Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Powered speakers/reference monitors


Rockitman

Recommended Posts

Have a Roland RD700sx and am looking for a quality pair of powered speakers. I'm not into the amps, I want my stereo sound. I don't want to spend an arm and a leg and the speakers are for just home playing in a single living room.

Went to Guitar Center and the best thing I heard was a pair of M-Audio Studiophile BX8a Deluxes. Around $500 for the pair.

That's really as much as I'd want to spend unless there is something that is just out of this world for more.

 

Another question, is there a difference between a powered speaker and a reference monitor?

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 18
  • Created
  • Last Reply

All this is just my opinion:

 

Powered speaker can mean just about anything - all it really says is there's an amp integrated into the cabinet. The amp may be specifically tailored to the response of the transducers...or it may be a nominal unit thrown in for the sake of convenience and marketing. It may be designed for PA, or reproduction of a particular type of instrument, or live monitoring, or studio monitoring, it may have narrow or wide dispersion, exaggerated top or bottom end, you don't know without more research. The term "Powered Speaker" doesn't tell you much more by itself.

 

All transducers introduce coloration, and all speakers have design goals. As I understand it, a reference monitor is intended for critical listening within a relatively small area - in other words, short throw, relatively flat response (within its intended frequency range...not all reference monitors are intended to flatly span 20 to 20 and the smaller ones simply can't) - they are primarily intended for recording engineers sitting in a primary location (sweet spot) to hear what's in a recording without relatively little coloration or 'sweetening'.

 

..
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reference monitors are generally designed to be listened to close up, and to have as little coloration to the sound as possible (lower priced generally do not accomplish this as well). They are not suited for general gigging, both because they will not adequately cover a large area, and because the usual design does not protect the speakers within from damage from load in/out, etc.

 

Powered PA speakers generally are designed with less consideration for a perfectly flat and uncolored sound, but with longer throw (effective distance that they will project sound) and more rugged design, so that they are not damaged during use or setup in a more demanding environment.

 

There are numerous past threads of considerable length on both types. I do not have reference monitors - so no feedback there. Ref. monitors should be OK in your home unless you have small children, cats, or dogs that are likely to damage them.

 

In powered PA, the very low cost units usually don't sound so good. More profesional units include ElectroVoice, JBL, Mackie, Yamaha, QSC, and a number of other companies. Members of this forum use all the named makes and others, and have varied opinions. The gigging musician generally tries to balance three things: how good does it SOUND, how difficult is it to load in/out, and how much does it cost.

 

Many, including myself, have different combinations to use in different venues.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm assuming this post is a question about the difference between a reference monitor and a PA speaker, since recommendations in both categories have been quite active in the forum of late and thus would be redundant or confusing cross-posted here. :-)

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An interesting side note - someone recently commented to me how the proliferation of inexpensive recording monitors has had the unintended effect of raising the expectations of keyboard players for their live sound. This person's opinion was that now that the quality of home studio-type reproduction has risen (and the price point made it accessible to more and more KB players), we are more aware of what our gear is really putting out, and has generally made us all want more from our live sound than what gear of a decade ago was able to deliver.

 

 

..
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, based on your needs, the KRK Rokit's are probably better bang-for-buck. I hope to upgrade mine soon, but the gas would cost you too much to make the drive worthwhile. :-)

 

My "neighbour" Tim has the higher-end KRK stuff as I recall. The ROkit's are imperfect and a bit boomy in the low-mids if you don't use them with a sub. I use the Rokit 10 to attenuate everything below 80 Hz where I set the crossover. This makes the KRK Rokit 6's more efficient and helps alleviate some of their low-mid boom.

 

Low-mid boom is typical of any speaker below $1000 as it is night impossible to come up with a design in that price range that optimieses for that without much more serious compromises elsewhere in the design.

 

I find the Rokit 6's to be very good for monitoring keyboards at home, but usually am lazy and use my Aguilar 12" speaker that I use for my bass, as that doesn't require setting up a recording project on my computer so I can monitor via my reference monitors.

 

The term "reference monitor" really just denotes purpose, but in practice, studio monitors are usually much smaller than stage P/A monitors. Large studios, however, tend to use larger mixers for the mastering stage, and call their reference monitors as well, so at that point you will find that even 12" monitors are marketed either as reference monitors or P/A monitors, whether powered or not.

 

The reference monitors are generally designed to work best in fixed installation, where the owner has some control over acoustic treatment etc.

 

Whereas the P/A monitor is generally not going to have as good idealised acoustic response for critical listening but may better handle different room sizes and placement.

 

Technically, the differences, from a design point of view, may come down to simple things such as coverage angles.

 

Reference monitors, even the large ones used in mastering houses, are designed to face a single listener in triangular setup (for the most part). And they are usually designed for Near Field listening (under 8 feet, typically).

 

P/A monitors are meant for clubs and ballrooms etc., will be designed to be less directional in their response patterns, and most importantly, will probably be idealised for Far Field or Free Field listening contexts (more than 8 feet, typically, and potentially in spaces without walls such as outdoors venues).

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info folks. I have tried searching for speaker/monitor recommendations here but am not doing so well.

