Monitors Du Jour?

Folkcafe

Active member
I've about exhausted the extents of my French but looking for new monitors to replace my KRK's (blown up sir). They were an oddball model 4000. A limited release of a passive version of the V4 that really paired nicely with one of my Hafler amps until a friend blew them out while gleefully auditioning Amplitube 5 set to 11.

I am also using a 40 year old pair of Bang and Olufsen 3 ways as midfields. You might laugh but they matched pretty well with the KRK except the mid bass is tighter. I have two subs, both old but am currently only using the Tannoy 350B 15 inch sub. The other is a Yorkville 12 inch sub that had some popularity back in the day.

A couple I am considering is the KRK 10-3 3 way to eventually replace the B&O. Need something to replace the 4 Inch KRK's sooner. Looking hard at the Presonus Eris E44. I need clarity at the mid and larger woofers are often lacking especially at the lower price end.

Not much around here where I can go an audition which is a whole other problem. So It would be helpful to hear what the collective thinks as to the state of monitoring.
 

skwee

Member
As I've probably mentioned before. My uncle (a composer/drummer who did a few large film scores in his hey-day always said: "Get Yamaha monitors. If you can make your mix sound good in them, it will sound good pretty much anywhere".
 

Folkcafe

Active member
As I've probably mentioned before. My uncle (a composer/drummer who did a few large film scores in his hey-day always said: "Get Yamaha monitors. If you can make your mix sound good in them, it will sound good pretty much anywhere".

As part of figuring out my whole mic situation, I've been pricing out some of the old classics I sold off. $650 for 1 original AKG 451 and that didn't include the additional capsules and pads I had for mine. Among the things I wouldn't ever put on my list to replace is the original NS10M's I had. Life is too short for that level of fatigue and torment. Handy as a spot check for checking out if the mids are a bit too shrill but to work on, hour after hour, no F'n way. I'd have to imagine they have improved a lot for how the market has changed. I'll just say it plain and simple, never a fan of Yamaha speakers. I had original Auratones back in the day too. Sold on the same premise, you can make a mix sound good on them, it will sound good on anything.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I'm hoping to upgrade... right after I win the lottery! I'm shooting for the B&W Nautilus 800s. Best speaker I've ever heard, bar none.

Back on the real world...

I've been pretty happy with the JBL 308s. I find so much variation in speakers, that I really wouldn't buy anything without hearing it first. There's no way you can compare speakers through a Youtube video. Its like trying to taste food by watching a cooking show.

Years ago I was in Sweetwater (before they built the new place) and listened to quite a few... Events TR8s, Samson Rubicons ribbons, JBLs, BX8s. Mackie HR824s were all the rage at the time, but I liked the Rubicons. I had actually gotten a pair of BX8s but took them back after getting them home. Really didn't like them at all. Took them back and got the Rubicons. Still have them, but they aren't set up right now. I'm been using the 308s for the past couple of years.

If I had to get something today, I would go through the same process.
 

BroKen_H

Re-member
I went to the Raleigh Guitar Center with a list of hopefuls; a disc with some test tones, sweeps and a couple songs I like + one of my own mixes; and a dB meter. After listening and testing all on my list, I came home with my M-Audio M3-8s. Highly recommend this method of picking speakers...if you can find somewhere that will let you play for an hour or two in a secluded room.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
I'm hoping to upgrade... right after I win the lottery! I'm shooting for the B&W Nautilus 800s. Best speaker I've ever heard, bar none.

Back on the real world...

I've been pretty happy with the JBL 308s. I find so much variation in speakers, that I really wouldn't buy anything without hearing it first. There's no way you can compare speakers through a Youtube video. Its like trying to taste food by watching a cooking show.

Years ago I was in Sweetwater (before they built the new place) and listened to quite a few... Events TR8s, Samson Rubicons ribbons, JBLs, BX8s. Mackie HR824s were all the rage at the time, but I liked the Rubicons. I had actually gotten a pair of BX8s but took them back after getting them home. Really didn't like them at all. Took them back and got the Rubicons. Still have them, but they aren't set up right now. I'm been using the 308s for the past couple of years.

