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Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby garrettendi » Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:53 pm

Isn’t that the same though with the headphones I use now? I wasn’t planning on having them an insane loudness!
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:01 pm

MOF wrote:Just be careful with listening levels, pfl on such instruments without any form of limiting might blow your speakers.

I was about to say that too - commercial recordings will be neatly mastered to avoid huge transients, but if you try to play a bass guitar through this setup you might do some damage to both amp and loudspeakers :beamup:


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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby garrettendi » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:05 pm

Hmmm. Ok.

What do I need to do to minimise the risks?
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby ef37a » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:15 pm

MOF wrote:
If I use my drum or guitar amp VSTs from the interface without a full mix will that be ok for the speakers? I assume yes because they are designed for the full range of music

Just be careful with listening levels, pfl on such instruments without any form of limiting might blow your speakers.
My understanding of monitor speakers is that they’re more robust and the active ones usually have peak protection limiting incorporated.

Agreed, whilst decent hi fi speakers are capable of high level of complete "programme" they would not be proofed against high level bass guitar or screaming, distorted lead. Indeed it is a pretty expensive and high end monitor that could produce the SPL of even a 15 watt valve combo.

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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby garrettendi » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:18 pm

Ok so I guess I’ll be using it on complete mixes!
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:28 pm

You'll be fine if you listen at moderate levels.
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby Wonks » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:36 pm

Especially through an amp sim. People use passive monitors without any built-in peak protection quite happily on bass and guitar and drums. Just know the limits.

They aren't proper monitors, so not speakers you want to listen to individual tracks on to make changes with, but another system for listening to full mixes on.
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby James Perrett » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:54 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:You'll be fine if you listen at moderate levels.

^^ This.

There shouldn't be a great deal of difference between decent hifi speakers and monitors (nb - I did say decent hifi speakers). My main monitors were originally sold as hifi speakers but found their way into plenty of studios while my secondary monitors were designed as monitors but found their way into plenty of hifi systems too.
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby garrettendi » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:48 am

Ok! I’m a little confused guys. I know now that single drum tracks or guitar amp sims I need to listen at moderate levels.

But the main purpose is to review mixes. How do I know a full mix I’ve done won’t damage the hifi amp or speakers? I don’t 100% yet know how to mix and master - I’m still learning - but surely a full mix is just normal music as far as the amp is concerned?

I’m now a little worried!
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby garrettendi » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:56 am

Also bear in mind this is at home so it’ll be strictly “bedroom volume “ at most
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby ef37a » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:01 am

garrettendi wrote:Also bear in mind this is at home so it’ll be strictly “bedroom volume “ at most

If you don't have one already, get yourself a cheap C weighted sound level meter. Then find out how to calibrate your speakers.

If you stick to 75-85dB mix monitor levels you will do no harm.

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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby Wonks » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:10 am

As the MS10s have an 86dB efficiency (at 1m distance), then that's an average of 1W to be a bit too loud for relaxed monitoring in a home environment (nearer 80dB than 85dB). So your amp will just be ticking over, and at 1/80th of the power handling capacity of the speakers you'll be in no danger of damaging them.
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby garrettendi » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:12 am

Wonks wrote:As the MS10s have an 86dB efficiency (at 1m distance), then that's an average of 1W to be a bit too loud for relaxed monitoring in a home environment (nearer 80dB than 85dB). So your amp will just be ticking over, and at 1/80th of the power handling capacity of the speakers you'll be in no danger of damaging them.

So if I have the dial below 12 o’clock it should be fine?
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby Wonks » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:00 am

It depends on the amp power. They normally have audio taper pots so 12 o'clock is normally only a 6dB reduction in output from maximum, so you'll probably need a much lower setting - but it also depends on the input signal level to the amp.

Hence the suggestion that you get a noise level meter to help calibrate the listening levels. Play back a pink noise source from your DAW that's peaking just below 0dBFS, and then set the speaker level so that the sound level meter is reading your desired calibration value. You may decide that say 80dB is too loud and you prefer 76dB. No problem. Use 76dB.

You've got a choice of setting the audio interface output level, the amp output level, or a mixture of both. Whatever you do, I'd use a bit of tape by the volume controls and mark the volume knob positions so you can reset them if they get moved.

Knowing you, you probably won't want to spend out the money on a level meter, so using a level meter app on your phone is the next best thing. Put the meter at your normal listening position. and play around with volume controls until you've got the level right. Start out quietly and work up to the level, rather than start out too loud and work down (just because it's less annoying to others).

Because the acoustical energy of pink noise is spread out just like a well-balanced mix ends up, you should then never go above your set volume limit for individual tracks and full mixes. There is nothing stopping you turning up the volume when working on a quiet individual track within a mix, but remember to reset the volume control to the calibrated position afterwards.
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby garrettendi » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:08 am

Wonks you are a star!

That was the exact level of dumbing down I needed! I'll be sure to calibrate everything as you've outlined.
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:43 pm

And just as a vote of reassurance, i was using hifi speakers as monitors until earlier this year, including listening to unprocessed bass and drum tracks and have never had a problem. Just be sensible with the volume.
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby garrettendi » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:49 pm

Thanks Drew! That's encouraging to hear!

Another stupid question, just want to check I'm 100% right. I pick up the amp this weekend and it appears on the back (from a web search) that it says 6-16 ohms in between the two speaker outputs.

From a generous amount of web searching, I believe this is PER channel not the total impedance, in which case my two 8 ohm speakers will not be below the 6 ohm rating?
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby Logarhythm » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:56 pm

Yep, that's per channel - you'll be fine with 8Ω speakers :thumbup:
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby garrettendi » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:58 pm

:thumbup:

Thanks everyone for chipping in and helping an idiot become less of an idiot!
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Re: Using Hi-Fi speakers as monitors with an amplifier?

Postby ef37a » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:11 pm

Thanks for the calibration guidance Wonks.
Re phone SPL meters. I have two on my Android and they don't agreee! The problem of course is calibrating THEM. I have a cheapo Maplin meter so no problem but found that in a very quiet living room the baseline SPL is a pretty consistent 25-28 dBC so I suggest setting the phone app to that.

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