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#2611653 - 07/15/14 08:14 PM General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Hi all,

This is my first post after lurking around these forums for a while. Iíll probably end up reading a lot more than I post though, as Iím here mainly to learn and unfortunately donít have much knowledge to offer in return!

Just a bit of background information first Ė Iíve been doing some poor quality recording at home since about 2008, mainly for recording ideas and demos of songs. Now that my band has broken up my aim is to be able to record my own music and release it, rather than continually paying thousands to go to a studio. Iím aware that getting good at this takes years and years of practice. Iíve spent the past six months reading extensively about audio engineering and sound in general, including reading most of Ethanís writings. Iím confident enough to say I at least know the basics at this point. I currently use an Edirol UA-25 soundcard to record, which connects to my computer via USB. My DAW is Reaper, and my monitors are Edirol MA-15Dís. Despite searching pretty extensively Iíve been unable to find proper data regarding the frequency response of these speakers. Iím guessing this is because the response is so uneven that the manufacturer is better off not publishing the data at all. The only spec I can find is that the speakers have a frequency range of 70Hz to 20kHz. The listening room currently has no acoustic treatment (I can almost hear everyone freaking out at this point) and is small, and unfortunately almost cube shaped, being 3400cm in length, 3040cm in width, and having a height of 2550cm . My listening position is 38% of the way back from the front wall, and the speakers are facing down the longer length of the room.

To practice recording Iíve been using my Shure SM57 to mic up my guitar amp, which is a Peavey 6505 head running into an Mesa Oversized Rectifier cabinet. The downside of this setup is that itís difficult recording such a powerful amp in my house. Usually these amps are recorded very loud so that the tubes are nice and warm and also to get some loudspeaker breakup. Iíve been putting the amplifier in an adjoining room to make the sound levels a bit more bearable. This room is also not treated. As Iím focusing almost entirely on recording (as opposed to live shows) Iíve been considering buying an Axe FX II XL unit so that I can record cranked guitar tones at low volumes, as well as having a variety of amp sims and effects available. This also would also allow me to only acoustically treat the listening room, as opposed to both the listening room and the adjoining room for recording the amp. Iíve been using high quality drum samples (Steven Slate SSD4 Platinum) for programming drums, and am also looking at buying a Fender Precision Bass so that I can record bass. Iíll also need a good quality vocal mic and am looking at the Shure SM7B, which by all accounts works well for aggressive vocals (I play metal).

As you would expect with my current setup, the results Iím getting arenít great. Itís the same old story of mixes translating badly from my recording room to other systems. One recording will sound great on my system but then listening in my car I realize there is a whole heap of flubby bass going on which I wasnít able to hear on my computer monitors. (Probably due to the range of the monitors extending to only 70Hz). The MA-15Dís have a Ďbass enhancerí switch, which apparently operates on psycho-acoustic principles that ďconvert low frequencies into a series of overtones the human ear cannot distinguish from the original low frequencies.Ē Flicking this switch definitely increases the bass, but I then find that there is far too much bass, and that mixes made using this setting totally lack bass and sound very harsh and brittle. I suspect that the harshness also comes from a dip in the speakerís frequency response between 2 and 4kHz, although finding data to support this seems impossible. Either way, I feel like Iím flying totally blind with my current set up.

So, the first question Iím asking is what to prioritize when buying new gear for this studio (including acoustic treatment) and whether my current gear is good enough. Acoustic treatment at the main reflection points logically seems to be the first point of call, followed by bass traps. From what Iíve read most modern soundcards do a pretty good job, so my main concern (apart from acoustic treatment) is regarding my monitors. Iím fully aware of the importance of acoustic treatment and that this should probably be my first priority before doing anything else, but also feel that no amount of acoustic treatment will ever make these speakers sound flat, and that even with the room fully treated Iíll still be flying blind. So, I basically need to know what items to prioritize out of: better monitors, acoustic treatment, the Fender P bass, Shure SM7B, and Axe FX II unit. I suspect that in the end Iíll probably require them all, but saving up and prioritizing is important.

This also gets me onto a whole other issue of how to choose studio monitors and trying to obtain accurate data regarding theseÖ But perhaps I should leave that for another thread.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

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#2611735 - 07/16/14 09:10 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Rky Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/15/06
Posts: 162
Loc: Chicagoland,Illinois,USA
I think you're on the right track with first treating your acoustic space. But, as you already know, monitors are an integral component in the listening chain so you need to make a good choice there too.

You might try to see how your current monitors perform before and after room treatment using measuring software like REW.

If you want different/new monitors, one way to go about it is first determine your price range then search what's out there and finally see if you can compare what others say via reviews and hopefully you can get advice from this and other forums.

Check this one out:

http://therecordingrevolution.com/

Cheers,
Rock


Edited by Rky (07/16/14 09:11 AM)

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#2611816 - 07/16/14 12:48 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Rky]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Rock gave you great advice, and I'll add a bit more. Usually, hearing too much bass in the car is due to severe nulls in your mixing room. Boomy bass is more about the 100-250 Hz range rather than below 70 Hz where your speakers fall short. A 4-inch woofer is not great, so getting better / larger speakers after you do some basic acoustic treatment is a good idea. Also, speakers don't have a ragged response like you see for room measurements. Usually they're more flat than not over their stated range, falling off at the high and low extremes. This is a simplification for sure, but I don't want you to think a speaker would have 10 dB peaks or 30 dB nulls.

--Ethan

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#2612514 - 07/19/14 04:53 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Thanks for the advice guys! Much appreciated.

As far as bass trapping goes, I'm under the impression that Owens Corning 705-FRK is the best bet, 4 inches thick and spaced 4 inches away from the wall, with the paper facing inwards towards the room. I'm also under the impression that the corners of the room are the first place I should target.

I'm less clear on what to use on the main reflection points and how thick this material should be. Is Owens Corning 703 the best bet here?

Thanks again.

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#2613035 - 07/21/14 10:39 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Yes and Yes.

For reflection points, two inches thick is good, with or without a 2-inch gap. Even one inch thick flat against the wall works well enough, though thicker is better and adding a gap is better still. You can use either 703 or 705, but it must be plain, not FRK.

--Ethan

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#2613799 - 07/23/14 09:27 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Thanks again for your reply! It's much appreciated.

I've discovered that Owens Corning isn't readily available where I live (Australia), so I've been looking for a locally available alternative. It appears that this company http://www.insulation.com.au/ has a licence to use Owens Corning's designs here, and therefore should make similar products. I've been trying to ascertain which products are most like 703 and 705-FRK by looking at the absorption coefficients, but have been having a little difficulty.

In this thread another forum member from Australia set up a studio using the company's products, using this one Semi-Rigid at the main reflection points and this one Rigid for bass trapping.

