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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?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:16 pm
by Arpangel
Getting back to the OP, I think a lot of us started recording using our hi-fi speakers, or some sort of stereo for making our music, it was very common back in the day. There were pseudo or semi-professional cross over designs, but I think most of my friends and me included thought about monitors as those huge JBL and Tannoy systems we saw in major studio's that none of us could afford or had room for. And because studios used to listen at such ear splitting volumes those massive speakers were designed to reproduce "realistic levels" that was their main function, like slightly more hi-fI PA speakers.
We used our speakers for everything, "relaxed listening" or making music, everything.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:27 pm
by John Willett
Arpangel wrote:I loved the mid range on the LS3/5A, I think that was due to the KEF B110 bass/mid driver, a fantastic unit, which is in my home built transmission lines today.
When I replaced the LS's with some RCL "Small Loudspeakers" the benefits were obvious, a much tighter sound, incredible on piano, frighteningly realistic, overall, much more controlled on complex music. I could never monitor complex music on the LS's, it just sounded bloated and congested.
I think the BBC made the LS3/5A as a monitor for speech programs (Hugh?) and the bigger ones in the LS series were supposed to be for music broadcasts.

It was originally developed as a model loudspeaker for use in models of studios as the studio was designed and then adapted as the LS3/5A as the BBC paper Hugh posted describes.

However, nowadays I would use the Harbeth Monitor 20 - the Monitor 20 is the same size as the LS3/5A and as Alan Shaw said at the time "would be what the BBC would have done if the LS3/5A was designed today".

I would have actually bought the Monitor 20 a few years ago, but wanted an active monitor of that size, so bought the K+H O110D and then upgraded to the ME-Geithain RL906 (and then bought the company that distributed MEG in the UK).

Oh - and all these pass the "speech test" :thumbup: For me to deem a monitor acceptable it HAS to reptoduce human speech naturally and without colouration. If it cannot do this I would not call it an accurate monitor.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:44 pm
by Arpangel
John Willett wrote:Oh - and all these pass the "speech test" :thumbup: For me to deem a monitor acceptable it HAS to reptoduce human speech naturally and without colouration. If it cannot do this I would not call it an accurate monitor.

My current KEF based speakers also pass the speech test, I put them in the basement one day when my partner was away, and replaced them with a pair of Behringer 3030's, which are actually "OK" but when my partner got back and heard the results even she went mad, I went down to the basement and brought back my massive KEF's, and played a lot of music side by side with the Behringers, she said " yours sound like Tony Bennett is in the room, the others sound awful, voices sound really natural, put them back!"
It's that KEF midrange unit, it's a classic.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:14 pm
by ef37a
Had a skim of the .pdf Hugh and will look harder later but I could not find an amplifier mentiioned? Quad 50E mayhap?

Dave.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:26 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
The LS3/5A was a passive speaker. It was mostly used with a compact 50W mono amplifier called the AM8/12 in BBC parlance, but it was manufactured by HH.

Here's a pic of one with the lid removed. It had a power switch and volume knob on the front (which was normally maxed and level controlled from the desk's monitor section):
6888375141_956822bfac_c.jpg


And here are the rear connections:
6888103763_6924f0683d_c.jpg


Note the hideous Painton connectors used for input and output! Thankfully, it also had a B-gauge balanced jack socket for the input which is what we mostly used. The output cable had the nasty Painton connector at one end, and a female XLR at the other to plug into the speaker's male XLR.

Mains power to the amp was via a Cannon LNE mains-XLR. Secure... but it failed the finger test rules in the 1980s and became outlawed! (I still have one on my home-built Powertran DDL! ssshhh... :silent: )

H

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:55 pm
by Arpangel
Hugh Robjohns wrote:The LS3/5A was a passive speaker. It was mostly used with a compact 50W mono amplifier called the AM8/12 in BBC parlance, but it was manufactured by HH.

Here's a pic of one with the lid removed. It had a power switch and volume knob on the front (which was normally maxed and level controlled from the desk's monitor section):
6888375141_956822bfac_c.jpg


And here are the rear connections:
6888103763_6924f0683d_c.jpg


Note the hideous Painton connectors used for input and output! Thankfully, it also had a B-gauge balanced jack socket for the input which is what we mostly used. The output cable had the nasty Painton connector at one end, and a female XLR at the other to plug into the speaker's male XLR.

Mains power to the amp was via a Cannon LNE mains-XLR. Secure... but it failed the finger test rules in the 1980s and became outlawed! (I still have one on my home-built Powertran DDL! ssshhh... :silent: )

H

HHHmmm? They had HH amplifiers in the Wigmore control room, for foldback. The BBC seem keen on them, or used to be.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:00 am
by DC-Choppah
Dude, when listening to music I want serious speakers. I don't want some clinical reference monitors. I want something that is fun and awesome.

But I am glad that when I listen on speakers the size of a house, that all of the crap has been taken care of that someone edited out with their great studio monitors.


Man, sometimes I have had my music projected onto a giant stadium sound system and I hear all the junk that i wish wasn't there. I wish someone had better studio monitors.

I think studio monitors are great for listening. But there are much better options!!!

Meanwhile, someone needs to listen to what is really in the mix so that it will work over all of the crazy systems that are out there including the giant - size of the house systems.

This is a non-linear process.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:14 am
by Hugh Robjohns
Arpangel wrote:HHHmmm? They had HH amplifiers in the Wigmore control room, for foldback. The BBC seem keen on them, or used to be.

