Old 04-03-2013, 06:42 PM   #1
adifrank
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Default studio monitors vs stereo speakers for low budget

hi.
first of all - i'd like to just say that this post really doesn't have anything to do with reaper. but i use reaper and like this forum, so i thought i'd ask for your opinion anyhow.

here's the thing - i've just moved to the US. so i have no studio monitors. i don't even have stereo speakers for that matter.

my budget is low. i can only afford to use around $400 for either monitors or speakers.

i've never really owned studio monitors before. recording music with my computer is just a hobby and i've been pretty satisfied using a good pair of rather flat stereo speakers and a pair of audio technica ath-m40/s headphones.

now that i'm shopping for monitors i have a sort of dilemma - monitors vs. stereo speakers. i realize that monitors would be best for recording. but i'm wondering if just listening to music for enjoyment will be a sad experience with studio monitors as opposed to speakers. with that said, if music for listening can be enjoyable through monitors, i'd be happy to get monitors and make use of them when recording my stuff.

as i've said, i really enjoy recording and editing my music (95% midi based), but i hardly have what you would call a studio-type environment. the room is not acoustically treated, not even a carpet. my audio interface is just an m-audio usb mobilepre. so i'm wondering what to do.

thanks!
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:16 PM   #2
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Monitors sound great for any kind of music,well maybe not great..but..accurate.The better the music the better they sound.Plus,if you use them for recreation as well as making tunes..you will come to know them and that will help enormously in your production

Get the best monitors you can.And put this foolishness behind you!
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:18 PM   #3
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thanks cosmic : )
so if i say go for a pair of krk rokit 6 monitors - i'd be happy with listening to music as well as recording (for what 400 bucks can get you)
as opposed to getting for example a pair of paradigm atoms?
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:24 PM   #4
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A pair of KRK Rokits would rock your fucking world my man.

I havent got them but I'd have no objection to them if I was getting speakers.

BUT..if I were you..I would..without HESITATION..get a pair of the Berhinger Truths.They are awesome speakers..and if I hadnt have bought my Yamahas second hand before I knew better..I woulda got them.

I listen to tunes on my monitors all the time.Its great!Way better than hifi..especially the kinda hifi 400 bucks will get ya.
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:26 PM   #5
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You may get many opposing opinions on this topic, but I think that for $400 you can definitely get some decent monitors that will actually be worth keeping a long time. I have some of the Rockit 8's, and once I got familiar with them and how they responded to my mixing room, they work out much better than I had imagined. But regardless what you buy, BUY MONITORS AND NOT STEREO SPEAKERS. Most stereo speakers have a more colored frequency response, and I would hate to mix that way. Good luck, and post back here when you buy something and let us know how things are working for you.
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:28 PM   #6
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thanks guys. yeah i didn't intend for this to become a 'which monitors should i buy' thread. i've actually gone through several of those and i think i know what the top few recommended monitors are for that price range. i'll just go with one of them. haven't yet found a place i can actually audition them, so i'll just go with my gut : )
thanks!
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:03 PM   #7
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big suggestion from one who has used more than a few monitors...

right now you can still get the Equator Audio 5" {D5] monitors for exactly 400 bucks... and they have a 60 day money back, no questions, guarantee...

sadly until just recently they were only 300 for the pair, but ... times change.

IMHO, for that money, you will not do better ....

ah here's a link:

http://www.equatoraudio.com/D5-Studi...nit-p/d5-s.htm

and yes... monitors not 'speakers'.... it's not really a question
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:03 PM   #8
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I have the rocket 5s and they play music very well.
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:21 PM   #9
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ditto darth
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:32 PM   #10
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Biggest bang for the buck I've heard for a low budget are the KRK R6 powered monitors. About $320 a pair. Get at least the 6". If you intend to spend less than this buy something used.

FYI:
There are only speakers (monitors) and powered speakers (powered monitors).
They range from small to large in size (and range) and from good to bad in quality.


People will sometimes use 'terms' like stereo speakers or computer speakers as though there is something different or specialized about them. There isn't.
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:36 PM   #11
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thanks for all the replies!
i guess the 'which to buy' discussion is inevitable : )
that said, i never heard of the equator d5. i'm reading about those now and they seem to be really nice. thanks for the tip! i just can't tell if they are powered or if i'll need a separate amplifier to hook them up to.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:54 PM   #12
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I've done a ton of reading on monitors over the last year and from everything can tell, the Rockits are perfectly useable. plenty of hate by those who never used them and even some legit issues, but overall, they seem to be better a choice overall than HiFi by most accounts if actual monitoring is the goal.

