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Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? #2962205
12/10/18 07:11 PM
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Dreamchilde Offline OP
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Asking for recommendations.

My Alesis M1 Active Mk1s finally died after 20 wonderful years of use. Currently shopping for a replacement.

The Yamaha HS7s look very attractive to me. But I'm wondering if anyone has any insight on those or has a better recommendation.

Tried searching the forum first. Let me know if I missed a thread on this.


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Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Dreamchilde] #2962208
12/10/18 07:15 PM
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ITGITC? Offline
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Good question!

Budget?

Preferred woofer size?

My monitors have a 6.5" woofer and they're fine for my small room. Anything bigger may be too much.

I have a sub, but prefer to run the monitors without it.


"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” - Victor Hugo
Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: ITGITC?] #2962211
12/10/18 07:22 PM
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If your room is on the smaller size (ie. the typical 15x20 bedroom) you don’t need long throw large (8” or more” woofer size). 6.5” or smaller is best. And I can’t stress how important it is to use a product like Auralex’s MoPad if you are going to sit them straight on a desk.


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Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Dreamchilde] #2962212
12/10/18 07:23 PM
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Mark Schmieder Offline
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You have definitely missed some older threads, but you also didn't tell us your room size, which is the most important ingredient in making a decision, along with your desk setup.

For instance, in my tiny tiny room, there is no point in going larger than 5" (6" max), as I can't form the proper listening triangle and working distance with an 8" monitor.

Do you have a huge desk with console in front? If so, then you may be able to create the proper working distance, which is even more important than the room size itself.

Bigger is not necessarily better. Speakers are designed to fit specific setups. And these days, even 4" monitors can be every accurate, from several manufacturers. More likely a sub is needed in such cases.

Several of us here have the best bargain in small-form near-fields of the past five years or so, which are the Neumann KH120's (I'm doing this from memory; I don't pay a lot of attention to model numbers for stuff like that, once I own it). Often found for $1200 or less (per pair), they compete with high-end models that go for $2000 and above. These have 5" drivers.

On smaller budgets, the "norm" is $400/pair before applying special sales and markdowns. Quite a few companies put out competitive models in that price bracket. JBL LSR's are more neutral than many of the others, and though not in the same league as Klein & Hummel (now marketed by Sennheiser as Neumann KH-series), they will generally be more truthful for keyboard and orchestral instruments than some of the other choices (like KRK Rokits -- though I don't know if the latest rev changes that equation). Blue makes some nice small-speaker budget models also.

I tried out the newest Yamaha series when I chose the Neumanns, and found them similar to the surprisingly good higher-end M-Audio offerings (possibly no longer available; the company's products were parceled off to several other companies). Those models get a bit closer to the Dynaudio sound (a corporate relation to Tannoy and TC Electronic). A bit less "rounded" overall than the Neumann design; perhaps more "clinical". I think they might have DSP as well; a trend that now covers almost all manufacturers at every price tier.


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Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: ITGITC?] #2962216
12/10/18 07:38 PM
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Dreamchilde Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: ITGITC?
Good question!

Budget?

Preferred woofer size?

My monitors have a 6.5" woofer and they're fine for my small room. Anything bigger may be too much.

I have a sub, but prefer to run the monitors without it.




Yeah, a 6.5" woofer is fine. I'm a big fan of Yamaha NS-10s and my M1 Actives were great.

Budget-wise: is looks like I'm gonna probably drop at least $600. So anything in that range.

Yes, I'm looking for a pair of very honest monitors. Hope that clarifies.


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http://philipclark.com

King Super 20 Alto, Yamaha MX61, Roland VR-09, MicroKorg XL, Maschine Mikro, M-Audio ProKeys88sx, Roland MKS-50
Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Dreamchilde] #2962219
12/10/18 07:51 PM
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Hah, that's funny -- my post took so long to write, that two others posted similar comments in the meantime. I did not intend to be redundant. :-)

At $600, the Neumanns are out of the question, except they have a new 4"(?) model that I didn't bother looking at as I already had my 5 to 5-1/2" monitors by then. Maybe those hit that price point.

Don't be afraid to go smaller than 6.5" -- it might be an improvement, as it was for me, given room dimensions and working distance. You can't beat the law of physics, so there will be less bass response, but what matters more is linearity and how smoothly and consistently the response falls off below 120 Hz and especially below 80 Hz. Most modern speakers are highly accurate and linear.