By matching the absorption coefficients with data I found here I can see that there is noticeable variance between the Owens Corning products and the products used in the thread above. The particularly concerning figure is for the rigid fibreglass product, which has a much lower absorption coefficient at 125Hz. I've also noticed that 705 has a density of 96kg per cubic metre, whereas the rigid fibreglass listed above is only 48kg per cubic metre. I've only been able to find one product on the site that has an equal density to 705, but it's performance at 125Hz still seems poor in comparison. http://www.insulation.com.au/products-1/high-density-equipment-insulation-hdei It's also difficult to tell whether the 'Black tissue faced' and 'Perf. foil faced' varieties are intended to be similar to FRK.

I'm a bit stuck at the moment. Surely for bass traps you'd want better absorption at 125Hz? I've searched the company's site but have been unable to find anything more suitable. frown


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#2613987 - 07/24/14 12:07 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
The difference between 45 kgm3 and 90 kgm3 becomes less and less with thicker material. So at two inches thick 90 kgm3 is much better than 45, but at six inches thick the difference is much smaller. As you go even thicker the difference becomes insignificant. So if you make your bass traps at lest six inches thick I think you should be fine.

--Ethan

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#2618318 - 08/09/14 07:14 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Thanks again for the reply, it's much appreciated.

I've contacted the company just to confirm that they don't make any products that are closer to 703 or 705-FRK. (If I can use material only 4 inches thick, then this is preferable.) Otherwise I'll go with the 6+ inches of material listed earlier.

In the meantime I've also ordered a Shure SM7B microphone for recording vocals. This microphone has a great reputation for capturing aggressive vocals, which is the style I'm going for. This being said, there was one spec that concerned me a little. The frequency range on the microphone is listed as 50Hz to 20,000Hz. Obviously 20,000Hz is the highest the human ear can hear, but I'm wondering whether the 50Hz limit could reduce the microphone's versatility a little. Although I doubt I could ever sing that low (I do have quite a bassy voice) some of my favourite singers can get slightly below this frequency. Here's a clip of a 15 year old getting to G1 (around 49Hz). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3iqPaUlekw

If I needed to capture a singer like this, I'm guessing the microphone would be incapable of doing this? I'm also a tad confused as some people have claimed that the SM7B sounds great when used to mic a bass cab, however the low E of a bass guitar (in standard tuning) has a fundamental frequency of around 41Hz. Would they be hearing entirely harmonics at this point?

Just a tad confused about this and whether the range stopping at 50Hz would reduce the microphone's usefulness.

Thanks again.

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#2618630 - 08/11/14 09:07 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Microphones do not cut off suddenly at some frequency. Neither do loudspeakers, or preamps, or acoustic treatment panels. Everything has a roll-off curve. According to the official SM7B spec sheet the response is 5 dB down at 50 Hz, and you can see the slope and estimate what happens at lower frequencies:

http://cdn.shure.com/specification_sheet/upload/83/us_pro_sm7b_specsheet.pdf

So I'm sure this microphone will be fine for anyone's vocals.

--Ethan

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#2623187 - 08/27/14 07:02 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Thanks once again for the advice. smile

For any Australian forum members - don't bother trying to contact Fletcher Insulation via their website. I emailed them twice over a period of three weeks and never received a reply. I ended up calling the company directly and spoke to a representative this way. Specifically, I enquired as to whether they made products equivalent to Owens Corning 703 and 705-FRK. The representative was only able to tell me that the '32kg and 48kg' density fibreglass would probably be the equivalent. I couldn't get any more detailed information than this. It seems that the best way to find out which product is best is by going through all of the datasheets on the company's website and comparing the absorption coefficients directly.

After searching through all of the company's products, the best product that I could find is the 'Mineral Wool Slab'. The absorption coefficients can be found here. It appears that this material is available in a density of 96kg/m3, which is the same density as 703 and 705-FRK. It is also available in exactly 2 and 4 inches (50.8mm and 101.6mm respectively). The datasheet states that it can be supplied with 'different facing options' although doesn't state what these are, nor does the datasheet contain absorption coefficients for the different facings. The datasheet for the 48kg/m3 Rigid Glasswool sheet linked earlier in the thread (available here) states that 'Black Tissue Facing' and 'Perf. Foil Facing' are available, so I'm guessing that the Mineral Wool Slab has the same options available. The absorption coefficients in this datasheet however only show a slight difference between these facings and the plain fibreglass.

My plan is to use the 96kg/m3 Mineral Wool Slab for both the reflection points and for bass trapping around the room. The only difference being that I will use 2 inches thick for the reflection points, and 4 inches for bass trapping.

So, after that long spiel, a couple of questions:

1. Does the plan above sound like a good idea? Is using this material for both reflection points and bass trapping the best option based on what is available?

2. Is is worth getting the foil or tissue facing on the front of the bass traps? Further, does most foil on rigid fibreglass function similarly to the foil in 705-FRK? The lack of data on this on the company's website makes the issue a little confusing. If the foil doesn't serve the same purpose at the 705-FRK foil, I might be better off without it. Not sure what to do in this regard.

Thanks once again for your help.

P.S. Thread needs more cats.




Edited by asdfasd (08/27/14 07:05 PM)

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#2623285 - 08/28/14 10:49 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
1. Sure.

2. A thin paper facing is good for corner bass traps, and other places too that are not at reflection points.

Yes to more cats. thu

--Ethan


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#2623418 - 08/29/14 12:13 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Have just been making a few phone calls trying to obtain the 96kg/m3 mineral wool I listed above.. oh man.. so much incompetence.

The supplier I contacted was shocked at the thickness I wanted and also didn't have any of the product I was asking about. He suggested a different product but only had it in 25ml thick. ( This is the product by the way). It doesn't perform nearly as well at 125Hz as the other product. He also claimed "all of companies I know that make acoustic treatment use this product at 25ml thick." If that's the case, they're probably incompetent.

I then called Fletcher Insulation directly. The woman there denied that they make 96kg/m3 material at all, and claimed that the highest they make is 80kg/m3. I didn't even bother asking about paper facing because it was clear she had no idea what she was talking about.

So far, it seems impossible to get the material I want, and no one I talk to has the faintest idea about acoustic treatment at all. Urgh. If I lived in the US I would have had this sorted weeks ago. No wonder industry is packing up and leaving Australia.

Me:



P.S. Emma is awesome smile


Edited by asdfasd (08/29/14 12:14 AM)

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#2625185 - 09/05/14 12:25 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Anyone know of any places in the US that might be willing to ship 703 and 705-FRK to Australia? Really want to get my hands on some of this stuff.

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#2625843 - 09/08/14 05:52 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
If anyone is interested - gik acoustics in the US are prepared to ship to 703 and 705-FRK to Australia. The only problem is that shipping works out to around $350 per box. So for 4 boxes worth of material (around $400 for the products themselves) the shipping is around $1400. Looks like I'll have to settle for some of the sub-standard products available in Australia.

