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Barefoot Minimain12 vs. Soffit Mounted ATC 150's + Sub?
Old 11th October 2018
  #1
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Barefoot Minimain12 vs. Soffit Mounted ATC 150's + Sub?

I've been going back and fourth trying to make a decision. I'm about to start building a new room from scratch with an acoustic design group in the next few weeks and want to make a decision regarding monitor selection.

ATC 150, soffit mounted paired with subs (not ATC subs right off because of the high price point) or the Barefoot Minimain12's.

Id like to start off by saying I am a barefoot guy. I've been using gen 2 27's for a while now and could not be happier with them. My mixes have taken a step in the better direction and workflow has sped up significantly because of them.

The guy I am using for this design is pretty renowned for his work (ill be leaving his name out of it for now because people on this forum know him) and has recommended the ATC's, advising against the barefoots. For me, one side is telling me go with the ATC's. But one thing I don't want to do is go with something that just doesn't give me the output I need to feel the music.

I will also come out by saying I have not heard these both in treated rooms for a proper a/b comparison.

Music I will be working on will have a lot of subsonic information, from some RnB to hiphop to the typical pop singers to singer/songwriters writing for placements.

My clients also come in from time to time hoping for some 'Knock", and this is a priority as well.

Just not sure if going with a near field "Main", or Soffit mounted true main would be the better choice, but like I said earlier i'm used to the 27's and have been feeling some type of way about letting them go.

room size is probably around 350sq ft.
Old 11th October 2018
  #2
I'm in the exact same boat you're in and have been mulling this over for 2+ years. I have yet to make a move in either direction Barefoot or ATC's so I'm curious to hear how this all pans out for you.

Some of my takeways:
Having heard unmentioned designers rooms, they are also designed with ATC's in mind. The designs have been refined many times over and are really finely tuned. Soffit mounting is really a defining principle in those designs, so I would be reluctant to mess with that too much, this is not to say the designer wouldn't do a fine job with barefoots.

Soffit mounting also gives the room and extra 3-4 foot in depth because barefoots need to be a bit off the wall if space is an issue at all.

Also, there seem to be a lot of changes in speaker designs lately, especially when it comes to dsp, like in Barefoot's and Kii's so I've personally been waiting a bit to see how things shake out. But then again, with a finely tuned flat room maybe this is of little significance.

As for low-end, with such a well designed room the response will be flat and lows, very low. My thoughts are that both speakers will knock. I don't think the room design would lend itself to either system having more or less bass. The 150's sub-bass really knock my head off while listening to minimal techno.

just my 2 cents.
Old 11th October 2018
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spleenless View Post
I'm in the exact same boat you're in

just my 2 cents.
Thanks for the reply! its most definitely a tough choice. A decision must be made soon though haha.
Old 11th October 2018
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nephew312 View Post
Music I will be working on will have a lot of subsonic information, from some RnB to hiphop to the typical pop singers to singer/songwriters writing for placements.

My clients also come in from time to time hoping for some 'Knock", and this is a priority as well.

Just not sure if going with a near field "Main", or Soffit mounted true main would be the better choice, but like I said earlier i'm used to the 27's and have been feeling some type of way about letting them go.

room size is probably around 350sq ft.
Spending $20k on speakers, go visit some studios that have these speakers. Well designed studios. Most studios will give you a tour or book a few hours. A lot of studio owners like to show their rooms off any way.

Your room is small. If your clients could feel the knock or you can "feel the music" with MM27 Gen 2, the difference of using MM12 or ATC150 is phenomenally more. Whole different ball game in output and size of sound. Your ears will/can bleed if you want compared to what the MM27 puts out with either of these two options on the table.

