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Old August 15th, 2007, 09:58 AM   #1
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Hateful speaker question!

I say hateful because I know this has come up before, and I hate to be the guy asking the same old question.

But I'm asking for a concise answer, if there is one.

I'm in the market for speakers to do sound design and editing. Well, better sound editing then I'm doing now.

I've read many of the threads that mention different brands and models - Genelec, Mackie, etc.

I then look on bhphotovideo, and I see a lot of studio monitors from those companies, at varying prices.

b&h lists the technical specs for these monitors - can someone give a quick list of what technical specs I can look for to differentiate between these? I know the best way to decide is to listen to the speakers, but I don't always have that as an option.

If there's already a thread answering all this, just point theway.

I throw myself upon the mercy of the board!!
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Old August 15th, 2007, 10:34 AM   #2
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One of the first things to do is visit the manufacturer's website and review the specs there. Sometimes vendors aren't able to publish the complete story due to lack of space. First see if they really ARE publishing specs in a meaningful form - not all do. For example, the statement "Frequency Response: 50Hz to 18,000 Hz" doesn't really mean anything. But "Frequency Response: +1.0/-1.5dB, 75Hz - 18,000 Hz; +/- 3.0dB 45Hz - 20,000Hz" are meaningful numbers. Look for response curve charts and take a close look at them for smoothness. Look for maximum sound pressure levels well above the normal mix level of ~85dB. And once you narrow down a short list, take some CDs that you know very well and audition them if possible. For example, when I was auditioning I found a certain model of one well-regarded brand sounded "harsh" in the upper mid-range, a subjective quality that isn't easy to spot in a list of specifications.
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Old August 15th, 2007, 10:52 AM   #3
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I am a Genelec fan as they are made here in Finland and dominate the high end audio monitoring busines...

The basic aim for Genelec is to make all models sound the same, the only difference being the maximum SPL and the low frequency cut-off point. So basically, if you get Genelecs, you just deside how loud and low you want to go and then count your money, the sound quality you get is second to none.

Take a look at their web page at www.genelec.com . You find all possible tecnical details and comparasons right there.

Some people say hi-fi and monitor speakers sound different. In my opinion they should not, if truthfull representation of the input is the aim. If not, it is not high fidelity to to the source. I would take the large Genelecs to my living room any day. Or large B&Ws to the studio.

(I have the 7071 sub with custom made main speakers fed by NAD 208)

Last edited by Petri Kaipiainen; August 16th, 2007 at 01:19 AM.
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Old August 15th, 2007, 12:07 PM   #4
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Thanks everyone -

When it comes to frequency response, any guidelines on what's a good range for editing video? I mean a dialog track, a music track, a track for room tone....

I see Tapco by Mackie S5 has frequency response of 64 Hz to 20 kHz. Tapco by Mackie S8 has frequency response of 40 Hz to 20 kHz. Both have SPL of 113.

S8 is more expense. Do I need as low as 40 Hz? Is 20 kHz high enough? 113 is more than 85 - is more than enough?
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Old August 15th, 2007, 05:38 PM   #5
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Specs frequently are "interpreted" by the marketing department.

I would never buy monitors based on specs.

Please post your (honest) budget and I'll try to find some monitors you should listen to.

Thanks,

Ty Ford
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Old August 16th, 2007, 07:11 AM   #6
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Specs frequently are "interpreted" by the marketing department.

I would never buy monitors based on specs.

Please post your (honest) budget and I'll try to find some monitors you should listen to.

Thanks,

Ty Ford
Gracias-

$300 for a pair is my target.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 07:15 AM   #7
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Powered or unpowered?

Regards,


Ty Ford
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Old August 16th, 2007, 07:50 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dennis Stevens View Post
Gracias-

$300 for a pair is my target.
Ouch! If you need powered monitors (amplifier built in to the speaker) that's going to be very difficult. Ty may have some ideas but from my experience $300 EACH is going to be pretty close to the rock bottom entry level.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 08:01 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
Powered or unpowered?
Well, allow me to show my ignorance:)

I'm assuming powered is better?

