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New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

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New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby packard76 » Sat Dec 15, 2018 3:49 am

**First Post**

Hello good people! I will be moving into a new house the first of the year, and will be treating a 12x14' bedroom for a mix/master room. While I already have the materials and game plan for room treatment, and am torn on which monitors I should choose for the upgrade.

At the moment I am looking at the ADAM A77X, or APS Aeon 2.
One thing I don't want to do is get too much monitor for the room. However, don't want to cheap out.

My budget is 2-2.5K (USD). I want something that can hit 40Hz or lower (even at lower listening levels) and, due to room size limitations, they need to be front ported or sealed.
I will be making the purchase the first of the year.
Your opinions and recommendations?
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Re: New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby James Perrett » Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:37 pm

A popular choice around here is the Neumann KH120A for its neutral sound. Having tried them in my studio, I'd be happy to use them for a smaller room. If you want the most for your money look for a pair of used monitors - there are some amazing bargains around at the moment if you spend a little time looking.
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Re: New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:13 am

Hi and welcome.

Deep bass in small rooms can be a real problem. especially when the room is squarish.

You have some room for acoustic treatment to tame the bass-end, but not a lot and you probably don't want to make the room feel too small. Whilst you may feel that you want a lot of bass from your monitors, without sufficient bass trapping, you simply won't be able to mix accurately. What may sound good in the room may end up bass-light or bass-heavy because of room modes at the listening position. It would help to know what level of acoustic treatment you are planning on.

You will probably be better off going with smaller speakers and live with a slightly higher bass cut-off. If you want to accurately hear what the bass-end is doing , then I'd recommend some headphones with decent bass extension, something like the AKG K712, and the Sonarworks EQ plugin to get a nice flat response from them. Make the bass decisions on the headphones but otherwise mix on the monitors.
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Re: New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:39 am

James Perrett wrote:If you want the most for your money look for a pair of used monitors - there are some amazing bargains around at the moment if you spend a little time looking.

I'd second this. People tend not to maltreat studio gear. 8 years or so ago I got a lovely pair of Genelec 8030s for around half price second hand. I've still got them. Even though they're not my main monitors any more I can't bring myself to let them go.

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Re: New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby packard76 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 4:45 pm

Thanks for the info, guys! Yes, I have definitely been shopping only for used gear. I found a really great deal on the APS Aeon 2's which is why I was asking about those. As far as treatment, I will have six 4" panels (owens corning 703). 4 on the walls and two above. Corners will be bass traps with trapa/scatter plates on the back wall. The room and monitors are where most of my budget is going. Monitors will be on stands.

I'll check out the monitors suggested. A sub is also something I'd consider. I'm having a hard time turning down 2k for mint Aeon 2's. They're $3600 new. Still, hate to get something that doesn't fit the room.
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Re: New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby The Sound Guy » Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:35 pm

Hello - sounds like you are setting up a small room similar to mine. Same width and slightly deeper, but small nonetheless, and as some have noted, bass is the challenge in such a small volume. The APS Aeon 2's probably would be fine if you don't push levels, and especially if you use electronic room correction to tame those lowest frequency resonant peaks in the 50 Hz range.

The IK Multimedia ARC 2.5 system was described earlier this year (SOS January 2018) and I've used it myself for years (since version 2.0). It really cleans up the low end nicely. Recently I tested Sonarworks Reference 4 (at their request) and found it also does an excellent job in a small room (see my Gearslutz review). Otherwise, any significant LF energy in such a room, no matter how much bass trapping you apply will create quite a boomy sound (you can't really soak up much 50 Hz without "filling" the room with absorbant material).

Another issue in a small room is non-coincident speakers for LF and HF - the Aeon 2's are about seven inches apart, so if you sit as close as you should for optimal listening in a room 12 feet wide and 14 feet deep, there is quite a spread between the low and high frequency image sources. Probably not serious if you stay seated at the same height, but I found concentric drivers (formerly using Equator D5, now PreSonus Sceptre S6) really improve imaging in my small space. Also, I have a sub which I use only when I want to feel the low end (down to 28 Hz) - otherwise I roll off the S6's below 80 Hz and concentrate on the midrange, where they provide extremely fine detail. I know they are only $1000 speakers, but they really have impressed me. There is also a Sceptre S8 version which is more comparable for LF response to the Aeon 2's, but for such a small room I've found smaller main monitors better for most mixing, and a sub to be the way to go when I want to shake the place.

Good luck with your project and have a great new year and many fine mixes!
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Re: New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby packard76 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:28 pm

The Sound Guy wrote:There is also a Sceptre S8 version which is more comparable for LF response to the Aeon 2's, but for such a small room I've found smaller main monitors better for most mixing, and a sub to be the way to go when I want to shake the place.

