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High-end monitors for small but treated room
Old 20th November 2020
  #1
High-end monitors for small but treated room

I just moved into a house with a detached garage and I'm working with a contractor/studio designer to have it converted into a small but fully treated and isolated recording space. It'll be divided into a decoupled tracking room and a control room.

Since this'll be my first treated space, I'm planning to upgrade my studio monitors to take advantage of a more ideal mixing environment (I'm currently using a pair of Yamaha HS8's). The control room will be 13'x11' - again, not a huge space, but it will be fully insulated and acoustically treated. Assuming cost isn't a factor, what would you recommend for nearfield monitors that'll minimize translation issues without being overkill in a room that size?
Old 22nd November 2020
  #2
Anyone?

Some of the ones I’m considering are:

-ATC SCM25A
-Focal Trio6 Be
-Adam S3H
Old 22nd November 2020
  #3
Genelec's 8300 series and the ones measure well. Plus, you get a huge selection of subs and accessories.
Old 22nd November 2020
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homespunaudio View Post
I just moved into a house with a detached garage and I'm working with a contractor/studio designer to have it converted into a small but fully treated and isolated recording space. It'll be divided into a decoupled tracking room and a control room.

Since this'll be my first treated space, I'm planning to upgrade my studio monitors to take advantage of a more ideal mixing environment (I'm currently using a pair of Yamaha HS8's). The control room will be 13'x11' - again, not a huge space, but it will be fully insulated and acoustically treated. Assuming cost isn't a factor, what would you recommend for nearfield monitors that'll minimize translation issues without being overkill in a room that size?
Hello,

Your acoustic designer did he tell you about the soffit mounting solution?
Old 22nd November 2020
  #5
SRS
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Your choices look reasonable to me. I would try and listen to the ones you feel might be candidates as well, then narrow it down to a couple/few. Then try them in your room and see what you feel. There are many other respectable monitors as well that your short list hasn't got. Curious why.
Old 22nd November 2020
  #6
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Studio designers form designs including the monitors, it's all part of one system. Ask your designer what he chose.
Old 22nd November 2020 | Show parent
  #7
SRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Morris View Post
Studio designers form designs including the monitors, it's all part of one system. Ask your designer what he chose.
Very true. I designed my room around a specific monitor configuration. Both the room and the monitors were a cohesive factor along the way, especially the front wall as they are flush-mounted.
Old 22nd November 2020 | Show parent
  #8
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by homespunaudio View Post
Anyone?

Some of the ones I’m considering are:

-ATC SCM25A
-Focal Trio6 Be
-Adam S3H
As other pointed out soffit mounting could be the way to go if they're designing the room from scratch.

ATC scm100 should be considered (or even the 50), with or without a sub (Subwoofer pro's 12").

PMC IB2i as well, brighter, huge lowend (much more expensive though).

IF you're NOT soffit mounting (for whatever reason..one being costs, another being space), ATC scm25 or 45 should be considered, as well as the scm100 if the space allow that.

forget the focal and the adam, if you want the amt tweeter style (and presentation) Hedd Type30 is your best bet.



Cheu
Old 22nd November 2020 | Show parent
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Morris View Post
Studio designers form designs including the monitors, it's all part of one system. Ask your designer what he chose.
I know that he's still working out some particulars of the design, but I haven't gotten the impression that he's working with an exclusive product in mind. He did say he's generally a fan of Focal and Adam and has gotten good results with both of their products in other spaces he's built.
Old 22nd November 2020 | Show parent
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SRS View Post
Your choices look reasonable to me. I would try and listen to the ones you feel might be candidates as well, then narrow it down to a couple/few. Then try them in your room and see what you feel. There are many other respectable monitors as well that your short list hasn't got. Curious why.
The shortlist is just based on recommendations from friends who are engineers as well as what I've had the chance to listen to in local studios. It's definitely not an exhaustive list and I'm open to other recommendations.
Old 22nd November 2020
  #11
SRS
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Look at Neumann and Dynaudio as a couple
Old 23rd November 2020
  #12
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This may be out of your budget range but I'm using a pair of Barefoot 02s in a 12x11 room which is well treated with GIK traps (corners, cloud and first reflection points, as well as deep back wall Helmholtz panels). They work fantastic in this space and I could use them alone for mixing but have a pair of KRK G4s for second reference.
Old 23rd November 2020
  #13
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Homespun,

At risk of being accused of plugging Focal, feel free to drop me a PM and I'll see if I can arrange a set of loaners for you to try.

You're not going to find a "bad" monitor in this price range, but you will find differences. Many of those differences (not all) will really boil down to what you prefer, so it's really important to get your ears on as many as you can in your space. I can't stress demoing in your room enough. It's the only real way to compare any monitor with any kind of reliable result.

