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Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby akaspeedy » Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:15 pm

Hello,

I’m looking to spend around 3000 pounds a new set of monitors and would like some help in narrowing down from this list

Os acoustics db7
Pmc result 6
Hedd type 20
Kh 310a
Footprint 01
Adam s2v

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Best regards

Aka Bob
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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Wonks » Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:29 pm

Hi and welcome.

That's a fair bit of money to spend.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your setup and it makes it easier to help.

What sort of music do you produce?

What are your existing monitors and what do you feel they lack?

What's the size of your studio/production room and has it got a lot of acoustic treatment?

What audio interfaces do you use?

Have you hear any of the speakers listed or do you plan to?
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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:51 pm

akaspeedy wrote:I’m looking to spend around 3000 pounds a new set of monitors and would like some help in narrowing down from this list

They're all pretty respectable monitors, but with different features and intended uses. So the 'thought' I expect you're seeking is that, from that list, I'd rate and recommend the Neumanns very highly.... However, the thought I'd prefer to share with you is you probably don't need a second set of monitors from the list you've given!

As your post title says these are to be a second set of monitors, that raises more questions for me. If your main set are some massive soffit-mounted beasts in the front wall of a professional studio control room, then a more compact nearfield as a second set makes some sense.

However, if you're working in a spare room or garage etc and these new speakers are going to sit alongside similar 'main monitors', you'd be wasting your money... and probably degrade the monitoring quality of your mains boxes in the process!

My view is that there's really no point in having a second set of similar monitors in the same acoustic space. One set of high-quality monitors, well placed, in a well-treated room is all you need. Switching to a second pair of monitors will sound a bit different, but what good is that? Their sound will still be influenced, if not dominated, by the standing waves in the room, so they'll over-emphasise and attenuate all the same bass notes...

What you want to know is what is going on in the mix as accurately as possible, and the biggest thing that prevents that -- regardless of how expensive the speakers are -- is the room acoustics. So adding a second pair of conventional monitors really won't tell you anything useful, and usually just adds more confusion while degrading the stereo imaging or both sets!

You'd be massively better off if you go and listen to the mix in a different physical space -- the living room, kitchen, car, a mates studio, or wherever. In a room which is a different size and has standing waves at different frequencies! Only then will you become aware that you've processed the bass to compensate for your own room's acoustics, rather than doing what the recording actually required... for example.

Having said that, what can be very helpful as a 'second monitor' is a separate mono speaker -- and ideally one with a single full-range driver design like the Auratone or its more modern equivalents -- in a sealed cabinet.

Listening to a track in mono, on a bandwidth-limited speaker (and ideally one with precise low-end time-alignment which the sealed box will give you) will genuinely complement and extend the information you get from your main monitors. It will really help you tie down the balance and timing of the kick and bass, and get the mid-prominent vocals and guitars where they need to be.

And as an upgrade to your monitoring it will also be a great deal cheaper, so you can invest some of your original budget in improving the room acoustics even more!

Win win! :-)

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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby akaspeedy » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:33 pm

Hi,

Thanks for the amazing replies......I have 8 home made bass traps in the room made from rw3 rock wool.....although I still need to do the front corners from floor to ceiling with the triangular shaped traps.....at the moment I have the sonodyne sm100ak but although they are amazing monitors, just don’t get as low as I would like.....think they roll off about 60hz.......I make (well, at least I mean I try to make, lol) house and techno so when I said second set, I really meant a main set that covers a broader frequency range and use the sonodynes as a second set for reference....room is rectangular and I have the sonodynes facing own the long length so I think I’m pretty good acoustically.....I have a huge dip at around 100hz but that is hopefully going to be sorted with some specific treatment from somewhere like GIK who do tuned traps....the decay time is very short and practically even across the whole freq spectrum.

I’m in a position to buy some better (subjective I know) monitors so would love to hear people’s experience with the specified monitors.

Best regards

Aka Bob
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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:40 pm

akaspeedy wrote:....room is rectangular and I have the sonodynes facing own the long length so I think I’m pretty good acoustically.....I have a huge dip at around 100hz but that is hopefully going to be sorted with some specific treatment from somewhere like GIK who do tuned traps....the decay time is very short and practically even across the whole freq spectrum.

Hi Bob,

Just a thought, but you may be able to lower the contribution of this 100Hz dip by moving either your monitor speakers or your listening position.