My recollection is that the Yamahas are a bit beyond that range, unless on special sale, but as it looks like you don't have the room setup or size for handling 8" monitors, smaller is cheaper so that does help your budget as well.

The third Moonlife album was mixed by the bandleader on Alesis M1's. It came out very well, considering those aren't the most neutral monitors, but Claudio knew how to compensate. I almost bought a pair myself at that point, but that was when Alesis was in trouble so I passed.

The Yamaha HS series would put you in similar sonic territory, but be a few steps up. There was fairly rapid improvement in active monitor quality from 2002 to 2015 or so. Not sure if that has continued, as everyone's caught up in converting to digital.


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Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2962220
12/10/18 07:53 PM
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I didn't want to blow the budget by suggesting the pads at the outset, but yes they are quite critical. I had the MoPads but replaced them with that specialty company's erector-set-like risers.

I forget the company name; someone else might remember. They're quite affordable; only a bit more than MoPads, and do a much better job on desks and table tops, but not necessarily when placed on speaker stands (which I used with the MoPads, then sold).


Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, RS520T, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
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Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2962227
12/10/18 08:33 PM
12/10/18 08:33 PM
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Dave Bryce Offline

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Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
I didn't want to blow the budget by suggesting the pads at the outset, but yes they are quite critical.

Decoupling is mandatory. cop

Quote:
I had the MoPads but replaced them with that specialty company's erector-set-like risers.

I forget the company name; someone else might remember. They're quite affordable; only a bit more than MoPads, and do a much better job on desks and table tops, but not necessarily when placed on speaker stands (which I used with the MoPads, then sold).

Sounds like IsoAcoustics to me - their Aperta model, possibly? Recoil Stabilizers are also a good choice - essentially better version of MoPads.

Studio monitors are one of my passions. Under $1k, I would recommend JBL LSR305 - they're about the same size as the Monitor One Mk II, IIRC. They perform way better than they should.

DISCLAIMER - I almost always prefer smaller woofers to larger ones. More balance (better mids) and less "boom"....depending on size of the room and distance from the monitors, of course....and even then, if there's a big woofer I typically want a midrange driver as well.

YMMV.

dB


Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Dave Bryce] #2962230
12/10/18 08:56 PM
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Dreamchilde Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
I didn't want to blow the budget by suggesting the pads at the outset, but yes they are quite critical.

Decoupling is mandatory. cop

Quote:
I had the MoPads but replaced them with that specialty company's erector-set-like risers.

I forget the company name; someone else might remember. They're quite affordable; only a bit more than MoPads, and do a much better job on desks and table tops, but not necessarily when placed on speaker stands (which I used with the MoPads, then sold).

Sounds like IsoAcoustics to me - their Aperta model, possibly? Recoil Stabilizers are also a good choice - essentially better version of MoPads.

Studio monitors are one of my passions. Under $1k, I would recommend JBL LSR305 - they're about the same size as the Monitor One Mk II, IIRC. They perform way better than they should.

DISCLAIMER - I almost always prefer smaller woofers to larger ones. More balance (better mids) and less "boom"....depending on size of the room and distance from the monitors, of course....and even then, if there's a big woofer I typically want a midrange driver as well.

YMMV.

dB



Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check the JBLs out.


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http://philipclark.com

King Super 20 Alto, Yamaha MX61, Roland VR-09, MicroKorg XL, Maschine Mikro, M-Audio ProKeys88sx, Roland MKS-50
Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Dreamchilde] #2962232
12/10/18 08:59 PM
12/10/18 08:59 PM
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Dave Bryce Offline

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Originally Posted By: Dreamchilde
Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check the JBLs out.

thu

dB

Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Dave Bryce] #2962276
12/11/18 01:32 AM
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You should look at the Equator coaxial speakers. They are in the price range and will image fantastically.

Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Nathanael_I] #2962278
12/11/18 01:41 AM
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Nathanael,

I'm also a fan of Equator (have a pair right here by my desk), but I think they've gone out of business.


"I'm not just untalented. I'm multi untalented."
Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: timwat] #2962280
12/11/18 01:58 AM
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I bought a used pair of JBL LSR305's based on advice from this forum and have been very happy with them. I think I only paid so,etching like $200 for the pair. Great bang for the buck!