If I had to get something today, I would go through the same process.

I take your point all too well. Still we end up buying a lot of things without auditioning them. It all depends on each person's comfort level. Take microphones. Going back to the Harvey Gerst budget microphone thread days, there were a ton of mics, some of them I still have, that were purchased just on recommendation. MXL 603, ECM8000, Studio Projects C1. I was doing live sound too and was always upgrading mics on recommendations. The one pair that hit that limit was the Crown CM700 matched pair. I really couldn't afford a pair of KM184's which we had in the studio at my day job. A couple people recommended the 700's highly on both the live and recording boards. That leap of faith is all about how much you are willing to put at risk or inconvenience yourself with returns or selling off something that didn't work for you.

Guitar Center right now is about the only place nearby and their selection is going to be limited. I used to do lot of business with a place called Parson's Audio but they don't have much of a show room and they lean into the much higher end. At about a $400-500 budget, is it worth the long trip to NYC to audition a larger selection. It is not like any of them will have ideal placement. It is hard to judge what is going to sound right in the space from a listen in a showroom.

I worked for a music store when I was younger. I would bring home pair after pair of speakers I was interested in. Some worked in the listening environment, others were pretty disappointing. This was all top end hifi stuff. Something was the same back then as it is now. People tend to pick the brighter sounding speakers. I can't tell you how many times when auditioning speakers in the showroom, a customer would pick some a cheaper pair of "in your face" speakers over something more balanced. I am rather sensitive to listening fatigue so I'll take something a bit more subdued even if I have to compensate for it with my mixing. The KRK were not the greatest monitor by any measure but I had them for 20 years and knew them well in the environment they are in.

This is going to get even harder when it comes time to buy midfields. I am really considering taking out and rebuilding the existing desk as to pull everything away from the walls so I can place the midfields on floor stands and get a little more distance. This is going to involve a complete remake of the sound treatment for the control room.

Just before I had to take a break from this, the Adam's were the current in thing. I now see they have some budget choices but also see them listed a lot in the used stuff. Not sure what that says but I suspect they don't live up to the higher end of the product line. Hence the way my question was phrased. What is getting a lot of attention currently? Then I can figure out if and how I can audition or find a vendor with a good return policy.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
Yamaha is still a decent brand to look at, though if you are looking for passive monitors, they don't have anything in that category. And, not sure if your budget is for one or a pair, but it is a limited budget for a pair. I have the HS5s and they have been a good set. My space is small and I mix primarily acoustic stuff, so even if there's a bass track, it's not a big problem, much as I'd like to have a bigger set, it would probably create more problems than improve things. I just feel like you really have to bump the budget a lot to make a significant difference in what you hear.
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
When I bought my first pair of monitors in the late 80's, Veneman's Music in Northern Va. had one room dedicated to speakers. Walls were lined nearly floor to ceiling and there were switch boxes coming out the wazoo. Trouble was it was all for show. I mean, everything was wired for sound and all the switching worked, but you couldn't make good comparisons or evaluate singles/pairs in the midst of 6 other guys doing the same thing around the room. But then.. what are any of them going to sound like in that kind of room anyway, right? So my first pair were small cheapies just to let me hear what I was doing - probably not as good as a decent set of desktop PC speakers these days.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Yamaha is still a decent brand to look at, though if you are looking for passive monitors, they don't have anything in that category. And, not sure if your budget is for one or a pair, but it is a limited budget for a pair. I have the HS5s and they have been a good set. My space is small and I mix primarily acoustic stuff, so even if there's a bass track, it's not a big problem, much as I'd like to have a bigger set, it would probably create more problems than improve things. I just feel like you really have to bump the budget a lot to make a significant difference in what you hear.

You are going to make me feel bad about being a bit harsh with skwee.

