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If you haven't ever done a monitor shoot out in your own room...
Old 10th June 2014
  #1
If you haven't ever done a monitor shoot out in your own room...

Just go and do it.

Let me explain myself. I've been working on a combination of my ATC SCM110s and Avantones (along with assorted grot boxes) in my new control room for over a year now and have been fundamentally happy. A combination however of having a bit of a tendency to mix a particular upper mid frequency too loudly, recent feedback from a visiting producer and being inspired by Audiovisjon's awesome thread, led me to the conclusion I should think about getting a pair of nearfields. I won't bore you with where I ended up in this post (I'll save that for a forthcoming article I'm writing for a new pro-audio magazine) but suffice is to say that I ended up with 4 sets of monitors in for testing: Unity Audio Rocks, PSI A17, Geithain RL 906 and PMC 226.

Now I've worked in a number of different rooms in my time on a wide range of monitors. I'm happier with my ATCs in my new room than anything I've ever worked on. I just kind of assumed that while there might be some marginal differences between the 4 sets of nearfields I'd been sent by the distributors and dealers, at this level, they would probably be much of a muchness. How wrong I was. While one set was quite similar tonally to my ATCs the others were absolutely worlds apart.

I'll save details of the shoot out for my forthcoming article. But after that shootout ended, we decided to try the same 4 sets of monitors out in our edit room. Again, i was gobsmacked. The differences in respect of how they sounded in one room verus another were astonishing.

So for now I just wanted to say, if you haven't done a shoot out in your own room, with different sets of monitors, just do it. And then thank me afterwards.
Old 10th June 2014
  #2
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Hjelmevold's Avatar
Wise words.

Since this is the High End forum and people like to recommend expensive monitors, I'd also like to add that it's better to buy a less expensive set of monitors that you're able to test in your own room, than to blindly buy an expensive high-end model that everyone else recommends. Being able to demo a set of monitors in a dealer's showroom is better than buying blind off the internet, but it's just marginally better in my opinion. The differences in room characteristics and speaker-room interaction are simply too great to risk deciding to buy after a quick showroom demo, especially when buying the really expensive stuff.
Old 10th June 2014
  #3
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Kimotei's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hjelmevold View Post
Wise words.

Since this is the High End forum and people like to recommend expensive monitors, I'd also like to add that it's better to buy a less expensive set of monitors that you're able to test in your own room, than to blindly buy an expensive high-end model that everyone else recommends. Being able to demo a set of monitors in a dealer's showroom is better than buying blind off the internet, but it's just marginally better in my opinion. The differences in room characteristics and speaker-room interaction are simply too great to risk deciding to buy after a quick showroom demo, especially when buying the really expensive stuff.
Good point. Im sort of in that situation myself.
Regarding a couple of respected engineers arround here the new Sonodyne SRP series are on par with PSI's but a lot cheeper. Just for the record it might be worth a test if on low budgets.
Old 11th June 2014
  #4
zez
Gear Nut
How do you go about getting to demo monitors? Do you just ask the store and it's no problem? Do you have to pay them insurance (so you don't just run away with the monitors)?

Really interested as I am saving up for a high-end pair that I plan to have for many years to come and would like to audition in my space before I purchase. I don't live in a big city or anything like that so store availability isn't the greatest.
Old 11th June 2014
  #5
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kafka's Avatar
I can only partially agree. It's probably my lack of experience speaking, but it still takes me a while before I really know my monitors.
Old 11th June 2014
  #6
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ddageek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
I can only partially agree. It's probably my lack of experience speaking, but it still takes me a while before I really know my monitors.
My friend,
You can't learn a speaker during audition, that takes way to much time. The shoot out is more about figuring out what fits your basic needs and personal preferences.
One can learn just about any speaker, many of us have had to learn speakers we didn't like because someone else made the choice.
It's easier if you find the aesthetics of the speaker pleasing.

Trev,
What's really fun is to spend some time talking to the designers after you audition and see how there vision of their vision meshes with yours.

