What, exactly, defines a "nearfield" monitor?
Nonlinear
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What, exactly, defines a "nearfield" monitor?

OK, before anyone states the obvious, I know "nearfield" monitors are designed to be used "near" the listener.

But, other than their typical small size, what is the difference between a "nearfield" vs. a "farfield" (i.e., "mastering") monitor?
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Near-field monitors are usually short throw, narrow dispersion, limited range units.

Quote:
But, other than their typical small size, what is the difference between a "nearfield" vs. a "farfield" (i.e., "mastering") monitor?
"Far-field" (or mid-field, or anything else) has little to do with "mastering monitor."

But mid-field and "regular" speakers are designed usually with normal throw, normal dispersion, wider-range components.

And yes - although most speakers that are decent for the task of mastering are normal/normal/wide-range (etc.) it doesn't mean that any speaker of that type is suitable for the task. Consistency is king - even slightly over raw accuracy (I can "get used to" a particular frequency response to some extent -- I can't get used to inconsistency).

My home stereo speakers are normal/normal/wide. They sound reasonable at best and are terribly inconsistent concerning levels and space. The speakers I use in here (which are really nothing more than really good stereo speakers) are freakishly consistent concerning levels and space.
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I always think of it in a traditional sense..

Midfield = sits on bridge of console
Main = built into wall behind everything
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MASSIVE Master View Post
Near-field monitors are usually short throw, narrow dispersion, limited range units.


"Far-field" (or mid-field, or anything else) has little to do with "mastering monitor."

But mid-field and "regular" speakers are designed usually with normal throw, normal dispersion, wider-range components.

And yes - although most speakers that are decent for the task of mastering are normal/normal/wide-range (etc.) it doesn't mean that any speaker of that type is suitable for the task. Consistency is king - even slightly over raw accuracy (I can "get used to" a particular frequency response to some extent -- I can't get used to inconsistency).

My home stereo speakers are normal/normal/wide. They sound reasonable at best and are terribly inconsistent concerning levels and space. The speakers I use in here (which are really nothing more than really good stereo speakers) are freakishly consistent concerning levels and space.
Perhaps I'm being thick, but aren't short throw and narrow dispersion contradictory ? Surely if the sound (energy) is more directional it projects further ?
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Originally Posted by allstar View Post
Perhaps I'm being thick, but aren't short throw and narrow dispersion contradictory ? Surely if the sound (energy) is more directional it projects further ?
if you could change speaker like a lens this would be true 100%.

in speakerdesign there is also housing and the membran shape and more involved, so you can achieve both

Last edited by mattes; 4th June 2012 at 01:23 PM.. Reason: wrong key hit
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Traditionally, console bridge speakers are near field, a la NS10 etc any nearer and they are on your eq and send knobs.

As I understand it soffit mounted speakers were great for loud and bass, not so good for mix balance. of course there are monsterously expensive highly tuned soffit mounts in the best studios that will blow you away but I understand that not to have been the norm. (moreso in the 80's)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_caithness View Post
I always think of it in a traditional sense..

Midfield = sits on bridge of console
Main = built into wall behind everything
OK, but as far as the sound of the speakers (response, etc.) what's the difference?

Aren't ALL "monitor" speakers designed for flat (vs. pleasantly colored) response?
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Ns-10 weren't designed for the studio ; they were initially aimed at the home hi-fi market ( where they failed spectacularly ) .http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep0...yamahans10.htm



There are a couple of camps amungst speaker designers and audiophiles in regards to directivity ( besides open baffle and other esoteric designs camps!!) ; Narrow dispersion so as to not excite the room and RT-60 and super wide dispersion ( almost a full 180 degrees if you will ) so as to achieve an even power distribution . either can be executed well, but both can fall apart in a bad room.

"Nearfield " is a bit of a misnomer in that you cannot simply sit right on top of them and pretend that the acoustic environment is now a non-sequitor ( with the possible exception of a anechoic chamber !) . Your room is a part of the total reproduction system .

I agree that some poor rooms call for actually limiting bass extention and gain because the modes and standing waves will cause more problems that would result from just learning to guesstimate the bass and using other systems outside of your mixing space to test mixes in .

There are numerous articlaes over at the SOS archive ( they are super generous to provide access to this !!)

Here is one that comes to mind in regards to your question

MONITORS versus HI-FI SPEAKERS
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Flatfinger,

Thank you for all the references.

Unless I misunderstood, my conclusion from the SOS articles is that "monitor" is basically a marketing buzzword for a good hi-fi speaker. Nothing truly special about them (besides built-in amps).

So, it appears that any great quality speaker can be utilized sucessfully for mastering - doesn't have to be a "monitor" speaker - provided that the room and setup is correct. Yes?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
Flatfinger,

Thank you for all the references.

Unless I misunderstood, my conclusion from the SOS articles is that "monitor" is basically a marketing buzzword for a good hi-fi speaker. Nothing truly special about them (besides built-in amps).

