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Old September 7th, 2009, 10:39 PM   #1
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Audio editing speakers

Hi there,

I'm looking to upgrade my basic PC speakers to something better for when I edit audio for my films. Please keep in mind that I am not a master audio editor so I'm not looking for anything too high end, just a decent set of stereo speakers that will give me a better interpretation of what the audio I'm editing actually DOES sound like. Up too $500 dollars is my price range.

I know next to nothing in the area of computer speakers so any good recommendations would be great. Or if there is a good standard set of speakers out there that most people are using please let me know. I usually buy from B&H in case anyone knows something they sell that is good.

Thanks!
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Old September 7th, 2009, 10:45 PM   #2
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Logitech make a great budget 2.1 kit...

http://tinyurl.com/2x9sc2

I got these for my father in law to watch movies and they rip.
Totally brings the movies to life, without breaking the bank.
Sounds clear & sharp + separate subby bass control.

Im going to get a set of these for exactly the purpose you describe!
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Old September 7th, 2009, 11:37 PM   #3
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Hi Paul,

In order to create a good mix you really want to use a studio monitor. They have a much flatter response (in audio terms they won't color the sound). Using speakers that are made for listening to music or watching movies will usually emphasize the base and highs. They're made to to make even so so sound tracks sound ok. A studio monitor will allow you to create a balance reliable mix.

I've used some very expensive monitors in the past with some pretty esoteric amps to do remixes. Lately I've been using a set of monitor headphones but I've found that they can become somewhat fatiguing. So I've started to do some research. For a budget price these Behringer's seem to be a pretty highly regarded monitor:

BEHRINGER: MS40

I'm considering these but can't find any where near me to demo them. Other reliable inexpensive monitors are made by M-Audio, Mackie and Alesis to name a few. For your $500 you can even get a pair of Samson monitors.

I probably will get a pair of the Behringer's just to try them since you can get a pair for around $129 including shipping. If I really don't like them I figure I can always unload them and not loose too much. One thing that intrigues me about the MS40 is that they include a D/A processor so I can take a TOSLINK out from my computer directly into the monitors. That should help to avoid any hum or noise from my computer sound card.

Garrett
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Old September 7th, 2009, 11:58 PM   #4
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For $500 you should be able to swing a pair of decent monitors, just be aware that better monitors are usually priced per monitor, not in pairs.

Look into KRK, Mackie, JBL, Yamaha, they've all got decent monitors under $250 each. A search over at gearslutz.com should give you a lot of reading to do. This thread: Did a 2nd low-end monitor listening test today... KRK Yamaha Mackie Tascam Alesis - Gearslutz.com seems to be a good place to start.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 12:24 AM   #5
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Hey Paul -

I'm in the same boat as you. I also did some research and posted in the "Editing on the Mac" forum about this too and got some input there as well.

Jordan's link to the monitor review was helpful. But as with everything else, it comes down to personal taste / preference...(as basically that's what all reviews for anything out there are. What sounds great to somebody else, may sound like garbage to you.)

If you can, visit some stores that carry the monitors that you are interested in and give them a listen. I went to the Guitar Center to listen to the various brands and it helps...at least for me....to know what one is after for sound mixing.

Much luck in your search for the perfect monitor setup too!!
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Old September 8th, 2009, 12:56 AM   #6
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One thing to consider is the amount of bass you expect in your mix. If you're mixing orchestral or jazz, go for mid range accuracy. Same for voice. If you're mixing rap or movie trailers, go for something with a strong bottom end.

KRK tends to offer good bottom end for a low price, but they aren't known for their clarity. Yamaha has a reputation for accuracy, but not much low end. I haven't shopped for some time, so don't take this as gospel.

Go to Guitar Center or wherever you can get a live demo, bring some CDs and have a listen. Don't choose the most sparkly or boomy big sounding speakers. Go for what sounds neutral and natural - possibly something that even sounds slightly dull, compared to what you expect from consumer speakers. Most importantly, they should sound natural to you.

You'll be demoing near field speakers, so get fairly close to them. The distance between them should be roughly the same distance as from them to your ears. You can toe them in slightly - point the right speaker at your left ear and vice versa. As long as you're not too far from them, you will hear the speakers, rather than the room.

You cal play with how far the speakers are from the wall. Try them in various positions. This can make a big difference in the bass response. Note your favorite position when you buy them, and try to set up your room similarly.

