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Ever considered buying "audiophile" grade speakers for your studio?
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hethaerto
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9th January 2005
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Ever considered buying "audiophile" grade speakers for your studio?

I've been digging into the audiophile industry lately, and I'm wondering if I might gainfully employ some $1000+ speakers for mixing.
Overkill?
I've been checking B&W Nautilus 805's. But I think i could afford some Audes Studio's.

Audiophiles are funny. I keep seeing posts about how much each of them spent on their systems.
I always think "How big is YOUR penis?"
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9th January 2005
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I don't think it's overkill. Anything that will help you accurately hear what's being created on your hard disk has gotta be a good thing.

The Nautilus range are extremely low in distortion so will help to that end. The 805's are my least favorite due to their slightly plummy bass.
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I have B&W 801 Matrix S3 and to my ears they are a pure mirror into reality. Can be also considered as a beautiful high-class audiophile speakers ... Simple awesome. If one is lucky and finds them somewhere, they can be had for a fraction of Nautillus price. And I heard from several people who still prefer their sound to Nautillus series
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I just bought a pair of Yamaha NS1000Ms for $500. They sound lovely but need a good amp.
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Anyone heard the self powered new Alesis monitors, they have a digital effects processor built into them. Sound pretty flat to my ears, better than the Mackies or anything else in that price range.
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If you get a chance check out the Paradigm Reference 40's, I've had them about a month now. I ended up with the older v2 models 'cause I liked what was happening in the mid-hi's better. Surprisingly tight and deep bottom end for their size. If you have your heart set on spending more than 1000 bucks you might not care for these tho'...
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Thanx for the input, guys. Did anyone check out the Audes link?
Allen
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I use a pair of Dunlavy SM1's and Sequerra's along with Tannoys,Genelecs,Yamaha and auratone's for mixing.

If it works for you that's what counts.
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11th January 2005
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Wow, it's been a while since I posted here! Hi everyone.

I made the jump to audiophile speakers a few years ago. You really have to wade through the BS and snake oil, but if you spend some time and listen to a lot of brands you will find some great sounding speakers. I think if you're already an experienced engineer and know what you're looking for you'll eventually find the perfect speaker without dropping too much dough. I heard $12,000 speakers that sounded like doo doo and some for half the price that were far better.

I ended up with Audio Physic Virgo II's. Excellent, super clear and revealing. I had a multi-grammy winning engineer over and played him some of his own mixes on them and he began debating whether his wife would allow him to get a pair for his living room. So, yes, great speakers can make a difference.

My mixes and mastering improved because I could really hear the subtlest changes. Once I got used to listening at that level my ears became more discerning. I could more quickly identify problem spots when mastering and more quickly find the correct settings when mixing. Think about it, mixing is all about subtlety, knowing just when enough is enough so if you're hearing every nuance it's easier to discern those subtelties.

All those questions people endlessly debate about on these boards -which converter is best, which clock is better etc will become very easier to discern on a nice full range revealing speaker.

I just upgraded to some Wilson Audio Watt/Puppies. A VERY over priced speaker but I got them used at less than 1/4 retail so it made sense at that price point. DEFINITELY buy used if you don't want to get fleeced -you can get into a great speaker for around half the retail.

Also, DEFINITELY go to a lot of dealers and listen to many different brands. What audiophiles call good are not necessarily good for mixing. Like I said, if you already know what you're looking for, you'll find something great, then buy it used.

I recently checked out these VMPS ribbon speakers that are supposedly giant killers (best of show CES etc). The audiophiles were drooling over them -better than anything under $30k! I didn't like them at all. They sounded like a ribbon microphone in reverse -way to soft and romantic and too mooshy in the lower mids. You definitely need to weed through the garbage if you play the audiophile game.

Also, a great pair of speakers will become very sensitive to the proper power amp and proper converters. My friend recently had on loan a pair of $50k Meridian speakers for his office in Ferrari red (pretty sick!). Until they were matched with the meridian CD transport ($20K) they weren't as impressive.

