Best Studio Monitors

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Moderator: Moderators

Re: Best Studio Monitors

Post by Arpangel »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Fri May 20, 2022 7:39 am
Arpangel wrote: Fri May 20, 2022 6:13 amHow many people are going to be listening on mastering grade payback systems?

Very few... but the whole point of 'mastering grade' monitoring is to hear everything as it really is, so that it can be made to sound the best it possibly can -- without sonic issues that the mix engineer couldn't hear -- or, worse, tonal compensations the mix engineer dialed in to correct for on -- the inadequacies of their own sub-par 'monitoring' system.

Only by mastering through an truely accurate full range monitoring system in a neutral acoustic environment can you be sure that the music will sound the best it possibly can on the widest range of typical punter systems.

You could say, that it’s a good idea to listen on more modest equipment, things that are closest to your normal listeners situation.

You could say it, but that doesn't make it true...

It doesn’t make it untrue either! :)
Some mastering engineers have a magic touch, and are (were?) in big demand, but how much music today actually relies on high end mastering?
With musicians doing more and more of the work now, and the high quality of equipment on offer at lower prices, that last thing in the chain, just becomes something we do, just another job we don’t even notice, I think we do it as we go along.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11585 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am
That’s another thing

Re: Best Studio Monitors

Post by Urthlupe »

Whoopsy…..

You’re completely missing the point bud…… :crazy:

‘Only by mastering through an truely accurate full range monitoring system in a neutral acoustic environment can you be sure that the music will sound the best it possibly can on the widest range of typical punter systems.’

You only get here by running your output through an accurate system fella (and that system includes the acoustic environment). Simple as….

If you don’t care about transferability of course then you’re good to go.

Loopy
User avatar
Urthlupe
Frequent Poster
Posts: 580 Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2002 12:00 am Location: West Midlands/Pembrokeshire UK

Re: Best Studio Monitors

Post by Aled Hughes »

Arpangel wrote: Fri May 20, 2022 8:27 am
Hugh Robjohns wrote: Fri May 20, 2022 7:39 am
Arpangel wrote: Fri May 20, 2022 6:13 amHow many people are going to be listening on mastering grade payback systems?

Very few... but the whole point of 'mastering grade' monitoring is to hear everything as it really is, so that it can be made to sound the best it possibly can -- without sonic issues that the mix engineer couldn't hear -- or, worse, tonal compensations the mix engineer dialed in to correct for on -- the inadequacies of their own sub-par 'monitoring' system.

Only by mastering through an truely accurate full range monitoring system in a neutral acoustic environment can you be sure that the music will sound the best it possibly can on the widest range of typical punter systems.

You could say, that it’s a good idea to listen on more modest equipment, things that are closest to your normal listeners situation.

You could say it, but that doesn't make it true...

It doesn’t make it untrue either! :)
Some mastering engineers have a magic touch, and are (were?) in big demand, but how much music today actually relies on high end mastering?
With musicians doing more and more of the work now, and the high quality of equipment on offer at lower prices, that last thing in the chain, just becomes something we do, just another job we don’t even notice, I think we do it as we go along.

I get your point, but high-end monitoring systems are not designed to make the music sound good, they're designed to deliver as much information as possible. That, in turn, allows you to create a mix/master that has the best sound of sounding acceptable across the widest possible range of playback systems.

If you're using cheap consumer stuff to mix or master, it's a constant moving target. One cheap system might boom horribly around 100Hz. Another might not, but sound really nasty around 5kHz. It's no good for your mix to compensate for those two specific issues, because the next system someone uses to listen to your mix might not have those issues at all, but instead have another set of problems. If you've held back at 100Hz and 5kHz in your mix due to your speakers, then it's going to sound lacking on other systems that don't have those specific problems.

No mix or master is ever going to avoid the problems inherent in poor speaker/headphones, but having a high-quality monitoring system in a well-treated space ensures (hopefully) that you're not adding any issues of your own to the mix, and not baking in the deficiencies of your speaker by compensating for them in the mix.
Aled Hughes
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1495 Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:00 am Location: Pwllheli, Cymru

Re: Best Studio Monitors

Post by Mike Stranks »

Late last year I decided that as I wasn't mixing music any more I'd 'downsize' my monitors from the respectable, but relatively modest, set I had to some well-rated and well-regarded computer speakers.

A/B during the switch-over was dramatic. The computer speakers sounded very deficient in a number of ways and definitely w a y behind what I was used to in terms of transparency.

No great hardship to me as they're only now used for casual listening... the little bit of serious stuff I'm still engaged in all gets monitored on my AKG cans...

