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If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

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If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby AlasdairEaston » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:33 pm

Hi all. I'd love your thoughts about my situation. I've had a set of Ruark Templars that I bought second hand about 17 or 18 years ago. They've been great as hifi speakers, and since I got into this recording and mixing caper they've been my studio monitors. All ok so far, except I've become very aware that they do soften a lot of top-end detail. Perhaps the Ruarks have always been voiced to sweeten and smooth?

So that lack of top-end clarity is a problem with, possibly, no fix.

Then there's the fact that today I noticed the left speaker buzzing occasionally (seemingly triggered by low/mid content) and something about the sound dropping in and out. I've moved the speaker cable to the other pair of posts on the back (the two pairs are joined with a plate) and it seems to have sorted it for the moment...

But it does feel like I've got a decision coming up: I might finally need to buy a proper set of studio monitors. With the Covid rules, trekking round shops is not on so it needs to be an online purchase. The trouble is: how to set my expectations? Where in the range to look? Do I need to spend big or are today's modest studio monitors out-classing those 20 year old Ruark hifi speakers? Would, say, some Rokit RP7 G4's just be a laughable comparison? Some of the Adam models? The 7 or T8V perhaps? Do I really need to be looking (gulp) much further up the ranges? Neumann KH80s, etc?

For info, the music I'm doing is a broad range of styles and does include acoustic stuff, plus synths, orchestral instruments, as well as heavy grooves with bass and drums.

They'll be used as nearfield monitors and the room is a home-studio in a carpeted, coombed ceiling loft conversion with some basic treatment to try to control the low-end.

Any experience and opinions welcome!

Thanks,
Alasdair.
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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:07 pm

Hmmm.... monitors... so much is down to personal preference and expectations.

The key thing is usually budget and room.

If you have a small room then going anything above a 5" woofer is just asking for trouble. You'll be getting the bass response of the room all of a doodah with very limited means of controlling it.

I'm in a room 2m x 3m and have good general acoustic treatment but the bass still has horrendous nodes. For that reason I use monitors with 4" woofers and adjust anything with critical bass (not much in my case) when wearing good headphones.

The Neumanns are excellent monitors and if several parameters of my circumstances were different then I wouldn't hesitate.

So FWIW (maybe not much!) I'd say go for slightly more modest monitors but augment them with a good set of open-back headphones - eg AKG702.
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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby AlasdairEaston » Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:37 pm

Thanks Mike, especially for your point about woofer size. Being swamped by bass is something that frustrates me, and even as a bass player, I'd rather have less low-end than muddy sound. So thanks for keeping me away from that pitfall.

I'm starting to have a look around at my options. I've avoided ever doing this since I knew I'd only create temptation for myself. :angel: Now it seems I might have no option.

Having thought a bit, I can't justify the KH80s, although my god they get great reviews. It's just a bit too much money to spend. :(

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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:58 pm

I bought the KH80s a couple of years ago, but at the same time listened to a few others and helped a friend choose some monitors earlier this year so I'd suggest having the following on your shortlist:
Adam T5V,
Kali LP-6,
Yamaha HS-5,
Focal Alpha 50,
And depending on how the budget will stretch, Focal Shape 40.

Have you got a decent set of open back headphones already?
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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby AlasdairEaston » Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:39 pm

Thanks Drew, that looks really handy. I'll do some googling on those tonight. :thumbup:

Happily I do have some good open-backed headphones, AKG K712 Pro's, and I've been leaning on those more and more recently. It's not the same though, and after a few hours it feels great to take them off.

Cheers,
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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby ef37a » Tue Jan 12, 2021 6:05 pm

https://www.dv247.com/en_GB/GBP/Tannoy- ... Foxv.P7Dz2

They ^ hardly get a mention these days in forums but we have been very happy with our Tannoy 5As over the years. I think the company has now been swallowed by the Behringer (aka Borg!) machine but they still at least put out a professionally written specification.

I am assuming the existing speakers are passive? That being so you might like to factor in a monitor controller?

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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby AlasdairEaston » Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:07 am

Those DV247 catalogues recently started arriving at my house trying to tempt me. Thanks for the Tannoy tip. I'm in Edinburgh, and I confess the Scottish connection for Tannoy is an attraction but I don't imagine their budget gear is made here. I'll have a look at those monitors though, thanks. :thumbup:

More generally, looking at those ones and your list, Blinddrew, I'm relieved at some of the prices. Especially since I've just concluded that my Taylor acoustic guitar needs a neck reset as well as new frets. :( Ouch.

The thing is, these old Ruarks Templars I've got would have cost about 500 or 600 quid new in the early nineties. Has speaker tech and manufacturing moved on to the extent that a £300 pair of modern monitors, including all the inbuilt amps, etc. rival old passive speakers that, in today's money, would be much more expensive? I'd hate to feel like I've taken a step down in general audio performance.

If only I could just go down the shops and try them all out!

Cheers,
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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby ef37a » Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:39 am

I would say speaker experts like Phil Ward would tell you that speaker technology has moved on phenomenally in 20 years! Not only are they more accurate than ever but much cheaper, electronics especially is peanuts.

Alasdair, if you intend to hold out for monitors that are made in these isles you will either have a very long wait or, take out a second mortgage, likely both. Even top end firms like SSL have to use Chinese manufacturers.

