Old 12-18-2014, 01:20 AM   #1
foxAsteria
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Default Upgrade Studio Monitors?

So, I'm taking care of my grandma for a few months in another state and pretty much brought my entire studio minus the big heavy monitors (samson resolv 65a). Honestly, I'm not crazy about those and planned to upgrade at some point. should I:

A: Get a pair of jbl lsr305s and sell the Samsons. I'll of course have to pay to ship them back when I leave.

B: Get by with headphones and cheap computer speakers and save for a more substantial upgrade.

No very critical use, just creative for now. Finding it hard to decide whether it's worth spending so much.

Was also considering the Presonus Eris 5. Lot of options on the panel there. But is porting in studio monitors really as bad as they say?
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Old 12-18-2014, 03:17 AM   #2
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Definately stick with the headphones until gandma is feeling better!

Then come back and ask again!
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Old 12-18-2014, 08:03 AM   #3
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I think the real question here is does your Grandma dig Surrealist Electronic music? If she doesn't I'm with The Byre.
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Old 12-18-2014, 09:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
No very critical use, just creative for now. Finding it hard to decide whether it's worth spending so much.
If you are not doing anything critical, this really a matter of personal priorities.

Maybe you just want to use your headphones (which I assume you already have) and regular computer speakers (which maybe you also already have) and wait until you decide what you want to do.

Quote:
Get a pair of jbl lsr305s and sell the Samsons.
The JBLs (and Presonus) have smaller woofers, right? As a general rule, smaller woofers put-out less deep-bass. You may need to add a subwoofer. There are exceptions, and there's more to speaker design than that, so I'm not sure the new smaller monitors will put-out less bass. But to me, anything less than 8-inches isn't really a "woofer".

When you switch monitors, they will sound different and you'll have to get familiar with them. Most pros (who are already using good monitors, of course) wouldn't take a better monitor if you gave them to them free, because they already know how to make good mixes on what they've got.

The room will make a difference too, so if you "learn your new monitors" at Gradma's, you'll have to re-learn them again when you get home.
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Old 12-18-2014, 10:10 AM   #5
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But is porting in studio monitors really as bad as they say?
No. If you know what you are doing, you can make a good ported speaker. Many reputable manufacturers make ported monitors. In a blind listening test of a good-quality monitor, nobody would be able to tell if it was ported or not.

The basic physics are that a ported speaker has a smoother-steeper roll-off than a sealed speaker, but a ported speaker tends to go lower before it rolls-off.*

With active studio monitors you can build compensation (EQ) into the crossover and to some extent compensate for the physics of the mechanical design.

With a ported speaker, the designer has more variables play with, and as a general rule you can get a "better compromise" and better overall results with a port. If it turns-out a particular driver in a particular box performs performs best with a port size of "zero"... You've got a sealed design!


If you randomly throw a driver in a box, you are better off with a sealed box because that's hard to screw-up. If you throw a random driver in random ported box you are likely to get wimpy bass or boomy one-note bass.

Some speakers are intentionally designed for "impressive" boomy bass... We've all heard car stereos with "tuned" subwoofers.




* I found a graph that shows how the ported design goes deeper and then falls-off faster. But, this graph is NOT EXACTLY typical. Usually the lines criss-cross, so for example the ported design might have more output at 40Hz, but less output at 20Hz.

The little 1/2dB bump before the roll-off IS typical of ported speakers. The designer can control it... It's a compromise... A +1dB bump at 40Hz usually means a little more output at the lower frequencies too... With the +1dB at 40Hz, you might be -5dB down at 30Hz instead of -6dB down if you tune it for no bump.

