anyone ever use studio monitors? i.e. blue sky?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by toddAllen, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. toddAllen

    toddAllen Extra

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    after having read what speakers people on here commonly use, i was wondering if anyone has gone the route that i did. let me first explain that i am an audio engineer, so i am constantly having to nit-pick music and dialogue and the littlest nuances. for this reason, studio monitors are used in the studio,(because y ou can here EVERYTHING through a good set of monitors). that being said, for my home theatre, i bought a 5.1 set of BLUE SKY "system one" monitors. now, nobody on here has probably ever heard of them, but they are basically designed by george lucas' sound team at skywalker ranch. they are THX PM3 certified. the speakers (satellites) consist of a dual concentric tweeter and a 6.5" woofer. each speaker is self amplified, using 2 built in amplifiers at 100w RMS a piece (one for the tweeter, the other for the woofer). thats 200w rms each speaker. they also use linkwitz-riley crossovers, and balanced XLR inputs. another feature is the 12" sub (single 200w RMS amplifier built in), which you can run your left and right speakers to, and have it roll off everything below 80Hz to the sub. it also has a phase switch on it, to optimize performance at any location. these speakers sound absolutely amazing for home theatre (as they are designed to sound exactly like the movie was mixed), and reguire nothing more than a pre-amp/decoder to run, since they are powered monitors. if you buy the surround package, you get a bass management controller as well, and you can set individual characteristics for each speaker (calibration). check them out at (apparantly i can't post links because i'm a newbie, so the site is ABLUESKY DOT COM)
    and tell me what you think. they are actually quite cheap when considering. i'd like to hear what others think about this concept. thanks, todd.
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I've heard a music setup with powered Mackie studio monitors and it sounded great. If that's the sound you're after, I see no reason it would be a problem.
     
  3. chris_everett

    chris_everett Second Unit

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    I considered it as well. I use JBL LSR Series Monitors in my studio, and I was very tempted to use them in my HT as well. However, I went with the S36 Studio Series speakers from JBL for several reasons.

    1. Decore. The speakers I got can be flush mounted, I would have had to put monitors on shelves.
    2. Power. I didn't want to run AC to 7 locations for my speakers (Although I did leave myself conduit so I can do that in the future if I want)
    3. Cost. I saved about $650 over using LSR25P monitors, (including amp)

    If I had a larger room, and more money, I would probably have gone with monitors.

    The bass managment of a monitor system is unused, as the reciever handles that for you.
     
  4. toddAllen

    toddAllen Extra

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    well, i don't really have a reciever, just a preamp. and it doesn't have seperate levels for individual speakers, or rolloff values for that matter. the blue sky's have turned out to be an amazing value i think.
     
  5. chris_everett

    chris_everett Second Unit

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    Are you not running dolby digital or DTS? All of the "digital surround sound" systems require a receiver, decoder, or pre-pro with an Sub out by spec. (as far as I know, at least)

    Not to say that the Blue Sky's aren't a nice system, (they look to be excellent) but for DVD playback, you will get a whole lot more if you are running DTS or similer.
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    You don't need a receiver when all the speakers are powered, just a preamp.
     
  7. toddAllen

    toddAllen Extra

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    which is exactly what i have. i have a preamp that decodes dolby digital 5.1 , then all i have to do is send it's outputs via an rca->XLR cable directly into my speakers which have built in crossovers and amplifiers. sounds great, and i'll get some pics up when i can. todd.
     
  8. George Hall

    George Hall Agent

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    I have been using the bluesky 6.5 monitors in my setup for a while now and have been very satisfied with the results.
    To borrow some information form another site:
    -----
    The performance advantages are due to the following reasons -

    1 No passive x-over. Because most high quality powered monitors are bi-amplified (or tri-amplified), no passive crossover is used. Passive crossovers suffer from insertion loss, meaning they can reduce system efficiency by 3 to 6dB. Because all the crossover components in a typical powered speaker are active, their is no insertion loss. Meaning more actual power goes to driving the speakers. This means that a 50-Watt amp driving a driver directly would have an equivalent output to a 100-watt amp driving a passive x-over / driver.