Also wanted to say how great gik acoustics were to deal with. I emailed Glenn, the President of the company, and he replied to my email very quickly with an estimate of the cost of shipping etc. Was very helpful. I love good customer service. Was in stark contrast to the experience I had dealing with companies here.

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#2626023 - 09/09/14 12:47 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
RealTraps also ships to Australia, and we have a dealer there, but the shipping does add a lot to the cost. I'm sure mineral wool or similar that's available in Australia will work well for you.

--Ethan

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#2626097 - 09/09/14 06:16 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
I've previously looked into buying RealTraps here, but unfortunately as you say shipping does add a lot to the cost and I'm on a bit of a budget frown

This seems to be the most popular stuff in Australia as far as I can tell: Polymax

Not mineral wool, but polyester insulation. Is it still suitable for bass trapping? The absorption coefficients look pretty good. The other downside is that it's not available with a foil or tissue facing. Not sure whether it's possible to add regular foil to this kind of product to make it pseudo-FRK.

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#2626265 - 09/10/14 11:32 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
I don't know about that Polymax. It seems to absorb less bass than an equivalent thickness of rigid fiberglass or mineral wool.

--Ethan

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#2628837 - 09/21/14 10:39 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Hi again all,

Any thoughts on this product? It's the first product I've found available in Australia that looks really good. Looks like it performs well at low frequencies - any advice as to whether the product is appropriate for treating main reflection points and for bass trapping would be appreciated.

The only downside is that it doesn't come with a foil facing. Is it possible to add this later? Is it just normal foil or is there a special kind that I'd need to buy?

Kind Regards,
asdfasd

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#2629204 - 09/23/14 12:17 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
I'm sure that stuff is fine. As long as its surface is reasonably straight and solid, you can use spray glue to bond thin paper to the side facing the room.

--Ethan

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#2629273 - 09/23/14 09:59 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Thanks for the reply, I'll see if the company has some in stock. twothumbs

In terms of the paper facing, I've read that a lot of bass traps have a 'kraft paper' facing. This is what I've found locally. Is it suitable? Or would I be better getting something even thinner?

Cheers.

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#2629368 - 09/24/14 11:27 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Yes, that paper is fine.

--Ethan

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#2631968 - 10/06/14 09:06 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Hi again,

Hopefully this will be my last post regarding rigid fibreglass purchasing advice - thank you for your patience so far!

It turns out that the material I linked to above (MPS 400) actually has a density of 80kg/m3, rather than the >100kg/m3 originally specified. Although this isn't strictly a problem, I found that the company also stocks a product called MPS 500, which appears to be the same product but with a density of 100kg/m3. Data sheet for the MPS range can be found here

The data sheet above only gives absorption data for a lower density version of MPS (50kg/m3) at 50mm thick, and the MPS 400 data sheet I linked above (or here) only provides data for 50mm thick 80kg/m3 fibreglass. Based on the rather limited data available, does MPS 500 at 100mm thick still seem like a good option for bass trapping?

My plan is to have 4 100mm thick panels for the main reflection points (also providing some bass trapping) as well as an additional 8 panels with kraft paper facing to serve as bass traps in the room corners (as in this picture.)

Should I pay up and give the salesperson the go ahead to ship the product?

Thanks once more.

asdfasd

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#2632173 - 10/07/14 01:52 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
I'm sure any of those will work fine. What matters most is thickness and total surface coverage. So Yes, go pay for it and get started! grin

--Ethan

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#2635390 - 10/23/14 07:15 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Well, after being in contact with that company for a month regarding getting the right product and sorting out price and shipping details, I was informed today that the products I'm looking at aren't available in Australia. Hooray. That process took a month. frown

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#2635555 - 10/24/14 11:29 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Sheesh! hitt

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#2636000 - 10/26/14 11:18 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
So, while continuing to look for products available in my city I stumbled across this thread at gearslutz discussing two of the products I am researching.

The thread confused me a bit - I've been under the impression that higher density rigid fibreglass (around 96kg/m3) is preferable for main reflections points and for creating bass traps (this seems to be the case when looking at absorption coefficients for various products). However the thread indicates that lower densities may be preferable for bass traps. Am I better off looking for a 48kg/m3 density? Some of the advice in the thread seems to conflict with most of what I know about acoustic treatment. Something about the gas flow resistivity of the materials? Confusing. idk

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#2636082 - 10/27/14 09:40 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Density is less important than thickness and total surface coverage. I've seen "simulations" of absorption versus density, but the only real test I know of is my own:

Density Report

--Ethan

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#2636417 - 10/28/14 07:10 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Thanks for the link, the report was interesting reading twothumbs

In light of the consensus that thickness and total surface coverage is more important than density, I've decided that it doesn't make much sense for me to continue searching for higher density fibreglass, when I could simply buy more of a lower density fibreglass and make thicker panels (at a cheaper price too).

My idea was to buy 60kg/m3 Bradford Fibertex 350 (datasheet here ) and make panels 200mm thick for each corner (from floor to ceiling), as well as having 50mm thick panels to treat main reflection points. I would cover the front of the 200mm panels with the kraft paper linked earlier in the thread. I'd then also have another 200mm thick bass trap and another 100mm bass trap left over to place elsewhere in the room.

Does this sound like a good plan? Or is 200mm overkill? Would sticking to 100mm be better?

Thanks once again for your advice/ patience. Kitten for your trouble:



Edited by asdfasd (10/28/14 07:14 PM)

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#2636618 - 10/29/14 12:25 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Yes, 200 mm is great, and extra thickness is never overkill.

Back atcha with my baby Emma who also has green eyes.

--Ethan


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#2637746 - 11/03/14 05:41 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Emma is awesome!

This is my girl, Lily. My wife and I adopted her from a shelter around 3 years ago. We believe she's half Abyssinian. She's very smart but also incredibly naughty. She's practically ruined the chair she's sitting on there. She's a very spoilt cat smile


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#2637748 - 11/03/14 05:44 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Just while I'm here - does anyone have instructions/ plans on how to build the type of bass traps I've described above? I can find a lot of videos online about building 'superchunk' style bass traps but none for the particular corner bass traps I'm building. I'm not much of a handyman so need all the guidance I can get!

Cheers again.

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#2637883 - 11/04/14 08:49 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Lily is beautiful. Give her a big kiss from me. thu

What specifically do you need help with? Bass traps can be as simple as rigid insulation stuffed into a plastic bag stacked near the corners, or as fancy as a wooden frame with attractive fabric stretched tightly and stapled, with the staples covered with thin wood strips.

