Which studio monitors to buy?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Tauren04, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Uncanny with voices and strings. Excellent with Jazz and classical. Bass doesn't extend much below 45Hz, but what is there is taught and well balanced. I'd have to consider them the most "neutral" speaker I've heard - the whole spectrum is well behaved. Their resolution is far greater than the Harbeth M30s and C7s, a real sleeper among British monitors. The only reason I don't use them now is they're a bit too clinical (maybe better to say "too accurate") for my tastes, but they should be great for monitoring.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  2. layman

    layman Forum Resident

    New York, NY
    Stirling Broadcast BBC LS3/6 loudspeaker

    Stirling Broadcast
  3. luckyno13

    luckyno13 Forum Resident

    London UK
    Can I suggest you make an appointment at a pro-audio dealer in your area and try a bunch of speakers in your price range?

    It's the only way you're going to know what's right for you.
    There's as many options as in the hifi world and they often sound very different from each other.

    Take references with which you're familiar. You could even take whatever main source you'd be using.
    Hifi Kenny likes this.
  4. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Of those I have auditioned, The Adam A7x with its seductive ribbon tweeter, would be excellent for any type of acoustic/ symphonic music. I was equally impressed by Dynaudio LYD-7 for near field. (big bang for the buck, imo) For room filling sound, check out Adam S5V (mid field monitor) but these are in the $5,500 range, each.

    I have not auditioned Genelec, but really need to get my can in gear.
    I once owned Mackie MR-824, a very fussy monitor but good for getting it right, kinda dry sounding and unexciting.

    ADAM Audio Active Monitors | Sweetwater

    LYD 7 - Professional reference monitor with 7'' woofer - Dynaudio
  5. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Usually when I've done any tracking sessions, I've left the sessions cursing music and wanting never to hear music again because the sound of the monitors is so hard, harsh and fatiguing and mostly plain bad not at all, to my ears, even like the sound in the live room. But a couple of years ago I did a session at a sadly now defunct once major studio in Manhattan and came away thinking, "Wow, those monitor are great, I could gladly live with those at home." They were old Genelec 1032 monitors (I don't remember if they were the A or B version) paired with a Genelec sub (no idea which one).

    There are engineers who I've heard describe the Genelecs as "too hifi," but I gotta say, that was the first set of studio monitors I've come across that I would gladly live with. I haven't heard the latest iteration of the 1032 series -- the 1032c -- but based on my experience with the Genelec speakers and sub, I'd certainly suggest checking them out.

    If I were you though I'd focus first make sure the room and speaker and listener positioning are optimized.

    When we listen to these studio monitors in a studio control room type environment, it's a massively treated room -- heavy absorption effective all the way down to the lowest of low frequencies, strategic diffusion, built non parallel walls. A square room -- where low frequency room mode cancellations and reinforcement pile up at the same frequencies -- is tough to begin with. And a room that hasn't been treated to deal with bass frequencies, is always tricky. Plus a room with flutter echo -- and a square room with minimal treatment is likely to suffer from flutter echo problems -- is going to be tough too. The acoustic panels you have may be OK for part of that, but chances are they're not doing much below middle C on the piano, and in the bass is where a lot of the problems could be.

    I'd say make sure you've gotten your room to something that has relatively even T60 decay times from circa 100Hz up (say 2 -5 ms) (get some real time analysis software and a calibrated mic and take measurements), rid yourself of flutter echo with maybe some HF diffusion, do some extensive bass trapping, and then, using your measurements, identify the low frequencies where the square room is causing major pileups of mode related problems and if you can't deal with them with absorption, see if they can be treated with something like a targeted resonating trap.

    Then I'd focus on positioning of speakers and listening position. Maybe you've already done this, and tried diagonal setups or something to improve the situation in a square room. Then you'd have a maximally optimized situation to make comparisons in going forward.