I've not auditioned Yamaha monitors for quite some time but am knowlegeble enough of the history behind that famous phrase. Also all too familiar with the NS10 so many are nostalgic about. Also active dominates the market. Don't care, can always repurpose the Hafler amps.

Budget is an interesting topic. I wasn't planning on replacing either set of speakers in the near term. Was still pretty happy with the nearfield KRK's, just can't get replacement woofers for them.

I've got too many things on my list in order to get my studio back up to what I am looking for. Biggest issue is I/O. My old Pro Tools was 16 channels analog. 16 channle Apogee Element Thunderbolt is $7500. The Presonus 4848 is $1500 and more analog channels but is it in the same class? I'd plan on getting by with a couple outboard pre's and my Soundtracs console and slowly build up the outboard collection. In the interim I am following a plan based on something Harvey Gerst once said that stuck with me. In response to a comment about how many budget microphones he had at his studio, he said had so many different colored cheap microphones because he couldn't afford that many colored mic pres.

I liquidated all the good stuff. Kids in college and all that. So I'm rebuilding just about everything. With the economic uncertainty, the wife is asking to not go off the rails with spending short term. Longer term, I can spend but need to get to a minimum point to be functional for basic drums, bass and guitar.

Shopping list is pretty big. Already purchased the new Mac and 4k monitors and am also set up for video editing. Got a couple small interfaces but like to get to at least 16 channels to start.

Mic closet is pretty bare. Got a few SM57,s MXL 603, ECM800, Audix OM5, SM58 and some odds and ends including a few decent boundary mics.

Lots on the potential list starting with these to get started and fill in some blanks.
SE X1 A
SE X1 R
SE SE7
Golden Age R1 MKIII
Presonus PD-70
Beyerdynamic M201TG
Beyerdynamic TG151
EV ND46

Been measuring both control room and sound stage phyically and also sonically. I figure materials to build out all the treatment it is going to add up.

So I can spend more on monitors but it will come at the cost of something else. I need a pair of "for now" monitors so I can take care of the above. Then a good pair of nearfield and later 3 way midfields later down the road.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
You are going to make me feel bad about being a bit harsh with skwee.

I've not auditioned Yamaha monitors for quite some time but am knowlegeble enough of the history behind that famous phrase. Also all too familiar with the NS10 so many are nostalgic about. Also active dominates the market. Don't care, can always repurpose the Hafler amps.

.... I need a pair of "for now" monitors so I can take care of the above. Then a good pair of nearfield and later 3 way midfields later down the road.
AFAIK, the Avantone CLA-10 is the only thing currently in production that claims to mimic the NS10s, which I never heard. They seem ridiculously expensive.

If you want "monitors" I think active, near-field is all you will find, unless you can track down some old JBLs or something that probably need re-coning, at the least. I'm really hesitant (well, I just wouldn't do it) about used, active monitors unless you can get them from GC with the 45 day return policy. Even then, whether the GC listening environment is useful, let alone ideal, at least living close enough to one, if I don't like something after I get it home and live with it for a bit, and can walk it back in. Shipping monitor speakers back simply because they don't sound like you hoped can drain a budget really quickly.

The small JBLs are popular, as well. I had a failure with a previous generation of those so they're off my list for now, but probably just bad luck.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
AFAIK, the Avantone CLA-10 is the only thing currently in production that claims to mimic the NS10s, which I never heard. They seem ridiculously expensive.

If you want "monitors" I think active, near-field is all you will find, unless you can track down some old JBLs or something that probably need re-coning, at the least. I'm really hesitant (well, I just wouldn't do it) about used, active monitors unless you can get them from GC with the 45 day return policy. Even then, whether the GC listening environment is useful, let alone ideal, at least living close enough to one, if I don't like something after I get it home and live with it for a bit, and can walk it back in. Shipping monitor speakers back simply because they don't sound like you hoped can drain a budget really quickly.

The small JBLs are popular, as well. I had a failure with a previous generation of those so they're off my list for now, but probably just bad luck.