Just be very careful of the snake oil!
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11th January 2005
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this is something that has always interested me.

the ideal of any audiophile speaker is brutal honesty and clarity as audiophile recordings should not need "forgiving" speakers. they are, theoritically, the highest quality recordings and must therefore be heard as intended.

a more pertinent consideration is whether they are powered or passive. matching speakers and amps is risky and can be expensive. and (somebody please correct me if i'm wrong here) if the speakers are not bi-amp'd the chances of the tweeter blowing up are much higher, particularly in studios, because studios are subject to unmixed material which may have too much top end. also things like feedback, digital pops and clicks, experimental filter sweeps etc. are very common in studios.

my guess is that if audiophile speakers are to be used in studios, they must be bi-amp'd to extend tweeter life.

that said, b&w, kef, paradigm and a host of others make highly recommended and honest speakers and in my opinion, with the right (bi)amplification can make excellent studio monitors.

.02,
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if i had less a grand to spend on near feilds i would look at the quad 11's ($700pr) and epos els3's ($300pr, augmented with a hsu audio sub, $500)) before looking at anything else. english speakers period for that matter. harbeth, quad, spendor. i'd add danish dynaudio speakers to that list too. unhyped, truthful speakers all. the studio i work in has older b&w 805's driven by a bryston sst for nearfeilds and in the big room b&w nautilus 801 le's (abbey road edition) driven by a conrad-johnson premier 11 (the prototype) for mains. simply superb.
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Re: Ever considered buying "audiophile" grade speakers for your studio?

Quote:
Originally posted by hethaerto
Audiophiles are funny. I keep seeing posts about how much each of them spent on their systems.
I always think "How big is YOUR penis?"
Allen
I always imagine all that stuff set up in a room with plaster walls, wood floors, and no acoustic treatment whatsoever...

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hethaerto
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Yeah. Most of the audiophiles I've been observing don't seem to have any technical knowledge of acoustics and dynamic control.
They figure they just need to get a second mortgage and buy the most expenzive speakers available, and then turn around and sell them to upgrade a few weeks later.

One difference in theory is they want to "couple" their speakers to a hard surface like hardwood flooring while we like to "de-couple" our monitors to allow the bottom end to focus.

They expect to feel the bottom end as if they were on a rollercoaster ride in their living rooms.

Nice people, though.

Allen
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11th January 2005
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If I had that kind of money, I'd just get some really nice studio monitors.
I always liked the Tannoy golds with the mastering lab mod.
I know a few guys who have these, and I'm always impressed by them.

That said, every time I go to a mastering session I wonder what it would be like to have that kind of system in a mixing environment.

I'd like to get some nice bigs, but they're so much money.
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Audiophile speakers vary all over the map from great monitors that BOTH sound and measure spectacular to the utterly useless and hyped.

I've been using selected models for mastering for the past 20 years. My current Duntech Sovereigns are utterly amazing in their ability to unravel what was intended and what was not intended in mixes which makes them ideal for mastering. They work better for mixing than most of the "mains" I've ever encountered but critical midrange balances are still best double-checked using something like NS-10s.

The reason I'd never try to use them for a tracking session is that one dropped microphone or forgotten tape head lifter or mute key can easily take out some drivers. One of the keys to ultra high-resolution speakers is very carefully matched drivers that are also matched to unique crossover components for the specific pair of speakers. Replacements get very expensive very fast and that's about the last thing I want to be thinking about in a session.
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12th January 2005
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Some good points about audiophiles and plaster walls, and coupling their speakers to a - preferably - hollow wooden floor ...


So, I do have audiphilespeakers in a well treated room, decoupled from the floor. Last time I checked, they were more revealing of mix differences than B&W Nautilus 800's, and they are only 1500 euro (a pair).

I guess the truth is in enough shopping around, and finding/meeting the right people (most of the time : smaller firms, like pearl.se, royerlabs.com).



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very few audiophile speakers have made the jump to pro...the obvious leaders are both Duntech/Dunlavy and B&W..usually in mastering environments. The Duntech/Dunlavy get kinda huge...and less popular out of the US...the B&W seem to be very strong in euro mastering..maybe the demands of US program material in both level and low end requirements are to blame ??
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Quote:
Originally posted by Yannick

So, I do have audiphilespeakers in a well treated room, decoupled from the floor. Last time I checked, they were more revealing of mix differences than B&W Nautilus 800's, and they are only 1500 euro (a pair).

