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Help me pick a Studio Monitor setup?

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#1 Scraggles

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 20:22

Hey everyone. I'm currently using a set of Logitech Z5500's and I'm looking to upgrade before they crap out on me(Which I don't foresee happening). I've decided to go the powered studio monitor route but I have no experience there. Can someone help me put together  a good package that won't break the bank? I'm looking for 2 monitors, and an audio interface that will outperform my Z5500s.




#2 Mindovermaster

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 23:45

What is your budget?



#3 OP Scraggles

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 00:51

I haven't really thought of that part, I was more or less just looking for something that can outperform my current setup without the need of a subwoofer. It gets in the way all the time, and having five speakers is a pain in the ass as well.

#4 shozilla

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 00:58

If you provide the budget, we can help you find something based on your budget or under... without going over... unless you don't care about the cost for setups as the way you want.



#5 Enron

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 01:19

I don't know about the Z5500 but I'd get two 24" monitors with 1920x1200 resolution. There is a pretty big benefit to having two monitors and a lot of them have audio interfaces but I'm not a big fan of speakers on my monitor.



#6 jerzdawg

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 01:55

I don't know about the Z5500 but I'd get two 24" monitors with 1920x1200 resolution. There is a pretty big benefit to having two monitors and a lot of them have audio interfaces but I'm not a big fan of speakers on my monitor.

Am I wrong in thinking he was looking for speakers?

Budget is def the key to starting to put something together.

#7 OP Scraggles

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 01:59

Am I wrong in thinking he was looking for speakers?

Budget is def the key to starting to put something together.

no, you're correct. I am looking for speakers. That's what studio monitors are. I think he was just trying to be cute.

#8 Boo Berry

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 02:21

Studio monitors are for exactly that, monitoring sound in a studio setting when recording/mixing music, for example. My questions on this subject are...

 

1) Do you just want a 2.0 (stereo) setup?

2) Do you want to add a subwoofer?

3) How do you plan on connecting studio monitors (depending on the type you want) to the source device e.g. a USB DAC or directly to the PC/sound card? 3.5" headphone cable? RCA white/red cables? Optical S/PDIF? Coaxial S/PDIF? HDMI? TRS? XLR?

4) Do you want a DAC built into the monitors + volume controls in the pair, or do you have a way to control these via a USB DAC or something like that?

 

Look, I'll get right to the point and say if you want something simple, easy and affordable to connect to a PC via on board audio or a sound card or a USB DAC then I have two suggestions for you that will blow any Logitech speakers out of the water (Google them or search Amazon for them).

 

M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 Active Studio Monitor Speakers

 

-or-

 

Behringer Speaker MS40 Digital 40-Watt Stereo Near Field Monitors

 

I personally and honestly would NOT recommend the M-Audio AV 40's. I had a pair that died on me within 6 months and I didn't bother replacing them or RMAing them. It's a common problem with those monitors sadly so they set broken in box in my storage. I bought the Behringer MS40's a year and a half ago as the replacement for the M-Audio AV 40's and I couldn't recommend them enough. I'm currently using them on a secondary PC but I'm HIGHLY considering bringing them back to my main PC as I personally love and prefer their "flatness". :p

 

What you could do is go into an electronics store like Best Buy and see if they have any monitors there to test and judge for yourself if you like them.



#9 Dashel

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 02:36

The Alesis and KRKs are worth a look too at that $200ish price point.  Looks like BBuy has the AV40s for $50, which is a steal even if the amp futz's.



#10 Andre S.

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 02:45

Basically when we're talking about studio monitors what we're looking for is a flat frequency response; they're not designed to sound "good" or pleasing to the ear, they're designed to be as transparent as possible and let you hear the source as it truly is. Bad recordings will sound bad, great recordings will take your breath away. This is essential for music composers and sound designers, as well as some types of audiophiles (such as myself :) )

 

The range of prices is immense; from the AV-40s as Boo Berry mentioned to several thousand dollars a piece monitors. Since you're going from a set of Logitech speakers I don't think you need to spend that much to meet your expectations, but it's important that you have an idea of what's available.