I found a Stereophile review of the Ruarcs and the chap LOVED them! However, his enthusiasm took the form of adjectives like "sweet" "cute" "soft" even. Very easy to drive and VERY pleasant to listen to, especially at (his words!) "The budget price". But, "cute" and "pleasant" are not properties you want in monitors. Yes, they should be smooth enough to not fatigue one's ears but above all they must not 'flatter'.

The only suggestion I can offer is to plough through the back issues of the magazine and find a likely candidate. Then ask back here in case any wobblies have shown up (such as random shut down and a 'one horse' software controller!)

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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby zenguitar » Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:39 pm

AlasdairEaston wrote: Especially since I've just concluded that my Taylor acoustic guitar needs a neck reset as well as new frets. :( Ouch.

Make sure that your tech knows that the Taylor neck can take shims to reset. Ideally you want someone who is experienced with Taylor. Or check with Taylor support for anyone recommended.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:52 pm

AlasdairEaston wrote:The thing is, these old Ruarks Templars I've got would have cost about 500 or 600 quid new in the early nineties. Has speaker tech and manufacturing moved on to the extent that a £300 pair of modern monitors, including all the inbuilt amps, etc. rival old passive speakers that, in today's money, would be much more expensive? I'd hate to feel like I've taken a step down in general audio performance.

If only I could just go down the shops and try them all out!
My KH80s (admitted, out of your budget) replaced a set of £700 Dynaudio HiFi speakers driven by a £600 Musical Fidelity amp (both about 20-25 years old) and sound much better*.
I was very impressed by the new Adams but if you're still umming and ahhing it might be best to focus on the Taylor for now and wait until you could afford a step to something around the £800 - £1000 mark and be safe in the knowledge that you'll be getting a solid step up.


(* more detail, better stereo separation, flatter response, more consistent off-axis response.)
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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby AlasdairEaston » Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:35 pm

Dave, that's great, thanks, that comment about things having moved on a lot. Just what I was hoping to hear! :thumbup: Those Adam T5V's get some really cracking reviews and the model up, the A5X's too. I wish they had something just in between. 600+ is a bit too rich for me.

The Focals that Blinddrew mentioned look fantastic too though. The Alpha 50 (5" woofer) and the Alpha 65 (6.5" woofer) look like real contenders. I could get the 65 monitor pair and cables for under £500.

Based on Mike's earlier advice I should be wary of going too big with the woofer, which might argue for the 50's. However... I'm a bass player, and I do have an electronic drum kit here which I love to bash, so the extra scale and power (to handle big drum transients perhaps?) of the 65's is appealing. My room floorspace is about 5.5m x 4.5m, although that slightly flatters it because it has coombed ceilings on three sides that bring the space down a bit. I do have basic rockwool traps in here too, spaced quite a bit off the walls with room (and good intentions!) for more.

The current Ruark's also have a 6.5" woofer and their -3dB point is 55Hz. I wouldn't describe them as especially boomy at modest listening levels in this room, although the room could definitely be better. The Focal 65's -3dB point is 40Hz.

Knowing already that the real answer is to try them out in my room, I can't resist asking the panel here... what's the view? 65's too big? Am I falling into the bigger-numbers-is-better trap? :lol: :headbang: or do the 65's make sense?

Thanks again for all the help so far. I realise how close I am to becoming a pain in the backside. Is there an emoji for that? :lol:
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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:52 pm

I have a very old pair of Kef 104ABs as my monitors, they have an 8" woofer and a ~ 10" x 6" passive radiator. Quoted FR is 50 - 20,000 Hz +/- 2dB. My room is fairly well treated and much smaller than yours at 4 x 4 m. I think if it was me I'd probably go for the 65's and you can always roll off the LF for mixing if it excites the room to much.

But, don't take what I say too seriously, I'm a retired live sound guy who only really plays at recording. :blush:
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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:09 pm

Personally I tend to err on the small side for woofers as *** WARNING! Massive generalisation coming! *** a smaller woofer tends to translate into better mid-range response.
I'd be surprised if you found the bottom end from the 50s disappointing, the feeling of power from the low end tends to come from control rather than real extension in my experience. Lots of extension but no control just leads to low end mess that results in transients being less apparent and therefore the bottom end has less impact.
YMMV! ;)
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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby AlasdairEaston » Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:15 pm

My KH80s (admitted, out of your budget) replaced a set of £700 Dynaudio HiFi speakers driven by a £600 Musical Fidelity amp (both about 20-25 years old) and sound much better*.
I was very impressed by the new Adams but if you're still umming and ahhing it might be best to focus on the Taylor for now and wait until you could afford a step to something around the £800 - £1000 mark and be safe in the knowledge that you'll be getting a solid step up.


(* more detail, better stereo separation, flatter response, more consistent off-axis response.)

Wow, that was already quite a set up. My Ruarks have been really nice hifi speakers and easily outclassed the rest of what used to be my hifi system. I could never have afforded them if it hadn't been a great second-hand deal from a good pal. In contrast my amp's just a budget Marantz model. I'm hoping that even just removing that from the equation will bring a big improvement. And my hand is about to be forced. The Ruarks are still playing up today. To no-one's surprise my "fix" isn't working!
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Re: If I was to replace my Ruark Templars with proper monitors?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jan 13, 2021 3:01 pm

AlasdairEaston wrote:Wow, that was already quite a set up.
It was a nice hifi set up, but it was definitely on the flattering side. Sadly the amp gave up the ghost a couple of years ago (triggering the upgrade to the Neumanns).
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