That said, I'm tending toward a set of Yamaha HS50s and a set of Beyerdynamic DT880 headphones since my room situation isn't conductive to treatment/bigger monitors. Mistake? We'll soon find out.

The Equators are powered and get a lot of good press on the forums.

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Originally Posted by adifrank View Post
thanks for all the replies!
i guess the 'which to buy' discussion is inevitable : )
that said, i never heard of the equator d5. i'm reading about those now and they seem to be really nice. thanks for the tip! i just can't tell if they are powered or if i'll need a separate amplifier to hook them up to.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:40 PM   #13
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the D5's are powered... of course..

you do need a decent audio card but I assume you have that.

so look.. I'm not a salesman for Equator or anything else... but do stop and think:

read about the Equators. That company is really good. Phone them and have a talk for yourself.

But the thing is this: 60 day no questions asked money back guarantee... I think they even pay the return shipping ...

Ask yourself who else is that confident about their product?

They are simply wonderful... anything close them would cost your twice as much....
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adifrank View Post
i guess the 'which to buy' discussion is inevitable : )
Lets face it.EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE half interested in recording is CRAZY about monitors.They're the number one cause of all GAS.

Love em we do!
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:36 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
A pair of KRK Rokits would rock your fucking world my man.

I havent got them but I'd have no objection to them if I was getting speakers.

BUT..if I were you..I would..without HESITATION..get a pair of the Berhinger Truths.They are awesome speakers..and if I hadnt have bought my Yamahas second hand before I knew better..I woulda got them.

I listen to tunes on my monitors all the time.Its great!Way better than hifi..especially the kinda hifi 400 bucks will get ya.
What? You'd rather have the Truth's than the Yammies? Am I reading that right? Why is that?
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:54 AM   #16
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I've got the Equator D5's and they are excellent and for the money I'm not sure you can beat them. ymmv


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Old 04-04-2013, 08:03 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by bluzkat View Post
I've got the Equator D5's and they are excellent and for the money I'm not sure you can beat them. ymmv


right... it's a simple fact ain't it? and compared to everything else mentioned here, which is in a similar price range, there is really no comparison. IMHO 'you' can keep those Truths...

OK... more than enough said...

"you can lead a horse to water but you can't get 'em drunk"..
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:08 AM   #18
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Another recommendation for the Equators from me.

Very pleased with mine.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:10 AM   #19
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Get the VRM Box with phones they were designed for like the Sennheiser MD-280s

Why this routs?

Because this device solves several problems.
-Not having enough money to buy good monitors
- Not having enough money or the desire to modify your room correctly to deal with sound issues like standing waves and echo flutter
- The usual issues with headphones.

The device simulates many real world reference studio monitors in real spaces including a studio, living room and bedroom. And it does it very well.

Is it perfect? Of course not. Is it better than using good monitors in a treated room in the right set up? No. But is is the best choice by far if you cannot do those things and a great second opinion choice even if you can.

If you can mix a song on them and it sounds good with most of the monitors modeled you are good to go. (For instance I pop back and forth between the British Studio Monitor and the Adam.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:15 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by kindafishy View Post
What? You'd rather have the Truth's than the Yammies? Am I reading that right? Why is that?
For the simple fact that the bass is ALL THERE in the 'ringers.
I've worked on them and they sound cool..you'd get used to them just like any other speaker..but with the added bonus that they go SUPER LOUD and have great bass.

They even have them in a radio station I used to jock in.Sounded class there too.And that room was well treated.

Its a no brainer.Friend of mine who has them is mixing records left and right and he can't do the biz on my Yammies at all.But stick him in his boudouir with his truths and he's top class!

Plus you get a savage warranty offa Thomman so you just cant lose.


I'd even get a used pair if I was on a tight budget.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:30 AM   #21
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thanks for all the replies!
i guess the 'which to buy' discussion is inevitable : )
Lol. People always consider whatever they get good results with and/or like as "the best".

For your needs and that price range, just about any decent monitor will do, you'll just need to become aquainted with them in the space you'll use them in by doing what you apparently plan to do anyway, playing good commercial music on them.