I love when audio people use "subsonic" because it means absolutely nothing. Truly subsonic would be below sound frequencies. So the question is what do you mean by that? 20Hz? If you are mixing a lot at 20Hz, pretty much anyone reproducing it on their system will get little to nothing in output (put a sinewave on at 20Hz and crank it on the MM27 and see; though watch your clipping lights or destroying your speakers.) More likely you mean sub-bass frequencies 30Hz to 80Hz. Not a real issue with the speakers you mentioned (other than what your room is going to do to screw those up because it is small.) It's not the speakers that are going to let you down but the room -- so that'll be on your designer.
Old 11th October 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
Spending $20k on speakers,
thanks for your input. I have to disagree with you saying the room is small.. according to the people I have consulted with, 20x18 is right at the point of getting the low end right if done properly. Throwing near fields in the room may change that based on the whole proximity deal, but I am no acoustician.

unfortunately at least in my area I may not be able to test the 12's in a properly treated room as no one has them here. Something that would differentiate me from the other studios around here too I guess. I will be testing the ATC's very soon
Old 11th October 2018
  #6
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nephew312 View Post
I've been going back and fourth trying to make a decision. I'm about to start building a new room from scratch with an acoustic design group in the next few weeks and want to make a decision regarding monitor selection.

ATC 150, soffit mounted paired with subs (not ATC subs right off because of the high price point) or the Barefoot Minimain12's.

Id like to start off by saying I am a barefoot guy. I've been using gen 2 27's for a while now and could not be happier with them. My mixes have taken a step in the better direction and workflow has sped up significantly because of them.

The guy I am using for this design is pretty renowned for his work (ill be leaving his name out of it for now because people on this forum know him) and has recommended the ATC's, advising against the barefoots. For me, one side is telling me go with the ATC's. But one thing I don't want to do is go with something that just doesn't give me the output I need to feel the music.

I will also come out by saying I have not heard these both in treated rooms for a proper a/b comparison.

Music I will be working on will have a lot of subsonic information, from some RnB to hiphop to the typical pop singers to singer/songwriters writing for placements.

My clients also come in from time to time hoping for some 'Knock", and this is a priority as well.

Just not sure if going with a near field "Main", or Soffit mounted true main would be the better choice, but like I said earlier i'm used to the 27's and have been feeling some type of way about letting them go.

room size is probably around 350sq ft.
I'd say that the MM12 are not conceived or built to be soffit mounted imho. That's because of the side firing (sub)woofers.. Maybe somebody who has more experience than me could correct me, but I doubt that soffit mounting the BF is possible at all.. They are simply designed for a different setup.

That said I do believe that soffit mounting is the way to go IF you have the room and the budget. I'm a big ATC proponent, also because you can mix an entire album on mains, without losing perspective and taking the right decisions faster.

You can soffit mount the ATC 150 and they'll be fantastic, but you'll need more space because they're rather deep.

I'd suggest a pair of ATC scm110, which are specifically designed to be soffit mounted and therefore not so deep (I mean physically deep).
Also since you want some good subs that go with your ATC's but for a more reasonable price, look at Subwoofer Pro's.. They are affordable and made with ATC in mind by the US distributor.

If the room is well designed it's gonna be a helluva system!

I hope this helps,



Cheu
Old 12th October 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
I'd say that the MM12


Cheu
Thanks Cheu!

Yeah I never considered soffit mounting the Barefoots, I would use them on the stands. Thanks for the insight. I’ve heard some good things about the 110’s as well. I think I’m going to give them a listen this weekend. Heading north to give a few of them a try.

What do you think about the amp wattage in comparison to the barefoots? ATC being 300 watts and barefoots being 1950 watts?
Old 12th October 2018
  #8
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Mike O's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nephew312 View Post
The guy I am using for this design is pretty renowned for his work (ill be leaving his name out of it for now because people on this forum know him) and has recommended the ATC's, advising against the barefoots. For me, one side is telling me go with the ATC's. But one thing I don't want to do is go with something that just doesn't give me the output I need to feel the music.
While most designers can work with different components, I'd say most have preferences, and for a reason. Over the course of their work, they have developed a certain synchronicity with those components. They have worked with them often and have fine tuned their understanding of their room system and how each component fits into the whole.

Your designer has made a recommendation for probably the most critical component in the room (aside from the room itself). Does this designer routinely deliver rooms that you and your clients would be thrilled with? Then trust the recommendation. Are you going to second guess everything else?

If you don't trust that they understand your requirements in context of this recommendation find a new designer........or talk some more and learn to trust.
Old 12th October 2018
  #9
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nephew312 View Post
Thanks Cheu!

