Considering To Buy Studio Monitors

i have the samson rubicon r6s with the r10 bassbin.

i REALLY like them, they should a great deal more expensive than they actually were!

I used to own a pair of those KRK RP5’s and I really liked them. Had to sell em, but I’m looking for a new pair now as well.

I came across this thread over at KVR which might be helpful:

Hi there!

I recently bought a pair of ESI nEar05 and I’m very glad with them for the price. Not really a final solution, but team them up with a sub and you are done if you have budget constraints.

near05 are indeed great sounding but in the bass segment they really lack frequencies under 60Hz… you wont make mistake with KRK5 anyway. but probably problem with bass will remain…

q: Is it possible to get a flat mix with any monitor, given you do acoustical treatment to the room and measure the room’s response with test equipment?

Tweak: Indeed, bass traps and sound diffusers can dramatically help any monitor deliver its potential. A bad room can mess with the sound of the best monitors in the world.


Maybe in some cases it’s the room tnat is the problem,not the speakers? May this even be the case when listening to speakers in the shop?

yeah, everything in room affects the sound. even you&your weight&your ears. nearfield monitors are great choice for home studio but you should settle some things up (acousticly separate your monitors, place diffusors on wall opposite the monitors so some frequencies won’t return to your ears etc…

anyway i think it’s possible to make decent mix without drastic room improvements.

i am also looking for some good monitors right now.

so far i am toying with these:
Tascam VL-A8
read really good things about their predecessors and also good stuff about the new A8’s. the (pair-)price is really tempting and i’d definately go for them IF they just were available here in germany.
i’ve contacted, and they won’t get any of those babies before May this year - so… i gotta skip them, because i’m way too impatient for such a wait.

so i came along these: Adam A7
the name “adam” alone seems to stand for good quality and their A.R.T. tweeter are said to be the creme-dela-creme.
the only problem is that i’m not really willing to pay nearly 800 EUR for a pair of monitors…

so here come the Yamaha HS80M
they are available, they are affordable (about 500 EUR the pair here in germany) but are they really credible?
i’ve read mixed stuff about them… they got really good comments here in this thread and also at several places on the web.
but on the other hand, there are a lot of ppl saying they were having trouble to display a really good low frequency, like that attacks of kicks get lost when there’s a lot of bass going on and i’ve also read from diverse sources, that they have a rather high level of internal noise, emitted from the tweeter even if NOTHING else is attached to’em and the volume is pretty low.
can those of you have them confirm this?
i mean… if there really have the described problems i’ll probably revise my decision about the adam’s, since they seem to be the perfect solution besides the price.
if everything else fails however, i guess i gotta pay the price since i really hate buying crap when it comes to audio equipment.

The HS80Ms are “sweet” monitors and I’ve had a little bit of experience mixing on them. No matter how low they can go you will NEED a sub with them. I’d argue you need a sub with any setup. Because they are cheap they are a great tool to buy for entry level mixing. But forget mastering with them, or learning how to precisely mix with them. “Sweet” monitors are not “true”, so they sounds slick but obscure nasties a little. A pro set-up would certainly use a pair of these in A-B tests with “true” monitors to test consumer playback scenarios, as most consumer hi-fi stuff is “sweet”.

Don’t know much about the Adam A7. Read widely.

Tascam make absolutely quality gear and I’ve worked in professional circumstances with these. Well worth the wait or saving the extra bikkies. You’ll never regret it. But again, save money for a 2.1 setup.

Then you’ve got acoustics to worry about…

Or, you can scrap all the above and send your mixes to professional mixers to get a fantastic result. Are your songs worth it? :D

I have the KRK RP-5s on some isolation foam pads. They don’t touch the Genelecs (+ huge genelec sub) I get to use in the studio at my uni, but for the purposes of my small room and limited budget they are great. I would probably have gone for the RP-8s if i had the space, but I didn’t. At some stage I might pair them with a sub to cover the low end, if i was working in a different room which could accomodate the sub.