Having the low distortion of the large ATCs as a reference would be interesting, I would find your results even more interesting if you had a pair of ATC nearfields in there just to get a feel for how you perceived the ATC sound on a smaller scale as well.
Old 11th June 2014
  #7
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i'm a little bit surprised by this, when i've used the same speakers but in different rooms i haven't ever really been surprised. some differences from sub optimal placement yes, but nothing major.

so are these rooms vastly different?
Old 11th June 2014
  #8
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BradLyons's Avatar
 

Many years ago when I lived in Fort Wayne (Indiana) I converted my garage into a pretty killer studio---seemed like a good at the time, well until old man winter came calling---then I asked WHY DID I DO THAT?!?!?! But seriously, I put a lot of money into it (fortunately I get things at cost! LOL) to make it work for my needs and sound great! I constructed it using stingers in between the studs, insulating with mineral fiber, stop-gap all over, two layers of drywall with sheetblok in between. And on top of that, good acoustic treatment. While a small room (the control room was 12ft x 10ft) I could use good-sized monitors in there and get the sound and quality they could produce as I had NO standing waves and very little (practically none) phase-shift. So in my position I was fortunate enough to take home several sets of monitors---the most inexpensive were $3,000 for the pair while the most expensive was just under $10,000. To my surprise what I came coming back to were the least expensive options, the JBL LSR6328---and NO sub. Let me preface by stating I mixed Soulful Gospel music, they gave me the sound I liked to listen to when I'm just listening to music. Previously I was using my studio for a lot of sound analysis, doing in-depth product listening and in that case these monitors were NOT ideal.

Before I converted my garage I was using an upstairs room in my house, while properly treated externally it was just typical house construction----and although I had some pretty high-end monitors, I never got "that mix". It comes down to THE SPACE... but also in selecting the right monitors for that space and for your needs.

I look forward to the article and your findings! :-)
Old 11th June 2014
  #9
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Seamus TM's Avatar
 

I don't know if it's already been mentioned, but if you are going to do a shoot out of a bunch of monitors in a room; be mindful of the positioning of each pair.

Bass response, comb filtering, etc can and will vary dramatically with seemingly small variations in position.

This could skew perceptions of the monitors that you are trying to evaluate.

Maybe take a measurement of each set in their respective positions.
At least then you would know what the room is doing.

Old 11th June 2014
  #10
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This has been said over and over: whether a particular set of speakers works in a room as much to do with the room as the speakers. The monitor "system" is the room and speakers as a team, neither alone.

Brad
Old 12th June 2014
  #11
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Lunde View Post
This has been said over and over: whether a particular set of speakers works in a room as much to do with the room as the speakers. The monitor "system" is the room and speakers as a team, neither alone.

Brad
Yup, and it used to be that the speakers were part of the room design. Nowadays it's a pair going into a spare bedroom or possibly a control room that was put together without considering the speaker at the time. Couple that with having hundreds of choices (vs the few on the market back in the day) there sure is a lot of confusion around speakers!

Not saying this is "bad" but it is reality, so many choices and they have to fit so many spaces and preferences.

What kills me is people asking other people how "translation" is on speakers, and that process is personal for everybody to get there. Get a good pair of speakers and learn them in your room, and you will know translation. There are speakers that are a lot better than others, but still...at least get a good pair and go for it is my opinion.

War
Old 12th June 2014
  #12
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Seamus TM's Avatar
 

Speaker, room, system, absolutely.
All I was saying is that if you have 3 or 4 sets of speakers in the same room, that you are trying to compare, having them spread out across the room is problematic to the purpose of the testing.

In a perfect world, you'd be able to compare them all while they all occupied the same space.

That's why I suggested testing each speaker (I mean with REW, Fuzzmeasure, etc) in their respective places in the room. That way, you can get an idea of how their position in the room is changing their performance.
Old 12th June 2014
  #13
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Oh man, absolutely. Moving a speaker a few inches can make a huge difference at the listening position!
Old 12th June 2014
  #14
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Drumsound's Avatar
I did a similar thing a few years ago. I also pitched it as a review for Tape Op. It was really great to have the monitors in MY ROOM listening to MY PRODUCTIONS. I was really able to spend time and get to know the monitors. I was able to do a mix on them, make notes of what it sounded like in the room, and then take the mix elsewhere to listen for translation.
Old 12th June 2014
  #15
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I was able to do a mix on them, make notes of what it sounded like in the room, and then take the mix elsewhere to listen for translation.
Sure, but there's always the instant translation of A/B'ing directly against commercial material that is of a similar vein. Any band recording and mixing in a studio has a stack of recordings from their favorite bands in their car already...so you don't even have to leave your room or your seat to keep context! All you need is an input switcher, done.

