You are here

Which vintage speakers for mastering

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby forumuser880304 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:27 am

Hi guys,

Our music career came to an end some years ago and don't want to start up again "properly" but I do need to do the odd bit of work. If you wanted to get some old vintage speakers to master on in a home studio and had a budget of around £200 what would be your weapon of choice and why?

I'm thinking of simply paring what ever I get with a cheap and cheerful reference alesis amp

Thanks all :)
forumuser880304
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:21 am

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby The Red Bladder » Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:34 pm

Bower & Wilkins DM600 S3. Bock the reflex ports to the rear for better impulse response.

These things come up regularly on eBay and I doubt you need to pay an entire £200 for a decent pair!

Don't get the larger ones (DM601, 602, 603 etc.) as they have poor impulse responses. The larger the driver, the worse they get.

If you are mastering stuff with loads of sub-bass, get a sub. Better still, get two and wire them up parallel to the main speakers as that saves having to faff about with a controller (unless the controller has one built-in).
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2336
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 am
Location: . . .
 

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby Arpangel » Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:36 pm

forumuser880304 wrote:Hi guys,

Our music career came to an end some years ago and don't want to start up again "properly" but I do need to do the odd bit of work. If you wanted to get some old vintage speakers to master on in a home studio and had a budget of around £200 what would be your weapon of choice and why?

I'm thinking of simply paring what ever I get with a cheap and cheerful reference alesis amp

Thanks all :)

Lots of questions, why do you need vintage speakers? Modern ones are easier to get, and will probably give you more, and you can tailor your overall monitoring sound with EQ on the master output, for instance.
Are you after a particular sound, that suits your music? What kind of music is it?
Also, £200 isn't a great deal of money for a current set of monitors, vintage ones will cost a lot more, but as the Red Bladder says, hi-fi speakers like the B&W's could be OK.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2359
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby The Elf » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:10 pm

...and how are you thinking of amping these speakers?
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13296
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby Wonks » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:13 pm

forumuser880304 wrote:I'm thinking of simply paring what ever I get with a cheap and cheerful reference alesis amp

The Elf wrote:...and how are you thinking of amping these speakers?


And when are you going to Specsavers, Elf? :D
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10426
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby The Elf » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:22 pm

Wonks wrote:
forumuser880304 wrote:I'm thinking of simply paring what ever I get with a cheap and cheerful reference alesis amp

The Elf wrote:...and how are you thinking of amping these speakers?


And when are you going to Specsavers, Elf? :D
:wtf: :geek:

Doh! :oops:

Seems strange to me to want 'vintage' speakers, yet settle for a 'cheap and cheerful' amp!
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13296
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby forumuser880304 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:47 pm

Thanks all really appreciate the help.
So to answer a few questions... The reason for vintage was that I thought (maybe wrongly) I may be able to get something that back in the day was highly rated for mastering but now would fit within the small budget I have. One of those amazing finds on ebay that pop up from time to time.
I didn't think my budget would get me anything worth having if it was new kit. I know there are lots of cheap monitors which are usable for mixing but when it comes to mastering i find I spend hours running around trying the mix out on different systems in different locations when what I need is to find a flat response system that I know will give me an average all round master.
The reason for a Alesis amp was that it's a clean sounding reference amp and within the budget.
genre of music varies, but mainly a piano based pop I suppose.

I was looking at some IMF ALS30, B&W DM7 and Kef 104aB But I'll now have a look at the DM600 s3
forumuser880304
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:21 am

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby Wonks » Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:07 pm

forumuser880304 wrote:...but when it comes to mastering i find I spend hours running around trying the mix out on different systems in different locations when what I need is to find a flat response system that I know will give me an average all round master.

You want a flat response system to mix with. Mastering on a good mix should just be about bringing the levels up. maybe some light limiting and overall compression and adding the final sprinkles of fairy dust. If you mix on a flat system, you've already won the battle.

And a flat response is normally mostly about room treatment. Better monitors are nice, but room treatment is where to spend the money for the biggest improvements.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10426
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:32 pm

I have 104AB (buit from a 'KefKit' back in the mid '70s) and they are excellent. But I'd echo Wonks' advice that, after the performance, the the room makes more difference than anything else for recording, mixing or mastering. Some decent treatment will be money well spent if you want consistent results (though, as you've been there before, you probably already know that).
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10938
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby forumuser918214 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:58 pm

Most inexpensive powered home studio monitors will be more accurate than hi-fi speakers. I won't make recommendations, but relate my own subjective experience...
I had a couple of $300 pair Mackie monitors in my home studio and a pair of $1500 B&W Matrix 805s in the living room. Just for yucks, I switched them around. I was astonished at how much "better" and "accurate" the Mackies were, in both rooms!

A pair of decent headphones with flat frequency response will give better accuracy, without room issues, than any pair of speakers in an untreated room. Cheaper, too.

My advice? Skip the old stuff.
forumuser918214
Poster
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:23 pm

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:14 pm

Not all old 'HiFi' speakers are poor monitors, The 104ABs were build as studio monitors and went the other way into the HiFi world as did several others back in the '70s, any of those will make good monitors.

Generally though that's good advice and most on here would not recommend HiFi speakers for monitors. And I do accept that things have moved on in the studio world in 50 years.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10938
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby James Perrett » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:25 pm

I'm a big fan of older speakers, especially those from companies where hifi and accuracy mean the same thing. Typically these would be British manufacturers like Kef, Spendor, ATC, B&W and Tannoy (amongst various others). The big problem is that you need to be patient to find the best deals or be flexible about which ones to go for. Older speakers also tend to be larger for a given bass response - the classic LS3/5a and the current Neumann KH120 are similar size (the Neumann's are a bit deeper) but the bass in the KH120 is much more extended.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 8695
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby forumuser880304 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:56 pm

Thank you to you all. Every reply has been most helpful. I expect I'll end up pushing the budget, but hopefully i'll find something that suits the room.
Cheers all :)
forumuser880304
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:21 am

Re: Which vintage speakers for mastering

Postby CS70 » Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:02 pm

forumuser880304 wrote: I know there are lots of cheap monitors which are usable for mixing but when it comes to mastering i find I spend hours running around trying the mix out on different systems in different locations when what I need is to find a flat response system that I know will give me an average all round master.

Good thinking about the find, even if it's getting increasingly rare, at least on ebay. More local used gear pages may be more productive.

As for mastering, is your room well treated? If it's not, that's the most likely cause for your running around. Monitors are the next step, but in a room full of reflections you simply won't be able to hear the sound of even great monitors as it'll arrive at your ears all mangled.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4660
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users