Or you can tune for a big bump to get that boomy sound that gives ported speakers a bad reputation!
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Old 12-18-2014, 11:41 AM   #6
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Ported speakers are cheaper and that's their only real advantage. When it comes to critical mix decisions in the bass region, which require accurate time-domain response, sealed boxes FTW.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_reflex:

Quote:
By their own nature, resonant systems cannot start and stop instantly. Ported speakers stagger two resonances, one from the driver and boxed air and another from the boxed air and port, in order to achieve their bass output, a more complex case than an equivalent sealed box. This causes increased time delay (increased group delay imposed by the twin resonances), both in the commencement of bass output and in its cessation. Therefore a flat steady-state bass response does not occur at the same time as the rest of the sonic output; rather, it starts later (lags) and accumulates over time as a longish resonant "tail". Because of this complex, frequency-dependent loading, ported enclosures generally result in poorer transient response at low frequencies than in well-designed sealed box systems.
So, the woofer keeps moving but the compressed air in the box keeps whooshing out of the port.

Also see http://therationalaudiophile.wordpre...led-enclosure/.

Mike Senior discusses this in detail in his book "Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio", wherein we learn why the NS10's were REALLY so popular.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gerry View Post
I think the real question here is does your Grandma dig Surrealist Electronic music? If she doesn't I'm with The Byre.
pretty sure she wouldnt have any idea what she was hearing, but i set up the space so it wouldnt bother her.

i guess my main concern is: are the jbl's enough beyond the samsons to warrant the hassle and expense or should i wait until i can afford a more significant upgrade?

ive gotten pretty used to the samsons after half a decade, but there's always been problems in the bass translation. a more accurate but still affordable pair would be worth $150 to me but as i dont see myself spending more than maybe $700 in the next 5 years, i wonder if truly good monitors are even within reach. the jbls appear to have the flattest response of any in the price range. http://noaudiophile.com/JBL_LSR305/

@DVDdoug from what i've been reading, i think an 8-inch driver would be overkill for the small spaces i'm working in, but i do want reasonably accurate bass response (thinking 5-6" tops). i can check it on the phones, but i need speakers for composing (esp with others) and the phones get uncomfortable after a couple hours.

so, if significantly better monitors can be had for under $1k i might start saving up but i just need something better i can work with now. can get the JBLs for $280 including cables and MoPads. still very tempting... not sure how much i can get for the samsons though.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:38 PM   #8
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In which case, get a decent sub.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:55 PM   #9
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In which case, get a decent sub.
man, that's a whole new thread, but thanks.
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:43 PM   #10
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Don't know about US prices, but there is an incredible setup you can find used here in Europe between €800 and €1000 if you're patient and shop around - a pair of Genelec 1030s (600-700) plus a Behringer B2092A sub (a great clone of Genelec's own 1092A, @ 200-250).
I know that's a bit more than the 700 you quoted, but hey, two or three live mix jobs or whatever and they're paid off ...
And this is the real deal, in a properly treated room (next important topic !) up to 25 m² you'll get very transparent monitoring down to around 35 Hz - I turned two friends of mine on to this system (using 1031s & 7070 myself, but in a 35m² room) and helped with installation, measurements and basic room treatment (one room 4x6 m, the other 3x4 m) - believe me, you'll never look back.
This is a fully pro setup that'll make you work hard until your mixes sound good, which is exactly as it should be.
Can't really mix what you don't hear correctly, monitors and room treatment are the two most important components in any studio (the importance of mics and pres varies with the style of music you do).
ymmv,
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:47 PM   #11
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Stick with tracking and use headphones at low volume.
When you get home do your mixing on monitors.
Treating your listening and recording space gives your listening hardware more of a chance to be more accurate sounding.
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by grinder View Post
Stick with tracking and use headphones at low volume.
When you get home do your mixing on monitors.
Treating your listening and recording space gives your listening hardware more of a chance to be more accurate sounding.
Grinder
good advice !
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Old 12-18-2014, 02:02 PM   #13
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... maybe I should add that while there is a certain upper room size limit to what a pair of nearfields & sub will do comfortably, the reverse is not necessarily true for smaller rooms, on the contrary, a good sub makes a world of difference especially at low listening volume.
A good one, not any cheap one.
again, ymmv,
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Old 12-18-2014, 02:09 PM   #14
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ok, got my finger off the trigger... i know room treatment is key and I plan on facing that, but still, isn't a subwoofer too much for small rooms to handle? these JBL apparently go down to 43Hz though I can't speak to the transparency.

