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ectogemia

Looking to buy a pair of stereo monitoring speakers

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I'm not sure if there's some thread about this somewhere already, so sorry for the redundancy if there is. It happens.

Anyway, I'm looking to buy a pair of stereo monitoring speakers for no more than $600-700ish. There's a lot of choices out there, and I'm really not gear savvy at all, so if anyone has any recommendations, please point me in the right direction ;o

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What's your room setup like? A top notch pair of headphones might be a better option for you.

If you're set on monitors, the new Behringer Truths aren't bad. They've stepped it up a bit in their quality over the years.

I'd still recommend headphones though.

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I used to be all for headphones but once i got familiar with mixing with speakers I could not recommend just a pair of headphones for working with audio.

The biggest problem is that the low end on a pair of headphones isn't represented well due to small bass drivers. Everyone i have talked to who has ever mixed just with headphones says that they overcompensated on the lower freqs and because of that their mixes were muddy. Which includes myself as well.

I have a decent pair of Sennheiser's that cost me $100 and i would strongly recommend them as something to get a different perspective with while you are mixing. For the budget you are working with, you are far better off with a $600 pair of speakers than a $600 set of (overpriced) headphones.

Currently i am using these: http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&biw=1024&bih=566&sclient=psy-ab&q=m+audio+av+40&oq=m+audio+av+40&gs_l=hp.3..0i10l4.2297.8218.0.8359.34.16.6.7.10.0.250.2498.2j7j6.15.0.les;..0.0...1c.4zMXih3xvNY&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=b7d2718a67a769fa&tch=3&ech=1ψ=Px8lUIrLDcXm0QHq4IDgCw.1344610100171.1&wrapid=tlif134461010017110&cid=6125306379783906742&sa=X&ei=SB8lUIOmBcfF0AHUtYGIBQ&ved=0CEkQrQQ

and I am looking to upgrade to something like these: http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&ds=sh&pq=mixing+speakers&cp=9&gs_id=2k&xhr=t&q=m+audio+bx5a&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&biw=1024&bih=566&wrapid=tljp1344610190578214&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=3427703012406256576&sa=X&ei=qR8lULniAqSu0AH5joEw&sqi=2&ved=0CGEQ8wIwAA

which seem to have greatly come down in price. Think i might pick them up now ^^

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If you use less than stellar headphones, yes, they wouldn't be as good. I'd guess that the headphones you and the people you talked to were not using great headphones.

But you can buy an amazing top-notch pair of headphones for ~$300, half the cost of mediocre studio monitoring speakers. Like these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000F2BLTM/

If you buy a good pair of headphones, you'll be able to make good mixes with them. The DT-880's are nice because they have a nuetral and linear frequency response, so you know that you're not hearing extra bass like you would with say a pair of DJ headphones.

I was skeptical of headphones for a long time, but Zircon showed me that you can make killer mixes with headphones if you just get the right pair. I haven't looked back since.

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I'm of the camp that you shouldn't mix on headphones alone. Some people can do it well but I feel that it's a skill that is more difficult to obtain than mixing with a decent pair of monitors. Having both headphones and monitors available to you is the best of both worlds, though.

For the price, KRK makes some pretty nice monitors. I have the Rokit 6's and they run about $400 for the pair on an average day. They've been on my desk for a couple of years now and I'm more than happy with them. One of the good selling points of KRK monitors is that they're ported in the front (rather than the back).

It takes time to get used to mixing on any new setup whether it's headphones or monitors. That's why I always listen to the final product on a few other sets of speakers/computers before I put the finished stamp on a song.

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Yeah, gonna agree that just headphones aren't going to cut it. Professionals prefer to use both, because they're so different and you want to get a feel for what your mixes sound on both devices.

It's vice versa too, just because you have a freaking amazing $2000 monitors doesn't mean you shouldn't invest in some good headphones.

Oh yeah and also what shaggyfreak said: once you get those monitors, get comfortable with them. My friend had some great, top of the line professional monitors that he let me mix on for a while, but honestly I mixed MUCH better on the old crappy monitors that came with my computer because I was just used to them and knew how the music was supposed to sound on them. Only wanting to say that because I'm not sure if it's all to obvious or not. :P

(don't have any good monitor recommendations though, sorry :P but going to keep an eye out on this thread because I need some myself)

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I bought a pair of Mackie HR624s from a pawn shop for about the price you asked.

Rokit KRK 8s tend to get good reviews as middle-of-the-road monitors, I would have bought those if I didn't get the Mackies. The bigger drivers will help with the bass, 6" can be a little light on the bass side.

As for monitors vs. headphones, I used to mix on headphones, but mixing on monitors is just... well, more fun in my opinion. But when I'm doing precise mixdowns, I'll A/B my mixes on both headphones and monitors and adjust.

