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Keyboard monitors for my home studio


ITGITC

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OK. I'll admit it. I haven't updated my monitors in years.

 

I'm still using a pair of passive KRK K-RoK monitors.

 

They're on stands at ear level on either side of my keyboard, facing me as I play.

 

They're powered by an old Hafler XL280 amp (no fan), and I'm using an old Mackie 1402-VLZ Pro mixer.

 

I've kept this setup for quite awhile because, to me, it still sounds really good. But there are times I wonder what I would replace it with.

 

I'm thinking that I would start with a pair of high-quality powered speakers to replace the KRK K-RoK.

 

The K-RoK have a 7" woofer and I really don't want anything bigger. This gives a good balance with the tweeter, I think.

 

They offer plenty of bass.

 

I tried adding a KRK 10" subwoofer, but it threw the balance off and I stopped using it.

 

So I'm wondering here in February 2014...

 

Are you happy with your monitors?

 

What are you using?

 

If you were going to buy new monitors today, what would be the top two or three models you would consider?

 

 

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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ADAM A7 active monitors might be worth checking out.

I have a pair - for the size/price I think they sound incredible. I use them as a "second opinion" pair of monitors.

You can probably get a used pair for a reasonable price.

 

My main speakers for sound design work are Genelecs.

I also have a pair of Ultrasone Pro900 headphones that constantly amaze me.

 

 

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KRK Rokit 6" generation 2 won my shootout about 5 years ago when I decided to get serious about my You Tube vids having decent sound. The 5's sounded thin and the 8's were too biased for low end. They released a generation 3 recently, but my ears aren't likely to appreciate whatever improvements are included. I'm happy with them.

 

Jake

1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

 

"It needs a Hammond"

 

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I use Emotiva Airmotiv 6 monitors and I think they sound fantastic. They use Emotiva's version of a Heil Air Motion Transformer for the tweeter. I used Tannoy, BlueSky and Hafler monitors previously and the Airmotiv 6 is my favorite. Their frequency response is 43 Hz to 23 kHz +/- 1.7 dB, I find that's good enough on the low end so I don't need a subwoofer.

 

http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0201/8878/products/motiv6_main_large.jpg

 

http://www.northendmedia.com/NorthEndMedia2012.jpg

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Anyone who read the CP4 thread knows I think studio monitors are unbelieveably important. They're the tool with which you monitor pretty much every sound you play, record and mix....and what you use to evaluate the work of others as well. I'm a big fan of coaxial speakers, because they work like your ears (high frequency driver nested inside a low frequency driver), so they have the best time alignment and usually have the most seamless crossovers. :thu:

 

I recently got a pair of the 8" Sceptre monitors the Fulcrum Acoustics guys designed for PreSonus - killer imaging and a really wide sweet spot, with spectacular upper and lower mid definition and depth - I hear stuff on them in the mids that I never heard on my old ADAMs, which really surprised me.

 

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/davebryce/IMG_2488_zps6b5e1aef.jpg

 

I still fire up the A7s sometimes, and I also have a 2.1 setup of Chris Pelonis' two-way 4" Model 42s with the matching sub.

 

dB

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I also really like coaxials and so you might check these out Tom. I have the D5s and I am really happy with them although I use them strictly for computer monitors as opposed to mixing. The D8 might just be the ticket for the money although I haven't heard them yet. My dream monitors are Theze however. Got a quick demo at the NAMM show and they sounded great although for obvious reasons any effective evaluation was futile.
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Thank you, guys.

 

Those are some really good suggestions, and many are from manufacturers that I wasn't familiar with.

 

Now I need to audition a few, and you probably know what that means...

 

ROAD TRIP. :thu:

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I hope you guys pull those nice monitors the hell away from the wall when you're using them for anything critical like mixing or dialing in your patches, because when they're against the wall, they're not working as nearfield monitors. Not a bit, not at all, nohow. The whole idea of nearfield monitoring is to have the speakers closer to you than to the walls, to minimize the effect of reflections. (Well, it's really the round-trip from speaker-to-wall-to-you that needs to be minimized.)
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I use a relatively unknown brand, Polk Audio. Got them years ago and their response is quite flat and the company is local to Baltimore, near where I live.

 

When I got quite busy starting to do soundtrack work some years ago I went to a store downtown in Baltimore and had a long discussion with the salespeople about needing monitors for my gigs. Polk has a great rep and I've been very happy with them; the music I record with them sounds great on pretty much any system.

"The devil take the poets who dare to sing the pleasures of an artist's life." - Gottschalk

 

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Aethellis

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I've been using M-Audio BX8 Studiophile's for about 10 years now. They have served me well but I'm not sure they are really a step up from the KRK's either. I mixed my CD on them though and was happy with the results. YMMV of course!

 

Kronos 88 | MODX7 | Wavestate | Crave | KeyLab 61 | CPS SSv3 | MacBook Pro | MainStage | More VSTs than I'll ever figure out

 

www.thehenrysmusic.com

 

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Tom,

 

I'm still quite happy with my Adam A7s as well. The other speaker that I auditioned heavily before my purchase was the Dynaudio Acoustics BM5A. I ended up with the Adams because I found a good price on the pair at Chuck Levin's, but I liked the Dynaudios essentially as much (even though the response curve was a bit different from the Adams -- slightly punchier bass response but slightly less shimmering highs, which is where the Adams really shine IMO).

 

Good luck with the hunt!

