Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

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Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

Post by Dr Huge Longjohns »

Long time no visit, hi all.

I've been using my trusty Genelec 1030As for nearly 20 years and I think it's time for an upgrade.

What are the current favourites for a noticeable upgrade in quality? I'm particularly interested in getting tighter, lower bass. I toyed with the idea of a sub but everything I've read, by Hugh in particular, has dissuaded me from this route. I'm not mixing dance stuff so no need for super sub-bass but I would like a cleaner, tighter response where bass drums and bass guitars like to fight. I tend to switch to my Sennheiser HD600s to get an idea of what's going on down there and would like my monitors to give me a better idea.

The ones I've been thinking about are Neumann KH120s or Eve SC307s or maybe APS Klasiks (although the latter seem to have production quality issues?). Would those be a worthwhile upgrade? I'm open to all suggestions.

Budget? Up to around £1500, maybe more if I can get a trade on the Genelecs?

Thanks everyone!
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Re: Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

Post by Stu Pendous Music »

I happen to be a big fan of the Neumann KH line. I am the proud owner of a pair of KH 80s and the KH 750 DSP. I have also used the KH 310s. Mike Senior and I are both fans, and I actually got to test the KH 80 with KH 750 before he did, but he got to test the KH 80s alone before I did. If you go to Mike's Patreon page, he did a few different gear reviews on the KH 80, 120, and 310.

I have to agree with Hugh here regarding the "need" for a sub. I have mine connected, and given the type of music I usually mix, there isn't enough information below 50 Hz or so, for the sub to really reveal anything; it often doesn't even reproduce any sound or vibration. I say 50 Hz, because this is the lowest frequency of the KH 80s, which actually are quite revealing in the bass; more so than other monitors—especially of their small size—that extend lower. This is using both the factory default setting of the monitors, and with the DSP software "correction".

Using headphones in conjunction with you monitors is always a good tool help check what's going on down below; additionally, the use of a single Mixcube or Horrortone should not be dismissed, as it will definitely tell you how your mix "stacks up".

The Sennheiser HD 600 is an excellent headphone, that is actually an audiophile/Hi-Fi headphone, that happened to find use with pro audio professionals. It has a noticeable midrange lift, and also only extends down to 100 Hz; hence, it is not a neutral headphone by any means. Some FYI: I spoke to someone at Sennheiser-Neumann in Germany, and that person told e that the new HD 400 has the same driver as the HD 600, but repackaged for the professional market.

My headphone of choice for mix purposes is the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro. It is dead neutral, and has a range fro 5 Hz all the way up to 35,000 Hz! (OK, I know: we humans can't really hear below 40 Hz or above 16 Khz.)

While you're considering which monitors to purchase, also consider the size of your mixing space.

This is just my take on things. I hope it helps. Let us know what you decide.

If anyone wants to discuss this more, or "school" me here, I'm more than open to expand my horizons. :crazy:
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Re: Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Your budget won't move you very far up the quality scale, simply because the Genelec was a pretty respectable monitor in its day.

I'd recommend s DSP-equipped monitor as the best step up with the benefits you seek. KH80s are remarkably good for the price. KH150s will give more low end but push the budget.

But you could also try speaker correction software like Sonarworks which might give your Genelecs an extended lifespan by improving their accuracy for relatively little outlay.
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Re: Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

Post by Arpangel »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 2:54 pm Your budget won't move you very far up the quality scale, simply because the Genelec was a pretty respectable monitor in its day.

^^^^^
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Re: Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

Post by Dr Huge Longjohns »

Thanks chaps. My setup is already Sonarworked up, I did this when I installed all my treatment so I think I’ve optimised the Genelecs as far as they can go. Which is why my first thought was to add a sub just to give me a little extra bass clarity? Hugh, is this another option in light of your comments?
I’ll have a look at those other Neumann you suggest, thanks.
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Re: Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

A sub will certainly extend the range downwards and potentially give your main speakers more headroom.

Whether the cost of buying a decent sub and the challenge of optimising the setup is worth the benefit is a harder question to answer.
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Re: Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

Post by Dr Huge Longjohns »

I’ll take that as a ‘no’ then!
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Re: Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

:D

The end result depends heavily on the acoustics of the room. If you've already got well optimised bass trapping a sub will work well. If not, it will almost certainly make the bass unevenness even more uneven.

I say almost because a sub can potentially be positioned optimally in terms of not exciting the room modes, depending on room furniture, doors, etc. — something you can't generally do with normal stereo speakers.

...and if you do opt for a sub, it does take some effort to optimise the crossover frequency and slopes, the phase, and the level. Buying a manufacturer's sub specifically matched to the satellites helps, of course, as does speaker correction dsp.
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Re: Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

Post by RichardT »

Dr Huge, I wonder if it’s worth exploring what’s going on in your room at low frequencies? Confused bass is a common symptom if you haven’t got quite enough bass trapping in place.

It might be a lot cheaper to enhance your treatment! In my case, I found getting a couple of traps tuned to a particular resonant frequency made a big difference to bass clarity.

Of course, I have no idea what treatment you already have so I may be way off the mark.
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Re: Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

Post by Dr Huge Longjohns »

As I said, I did a full evaluation of the acoustics via Sonarworks and trapped it to the extent that it’s pretty good.So I don’t consider there to be anything seriously out of kilter with my system but I know I would like a little more transparency at the lower end. It’s a bit ‘if it ain’t broke’ etc but I’m sure it could be better and the old Genelecs owe me nothing! 😀
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Re: Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

Post by Arpangel »

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 7:05 pm I’m sure it could be better and the old Genelecs owe me nothing! 😀

It might not be better, my decision would be do nothing, unless you’re willing, or in a position to spend big money, the the advantages are going to be minimal, not worth the effort, or expenditure.
This has been said, I know, just trying to save you money.
I’ve been in this position many times, but I’ve learnt sometimes, things are good enough, and not worth bothering with.
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Re: Time for a monitor upgrade.Which to get?

Post by Dr Huge Longjohns »

OK, so all that being said, let's explore the sub route again. What's a recommended sub for around £500? My room is about 6m x 3m with a vaulted ceiling and is heavily acoustically treated.

Focal Sub One? KRK S10? JBL LSR 103?
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