--Ethan

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#2638211 - 11/05/14 05:04 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Gave Lily a kiss/ hug for you smile Not sure she knew who 'Ethan from the US' was though laugh

I guess my main query is about how to build the frames for the traps. I was planning on making basic frames that correlate to the size of the fibreglass panels, so 1200mm x 600mm x 200mm. I was then going to staple burlap around them to keep the fibreglass in place, and then stack one trap on top of the other in the room corners (so that they can still be moved around later if needed).

So I guess I have a couple of questions -
-Should I build a frame that covers the entire sides of the fibreglass like this or try to leave the sides exposed like this?
-Do I need to build some sort of feet for the frames so that they don't fall over when stacked on top of one another? Or should I be looking to fix them to the wall permanently?
-At 60kg/m3, is the fibreglass rigid enough to stand up on its own inside the trap, or do I need to use some sort of chicken wire to keep it from collapsing internally?
-Is building an outer frame enough? Or do I need some sort of support in the middle of the trap like this? Would a beam in the middle of the trap like this reduce the trap's effectiveness?

Also, the door to the room I'm treating is in one of the corners. (Kind of like the white door in this picture.) Am I better off leaving the door open when mixing and placing that corner bass trap elsewhere, or shutting the door and placing the bass trap in the corner behind the door?

I guess later on I'll have some questions about how to hang the other panels from the walls and from the ceiling to wall corners.

Thanks again for your help.

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#2638405 - 11/06/14 11:23 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Exposed sides add a lot more surface area. For 4-inch thick panels it's 50 percent more surface! So there's your answer.

I don't have good answers for your other questions. I've done very little with rock wool and I don't know how stable / sturdy it is. If you need to support it, you'll know when you get the material.

An open door is a good bass trap. But it depends on what's beyond the door. Measuring with room software will tell you which is better.

--Ethan

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#2653278 - 01/08/15 06:18 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
So, I've finally started building these things. All of the frames are now finished, and I'm just waiting for the insulation store to reopen on the 12th of Jan so I can buy the rockwool. For the bass traps, I built frames that leave the sides of the rockwool exposed as well (for additional absorption). Should I cover the sides with the paper facing too?

I just re-read your last post, specifically the "I've done very little with rock wool" part, and have just realised that rockwool and rigid fibreglass are different things.. I thought they were different names for the same product. shocked


Edited by asdfasd (01/08/15 09:34 PM)

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#2653303 - 01/08/15 09:33 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
I'm just looking into the differences between rockwool & rigid fibreglass, and a couple of comments on other forums have me a tad concerned, namely in this thread. Bryan from gik acoustics says that rockwool is 'not fun' to work with for main reflection points, particularly on the ceiling, and you comment that rockwool has a tendency to sag and get lumpy over time.

Obviously I'd love for the panels I'm making to last a long time. I'm confident that they'll perform well acoustically, but I'd hate to have to go through the process of making them all over again in 5 years time due to the panels sagging or going lumpy. Am I better off saving up and paying more than twice as much for rigid fibreglass? My other idea was to put a few pieces of wire across the frames to offer additional support for the rockwool. Not sure if this would stop the sagging/ lumping issue...

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#2653316 - 01/08/15 11:51 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Steve2701 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 217
Loc: West Mids, UK
I have made first reflection point panels in full size panels (600x1200) from both 100mm thick and 50mm thick - 60kg. Both look identical from the day they were made. some are 5 years old. Both covered in plain muslin.
I would make the same again without a worry.
The ceiling would be most likely to sag - again, an entire ceiling has not moved at all. As there are now three full ceilings done in this manner - one of which is also 5 years old, I am happy to do the same again.
One of those ceilings contains 250+ panels.
I have used both Knauf and Rockwool trade names in these.

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#2653331 - 01/09/15 05:00 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Steve2701]
Rky Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/15/06
Posts: 162
Loc: Chicagoland,Illinois,USA
I have also used rockwool (Thermafiber Safing 2'x4' 4" thick) for bass traps and early reflections. It's fairly rigid and holds it's shape but does shed small pieces and granular, sandlike "dust" when handled or cut (cut with a fine tooth hand saw if needed). I wrapped the panels with cheap landscape fabric and it effectively contains any loose bits, of which there is actually a very small amount.

Wear gloves, long sleeves and face mask when handling. The material is not toxic but does cause discomfort.

I did not mount or hang any panels from the ceiling so I don't know if the panels will sag as they might. If they do sag, I imagine it would be only slightly. To prevent sag, you might consider some kind of reinforcement like wood or thin metal battens. But as Steve points out above, he has seen no such problems.

Cheers,
Rock

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#2653464 - 01/09/15 11:22 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Originally Posted By: asdfasd
Should I cover the sides with the paper facing too?

No.

It looks like Steve has you covered on the rest.

--Ethan

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#2654107 - 01/11/15 08:02 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Thanks for the advice all! Will be ordering the panels today.

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#2655692 - 01/17/15 06:04 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
So, I've got two panels completed so far for the main reflection points. Still have 2 more to go, plus the 6 bass traps. Will hopefully finish them tomorrow.

Just a question about the placement of the panels for the main reflection points - should the panels be positioned vertically or horizontally on the wall? I thought that horizontally would make more sense, as I move back and forward in my chair more than I do up or down. I figure that the ceiling panel should be horizontal (parallel to the two speakers) and that the back panel should probably also be horizontal. That being said I've always noticed that people put the side panels vertically. Is either positioning ok?

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#2655697 - 01/17/15 06:50 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Rky Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/15/06
Posts: 162
Loc: Chicagoland,Illinois,USA
Yes, I think you're right about the side panels horizontal since your head height from the floor/ceiling will be fairly constant. The ceiling panels would ideally be in line length wise from each speaker to your head. That would put them on a diagonal. You could also cover the entire (or most of) area between both speakers and your head keeping the overall shape square or rectangular. If you do this, you will use more panels but in the process, have more bass trapping as a bonus.

Side panels paced vertically on other wall areas are good for taming flutter echoes. Again if you place 2 panels together to form a square at your reflection point, you'll be that much better off.

Cheers,
Rock


Edited by Rky (01/17/15 06:50 AM)

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#2659106 - 01/27/15 05:48 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Rky]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Thanks for the advice Rock! smile

I've now finished building all of the panels and bass traps. They look pretty nice! Below are some of the bass traps:



For a couple of the panels (I was particularly thinking of the one that will hang from the ceiling) I used some twine for extra support for the rockwool as below. Am I right in saying that this shouldn't affect the performance of the panels?



Now all that's left to do is to hang/install them in the right places in my room. At the moment they're just sitting in the room as I haven't had time to hang them etc, but already the room sounds a lot better.

Just a question regarding the bass traps - I'm aiming to cover each corner of the room from floor to ceiling by stacking two of the bass traps on top of one another. However the skirting board along the bottom of the wall means that there's a 2-3cm gap at each side of the bass traps (the traps aren't touching the walls). There's also a bit of a gap at the top of the traps, as the size of the wood + rockwool didn't exactly match the height of my room. The gap from the top of the bass traps to the ceiling is between 5-10cm.

