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Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

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Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby ef37a » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:19 pm

That is as part of a home audio system.

I have become embroiled you see in a debate in another place about this and my stance is that 'quality is quality' and the better speaker makers, Quad, Spendor, Rogers etc have long been champions of accuracy and low colouration.

Do you chaps with £5000 speakers ever pop on Peppers, grab a beer and kick back?

Dave.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Brian M Rose » Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:34 pm

My limited understanding is that a high quality monitor is designed to be as transparent as possible. rather than sounding 'good'. Once set up properly, if programme material sounds 'bad' then it probably is 'bad'.
It's the same with vision monitors. You need consistency as well as being able to see (together with a waveform monitor) any incipient faults.
My Panasonic OLED TV claims to have been designed by a leading Hollywood colorist. Well, I suspect Soho colourists are rather better. It took us the better part of the morning to reset everything to look reasonable.
So yes, you can have speakers, headphones etc that sound 'exciting', but is that acculturate?
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:43 pm

I've kicked back and listened to Pepper, and XTC Apple Venus Vol 1 on PMC iB1S in two well designed rooms. One was a Munro. The experience was visceral, wonderful, I could hear the actual performance especially Andy Partridge's wonderful feat of singing as if it's the last song he's ever going to sing.

At home I have humble Event 20/20 with a slightly modified Quad 405. I need to work on the room treatment, but again, wonderful (though not as wonderful as the PMCs).

So ya, high quality monitors FTW. IMO you're correct!
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Wonks » Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:47 pm

Decent monitors plus room treatment will let you hear it as it was mixed in the studio.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby TheBev » Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:02 pm

As someone who for reasons of space does this, I'd raise the caveat that brickwalled CDs are not a good listening experience at all on this sort of set up... :) I find myself giving many of my later 90's and onwards CDs a miss these days, which is a pity as there was some fine music.
Something to consider if that description is a large part of your collection anyway.
Pepper however always sounds mighty fine. :thumbup:
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby slightly » Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:30 pm

I have klein and hummel 310 O or whateve the newer ones


bought for investment in music making
I listen to everything on them

obvioulksy bad quality straming etc can be painful but sometimes you have to do it

but nothing better than a high quality wav and enjoying the sound coming out

I love them

best craic for a number of years is when friends called over and we had a house record session on the decks, everyone loved hearing the vinyl we grew up on out high quality speakers, or new vinyl or whatever, just cause the sound is so awesome


loads of beers crank it up a bit and enjoy high quality sound simple
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby The Elf » Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:47 pm

Most 'hi-fi' speakers sound like wool and fizz to me, so I have Tannoy Reveals as my living room 5.1 system. Fairly humble, but keeps my ears attuned.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:50 pm

I totally agree with Dave that 'quality is quality', and have ATC SCM10's in my small studio, and AVI Biggatrons in my living room.

Both are designed to be ruthlessly honest within the capabilities of thier size, and I regularly listen to lots of different music on both, although the Biggatrons get all the TV series and film soundtracks as well as music.

I've always naively hoped that good hi-fi speakers are basically honest rather than flattering as well, and that only super cheapo ones are hyped. I'm probably wrong though ;)


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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby ben howes » Sun Nov 17, 2019 6:25 pm

Please would somebody elaborate on what is Pepper..?. Presumably not the Sargeant! Just curious.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby jimjazzdad » Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:50 pm

I reckon that good studio monitors are fine for casual listening and some home audio system speakers can be used as monitors in a pinch. My studio monitors - passive JBL4301B with the old P2050 Yamaha Professional Series amp - are accurate and sound good to me but I do find that, over several hours, they are more fatiguing than my Meadowlark Kestrels in the living room. So for "relaxed listening" I think home audio speakers tend to be warmer, less forward, and easier to listen to for longer periods.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:59 pm

My Kef 104aB's were, I believe, designed as studio monitors but were highly regarded as HiFi speakers too (and were sold through the home HiFi retail trade as well as professional studio suppliers).
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Luke W » Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:47 pm

I think a lot of it comes down to preference. I enjoy listening to music on my monitors just as much as I like mixing on them (provided the mixes are decent) but I've always been a fan of neutral sounding systems anyway. People who expect a bit more boom and fizz from listening systems would probably find "high end" monitors a bit boring, but for me it's exactly what I'm after.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Trevor Johnson » Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:58 pm

Similar to Sam's reply, I have had Spendor BC1s from new, bought in 1980. The bass units both failed in 1984, but Spencer sent me a very kind letter and exchange price for new units at cost price. The BC1s have both an analytical, but listenable, sound. I edit and mix on Sennheiser cans, but always play back on the Spendors.

