Time for me to get some monitors

Hello people,

I have been using my pretty basic all in one Sony home stereo and bundled speakers for monitoring so far, but now I have some cash to spend on equipment and I think some half decent monitors is the most valuable investment I can make right now.

My setup:

N-track of course
Tascam USB 224
HP Pavillion Laptop

My purpose:

Creating drum parts with software and importing wavs into ntrack.
Recording bass and guitar and vocals over this.

I am writing tracks that only really need to sound good enough for my guitarist to learn from and for me to use as demos for prospective drummers and singers.

Because I can’t fit my decent bass amp in my recording area and the only practice amp I have for bass is a very old Laney 30 w that no longer sounds so good… I want to be able to play bass through the monitors aswell as using them to mix and master.

I am guessing that almost any monitors will be far superior to the home stereo setup I am used to. Am I right to assume they wil be able to handle bass at a fair volume without any harm to the speakers?

I plan to buy monitors with built in amps for simplicity. Is this really just a budget option or can I expect good quality with this kind of setup?

Any advice much appreciated.

Cheers,

Mark

There are a ton of brands to choose from. Everyone has there favorites so you will get a wide variety of answers. I run Jamo Cornet 40iii that I picked up at a threft store for 18$! They have those lovely tweaters and mids that cover from 20hz to 1khz, the tweater covers from 1khz to 20khz with mostly flat response! (except around 500hz, all have there downfalls somewhere!). I am a fan of Jamo. You can’t buy these anymore but they have better setups now anyways but plan to pay around 200$+ for a nice pair. Now the amp is another story. You can go with a nice tube stereo amp if you have a ton of money to blow. But I’ll tell you some of those tube amps sound soooo nice. Tubes tend to cover a very wide range of freq with little distortion and very crisp clean sound. Solid state amps are much cheaper and they tend to distort some frequencies, expecially in the high pitch area. Get something that can hit DC levels but make sure it has a cutoff switch in case your soundcard is capable of putting out a lot of DC or VLF frequencies (below 20hz) for the safety of your speakers.
Marantz classic amps are my favorite. Even their receivers have good sound quality for their aux inputs. Dedicated studio amps will cost a lot, not to mention how much tube amps can run for today.
Check around at pawn shops and junk stores. You may find some nice old equipment that may look goofy but sound wonderful. Try tube amps and solidstate to see what you like. In the end, a good pair of monitors will sound good through just about anything. You want something that has mostly a flat responce from 20hz to 20khz. Nothing exist this perfect, but get something as close as possible. If it has major dips in some ranges you will hear it and it will make your music sound altered like an EQ would do.
Mostly flat responce=acceptable for studio use.
If you want something different sounding for listening through your mons, use an EQ for the fun of it.
Also, keep your old speakers and get an AB switch unless your amp has it built in. That way you can choose and test different monitors on the same material like the pros do.
The best way to go is have 3 or 4 pairs of speakers and a selector to choose one set of them or multiples to see what your music would sound like on different systems. Have cheap little speakers to emulate that boombox someone may listen to your music on, and have those good speakers for yourself and to emulate nice stereo setups people may have.
Or just burn your music and listen to it on everything you can :)
True studio monitors tend to be very directional, so aim them and re-aim them until they sound perfect for where you are sitting. This is one of the best tips I can ever give you.
And get speaker stands if you don’t already. Sitting on the floor will increase the bass in false ways you don’t want for “monitor” uses.
Don’t go with built in amps. Bad idea. Keeping the amp seperate will allow you to play with the sound over time using different amps.
Good monitors should handle powerlevels beyond that of any home stereo. Even low watt monitors seem to handle more than high watt walmart stereo setups for reasons you should already know :stuck_out_tongue:

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Because I can’t fit my decent bass amp in my recording area and the only practice amp I have for bass is a very old Laney 30 w that no longer sounds so good… I want to be able to play bass through the monitors aswell as using them to mix and master.

I am guessing that almost any monitors will be far superior to the home stereo setup I am used to. Am I right to assume they wil be able to handle bass at a fair volume without any harm to the speakers?


The problem with home stereo kit is that the amp/speakers are hyped to sound good compared with the competition when you listen to them in the shop. Possibly true audiophile kit may be different, and in my experience, hi-fi from the 70’s may be too.

A couple of years ago I upgraded from my 70’s hi-fi speakers to a set of Samson Resolv. Not the greatest there are, but all I could afford at the time. I haven’t been dissapointed yet.

Yes, you can play bass through them at moderate levels. It’s not rattle-the-gut type bass but it will do at a push for recording.

I’ve been seeing a lot recently about EQing speakers etc to make up for the defficiences in the speakers/room. Whilst this is OK on one level, I’d say be careful… If your speakers don’t produce a particular frequency, no amount of EQing is going to correct that. The whole purpose of having decent monitors is to hear all the frequencies.

Oh, and Willy likes Yorkvilles.



Mark

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Oh, and Willy likes Yorkvilles.

Hahaha, yeah, I do. Can’t yet onto the yorkville site at the moment, but iirc they have an unlimited lifetime warranty, could just be on the speaker itself, can’t remember. You’ll be hard pressed to find a bad review of them either. They’re not the most expensive monitors, but you can get powered monitors such as the sampson and behringer for the same price as the passive YSM1i though. The yorkvilles are a good honest everyday monitor imo. I personally like them more that the powerd berrys, and even without a sub go pretty low and flat.

Thanks guys… that’s certainly given me some things to think about.

I have up to £500 (I guess about $900) to spend… a little more if needed to make it a good long term investment.

This next question will expose my ignorance even further:

I was hoping to go for an easy option and just walk into a store and buy two speakers with built in amps so there is little more to worry about. If I am going to get speakers and a seperate amp then I suppose I need to understand what the amp is going to put out and the limitations of the speakers I want to plug in.

I usually look at the site www.sub.co.uk for gear first.

They have a whole list of monitor speakers, but in the way of amps I can just find a general PA listing.

Can I use a PA amp for the monitors… or am I looking in completely the wrong place?

Should I instead be looking for a mixing desk with a built in amp? I don’t see that I have a particular need for a hardware mixing option at the moment as I just use the software option for that.

There are so many holes in my knowledge of studio hardware… I am learning all the time on the software side but haven’t found so many good beginner guides for the hardware.

If someone can point me in the direction of a suitable reference I will go do some reading up and try not to bother you guys again until I have a better basic understanding of my needs.

Cheers,

Mark

:)

You can use more or less any PA power amp. Just make sure it’s not over/under rated. Don’t worry about needing a powered desk.

I currently use a Samson Servo 170 amp. Prior to that, I have used an old hi-fi amp. I bought the Servo because we’ve used it’s big brother (550) in our church PA for nearly 10 years and it’s been faultless. Unfortunately, in mine the transformer causes the lid to resonate causing (only slight, but irritable) noise/hum - not in the signal chain just in the “air”. Gaffer tape and cardboard sorted it, but not ideal.

Recently we bought a second amp for the church for powering our back rooms. I was recommended an Alesis RA150. It’s a very nice unit and is the same price as the Samson.

Checkout this page at Digital Village: http://www.dv247.com/icat/24

Better prices than Sub, and I’ve always found them reasonable to deal with.

DV were doing some bundled deals a while back - an amp and speakers. Not sure if those are still available.

That’s quite a reasonable budget btw. You should be able to do something nice with that.


Mark