 

Noah

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dB- How do you feel about the Sceptres vs the Pelonis? Apples and oranges?

To a degree, yes. The Pelonis (like the Equator) uses a Tannoy-type driver that doesn't have a horn, so it has a different sound. Horns are tough to use in a coax driver because the reflections are tough to tame....but from what I can tell, Dave Gunness from Fulcrum Acoustic really got it right with the Sceptres. :thu:

 

I still really like the Pelonis system...but I have to use the sub to hear the bass with the 4" woofers on the Model 42, so I tend to think of it more as a 2.1 system than a pair of two-ways; and the midrange isn't as open and 3D as it is on the Sceptres.

 

dB

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Decent pair of mid priced monitors are the Mackie HR 824's. I believe there is a MK ll version now. Not my favourites, but a good "bang for the buck". I use them at work and they do the job. Jim Alfredson mentioned on another thread the he mixed his CD "Tribute to Big John Patton" using these monitors. You didn't mention budget, Tom, so these might work at $1400 for the pair.
:nopity:
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...

Are you happy with your monitors?

 

What are you using?...

 

Ok, no bitching intended, today I answer question.

 

Seriously it is of course not against the laws of decency to use small monitors and stuff, but it's hard to get a *monitoring* idea of the produced low frequency waves, as a result of the laws of physics involved.

 

So in the longer and longer run I am somewhere between actually happy and extremely satisfied with my big monitoring setup. Here's a picture from a musical instrument trade show I demonstrated my main setup at:

 

http://www.theover.org/Diary/Ldi36/hpim2749.jpg

 

The three big enclosures, and the 3 black rack units are the 4 way main monitors + 15 inch sub, all over 100 liter enclosure, with zero bass-reflex ports.

 

The amp-ing is done by a total 6 channels of mosfet chip amplifiers, fed by about a kilowatt of toroid transformers, each somewhere between 50 and 150Watts, and with very low specified harmonic distortion of 0.005 % at 50 watts RMS.

 

The preamp has extremely low distortion special opamps which do balancing for the sub and good quality passive component separation filtering.

 

I've put those speakers on very stable feets (iron connection with concrete floor) in my humble 4x6m listening space and used a fair amount of damping through out the space.

 

Connecting various synthesizers, quality DA convertors, players (CD, Bluray), analog radio/tv, software synthesis with motherboard 192/24 bit convertors with the pre-amp gives a fairly good image of the materials played.

 

It's hard to describe the difference between a full range system without the obligate two-way-distortion problem, zero bass-reflex (and heavily damped speaker enclosures) and overall low distortion and most well known small monitors, for as far as I know them or have at least heard them.

 

It's the hardest challenge to take a microphone, record anything (rock band, acoustic music, sound effects, small household sounds, voice, "spacious" reverbs or even mathematically produced accurate sounds), and play it back at approximately the same volume as during recording, and see if the result of the recording somewhat matches the original sound.

 

My system can do that, without much coloring or evident distortion. As the hardest test, it can even play music, record it with decent mics in the listening space, and play it back in the same space, with credible results.

 

That also means it has no characteristic sound to "play" with when playing an instrument through it, like a combo amp. Many instruments and software tend to favor certain speaker/amp kinds, without saying so explicitly, but I find it the highest challenge to try out everything neutral, and add the (instrument or mix) characteristics explicitly.

 

Small speakers will have some sort of a simulated (sub) low end, that's a matter of physics: real small cones cannot travel far enough to create serious sound pressure at 40 Hz or so, so they make some for of distorted wave you ca get used tom but if you use them as reference, chances are your mixes will unbalanced on a neutral system (like headphones) or at least sound "boomy" or the opposite on a good PA or studio system.

 

I'm sure more than a few people here will be able to and even used to use the limitations of not fully neutral speakers and quickly produce musically usable mixes with them, but low end and sampling-product (un-) sensitivity is are real subjects, part of the implicit design of most of the suggestions I've seen here. Comparing with good headphones (I can 1 to 1 compare with AKG 271s, except of course for the listening space reverberation) can be enough to get a idea of your favorite monitors characteristics to work good.

 

However, I'm for the trend to strive to be more neutral, to get more interesting and lively, and daring end products (mixes, performances), so I suggest these two examples I've mentioned before, because 3 way is interesting, and because I have the impression these will work very well in the long run:

 

Probably higher accuracy:

 

Quested V3110

http://www.quested.com/studio-monitoring/images/v3110-landscape.gif

 

More power:

 

QSC KW 153

 

T.V.

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I've always liked Polk Audio stereo speakers for home stereos, and if I'm not mistaken, they usually have a great price point too. Never owned any myself.

 

I have had a pair on my studio stereo receiver for years and coupled with a passive Peavey Subwoofer sound very nice indeed. I don't think they were THAT expensive; however I have had them for ..15.. years so ..

Steve Force,

Durham, North Carolina

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My Professional Websites

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I've always liked Polk Audio stereo speakers for home stereos, and if I'm not mistaken, they usually have a great price point too. Never owned any myself.

 

I have had a pair on my studio stereo receiver for years and coupled with a passive Peavey Subwoofer sound very nice indeed. I don't think they were THAT expensive; however I have had them for ..15.. years so ..

I just checked when I bought mine for my studio and it was 1989! Didn't seem THAT long ago! Geezzzz. Time really DOES fly when you get older...

"The devil take the poets who dare to sing the pleasures of an artist's life." - Gottschalk

 

Soundcloud

Aethellis

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