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Rokit KRK 8s tend to get good reviews as middle-of-the-road monitors, I would have bought those if I didn't get the Mackies. The bigger drivers will help with the bass, 6" can be a little light on the bass side.

I was pretty surprised with the bass response on the 6" KRKs. I can honestly say that I haven't had any problems hearing the low end and getting it mixed properly. I'm pretty used to them now, though, since I've had them for a couple of years.

Also, something like these pads are really good to have to decouple the monitors from your desk or wherever you're putting them. I've got a set under my KRKs and my desk doesn't shake at all when listening to a lot of low end.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MoPAD/

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Sure, professionals prefer to use both.

Professionals also prefer to have properly built and treated rooms to work in. Not many home studios really have that luxury.

When you go with monitors, you could have the best monitors in the world but if your room isn't properly treated or big enough you'll most likely still be fighting a losing battle AND be out a huge chunk of change.

When you go with headphones, you take the room and it's problems out of the equation.

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Sure, professionals prefer to use both.

Professionals also prefer to have properly built and treated rooms to work in. Not many home studios really have that luxury.

When you go with monitors, you could have the best monitors in the world but if your room isn't properly treated or big enough you'll most likely still be fighting a losing battle AND be out a huge chunk of change.

When you go with headphones, you take the room and it's problems out of the equation.

There are a TON of misconceptions that you need a perfectly tuned room to use monitors properly. Yes, it helps out quite a lot but the lack of it doesn't make monitors useless by a long shot. Most people will NOT have that many issues using a set of decoupled near field monitors at a modest volume level.

Headphones have their own issues no matter how expensive they are. Like anything, you have to learn how to mix with them and some people are great at it. Having a sound source right next to your ears is not how our brains typically process audio input, though. It's extremely easy to over compensate for things with headphones if you're not careful.

I personally think that pushing someone away from using monitors is not a good idea no matter what the situation. An expensive set of cans does not (usually) replace a set of monitors and vise versa. Trust me, there are tons of professionals and non-professionals out there who use monitors in a less than ideal situation. It certainly isn't a waste of money to buy a set.

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The biggest problem is that the low end on a pair of headphones isn't represented well due to small bass drivers. Everyone i have talked to who has ever mixed just with headphones says that they overcompensated on the lower freqs and because of that their mixes were muddy. Which includes myself as well.

That's my issue, actually. I have Sony MDR-7506 headphones which are cheap ($75ish) but good for the price. That doesn't mean they're great all-around. And my actual speaker setup is just some old Logitech set I've had around for a decade. So as a consequence (and yeah, due to a relative lack of production chops) I often end up with a little mud. That was really my motivation to go the speaker route in the first place.

... and by all means, pleas continue the discussion :P I'm learning!!!!!!!!!

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There are a TON of misconceptions that you need a perfectly tuned room to use monitors properly. Yes, it helps out quite a lot but the lack of it doesn't make monitors useless by a long shot. Most people will NOT have that many issues using a set of decoupled near field monitors at a modest volume level.

My first time mixing on speakers after spending time mixing with headphones felt great. Nothing covering my ears, I could walk around the room to hear things a little differently, and that stupid cord wasn't getting in my way anymore. Unless you have paper thin walls in an apartment with incredibly sensitive neighbors that are all nightshift workers i really don't see going for any set of headphones over a set of speakers.

Cans covering my ears sap my mixing endurance. with speakers i can go for an hour or longer (though i tend to take a 5-10 minute break every hour) with headphones i can go about half of that before i stop trusting my decisions.

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My first time mixing on speakers after spending time mixing with headphones felt great. Nothing covering my ears, I could walk around the room to hear things a little differently, and that stupid cord wasn't getting in my way anymore. Unless you have paper thin walls in an apartment with incredibly sensitive neighbors that are all nightshift workers i really don't see going for any set of headphones over a set of speakers.

Cans covering my ears sap my mixing endurance. with speakers i can go for an hour or longer (though i tend to take a 5-10 minute break every hour) with headphones i can go about half of that before i stop trusting my decisions.

I agree with this 100%. You are less likely to get ear fatigue quickly when using monitors. If you're in an apartment with thin walls, though, you're kind of limited in a lot of ways.

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There are a TON of misconceptions that you need a perfectly tuned room to use monitors properly. Yes, it helps out quite a lot but the lack of it doesn't make monitors useless by a long shot. Most people will NOT have that many issues using a set of decoupled near field monitors at a modest volume level.

Headphones have their own issues no matter how expensive they are. Like anything, you have to learn how to mix with them and some people are great at it. Having a sound source right next to your ears is not how our brains typically process audio input, though. It's extremely easy to over compensate for things with headphones if you're not careful.

