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Thread: Stereo speakers vs. Recording speakers - What the difference?

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    Stereo speakers vs. Recording speakers - What the difference?

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    Hey guys,
    I was just wondering whats the difference between stereo speakers and recording speakers (I think they're called recording speakers.....idk but people use them for recording)? They kinda look the same but I think Ive seen someone say that "stereo speakers transmit power and computer speakers transmit signals". Do they produce the same sound or do they give completely different results?

    Thanks,
    Arbiboy

    (Btw im new to this "home recording" stuff )

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    Quote Originally Posted by arbiboy View Post
    (Btw im new to this "home recording" stuff )
    Yeah, I'll say.

    I have never heard the difference between home-audio speakers and monitors (the most common name for "recording speakers") expressed like that- and frankly, it sounds like total double-speak, to me. Structurally and electronically, the two types of speakers are the same- a (usually) wooden box with two or three drivers mounted in it, and a crossover to send the high frequencies to the tweeter, the mids to the, well, mid, and the lows to the woofer. Perhaps a port of some sort to enhance bass response. Both types receive an electrical signal that corresponds to sounds, the coils transfer that electrical energy to mechanical energy, the cones and boxes amplify and "color" the sound. You can hook monitors up to a home-audio system, and by the same token, you can use, to some degree or success or failure, home-audio speakers as monitors. Computer speakers are nothing but small, relatively low-quality "speakers" that follow the same basic design.

    The biggest difference is what they do with the signal they receive. Home-audio speakers are designed and built, to varying degrees, to make the music played through them sound impressive and "moving," so that the listener enjoys the experience. They often color the sound considerably, enhancing some frequencies so as to "grab" the listener's attention. Monitors, on the other hand, are designed to reproduce the actual sound, with minimal coloration, so that the engineer mixing the sound gets an accurate hearing of what is really going on. If the speakers colored the sound much, some frequencies would be over-emphasized, other under, and when the recording was played in the real world, say in a car on a living room, it would sound unnatural and/or unpleasing.

    Another difference is monitors are usually "near field," meaning the listener- usually only one or a few people- are sitting close to the speakers- maybe only 3 or 4 feet from them, and in the "sweet spot-" that place where the speakers do their job the best. Home audio speakers must sound good all over the room, which can be a relatively huge area.

    That said, there are some home audio speakers that have turned out to be excellent monitors (there is a Yamaha speaker that is near-legendary as monitors,) and some monitors can be pressed into home-audio service with good results.

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    Monitors are "flat" speakers, they have no preset eq. What you hear is what you put thru them with your own eqing. Stereo speakers come with predetermined highs, mids and lows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nodough View Post
    Monitors are "flat" speakers, they have no preset eq. What you hear is what you put thru them with your own eqing. Stereo speakers come with predetermined highs, mids and lows.
    We're about to go in a circle here.
    Pretty much all speakers have aberrations from accuracy, some intended some just the compromises chosen.
    But 'true' can be the intended goal in a 'high fidelity speaker as well.
    I invested in a set that completely blurs any distinction. Simply a case of very good logical design and implementation.

    Placebo stomps 96k ....... Recent projects
    Ray Catfish Copeland 'Got Love Jim Goodman 'Southern Steel

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    My hi-fi speakers are computer-matched and shipped with a frequency response graph for both speakers. They're designed to emphasize bass when placed near a wall, but they're as flat as any speaker can be when placed as near field monitors. I'm not convinced that any pair of cheap "home recording" monitors can be more accurate.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    One day I'll make it into somebody's signature line.

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    You guys mean I can't just use earbuds?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nodough View Post
    Monitors are "flat" speakers, they have no preset eq. What you hear is what you put thru them with your own eqing. Stereo speakers come with predetermined highs, mids and lows.
    I know it's already been pounded in half-way, but "monitors" is a buzz-word of sorts. Few popular "monitors" these days are as accurate and/or consistent as quality high-fidelity gear...

    Sure - Cheesy stereo speakers from the local Best Buy are one thing -- "Real" hi-fi componentry is another thing entirely.

    Keeping in mind of course, that if the typical "studio monitor" was truly accurate, there would only be a need for one model -- and any others would sound just like it.

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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by diggy_dude View Post
    They're designed to emphasize bass when placed near a wall, but they're as flat as any speaker can be when placed as near field monitors.
    Er - ALL speakers emphasize the bass when placed near a wall - it's the law of physics.

    This is why many professional active monitors have switches on them to reduce the bass when placed by a wall, near the ceiling, or in a corner - so that the sound to the listener remains flat.

    Yes, some hi-fi speakers are designed as accurate reproducers, though many are designed to give a "nice" sound.

    A monitor should be ruthlessly accurate and should sound horrible if what you are putting into them is horrible. They should tell you accurately what you are doing so you can make proper decisions while you work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitaristic View Post
    You guys mean I can't just use earbuds?!
    I'm pretty sure you shouldnt. I read somewhere that earphones should not be used because earphones and speakers produce different sounds. That makes sense because earphones are right next to your ears - allowing you to hear EVERYTHING, including those "background" back-up vocals/instruments/percussions - however if you play it on speakers (or monitors) you may not be able to hear certain elements of the music when you listen from (lets just say) 7 feet away.

    Im no expert but this is just my experience......can anyone correct me if im wrong?


    oh and thanks stevie for pointing me out. Monitor speakers are at the top of my list now .

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    John Willett pretty much sums it up.

    For many years I used some expensive studio monitor speakers on my hifi and loved the results--the good stuff sounded great and the less than good stuff I could recognise. At the good end of things there's no real difference.

    However, a large number of hifi speakers are designed to sound "good" on everything by exaggerating certain frequencies. Trying to mix on these is a bit like drinking after a bottle of vodka. You think you're doing a lot better than you really are!

    The purpose of monitor speakers is to let you know what you're actually listening to, warts and all. Some good hifi speakers can do this--but you have to know what you're buying.

    Bob
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.
    -Tyrion Lannister (and Bobbsy)

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