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New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:12 am
by Arpangel
My KEF104 based speakers are getting long in the tooth and I’m noticing things are not happening compared to the monitors in my basement studio.
I have two rooms, an acoustic/piano room, and my basement electronic studio.
The KEF's are upstairs in the piano room, and the basement has a pair of Behringer 3031's, which despite their price are actually pretty good for the money.
I’m noticing a big difference going between rooms, the Behringers are giving me much more detail and insight into the music, but the bass is lacking. The KEF's sound OK, but they don’t have the detail or involving quality that the Behringers have, but they do have very deep bass.
I’m looking for a new pair of monitors for the piano room, John Willett has offered to lend me a pair of Geithain monitors, but I’m not sure, I tried the baby ones and they didn’t suite me. I’ve also listened to Neumann, and didn’t get on with those either, do bare in mind that this room isn’t perfect, it’s not unacceptably bad, but it’s just a large domestic living room and any treatment is out of the question.
I’m looking at PMC, and ATC, also, someone mentioned the Event Opals, not sure how they stack up by today’s standards.
I’m just posting this to get perspectives as usual, and my partner is pushing me madly to get rid of the KEF's as they are as ugly as hell, so she’ll be the first one to rejoice if I get a new pair of monitors.

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:19 pm
by RichardT
Are those the 104s with a passive bass radiator?

I love my Kef ls50w speakers, but you may be looking for something a cut above those!

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:59 pm
by Trevor Johnson
I like the sound and look of B&W speakers. The 703 S2 is a similar size to the KEFs, from memory, and the frequency response is 46Hz - 28kHz ±3dB.

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:23 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
There really is zero point in spending ATC/PMC/Geithain/Neumann levels of money (£2-5k, say), if the speakers are going into untreated rooms. You'd be paying top dollar for top quality that you'll simply never hear.

So if you're not allowed, or can't be bothered, to treat the acoustics of your listening spaces you'd be far better off buying a more budget friendly monitor from one of the excellent second tier speaker makers -- something in the £500-£1000 range.

And most pro speakers are ugly things that rarely meet with domestic acceptance requirements for living rooms... So a reasonably accurate hifi speaker might be a better option for your piano room.

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:31 pm
by The Red Bladder
Mr.T. You keep going round the houses on speakers and never (as we say in German) come to the pot.

Arpangel wrote: do bare in mind that this room isn’t perfect, it’s not unacceptably bad, but it’s just a large domestic living room and any treatment is out of the question.
In which case, do bear in mind that better speakers are somewhat pointless!

Genelec 8030 and a Genelec sub. Job done!

Genelec 1029 and a Genelec Sub. Job done.

B&W CM1 plus a decent sub and an amp. Job done again!

B&W DM600 S3 plus a decent sub and an amp. Job done yet again.

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 2:55 pm
by James Perrett
You could always go properly old school and get yourself a pair of Tannoy Arden reissues. From the description of your place you'll at least have room for them.

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:04 pm
by Trevor Johnson
most pro speakers are ugly things that rarely meet with domestic acceptance requirements for living rooms

That's what Mrs J said when she saw my Quad ESL 63s, back in 1989.........so there are now in my study!

(P.S. I am not saying they were pro speakers)

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:16 pm
by Ramirez
Bax-shop have the Pioneer RM-05 for silly money at the moment. Have a look at the SOS review (also for the RM-07 as they have a lot on common) - VERY positive.
Quite small (and coaxial tweeter) so comfortable enough working close at lower levels.

I picked up a pair. Haven’t used them much yet, but first impressions are good.

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:48 pm
by Sam Spoons
What do you use the Piano Room monitors for Tony, serious mixing or simply checking takes and listening to music?

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:37 am
by Arpangel
Sam Spoons wrote:What do you use the Piano Room monitors for Tony, serious mixing or simply checking takes and listening to music?

Sam, we use them for playback checking recordings we’ve just made, and editing.
This a little workstation in the recording room. We also have a couple of VSTi's and they go through these speakers too while we are recording.
The basement is a completely separate thing, we never go down there on piano sessions etc, and I’m happy with the Behringer's, and requirements aren’t so demanding.
The KEF's are good at some things, but they don’t have this open detail, that even something cheap like the ones in my basement have. They are still good, but not by today’s standards.
My KEF's use the B139 bass driver, and B110 mid-range, an Audax tweeter, and a Cole’s super tweeter. They are huge, with floor stands, nearly 6 ft tall.
I’m just looking for something with a good extended bass like the KEF's, but with more detail.
I’ve heard some things I like, and some I don’t like, and I’ve heard them mainly at shows, and in dealer listening rooms, which haven’t been ideal, but I got a feel for their overall character.
ATC seem to sound great, and are pretty tolerant of imperfect rooms, my opinion is that they are incredibly detailed, but can be a bit lean in the bass.
I do not like the Genelec sound, it sounds over blown, and a bit muddy to me.
PMC could be a possibility, although I have given them a serious listen.
Neumann no, I’ve used them at length, and didn’t get on with them, they need a really good room to work properly, and aren’t very tolerant if conditions aren’t ideal.
Tannoy Ardens? :D Lovely, also the JBL L100's, love those too, but we’re talking purely cosmetics here, I’d be buying from my heart, not my head.