What do you think about the amp wattage in comparison to the barefoots? ATC being 300 watts and barefoots being 1950 watts?
No problem, that's just my experience.. I've been in stellar places (like the Henry Hirsch's studio in Hudson few years ago..he had a custom version of the ATC200.. simply stellar..).
the rooms that Northward designs are also fantastic..
Just to name a few...Skrillex has one, mastering engineer Dave Collins has one, both with scm110.. Sterling Sound also went with Northward and ATC's..

watts doesn't really mean anything and is mostly used for marketing reasons, usually.

let's say that you have a 10w amplifier with a very efficient/sensitive loudspeaker (maybe 99 or 100dBv/m), and 100w with a very inefficient loudspeaker (let's say around 83dBv/m).. what does the wattage tell you there? Not really much.. but you'll get very different results with these 2 loudspeakers..

Also we're speaking about quality and not really being loud here, both loudspeaker are perfectly capable of "filling" your room..

Anyway my point was just to not be "confused" by marketing or numbers, that in the end are not reflective of how the loudspeaker will behave in your room, because there are other factors that are much more important.

I didn't find any SPL data on the barefoot website..(although I'm sure that are able to put out quite a signal, although as said, we're not here for "power").

I hope this helps,



Cheu

Last edited by cheu78; 12th October 2018 at 11:56 AM..
Old 12th October 2018
  #10
Gear Head
 

I think I want to find a temporary solution for subs until I can get the matching ones. Ive heard about subwoofer pro's. I also was recommended JL Fathom in the mean time from an outside company.. not too sure about the JL though, haven't heard it before.
Old 12th October 2018
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike O View Post
learn to trust.

I know what you mean. I think that I was just very attached to the barefoot 27's and can only imagine what the 12's would do for me. But at the same time, I know that the ATC combined with the room will get me to where I need to be without a doubt. Thanks for the input
Old 12th October 2018
  #12
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regardless of speaker choice and room design, i'd opt for a subwoofer and for external dsp: there is so much more you can get from modern external speaker processors they put all built-in dsp solutions to shame!

lake/lab gruppen or powersoft here to power a 7.1 system with biamped tops...
Old 12th October 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nephew312 View Post
I think I want to find a temporary solution for subs until I can get the matching ones. Ive heard about subwoofer pro's. I also was recommended JL Fathom in the mean time from an outside company.. not too sure about the JL though, haven't heard it before.
The JL Audio Fathoms are excellent subwoofers. Much better than the Subwoofer Pro/BagEnd subs.
But they are also pricer than the Subwoofer Pro/BagEnd. And you may lose interest in ever changing over to the ATC subs if you have the Fathoms.
And one big thing is: if you are soffit mounting anyway, it's advantageous to also soffit your subwoofers. Low frequencies (1/2 space projection) is the real bonus for soffiting. You can soffit the Fathoms. For the ATCs, you need to order a custom version of their subs (their standard models are down firing) but they make them all the time for soffit mounting (like you'll see in the Northward rooms)
Old 12th October 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
The JL Audio Fathoms are excellent
Oh ok thats good to know. I know I've heard good things but I didn't know you can soffit them as well.

Maybe that is the combo then..

I know Cheu mentioned the 110's, but from what I know the 150's are newer and a little more refined design wise from what I was told. 150's x JL Fathoms might be the way to go.
Old 12th October 2018
  #15
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ATC 150s are amazing speakers. If your room is right they are detailed and musical. Soffits you can actually mix on.
Old 12th October 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nephew312 View Post
I know Cheu mentioned the 110's, but from what I know the 150's are newer and a little more refined design wise from what I was told.
This is wholly incorrect information. The 150 was released in 1996. The 110ASL was released in 2006. The 110ASL is 10 years newer. They have a timeline of their products on their website.

On top of that, ATC is an engineering firm, ie, the products are designed to fulfil a requirement but all are equally refined. One speaker isn't more or less refined than another and when they do upgrades, the whole line of speakers gets the upgrade. It's important their speakers are sonically compatible to the other models for multichannel/surround users (which I'm one.) The 110 and 150 share the same amplifier, tweeter, midrange, and cabinet design (though of different proportions.) So there's not a difference in design "refinement."