Is this a problem? Should I be aiming to fill all of these spaces so that the traps are completely snug against the wall/ceiling? Just so you can picture what I mean, here's one of the traps stacked on top of another in the corner. (Also need to find a way to secure these so they don't fall over!)



Almost there!

asdfasd

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#2659205 - 01/27/15 09:44 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Yes, twine has no effect.

I've never tested bass traps tight in a corner versus with a small gap. I doubt it makes much difference. The main thing is to get thick absorption in the general vicinity of a corner. grin

--Ethan

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#2659326 - 01/27/15 03:50 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Excellent! Exactly what I wanted to hear smile

I forgot to mention that it's not regular cotton twine - it's a plastic looking 'poly' twine - this stuff. Will it still have no effect?

I've got a couple of ideas for fitting the traps into the corners a bit more snugly, as well as a way to get them closer to the ceiling. I'll post some photos when it's all set up!

Not long until I start bugging you all about choosing studio monitors.. shocked

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#2659569 - 01/28/15 09:17 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
With acoustics, it's the big stuff that matters most. Twine? Not so much. grin

--Ethan

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#2669248 - 03/01/15 11:17 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Ok... looks like the time has come to start asking questions about studio monitors shocked

I put off hanging up my panels at my main reflection points, as I realised that the height of the panels will need to be adjusted when I get new monitors so that the centre of the panels line up with the tweeters. If I was creative enough to mount the panels on adjustable stands the problem would go away, but for now there's no point putting extra holes in my walls.

Is there a reliable method for choosing monitors? I've read countless reviews and watched videos on all kinds of monitors, but ultimately none give a reliable indication of the monitor's response. Most information out there is just people giving their opinions, or marketing hype. Finding reliable data on frequency response is also very difficult due to different averaging techniques the companies use to make the data look better. Going and listening to speakers in the store is also not ideal, as the speakers that sound the best aren't always going to be the flattest.

How should I go about this? My aim is to have monitors that are as flat as possible and that therefore translate well. I want to use the monitors for recording, mixing and mastering. I've heard people say that near-fields shouldn't be used for mastering, and basically that any speaker except for the most expensive types cannot be used for mastering (or that if used for mastering would only allow for 'pseudo mastering'.)

I'm willing to save up and spend a fair bit on monitors to get the right results, but am also aware that at a certain price point I might be better off investing in more acoustic treatment, rather than getting more expensive monitors. Knowing where this price point lies however is difficult.

Any advice on how I should go about this would be greatly appreciated. It certainly seems like a dark art.

Cheers.

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#2669375 - 03/02/15 10:54 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Monitor selection is a tough prospect! Not only is there insufficient data, too many "professional" loudspeakers add an intentional dip in the harshness range to sound more pleasing, which is just stupid for speakers meant to make mix decisions. How much are you looking to spend? And where do you live? Near a big retailer that will let you try a few models for a week each until you find a pair you like?

I'm a fan of Mackie speakers because they're flatter than most and also have very low distortion. I've had ten years of experience with my HR624s, and even longer with friends who own HR824s. I know there are many other "good" brands and models, but I don't have experience with enough of them to be of much help.

--Ethan

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#2670189 - 03/05/15 09:15 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
l5357 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 11
If you want to get into the tall grass of nearfield monitor design, check out the the link below which talks about why the Yamaha NS10 was so popular with mix engineers for many many years. Also, here is a link to a number of nearfield monitor test results by an academic expert in the field.

soundonsound

resolution



Edited by l5357 (03/05/15 09:29 AM)

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#2670270 - 03/05/15 11:57 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: l5357]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
That Resolution Magazine link is excellent. Thanks very much for posting it. thu

--Ethan

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#2670415 - 03/06/15 03:10 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: l5357]
Arnold B. Kruege Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/07/14
Posts: 40
Originally Posted By: l5357
If you want to get into the tall grass of nearfield monitor design, check out the the link below which talks about why the Yamaha NS10 was so popular with mix engineers for many many years. Also, here is a link to a number of nearfield monitor test results by an academic expert in the field.

soundonsound

resolution



The Resolution link appears to list no JBLPro, Behringer, or Yamaha products at all - IMO very serious omissions. It's sort of like car reviews with no VW's, Porsches Audis or GM or Ford products.[b][/b]

Doubly problematical because the Resolution speaker tests are pretty good.

The electronics reviews I checked, not at all. Pure subjective dirt!

By being so blind to good popular studio monitors and other major product categories they have skipped over some of the widely used and best sounding products around.

BTW the horizontal performance shown in the HR824 review is a master's class in how to design a speaker, but in the vertical direction it has been thoroughly eclipsed by the JBL Pro LSR 305/308 and the Behringer Truth.


Edited by Arnold B. Kruege (03/06/15 12:43 PM)

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#2670609 - 03/07/15 12:59 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Arnold B. Kruege]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Thanks for the links! Very helpful. Would have loved to have seen the Yamaha HS8 included. People seem to really like them, despite many saying they are 'nowhere near' good enough to master on. Difficult to know what to believe.

It's also difficult to know how much to spend on monitors. If spending more definitely gets you a flatter response, then I guess I'd save up as much as I needed to. However it seems that this isn't always the case. Sources like the link above are rare, and don't cover a lot of the speakers I've been considering. Perhaps I need to restrict my options to the speakers covered in the link above, just so I have reliable data to base my decision on.

I don't live particularly close to an audio retailer, but I guess I could ask around to see if any in my city would let me try monitors before buying. I don't particularly trust my ears in this regard though - as we've already said, the speakers that sound the most pleasing aren't necessarily the most accurate.

Am I right in saying that at a certain price point my money would better spent on more bass trapping and acoustic treatment, rather than top of the line speakers? It's difficult to know what is an appropriate budget considering the acoustic treatment I currently have.

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#2670687 - 03/07/15 08:25 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
l5357 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 11
Yes, there are a number of nearfield monitor candidates missing from the resolution tests. For instance, I would like to see the test results for the Event Opals. But the methodology used and test results reported are instructive.


Edited by l5357 (03/07/15 08:31 AM)

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#2670718 - 03/07/15 11:38 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: l5357]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Philip Newell's book Recording Studio Design shows response and waterfall graphs for a large number of popular studio monitors. The problem with all such reports is they quickly become obsolete because so many new models are introduced all the time.

--Ethan

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#2670839 - 03/08/15 07:28 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Very much agree about the Event Opals. Would love to see those test results, as when I think about saving up for very good monitors, it's usually the Opals that I have in mind.

I'll have to see if I can get my hands on Philip Newell's book.

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#2670902 - 03/08/15 11:23 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
I'll warn you, Newell's book is excellent but it's very pricey.