But the difference was stark... choose your 'monitors' - within your price-point with care.
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9559 Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Best Studio Monitors

Post by RichardT »

Tony,

I've upgraded my monitoring (speakers and listening environment) a lot over the past few years. It's clear to me that with my earlier systems, I simply wasn't hearing things correctly. The same is going to be true for you, given that you don't have a treated room and you use quite basic monitors.

If you get a good mix out of that kind of environment quite honestly it's down to luck! In fact you are not going to get good mixes full stop, even if you think you are.
RichardT
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2325 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: London UK

Re: Best Studio Monitors

Post by James Perrett »

A couple of times over the last few years I've tried setting up a studio in the house in addition to the main studio. Both times I've tried a variety of speakers that I've had around here ranging from NS10s, KEF Celeste IIIs and Wharfedale Unit 5s. None of these gave me the insight into the music that I can get with my usual Tannoys which are really good at pulling mixes apart. NS10s have a reputation for being good for vocal balancing but I find that they don't give me a convincing sound stage and the balance is very skewed towards the midrange. The KEFs were an improvement but I was still missing something. The Wharfedales had more of the weight of the Tannoys thanks to their 12" bass driver but they sounded nice rather than convincing.

The first time I tried a home setup I was able to bring the Tannoys into the house and use them while I finished building the studio but more recently I've had to settle for using the LS3/5a's in the house. They are much better than any of the other alternatives that I've tried and probably more suitable for use now that I have close neighbours but still don't give me quite the same insight as I get from the Tannoys. That's why I use them in combination with decent headphones.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 12380 Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Best Studio Monitors

Post by Mike Stranks »

Sorry OP! :lol:

We've taken a little diversion here to deal with a 'does it really matter?' comment...

... you were saying... :)
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9559 Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Best Studio Monitors

Post by James Perrett »

Back on topic - as Richard says in the first reply - if you have the budget for the Avantones then the Neumann KH120s or KH80s will make much better general purpose monitors.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 12380 Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Best Studio Monitors

Post by Arpangel »

I suggest the OP comes along to Gearfest, where he can witness various forum members holding my hand and soothing my fevered brow while my wallet comes out to buy a pair of Neumann 310’s, a Hydrasynth, and an RME interface.

:D

"But seriously" I’ll be checking out some monitor stalls, and I advise the OP to try and get a listen to a few things if he can.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11585 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am
That’s another thing

Re: Best Studio Monitors

Post by Philbo King »

A very useful site for comparing tech specs of speakers. It might help narrow down which speakers you want to audition. It gets quite 'techy' but has quite complete test data.

The page loads slow, give it a little time.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru ... rTestData/
Philbo King
Poster
Posts: 34 Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:07 pm

Re: Best Studio Monitors

Post by Arpangel »

James Perrett wrote: Fri May 20, 2022 3:06 pm A couple of times over the last few years I've tried setting up a studio in the house in addition to the main studio. Both times I've tried a variety of speakers that I've had around here ranging from NS10s, KEF Celeste IIIs and Wharfedale Unit 5s. None of these gave me the insight into the music that I can get with my usual Tannoys which are really good at pulling mixes apart. NS10s have a reputation for being good for vocal balancing but I find that they don't give me a convincing sound stage and the balance is very skewed towards the midrange. The KEFs were an improvement but I was still missing something. The Wharfedales had more of the weight of the Tannoys thanks to their 12" bass driver but they sounded nice rather than convincing.

The first time I tried a home setup I was able to bring the Tannoys into the house and use them while I finished building the studio but more recently I've had to settle for using the LS3/5a's in the house. They are much better than any of the other alternatives that I've tried and probably more suitable for use now that I have close neighbours but still don't give me quite the same insight as I get from the Tannoys. That's why I use them in combination with decent headphones.

James, just wondering what Tannoys you’ve got? I used to have Cheviots, and Little Reds, I can remember the first time I heard Tannoys, it was like I couldn’t use anything else, ever again.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11585 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am
That’s another thing

Re: Best Studio Monitors

Post by James Perrett »

Arpangel wrote: Sat May 28, 2022 7:16 am James, just wondering what Tannoys you’ve got? I used to have Cheviots, and Little Reds, I can remember the first time I heard Tannoys, it was like I couldn’t use anything else, ever again.

I've got a pair of Tannoy Berkeleys which use 15" HPD drivers. They're the bigger brothers of the Cheviots. I only found out recently that they used to belong to Tony Arnold and were used at Arny's Shack for a while.

When I first bought them I tried them with an old Leak Stereo 70 amp and found out that the amp was actually singing along to the music - there was a slight high frequency tone present that I hadn't heard with any other speakers.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 12380 Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page
Post Reply