Bring some of your favorite music - stuff you know really well. Use real CDs, rather than MP3s. Bring something really clean, like old Steely Dan. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon is a nice bass test. Bring something with spoken word - male and female. A big soundtrack, like Star Wars, would be good. But these are just suggestions. Most importantly, bring stuff that you know and want to emulate, but bring variety too.

And don't be shy to ask the people there what they honestly think. Take it with a grain of salt, since they're trying to sell speakers. But they might just be honest, have good ears, and point out things that you didn't notice at first.

Finally, it's good to buy from DVInfo sponsors, but it's also good to buy from local shops. If they spend time giving you a good demo, don't turn around and buy online just to save five bucks. That doesn't mean that you can't try to negotiate a lower price though...

Best of luck!
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Old September 8th, 2009, 01:07 AM   #7
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One other note: it's counterintuitive, but if you buy speakers with LOUD BASS, you will mix the bass lower and create mixes with weak bass. If you buy speakers with lots of sparkle, you will create mixes that have too little high end. Therefore, you want a flat, natural sound.

Bass is a bit unique. Many speakers bump up the mid bass (around 100 Hz), and have weak or non-existent low bass (50 Hz and below). This type of cheap bass helps keep cost and size down, but can really screw up your mix.

If you can't hear a 40 Hz signal, you won't know if it exists or if it's blasting away three times as loud as it should be. Play your mix on a larger system, and you might be surprised.

Again, for jazz and classical, you're unlikely to get any surprises around 40 Hz. Mixing electronic rap, you could get crazy loud stuff at 25 Hz and below. With Hollywood trailer explosions, you can also get huge low frequencies. Get too small a monitor, and you're working blind, so be careful down there!

A good practice is to use a subsonic filter to get rid of the really low stuff when mixing the big stuff on nearfields.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 08:50 AM   #8
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I was recommended to buy Genelecs by a sound recordist who I really respect. They've been great.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 11:12 AM   #9
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Genelecs make some very good monitors as does ADAM but I think they generally run a little more than the $500/pr budget.

Richard which model do you have?

KRK's are good for the price range and I"ve used JBL monitors before add do like them but I've never used their lower costs ones so I can't attest to those.

Garrett
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Old September 8th, 2009, 11:19 AM   #10
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You're getting some very good advice here but I'll toss in one more soft recommendation:

I mix for TV (mostly commercials and documentary so very little deep bass activity - I know, I captured the audio) on a set of Edirol MA-15D made by Roland. For a $200-250 budget pair of stereo monitors they are quite articulate with reasonable frequency balance (excepting, of course deep bass).

My next edit bay will likely have some spendier mid fields but I'll be retaining these for nearfield/small speaker monitoring.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #11
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Yep, I'll second that Edirol MA-15D recommendation for anyone on a TIGHT budget. Very pleased with mine (no noticeable hiss either when connected by the optical digital link on my 2009 Mac Pro) and I've added a Kenwood sub-woofer (about 80 in the UK) which helps a lot. Sure, these won't 'cut ice' with the 'serious audio Pros' but for the kind of video/audio work I do (mostly corporate video) they are certainly just great/really amazing value, and very versatile too. They were about 100 or so in the UK a few months ago.

There are some great brands/models listed in this thread that'll easily beat them (if you have the budget) and one day I'll move up to one of them but for now this set-up is just fine!
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Old September 8th, 2009, 11:42 AM   #12
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Also, here is the co-current Mac thread on monitors (mentioned earlier in this thread by Andrew).

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/non-line...s-mac-pro.html

EDIT: And here is the specific thread I had going a while back about the MA-15Ds

Edirol MA15D Monitors
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; September 8th, 2009 at 12:53 PM. Reason: Adding link to relevant thread
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Old September 8th, 2009, 12:42 PM   #13
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One more vote for the Edirol MA-15D

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Old September 8th, 2009, 02:10 PM   #14
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Or if you REALLY want to go low budget, these work too: Edirol / Roland | MA-7A 3" 7W Active Micro Monitors | MA-7A
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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:07 PM   #15
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Just to muddy the waters, I have the Blue Sky EXO 2.1 and absolutely love them:

Blue Sky

Award winning, great reviews, external hub with xlr inputs, etc. $350 at B&H:

Blue Sky International | EXO - 2.1 Stereo Desktop | EXO | B&H
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