-Joshua
Old 24th November 2020 | Show parent
  #14
SRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Homespun,

At risk of being accused of plugging Focal, feel free to drop me a PM and I'll see if I can arrange a set of loaners for you to try.

You're not going to find a "bad" monitor in this price range, but you will find differences. Many of those differences (not all) will really boil down to what you prefer, so it's really important to get your ears on as many as you can in your space. I can't stress demoing in your room enough. It's the only real way to compare any monitor with any kind of reliable result.

-Joshua
I'll plug Focal. Not affiliated in any way at all. And not even a Focal user. Never have been. But their philosophy and design/R&D approach is 2nd to none. Kind of the Porsche of monitors in my humble opinion. I spoke to the Focal fellas at the Winter NAMM in January and they really know their product well and the design and attention to detail speaks for itself. And... they sound fantastic.
Old 24th November 2020
  #15
Xnr
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If you are seriously considering buying Focals, spend some time to read the reviews, especially regarding the automatic shutdown feature (aka sleep mode):

any way of deactivating the auto off on focal alpha 65 monitors?
Old 25th November 2020 | Show parent
  #16
SRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xnr View Post
If you are seriously considering buying Focals, spend some time to read the reviews, especially regarding the automatic shutdown feature (aka sleep mode):

any way of deactivating the auto off on focal alpha 65 monitors?
Interesting "feature" or whatever you'd like to call it. I never knew there were monitors without the ability to turn a feature like this on or off by the user. I personally would not like this behavior.
Old 25th November 2020
  #17
Neumann KH310 and ATC seem like no brainer picks also. The new (third) Generation of ADAM are redesigned from the ground up and are reportedly (we don’t sell them at the moment) a massive leap up from what was happening 15 years ago with the polarizing S3-A that a lot of people used. Some people I know with great ears are giving the S3H a big thumbs up.
Old 25th November 2020 | Show parent
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
Neumann KH310 and ATC seem like no brainer picks also. The new (third) Generation of ADAM are redesigned from the ground up and are reportedly (we don’t sell them at the moment) a massive leap up from what was happening 15 years ago with the polarizing S3-A that a lot of people used. Some people I know with great ears are giving the S3H a big thumbs up.
Yeah, I put the S3H's on my list in part because a great studio in my area (I'm in Seattle) uses them. I've never engineered at that studio but I have played for a few sessions there, so I can vouch for those monitors sounding fantastic.
Old 26th November 2020
  #19
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Ex Machina Pulsar would be worth a look. I’m on PMC twotwo8s and they are pretty good.
Old 27th November 2020
  #20
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been through all the sub $5k monitors in my treated smaller room.

ATC SCM20ASL are the ones that will be here to stay. they may not knock your socks off upon first listen, but do a rough mix from scratch and then take it out to the car or put it on the buds and you’ll see what they offer you. these are the business.
Old 28th November 2020 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citrusonic View Post
been through all the sub $5k monitors in my treated smaller room.

ATC SCM20ASL are the ones that will be here to stay. they may not knock your socks off upon first listen, but do a rough mix from scratch and then take it out to the car or put it on the buds and you’ll see what they offer you. these are the business.
how big is your room and how low can you hear the bass? according to the specs the cut off is quite high, -6 db at 55hz

thnx!
Old 28th November 2020 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dotl View Post
how big is your room and how low can you hear the bass? according to the specs the cut off is quite high, -6 db at 55hz

thnx!
room is 160~ sq ft, with thorough 6” treatment in all the usual spots.

the SCM20’s are an interesting monitor in a way that really needs to be heard, as i was concerned about the relatively high roll off point as well.

the low end isn’t deep (being generous here) like a Barefoot. they are not the client pleaser if you have people in the room that are looking to be given a larger than life experience. but as a mixer, they are the most detailed listen i’ve experienced, all the way down. they are a proper sealed cabinet with a fast, heavy driver. the low end information they serve up is one of my favorite things about the speaker. if sub bass is crucial to your work then i’d suggest considering supplementing them with a Subwoofer Pro offering. but for anything else, they will tell you everything you need to know about what’s happening down there. bass is deep, punchy, and informative.
Old 1st December 2020
  #23
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I also have a small room, not perfectly treated.
I had the opportunity to testdrive several monitors in my room and got the Adams S3V. I'm coming from Genelec 8050's, Amphions one 15 and Mixcubes.
I've sold the Genelecs (never was a fan of) I compared the Adam with the Barefoot Footprints01, ATC 25, Focal Trio and Eve. In my room the Adams won by a big margin and to my ears they are really good. Amazing highs and mids. Low is with authority, very clear and defined. Comparing the Amphions to the Adam's, the Adam's are more revealing.