(I know you know this, just pointing it out in general)

War
Old 12th June 2014
  #16
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
Sure, but there's always the instant translation of A/B'ing directly against commercial material that is of a similar vein. Any band recording and mixing in a studio has a stack of recordings from their favorite bands in their car already...so you don't even have to leave your room or your seat to keep context! All you need is an input switcher, done.

(I know you know this, just pointing it out in general)

War
Absolutely. I listened to a ton of music on the monitors while deciding what to get and writing the review,
Old 13th June 2014
  #17
I spent 1 year demoing small near fields in my studio,
I tried almost every last one of those damn things!!!!!!!
Next year, I will spend some time trying out the bigger ones....
I already have heard and used most of them,
but the measure of success for me, ONLY counts with on-going projects, and my ability to sculpt the sound and get results with them
Then I gotta measure how I "feel" at the end of it. That counts a lot too...
Old 14th June 2014
  #18
So, for what its worth, our little test is now at an end. Thought you might like to see a pic of the contenders.

Old 15th June 2014
  #19
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Seamus TM's Avatar
 

You've got the positioning all wrong!
Old 15th June 2014
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamus TM View Post
You've got the positioning all wrong!
Hahahahaha....

R.
Old 15th June 2014
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamus TM View Post
You've got the positioning all wrong!
I was going for a wall of sound.
Old 15th June 2014
  #22
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
Oh man, absolutely. Moving a speaker a few inches can make a huge difference at the listening position!
...and having pairs set up next to each other. The pair that sounded great a minute ago can suddenly be 'image strangled' by setting up another pair on their out or insides, even without moving them at all.

Once you realise just how much this does it kind of becomes 'who wins the bridge' as two pairs next to each other become very unattractive. Unless one pair is very little of course.
Old 16th June 2014
  #23
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
...and having pairs set up next to each other. The pair that sounded great a minute ago can suddenly be 'image strangled' by setting up another pair on their out or insides, even without moving them at all.

Once you realise just how much this does it kind of becomes 'who wins the bridge' as two pairs next to each other become very unattractive. Unless one pair is very little of course.
In my room, if I put a pair closer together in between another pair, that pair becomes very "punchy" on the bottom even if they are small.

When comparing speakers what we will do is stagger them the same so one pair isn't closer together at least.

It helps.
Old 16th June 2014
  #24
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Seamus TM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I was going for a wall of sound.
Old 16th June 2014
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I was going for a wall of sound.
In keeping with the Phil Spector-isms, this is also 'Back to Mono'!
Old 17th June 2014
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Pike View Post
In keeping with the Phil Spector-isms, this is also 'Back to Mono'!
No. I was just going for a cheap laugh really.
Old 17th June 2014
  #27
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
In my room, if I put a pair closer together in between another pair, that pair becomes very "punchy" on the bottom even if they are small.

When comparing speakers what we will do is stagger them the same so one pair isn't closer together at least.

It helps.
It can help. But it doesn't take away from different sets having different ideal positions for a good image, nor the fact that just standing next to each other can make the image blur by diffraction issues caused, regardless whether out or in.
Old 19th June 2014
  #28
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Charlie Hugall's Avatar
 

I'm guessing the PMC's were your faves - I've been working on them this week and I loved them. Really disliked almost every other PMC i've heard though.
Old 19th June 2014
  #29
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Kimotei's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
So, for what its worth, our little test is now at an end.
...and??
Old 19th June 2014
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Hugall View Post
I'm guessing the PMC's were your faves - I've been working on them this week and I loved them. Really disliked almost every other PMC i've heard though.
Guess again!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimotei View Post
...and??
And we are sending back the three sets that didnt work best for us, in our room, for our sense f aesthetic

Seriously though. There are no good monitors and bad monitors at this level. You could mix a record on any of them. Different people will find it easier to work on different monitors.
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