Dan

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Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: J. Dan] #2962282
12/11/18 03:33 AM
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Yep, I recommended the JBL LSR's earlier for the $400 price point (when new and not on discount), but don't feel they get better as fast as their prices go up as one moves into their mid-range and high-end lines, so didn't recommend JBL's the second time around for the stated $600-$700 budget. :-)

My isolation speaker stands are IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R155, and I got the pair for $93.50 from Front End Audio. Zen Pro Audio also sells them, I think.

Along the lines of what Dave said, when my company came out with a new studio monitor last year (first one in over 20 years, as the legacy model was still well-loved, and was used on so many Grammy records at the mixing and mastering end, by the likes of Roger Nichols for Steely Dan and the like), we went with a smaller driver size than before.


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Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: timwat] #2962295
12/11/18 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted By: timwat
Nathanael,

I'm also a fan of Equator (have a pair right here by my desk), but I think they've gone out of business.


You're right Tim, I had no idea - too bad. I like my D5s as well for the purpose they serve.

Curious if anyone has experience with the LSR305 newer version vs original?

Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2962314
12/11/18 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
Along the lines of what Dave said, when my company came out with a new studio monitor last year (first one in over 20 years, as the legacy model was still well-loved, and was used on so many Grammy records at the mixing and mastering end, by the likes of Roger Nichols for Steely Dan and the like), we went with a smaller driver size than before.

I hadn't heard there was a new Meyer studio monitor!

The word around the industry was that Meyer abandoned that market because they believed their time and energy was better spent in the live sector. Interesting to hear they've rethought that decision.

dB

Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Dave Bryce] #2962357
12/11/18 04:49 PM
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@dreamchilde: since you live nearby, you should come check out my HEDD Type 05 monitors, I also have the Equator D5’s.

I posted a review on my blog, if you’re interested.

Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: zephonic] #2962360
12/11/18 05:13 PM
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Hi Dave, it was a speaker originally designed for post-production of video, in a theatre context (before release, most movies are test-driven in a high-quality theatre, then again in a low-quality one).

It's called the Amie, which is French for "friend". It took about a year of debate before a firm decision was made to also market it as a studio monitor. There was controversy because the inevitable comparison to the HD-1 would result, and it's really a different sort of loudspeaker.

We've all been so busy here this past year, ramping up more new models than in many years, that most of us haven't had time to catch our breath and really take stock of where we fit in the world, so to speak. That is, I think the Amie won a TEC award at NAMM last year, but I could be wrong. :-)


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Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2962361
12/11/18 05:15 PM
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Equators are interesting and not for everyone, but get a lot of respect amongst pro audio people. But I think that like others here, I also heard they're now gone? Or maybe someone bought them and is keeping or revising one of their models?


Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, RS520T, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager
Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: zephonic] #2962368
12/11/18 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted By: zephonic
@dreamchilde: since you live nearby, you should come check out my HEDD Type 05 monitors, I also have the Equator D5’s.

I posted a review on my blog, if you’re interested.


Thanks, man. I may take you up on that!


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Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2962385
12/11/18 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
Equators are interesting and not for everyone, but get a lot of respect amongst pro audio people. But I think that like others here, I also heard they're now gone? Or maybe someone bought them and is keeping or revising one of their models?


The D5's are nice if you come from NS10-type monitors, you know, very pronounced midrange. I think of them as a good, useful set of secondary monitors; they won't give you the whole picture, though.

AFAIK, Equator Audio never formally closed its doors, but I think it is safe to say they are out of business. Too bad.

But it's a good time to buy powered studio monitors. In the $600 price range, also check out Presonus and Focal.

Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: zephonic] #2962398
12/11/18 08:25 PM
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Oh I forgot that Focal now has some entry-level models, and PreSonus suddenly got interesting after years of being not-so-good. I think their new models were announced at AES this fall and already available for sale, with some good initial reviews. They've definitely stepped up their build quality in recent years.

I recently bought Focal's first headphones and they're quite good. I think they are supposed to match the experience of using some of their active monitors, just as ADAM has done with their new UltraSone collaboration project.


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Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: zephonic] #2962400
12/11/18 08:44 PM
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Dave Bryce Offline

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Originally Posted By: zephonic
The D5's are nice if you come from NS10-type monitors, you know, very pronounced midrange.

They're actually pretty different.

NS10s are a sealed box conventional configuration two-way that uses a 7" paper woofer with a foam surround ring to modify its dispersion, a soft-dome tweeter and an analog passive crossover. IIRC, there are six versions of them in the field - NS10M and NS10M Studio are the most popular. Also, a decent amount of their sound has to do with what amp you power them with.

