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Audiophile Speakers v Studio Monitors for Mixing (Bowers & Wilkins v Barefoot)
Old 4th August 2020
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Audiophile Speakers v Studio Monitors for Mixing (Bowers & Wilkins v Barefoot)

Hey,

I am looking at getting new monitors to mix, record and compose music with. I am split between two different sets. I have about a $6,000 budget.

I have an opportunity where I can get about $13,000 worth of speaker system for like $6,000. It would be Bowers & Wilkins 805 Diamond 3's, Rel S/812 subwoofer and a McIntosh MA252 integrated amplifier. I have heard this system and it sounds incredible! I love the sound. I am just concerned if my mixes would translate with this kind of more audiophile system. I rarely see anyone mixing with a system like this.

The alternative would be to buy about $6,000 traditional active studio monitors from a company like Barefoot or Focal.

I was just curious what you would do? Is there any reason why almost everyone uses studio monitors instead of a higher end audiophile system?

Thanks!
Old 4th August 2020
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Sterling View Post
Is there any reason why almost everyone uses studio monitors instead of a higher end audiophile system?

Thanks!
You can mix on any speaker you personally like and trust.

The issue with free standing speakers is positioning in the room for the best over all response, which is always difficult because of front wall SBIR.

Unless your room is really wide and deep you will have issues to deal with and you need depth(for trapping) to fix. This will make your room smaller and may limit the amount of locations to setup speaker and listening positions.
Old 4th August 2020
  #3
Lives for gear
 
avare's Avatar
 

The main difference between "audiophile speakers" and "recording monitors" is the finish. Consider that Yamaha NS10s were designed and sold as bookshelf speakers.

Enjoy whichever one you choose.
Old 4th August 2020
  #4
Look for speakers made by competent people. Spectral decay and directivity measurements I think can disqualify speakers quickly.

Not being able to find measurements is somewhat of a red flag to me.
Old 4th August 2020
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Sterling View Post
I was just curious what you would do? Is there any reason why almost everyone uses studio monitors instead of a higher end audiophile system?
It's probably the amount of snake oil associated with "audiophile" components.
Old 4th August 2020
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

b&w, dunlavy are all "audiophile" speakers but used extensively in mastering studios..think u should get as full range and tranparent as u can afford
Old 4th August 2020
  #7
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Sterling View Post
Hey,

I am looking at getting new monitors to mix, record and compose music with. I am split between two different sets. I have about a $6,000 budget.

I have an opportunity where I can get about $13,000 worth of speaker system for like $6,000. It would be Bowers & Wilkins 805 Diamond 3's, Rel S/812 subwoofer and a McIntosh MA252 integrated amplifier. I have heard this system and it sounds incredible! I love the sound. I am just concerned if my mixes would translate with this kind of more audiophile system. I rarely see anyone mixing with a system like this.

The alternative would be to buy about $6,000 traditional active studio monitors from a company like Barefoot or Focal.

I was just curious what you would do? Is there any reason why almost everyone uses studio monitors instead of a higher end audiophile system?

Thanks!
I agree with Thrill above..(Although maybe he meant the big 802 towers?)

The B&W are great speakers, that is a great setup, that will graciously keep its value (if you buy used), the 2way 805 included.
Dunno if it’s that much a great deal, although all the pieces, are high quality.

IF you can treat the room I’d get them before any focal or barefoot, especially since YOU have heard them and YOU like them.

Translation depends also quite a bit f
rom the room and how good you know the loudspeakers (although some brands/models definitely helps to give a better/faster way to understand whats going on, more than others).
I know a good studio who has them (805) and while I might prefer something else, these are pretty good, also for mixing (the studio I know have them soffit mounted).

But at 6k you can buy a pair of used ATC scm25 which are great tools for your intentions.

Or a pair of ATC scm12 pro with a nice amp or a pair of ATC scm20 actives with the subwoofer pro12.

Also a used pair of 3way PMC (like the IB1-s and a nice amp, or possibly an amplified version of a pmc 3way.

Maybe even a used Neumann KH420.



Cheu

Last edited by cheu78; 4th August 2020 at 01:19 PM..
Old 4th August 2020
  #8
Lives for gear
 
AlexK's Avatar
 

Having heard (as well as owned and used) B&W speakers extensively, I can’t say I’ve ever found them to be of any use in the studio. The 805 is quite a thin/fuzzy sounding speaker without any real midrange resolution.
Old 5th August 2020
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks everyone! I think I'm just going to get the Bowers system I like.
Old 5th August 2020
  #10
Lives for gear
 
avare's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Sterling View Post
Thanks everyone! I think I'm just going to get the Bowers system I like.
I said this to you before and I'll say again.

Enjoy!
Old 5th August 2020
  #11
mrc
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
The main difference between "audiophile speakers" and "recording monitors" is the finish. Consider that Yamaha NS10s were designed and sold as bookshelf speakers.

Enjoy whichever one you choose.
Besides looks, there are plenty of other differences between Barefoots and B&W that determine the sound. Optional diamond tweeter vs silk, force canceling vs no force canceling, active design wih Hypex class D amp & onboard dac vs passive speaker with any combination of amp/dac and the list goes on.
Old 5th August 2020
  #12
Gear Nut
 

It’s always been my experience that the speaker should fit the room and the 805s are no exception. From 2.5k up, the directivity is very wide while below, it’s narrowing quickly due to the beaming of the woofer.......a common feature of 2 ways which worsens the higher up the crossover frequency. But in a space with wide separation to the sides and behind, these systems perform better than most

What bothers me about the B&W is the diamond gimmick. Beryllium is a much better material for diaphragm construction and sound reproduction. The hardness of diamond domes pushes the breakup mode into ultrasonic territory leaving the listenable range of 10-20k Too clinical for my liking, especially with digital.....I found myself adding more and more tape saturation plugs to warm it up which didn’t translate well at all with the more common silk domes used in 90% of the commercial speakers sold daily.

The good thing is the resale.....if you don’t like them, you can easily recoup your investment and move on so worth a try IMO. Each new experience with a set of monitors teaches us something worthwhile......a window into a narrow range of response that demands attention. If your hearing is still good past 13k or so, you’re in for a treat. Personally I’ve adopted a bottom up approach to mixdown which starts with and extends mostly through a pair of Avantone mixcubes switched back and forth stereo and mono until 700-6k is as clean and articulate as it can be. That’s our human listening window where we get the most information. Add bass and trebles to taste and genre.

Enjoy!
Old 5th August 2020
  #13
Here for the gear
 

I get asked a similar question often..."what's the difference between a hi-fi speaker and a studio monitor?". Maybe I can help shed some light.

I can't speak for B&W (they make some great stuff) but the mentality at Focal is really based on use case. The development of any product starts with the end user, their listening environment (monitoring distance especially) and that user's intent with the speaker. Obviously, price point plays a role as well.

Most hi-fi towers are intended to be used in a mid or far-field and aren't suitable for near-field work. The opposite can be true of monitors. Beyond listening position, the tuning of the speaker varies drastically as well. Things like cone angle and small changes in materials can make a massive impact on the perceived envelope of transients and the efficiency of a driver at certain frequencies. This can be the difference between something that's enjoyable, but not nearly as critical or vice versa.

All of that being said, there are plenty of mixing and mastering engineers out the using "Hi-Fi" speakers that are cranking out incredible work. Knowing your tools, your room, and how to use them is really what matters.
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