Basically I do all my work on them, and then at the final stage i tweak the panning and levels on the genelecs in the studio. The studio is also properly acousticly treated and silent, unlike my room which is near a motorway and has a poor shape for sound. They give a good working representation of the sound, although occasionally subtle artifacts might pass you by which are more apparently on better monitors - once you know they are there you can hear them, but you wouldn’t notice them at first like you do on more expensive monitors.

Overall i’m very pleased with the RP-5s, even if they do look like the speaker equivilent of a Renault with body-kit and sport interior, doing laps around the local co-op (more so if you buy the ridiculous limited edition red or white ones…). If I were building a proper home studio i’d spend way more and get something better, but in my current situation i would buy these again definitely. I don’t claim to be a monitor expert, but I doubt without paying alot more you’d get anything definitively ‘better’, though you might get something you prefer for what you do.

At the end of the day they make the hi-fi speakers i used to use seem like the equivilent of mixing with your head in a huge bag or wire-wool, so yes I would recommend the RP-5s, but think about the size of your room, and how much it makes sense to spend. And get some foam.

subs get you evicted, headphones make you deaf.

in regard to studio monitors…there seems to be a consensus that the behringer truth series are great. call a place up and tell them they have a deal if they’ll waive the shipping.

AH HA HA HA!!! I JUST bought studio monitors and a mixer…
like… FINALLY I can HEAR what the HELL I’m doing with bass…

I got Rokit KRK RP8’s, because they’re relatively cheap, considering
the quality you get. And they look sexy. Especially considering what
I had! Monitor speakers are such an investment in your sound!
And so fukking expensive! WHY didn’t I just stick with proze?!

thanks for your informative posts here.
what do you exactly mean by “sweet” monitors? i know you explained it a few posts above already, but i don’t get the idea of monitors being “sweet” and not honest like they should.
since if they really are sweet, they would absolutely make no sense for me at all, as i already have a pretty non-linear/sweet 5.1 hifi setup already with four bi-amped Canton Ergo 1200DC, a Canton Ergo 502DC Center and a Yamaha YST-SW300 Sub all driven by a Denon AVR-3808.

it sure sounds all nice on this, but it just doesn’t sound honest.
so i wonder why on earth do manufacturers push out monitor speakers which actually seem to do the same as hifi-speakers do?
or is there still a difference between the linearity of sweet monitors and good hifi-speakers?

I would rather buy a top monitor second hand than a new monitor which has a lower quality. lots of studios around the place where I live use the tanoy monitor speakers like the system series, you should get those speakers for less than the krk’s cost.

Is it a good idea to use a sub bass speaker, like you use in the livingroom, next to my monitorspeakers in the studio? Or is that a bad idea, like they sit each other in the way?

that’s exactly what i am probably just about to do in all my desperation.
i’m currently watching an ebay auction of a pair of Adam A7’s which will end in one week.
they usually cost 800 the pair brandnew. those at ebay are advertised to be in mint condition so if i can get them for around 500-550 EUR max, they’re mine.
if not, i’m at point zero again and will probably wait until the tascam v8’s become available here.

I’ve made some smpls of my monitor speakers, so you can listen how they sound like. Anybody interested???

It’s hard to explain when I don’t have science (i.e. diagrams/specs) to back up my explanation - but I’m sure if you talk to engineers who do this for a living they WILL be able to explain. You often see major professional mixing desks with many pairs of nearfields on the top of the desk: almost certainly they are a mix of sweet and true monitors.

All the monitors mentioned in this thread are better than hi-fi speakers. The response will be flat-ish, and not at all geared toward consumer playback like ‘loudness emphasis’ etc.

How can I best describe the difference from my experience? “Sweet” has a deepness about it: your ears have to dive into the sound more to focus on all the little parts. It’s more conscious work on the part of the listener to get in there between the sounds. The sound is slicker, glossier. A pre-mastered mix on these will sound ultra-dull so to get things to sparkle on these sort of monitors you’re using stuff like exciters to get the right brightness. If you get that ‘balanced’ on a pair of sweet monitors playback on MOST hi-fi systems will sound great. That’s the old cliche about the NS10s - if it sounds great on those then it will sound great anywhere. Even if you have a shitty sounding mix, sweet monitors will tend to ‘sweeten’ the sound so it’s nice to listen to. A good engineer can hear past this to fish out the shit in the mix, but most beginners can’t and don’t know what to listen for. I have no idea how this ‘sweetness’ achieved via speaker design, but I’m sure there is a very detailed science behind it.