The 110ASL was designed initially to be a soffit-mounted, reduced-depth speaker at the request of a client who needed shallower speakers to go in-wall. That's pretty important in a room your size because with the 150 soffit-mounted you are going to lose 2 ft of your room (especially bad in your room because then you end up with a square space which is an acoustical nightmare.) The 110ASL you lose 1/2 a foot less.
Old 12th October 2018
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
This is wholly incorrect information.
oh wow I had no idea. do the dual cones on the 110's give you more then the 1 larger cone on the 150? price point is virtually the same
Old 12th October 2018
  #18
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the room is not built yet by the way.. monitors will be chosen before we make the final decision.
Old 12th October 2018
  #19
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If it was my decision it’d be a no brainer to go ATC. They’re the standard everything else is held to really. Sterling even used them in their new northward rooms. They’re certainly my favourite speaker I’ve ever heard.


I haven’t seen any soffit mounted barefoot speakers personally and I don’t know how the side firing subs would play in a soffit.
Old 12th October 2018
  #20
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The 110 give a wider linear frequency bandwidth.
The 150 gives +2dB more output and and a little lower frequency reach (but at a reduced level, it is rolling off.)

If you are using the 110 or 150 with subs, then the advantages of the 150 are pretty much negated because both advantages are taken care of by the sub (the extra output level from the 150 is because of the lower end which would be coming or being reinforced by a sub.) But being more linear further up in the frequency response would still be an advantage for the 110.

I just went through this with a studio I work in/with and steered them from the 150ASL to the 110ASL for L-C-R speakers because for that studio space, the 110ASL can be positioned better. The speakers are free-standing but the advantage of being able to get the 110 closer to the front-wall (because they aren't as deep) would make it a better performer in that space over the 150 because where the dip in the low frequency response is going to be (due to cancellation from low frequencies reflecting from the front wall.) So which is a better speaker for a room depends on the room size and how you are going to mount them.
Old 12th October 2018
  #21
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Drumsound's Avatar
It seems to me that a good option would be the soffit mounted ATC (per the designer) and keeping your current Barefoots as near fields.
Old 13th October 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
It seems to me that a good option would be the soffit mounted ATC (per the designer) and keeping your current Barefoots as near fields.
Yeah I think i'm leaning toward this. I have to try to work that into the budget. I spend most of my time on near fields so it makes sense.

Does anyone have any solid SPL info for the barefoot 12's?
Old 13th October 2018
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nephew312 View Post
Does anyone have any solid SPL info for the barefoot 12's?
No one will. Barefoot refuses to publish those numbers.

Last edited by pentagon; 13th October 2018 at 05:14 AM.. Reason: got a little ranty
Old 13th October 2018
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nephew312 View Post
Yeah I think i'm leaning toward this. I have to try to work that into the budget. I spend most of my time on near fields so it makes sense.

Does anyone have any solid SPL info for the barefoot 12's?
How loud do you want? I have MM12's in a 3500 cubic foot room and they play VERY loud indeed and they're so smooth you don't realize how loud they're going (until you have to shout to be heard). The only practical SPL limitation is in the subs which on really low bass could be caught out at 110dB plus (although I've never put this to the test). Hence the Masterstack for SPL maniacs, I guess. Note that you can get an additional 2dB headroom by using the 2dB subwoofer cut, which on Fletcher Munson grounds would be the way to go at high levels, anyway.


But apart from the SPL factor, I can only say that the MM12's are astonishing in pretty well every facet of reproducing sound. I'm a lifelong skinflint and I still think they're worth every cent.
Old 13th October 2018
  #25
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The gain given by the soffit mounting is unrivaled.
Old 13th October 2018
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
How loud do you want?
For me, the loudness of the mm27's works well. Its 9 times out of 10 when the clients come in they are asking to hear everything louder and want more bass. So for me, i felt like I wanted something that was able to satisfy the urban guys without having to worry about tripping the limiting light when they turn the knob when I go to the bathroom or my assistant isn't around or something like that haha. Another reason I was considering the 12's was because no none in my immediate area has them. But the more research I do, I feel like the ATC's just make more sense. I just hope that when I listen to them next weekend there isn't that whole thing of.. man these sound great but I just feel like I need more. I am sure paired with the fathoms they will do great though.