You're already firing down the preferred longer dimension, which is good, but a popular listening point in a rectangular room that tends to be flatter than many is 38% from the front wall. If your ears aren't already at this point it may be worth a little rearranging to get them there before you invest in any tuned traps.


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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby akaspeedy » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:12 pm

Hi Martin,

Would love to be able to but space dictates the position....I’ve read about speaker boundary placement as well as the 38% rule......unfortunately I have a few inches of movement so can’t apply the technique which is why I was thinking of the GIK tuned traps.....in all other respects though the room is sounding pretty decent. That’s why I’m looking to get a moderately respectable set of monitors at around £3k....plus I’m an audiophile so would love to get a pair that are revealing as well as a pleasure to listen....I’ve read the SOS review on the head type 20 and music radar have them as the number one price performance.....there is another monitor which I forgot to mention which is the guys that worked at the bbc, Mitchell and todd........again around a similar price to this I’ve mentioned. Just trying to get a feel for people’s response if they’ve used, tested and or bought any of those mentioned.....

Best regards

Aka Bob
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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Mixedup » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:51 am

I've not tried all those speakers so won't comment on that.

But I would say that it's worth checking if that 100-ish Hz null is due to cancellation of the direct sound and the first floor reflection.
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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Luke W » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:35 am

akaspeedy wrote:plus I’m an audiophile so would love to get a pair that are revealing as well as a pleasure to listen....

I realise this may depend on taste, but those descriptions don't usually go hand in hand. Speakers that a lot of people would consider a pleasure to listen to will be designed to "flatter" the material they play, therefore will be usually be hiding more than they reveal!
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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Zukan » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:17 am

Assuming the room is 'right' I would have to agree with Hugh re the Neumann KH310a.

However, monitors are a personal thing so a weekend demoing various monitors in your studio would be the right approach as you're dropping my annual salary on this.
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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:33 am

Luke W wrote:Speakers that a lot of people would consider a pleasure to listen to will be designed to be "flatter" the material they play, therefore will be usually be hiding more than they reveal!

Monitors are designed for transparency rather than 'the listening experience', and as such are likely to have a flatter frequency response than hi-fi speakers.

Non-monitor speakers flatter the ear with a frequency response that favours the 'sweet spots' that the human ear likes, which means that monitors should not do this as otherwise stuff mixed on them will get those sweet spots modified twice, once at the mixing stage and once at the replay stage later.

Listening to your favourite album through monitors will likely sound 'harsher' to the ear than listening to it through decent hi-fi speakers for this reason, though you would probably perceive more detail in the monitors.

Therefore, most studio monitors do not sound 'nice', so much as 'accurate'. However, to get the full benefit from that accuracy, a treated acoustic environment is extremely important.

Luke W wrote:.. will be designed to be "flatter" the material they play

Of course if you take the word be out of the above then we're both saying the same thing... (the double meaning of flatter in this context makes it a little ambiguous!)
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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Luke W » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:48 am

That was exactly what I meant to say :D

It originally said "flattering", I changed it as I didn't like the sentence but then clearly forgot to remove the be... Well spotted, cheers!
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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:05 am

I removed it for you to avoid further confusion! :D

I find that if the monitor speaker is a genuine monitor speaker -- ie, not an NS10 or anything pretending to do the same thing as that -- then listening for pleasure isn't a problem.

Okay, a monitor reveals flaws in mixes which a hi-fi type speaker might 'gloss over', and that can make some tracks a little distracting, but if you listen to quality music then there's no problem. Most of the speakers in this house are 'proper monitors' (PMC IB1s, PMC TB2As, KH310s), and yet I use them just as much for pleasure listening too without any concerns.

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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:26 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Most of the speakers in this house are 'proper monitors' (PMC IB1s, PMC TB2As, KH310s), and yet I use them just as much for pleasure listening too without any concerns.

Yeah I find the same with my little Yamaha MSP7s, they are fine for listening. I do slightly prefer the sound of my hi-fi speakers for some material but the first time I listened to some familiar albums through the Yamahas I was surprised at how much detail emerged that I'd overlooked before!
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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Random Guitarist » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:33 pm

I find myself disagreeing slightly. (but respectfully) I have Focal CMS40s and AE22s. The AE22s are excellent, but after a while they can feel a bit harsh on the ears, so I switch to the focals a lot during the day job. Also I do find the differences between sealed and ported are useful.

