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Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing #2997326 07/05/19 12:47 PM
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jeffinpghpa Offline OP
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I am trying to make a decision on either keeping or replacing my desktop studio monitors. I have a pair of KRK Rokit 6 speakers on my desktop and as far as speakers for under $400 per pair they are pretty nice for listening and practicing. (I'm not debating that they are better than Genelec or $1,000++ price points).

I like them for listening to myself in near monitor when I play on my Komplete Kontrol and laptop tools. They are decent for what they are for a basic home studio and have a front facing bass output instead of rear facing so they are a good choice if you place them near a wall.

I'm not a professional studio by any means, just an average Joe Home Studio guy with lots of a VSTs and soft synths who likes to use Logic Pro X, Garage Band and Main Stage stuff at home.

However, the one gripe I have about the Rokit 6 speakers is that they're great for listening and practicing but I wouldn't mix on them. I have a dilemma if I want to trade them for a flatter reference monitor, in particular the Yamaha HS5 for a minimal cash outlay to trade them in and get a new pair on sale. I think the Yamaha's would give me a much truer and flat sound, and more clarity, which would be better for mixing, but less exciting for producing, practicing, or general listening (like YouTube, Netflix or music).

I don't love that the Rokit 6 are pretty large for a desktop and take up a lot of width and depth for a 6" speaker. The Yamaha HS5 is a much smaller footprint on the desk but also at the expense of not really putting out much bass, but provide a super clean middle and upper for mixing. Listening to some of my Reaktor, Massive X and Arturia V-Collection sounds on the Rokits is still a blast, even if my neighbors don't like it so much. :-)

I'm curious how other forum members approach a basic home project studio like this that you also practice and play on. Do you prioritize your speaker choices for enjoyable listening and playback for yourself or for accurate mixing to finish a project? Again, I'm just buying stuff in the $400 per pair price range for a small desk at home.

Jeff


Yamaha U1 Upright, Kurzweil Forte 7, Viscount Legend Live, Roland FA-07, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk2, Arturia V Collection 6, Komplete 12, Lots of iPad Stuff, Pair of QSC K10 Speakers
KC Island
Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: jeffinpghpa] #2997339 07/05/19 03:09 PM
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Reezekeys Offline
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I remember when I got my Mackie HR824s to use as studio monitors. They were not as "exciting" to listen to, being more neutral than my previous monitors. Guess what? I acclimated to them, and think they sound just fine now. I also think it's possible to use the speakers you're happy with to produce good mixes. If you listen to a variety of well-produced & mixed program material on speakers that might not be ruler-flat, you can still use them as a basis for comparison to your own mixes, and should be able to produce good work. The only gotcha might be if there are low frequencies present that the speakers just can't reproduce.

My speakers previous to the Mackies were TOA 280MEs, and while they might have lacked the midrange detail and imaging of the HR824s, I was able to produce decent mixes on them because I heard how they sounded with great reference recordings and used that to model the sound of my own mixes. What I had to do was take my mixes and play them in a variety of settings car, other people's sound systems, boom boxes, headphones, etc. When I got to the point where nothing "jumped out" at me frequency-wise, I knew I was on the right track.

Having said all this (in my usual verbose manner), anyone familiar with Ethan Winer (of Real Traps fame) knows that it's the room you mix in that's gonna have more of an effect on the sound of your mixes. So this may all be moot!

Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: Reezekeys] #2997349 07/05/19 04:12 PM
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davedoerfler Offline
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I really like these. Bought them because 2 other forum members I respect mentioned they had them. US $299 (sometimes they go on sale)

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/ik-multimedia-iloud-micro


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: jeffinpghpa] #2997352 07/05/19 04:31 PM
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Dave Bryce Offline
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I've spent about a quarter of my professional life having conversations on this very subject. WARNING: I'm a bit opinionated on it. grin

I'm one of these people that believe that - with the exception of your ears - nothing is more important in a studio environment than monitors. Simply put, they're the tool with which you evaluate every sound you make, whether or not a particular piece of gear is doing what you need, whether the work you're capturing/mixing is doing what you want, how useful the room you're working in is being...and more. Why spend a bunch of $$$ on a killer instrument if you don't have a way to hear what it really sounds like? idk

My space (17' x 14') has two sets of studio monitors in the section of the room where I mix (ADAM and Amphion), and a separate set of 12" Yamaha PA floor monitors in the back of the room where my keyboards live. Any keyboard can be routed to any speaker system, and the front and back can be on at the same time.

Took some time to get it right....but the sound was worth it.

dB

Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: jeffinpghpa] #2997359 07/05/19 04:59 PM
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timwat Offline
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Dave:

With that much time and experience under your belt - what are some general guiding principles you can offer us?

A lot of us find ourselves in the same basic situation:

1) Whether we gig regularly or not, we have a spare bedroom or dedicated space we can set up a semi-perm nest for our rig.
2) It ain't acoustically perfect, it's often not very large
3) We're going to start with one pair of "studio monitors"
4) Most of the time our starting budgets don't reach into true studio monitor rarified air

Not necessarily asking for brand or model recommendations, but what are the kinds of normal considerations to keep in mind?


"I'm not just untalented. I'm multi untalented."
Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: timwat] #2997365 07/05/19 05:46 PM
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Dave Bryce Offline
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Originally Posted by timwat
Dave:

With that much time and experience under your belt - what are some general guiding principles you can offer us?

