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I've got £5000. Help :-) Studio Monitors
Old 16th December 2010
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MarcB's Avatar
I've got £5000. Help :-)

I've just got back into music writing and decided to put together a small but high quality home studio. I have posted a similar thread in the electronics section a week or so ago but it didn't really get much interest. My apologies if my posting this in the high end section upsets some people or breaks any rules.

The bottom line is that I have £5000 to spend but I'm unsure how to go about it.

The gear will be taking up space in my 3x4m living room and the monitors will also double as my main music listening speakers. (Replacing a pair of Martin Logan electrostatics and Primare A32 power amp. Top quality CD audio is important). I'll be sitting 2-3 meters away from the speakers and I will be writing pure electronic music, so won't need mics etc.

At the moment all I own is an Access Virus Ti, a custom built rackmount DAW PC and a 10x GIK 244/242 panels and some software.

Should I :-

A) Spend the whole lot on the best monitors I can out of the money and use the virus as an audio interface while mixing in Cubase, upgrading to a hardware mixer and audio interface later when I have more gear and money permits.
I'm thinking along the lines o active 3-ways like PSI A25-M, an ex-demo pair of K&H o410s, Dynaudio Air 20s, used ATCs etc etc. These will hopefully be the last speakers I buy.

B) Buy a smaller pair of monitors like K&H o300 for £2600, leaving me with £2400 to put towards a £1500 used high quality mixer ( Venice 160, Toft 8t-8) and £900 8x8 interface.

C) Buy a pair of £1500 small sat+subwoofer monitors (Emes, Genelecs etc), a mixer like a Zed R16 to use as an audio interface for mixing OTB, this will leave me with some spare cash to buy another desktop synth etc.

Sorry that this is a "what would you do?" type thread but I'm really stuck here. £5000 is a lot of money to me and I don't want to make a mistake and 6 months later, wish I'd got something better.

At the moment I'm sort of heading towards buying the best monitors I can out of the money, I won't have a chance to spend this amount in one go again so I'm thinking about buying something I'd never have a chance to buy in the future.

Any feedback with any of the above would be most welcome
Old 16th December 2010
My suggestion: get the high quality single component you need:

to start forget the TI s interface, its buggy and doesnt cut it soundwise...
id get a high quality interface such as

-a small Apogee, Aurora 8, Steinberg MR, or Mytek if you want to go crazy.. My personal recomendation if just starting out is apogee on mac, steinberg on pc.

-Get monitors you like the sound of, no use trying to mix on text book perfect monitors that dont gel with your idea of "right" K+H O 300s had them, didnt gel! Dynaudio BM6AMKI (used) are great for electronic music, especially if u dig more subdued highs and wobbly bass vibez! Adams if youre into big treble, new models are supposed to be great... forget O410 in that space, you could never fit the basstrapping you d need. Think about getting a separate sub so u can work at moderate volumes at night and turn on sub if needed and wont make neighbours into enemies.

-Monitor controler: SPL 2 Control is where ive landed, sounds IMO hell of a lot better than Presonus Central Station and affordable plus great HP amp.

-Beyerdynamic DT 990 headphones, comfortable and great for mixing electronic music! Just the right amount of bass. Youll need these!

-Get a few nice analogs, such as Juno 60, Juno 106, SH 101, DSI Mono evolver, Korg MS 20 etc. Let the fun begin!

-Get a patchbay and patch the synth u need to the input of the soundcard when u need it, record it, done... no one uses mixers in small setups anymore unless youre analog summing... I did the patchbay route for a few yrs and it worked great til i started summing, got a mixer now

-Get some nice bits of software u need for processing, UAD2 Duo? POCO System 5000 plugs, Brainworx limiter!!! Altiverb, Soft Tube, Acustica?

-Get at least some bass trapping and mid and high frequency absorbtion in place if u want to have half decent mixes... Lots of info here on that topic

thats how i would spend that budget, hope it helps!
Have fun!
Old 16th December 2010
Lives for gear
MarcB's Avatar
Hey thanks for the great reply!

Maybe I should have been a bit clearer in the opening post. I've already owned a lot of synths in the past and have a good idea what direction in synths I want to go in. As I've already said I want to keep a relatively small footprint and a low synth count. (I find 2 - 3 choice synths work for me better than having lots - too may distractions and what ifs with a room full of gear)

I can buy the sub £500 items as an ongoing thing each month out of my beer token fund so they aren't the issue. The point I wanted to ask about was that I have a decent chunk of cash which I want to spend on something I'd never have the chance to afford again.

My priority to this is my audio listening and recording quality.

I already have 10 acoustic panels/bass traps in the room placed in the corners and at first reflection points and to the rear. My acoustics, though aren't perfect are about as good as I'm going to get.

Dropping the mixer to focus on a high quality interface seems like a good idea though.

Maybe the questions I should have asked are :-

Do I spend most of the money on monitors and then get a £500-1000 audio interface or should I split the money equally between monitors and interface card ?

what size/type of high quality monitors should I get for listening 2-3m away that can handle bass but won't overpower my 3x4m room ? (I'm moving from a high end hi fi £10k speaker/pre/power amp combo and don't want to lose much, if any, sound quality)

And what interface ?
Old 26th December 2010
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MarcB's Avatar

I've narrowed the choices down to try and get a home demo of the following.. are there any that I shouldn't really bother with ?

1. Blue Sky Sat 8 + Sub 212
2. PSI A25-M
3. K+H o410
4. Focal SM9
5. K+H o300 + o800 sub
6. Quested V3110
7. Quested V3208
8. Dynaudio Air 20
9. ATC SCM 50ASL (used)
10. ADAM S3X-V

Old 26th December 2010
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goldenlotus's Avatar

Do yourself a favor and check out the Equator Q15s. They sound fantastic, haven't seen too many other people with them though.
Old 26th December 2010
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MarcB's Avatar
Originally Posted by goldenlotus View Post
Do yourself a favor and check out the Equator Q15s. They sound fantastic, haven't seen too many other people with them though.
I don't think they're available in the UK yet?

I read the Q10s have quite a bit of background hiss though ?
Old 27th December 2010
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goldenlotus's Avatar

oohh not sure if they are US only. Wasn't aware of the hiss issue, we have Q15s and they are silent.
Old 27th December 2010
Lives for gear

No PMC on your list? British-brand so easy to get spares for (you live in UK I see). I think they're awesome speakers and used in many top mastering houses.

If you're in a 3x4 room I'd go with a pair of DB1S-AII or TB2S-AII (very good amps included, many say BETTER than Bryston Powerpac which is what they used to use) and the matching subwoofer. You'll get a lovely sound from that. The PMCs are unbelievably flat down to a low frequency for their size, especially the TB2s.

The Quested 3208s are great speakers but might still be a little big for your room. I would say in 3x4, 8" is the biggest you can go to work effectively. With a perfectly treated room that is. Which I would certainly aim for in your situation.
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