Its kind of ridiculous that barefoot doesn't publish those numbers. I've seen Thomas give the whole "there's no standard way to measure SPL" talk on here before, I just figured maybe someone did their own test at 1m or so
Old 13th October 2018
  #27
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I was also curious about how well the ATC can handle higher SPL when getting pushed.. do they have issues of getting blown when cranked? Obviously not for extended periods of time but done properly. I never really felt the need to push the 27's that hard unless people came in asking for that, and when I did, I actually started keeping the sub switch at -2 and if the limiter light started flashing I dialed it back every time.
Old 13th October 2018
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nephew312 View Post
I was also curious about how well the ATC can handle higher SPL when getting pushed.. do they have issues of getting blown when cranked? Obviously not for extended periods of time but done properly. I never really felt the need to push the 27's that hard unless people came in asking for that, and when I did, I actually started keeping the sub switch at -2 and if the limiter light started flashing I dialed it back every time.

The quoted Spl levels of atc are sustained real use Spl. They are capable of atrocious loudness in my experience. And for sustained periods too.
Old 13th October 2018
  #29
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ATC’s numbers are max continuous (so peak is even higher). I have never gotten my speakers to get the protective clip lights to flicker — and that includes levels that were painfully loud that I could keep at only for a few minutes to demo for some people (while I had my hands over my ears and I could see things shaking in the room.) Most of the time the woofers don’t even look like they are doing anything (no excursion). The only time I have seen the woofers do a crazy amount of excursion is when I was sent a recording with extreme amounts of rumble at 18Hz. Couldn’t hear it but could feel the pressure and I thought for sure the woofer clip lights would kick in. But they still didn’t. These are the 100ASL. I have gotten the 20ASL and 25A to light up the clip lights but not the 100ASL. I have also gotten the Barefoot mm26, mm27, and mm35 clip lights to kick in. There’s a video of how ATC test their drivers that pretty much shows why they can go so loud without damage.
YouTube
He’s sending 20V at 5 Hz. That’s a ridiculous frequency signal and level. (I have never gotten that kind of excursion as seen in that video)

In all my years, the only drivers i’ve heard of blowing and needing replacing on the bigger active ATCs is the tweeters (and that happened 3 times and was traced to a wiring problem in the room that was sending high frequency square wave spikes.) The mid and woofer have protective limiters; I don’t think the tweeter does.
Old 14th October 2018
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nephew312 View Post
For me, the loudness of the mm27's works well. Its 9 times out of 10 when the clients come in they are asking to hear everything louder and want more bass. So for me, i felt like I wanted something that was able to satisfy the urban guys without having to worry about tripping the limiting light when they turn the knob when I go to the bathroom or my assistant isn't around or something like that haha. Another reason I was considering the 12's was because no none in my immediate area has them. But the more research I do, I feel like the ATC's just make more sense. I just hope that when I listen to them next weekend there isn't that whole thing of.. man these sound great but I just feel like I need more. I am sure paired with the fathoms they will do great though.



Its kind of ridiculous that barefoot doesn't publish those numbers. I've seen Thomas give the whole "there's no standard way to measure SPL" talk on here before, I just figured maybe someone did their own test at 1m or so
I can quite understand why they don't publish SPL numbers because they're so slippery as to be almost meaningless. I'm sure the MM12's can do 110dB continuous at a metre at 1000Hz with ease but I'd have my doubts if they can do anywhere near the same at 20Hz at three metres. In fact, I'd imagine they're probably struggling to do 95dB at this frequency. Think about it: you have two 12 inch drivers in a modestly-sized cabinet doing all the work without reflex loading and in free space without soffit mounting. To get the specified 20Hz at only 3dB down there has to be huge electronic boost in the bass (hence the 1200 watt amp driving the subs); clearly those subs have to be working a lot harder than comparable drivers with reflex loading and soffit mounting. To counteract this the MM12 subs do offer two inches of linear travel but I'd say they'd need every bit of this to do 20Hz at 95dB. But at 40Hz and above, they seem to have little trouble negotiating very loud program with minimal compression.


Simply put, however, if it's maximum SPL's that you want, I'd advise going with the ATC's. On the other hand, my long experience with the MM12 makes it difficult not to recommend them in every other regard. They're so far ahead of anything I've compared them to that recommendation is mandatory.
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