TRUTH B2092A is discontinued and appears to be hard to come by, but yea I guess I could go $1k if I knew I wouldn't need to think about it ever again...
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Old 12-18-2014, 02:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by PooFox View Post
ok, got my finger off the trigger... i know room treatment is key and I plan on facing that
good plan !
in the meantime, make yourself familar with the (free with registration) RoomEQ Wizard, it'll be your best friend and worst critic !
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Originally Posted by PooFox View Post
isn't a subwoofer too much for small rooms to handle?
not at all, you just don't crank it, but still get full sub bass at bedroom volumes (not to be confused with club / party sound, we're talking serious, neutral, style independent studio monitoring).
Quote:
Originally Posted by PooFox View Post
TRUTH B2092A is discontinued and appears to be hard to come by
unfortunately true, but since you are not in a hurry - they do come up now or then, gotta be quick, they're totally worth the trouble, huge bargain.

ymmv,
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Old 12-18-2014, 02:53 PM   #16
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i did try roomeq wizard with a nady reference mic at 6 positions, but it just made everything (commercial songs too) sound incredibly strange. room was really full of furniture and random "stuff" but totally untreated.
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Old 12-18-2014, 03:06 PM   #17
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You only want to use it as (excellent) measurement tool, the EQ part of it lives right next door to the Yeti, Bigfoot and the honest politician.
Believe me, I have big feet, and I have tested it with the recommended Behringer EQ - yeah, right. HiFi BS.
EQ does not work as an alternative to room treatment, period, same is true for that IK gizmo. EQ might be a legit tool to fix the final 5% of a perfectly treated room, but this stuff is way beyond the reach (and needs) of us mortals.
But we can get mighty close with well conceived acoustic treatment, it will not be free but really affordable with some beginner's grade DIY.
Rhino

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Old 12-18-2014, 03:49 PM   #18
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Prof Rhino will be way more informed than I.
That said I can say because I built a studio and lined it with acoustic treatment (recording room and computer room ) that in truth armed with only minimal eq (cutting freqs un-needed )plus volume editing and plugin and light treatment in a couple of places, one a light delay on lead guitar the audio below "Kicking About" was
capable of being played in most environments with only 5 minutes work.
I was totally astounded.
With good treatment you can in time save a heap of extra work and copious spending on things you will never need!
The sound quality of the recorded files are what it is all about.
I got to use a pair of the first Active Event 20 20's in my new studio that I could not use in my attic when I was there having to use headphones, well apart from having to use them for acoustic guitar recording from afar they are a poor substitute.
My mixing/computer room should not be any good for mixing in, according to the dimensions(you only have so much money) however that said with heaps of home made insulation (rockwool ) the results speak for themselves I reckon.

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Old 12-18-2014, 04:12 PM   #19
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... great real-world report !
The only thing I might do differently is maybe recommend some more environmental friendly materials like Knauf Ecose (what GIK uses) and for some mid-high frequency broadband absorbers (not bass traps) even hemp.
Your choice of the legal, affordable version or the popular recreational variant (which will probably cost you quite a bit more and tends to disappear over time ).
ymmv,
Rhino
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Old 12-18-2014, 04:33 PM   #20
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Than you for that info ProfRhino
I will be doing things around the home as regards sound when I get the bank account back and will go down your line.
The Real Traps that I got in used I think what you are suggesting too.
I do see a bit of dust in my rooms from the Rockwool.
In reality I spent most of my musical life around 46 years in my own ignorance thinking that shoving things at a sound I had was going to do it....
"A rotten board will always be a rotten board"
The eq graphs of my present recordings show the truth, where the old ones were very spiky the new ones are robust and go on up the frq range past 24Khz.

Many thanks

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Old 12-18-2014, 05:00 PM   #21
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ProfRhino - great overview, great input!

May not have solved poofox's dilemma, but still great info.
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Old 12-18-2014, 05:57 PM   #22
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Before we get too far OT, I started a new thread about room treatment here, hopefully others post their experience there, too.
http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?p=1444585
cheers,
Rhino
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