    2 Powered monitors typically has more refined response (both on and off axis). Because a bi-amplified powered monitor uses an active x-over, it is much easier to create the proper crossover and add EQ to get the response "just right". (here is a link to a paper that shows how we design our x-over networks

    3 Amplifiers can be perfectly designed for the drivers being used. This typically greatly increases reliability and overall system performance.

    Again, there are many benefits to going powered. Having said that, there are some reasons they may not be as popular for consumer applications. This because of the following reasons -

    1 Each speaker needs power. This may not be a big deal for some, but especially for surround speakers, it can be problematic.

    2 Because there is such a lack of understanding about the benefits of powered monitors in the consumer market place and because many dealers have a vested interest in selling separate amplifiers, it has made it very challenging to sell powered speakers to consumers in the US.

    -------

    I currently use the B&K Ref 50 II (balanced out) as my pre/pro and have it set up at Bluesky specs. The Ref 50 also has 3 notch filters to help smooth out the bass.

    I also like the fact that all of my speakers are the same, so that "timbre matching" is not an issue.

    You can get many reviews of this system at thier site. One resent review compared them to a Genelec and a PMC set-up.
     
  9. toddAllen

    toddAllen Extra

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    well, in response that your negatives.... what i have done is gotten a power conditioner and plug all my speakers directly into that. that way it gives me the ability to turn all my speakers on and off from a single switch (as well as help with grounding issues). this doesn't really solve the issue of running power cables, but i figured i had to run speaker wire either way, whats one more cable.

    about the second part (people not understanding the concept of powered monitors), i have been using powered monitors for years in my studio, which is why i decided to use them in my HT. like you said, there are so many benefits to using them, and the sound quality is unbelievable.

    it's good to see that someone else has gone the route that i did with the blue sky's. how long have you had yours george? i've had mine for about a year, and can't complain one bit. highly recommend that anyone reading this check these speakers out, it's another alternative to seperate speaker/amps. you can check them out at any sam ash music store, and many other music stores as well (since they are designed for studios). that alone should tell you the kind of performance they are capable of, i mean, they wouldn't mix starwars on some crappy speakers (unless they were ns-10's i guess). todd.
     
  10. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    I'm using a leftover pair of Alesis Monitor Ones in my office system. Listening to them right now, as a matter of fact...
     
  11. George Hall

    George Hall Agent

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    Todd,

    I have had these monitors in my HT for about 6 months now. I have had many different speakers within my HT: Definitive, Magnepan, Onix Rocket, and Mackie. I have some friends that work at Guitar Center that turned me on to some Mackies to try out...and that convinced me of the positives of powered monitors.

    I then started to do some reseach on the powered monitor set-ups and discovered a pretty good following for the blueskys in studios. You are correct that many of the movies that we watch in our HT have been mixed using these monitors.

    I also saw that they are very popular in the UK for home theater (avtalk.co.uk). Now that they are in my HT, I can focus on other system upgrades besides speakers!

    Cheers
     
  12. Nick Bum

    Nick Bum Stunt Coordinator

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    Their is nothing wront with using studio monitors in my op but in some applications I think they might break up a bit sooner than a set of hi-fi speakers. If you will remember we use studio monitors to mix music for peoples home speakers. The favorite pair of yamaha speakers that everyone uses(well ltos of people) are famous because they break up in just the right places and sound bad at the right times. Its not necesarraly about hearing detail its about getting it to sound good on other speakers too. But thats just what I have learned form my roomie who is a studio production major so he dont know all that much yet.
     
  13. toddAllen

    toddAllen Extra

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    what you are talking about nick is the ns-10's, which i already mentioned. those are the old school engineers speaker of choice because they are in every studio, and once you know the sound of them, you always know the sound of them, and can mix based on that. but with new technology, studio monitors are made to be totally acurate, as well as perfectly flat in frequency response. thus not adding any "color" to what is being heard, only playing it back "accurately". this is what i wanted in my HT, as well as what many HT owners seem to be striving for. I just thought i'd write something about this, because studio monitors are an easy alternative, especially in a setup like the blue sky's, because they include a sub that made to capture all the low frequncies. todd.
     

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