--Ethan

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#2671001 - 03/09/15 02:16 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
After looking up the price of the book, I think I might be better off putting the money towards my monitors razz

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#2671011 - 03/09/15 05:07 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Rky Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/15/06
Posts: 162
Loc: Chicagoland,Illinois,USA
Did you try the library? Some networks can search the entire country. I've gotten books as far away as Alaska.

Cheers,
Rock

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#2672124 - 03/12/15 01:13 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Rky]
l5357 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 11
Arnold, the Newell book referred to by Ethan above does contain test results for the JBL LSR 25 and 32 and the Behringer truth monitors. Those tests were conducted by Keith Holland who also did the tests posted at the resolution magazine website linked in my post above. Curiously, the book contains some test results not on the website and vice versa.

It is remarkable how well the original Mackie HR824's perform relative to even much costlier monitors. Unfortunately, it appears that the Mk2 version of those don't have as flat a frequency response and have more low-frequency distortion, although whether that would be noticeable in actual use would remain to be seen.


Edited by l5357 (03/12/15 02:13 PM)

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#2672234 - 03/12/15 10:20 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: l5357]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Libraries in my city don't appear to have that book unfortunately. I did find a frequency response graph for the Event Opals on their site here although I don't know how reliable it is. Am I right in saying that the displayed frequency response isn't overly impressive for a $3000 monitor anyway?

When reading up on good monitors everyone is mentioning monitor controllers. Is it necessary to have a monitor controller? The list of things to buy seems never-ending..

Edit: To find the frequency response in the link above you'll need to click on 'specs' first.


Edited by asdfasd (03/12/15 10:22 PM)

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#2672245 - 03/13/15 01:48 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: l5357]
Arnold B. Kruege Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/07/14
Posts: 40
Originally Posted By: l5357
Arnold, the Newell book referred to by Ethan above does contain test results for the JBL LSR 25 and 32 and the Behringer truth monitors.


Yes, in Figure A.2.1 on page 667 there is on-axis frequency response and nonlinear distortion for the B2031s, and later on impulse response. However, its not clear whether these were the active or passive models, and there seems to be no information about the highly important off-axis response.

BTW I never said it wasn't here because when I made the comment the reference to the book hadn't gone up. I was strangely enough referring to what I could possibly know about the time - what was on the web. Sorry to fail your standards for omniscience. ;-)

Quote:

Those tests were conducted by Keith Holland who also did the tests posted at the resolution magazine website linked in my post above. Curiously, the book contains some test results not on the website and vice versa.


That the information about the Behrs and the JBLs apparently never made it to the web is a bit strange.

Quote:

It is remarkable how well the original Mackie HR824's perform relative to even much costlier monitors. Unfortunately, it appears that the Mk2 version of those don't have as flat a frequency response and have more low-frequency distortion, although whether that would be noticeable in actual use would remain to be seen.


I don't think it is all that remarkable that a well-designed lower cost speaker could perform well. IME most of the stuff that makes audio equipment costly is either intangible or comes from the tonnage and jewelry school of audio anti-engineering. ;-)

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#2672383 - 03/13/15 11:25 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Arnold B. Kruege]
l5357 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 11
Arnold, you apparently misread my post as being critical of your post. No such thing was intended. I was merely pointing out that there is additional information out there that was not available on the website.


Edited by l5357 (03/13/15 11:33 AM)

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#2672384 - 03/13/15 11:25 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
LOL at the response graphed at 20 dB per division. They don't even include horizontal lines so you can figure out the dB span. None the less, that doesn't seem too bad. Then again, the line looks like smoothing was applied, but they don't specify the amount of smoothing. freak

Distortion above 500 Hz seems pretty good at 1 percent or less, but who knows how bad it is below 200 Hz!

This is why I always suggest buying speakers from a local dealer when possible, with the understanding that you can return them within a week or so if to don't like them.

--Ethan

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#2672389 - 03/13/15 11:35 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
l5357 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 11
Agreed Ethan. I find the Holland-style of test results far more useful than what is posted by the manufacturer in the case of the Opals.

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#2672393 - 03/13/15 11:41 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: l5357]
l5357 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 11
I don't use a hardware monitor controller because my audio interface (RME Fireface) has a pretty good software controller for routing and mixing signals.

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#2672676 - 03/14/15 07:09 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: l5357]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Went into a pro audio store in my city yesterday to listen to the Event Opals. To be honest I'm even more confused than I was before. I went in hoping (and expecting) to be blown away by the Opals but I didn't like them very much at all. In the store's listening room they had also had a set of Genelec 8040Bs, and a set of Genelec 8050Bs.

I found the Opals to be a bit scooped. The guitars seemed to sit at the back of the mix, and as a guitarist playing in a genre that is heavily guitar focused, this is pretty much a deal breaker. I also found I couldn't hear much separation between each instrument. The Opals didn't sound particularly detailed to me. I was absolutely shocked because I've never read a bad review of the Opals, in fact many reviews claim that these are the greatest speakers ever. Mine is the first negative review of the Opals I've ever heard, however the guy at the store said that most people that come into the store to hear them don't like them either.

I was much more impressed by the Genelecs. I could hear more of the guitars, although they probably still were a little too scooped for me. The bass was really good, and I could hear far more detail in each individual instrument. The high end seemed a tad harsh. I probably preferred the sound of the 8040B, but the 8050B extends right down to around 35Hz, whereas the 8040B only goes to around 45Hz, which is still probably low enough for my purposes.

I got home and did some research into the 8040 and 8050, and people were saying similar things about the mids being a bit scooped, and recommended the Focal Twin6 BE as a better option. I'd initially never looked at these because they only have 6.5 inch woofers. Apparently they still go down to 40Hz though, which is great for me. Where I live however they are far more expensive than the other options. Also, when I start researching the Focals, many people start talking about the Opals once again, or the much more expensive Focal SM9s (around $11,000 here - way out of my budget).

Anyway, I'm more confused than when I started. Monitor selection seems to be a giant rabbit hole which once entered you may never return.

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#2672792 - 03/15/15 12:38 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
The proliferation of "professional" speakers having an intentionally scooped response is a huge problem. But it's possible that effect was due to lack of acoustic consideration. What was the listening environment like at the store?

--Ethan

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#2672881 - 03/15/15 10:22 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
The store's acoustic treatment (or lack thereof) is the other big issue. Considering I'll have to go to other stores to try out speakers as well, I'll be comparing different speakers in different acoustic environments. Very difficult to make an accurate assessment this way.

The store where I listened had some foam-style diffusers in the room, but no bass trapping or broadband absorption that I could see. The lack of proper acoustic treatment in these areas is pretty staggering.