I guess if the house was on fire, I'd be saving the guitars, but the AE22s would be the ones I'd run out and replace first.

Having said that, I'm talking about lower end monitors than the rest of this threadm so my experience would maybe be different if I had one truly excellent set.
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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Luke W » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:50 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I removed it for you to avoid further confusion! :D

Thanks, maybe I'll avoid posting anything before waking up properly. :thumbup:

I'm also quite happy using my monitors for general listening as well as working, but I know some people prefer something with a bit more boom and fizz.
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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:13 pm

Random Guitarist wrote:I find myself disagreeing slightly. (but respectfully) I have Focal CMS40s and AE22s. The AE22s are excellent, but after a while they can feel a bit harsh on the ears, so I switch to the focals a lot during the day job.

I'm not at all surprised. The AE22 has a degree of intentional mid-range prominence which is useful when mixing (in a similar way to the famed NS10), but that does become fatiguing and distracting for more casual listening. In contrast, the CMS40 is a very flat and accurate monitor, revealing without exaggerating.

It's a personal thing to a large extent, but I prefer my primary monitors to be flat and neutral, and then use something like an Auratone to assess the midrange focus (usually in mono).

Here are some detailed test reviews of the two speakers you mention from Resolution magazine which illustrate their tonal -- and temporal (ref your cabinet comments) -- differences quite nicely:

https://www.resolutionmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Acoustic-Energy-AE22.pdf

https://www.resolutionmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Focal-CMS-40.pdf

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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby ef37a » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:34 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I removed it for you to avoid further confusion! :D

I find that if the monitor speaker is a genuine monitor speaker -- ie, not an NS10 or anything pretending to do the same thing as that -- then listening for pleasure isn't a problem.

Okay, a monitor reveals flaws in mixes which a hi-fi type speaker might 'gloss over', and that can make some tracks a little distracting, but if you listen to quality music then there's no problem. Most of the speakers in this house are 'proper monitors' (PMC IB1s, PMC TB2As, KH310s), and yet I use them just as much for pleasure listening too without any concerns.

H

SO glad you said that Hugh! Many forums (often American) still trot out this old saw that hi fi speakers are "tweaked" to sound nice*. Such a thing would enrage the likes of Peter Walker of Quad fame. His electrostatics were a revalation in low colouration and accuracy and a sort of benchmark that folks like Spendor aimed for.

Before The Silliness took over a couple of decades ago the acid test for speakers in the Hi Fi press was "do they sound like actual instruments and people talking". NOT "do they sound nice". Many other UK companies KEF, B&W, Castle were also in the business of accuracy.

I presently use a pair of Tannoy 5As but aspire one day to something very much better. The 310a's are probably a little TOO expensive and large. Top of my short list at the moment is the Result 6. I like "basic" but good engineering. These will be my everyday pleasure speakers.

*I would think that would in any case be hard to do for all genres?

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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby akaspeedy » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:53 pm

Ah yes ef37a, genre would be a big factor in my speaker purchase, which is why I was initially thinking the HEDD type 20's as they go low enough for house/techno.....they are 3 way.....have the lineariser plugin and both sound on sound and music radar gave them good reviews....in fact one of them mentioning that they are a pleasure to listen to as well as having the detail needed for accurate mix translations......

unless anyone can give thoughts on the other monitors, I'm swaying in their direction at the moment....

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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby ef37a » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:21 pm

akaspeedy wrote:Ah yes ef37a, genre would be a big factor in my speaker purchase, which is why I was initially thinking the HEDD type 20's as they go low enough for house/techno.....they are 3 way.....have the lineariser plugin and both sound on sound and music radar gave them good reviews....in fact one of them mentioning that they are a pleasure to listen to as well as having the detail needed for accurate mix translations......

unless anyone can give thoughts on the other monitors, I'm swaying in their direction at the moment....

Aka Bob

Ah! I meant it would I think be difficult to make a speaker that flattered say techno but was also "nice" for folk or jazz?

The "perfect" speaker would of course have no character of its own so everthing would sound good OR bad according to the quality of the source.

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Re: Second set of monitors, which ones?

Postby akaspeedy » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:47 pm

I figured you meant that hence why I'm looking for speakers for house/techno that I think I mentioned in an earlier post....although I do listen to to the odd/rare piece of classical.......and I mean rare...lol......house/techno or dance music in general is where I'm heading with my speaker purchase......

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