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Thread: Need advice on budget studio monitors - do I need a subwoofer etc?

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    Need advice on budget studio monitors - do I need a subwoofer etc?

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    Hi everyone, I've just joined these forums. I'm a rock musician from the UK and play in an 80s melodic/hard rock style duo. We've been recording our original material - we have a BOSS BR 1600cd multitrack recorder, but have recently also started using Samplitude Music Studio 2016 too.

    So far I've been doing the mixing and mastering through headphones and various PA type speakers (I have a Roland Street Cube EX amp), but I read that it's best to use proper studio monitor speakers to get the best possible results. So assuming this is true, I'm now looking to purchase some studio monitors.

    I don't want to spend a fortune, maybe up to 300 (though this isn't set in stone), so I'm thinking of buying a pair of KRK Rokit RP5 G3's. However I noticed most budget studio monitors are small compared to PA speakers etc, I mean these ones have a 5'' glass-aramid composite woofer and 1'' soft-dome tweeter so will they really sound any good, and will I be able to hear the bass frequencies properly, etc? Or are studio monitors usually smaller than normal speakers?

    I also read a blog where a guy said it's best to use subwoofers in order to hear the bass properly, otherwise you might end up adding too much bass to the mix because you couldn't hear it properly, meaning it will sound far too bassy when people listen to it on their devices, etc. Is this true, and how do I add subwoofers to the KRK Rokit?

    Also, I heard you need to use isolation pads with studio monitors to stop them vibrating - is this correct and does it really make much of a difference? Or should I buy speaker stands?

    So how can I guarantee my mixes and masters will sound great on any system after they're done? What are some good studio monitors that will make this easier? My Boss recorder has a digital output and I've heard that Boss DS-90, DS-50, DS-5 or DS-8 are good monitors so these might be an option to buy, however I will probably use them with my DAW so the Rokit's would probably be fine.

    I'm really a bit unsure where to start on studio monitors, so any advice you have would be appreciated! P.S. feel free to suggest good alternatives to the speakers I listed if you know of any.

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    For the type of music you are doing, I would not worry about a sub or the need to hear those kind of lows.
    Not sure about that particular KRK, maybe someone who has them will comment...but generally KRK makes decent stuff.
    There are probably other options in your budget range, but TBH, I haven't look for speakers in that price range, so it's hard for me to recommend anything.

    AFA pads under the speakers...yeah, you can add them, they won't hur tanythihg...but I think you're not going to really notice much difference, and these are smaller monitors you are looking at, so they are not going to be kicking out a lot of power and air that they will be shaking on the stands enough to require pads.

    You should at least go to a music/audio store where you can maybe audition 2-3 models in the same price range, and try to pick out a pair you like, though once you bring them home, in your room they may sound a bit different...but it's better than just buying them online based on someone's suggestion.
    I mean...go try out a few since you've only been use to head phones...it's a big difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilKenAlt View Post
    Hi everyone, I've just joined these forums. I'm a rock musician from the UK and play in an 80s melodic/hard rock style duo. We've been recording our original material - we have a BOSS BR 1600cd multitrack recorder, but have recently also started using Samplitude Music Studio 2016 too.

    So far I've been doing the mixing and mastering through headphones and various PA type speakers (I have a Roland Street Cube EX amp), but I read that it's best to use proper studio monitor speakers to get the best possible results. So assuming this is true, I'm now looking to purchase some studio monitors.

    I don't want to spend a fortune, maybe up to 300 (though this isn't set in stone), so I'm thinking of buying a pair of KRK Rokit RP5 G3's. However I noticed most budget studio monitors are small compared to PA speakers etc, I mean these ones have a 5'' glass-aramid composite woofer and 1'' soft-dome tweeter so will they really sound any good, and will I be able to hear the bass frequencies properly, etc? Or are studio monitors usually smaller than normal speakers?

    I also read a blog where a guy said it's best to use subwoofers in order to hear the bass properly, otherwise you might end up adding too much bass to the mix because you couldn't hear it properly, meaning it will sound far too bassy when people listen to it on their devices, etc. Is this true, and how do I add subwoofers to the KRK Rokit?

    Also, I heard you need to use isolation pads with studio monitors to stop them vibrating - is this correct and does it really make much of a difference? Or should I buy speaker stands?

    So how can I guarantee my mixes and masters will sound great on any system after they're done? What are some good studio monitors that will make this easier? My Boss recorder has a digital output and I've heard that Boss DS-90, DS-50, DS-5 or DS-8 are good monitors so these might be an option to buy, however I will probably use them with my DAW so the Rokit's would probably be fine.

    I'm really a bit unsure where to start on studio monitors, so any advice you have would be appreciated! P.S. feel free to suggest good alternatives to the speakers I listed if you know of any.