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#2673056 - 03/16/15 01:25 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Yes, it's amazing that some "pro" audio stores are so clueless about the importance of acoustics, and how strongly it affects the sound of the loudspeakers they're trying to sell you. freak

--Ethan

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#2673354 - 03/17/15 01:31 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
NigelSpiers Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/19/13
Posts: 31
Loc: New Zealand
Hi,
Having just been through the process of purchasing a second pair of studio monitors - I fully concur with Ethan - you have to listen to them in YOUR room before you buy.
I live in a smallish city and therefore had to contact the distributor in another city and ask them if I could buy the chosen monitors on a sale or return basis.
Thank goodness because despite the rave reviews and the fact the half the studio owners and musicians I know have the same monitors they were not right for me and I returned them.
Best Regards
_________________________
Nigel Spiers
NZ Acoustics Ltd
Acoustic solutions for studios, home theatres, schools & cafes
www.nzacoustics.com
info@nzacoustics.com

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#2675806 - 03/28/15 11:18 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: NigelSpiers]
Rky Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/15/06
Posts: 162
Loc: Chicagoland,Illinois,USA
Follow up on the Phillip Newell book: My local library is a member/participant in two different library networks. One local and the other seems to be nationwide. I just picked up my copy that came from the Vincennes University Library (Indiana) via the latter. If you look hard enough, I'd hope you would be able to get a hold of this book too. It really is a weighty tome chock full of audio and acoustic goodness. I'll just skim this for fun but I would think any serious studio designer would want to keep this book on a shelf within easy reach.

Cheers,
Rock


Edited by Rky (03/28/15 11:18 AM)

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#2679630 - 04/13/15 08:39 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Rky]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Unfortunately being in Australia our library networks probably aren't as extensive as yours in the US. I'll still keep searching for the book however.

On another note, on the weekend I went to another pro audio store and tried out the Focal Twin 6 BE monitors, as well as 'The Rock Mk2' monitors by Unity Audio. The store recently moved locations and hasn't had a chance to properly acoustically treat the listening area yet (so frustrating..) but these monitors still both appeared to be far superior to the other monitors I've tried so far.

I was amazed at the detail I could hear in the Focal Twins. On a CD that I previously thought sounded perfect I could hear small imperfections in the double tracking of the guitars. Very impressive. The bass extension wasn't as great as I'd like, but the saleperson (who owns a set of Focal Twins himself) said that the bass extension in his treated room at home is much greater. The speakers are supposed to extend to about 40Hz so I believe him in this regard. The only drawback that I could find was that the guitar tone on the CD (which is quite a harsh-sounding distorted tone) appeared to sound a tad smoother than it perhaps should have. I could also hear the slight nasally tone that some people complain of with the Twins, but didn't find this to be nearly as bad as others have said.

The Unity Audio speakers revealed the guitars and midrange better than any other speaker I've heard so far. The harsh guitar tone definitely sounded harsh on these speakers, however listening to the mix in my car again afterwards led me to believe that the monitors may have made the guitar sound overly harsh. The bass response seemed a tad better on these monitors (again, difficult to know how accurate this is in the untreated room), but overall the speakers seemed less detailed. Listening to the Focals everything seemed incredibly open, and I could pick exactly where everything was panned. With the Unity Audio monitors everything seemed a bit squished together.

Overall both monitors were very good, but the Focals are probably the best speakers I've heard so far. Just a pity about the price tag ($5,800 AUD for the pair). I ran out of time this visit but next time plan on auditioning the Quested S7R monitors too.

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#2679776 - 04/14/15 10:52 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
According to their web site:

http://www.focal.com/en/71-sm6

The SM6 is -3dB at 40 Hz, and that's certainly low enough for most monitoring needs.

--Ethan

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#2690644 - 05/24/15 05:24 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Hi again all,

Just thought I'd give you an update on my acoustic treatment. I asked my brother-in-law to help me build some stands for my acoustic panels and he ended up doing an amazing job. The stands (pictured below) can be adjusted vertically, so their height can be altered when I get new monitors. Let me know if you'd like more information on the design of the stands and how they were built; I'd be happy to explain.



Also, having the panels on stands allows me to space them nice and far from the walls. Currently they're sitting 26cm (just over 10 inches) from the walls.



How the panels look set up in the room. The one extra panel laying against the amp is to be hung on the ceiling above the listening position.




The only thing left to do is to hang the ceiling panel and my treatment is done! As you can see there is only one corner that is not treated, due to there being a door that is left open.



So after the ceiling panel is hung I'm ready to get new monitors! I'm currently reading Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior, and he says that in his experience small rooms require at least twelve 10cm thick bass traps in order to achieve a usable monitoring environment. I currently have six 20cm thick bass traps, as well as one 10cm thick bass trap. Do I have enough treatment or do I need 5 more bass traps as he suggests? When I started this process I planned on only spending about $1000 on monitors, but I am now looking at monitors in the $5000 range. Do I need to treat my room more extensively before looking at monitors in the $5000 range? Obviously my goals and budget have changed during this process.

Thanks again for all of your advice guys,
asdfasd

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#2690970 - 05/25/15 10:33 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Looking good. thu

Small rooms need as much bass trapping as possible. Only you can decide when it's enough. Either by measuring, or just listening and concluding "this is good now."

Room treatment matters regardless of how much you spend on loudspeakers.

--Ethan

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#2691101 - 05/25/15 06:58 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Thanks! twothumbs

I guess what I mean is that with this level of treatment, perhaps I won't be able to tell the difference between a $2000 set of monitors and a $5000 set of monitors. Perhaps getting another 5 bass traps would be a better use of money? So many questions. Further and further down the rabbit hole.. hitt

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#2691273 - 05/26/15 12:15 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
I tend to reject equating quality with price. Yes, $5,000 loudspeakers probably sound better than $500 speakers, but not always! The worst speakers I ever heard cost $11,000 per pair. I heard them at a hi-fi show in New York City, and they were atrocious. I mean really terrible. Each speaker had a single 5-inch driver. No woofer, no tweeter, just one midrange speaker.

In any case, I don't think you need more bass traps to appreciate better speakers. If they really are better, you'll hear that with half as many bass traps. grin

--Ethan

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#2695806 - 06/10/15 09:27 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
I often hear people with very small rooms like mine talking about staying away from 8 or 10 inch woofers because they get too many problems with the bass. Would I be better sticking to smaller woofers? Or is it another case of hearing/measuring whether you have enough bass trapping to deal with the extra low end?

P.S. Found my dream monitors. A lazy $15,000 here. freak

http://www.awave.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=4898

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#2695950 - 06/11/15 09:04 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
I disagree with the advice to use small woofers in a small room. That's like sticking your head in the stand. Better to treat the room as fully as possible.

Barefoot speakers are supposed to be great. But personally I'd never spend that much money on a pair of speakers. Well, maybe if I was rich. grin

--Ethan

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#2696682 - 06/14/15 01:45 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
If only hey? Even if I was rich, getting my wife to agree to spend $15,000 on speakers would be a different matter altogether. wink

I guess at least now I know that I'd like 3-way, non-ported monitors. The Focal Twin6 BE still fits the bill, but also isn't cheap. The search continues.