Studio monitors @ $400 a pair is rather down on the lower end but given your clearly stated intent and budget (e.g., just making good music, not getting the studio bug and comparing your work to George Massenburg ), just buy something good that you can afford and get on with it.

Later on if you really get the studio bug you can always upgrade. Subjectively "great" near field monitors cost about $6-700+ each... like the Adam's. http://www.zzounds.com/item--ADPA7X
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:17 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adifrank View Post
but i'm wondering if just listening to music for enjoyment will be a sad experience with studio monitors as opposed to speakers.
Actually, there's a benefit to that! It's very important that you "learn your monitors", and listening to lots of professionally-produced music on your monitors will help you to learn how your mixes should sound on your chosen monitors.

The downside is that you won't have handy "regular home stereo speakers" to double-check your mix on. (Pros check their mix on home stereos, car stereos, headphones, ear buds, and just about everything they can get their hands on.)

Also, active (powered) monitors aren't designed to hook-up to a normal stereo receiver's speaker outputs. If you wanted to do that, it might require some sort of work-around.

They are a bit above your budget, but I've also heard good things about the Behringer Truth's, although I have not actualy heard the speakers. Besides all of the positive reviews, they have an woofer slightly larger than 8-inches, which is somewhat rare in lower-priced monitors. Physics says you can't get good strong-deep bass out of a small woofer,* and if you expect to "monitor" bass, you have to hear it accurately!


* The size of the woofer isn't the only factor and a bigger woofer doesn't always mean more bass, or more accurate bass.
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:38 AM   #23
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I give my balls for a pair of 6 grand monitors.

No shit.

Who wants my balls?
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:17 AM   #24
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Who wants my balls?
Kim Kardashian? She doesn't turn away many.

But then again, le' balls may need some kind of silver spoon attached.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:58 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imispgh View Post
Get the VRM Box with phones they were designed for like the Sennheiser MD-280s

Why this routs?

Because this device solves several problems.
-Not having enough money to buy good monitors
- Not having enough money or the desire to modify your room correctly to deal with sound issues like standing waves and echo flutter
- The usual issues with headphones.

The device simulates many real world reference studio monitors in real spaces including a studio, living room and bedroom. And it does it very well.

Is it perfect? Of course not. Is it better than using good monitors in a treated room in the right set up? No. But is is the best choice by far if you cannot do those things and a great second opinion choice even if you can.

If you can mix a song on them and it sounds good with most of the monitors modeled you are good to go. (For instance I pop back and forth between the British Studio Monitor and the Adam.
I'd second this perspective. Pro headphones are far cheaper than pro monitors.
Alternative to VRM: http://www.toneboosters.com/tb-isone/
(the demo works quite fine)
Then use some second hand monitors/hifi until you can afford good monitors.
Don't underestimate room-treatment..
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:19 PM   #26
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I give my balls for a pair of 6 grand monitors.

No shit.

Who wants my balls?
I'd hold on to them I were you.

No doubt I could recognize the sucky-ness of my music better through $6000 monitors, although I can hear it just fine with my ear buds.

I only wish that monitors were limiting to me in any way, even if for just one day.

T
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:29 PM   #27
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mackie mr5's (older style) were about 300 a pair.. I love listening to music on them. In fact, I enjoy it better than the cars or homs stereos.. which are pretty nice systems..

I used to mix on a panasonic bookshelf stereo system.. it even had a EQ with a "flat" mode that was supposed to be pretty..well... flat..

There is no comparison... you can get a nice monitoring setup that will sound great for music on your budget
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Old 04-04-2013, 03:02 PM   #28
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I have been using a pair of Roland DS-90s for over 10 years now.

Digital or analog connection.

I have been using them exclusively for my listening, keyboards, AND guitar...not a problem. Also, drum programming from an SPD-30 Octopad. I absolutely SLAM these speakers, and not a hickup in over 10 years.

Digital connection covers all the grounding hum probs I used to deal with with analog. But you have the choice of either dig or analog.

There is a set on eBay now for $220, Free shipping. This is a fantastic deal.

Many more deals like that if you don't need brand new.

I DO use a subwoofer to cover the bottom when just listening for pleasure and/or jamming.

I use them for EVERYTHING, including my Media Center Computer, watching TV, movies, etc.

Ditched my stereo about the time I got these, never looked back!!!
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:14 PM   #29
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I have been using a pair of Roland DS-90s for over 10 years now.

Digital or analog connection.