“True” monitors are usually waay more expensive. They are usually harsh and fatiguing to listen to and they are unforgiving in sound reproduction. They often bring out all the short comings of using digital instead of analogue. They kinda sound less deep and have a more immediate sound. Great for getting very precise with EQ and filters. I’ve picked up so much about getting smooth mixes and masters by using true monitors for years. But I always cross check my mixes on sweet monitors to see if I’ve got things bright enough. So I usually write/mix/master on my custom 2.1 setup which is more on the ‘true’ side of things, and then I play what I’ve done on a pair of Tannoy LGM’s which are big and sweet. If I have it right on both systems I’ve got the gold.

I could write essays on acoustics and monitoring levels, but I won’t here.

I hope that doesn’t sound like ranting. I hope you get the chance to cross check my opinion with another professional source.

Either way, I think whatever you pick Keith you’re still going to get amazing results because you can already mix wonderfully! The last 10 odd songs I’ve heard from you have been pretty amazing, and would have no problems with playback on large club or outdoor systems. I personally think your mixes are a touch light on the sub/bass, but only a touch. But that may be personal preference as I like a warm present low end.

thanks for clarifying this matter so thoroughly, foo?.

the funny thing is, that just now, after owning and using my Canton Ergo speakers for several years, i found some more technical reviews about them which claim that these speakers (which are definately meant to be hi-fi speakers) have an almost 100% linear sound, with only having a peak at around 20khz, which should be pretty much inaudible i guess.
having that in mind, i wonder if it does make any sense at all for me to buy monitors if my current speakers are already pretty much linear to the max.

that aside though, i would also need monitors for the sole reason that my new “studio room” will no longer allow me to sit in the centre of the speakers without totally screwing up the room-layout.
so i’m back in the “i need monitors” trap :-/

i really hate to buy such stuff blindly without having heard it in a shop, but as there is no such place in a radius of around 150km, i’ll have to rely on internet reviews and user recommendations.

so what would be your recommendation for a budget of 550EUR max?
try to get some used adam a7’s?
new hs80m or wait for the tascam’s until may this year?

btw: can you confirm the reportedly internal noise issue of the hs80m?

thanks mate.
even though you’re not the first one to compliment on my mixing, i think there still is a lot of room for improvement, especially when i compare my stuff to some professionally mixed songs of commercial material.

hope i will slowly get there as soon as i’ve got used to my new monitors… no matter which model it will be.
i also hope todays monitors aren’t too weak in the lower frequencies, because i simply can’t afford an additional sub for a while.

you already got your pair of monitors? which did you decide for?

I’d always wait and save money. Your songs deserve the better gear. And in the meantime you can learn to get a little more analytical with what you have got by A-Bing your mixes with professional ones. Many people do amazing mixes on limited equipment. Just take Beatslaughter for example: he uses headphones and his mixes are stunning.

btw: I can’t confirm much about noise issues with HS80Ms unfortunately.

yea, i use (Pioneer DJ-)Headphones for about 60% of the time for writing / mixing my stuff as well, simply because it’s usually at night when i get into the mood and got the calmness to get productive.
these cans overexaggerate the bass a lot, which could possibly the reason for why there is so little low-end in my stuff.

about the A-B’ing:
is there any analytical / technical way of doing this? or is it usually done by the use of the naked ear?

A-B tests can be done both ways. Intuitively (by ear) and by analysis (via tools like spectral analysis etc). A-B test usually refer to playing the same bit of audio through different speakers, but I’ve used the term liberally in describing the comparison of ‘your mix’ with ‘pro mix’.

Most beginners can gain advantage of doing this: usually realising the opposite of your problem: “why is there too much bass in my mix?!?!” :D