Reference Monitor Question(s)

Event Tuned Reference Studio Monitors

Hi all,
After hearing so much about the benefit of reference monitors when mixing and after hearing so little of what my recordings really sound like until I go through my ritual of checking the mix out on all available stereos, boomboxes in the house and car, I’ve decided to buy a pair of Event monitors (TR8-n).

Two questions;

1) Anybody have any coments on these?

2) I spoke with the guy selling them and he said because these speakers are powered, I can’t hook them up directly to my soundcard as I had planned. Something about the speakers being bi-amped.
I’m familiar with balanced and unbalanced but not bi-amped.
My sound card is an Audigy 2 platinum ex - was gonna just use one of the 1/8" stereo mini plug outs of the soundcard to the RCA inputs on the speakers. They’ve also got 1/4 inch and XLR inputs.)
HE said I’d have to buy another soundcard that suports powered reference speakers. Is this the case?
How do you guys fit powered reference speakers in your computer based systems?
Thanks for any help opinions you can offer.
James

NO you don’t have to buy another sound card. The line level outputs of your Audigy will be fine. Just check your documentation and use an output pair that is line level. In other words, if the output in question has enough “juice” to drive speakers by itself, it will be to hot a signal and could possibly damage the inputs of the TR8’s.

I have a pair of these myself. I REALLY like them. Good value IMO.

D

Thanks for the response D. I’m still a little unclear. As far as level outputs, I was under the impression that there is mic level (low) and line level (high). But it seems I’m not understanding the difference in different line levels. Also, with my audigy card I thought that all three of the outputs could drive speakers. I will check the cards documentation as you suggested. Are there amp, or ohm numbers/amouts I can go by to tell if an output is below the line level that would damage the powered speakers?
Thanks for your feedback on the quality of the monitors.
I’m really excited about getting them tomorrow.
James

I don’t know anything about those speakers, but Diogenes seems to, so listen to him. :)

Your mic level is on your soundcard input, so don’t worry about that as far as your soundcard output is concerned.

As far as different types of line level is concerned; usually, there is not much difference in voltage output, so a line level input on your powered speakers will handle it all.

But if the output of the soundcard is very hot (higher voltage) then it’s still unlikely to damage your speakers, you just have to turn the soundcard output level down, and it’s best to start with it turned down anyway.

The big difference with soundcards that are designed to drive passive speakers is that they have a lower output impedance, and can produce much more current and therefore power than standard line outputs.

But if your active speakers have a highish input impedance then they won’t draw that extra current, so it won’t hurt them.

Biamped speakers suggests that an external x-over is needed, but Diogenes doesn’t seem to think so. Are there two pairs of connecting terminals on each speaker? If not, then ignore the salesman.

The three different outputs on the Audigy are for: (1) Front pair, (2) Rear pair, (3) Center and Sub. So use the Front pair output (unless you have KX drivers, then you can use the Rear pair instead for slightly higher quality).

Either you misunderstood the salesman, or he was a moron.

If the spearkers are powered, then it doesn’t matter whether they’re bi-amped, because that’s all internal to the speaker. Forget about that. (Bi-amped is good though!)

Regarding line levels, I agree with Gizmo’s practical advice. Actually, there are two levels, the “pro audio” line level specified as +4dBu and the “consumer audio” line level specified as -10dB. Due to the wonders of modern math, the difference between these is actually about 12 dB, meaning that the pro audio level uses voltages up to 4 times higher than the consumer level. But practically speaking, all this means is if the gear is “mismatched” and you adjust the knobs on your gear so that it sounds good, you’re fine.

Gizmo is also correct that driving line inputs with typical modern headphone outputs is fine: the impedance on the inputs of the speakers is high enough that you won’t damage them. I asked a hardware-savvy friend one time how much wattage it really would take to fry a typical consumer-level audio input, and the math led to an answer of about 100W. (Note to onlookers: this does NOT mean it’s a good idea to plug the speaker output of your 50W Marshall amp to line inputs! Or even your 10W practice amp, though you’d probably get away with it.)

Go for it and enjoy. When setting output soundcard levels and monitor input levels, set things so that both controls are roughly at the same level. That is, if your soundcard is hot for the Event’s inputs (unlikely), you might set both around 25% level. If your soundcard is just right, set them both at 50%, or really 75% (meaning, both are set “nominal” level, at which point the monitoring should be REAL LOUD). From there, simply adjust the levels using whichever control is the most convenient for your purposes.

I find that cheaper soundcards don’t like to be pushed over 80% or so, but trust your own ears on this. It depends what you’re feeding it, and how compressed the signal is.


The two most important things about getting the most out of those monitors are:

1) keep 'em the heck away from the walls! No point near-field monitoring with speakers backed to the walls. The further the better, but IMHO 3 feet should be pretty good.

2) Mix at relatively low levels, and periodically check your mix nice and loud. Reduces ear fatigue and forces you to make important decisions about relative levels, so important themes don’t get buried when your tunes are played at lower levels.

Also, be aware of Fletcher-Munson, and compensate accordingly.

James,

Sorry I could not comment at length the other day. Been on the road… :(

Giz and Jeff have summed it up rather nicely though. Go for it. I really improved my mixes once I got my Events. I have heard some other nice reference monitors since, but overall I feel like my Event TR8n’s were an excellent investment.

D

Thanks for all the good info guys!
I went ahead and bought them and am going to (finally)
get to use them Sunday.

LearJeff - I’m going to google “Fletcher-Munson”.

Thanks again,
James

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Either you misunderstood the salesman, or he was a moron.
The latter gets my vote.

I really like the Event monitors. I have the 20/20bas which are the big brother to the TR8s and I love them. The TR8s were my second choice. In any event, once you get decent monitors, get ready to treat your room. runs away as the can of worms is opened

Well, we can at least point the poor bloke this way:

http://www.ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html

For any discussions about that, please start a new thread.

There’s no end of stuff to do for best results. But it’s better to get results than to keep studying until you think you have everything covered! Using the latter method, you’d never get started.

Fletcher-Munson - loudness curves, hmmm…
Room Treatments - ongoing process, hmmm…
What have I gotten myself into…
…and why is it still so much fun?!

The monitors sound great feeding off my Audigy soundcard!
The guy that sold the monitors to me wasn’t a salesman.
He had bought them to record a band he was in, used them a couple of times and then the band broke up so he was selling them. I actually appreciated his erring on the side of caution instead of just saying “sure, sure, they’ll work with your setup”. Actually, after seeing them and reading the docs
I think they can work with practically any setup.
I’m going to hold off on any room treatment for a couple
of weeks and just have some fun recording and mixing (in the most sonically dead room in the house and with the monitors
away from the wall).
Thanks again guys. I’ll post a resulting song snippet.
James

Good luck, James! Sounds like you’re on the right path. And, you didn’t really need a life anyway, right?