I have been using them exclusively for my listening, keyboards, AND guitar...not a problem. Also, drum programming from an SPD-30 Octopad. I absolutely SLAM these speakers, and not a hickup in over 10 years.

Digital connection covers all the grounding hum probs I used to deal with with analog. But you have the choice of either dig or analog.

There is a set on eBay now for $220, Free shipping. This is a fantastic deal.

Many more deals like that if you don't need brand new.

I DO use a subwoofer to cover the bottom when just listening for pleasure and/or jamming.

I use them for EVERYTHING, including my Media Center Computer, watching TV, movies, etc.

Ditched my stereo about the time I got these, never looked back!!!
Respect!

Thats the kinda story that warms the cockles of me sheckles
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:32 PM   #30
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thanks for all the replies! after researching a bit, i think i'll go with the d5 monitors. i'll probably order them over the weekend : )
i just haven't found even one bad thing mentioned about them.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:34 PM   #31
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thanks for all the replies! after researching a bit, i think i'll go with the d5 monitors. i'll probably order them over the weekend : )
i just haven't found even one bad thing mentioned about them.
I think you will be surprised! I was.

Enjoy.

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Old 04-05-2013, 08:57 PM   #32
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good idea! and remember you have 60 days to return them if you don't love 'em. How can you go wrong?

when I win the lottery [any day now] I'd go for a set the Q8's in a NY heartbeat... Equator is a fine company.

as an aside... when they first started, I read about the company... and on a Saturday, phoned them and got the main man... who invented them and did the start up. Nice guy... spent about an hour with me on the phone, just explaining what he had done and why it was diff and how it worked.

If one ever get's the Q series, you can also get the mic and software that reads your room and tweaks the speakers.... in itself that could save a lotta studio hassles.
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:37 AM   #33
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Another late vote for the Equator D5. Love mine.

(But I am becoming curious how the upcoming D8 will sound, as well.)

Last edited by JohnWC; 04-08-2013 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:54 AM   #34
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I'd second this perspective. Pro headphones are far cheaper than pro monitors.
Alternative to VRM: http://www.toneboosters.com/tb-isone/
(the demo works quite fine)
Then use some second hand monitors/hifi until you can afford good monitors.
Don't underestimate room-treatment..
I am not sure Toneboosters is an equal alternative.

Doesn't Toneboosters require you to somehow know how to set it up to match each monitor you want to match and somehow figure out what compensations for the room to make? Seems to me that VRM is idiot proof while maybe not perfect. Toneboosters requires a ton of work and changes made for each monitor you might want to simulate.
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:41 AM   #35
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I am not sure Toneboosters is an equal alternative.

Doesn't Toneboosters require you to somehow know how to set it up to match each monitor you want to match and somehow figure out what compensations for the room to make? Seems to me that VRM is idiot proof while maybe not perfect. Toneboosters requires a ton of work and changes made for each monitor you might want to simulate.

Actually some would say that VRM is not an equal alternative, not using your main interface is a huge no no for a lot of people, VRM does not use your current interface
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:09 AM   #36
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i just haven't found even one bad thing mentioned about them.
A search on this forum will mention that there was some rattling - buzzing in some of them....
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:19 PM   #37
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A search on this forum will mention that there was some rattling - buzzing in some of them....
okay, i think i found the post you're referring to. much of the discussion there was a bit too techy for me and i couldn't understand whether or not this is:
1. something that is a characteristic of these monitors which i'll just need to live with
- or -
2. something that is only audible when listening really loud, due to the fact that they are only 5" and can't handle volume over a certain level
- or -
3. this is due to a faulty monitor which can be fixed (with instructions from equator tech support) or replaced.

another thing i was wondering about after reading that post is whether or not their customer support is still super responsive and helpful. it kind of seems like it was that way at first, but more recent posts indicate that the level of CS has gone down (e.g. not responding to emails, etc.)
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:25 PM   #38
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mine don't rattle... and can produce volumes way too loud to listen to...

can't tell you about tech support but from the little experience I've had with them it's been just fine...

I can tell you they are in Calif. and so am I and shipping was very fast.

You can phone them... try it.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:36 PM   #39
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i'l phone them tomorrow. thanks : )
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:30 PM   #40
bluzkat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopi View Post
mine don't rattle... and can produce volumes way too loud to listen to...
Mine also... and I'm still smiling!

The only time I have dealt with them was for the purchase, so I really don't have anything to add about customer support.


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