D5s are DSP-controlled coaxial dual-concentric (tweeter in the middle of the woofer) ported two-ways with 5.25" polypropylene woofers, silk-domed tweeters and a fairly steep active digital crossover. They have their own dual 50w amps. My friend Ted Keffalo (ex-Alesis) started that company.

With the D5 - as with any coaxial design - you won't be able to hear the crossover and the phase has to be as close to perfect as possible, so the midrange will be very clear and open and there will be a "phantom center" almost like there's a middle speaker. The D5 uses a small woofer though, so the midrange will tend to be a bit more forward than with something like its bigger brother the D8, or the larger Equator Q series.

With the NS10, the quality of the pushed (some say brash) mids comes largely from the paper woofer it uses and the fact that the sealed box doesn't produce as much bass as a ported design, so the mids are emphasized.

FWIW, Avantone has just released a new version of NS10s called CLA10 which I understand are pretty close to the original. Depending on what amp you use, of course...

Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Dave Bryce] #2962401
12/11/18 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
FWIW, Avantone has just released a new version of NS10s called CLA10 which I understand a re pretty close to the original. Depending on what amp you use, of course.


Avantone has made accurate replacement drivers for the NS10 for a minute now, right?


"I'm not just untalented. I'm multi untalented."
Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: timwat] #2962402
12/11/18 08:51 PM
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Dave Bryce Offline

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Originally Posted By: timwat
Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
FWIW, Avantone has just released a new version of NS10s called CLA10 which I understand are pretty close to the original. Depending on what amp you use, of course.


Avantone has made accurate replacement drivers for the NS10 for a minute now, right?

I believe that's correct.

The woofers are molded pulp though - not curled and joined like the original Yamahas. I'm inclined to doubt that makes much of a difference, sonically speaking. idk

dB

Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Dave Bryce] #2962412
12/11/18 10:23 PM
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The CLA stands for Chris Lord-Alge signature series.

Too bad they're not active.


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King Super 20 Alto, Yamaha MX61, Roland VR-09, MicroKorg XL, Maschine Mikro, M-Audio ProKeys88sx, Roland MKS-50
Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Dreamchilde] #2962418
12/11/18 11:15 PM
12/11/18 11:15 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 20,203
Thousand Oaks,CA,UNITED STATES
Dave Bryce Offline

KCFFL Champ '14,'16,'18
Dave Bryce  Offline

KCFFL Champ '14,'16,'18
20k Club

Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 20,203
Thousand Oaks,CA,UNITED STATES
Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
The CLA stands for Chris Lord-Alge signature series.

I'm hip. He's the sound of hits. grin

For those of you who may bit have seen the CLA10 intro video, Chris actually does say that about himself.


Quote:
Too bad they're not active.

They would be a whole different product if that were the case.

Yamaha's HS7 is kind of intended to scratch that itch, I believe. I reviewed those a while back...

dB

Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Dreamchilde] #2962420
12/11/18 11:28 PM
12/11/18 11:28 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,178
Nashville, TN
Steve Nathan Offline
MPN Advisory Board
Steve Nathan  Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,178
Nashville, TN
DB is the man on this subject imho! Trust his guidance.
I got these on his recommendation a few years ago and have never been happier.
Pelonis Model 42s


"What's the point of living longer if you have to give up everything that makes life worth living to do so?"
Einstein (supposedly)

www.stevenathanmusic.com
https://www.musiciansforpensionsecurity.com/
Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: Dave Bryce] #2962428
12/12/18 01:18 AM
12/12/18 01:18 AM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,122
Redondo Beach, CA
zephonic Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
zephonic  Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,122
Redondo Beach, CA
Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
My friend Ted Keffalo (ex-Alesis) started that company.


Do you know if Equator Audio has definitively gone out of business or are they trying to keep it going?

Re: Good Active Studio Reference Monitors? [Re: zephonic] #2962430
12/12/18 01:45 AM
12/12/18 01:45 AM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 655
Chicago, IL
Michael W Offline
Gold Member
Michael W  Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 655
Chicago, IL
Another vote here for the JBL LSR305s. I have a pair and love them, although I do lust for a pair of Adam A7Xs.


Michael
Montage 8, Integra 7, Digital Performer, Diva, Omnisphere 2, etc.
http://www.youtube.com/keybdwizrd
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