Alright, I am pretty much giving up as it seems the more I type, the less clear things become.

I have had NS10's and HATED them. The original M version had a really harsh tweeter. It was improved on the later Pro version but these were never a monitor you wanted to spend time with. There was the tissue paper hack everyone talked about but the only thing that made those tweeters sound good was taking an ice pick to them till sound no longer comes out of them. That hack is 100%.

In the last 10 years the number of companies that are producing monitors has really grown. I poked around the forum to see if there was much general discussions on monitors like there used to be years back but didn't find a lot. So I decided to ask if there is anything out there people are discussing under $500.

Seems the answer is no. I'm going to try calling some of the dealer reps I work with in commercial AV and see if they can get me contact information for the brands I am considering to see if they can assist in arranging an audition at one of their dealers.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
FWIW, I scored my JBL 308s for $300 off the local Craigslist. For my desktop upstairs, I grabbed a pair of 305s for $200 when GC/MF had them on sale about a year ago. They beat out any of the multimedia speakers that I had by a country mile!
 

Folkcafe

Active member
FWIW, I scored my JBL 308s for $300 off the local Craigslist. For my desktop upstairs, I grabbed a pair of 305s for $200 when GC/MF had them on sale about a year ago. They beat out any of the multimedia speakers that I had by a country mile!

Took a quick look. Two pairs of 305's on Craigslist. Asking price $199 and $175. Don't care so much about the 5 inch woofer as I have subs and bass management for the control room. Bigger issue right now might be the rear firing ports which would be firing right at the ceiling angle as the position is up tight against the wall.

I got time this week. Might start to lay out a new floor plan and desk in Cad and start looking at room response graphs for moving everything back. I'd like to get the console in front of the soundstage window anyway. This is the current configuration.

Studio2020_01.jpg
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Update:

Needed to reach out to Sweetwater to order a couple things and figured while I have them on the phone, I'd ask about replacement woofers for my KRK's. Figured I'd need the serial number so I disconnected it and took them down. I also took the woofer out hoping for a possible part number. In doing so, I noticed the issue is that the surround is separating from the frame. Have an old friend that does reconing and he is going to see if it can just be re-glued.

Also spoke with my contact with a local Pro AV house to see what they have in their showroom. They have a couple I'd be interested in the long term including the Focal Trio 6 3-ways. 1 good pair of 3 ways after I buy everything else would take a bit of the pressure off if I can get by a bit longer with the KRK.

Got plenty more questions. Here's a preview of some coming up in microphones. Anyone have experience with the Vangard line of microphones? Golden age R1 MIII vs Royer R10 for the extra money? Anyone try the Presonus PD-70 or am I the only one thinking about this one? SE X1 A, what does this mic really shine on?
 

Folkcafe

Active member
The nearfield monitor market is nearly as vast as the craft beer market at this point.
The repair of my KRK 4000 was a success. Room reconfiguration is still in progress. Got a separate post on that I should update soon. Figured I'd work at fixing the room first before adding new monitors to the mix.

Seem an apt comparison as it doesn't matter if I'm online shopping monitors or at the liquor store, the selection is a bit overwhelming.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Folkcafe, glad to hear that they could repair the surrounds. The ones on my IMF midrange drivers disintegrated years ago, so I replace the originals with Peerless drivers. They are pretty close, but I've debated on whether to order a pair of surrounds to try to fix them or not. It might be nice to the the original ELAC drivers back.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Folkcafe, glad to hear that they could repair the surrounds. The ones on my IMF midrange drivers disintegrated years ago, so I replace the originals with Peerless drivers. They are pretty close, but I've debated on whether to order a pair of surrounds to try to fix them or not. It might be nice to the the original ELAC drivers back.
The guy that fixed them used to do reconing work for me when I had my repair shop. Mostly pro audio and vintage. There is a company in Florida that specializes in repair parts called Simply Speakers. Reach out to them and see if they can help. Still a few shops that do this sort of work but price of labor is really making the choice to repair vs replace hard.
 
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