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 9:47 am
by Zukan
Tone, listen to Hugh. Don't waste your money on top end monitors if your room isn't treated. Truly a waste of money dude.

Get a set of mid priced monitors and couple them with a decent pair of semi closed cans and you're good to go.

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:59 am
by Arpangel
Zukan wrote:Tone, listen to Hugh. Don't waste your money on top end monitors if your room isn't treated. Truly a waste of money dude.

Get a set of mid priced monitors and couple them with a decent pair of semi closed cans and you're good to go.

Thanks Zukan, point taken, I know they’re cheap, but the Presonus Eris are surprisingly good for the money, I actually bought a pair once, but they had a really annoying mechanical hum, I exchanged them, but it was still there, I’m hoping they’ve cured that now, it’s important that they are totally silent, as they will be on while we are recording.
I’d just like to take a step up from the Behringer level of quality, but we all know how crowded the £500/£1,000 monitor market is.

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 12:13 pm
by Zukan
They are good. I think Paul wrote a cool review on them.

I acquired the iLouds for a student of mine and was surprised at how good they were for computer use.

Loads of good little and well priced monitors out there.

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:08 pm
by The Red Bladder
Arpangel wrote:I’d just like to take a step up from the Behringer level of quality, but we all know how crowded the £500/£1,000 monitor market is.
The only problem with that is, the £500-£1k active monitor market is crowded with a great deal of crap. And that is most of it. There is no such thing as a sub-£1k good full-range monitor pair. It can't be done if you and the wholesaler and the retailers all want to earn profits.

I have often thought of bringing out my own brand of monitors, but the only profits to be made are in the sub-£1k market of crap. Above that and one has to start investing real money and effort and engage in many, many thousands of R&D and seriously heavy marketing. And then you are up against the big boys who are always going to crush you with better products and better marketing.

In the sub-£1k market, you have to produce speakers that cost between £150 and £200 per pair to build. That means either every part and every component HAS to be cheap and nasty or you have to make severe compromises. And speakers for £500 a pair mean that the marginal cost to build was just £75 or thereabouts.

The more expensive the product, the higher the percentage of the final price goes into the making of that product. The marginal cost to build a high-end hand-built car is about 50% of RRP. The marginal cost of a mass-produced city runabout is about one-seventh the RRP. The same deadly calculation applies to nearly all products - including speakers.

The home recording market gets around the problem of feeding the sub-£1000 active speaker market by calling two-way active speakers 'full-range' and adding a bass reflex opening, thereby giving them a kind of false bass. That is a bass response at the cost of fidelity.

It is possible to make very good mid-high active monitors for £100 each so that the RRP can be about £1000 a pair. They will be good down to between 100 and 80Hz depending on design - but that still requires a sub and room treatment. Remember that the room is 50% (or more) of the sound.

In my PA days, I must have done about 2,000 gigs and there were venues that were impossible to make sounding even halfway acceptable and there were venues that always sounded fantastic, even with small systems. The Waldbühne in Berlin is a dream - most modern sheds were a nightmare!

Getting a good sound in a decent living room is easy and similar to setting up a PA system - the difference being, we used real-time spectral analysers to find our problem frequencies.

1. Put a mic in the listening position on a stand at head height. (Better still, a calibrated sound meter, but because all we are doing is measuring differences, a mic will do!) Feed the mic to a decent level meter that gives you a fairly accurate reading.

2. Put a single sub in one corner of the room and hook it up with your computer or a tablet/laptop/whatever.

3. Go to this site https://www.szynalski.com/tone-generator/ and pick a low note, say about 40Hz. You will end up trying different notes and tones and finding out quite a bit about your room and learn a bit about acoustics at the same time!

4. Move the sub to different positions around the room until the mic gets the loudest signal. This will probably be about one meter away from the L or R front corner on the floor and against the wall - but need not be. It could be anywhere!

5. Leave the sub there and move the mic around the room. You are going to get null points all over the place; points where there is no bass at all!

6. Repeat steps 3, 4 & 5 with different frequencies until you get a good idea of how the room is behaving. You will now have a mental map of your room and begin to 'feel' how the sound reflects back into the room, creating null-points where the waves cancel one another out.

7. Now put the sub in the best position again and find those spots in the corners of the room where there is waaay too much bass - almost certainly in the ceiling-to-walls corners and the four corners of the room. That's where you are going to put bass traps (or something else acceptable to She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed) to swallow the bass and prevent it from returning to cancel out the bass elsewhere.

Re: New monitors needed.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 4:18 pm
by CS70
+1 to being no point if you don't have a good room. You just won't hear what the monitors put out.

That said, you could check the Red Sound line - the Studio 6 are not so big, nice looking enough to look at that they can pass for Hi-fi speakers but pack a considerable kick.

They mostly sell by word of mouth - and sell they do. ;-)