So, it appears that any great quality speaker can be utilized successfully for mastering - doesn't have to be a "monitor" speaker - provided that the room and setup is correct. Yes?
The distinctions can get a little nebulous indeed ; But the better products designed for pro audio have niceties like high and low shelfing built into a bi-amped unit ( pro audio units should be more heavy duty! as they face more day to day abuse). You can of course add some sort of digital box to get that ina home stereo purposed product .. some stuff is really straddling both worlds now days ... The pelonus model 42 doesn't have the amps in the monitor boxes at all and provides some parametric eq in to sweeten the pot ...

Pelonis Model 42 | Sweetwater.com


the whole subject of how to get at a spectral response in your room that will end up translating well is quite the rabbit hole I'm afraid ....

Multi-faceted ; room treatment is probably the most cost effective and under-utilized thing out there ( and the most difficult to get the WAF on ... wife approval factor !)... much easier to slip another set of boxes onto your desk past SWMBO !!!
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Edited

Last edited by flatfinger; 5th June 2012 at 01:35 AM.. Reason: double tap ; center of mass ...
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generally nearfield speaker is not affected by room acoustics.

The further you walk from the speakers more than 1ft room affects the frequency response, localization, and tonal quality.

In some rooms even at 1 ft distance is greatly affected by room and response is not as flat as in acoustically dead chamber.

To summarize:
  1. nearfield placement as where its proximity is close to listener (~1ft),
  2. tonal quality is similar to speaker designed curve,
  3. room is not affecting perceived quality of speaker speaking of transients, dips/boosts of F, phase coherence.
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The biggest difference in audible terms is a near field sounds like a small wooden box with drivers in and a high end large format speaker typically used for professional mastering sounds like the box has vanished and detail, openness and clarity is abound.

Larger speakers tend to be full range as well so you can definitively hear what's happening in the deep lows.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manman View Post
[*]room is not affecting perceived quality of speaker speaking of transients, dips/boosts of F, phase coherence.[/LIST]
Unless we define what "Room" means that could be quite a dangerous comment to make when when discussing the practical use of nearfield speakers in studios, considering the fact that nearfields (commonly found in smaller studios as the main set of speakers) are usually placed onto top of a console/on a desk/on stands in front of where lots of metal boxes are sitting.

There's a whole lot of stuff to effect your transients, freq response and phase coherence there!

In reality the "room" is a combination of the shape and what's in it. So it's important to mention that by no means the anechoic results of your nearfield speaker is going to be reproduced as long as your close to them..

I've had all kinds of debates with producer pals about stuff like this:

"yeah but I don't play it loud so it's not hitting the walls"
"yeah but it's close to my head so I'm not hearing the room" etc..
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My Studio

Quote:
Originally Posted by manman View Post
generally nearfield speaker is not affected by room acoustics.
This is simply not true. Not even nearly...
Only the direct signal from the loudspeakers is louder than the diffuse reflection of the room, which maybe arrive a little bit later then in midfield applications.
But room modes, Sbir and, if joe already has said, reflections of near surface has great affect on ls-responce. No matter of nearfield, midfield or farfield...

In reality, LS placement is always room depending. Sometimes midfield can work better then nearfield, even without any absorbers...
Speaker placement in a romm is always a compromise. One has to search for the best in each room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_caithness View Post
"yeah but I don't play it loud so it's not hitting the walls"
"yeah but it's close to my head so I'm not hearing the room" etc..
Haha, yes. Always the same great myths about LS and their placement.
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If you get REW ( room eq wizard ) over at the home theater shack , set it up W/A measurement mic , you will find that ..

1.) when you are one inch from the speaker/driver measured , it's spectral response is just like the spec sheet said.

2.) as you move the measurement mic further back ( say six inches ) you will start to see bass frequecies below the baffle step frequency go up as they are reinforced by the boundry effect .

3.) by the time you have the measurment mic out to 24 " the nice tidy spectral response you had at 1" is now besiged by dips and peaks !!! a shadow of it's former self !!! your ears just "fix" this with perceptual integration . .

The main thing is to try and keep the surrounding reflection points ( sometomes called mirror points) so that they don't allow early reflections below the 40 ms mark . The 3 to one rule works good . Early reflections that arrive before 30ms or so ( haas effect) cause comb filtering .


It's not only about the direct vs later room ratios of volume , but also when they sum..... ( temporally )

In short , JP , I concur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MASSIVE Master View Post
Near-field monitors are usually short throw, narrow dispersion, limited range units.
I don't see it like that. A near field is used in the near field. It's about the proximity not the frequency response or dispersion. As far as short throw, yes a smaller driver gets going faster. Especially a super fast/high excursion driver like the little beast in the Studio One



Every speaker is affected by room acoustics, the least effected is a midrange nearfield like the Avantone.

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Originally Posted by SASMastering View Post
The biggest difference in audible terms is a near field sounds like a small wooden box with drivers in and a high end large format speaker typically used for professional mastering sounds like the box has vanished and detail, openness and clarity is abound.
In other words, most near fields sound distorted. Yep.

Thus the Studio One, finally something that sounds more invisible like a high end speaker.
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