    I think the differences between different room and setup things you do are going to be far greater than the differences between two great studio mini monitors with 10" woofers and 1" tweeters and active crossovers and a couple of hundred watts of class D amplification. You could have 30 dB peaks and dips in frequency response in a minimally treated that hasn't been measured and optimized. You're never going to have differences of that scale between two similar monitors from Adam or Genelec.
  6. Hifi Kenny

    Hifi Kenny Well-Known Member

    Exactly. You will need the support of a local dealer if something goes wrong. A local dealer(s) may offer home demos too.
    luckyno13 likes this.
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Forum Resident

    Given classical music/neutrality is the priority I’d certainly consider Musikelectronic Geithain active monitors. They are used by many classical studios and broadcasters the world over. I owned a pair of RL-904s for a while and they really are superb, very natural and un-hyped and very easy to listen to for hours on end. Great at sensible (lower) listening levels too, i.e. they are very much not a high-level rock monitor.
  8. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    What exactly is likely to go wrong with a speaker? Even if by some odd chance the OP overpowers the speaker and burns up a voicecoil, all he would have to do is email the manufacturer, get a replacement shipped to him and then swap it out. I can’t see limiting oneself to only what’s available from a local dealer.
    SandAndGlass and Brother_Rael like this.
  9. recstar24

    recstar24 Forum Resident

    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Don’t forget the emotiva stealth 8

    Stealth 8

    As long as you are cool with big black behemoths in your listening space, they sound great!
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  10. Mike from NYC

    Mike from NYC Forum Resident

    Surprise, AZ
    Forget using 'real' studio monitors - they are too fatiguing to listen to. My friend Paul Gurvitz has a variety of studio monitors he uses when he records, mixes and masters his own CDs but they are tiring to listen to and are from from being flat. He lent me a pair of pricey Neumann's and I couldn't listen to them for long periods of time. Yes, revealing but it comes at a price.

    If you want an accurate neutral speaker try the Revel 208. The one consistent comment by reviewers is 'natural'. I have a pair of Ultima Studios and I think they are great! They make all kinds of music sound awesome including classical which I frequently listen to as well as jazz.


    NEXTLEVEL5 New Member

    I highly suggest having a chance to listen to the revel gem2 with beryllium tweeters. I got to listen to them at axpona and it just seems there is something special about these beryllium drivers used by a few manufacturers like focal, revel and sb accoustics.
  12. InfoNozzle

    InfoNozzle Forum Resident

    Dallas, TX, USA
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  13. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Buffalo, NY
    Reference 3A MM de Cappo BE Monitor Speakers
  14. layman

    layman Forum Resident

    New York, NY
    I once has movers slam the box containing my speaker down so hard that the magnet fell off the back of the cone into the box and smashed and damaged the crossover. This was beyond a simple part switch to repair.

    It was at that time that I really appreciated the support of my local dealer. They had the speaker fixed and back up and running in no time.
  15. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Southern US
    PCM OR ATC for what your looking for.
    recstar24 and SandAndGlass like this.
  16. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Hong Kong
    Any speaker can be used in a recording studio and perhaps A reason people find so many recordings to suck is vecause studios are often using cheap pro monitors or taking the FREE ones some companies give them in order to ADVERTISE the fact that such and such studio uses OUR speakers. There is no, or anything close to, a perfect measuring loudspeaker so use what you like.

    Even the speakers mentioned in this tiny thread that are used in studios sound NOTHING alike. You are not mistaking a PMC and a B&W and ATC and a Harbeth etc. They sound rather wildly different.

    Perhaps if you want to have a recording sound much better in the HOME it may make a certain amount of sense to use a speaker designed for homes. I have seen a few studios now using my, or a version of my, AN E speakers in the studio. Designed for the home.

    Point is just because a studio uses it doesn't make it good. Sometimes the engineer is using merely what the purchasing agent bought or was gifted amd has no say in the matter. It's a business.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  17. Diamond Dog

    Diamond Dog Cautionary Example

    And yet every one of them will be advertised as absolutely flat in response and absoutely neutral tonally . How many kinds of "flat" and "neutral" are there, exactly ? It's like Mark Knopfler noted in Industrial Disease : " Two men say they're Jesus. One of them must be wrong..."