I dont think 'keen' is the right word. It was a far more pragmatic and convenient arrangement based on buying in a product from a British supplier that was willing to build or modify that product to meet very specific BBC technical and financial requirements and maintain tight production tolerances over long timescales.

So the AM8/12 for the LS3/5 was a modified HH amp, while the AM8/16 that bi-amped the LS5/8 was a modified Quad 405, (and the Quad 50e was used to power the earlier LS5/1s), but when the Quad ceased production of the 405 the final batch of LS5/8s were powered by a modified Chord amplifier which I think had the AM8/17 identifier.

In my day the BBC always tried not to endorse any one supplier, and a great example of that was the 'standard' radio production console, the 'GP' desk, which was built to a tight BBC specification in roughly equal numbers by Neve, Calrec, and Audix Broadcast. Consoles from these three suppliers all had exactly the same operational facilities laid out in exactly the same way, but the internal circuitry and colour schemes differed according to each manufacturers' house style.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:24 am
by Hugh Robjohns
DC-Choppah wrote:I want something that is fun and awesome.

Me too... But I want fun, awesome, and accurate! :-) ...and I've got exactly that in all of my studio monitors. ;-)

Meanwhile, someone needs to listen to what is really in the mix so that it will work over all of the crazy systems that are out there including the giant - size of the house systems.

This much is true... So much material -- especially for broadcast, but also increasingly for commercial music, too -- is produced on small 'monitor' speakers and never even heard, let alone critically checked on proper full range systems.

There was a time when being 'a professional' meant working in a good room with a full range monitoring system that could reproduce reasonably accurately down to 20Hz or so...

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:11 am
by DC-Choppah
Please consider a house built around some proper listening speakers:

… For Sale, ALtec A4 speakers $657,000 free house and free garage....

Oh, that garage!!!

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:45 am
by Dynamic Mike
The problem with HiFi seperates back in the day was the price of each component. Whilst in theory they could be purchased individually, in reality you need at buy at least 3 components (source/amp/speakers) before you could actually listen to any music. The stupidly cheap price of NAD 3020 allowed many of us to assemble a system much earlier than we would have done otherwise, without making a significant compromise on quality. HiFi Answers & most mags raved about them at the price point.

IIRC it came supplied with bridging pins so you could play back in mono, but the most important feature was the 20dB pad. Not only did this offer more accurate control at low volume, but it also meant the output lights were triggered before your Mum shouted up to tell you to turn it down!

I also had an NAD turntable which wasn't great but was very good at rejecting vibrations if you had to have your speakers (Mordaunt Short in my case) mounted on the same surface.

Nowadays I just use Dali Zensors (complete with a wooden woofer!) for relaxed listening, which I find are really well suited to acoustic/light rock & pop stuff at a moderate volume.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:48 am
by Tim Gillett
DC-Choppah wrote:Dude, when listening to music I want serious speakers. I don't want some clinical reference monitors. I want something that is fun and awesome. ..
Speakers have a simple job, to convert what is sent to them into sound waves we can hear. The ideal speaker does that perfectly, neither adding to nor taking away. The artist's intentions are honoured. The speaker is not the art. Its a bit like a painter's blank canvas. Does that make any sense?

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:56 am
by Arpangel
Tim Gillett wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:Dude, when listening to music I want serious speakers. I don't want some clinical reference monitors. I want something that is fun and awesome. ..
Speakers have a simple job, to convert what is sent to them into sound waves we can hear. The ideal speaker does that perfectly, neither adding to nor taking away. The artist's intentions are honoured. The speaker is not the art. Its a bit like a painter's blank canvas. Does that make any sense?

This thread could go on forever, I agree with you 100% Tim, but does that speaker actually exist? And if it does, it's going to expensive and out of the reach of most people.
It's expensive because of all the research and testing that has to be done to achieve anything that's even near a "flat" response. A blank canvas, I don't know, first of all there is the room, the speaker, the recording itself, and the way the producer would like to hear it, the sources in the recording may be completely electronically generated with no real world reference, so how do you judge those?
It's all a bit dodgy to me, OK, you can try and match that string quartet through your monitors to the sound you heard in the hall, but is that a realistic expectation? Even given today's speaker technology, it's a tough brief to follow.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:13 am
by Tim Gillett
My point was to refute the claim that an accurate speaker by definition makes whatever it reproduces, boring. May as well say the performance was boring. It's just silliness. But there can be the equally silly view that our enjoyment of the playback only increases the closer we approach perfect fidelity with absolutely zero distortion of any kind. I've had customers like that and some have seemed like zealots chasing a mirage.

Re: Are high quality monitors suitable for relaxed listening?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:31 am
by Arpangel
Tim Gillett wrote:My point was to refute the claim that an accurate speaker by definition makes whatever it reproduces, boring. May as well say the performance was boring. It's just silliness. But there can be the equally silly view that our enjoyment of the playback only increases the closer we approach perfect fidelity with absolutely zero distortion of any kind. I've had customers like that and some have seemed like zealots chasing a mirage.

Zealots? Mirage? Yes, it's all very boring, and an end in itself for some folks, but they never reach an ending.
When I was in my teens and still discovering music, every little increase in the quality of my playback equipment was a revelation, it was onward and upward, and every time I heard fantastic new things in my music.
Then I reached a plateau, where it seems I can't go forward anymore. I can change the nature of the vehicle, but the journey has come to an end.