pro studio monitors vs. consumer speakers

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Brad Russell, Jan 1, 2004.

  1. Brad Russell

    Brad Russell Stunt Coordinator

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    I have been looking for a new amp for my sub and in the process went to some pro audio shops and ended up tying to learn about studio monitors. So far everyone has told me that pro monitors are much more acurate and that the poered ones have additional advantages over tradition speakers. If this is the case why doesn't everybody use them? I mean if these are the speakers that movies are mastered on why wouldn't you want them in your home? Is there any primer on this issue?

    Thanks!

    Brad
     
  2. Tony Genovese

    Tony Genovese Supporting Actor

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    Aesthetics. Balanced ins. Power needed at every spot (not everyone has an outlet at each position in a 5 or 7.1 setup). And did I mention aesthetics. Pro speakers typically lack grills and are finished in a very utilitarian fashion. And finally, most pro speakers are meant to be listened in the near field (within 3 to 4 feet) although this typically isn't as big an issue as some make it out to be.

    Good brands to listen to are: Mackie, JBL, Genelec, Meyer Sound, Tannoy, Yamaha, Event.
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Pro monitors ARE more accurate, but they are also intended for rooms that have been treated, ie; a studio / mixing room, and as mentioned, are intended for near field listening.
     
  4. Tony Genovese

    Tony Genovese Supporting Actor

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    Which is why I have found that the near field thing is less of a problem than it appears at first blush. As you move more into the mid and far field, treble energy naturally decreases...almost like applying room treatment.
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    But there are also real-world disadvantages. As Tony mentioned, most have balanced inputs, and you’ll need an electrical outlet at each speaker location – unless you like extension cords draped across your floor. Then there’s the power management issue. For instance, after you’re done watching your movie you’ll have to go around the room and turn off each one individually. Same thing on power-up.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    A friend was showing me the new, state-of-the-art production booth for his radio station. Being interested in sound I was looking at the equipment, acoustic treatments and the speakers.

    My thinking on the speakers was: if it's used for a studio, it must be great and would work for my home.

    My friend showed me one of the reference speakers: a large AM radio speaker from a pickup truck !??!

    He explained: Most people DONT have high-end speakers and electronics. Sometimes things have to get re-mixed if they dont sound good on the 'lowest-common' speaker.

    He also pointed out that production studio speakers are used to listen for DEFECTS during the mixing and editing process, not over-all entertainment.

    I am sure some better production studios have 'typical' or 'reference' sound rooms to simulate a consumers equipment. But the order of importance in a production studio is:

    - Detect & Remove errors/mistakes
    - Make it sound good on a 'common' system
    - Make it sound good on a high-end system

    So "Professional" gear ... may not be built to give great sound in your home.
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The guy I bought my sub from had Mackie powered pro monitors hooked to some very nice gear for 2ch and it sounded amazing. It's all about your setup and the quality of the gear, room, etc... These speakers are intended to be more accurate than the average home speaker. That does not mean they will not work well in a home theater, but something like that may not be necessary either. My particular speakers have specs that are very close to pro monitors, but I'm not sure you'd ever see them in a mixing room.
     
  8. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Yes, they are probably more accurate... at close range on-axis. But I bet monitor manufacturers don't pay as much attention to the off axis response (which has a lot to do with the way the speaker sounds in a normal room). And I haven't seen any evidence that pro audio drivers, the low cost ones anyway, have lower distortion than their hi-fi counterparts despite the generally higher efficiency.
     
  9. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    You won’t – speakers designed for home use would be too bright for nearfield use.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  10. Brad Russell

    Brad Russell Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all the feedback. Couple of questions though:

    The Matrix was done on Mackie 626s.

    Take a B&K ref 50 and a bunch of 626s plus a SVS PB2 or 2 and I'll bet you haven't spent more than alot of folks.

    1. Would this make a better system than most?

    2. If you are going to the trouble of running the speaker wires in the walls, it seems to me to not be much harder to run a couple of extra electrical outlets to the appropriate places?

    Thanks!