Good luck with your project and have a great new year and many fine mixes!

Thanks for the info! I am now looking at the Adam A7x or Genelec 8030b. However, I've read about the Scepter S8's and every review raves about them. So, perhaps the S6 (or something in the 6-7" size range) paired with a good set of headphones (k701 or better) for checking bass might be a good fit?

I don't plan on mixing too loud, if that changes things.

I plan on for getting mixcubes as well.

My goal, if possible is to have a room where mastering could occur if the need arises.
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Re: New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby James Perrett » Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:50 pm

packard76 wrote:However, I've read about the Scepter S8's and every review raves about them.

Paul White in SOS picked up on a few issues - worth looking at

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/pr ... ptre-s6-s8

Paul's reviewing style is to usually be very positive about things so if he does bring up any issues I'd take them seriously and have a good listen to the monitors before buying.
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Re: New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby John Christopher » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:36 am

James Perrett wrote:A popular choice around here is the Neumann KH120A for its neutral sound. Having tried them in my studio, I'd be happy to use them for a smaller room...

+1 for the Neumanns -- Clean , balanced, and more than enough power.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/neumann-kh120a-kh810
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Re: New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby The Sound Guy » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:00 am

Hello again,

My take on a room your size is the Sceptre S8's would be unnecessarily large, and as Paul White indicated in the article cited above that the "slight trimming of the bass extension and the slightly higher crossover frequency (of the S6) did, if anything, bring the mid-range into even sharper focus, though as before I had to drop the HF level a couple of notches to get what felt like the right balance in my own studio." However, depending on studio treatment and wall spacing, one might find a better balance using a flat or boosted HF setting (my studio works best with everything on the Sceptres set flat).

Paul also wrote "It is probably fair to describe the sound as revealing and involving, with a good sense of being able to hear depth in the mix. Imperfect mixes have nowhere to hide." and he concluded "The pros far outweigh the cons insomuch as the imaging is excellent, the mid-range clarity is appealing and the sense of a mix that extends in three dimensions is better than from many competing speakers." Although I read his review over four years ago, I didn't try try the Sceptres until this year when I updated my studio space, and I agree - they present so much 'detail' that many commercial recordings I've auditioned exhibit flaws I've never heard on previous monitors or with my home stereo system.

No problem mixing at low levels, in fact in a room of your size you should calibrate to about 74 dB SPL as Hugh Robjohns discussed in his very informative article, Establishing Project Studio Reference Monitoring Levels in the May 2014 issue. Occasionally I run things up to 78-80 dB, which is still safe for the ears (this is C weighted) but sounds very loud when you're used to 74 dB. And for listening hour after hour, lower is much better.

So, again, good luck on the studio project and have a fine holiday season.
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Re: New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby packard76 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:06 am

Wow, you guys are selling me on the S6's here lol. Are there any other's in that size &price range that provide similar clarity/imaging as well as decent bass response? If not, can you suggest a sub that, when paired with the S6's, won't break the bank?
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Re: New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby packard76 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:25 pm

OK, checked out the Presonus subs. I believe I'll be getting the S6 with a sub. Next step is to listen to a pair.
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Re: New Monitor Purchase - Can't decide!

Postby The Sound Guy » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:53 pm

I must admit I don't have the PreSonus Temblor T10 - I got a new KRK 10S a few years ago at a ridiculous price (for $199 plus tax) when a local music equipment store had a blowout sale. But the Temblor T10 has the same key feature that sold me on the KRK - a bypass switch that cuts the sub output while removing the highpass filter so your main left and right studio monitors receive the full frequency range (otherwise they are rolled off below 80 Hz with a slope that compliments the sub "rolling in").

And I see that PreSonus even provide the foot-switch (I had to buy an on-off switch for about $15). Spec-wise the two subs look very similar though PreSonus claim 20 Hz – 200 Hz frequency response and KRK claim only 28Hz-156Hz, but neither provides a tolerance on the spec. One reviewer said " it hits 20Hz at about -16dB", so likely they are similar since they are both 10" ported speakers. I usually high pass mixes at 30 Hz anyway since the very low frequencies just add muddiness with most music.

As some have said in various forums, sub location and balance are very important to get a smooth overall response. That and room treatment. And I'd add the ARC or Sonarworks correction systems, else you'll still have peaks and dips, with major modes around 40 Hz and 47 Hz with your room dimensions.

Hope you can take a listen - every speaker has its own 'sound', but I find the Sceptres are very revealing which is what I want in the studio, and easy to listen to for hours on end. I also have a pair of NS10M Studio monitors and use those at times when I want to work on mid-range since they roll off below 100 Hz (down 20 dB at 40 Hz), but these days I use the S6's 90% of the time.

Hope to hear how your new studio space turns out.
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