    If that is your budget I would stick to headphones andor good stereo speakers and forget the subwoofer.
    That might still cost more than your budget but still be less than studio monitors.
    How many people listening to your work will have subwoofers?

    You should have isolation pads under the speakers. With or without speaker stands. Keeps them from vibrating what is under them.

    Learn to record edit mix and master. Monitors are not going to make your mastering better if you cant master very well.
    Last edited by mr average; 03-24-2019 at 19:43. Reason: doubled entry

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    You don't need a sub for mixing that type of music, assuming you are not using beats/background tracks that have a lot of low end. But you do want speakers that can reproduce down to around 40-45Hz for the bass notes.
    I haven't heard much good about the KRKs, but many so-so comments. You should definitely go and listen to some speakers before buying. There are quite a few others in that price range, but if you could bump your budget up by another 100 pounds it would open up the possibilities even more.
    As far as getting your mixes to translate well, that is a matter of learning any monitor system - and also your mixing room. You will no doubt find you need to do acoustic treatment (not foam).
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
    My Bandcamp site: http://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

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    Getting a proper listening area desk set up for near fields and treating your room as much as possible are very important. Don’t wing it...do it right. As for the KRKs.........lots of us here are not fond of their accuracy. Don’t overlook the JBL LSR 305 series. In your price range and very highly reviewed.
    Just A Song Writer..........

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    JBL LSR305 & LSR308 |

    Yes, ^ the JBLs look very good for their money. DO go for the larger model if at all possible, Rock needs to be quite loud*? Re the KRKs..Certain products in the Home Recording world seem to gain great traction for no great reason? Monitors are one such product and a certain interface brand? Of the latter, there are AS good and cheaper and some rather better equipped for much the same money. Do your Googlin' homework!

    Any decent monitors you get will need the right cables to link to the Boss as it outputs on RCAs but being in a rock band I am sure you or someone else is a bit electrically cute?

    *Do investigate "Monitor speaker Calibration" listening at safe, consistent levels is vital. As others have said, check out Room Treatment. The magazine I linked to above does an excellent "Studio SoS" series. All available online.

    Great fan of Samplitude BTW. I have Pro X 3suite as does son over in France.

    Dave.

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    Thanks for all the replies, they're very helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mickster View Post
    Getting a proper listening area desk set up for near fields and treating your room as much as possible are very important. Don’t wing it...do it right. As for the KRKs.........lots of us here are not fond of their accuracy. Don’t overlook the JBL LSR 305 series. In your price range and very highly reviewed.
    Quote Originally Posted by mjbphotos View Post
    You will no doubt find you need to do acoustic treatment (not foam).
    I'm using my living room as a music studio/rehearsal studio/video recording studio - I have my musical equipment permanently set up. What sort of acoustic treatment do you recommend? I have no idea where to start with acoustic treatment to be honest, it's new to me.

    What sort of 'listening area desk' do you recommend? Is it possible to buy a desk designed specifically for setting up recording equipment, or is just a standard computer desk sort of thing?

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    You can use anything for a desk. Sure there are specific desks made for mixing purposes, but everyone's needs are different. Position is key - you want your listening area to be symmetrical (left to right) as much as possible. Corners should be treated with rockwool or compressed fiberglass traps/superchunks.
    Post a diagram of your room and people will make suggestions.
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
    My Bandcamp site: http://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilKenAlt View Post
    I also read a blog where a guy said it's best to use subwoofers in order to hear the bass properly, otherwise you might end up adding too much bass to the mix because you couldn't hear it properly
    So with small speakers, you're not going to properly hear the low end. But if you check your mix in a car, on a home stereo, and on your headphones you're already familiar with, you can probably work it out.

    Because buying even a cheap subwoofer will destroy your budget.

    Best to get the best speakers you can afford, and try to work out the low end by other means.

    Personally, I bought a used hi-fi subwoofer locally. It's not a great subwoofer. But I have it set so that when it's on you can hear lower notes but it's not super obvious. It's when you turn it off that you miss it.

    I have monitors sitting on a stack of concrete blocks. They do not vibrate in any way. And they were cheap.

    Personally I don't mind the KRK speakers, my wife is using a set of the 5" KRK's for her stuff. But the JBL's are probably much better speakers. I have not heard them, but I used a different set of JBL's for years.

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    ^^^^^^^what he said is true. You don’t have to buy a special desk....although you could if you wanted to. Any table will do as long as it is wide enough to separate the monitors enough. You want the monitors to be at eye /ear level.....not much higher or lower. You can sit your monitors on something to get the right height. They should be pointed at your head. Then you want to be able to sit between them making your head the point of an equal sided triangle. If the monitors are 4 feet apart......then your head should be 4 feet from each speaker. As for room treatment........a few pics would help us to help you.
    Just A Song Writer..........

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