I personally think that pushing someone away from using monitors is not a good idea no matter what the situation. An expensive set of cans does not (usually) replace a set of monitors and vise versa. Trust me, there are tons of professionals and non-professionals out there who use monitors in a less than ideal situation. It certainly isn't a waste of money to buy a set.

Basically this. Also it's not that hard to get your room tuned decently for monitors unless you just have a lot of stuff and not much space. I'm not sure what the "perfect" room is, but you shouldn't completely disregard monitors just because your room isn't perfect. Even "decent" or "ok" is good, and it's much much better than just mixing with headphones. (But you should always mix with both)

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I would like to recommend the Equator Audio D5 Near Field Monitors.

http://www.equatoraudio.com/D5_Studio_Monitors_with_DSP_300_Pair_p/d5.htm

There are several reasons these make for effective home studio monitors:

1) First of all, if you're working in a small space, you don't want anything bigger than a 5" driver. This will keep your direct signal focused and your reflections down.

2) The D5s, as with all the Equator Audio Monitors, are coaxial, which means the tweeter is built within the woofer giving you far less phase distortion on the cross-over. This is really important in a near field and small studio monitoring system because the distance between the source and your ears is going to be small, meaning that a normal biaxial system is going to have a much greater relative separation than in a large studio setup creating possible phase distortion with the mere movement of the head.

3) The D5s employ onboard corrective DSP. Speaker transducers are not created equal, because of this, rigorous testing is undertaken to measure the frequency response curve of each speaker. With cheaper brands, this frequency response curve threshold is wider than with more expensive brands because the more expensive brands end up throwing away transducers that don't meet the narrower specifications. This is a lot like a sushi chef, the better sushi chef throws away more fish, raising his production costs. With Equator Audio speakers, not only do they have a narrow threshold, but each monitor has its own DSP which applies corrective EQ to ensure that every pair is absolutely matched and has identical frequency response (each speaker has its own measurements fed to it and then corrects itself).

4) The D5s are sold direct from manufacturer. Their retail cost through major retailers like Guitar Center was going to be $750/pair, but prior to entering into contract with distributors, he sold so many off his own website, that he decided to move more of his sales there, keeping his D5s at $300/pair and also dropping the Q8s (8" speakers with room correction software) to $500/ea (from $1500/ea).

5) Equator Audio isn't a "nobody." Equator Audio is founded by Ted Keffalo. He was one of the initial members of Alesis and worked on the Alesis One monitors, and he was one of the co-founders of Event Electronics before selling to Rode.

Here's the converse:

A 5" driver doesn't have a lot of bass support, the D5s roll off around 50-60Hz and it would be a good idea to give them a sub (no bigger than 10") if you want some bass support--this usually isn't a big deal in a small studio space, but if it is, there you go, that's my recommendation.

Here's my experience:

The D5s for me have been extremely detailed, revealing, and accurate, they're great for critical listening, but I don't have a sub, so I would still prefer to test my mixes on a larger system before shipping to a professional client--with that said, I've done a lot of work on these, I think they're great, and they definitely outclass any other pair you can get for under $1000.

EDIT: Also, they have a 60-day money back offer, since you can't really "try" them out at the store.

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Pop studios use Yamaha NS10's as reference speakers normally, along side some high class speaker, and the frequency response of the NS10's is awful. The main point is they accentuate the mid range, where the instruments need to be balanced most accurately. Plus if you can make a mix sound bad on NS10's then it'll sound good anywhere.

As for what everyone else has been saying, they are all right! Familiarity is the most important thing when mixing so it doesn't really matter what mons you have given that you know what it is supposed to sound like. I tend to high nice headphones, and crappy iPod headphones as a reference for my mixes as well as mons.

A lot of people seem to like the KRK rockets, but IMO you can get better stuff for the price. The ones I've heard have had a problem with LF ringing and transient response, with that it's kinda hard to get a good balance between bass and kick. My friend works in the service department for KRK and he keeps moaning about the build quality of some of the rockits, so they seem to be a bit hit and miss as to you get a good set or not.

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A lot of people seem to like the KRK rockets, but IMO you can get better stuff for the price. The ones I've heard have had a problem with LF ringing and transient response, with that it's kinda hard to get a good balance between bass and kick. My friend works in the service department for KRK and he keeps moaning about the build quality of some of the rockits, so they seem to be a bit hit and miss as to you get a good set or not.

I admit that I did have to go through a couple rounds of returns on the Rokit 6's. On two monitors, I was getting a weird sort of distortion in a narrow band of frequencies. I did eventually get it all worked out and have been good ever since. I really haven't had any issues with LF stuff on these but I have gotten used to them by now.

The Equator monitors that Dannthr recommended do look interesting. If I was in the market for new monitors, I might give these ones a try. I'm all about supporting smaller companies as it is.

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