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Old June 23rd, 2015, 06:33 AM   #1
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Studio monitor speakers

Can you guys recommend a set of small studio monitor speakers that perform well in small places? I was looking at Genelec 8020c but they are a bit out of my budget. I would prefer to spend around $500 for two and the Genelec ones are over $500 for both. Is there anything out there that's within my budget?
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 06:42 AM   #2
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

Well...for what it is worth...I've just bought Wharfedale Diamond 8.1 Pro Active speakers...
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 06:49 AM   #3
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

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Originally Posted by Renton Maclachlan View Post
Well...for what it is worth...I've just bought Wharfedale Diamond 8.1 Pro Active speakers...
I see that they are discontinued, where did you get them? How much are they?
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 08:25 AM   #4
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

On the recommendation of several people in some of the other forums I frequent, I bought a pair of JBL LSR305 speakers and I am very pleased with them. There is also an 8-inch version, LSR308 which probably sound even more amazing if I had the space for them. Google shows the street price for the LSR308 is currently US$ 220 each.

If you are in NYC, you can probably go down to B&H and hear all the candidates for yourself, which is a tremendous advantage. I rather took a risk buying the 305s unheard, but I have always liked JBL speakers, and I could have returned them. But there is nothing like actually being there in the same room with several pair of speakers to compare them in person.
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 09:41 AM   #5
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

I'll second Richard's recommendation of the JBL speakers. I have the LSR308s he mentioned. I also have a pair of Yamaha HS50M 5" speakers that I like. Those have been replaced by the HS5 model I believe. They are part of Yamaha's long line of speakers designed to be very "real world" in that they don't sound great by themselves, but if you can make a mix sound good on them, then it should translate well to many other environments that it might get played in. I also agree with Richard that it's best if you can audition them personally. There are several pretty good options out there in the $300 - 400/pair range, including the JBL LSR305, the Yamaha HS5, the Mackie MR5 and others.

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Old June 23rd, 2015, 12:25 PM   #6
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

I bought the LSR305s and really like them. They're nicely sized for desktop use and very well behaved.

I also have some 15" speakers based on JBL's large studio monitors from the '80s. The LSR305s don't go nearly as deep, but they are less colored in the mid-range and the dispersion pattern is excellent. If you want more bass, save up for the matching subwoofer, which you could add later. I can switch between my big mains and the small speakers with the press of a button, and I often choose to use the smaller 305s without the sub. (Mainly, I choose the 305s when sitting close and when deep bass isn't a prime focus. If I'm further away or listening to Dark Side of the Moon, I prefer the big boys.)

The thing is, I don't listen to the smaller speakers constantly thinking that the bass is missing. The truth is that sometimes I forget which system is active and have to check the switch. So the bass isn't deep, but it's not missing, empty or over-hyped at 100 Hz either.

If the 305s were my only pair, I'd eventually add the sub, but it wouldn't be a desperate need.

On the other hand, if you have space on the desk, adequate budget, and want more bass on day one, I'd get the 308s. In my case, I wanted the smaller size.
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 01:19 PM   #7
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

Thanks everyone. I forgot to mention that the space is an issue for me. The JBLs are too big that's why I was looking at Genelecs. Does anyone have any experience with the Senals? I'm looking at Senal ASM-3.

Thanks
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 01:50 PM   #8
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

An online composer friend of mine raved about his Blue Sky monitors a few years ago. (I haven't heard them in person.) These look to be very small and not far from your budget.

Blue Sky Blog Archive eXo2 Stereo System

Even though desk space may be limited, hopefully, you have floor space or room under the desk for the small sub.
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 02:58 PM   #9
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

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Originally Posted by Kathy Smith View Post
I see that they are discontinued, where did you get them? How much are they?
I'm in NZ...from a music shop in Auckland - online...$NZ400 for a pair - delivered...

Wasn't aware they have been discontinued...apparently they've been making them for about 10 years...
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 03:18 PM   #10
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

There are isolating desktop speaker stands that cost about $80 a pair that have a smaller footprint than the LSR305's. It would still be in your budget though versus the Genelecs.

I made a pair of short stands myself for larger monitors when I had limited work surface. I'm still using them many years later.

They not only make more room on the desktop, but get the speakers up closer to ear level when seated and reduce reflections from all the stuff on your working area.
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 04:13 PM   #11
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

Jay gets the thinking-out-of-the-box (or should that be "under-the-boxes") award. Stands are a nice suggestion for putting large(ish) monitors on a small footprint.

Speaking of ear-level, the other guideline is to make an equilateral triangle between the monitors and the listener. Turn the speakers slightly inward, though not necessarily all the way toward you. Hopefully, that helps in designing the workspace.
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 04:59 PM   #12
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

OK but I can't have stands. I need to make the best out of what I have. I decided to try the Senals. They should be coming on Thursday.
I forgot to mention that I am not mastering music. Mostly vocals in short documentaries.

Last edited by Kathy Smith; June 23rd, 2015 at 05:42 PM.
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 06:45 PM   #13
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

Let us know what you think of them after listening to some material that you're used to hearing and thinking that it has always sounded "right" to you.

With 3 choices each for adjustment in High, Medium and Low frequency bands, it may take some experimentation to get them set for their particular response in your particular space and exact placement.

Also, how do you plan to interface to the monitors from your computer?
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 07:55 PM   #14
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

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Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post

Also, how do you plan to interface to the monitors from your computer?
I was going to use 3.5mm RCA connection. Is this not the way to do it?
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Old June 23rd, 2015, 08:13 PM   #15
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Re: Studio monitor speakers

This is very interesting to me as well. Would the 1/8" line out from a mac pro to the balanced 1/4" in on the speakers be best?

Maybe I need to start a new thread.

J
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