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Studio monitors vs stage speakers distortion and SPL
Old 7th November 2020
  #1
Gear Head
 
Studio monitors vs stage speakers distortion and SPL

Recently I had discussion with one dude regarding usability of stage speakers in studio for more quiet listening and I heard opinion that studio monitors start to distort "relatively quickly" comparing to stage speakers so it's definitely more usable this way than the other.

This distortion thing kind of grabbed my attention but I don't really have any stage speakers around to verify this theory. Do you guys happen to have experience with running monitors as stage speaker or stage speaker as monitor and could you provide some info regarding what SPL can be considered "high" for studio monitors? Ofc I'm not talking about exact numbers but more about order of magnitude.

Basically what is this critical point where I should stop beating up my monitors and decide "damn, I guess I need stage speakers for that"
Old 7th November 2020
  #2
Gear Head
If you spend enough money on live sound speakers they might compare to studio monitor quality. I purchased RCF TT10 close to $2,000 for one, which to my ears are very close to my Focal Twin Six. On the other hand I don't think people would mix on them.
Old 8th November 2020
  #3
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Stage versus monitors

Yes if only we had the option of an affordable and portable product that could do both studio and stage. I’m currently looking into getting EV ZXa1 or QSC CP8. Everything that’s spoken of as really good is so pricey.
Old 8th November 2020 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by min3008 View Post
Yes if only we had the option of an affordable and portable product that could do both studio and stage. I’m currently looking into getting EV ZXa1 or QSC CP8. Everything that’s spoken of as really good is so pricey.
Well there are also "main monitors" which I believed could be used as "best possible" stage speakers (ignoring fact that they weight a tonne) but with pricetag of like 10k usd per speaker I believe it's far from affordable solution lmao.

Fact that stage speakers in 9 out of 10 cases look just like ultra basic b*tch paper woofer with strapped horn tweeter makes it really hard for me to acknowledge that they might sound half decent... They look like just huge ass speakers that are just supposed to be loud af and have nothing to do with any sound quality whatsoever.
Old 8th November 2020
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lapsio View Post
Recently I had discussion with one dude regarding usability of stage speakers in studio for more quiet listening and I heard opinion that studio monitors start to distort "relatively quickly" comparing to stage speakers so it's definitely more usable this way than the other.
PA speakers usually have relatively high sensitivity while studio monitors have quite low sensitivity, so for any given output SPL level the PA speaker will require much less input power which also means they will produce much less distortion.
The crossover point dividing where one speaker type becomes favorable to the other is going to depend upon the size and capability of the speakers in question, but for example with an 8" speakers the PA version will do a better job when SPLs surpass 95-100dB as the studio version will be at the top end of it's capability.

Sound quality is a separate issue but like everything you get what you pay for, and like it or not when it comes to PA speakers $500/box is entry level.
Old 8th November 2020 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul o View Post
Sound quality is a separate issue but like everything you get what you pay for, and like it or not when it comes to PA speakers $500/box is entry level.
Still from what I see they're significantly cheaper than "equivalent" studio monitors. At least I have not seen many PA speakers exceeding 1k figure for single, small (10-12") speaker while in monitors it's not uncommon to go past 3k figure at this point.

But also from what I see specs are mediocre at best...
Old 8th November 2020
  #7
Gear Head
 
Okay it seems I was just not looking carefully enough. There are indeed PA speakers crossing 3k mark easily and they have not-so-mediocre specs
Old 9th November 2020 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lapsio View Post
Okay it seems I was just not looking carefully enough. There are indeed PA speakers crossing 3k mark easily and they have not-so-mediocre specs
indeed - pro gear actually starts around there and goes up much higher: for a single cabinet btw (and no dsp or amp included yet)!

but there's really no point in comparing between gear designed for studio vs live use: the requirements are just vastly different - to illustrate: even a single cabinet of my small mid-/high line array tops is capable of 130dB spl peak at distance of one meter - you don't ever wanna listen that loud in any studio while one simply needs hi-spl to get some throw distance and get tge music heard over a loud crowd!



it's fun though to occasionally use a pa in the studio: not for listening but for reamping... :-)
Old 10th November 2020
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I have been up and down and on both sides of this question over the past 45 years. In 1975 I purchased a pair of near field, studio monitor JBL 4350s. I was disappointed in the sonic delivery of the available SR systems compared to studio monitoring: so we tackled the set up and portability problems of dealing with 250 lb speaker cabs. The sonic studio quality was spectacular for the well paid saloon gigs that were prevalent at that time however the logistical problems hanging the speakers at each site was greater than the sonic improvement: so we sold them after one year.
Any fair assessment of today's available SR and stage monitoring gear will certify the much improved sonic quality of the entire industry, however unlike the new digital processing paradigm the increased sonic speaker quality has paralleled a steady increase in their price point. Determining the best value in a near field monitor today is totally dependent upon the amount of DBs you want to push. A high quality loud stage or studio comes at a stout price.
Hugh
Old 13th November 2020
  #10
Here for the gear
 
There's nothing inherently different about pa speakers or studio monitors. Both are just speaker drivers in boxes.

They're designed with different targets in mind is all. And designing speakers is like squeezing a balloon, whenever you press down somewhere something else pops up. TS parameters for drivers are all interlinked and changing one to suit your purpose affects the others, the same is true of enclosure design.

Pa cabs have to go loud, they have to be portable and they have to be tough, none of which matters for studio monitors. Could you theoretically make a pa speaker that sounded as good as, was the same size as, and worked as well for mixing as a studio monitor? Yes. In fact they already make them, they're called studio monitors.
Old 13th November 2020
  #11
Gear Head
 
Tbh I somehow forgot that PA speakers need to be portable as well. Which is kind of opposite to what studio monitors aim.

I contacted ADAM Audio regarding SPL at which their A77X monitors are starting to struggle and they claimed it's around 90dB / 1m when they drop below 0.5% distortion which is way above what my ears could reasonably handle in my home studio room anyways. Discussion that initially drove me to dig this topic left me with an incorrect impression that studio monitors are starting to perform inferior comparing to stage monitors within similar price point at SPL like 70 dB / 1m or something which turns out to not really be true so I guess it answers my concerns for now at least.
Old 14th November 2020
  #12
Gear Head
I have a pair of Focal Twin Six's . I don't know the price of the Adam A77X but these Focals are over $4,000 for the pair. They max out at 115 dB ,pretty loud for any home use!
I don't know how directional they are compared to a PA speaker. Just get a pair of QSC K8.2's
129 dB and be happy. For $1,300 they come fairly close to studio monitor sound and have all the headroom you could ever ask for in a home or a small venue. I matched the QSC's with a KRK 10 inch sub for $400. So for $1,700 you can have a full range system that would rival many so called audiophile or home theatre systems.
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