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#2696855 - 06/14/15 06:49 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57

I didn't want to hijack the 'air space between panels' thread for my own purposes, so I thought I'd post this query here.

Originally Posted By: Ethan Winer
Yes, using panels that are too thin leaves gaps in the absorption at some frequencies. You can probably use a gap up to twice or even three times the panel thickness. But at some point the panel is too thin to absorb down to a given frequency, no matter how big the gap is.

I'd say 400 Hz is a reasonable lower limit for reflection absorbers. Early reflections are mainly about mid and high frequencies. Though going lower is also useful.

--Ethan


In light of the above post:

1. Are the absorbers at my main reflection points (pictured above) too thin? The rockwool is 50mm thick but the hessian may have squeezed it down to closer to 45mm.

2. Due to the design of my stands (also pictured above) I can only get the panels to about 8-9 inches from the walls. Do I need to alter the stands to get the panels closer to the walls to avoid gaps in the absorption at certain frequencies?

3. Will the panels be effective enough down to 400Hz?

I'm also a tad confused, as the absorption coefficients for OC 703 seem to indicate that a 16 inch air gap for a 51mm panel is superior:
Freq(Hz) 125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 NRC
On wall: 0.17 0.86 1.14 1.07 1.02 0.98 1.00
16" gap: 0.66 0.95 1.06 1.11 1.09 1.18 1.05

There was no air-gap data available for my material unfortunately.

Sorry for the further barrage of questions. Up until this point I was convinced I was doing everything right!

Cheers.


Edited by asdfasd (06/14/15 07:21 PM)

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#2697030 - 06/15/15 12:29 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
5 cm is thick enough for reflection absorbers. Even flat against a wall you can see it's highly effective down to 250 Hz.

I'm surprised by that data showing so much increase even as low as 125 Hz. I'm sure the data is valid. The problem with "holes" in the absorption is mainly for very thin panels, like 1 cm thick or thinner. There's a graph in Everest's book showing holes with curtains.

I'm sure this data applies exactly the same for all other "standard" porous absorber materials.

--Ethan

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#2697121 - 06/15/15 07:29 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Thanks for the reply! That's great news.

The absorption coefficients for my material are as follows:

125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 5000 NRC
0.21 0.69 1.13 1.15 1.16 1.18 1.14 1.05

I can only assume that this was measured against a wall.

In my position, would you keep the panels at their current distance (10 inches from the wall), move the panels closer to the wall, or move them out to 16 inches? I have to hang my ceiling panel soon, so want to make all panels the same distance away.

Thanks again.

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#2697234 - 06/16/15 10:05 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
I'd put them at least a few inches away from the wall, but at a distance that looks okay and doesn't impinge too much into the room. Ergonomics matters too.

--Ethan

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#2697991 - 06/19/15 01:03 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
So assuming ergonomics allow me to put the panels wherever I want, 16 inches would optimise the effectiveness of the panels without leaving holes in the absorption?


Edited by asdfasd (06/19/15 01:04 AM)

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#2698105 - 06/19/15 09:56 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
I guess 16 inches should be fine. The RFZ panels (1.5 inches thick) on the sides of my living room are about 11 inches out from the walls, and they work fine.

--Ethan

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#2706803 - 07/19/15 07:45 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Just had a bit of a panic - realised that in my original post I wrote my room size in centimetres instead of millimetres. Hopefully everyone assumed this anyway, as I said my room was small. The measurements should have read:

3400mm length
3040mm width
2550mm height

Will I still be able to get good results in a room this size? Is it still worth investing in awesome monitors? razz

Cheers

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#2706843 - 07/20/15 05:11 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Speedskater Offline
Member

Registered: 02/06/15
Posts: 18
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
For those of us that are old school.

3400mm length = 11.2 feet
3040mm width = 10.0 feet
2550mm height = 8.4 feet
_________________________
Kevin

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#2706912 - 07/20/15 10:19 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Speedskater]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
Small and close to square. But I understood mm versus cm. grin

--Ethan

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#2707334 - 07/21/15 05:48 PM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: Ethan Winer]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
I guess a room with a length of 34 metres wouldn't have exactly qualified as 'small'. blush

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#2781997 - 05/31/16 05:21 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
asdfasd Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 57
Hi guys,

Long time since I checked in sorry (PS just read the announcement at the top talking about the different forum - have I been posting in the wrong place all this time? Idiot!)

My studio setup is now basically complete other than the monitors. I'm pretty certain I'll get the Neumann KH310s but it's just a matter of saving up (and getting my mixing skills to a point where I feel I'm worthy of expensive monitors).

Just a quick question - since buying the Shure SM7B I've only tested it out a few times and have only started recording vocals with it recently. I'm running it straight into my Edirol UA-25. I expected to be blown away by the sound (considering the hype surrounding this mic) but was left feeling a bit flat. The vocals sound ok, but not nearly as impressive as I'd expected. Some say that the SM7B sounds average to below average until you pair it with a good preamp which is capable of giving a lot of clean gain. Apparently many preamps can't provide the gain required. The other alternative is a cloudlifter (which Shure recommend if using the mic for voiceover work).

I sing/scream/yell pretty loudly, so I haven't had a problem getting decent sized waveforms into my DAW (loud parts peak at about -3dB.) This is with the preamp sensitivity on the UA-25 turned to about 12:30pm. Admittedly I am very close to the mic and am yelling really loudly. I'm not noticing any preamp hiss (or maybe my ears aren't trained enough to hear small amounts of preamp noise).

The question is, would a cloudlifter or a better preamp (with lots of clean gain) make the SM7B sound better? Everyone seems to suggest this, but I thought this would only be for situations where you're singing quieter. It's strange - people suggest the cloudlifter/preamp thing even for loud vocalists who aren't struggling to get a decent signal. Surely the preamp and cloudlifter don't make the mic 'work' harder, but simply boost what is already there. Can't this just be done in my DAW for the same result? I'd love to be able to make this mic sound better if possible, but I'm pretty confused by the advice that's around.

Thanks in advance.

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#2782069 - 05/31/16 10:21 AM Re: General Recording Setup Advice & Studio Monitor Selection [Re: asdfasd]
Ethan Winer Moderator Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/00
Posts: 8905
Loc: New Milford, CT, USA
My other forum is fairly recent, and questions like this are perfect for posting in the Audio Central section. So please join us there! thu

Microphone hype is very strong, as I'm sure you know. For studio use (not necessarily live) I'd always choose a large diaphragm condenser mic over almost any dynamic. I love my audio technica 4033 (which isn't even that large), and I've heard nothing but good things about their 2020 model which costs only $100. Even top pros praise the 2020, so if I needed another LDC that's probably what I'd get.

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