A lot of us find ourselves in the same basic situation:

1) Whether we gig regularly or not, we have a spare bedroom or dedicated space we can set up a semi-perm nest for our rig.
2) It ain't acoustically perfect, it's often not very large
3) We're going to start with one pair of "studio monitors"
4) Most of the time our starting budgets don't reach into true studio monitor rarified air

Not necessarily asking for brand or model recommendations, but what are the kinds of normal considerations to keep in mind?

Here's where being temporarily left handed only will hold me back...I can usually go for hours on this subject. coffee

Bottom line is that your ears are the #1 tool. Trust them more than anything you read.

WHAT IS YOUR MAIN GOAL? Typically, it's pleasure first, translation to other systems second if you're mixing. Most people who add subs don't do it so their frequency response is accurate - they do it because they want to feel their molars rattle a bit. In a good way, of course. smile

Listen to a few sets in a retail environment just to hear what you hear. BRING YOUR OWN MATERIAL!!! If possible, do that again in another retail environment. Then take a set or two to your room and spend more time listening in the space where you want to use them. Honestly, it doesn't take that long. I can tell if someone bonds with a set of speakers within a few minutes.

Another one of the important decisions to make is do you typically prefer the sound of an 8" woofer or a 6"? Typically, most two way designs offer something near both sizes. I favor smaller woofers, because they usually have more forward mids which I prefer - I find those more revealing and surgical...lets me hear easier what's going on "front to back" (z plane) in the mids. Bigger woofers will get louder, but the tradeoff is a more relaxed mid, which (to me) has more of a friendly listening than critical mixing slant.

Dual concentric designs can be really helpful with room issues (phase and time alignment). Decouplers can make a big difference taming rooms, too. I have a hard time making an argument against using them.

All that being said - everyone's ear/taste is different, everyone's room is different, and most people's budgets are fairly diverse...which takes me back to the first thing I said. Trust your ears.

Budget-wise - too much to type right now with one paw... facepalm

dB













Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: jeffinpghpa] #2997372 07/05/19 06:31 PM
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Its great that there are so many affordable entry-level options for studio monitoring nowadays, but you still get what you paid for. Since I upgraded from my KRKs and Equators to the HEDDs I have now, there has been a tangible improvement in my output. Whatever I mix on these sounds the same elsewhere, often with a bit more wow.

$300-500 gets you in the game, >$1000 elevates your game.

Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: jeffinpghpa] #2997373 07/05/19 06:40 PM
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I have the Yamahas that Guitar Center uses in their keyboard rooms.


Casio PX-S3000 | Mojo 61 | Casio CT-X700 | 1966 Mason & Hamlin piano
Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: jeffinpghpa] #2997374 07/05/19 06:40 PM
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MAJUSCULE Offline
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I found a great deal on some Adam F7s a couple years ago. You might happen on something nice if you keep your eyes on the used market for a bit.


Eric
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Rhodes Mk 1 Stage 73; Hammond M3; Kurzweil SP-6; Roland FP-4, Juno-106; Nord E3-73; Studiologic Sledge; DSI Mopho KB; Moog Minitaur; Stuff
Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: zephonic] #2997377 07/05/19 06:55 PM
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Dave Bryce Offline
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Originally Posted by zephonic
$300-500 gets you in the game, >$1000 elevates your game.

Im pretty much inclined to agree with that. Per speaker...

dB

Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: jeffinpghpa] #2997427 07/06/19 12:55 AM
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Marzzz Offline
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dB sold me a set of ADAM S2As and a Sub 8 about 15 years ago. We had a great deal of work done on the house last year, and I had them sitting (admittedly, for too long) in a hallway. My wife ended up bartering them to one of the contractors.

taz mad taz mad taz

So at some point, I will be in the market for a new set of monitors....

Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: jeffinpghpa] #2997428 07/06/19 01:05 AM
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Docbop Offline
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My KRK Rokit finally died actually sooner than they should, but I replaced them with a pair of Adam T7V and best sounding low end speaker I've heard. I have a set of the Yamaha's on my keyboard and okay but wish I had got another pair of the Adams.

In general the 5" speakers I listen too just didn't have the bottom end or was hyped like the Rokit's. The Adam's have a very natural sounding bottom end for acoustic instruments and electric. Definitely should be on your list to audition.

Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: davedoerfler] #2997487 07/06/19 05:31 PM
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esfusion Offline
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Count me in as another iLoud fan. Very flat and loud for their size. I like them as much as my Adam A7s even through they have a tiny form factor. Also use them as sound reinforcement for my Forte and SP6. Perfectly loud enough for living room gigs and low volume jam sessions.

Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: jeffinpghpa] #2997499 07/06/19 07:38 PM
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Marzzz Offline
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So, ADAM AX7s?

Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: Marzzz] #2997514 07/06/19 11:22 PM
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Docbop Offline
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Originally Posted by Marzzz
So, ADAM AX7s?


Those would be out of the price range he's looking for, but the Adam T7V's are in the price range and have that smooth sounding ribbon tweeter.

Re: Reference Monitors - Listening vs. Mixing [Re: jeffinpghpa] #2997520 07/07/19 01:22 AM
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Dave Bryce Offline
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Small desk at home, OP price range, I think its hard to go wrong with JBLs LSR 305 or 306.

dB


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