were to work on the airflow out of a port, hence "golf-balling" and other gas flow techniques. Ports are there to work with the bass driver, so if the bass driver has the correct Thiele/Small parameters for reflex loading it wont have them for a sealed box. What I mean here are the driver parameters such as the comlience of the driver being more suitable to one type of loading (reflex, sealed) over another.

Think of engines, high BHP engines for race cars where high speed is all, torquey engines for trucks where the ability to pull is paramount. Both engines but one designed for one job and the other for another.
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:12 am

Casp wrote:Hi there,

I have a pair of KRK VXT4 monitors I have generally been very happy with. However, after reading Mike Senior's book,...

So a book has told you to be unhappy with your monitors? Get another book.
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby trupro » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:33 pm

I wonder about this too, and often. However, the only thing we need concern ourselves with are, in order of importance in my own oppinion are these three things, with regard to monitors:
1.How well do i 'know' my pair. That is not a joke about sex parts.
How accurate are you at predicting the way your mix on your own monitors you know very well, will translate to everything from a crappy iPad speaker, to earbuds, to a tv to a giant set of speakers in a club? Doesnt matter what youre mixing on, matters what the end product will be experienced on, and it should sound reasonably good on everything. Knowing my space and my own monitors has been lightyears more useful than all the soundproofing materials ive bought over the years. And more useful than the actual speakers.

2.Clarity of highs, the revealing factor that flatter response true 'monitors' will give you versus computer or consumer speakers is the second most important factor to me, just conceptually. Again you have to know your monitors. I want enough clarity that i can hear problematic high frequencies and noise, to remove them. But ive also mixed on $5000 monitors that (no name brand hating from me in this thread) are better suited to mixing classical. Mixing pop music on them rendered a super dead mix. Because i was used to a superdead room with super detailed monitors. Exit studio, put on master, witness 'mud'. Therefore, i want a good balance of clarity, but ive no need to pay good money for something that goes to 50,000HZ :P

3.Bass management: Knowing whats truly going on down there is critical, and the author of that book is right...at least in my own oppinion, i prefer dedicated subs with non-ported mid or nearfield cabs. However, not necessary.

To your own pair of monitors: I for one have always like KRKs, beacause ported or not, they have a big robust bass, yet its tight enough to know what's going on and not over mudding up your mix. To be fair, they are closer to what a normal human will listen on, in fact people that dont know a damn thing about engineering or music have them in their livingroom, because a DJ friend told them they were rad. So no matter what you do, keep em for reference checks.
Also there is no reason that, even if you get new monitors, you cant get a nice middle-of the road crossover and a quality a/b switch. Thusly throwing a subwoofer and a small, very high quality pair of five inch nearfield monitors on the A side, and be able to switch to the KRKs. Best of both worlds, but you should be able to get a kick azz mix with a pair of KRKs or you will do no better on a better pair of speakers anyway.

cheers!
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby fay spook » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:32 pm

trupro wrote:
cheers!

Some wise words. I would also add a couple of things I do. Voices. Vocal intelligibility. (that took a lot of spell checking). Can you really hear what the vocalist is singing. The words, the expression etc. Are there sibilances creeping into the recording chain. Is their mic control working? Does the voice sound natural through the crossover range? Off axis? If your monitor is doing these well then it is doing one of the hardest tasks.

Dont dismiss the very high frequencies. Listen to what a super tweeter does, the leading edge to a kick etc. Not a prioriy but useful none the less.

Getting bass to work is tricky. Look at all the variations in bass design. loading, alignment, driver design, cone type etc etc. Then look at tweeters- yes there is a greater range now with the cheap production of Heils and ribbons but for a long time it was a 1" soft dome, then a 1" metal dome. (I do know about compression drivers, waveguides, cones, ring tweeters, phase plugs but I hope you get my point?)
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:55 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
John Willett wrote:
On my own ported monitors, the ports are actually on the top so it goes into the room without making nasties.


And they're very handy if you've run out of flower vases...




a bit like small PMC's being dead good as door stops....
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby DC-Choppah » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:00 am

Don't forget the part of the book where he says to get a second set of monitors for the tight stuff. The ones that Michael Jackson's Thriller were mixed on.
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby Casp » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:26 am

Thank you all once again for your responses. This has been very useful to me.

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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby Guy Johnson » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:03 pm

Oi! Ooo-er! PMCs are lovely... though I seem to remember you don't like their bass-end

I like 'flat' monitors but as said above, things are not all down to 'flatness' ... tightness of transients, off-axis sound and dispersion, power compression, distortion, imaging L/R & back/front, good bass at low levels, the need of a good amp that some passives have ... the list goes on! And the room sound/treatment the speakers will be playing into.
Try not to get fixated on any one aspect of design. For instance I tend not to like bass-reflex designs, but I've heard some cracking speakers with them, like the big ATCs. Actually ATCs are very good, so maybe have a listen to them and some PMCs, two brands that always seem to make good monitors, whenever I've heard them.
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby John Willett » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:53 am

Guy Johnson wrote:Oi! Ooo-er! PMCs are lovely... though I seem to remember you don't like their bass-end

I like 'flat' monitors but as said above, things are not all down to 'flatness' ... tightness of transients, off-axis sound and dispersion, power compression, distortion, imaging L/R & back/front, good bass at low levels, the need of a good amp that some passives have ... the list goes on! And the room sound/treatment the speakers will be playing into.
Try not to get fixated on any one aspect of design. For instance I tend not to like bass-reflex designs, but I've heard some cracking speakers with them, like the big ATCs. Actually ATCs are very good, so maybe have a listen to them and some PMCs, two brands that always seem to make good monitors, whenever I've heard them.

Both the above are in my top-5 of monitors you can trust, which are (alphabetically): ATC, Harbeth, ME Geithain, Neumann/K+H, PMC.

My main monitors are now ME Geithain, I also have Harbeth and K+H and I am well acquainted with the other two.

But I think that all these are above the budget of the OP.
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Re: Some monitor advice please

Postby Guy Johnson » Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:29 am

And I got threads muddled up!
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