    Richard Austen likes this.
  18. sublemon

    sublemon Forum Resident

    if you have a nice integrated, no reason to buy active studio monitors. Just get excellent passive speakers. As some have noted, pro audio monitors can be fatiguing, they can also sound great. Same with "home audio/audiophile" speakers. You just need to choose some that you like the look of (IMO), in your price range, and then audition. Speakers is speakers, doesn't matter if they are designed for studio or home use really.
  19. Steve0

    Steve0 Audio Banana

    PMC or ATC will both meet your requirements.

    These are as accurate as you could wish for.
    recstar24 likes this.
  20. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    SF Bay Area, USA
    The new Monitor Audio Studio monitors are really nice, though very contemporary in design. They are said to be very accurate without the brightness and harshness that usually accompanies that description. The design is almost directly derived by taking the center section from their flagship Platinum 500 speakers, sandwich cone woofers with a Nomex core in a D'Appolito configuration, folded diaphragm 60KHz tweeter, die-cast aluminum driver sub-baffle, dual rear ports, lots of advanced features for a reasonable price, definitely worth a listen if they fit your style, and you can find a place that has them for demo ...

  21. landru64

    landru64 New Member

    i've been straddling the pro audio and high end audio worlds for a long time now. i have been using powered monitors for the last several years for my listening system, which has included some pretty fancy DACs including the bricasti m12 most recently.

    i am a big fan of the focal twin 6be's though i think they need a sub. get them really loud and they get a bit harsh, which I 100% believe has to do with the amps rather than the speakers themselves.

    i have event opals, which i love. i think they are a bargain (only available used) and they go down low with authority that other smaller monitors don't do. anybody who says they aren't audiophile quality hasn't listened to them with associated high end sources and cables and such.

    i just started using the kii three's, and i like that i could sell my high end DAC and just plug a great source into them. they're fantastic, especially with 175 lbs of lead shot in the stands :)

    feel free to PM if you want any more information.
  22. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Hong Kong
    I'd go further. Both of them are wrong. There is no accurate loudspeaker and there is nothing that is wholly accurate. In mathematics there may be an accurate answe 150 + 150 = 300 and all speakers are like 150 + 150 = 375. Another speaker may be 150 + 150 = 225. None are 300. People can argue that their speaker equals 320 while yours equals 332 so neener neener mine is more accurate but the bridge still falls down and the space shuttle explodes with either wrong answer.

    A speaker with a controlled resonance at certain frequencies can be very agreeable to the ear going unnnoticed or less.noticed than a speaker that is more technically accurate but which deviates slightly at a more ear fatiguing frequency.

    And since we established that no speaker is accurate or even particularly close to accurate you may as well do the listening and choose the speaker that makes you want to listen all day and gets thebfoot tapping.

    Stereos are just as much about choosing compromises you can live with than trying to chase some notion of supreme accuracy. Since it doesn't exist that will become an extremely expensive endevour.

    I did as this OP did several years ago asking for THE most accurate speaker on the planet. I wanted no holds barred accuracy. And I got responses from stereo reviewers and manufactures that included: two way, 3 way, 4 way, electrostatic, planar, omni directional, sub satellite, transmission line, line array, pro monitors, open baffle, home speakers, single driver speakers, horns, hybrids, drivers made of paper, kevlar, titanium, diamond, ribbon, beryllium, plastic, weaves, no weaves, silk, passive, powered.

    In other words 50 claiming to be Jesus. All 50 may have a beard. That's as close as any of them get.
  23. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    Active all day and every day for me.

    With your budget, you're spoiled for choice and I doubt you'll need to blow $10k to better what you have either.

    Some great options offered thus far and disregard the comments around excessive neutrality. You'll get big differences from any speaker whether they're active or passive.

    Listen, try a few and decide what you like. They are not all the same.
    jologskyblues likes this.
  24. VU Master

    VU Master Forum Resident

    Personally, I love the Genelec powered monitors. I installed many of them in studio control rooms over the years and have 8 in my home system.
    chervokas and Brother_Rael like this.
  25. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    Interesting speakers, for sure.

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