 

Let me make this easier:

 

If you had my keyboard and a regular sized living room, you're not into recording, just playing, just hearing some quality sound out of your speakers, and let's just say $1000 was as much as you would pay,

what would you buy?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as the specific monitors mentioned, the Rokit's are half the price if you shop around, and in my personal shootouts I still find them far more neutral and transparent (as well as better imaging) than anything else under $800/pair.

 

I think I posted this in MOTUnation vs. here, but I was surprised recently at how good the new M-Audio line is (DSM series?). I haven't the time right now to re-find that info, and their "regular" price is too high, but our local pro audio store in Oakland CA has them on sale until end of month for reasonable prices, and at those prices they might be worth splurging a couple hundred extra to forestall later upgrades.

 

The new M-Audio line provides a nice mid-priced option for those wanting better quality without having to step up all the way to $1800 for Dynaudio BM6a's. I'd personally still rather save up, but was tempted by the July-only M-Audio sale.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two options:

 

Conventional route:

Pair of used reference monitors - KRK or Mackie or whatever your ears like the best.

 

Non-conventional route:

Magnepan MMG planar speakers

Jolida tube power amp

Yamaha MG10/2 mixer

..
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Man, I remember first hearing Magnepan's back in the 70's, and everyone at the time thought that was the future of loudspeakers for the home. Then suddenly everything started sizing down instead of up, and the large form factor and room spacing considerations sort of moved the Magnepan's into "obscure" territory.

 

I can see though how the electostatic design and the fuller three-dimensional immersion of their coverage pattern and imaging might especially be pleasing for "acoustic" piano work, in terms of benefitting the illusion that a good DP is an AP. :-)

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to skip price for a moment and approach the concept "REFERENCE MONITOR". I don't know what this means to YOU, but to ME it means a speaker/cabinet/amp combo that is at least able to reproduce within a given distortion level, all frequencies from 20 to 20,000 Hertz at equal levels +/- a dB or two.

 

Does anything you are looking at meet this spec?

 

Now, at the time that I was looking for cheap powered studio monitors, the ONLY thing that came close to meeting that spec for under $1500 was the Mackie HR-824.

 

You only want to spend $500? Fair enough. Pick what sounds bets to you in that price range. But is it a "REFERENCE MONITOR"? No fucking way.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I'd beg to differ. I had the HR-824's when they first came out, and they are so heavily biased that I found them utterly useless as reference monitors. The new versions are a lot better, as are the smaller ones that came out between the Mk I and Mk I versions of the 824.

 

At any rate, everyone "hears" differently, so YMMV. But I think for keyboard work in particular, and especially piano, an unhyped and transparent monitor is better than one that is geared to be flattering towards a particular genre or sub-genre (in particular rock music).

 

Please don't take this as a personal attack; I do not disrespect anyone just because they find Mackie or Event monitors good quality for their work. If we all had the same needs, several companies would be out of business. Every company finds their niche and exploits it.

 

But I do feel that some of the cheaper monitors that have come out in the past eight years are more bang for buck than some of the older monitors like the Event ASP-8's or Mackie HR-824's.

 

Another thing to consider in such a comparison, is that 8" monitors are a bad match for many people and their rooms. Most rooms are better off with 5.5" to 6.5" cones. And so it is important to find a store with a return and/or trade policy so that you are not fully committed until you have made sure the choice works in your application environment (usually your practice room or home studio).

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree w/ Mark. I'm not a KRK guy, I use the HR624s. I mixed on 824s for a few years, but to my ears they were bass-juiced and uneven compared to the 624s, which are imperfect but have a much more balanced presentation down to their usable lower octave, which is admittedly not as low as the 824.

 

 

 

..
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim, that's funny, I thought when you came over that time that you said you had the Rokit V6's or V8's -- did you get rid of them, or is my memory failing?

 

Anyway, glad the 624's are working out for you, and as I said, it may be that the Mk II of the 824's correct some of those earlier bass hype problems. But of course room-matching still is one of the main criterium.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, never ran KRKs - your memory must be getting as bad as mine. Speaking of room issues, my Grammy-winning engineer friend in Nashville was using ADAM for a while but has recently switched to the JBL LSR series (I forget if he's using the 4300 or 6300 version) with the room correction DSP. He says he's very, very happy with them and much happier with his mixes. Just a bit out of the OP's price range.
..
Link to comment
Share on other sites

mark,

 

I didn't say that they were the best, only that they were the only monitor in the minus $1500 category that came close to fitting the description of a reference monitor....not via how anyone heard but by their specs.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been playing keys through Mackie HR-824s at home for years, and couldn't be happier with them. A talented bass player friend uses them at home to amplify his basses (through an Avalon preamp). They might have a little more bass than some other monitors, but I don't think it's excessive or "hyped" to a great degree.

 

Note that a lot of the responses here are from people who have strong preferences for the speakers they use to critically listen to their mixes - I think this is splitting hairs if your real interest is a good, all-round, all-purpose studio monitor to play through at home.

 

 

C.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good point; I never used the Mackies for P/A or home practice; just for studio use in recording/mixing/mastering.

 

I use an Avalon U5 preamp myself (though not for keys, which don't strictly need a line driver stage). It's actually a bigger impact on the sound than the speaker.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...