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Recording studio monitors vs. regular speakers

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Nathan J, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. Nathan J

    Nathan J Well-Known Member

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    I would like to know peoples thoughts on this subject. I was at a music store the other day, and I was listening to some monitors in their recording / production room. The monitors were M-Audio BX8A. I thought they sounded amazing for the price,($499) and the more that I started thinking about it....why wouldn't people want to use these speakers in their homes as there regular speakers for listeing to music?

    I realize that it might not be the best way to go if you're going to do a home theater setup, but for audio only, why not?

    If they are good enough to use in a high end studio where all the critical listening is done in the actual production of a record, why wouldn't they be good enough for home use?

    I realize there are alot of studios that are not going to use a pair of $499 dollar M-Audio monitors, but........

    I currently have a pair of Focal/JM Lab Chorus 714 home speakers. So far, I have been quite happy with them, and I haven't been able to do a side by side listening comparison between my Focals and the monitors, but I must say I was blwon away by the sound of the M-Audio monitors.
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

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    How close were you to the monitors? The reason most of cited for not using studio monitors in the home is that studio monitors are made for near-field listening. Usually these speakers sit about 3 feet or so from the engineer. Home speakers are often 10+ feet away from the listener. Each is designed with its purpose in mind. Does that mean they would sound bad in the home? Nope, but maybe not a good as some other speakers.

    PS The best speakers I've heard personally were some Genelec's that are in a recording studio at my university's music department.
     
  3. mackie

    mackie Well-Known Member

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    I've read a lot of positive's on using pro studio monitors in a HT setup. In other forums, some well respected posters swear this is the way to go. I've even looked into it some myself mainly to use with my computer. These are the issues that I've run across.

    Most use 1/4" adapters or balanced adapters. You'll need a prepro with balanced outputs or use adapters. To some this is an issue.

    You'll have to plug each speaker into an outlet. Again this might or might not be a problem.

    The spl's are limited to the point some don't play very loud at all, so you may have trouble filling up a large room with sound or you might run out of headroom on some demanding soundtracks. You'll definitely need to check how loud the model you buy plays.

    The nearfield issues that Seth mentioned.

    Positives include - actively amplified speakers which is supposed to be a bonus. Also many have foundry control modes which can be helpful if mounting in tight places. You buy fewer amplifiers because they're in the speakers.

    One of the better ones I've heard universal praise for are the Mackie studio monitors. There is even a dedicated center channel included in the line.
     
  4. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Well-Known Member

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    Speakers are speakers. They can sound good or bad.

    Aside from the distance mentioned and that many monitors are designed to be near-field, studio monitors can vary in quality and price too. You are more likely to end up with a good speaker as studio monitors cuts out a lot of the garbage speakers, but there isn't any secret value out there. You'll probably be spending a similar price for similar sound. Many home speakers (high end or whatever) are used in studios. Some brands have professional lines that are very similar to their at-home brethren in both quality in price. If you are using the monitors properly and know what you're doing, they can be the perfect speaker, but don't fool yourself into thinking that because you're buying a "studio monitor" that it's going to sound really good. It may not. And it may not save you any money, starting with a dynaudio studio monitor can be pretty damn pricey while their home speakers start in at lower priceranges, just for instance with a brand I'm familiar with.
     
  5. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

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    That's a good point that many studios actually use "home" speakers. I guess the most famous example would be George Lucas' studio that uses 5 B&W 802's.
     
  6. John S

    John S Well-Known Member

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    +'s and -'s abound on using near field monitors for HT use.


    The +'s?

    They can really steer the surround sound, They can can run somewhat better with a mode like All-Channel Stereo and not run into near the amount of cancellation issues. They allow a precise controll of the soundstage by towing in or out.

    Most of the -'s were already mentioned.


    If the place of purchase has a generous return policy, I say you may as well give them a shot. [​IMG]
     
  7. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Well-Known Member

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    Both of these suggestions apply to self-powered monitors ONLY. Unpowered monitors work just like your regular ol' home speakers. Case in point: I've been running a pair of Alesis Monitor Ones in my office system for several years now...
     
  8. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Well-Known Member

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    It's tough to tell how a speaker will perform without trying them in your home but don't forget all of the environmental factors.

    What kind of source signal were you listening to?

    How were they EQ'd?

    How were they mounted?

    **How was the room itself treated?

    Any good studio is going have it's listening room tweaked to get as flat a response as possible and they aren't limited to the "significant other's" idea of decor. They may be excellent speakers, but you're also listening to them in a ideal, or nearly ideal envoronment.

    The near field advice is big and I'd say that the room itself is right up there too.
     
  9. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Well-Known Member

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    I can see this, however I don't know that I'd agree. This may be a subtle semantics thing, but I don't think the characterization of home speakers as being better for untreated rooms is really at all a good perspective to take.

    The room is *always* a primary component in an audio system, be it in an studio or at home. A properly designed room will be very much the same in design to a mixiing studio. In fact, near-field listening many times minimizes some room effects.

    So I don't really think that there is a significant difference here, and yes I *do* think that if you put studio monitors in your room you REALLY need to pay attention to the acoustics of the playback space, but I also think that you have to pay equal attention to acoustics if you were to put home speakers in that same space. There is not really a difference.
     
  10. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Well-Known Member

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    That infers a conclusion that combines two separate elements. The feeling here is that near field speakers may not be the best choice for HT speakers, IMO because of their dispersion. Home speakers being better for untreated rooms was never the point, and I agree, that is unfounded.

    All but the most serious HT enthusiasts have to compromise acoustics for aesthetics to one degree or another. Unless one has an acoustically tuned, dedicated listening room then no speaker is going to sound the same, objectively, as it does under ideal conditions such as a studio. Subjectively, however, the M-Audio speakers Nathan is interested in might sound worse or possibly even better in his home environment depending on his taste.

    Theoretically, he has heard them at their very best and I didn't want him to be disappointed if he were to take home a set. The near field aspect may hinder their performance, but I merely wanted to point out that there will certainly be differences.
     

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