 

Popular lines of near-field reference monitors include the Yamaha HS and Adam AX, if you have 500-1000$ to spend. Keep in mind any grounded speaker that you connect to an internal sound card is likely to suffer from electrical interference, so an external DAC with electrical isolation is imperative. Luckily these aren't expensive.

 

I own a pair of Yamaha HS80M which sound simply incredible, and that particular model is selling at deep discounts these days as it's being replaced by a newer one (the HS8); you might find a pair at 600$ or below.

 

There are of course many good choices below 500$ as well, but I wouldn't recommend anything below, say, 150$, masquerading as a studio monitor. You get what you pay for. For 200$ (400$ a pair), the Behringer TRUTH B2031A has a good reputation as a very flat speaker. For 150$ (300$ a pair), the KRK Rokit 5 is a popular choice, albeit far from flat IMO.

 

Here are some videos that could be a good place to start:



#11 OP Scraggles

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 17:56

I'm not looking for anything that's audiophile perfect. Just something that's got can handle everyday use without needing to be improved down the road. I've had this Logitech z5500 set for about 10 years now. Its just 5 speakers a sub and miles of wire drive me nuts. I just moved in with my girlfriend so I am sharing my office with her so rear speakers aren't an option and the sub totally gets in the way. Thanks for the in depth responses.

#12 Andre S.

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 21:10

It sounds to me like studio monitors isn't really what you're looking for, you're looking for hi-fi speakers. A hi-fi speaker colors the sound to make it sound better than it is; the point is to have a consistently enjoyable listening experience regardless of the quality of the source. Hi-fi speakers sound good. Studio monitors don't. Or, more precisely, they sound exactly like the source is, mercilessly exposing any flaws in it. They're mainly used for sound and music design, the idea being that if you manage to make it sound good on studio monitors, it'll sound good anywhere.



#13 OP Scraggles

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 21:16

Thanks 8tImER! I knew there had to be someone out there that knew the answer! I down loaded X-Setup and see the setting(although it is VERY WELL hidden). I'm sure it just translates into a registery setting...but try and find it!

if that's the case, do you have any suggestions?

#14 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 21:56

It sounds to me like studio monitors isn't really what you're looking for, you're looking for hi-fi speakers. A hi-fi speaker colors the sound to make it sound better than it is; the point is to have a consistently enjoyable listening experience regardless of the quality of the source. Hi-fi speakers sound good. Studio monitors don't. Or, more precisely, they sound exactly like the source is, mercilessly exposing any flaws in it. They're mainly used for sound and music design, the idea being that if you manage to make it sound good on studio monitors, it'll sound good anywhere.

That's completely wrong. Studio monitors are inherently better than hi-fi speakers because they have an accurate frequency range - they are able to accurately reproduce all frequencies and don't have to exaggerate the bass, which is something consumer hi-fi speakers usually do to mask their shortcomings. The enclosures are designed specifically with acoustics in mind and that's why they take up a lot more space than consumer speakers, which prioritise size over sound quality / accuracy.

 

I have a pair of Samson Resolv 65a monitors (100W RMS each) hooked up to a Focusrite Saffire Pro40 external soundcard and they sound much better than any consumer sound system I've come across, especially the type aimed at computer users - you'd get even better results with Mackie monitors, like the HRmk2 series. For headphones I use AKG K702s and again, the sound through them is better than you get on any consumer headphones.

 

When choosing decent studio monitors you want to look at the RMS power rating and for reviews in reputable publications, like Sound On Sound. Really you want something in the region of 100W RMS (75W woofer, 25W tweeter) and you should be wary of some of the Alesis and M-Audio monitors, as the cheaper ones are only 10W RMS and simply don't have the same sound quality. If you're after quality on a budget then something like the Mackie MR5mk3 might be just what you're looking for. You'll also need a decent audio interface to connect them to and I'd recommend something like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. In addition you'll want some balanced TRS cables to connect them.

 

I highly recommend that anyone who cares about sound quality invest in decent studio monitors and studio headphones.



#15 primexx

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 22:01

no, you're correct. I am looking for speakers. That's what studio monitors are. I think he was just trying to be cute.

 

or, you know, not everybody knows that studio monitors are not, in fact, monitors in the common usage of that word. I'm surprised only one person made that mistake.