I was lucky to have been invited into the Beebs OB vans many times, as they used to broadcast frequently from where I went to school. In return, I played the organ for them to adjust the rigging, mic positiions, etc., they were unbelievably professional and slick! Were they using Calrec Soundfields, I can't remember? The Calrecs were always on my list of must haves, but haven't bought any, yet, haha. I have no idea what things in the OB world are now, although I still listen to choral evensong, etc..
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:34 pm

I'd happily listen to my KH80s as hifi speakers, but I find them to be similarly voiced to my actual hifi speakers (dynaudio audience 50) so that's not really surprising.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby James Perrett » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:29 pm

My big studio monitors (Tannoy Berkeleys) were originally sold as Hifi speakers but found their way into many studios while my nearfield monitors (LS3/5as) were originally designed as monitors but found their way into many hifi systems. I'd be happy to listen to either when I'm listening casually.

We used to have NS10's in our kitchen system and I actually preferred the sound of them in the kitchen to the sound of them in the studio.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Trevor Johnson » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:00 pm

We used to have NS10's in our kitchen system

When I was little, my parents had KEF Crestas in the kitchen, all underfloor wiring, from a couple of Leak valve amps, from memory.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:11 pm

ef37a wrote:Do you chaps with £5000 speakers ever pop on Peppers, grab a beer and kick back?

Yes. I listen to everything on 'studio monitors' whether I'm workings or relaxing...

As you say, quality is quality. Why would I not want to hear music exactly the way it sounded when I mixed or mastered it?

That said, there are some 'monitor' speakers at the lower end of the price range that really aren't worthy of the name, and try to make up for (or camouflage) their lack of resolution and transparency by having an aggressive and forward midrange (and other foibles). I really wouldn't want to listen to those for relaxation... Or anything else for that matter.... :-)

The only issue with listening to decent monitor speakers for relaxation is that any recording or transmission flaws will be obvious... And that might be distracting or even render some material unlistenable, or at least unenjoyable!

For the record, my listening is almost entirely on PMC IB1s and KH310s... I wouldn't have it any other way. :-D
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Trevor Johnson » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:24 pm

And I have some little KH80s in my small, treated, studio-master of all things.

Tremendous!
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:30 am

Not sure of the context of Dave's elsewhere discussion but it could be a variant on the sometime microphone debate where it's claimed using calibrated measurement mics results in otherwise wonderful acoustic performances being turned into "cold, clinical" recorded performances. Again a fundamental failure to understand that fidelity is... fidelity. What more can one say?
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:33 am

IMO there is no such thing as a neutral, or uncloroured speaker, and every speaker has "a sound" some more than others.
If a piece of music sounds great on one speaker but a bit bad on another, then which is right? and by saying "bad" who's bad would that be?
Some of my Velvet Underground recordings are amazingly bad, and sound bad on everything, my stereo, monitors, car, Bluetooth speakers, crappy music centres, and a lot of those speakers are awful, but they still let me know that it's a rough recording. And better (whatever that is) recordings sound better on all these speakers too.
So do we actually need a £10,000 monitor to make technical/quality judgements? I'm not sure?
One theory is that the bigger the window you have the more you can see, but I don't need a wall sized window in a mansion to see that it's raining outside. An "OK" speaker will tell you the essentials, the rest is a luxury that's nice to have, but not absolutely necessary.
Great records of all time have been made on all sorts of speakers, countless approaches to this whole thing, which tends to make me think it's pointless laying down rules on monitoring, it's as personal as choosing any instrument, we all have our own preferences and ideas about what things should sound like.
People I know who have made and are making music, a couple who are professional/successful, and some like me, essentially amature. There are Tannoy Little Reds in two cases, me and my 45 yo KEF"s, a pair of Alesis Monitor 1's, some Heybrook hi-fI speakers, AR Red Box, Proac Studio 1's. Quite a mixture of speakers, but I don't even think about them when I go to these people's places, they are just there.
And whether recording or relaxing, I don't have speakers for those two seperate things, it's never been an issue.
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