I had almost no time to adjust to these monitors, they translate very well. I'm really happy. My mixes turn out a lot better.
Old 1st December 2020
  #24
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I'll go for a set of Amphion One 15. You have no idea how valuable they are until you've worked through a few mixes / masters with them (yes, I said masters). Once you understand them, translation is incredible.

Otherwise I'd be tempted to give the newly released Super Cubes 5 a try. They seem to be an amazing bargain.
Old 1st December 2020 | Show parent
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homespunaudio View Post
Anyone?

Some of the ones I’m considering are:

-ATC SCM25A
-Focal Trio6 Be
-Adam S3H
The ATC 25's are simply incredible, the mid detail is jaw dropping.

The bass is tight and precise - it's hard for me to imagine a better tracking/mix tool.
Old 1st December 2020 | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homespunaudio View Post
Anyone?

Some of the ones I’m considering are:

-ATC SCM25A
-Focal Trio6 Be
-Adam S3H
-ATC SCM25A - I have these now
-Focal Trio6 Be - had these before ATC
-Adam S3H - had a demo pair for 2 weeks

It's all of course a matter of preference but for me ATC SCM25A is in another league. I've been mixing for almost 15 years and ATCs stepped up my game A LOT. I can finally achieve sound I've been trying to get this whole time. Absolutely amazing monitors.

Focal Trio6Be are very nice, great bass and mids, good imaging, can go very loud. I enjoyed working on them a lot, had them for 5 years wich is the longest time I ever had any studio monitors.

Adam S3H - I compared them directly to Trio6Be. Did not impress me at all. They do sound nice of course but Trios always sounded better.
Old 2nd December 2020 | Show parent
  #27
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-ATC SCM25A - I'm the only person on here that doesn't really like ATCs enough to spend the money on them but I will admit they are a good tool. They do fatigue my ears though. I find myself creeping the volume up as I mix on them, which (I think) is because my ears are slowly getting desensitized by the mids and wanting more oomph.

-Focal Trio6 Be - Was not impressed by these. I was however really impressed by the SM9s because I could mix all day on them and not get as fatigued. I actually bought a pair.



-Adam S3H - never heard these but other Adams are ok.


Things you should consider:

Dutch and Dutch 8c - truly great speakers. An invaluable tool if you record a lot of drum kits.

Genelec 8341s - Also truly great but someone said once that Genelecs make things sound better than they are, which I might agree with.
Old 2nd December 2020
  #28
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I have a smaller room thats decently treated and I use sonarworks but I went through a lot of monitors. I always used 8" speakers but in a small room it just didnt work for me. I missed so much detail in the mids. I went a on a search for 6" and ended up with KRK v6 and Aventone cubes. If I could redo it, I think Id go the same route but try and get ns10s in there. I have a KRK sub as well and its always on but the V6 would be fine without a sub. Ive just always used a sub so I got one.
Old 2nd December 2020 | Show parent
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Parker View Post
-ATC SCM25A - I'm the only person on here that doesn't really like ATCs enough to spend the money on them but I will admit they are a good tool. They do fatigue my ears though. I find myself creeping the volume up as I mix on them, which (I think) is because my ears are slowly getting desensitized by the mids and wanting more oomph.

-Focal Trio6 Be - Was not impressed by these. I was however really impressed by the SM9s because I could mix all day on them and not get as fatigued. I actually bought a pair.



-Adam S3H - never heard these but other Adams are ok.


Things you should consider:

Dutch and Dutch 8c - truly great speakers. An invaluable tool if you record a lot of drum kits.

Genelec 8341s - Also truly great but someone said once that Genelecs make things sound better than they are, which I might agree with.
You have to be careful with the ATC 25’s the distortion is so low and the mids so addictive that it’s easy to creep up the volume.

The answer of course and my recommendation to anyone is to use calibrated monitoring.

I use the Bob Katz K14 standard, I know exactly where on my Avocet dial 77db is and I make sure I only occasionally dial in past that for a loud run and test.

But yeah, when it comes to ATC monitors you have to watch volumes, the lack of distortion in the presentation can be deceiving!

I find the 25 (and ATC in general) to be brutally honest, they’re no friends of mix errors.

Listening to a less than perfect mix is a shocker, even some commercial well known records don’t pass the ATC test!!

Last edited by thehightenor; 2nd December 2020 at 04:15 PM..
Old 2nd December 2020
  #30
Also a nice option to consider : Eve Audio SC3070
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