    Brad
     
  11. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Brad,

    1. “Most” is highly relative.

    2. Can you install an electrical outlet? I’m guessing “no” or else you wouldn’t have mentioned the comparison at all, you would have just gone and done it. It’s one thing to run speaker cables from point “A” to “B.” With electrical, however, you have to not only be able to do that, but you have to know where and how to tie into an existing power source.

    Bottom line, unless you know what you’re doing, leave the electrical to a qualified person.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  12. Brad Russell

    Brad Russell Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, I've wired two of my homes. I guess that's why I don't think it would be that tough.


    So I'm still wondering if a couple of mackies and a B&K Ref 50 would be a beter setup dollar for dollar than say a Rotel 1098 a bunch of Swan or Rocket monitors and a couple of Adcoms or a bunch of Outlaw monoblocks? Am I missing something big here or is it just a question of asthestics and some technical differences?

    Thanks everyone!

    Brad
     
  13. John Kilroy

    John Kilroy Stunt Coordinator

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    I think we need to distinguish between active and passive monitors here. Active monitors (ones with amps built in) do need AC and a line level input. Passive monitors have no amps and just require a speaker level input.

    My entire home is filled with JBL studio monitors, everything from 4425s and 4410s in the theater, to powered (active) 4208/6208s on the pro rig in my studio/office. The monitors I use in the theater are excellent for movies, and with the bi-radial dome (horn) tweeters on the 4425s, I assure you there is no high-end rolloff anywhere in the room. The only missing link in my setup is a JBL pro sub of the type that is installed in theaters. Right now I just have a consumer level sub.

    Having heard films with clarity because of these monitors, I would never go back to consumer-level gear. To get something as good, I would need to spend many times the price of pro monitors. It's all in the marketing, I guess.
     
  14. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    They aren't necessarily designed for HT, rather I think they are more geared towards music, but the clarity and soundstage depth is a bonus with movies. My speakers are not bright at all, they are quite smooth (textile tweeter), no harshness, but crisp where necessary, which is one of the reasons why I chose them.

    A/V-2s
     
  15. Robert AG

    Robert AG Stunt Coordinator

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    >>>Brad, I assure you that the dinky little things you saw at the pro audio shop are not what they typically use for mixing movies.
     
  16. John Kilroy

    John Kilroy Stunt Coordinator

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    I have mine connected to a switched outlet. When I leave the room, I hit the switch and they go off.
     
  17. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    "To get something as good, I would need to spend many times the price of pro monitors."

    I wouldn't be very confident in that statement. There are a lot of hi-fi speakers that are designed for accurate on axis response and high output levels (though there are a lot that aren't, too). The distortion measurements for the lower priced professional speakers are nothing out of the ordinary; try comparing JBL's specification sheets and the Soundstage speaker measurement database. Also, most hi-fi speakers are built to fit aesthetic requirements (thin profile, real wood finish, etc) that add significantly to the price for any given performance level.

    Of course, DIY kit and custom designed speakers costing only a few hundred dollars per pair can have solid performance. My own speakers - which aren't really high end by any means - are within +/-3db on axis from 40Hz-20KHz, have distortion less than 1% at 90db/1m above 100Hz, can play cleanly to levels of around 110db at 1 meter... and cost me $450. I bet a bunch of other reasonably priced speakers have similar or better performance.
     
  18. nqt1976

    nqt1976 Auditioning

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    I set up 7.1 HT using 7 mackie industrial monitors 5 ( RCF MR55) and 1 mackie MSW8 (RCF MSW8) subwoofer. sound exelent for movie.

    music is more detail than my previous JBL, POLK tower speaker.

    speacs here http://www.mackie.com/pdf/mr5s_ss.pdf

    the specs SPL: 112Db, most home speaker rated at SPL 90Db.

    I buy them for about $50 each on ebay.

    using Crown CTS8200 8 channel AMP and QSC CX502 to power the sub.

    I buy used amp cts8200 $800, cx502 $400, 7 speakers $400, SUB $600 so total $2200.

    this is the best sound system I ever setup
     

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