I guess the truth is in enough shopping around, and finding/meeting the right people (most of the time : smaller firms, like pearl.se, royerlabs.com).



Yannick
I'd have to disaagree there. How can a smaller firm match the millions of pounds invested in research for the Nautilus series?.....1500 euro speakers sounding more revealing then 800's?......all other things being equal, i seriously doubt it.
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How about -

Many of the "audiophile" speakers are used in controlled circumstances such as mastering, classical or acoustic oriented studios, whereas the "pro studio" monitors are sometimes (not always) less refined, but more rugged, and able to withstand the rough-and-tumble of pop sessions with the raw dynamics of electronic sources and drums being suddenly soloed at very high levels, signal shorts, occasional feedback, etc.

So get a pair of each?
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Quote:
Originally posted by jazzius II
How can a smaller firm match the millions of pounds invested in research for the Nautilus series?.....
Less is more ?
I don't say they are better in every respect, but they are in some.
And they are not made to generate a big turnover to cover the investment costs.
How much more does it cost to build a Nautilus 800 than a Link K50 (4 drive units against 2, 125 Kg against 7 Kg ...), and how big is that difference in the shop ?

This reminds me of the Lotus Elise versus big sportscars debate.

Yannick
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quite often pricing is NOT determined by either the quality of the components or the amount spent on research...but marketing...hype and panache..in this world of audiophile speakers. i remember hearing prototype Eggleston's...using simple single order networks..only later to be astonished by the price point chosen.
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Quote:
Originally posted by MIKEHARRIS
very few audiophile speakers have made the jump to pro...the obvious leaders are both Duntech/Dunlavy and B&W..usually in mastering environments. The Duntech/Dunlavy get kinda huge...and less popular out of the US...the B&W seem to be very strong in euro mastering..maybe the demands of US program material in both level and low end requirements are to blame ??
You overlooked ProAc,Spendor and Dynaudio.
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Spendor has a long history of making professional loudspeakers...the BBC spec'ed BC-1 was a marvelous speaker. (as was the BC-2)DynAudio has made the jump from component to pro...the prouser did not embrace the HiFi line as they did B&W..which discontinued the amazing 808 studio monitor years ago and has chosen not to seek that market again with specific products.i kno diddley bout ProAc
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Quote:
Originally posted by MIKEHARRIS
i kno diddley bout ProAc
The ProAc Studio 100's became popular here in NYC as an audiophile monitor alternative to the NS10's/Genelec 1031's.

I know they are the monitor of choice for guys like Kevin Killen,Rick Rubin and our own moderator of the month.


The ProAc Response 4 and 5 are used in Mastering Facilities(Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound).


They are both on the opposite extreme in terms of sound.
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Also look for companies like Legacy Audio,Devore Fidelity and Sequerra Labs to make more of an in road in the pro studios.
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Quote:
Originally posted by Yannick
Less is more ?
I don't say they are better in every respect, but they are in some.
And they are not made to generate a big turnover to cover the investment costs.
How much more does it cost to build a Nautilus 800 than a Link K50 (4 drive units against 2, 125 Kg against 7 Kg ...), and how big is that difference in the shop ?

This reminds me of the Lotus Elise versus big sportscars debate.

Yannick
I don't really see your point. The speaker you mentioned looks like a box with a couple of drivers screwed into it.....compare that to the construction and technology of the 800's.......of course it costs more......to suggest a cheap bookshelf can remotely compare is ludicrous.

IMO, making an accurate loudspeaker requires a lot of science.....and science/research costs money......
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doesn't NHT also have some pro models out? anybody heard them?
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Quote:
Originally posted by jazzius II
to suggest a cheap bookshelf can remotely compare is ludicrous.
There is no point in fighting over this one, I had neither the budget nor the intention to buy big B&W speakers, and they need to be portable. For me these are the best solution. My budget was up to 4000 euro for compact, portable monitors (passive) and I still bought my 'cheapo' speakers.

I can just say, whenever someone is around Brussels, give me a PM and try to pop in ...

My point was actually (first read the title), : yes, and it does not hurt to shop around, and do some listening at home.
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Quote:
Originally posted by column17
doesn't NHT also have some pro models out? anybody heard them?
i'm interested in these as well....
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