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Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

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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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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby John Willett » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:50 am

To answer the OP - the answer is yes.

For years I have my old Harbeth Monitor 30A as my main listening loudspeakers in my living room. I also have my ME-Geithain RL934K - the reason being that if I ever give up distributing them I am keeoing these for myself (so I got them is BirdsEye Maple instead of the standard black).

In the past several studios used top end domestic loudspeakers as studio monoitors (eg: B&W 801 and the Quad ESL63) as the best domestic loudspeakers wanted to be as newutal and accurate as possible.

You want to avoid those monitors that can show up every tiny detail and be tiring in use - but the best monitors are fine for home use as well. I would certainly put ATC, Harbeth, Neumann/K+H, ME-Geithain and PMC into this bracket. :thumbup:
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:00 pm

John Willett wrote:...
You want to avoid those monitors that can show up every tiny detail and be tiring in use ...:
I don't understand this, John. What do you mean?
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:33 pm

Back in the 90's a friend had a cheap Sony "music centre" with two little speakers, it looked awful.
But it sounded magical, everything you played through it sounded like pure cream, double, clotted, free range cream. We used to love playing stuff on it, it was great for just relaxing and having a beer. If there was a plug-in or a bit of hardware that gave me that sound I'd buy it today. That little stereo was only about £150 but the amount of enjoyment we got out of it was incredible.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby John Willett » Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:01 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:
John Willett wrote:...
You want to avoid those monitors that can show up every tiny detail and be tiring in use ...:
I don't understand this, John. What do you mean?

I am not going to name names as it would be unfair - but there are some monitors that enable you to hear dB accurate changes, but are so tiring to use that if you mix on them in the morning, you have to stop at lunchtime and come back to it the next day.

Others tell you all the detail you need to know but do it in a way that enables you to work with them all day.

This came out in the very long High End Nearfield test on Gearslutz where David Zells in Norway did detailed tests on about 30 pairs of top end monitors - mixing, mastering and seeing how the results translated by sending them out to others - it was a long and interesting thread with very good test results.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:21 pm

Interesting. Could you supply a link please John?
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby Zukan » Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:50 pm

I use my Neumanns to listen to all music but in the bedroom where my missus and I watch all manner of badly mastered shows and music I use a Sonos. It's so damn good that I am thinking of having a set in the studio for checking mixes.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:04 pm

John Willett wrote:but there are some monitors that enable you to hear dB accurate changes, but are so tiring to use that if you mix on them in the morning, you have to stop at lunchtime and come back to it the next day.

I'd put NS10's in the tiring category - especially when driven by the Teac amp that we used to use. However, some people seemed to be able to use them all day.
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby The Bunk » Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:07 pm

Being a budget bedroom operator I'm still on an old pair of (now discontinued) Tascam VLX5s which I am actually really beginning to enjoy!! Almost out of habit those stay on even for "leisure listening".
And on that...quick question; they're active. Do they burn up much juice? I'm just conscious of it being possibly an expensive way of listening to music...(yes, times are tight!)
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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby ef37a » Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:39 pm

The Bunk wrote:Being a budget bedroom operator I'm still on an old pair of (now discontinued) Tascam VLX5s which I am actually really beginning to enjoy!! Almost out of habit those stay on even for "leisure listening".
And on that...quick question; they're active. Do they burn up much juice? I'm just conscious of it being possibly an expensive way of listening to music...(yes, times are tight!)

Each speaker contains a total of 70 watts of amplifier power but I doubt they consume more than 10 watts each per hour (i.e. 0.01kWhr) . In any case, if you had passives the amplifier would consume about the same amount of juice, possible more.

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Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

Postby The Bunk » Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:46 pm

Thanks Dave, that's helpful and useful to know.
Fortunately, things aren't that tight so I can carry on!! I hadn't thought about the amp possibly doing more. I just happened to notice a while back that when I was doing lots of home recording, my elec bills went up. So I'd have a guitar FX pedal, guitar amp, computer, monitors and quite possibly hi-fi amp (for A/B purposes) all on at the same time.
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