Is unpowered cheaper? Better to go with good unpowered speakers than cheap, not-so-good powered speakers?
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Old August 16th, 2007, 08:21 AM   #10
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Not to jump the gun, but I noticed these on b&h:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ve_Studio.html

These are a little more than what I was hoping to spend, but with a little financial planning, I might swing it. Just curious if anyone thought they were worthwhile.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 08:50 AM   #11
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Hello Dennis,

Champagne dreams, beer budget.

Here's the thing. You want speakers that are accurate in the mids and on top and also let you hear the problems in the basement (Lows).

Typically, 8" woofers are incapable of reproducing enough LF to tell you what's really going on. If that system also had a subwwoofer, you'd have a chance.

Be sure and mount ANY monitors where they can actually have a chance. Not on the table behind the pencil sharpener, over in the corner halfway behind the video monitor, etc.

Most of the video post folks who call me for audio consults are videocentric. Their video gear is typically blocking a good sound path. They are confounded by learning that you have to pay attention to what monitors are used and where they are put. Most are moderately resistant at first. (What! -- I have to move my video monitors to make room for audio!?!) Um, yes, if you want to hear what you're doing.

After we get the whole thing sorted out (start thinking about where you will put your noisy computer towers) and they can actually HEAR what they are doing, they pay a lot more attention to the audio.....because they can.

But I digress. If your work will only be heard on small set TV or computer speakers, your requirements are not as demanding. But be aware, the world is changing. There are some very good sound systems hooked up to computers these days. Home theater systems can be stunning.

If you don't hear what they hear, you can make mistakes. Mixing over poorly positioned cheap speakers in a bad acoustical environment is analgous to doing color correction on a B&W monitor.

So for $300, you don't get much in the way of a good solution.

Make sense?

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old August 16th, 2007, 09:11 AM   #12
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Thanks. Yeah, I get you.

I'm asking myself now how much I want to invest in a lot of audio post production gear, and start talking to audio engineers in my area.

They're probably gonna cost a wee bit more than $300, but I might be able to get a hold of more money if I can put forward the case that we know the job will be done right.

Expensive equipment + me <> experienced audio engineer.

Nor is audio engineer my preferred career path, I'm a director having a nervous breakdown over getting good sound.

Well, thanks-
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Old August 16th, 2007, 09:20 AM   #13
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Well, allow me to show my ignorance:)

I'm assuming powered is better?

Is unpowered cheaper? Better to go with good unpowered speakers than cheap, not-so-good powered speakers?
All speakers require amplification. Powered speakers combine the amplifier in the speaker. Unpowered speakers require a separate amplifier which is, of course, an extra expense. If you already own an amp, the unpowered would be worth at least considering. But if you don't own a good quality amp, definitely go for powered.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 11:02 AM   #14
 
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Dennis, the job can't be done "right" with such a low budget. Bear in mind that speakers are no different than the video monitor; they are the unvarnished (or should be) windows into what is in your production. You'd never color correct on a black and white monitor, but mixing with low-grade speakers is very similar to doing just that.
If you want to purchase a cheap set of monitors to get you by during a rough mix process and editing, and then perhaps take the project to another facility for final mix/master, that would help your budget go a long way.
The little M-Audio LX4's are pretty good for low/no money, but they're far from precise, and a little muddy in the low mid and bottom end. But...we've successfully used them for many small commercial projects.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 11:28 AM   #15
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Dennis, the job can't be done "right" with such a low budget. Bear in mind that speakers are no different than the video monitor; they are the unvarnished (or should be) windows into what is in your production. You'd never color correct on a black and white monitor, but mixing with low-grade speakers is very similar to doing just that.
If you want to purchase a cheap set of monitors to get you by during a rough mix process and editing, and then perhaps take the project to another facility for final mix/master, that would help your budget go a long way.
The little M-Audio LX4's are pretty good for low/no money, but they're far from precise, and a little muddy in the low mid and bottom end. But...we've successfully used them for many small commercial projects.
Thanks, that is a good idea.
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