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5" Monitors with Sub or 8" Monitors? Studio Monitors
Old 9th August 2017
  #1
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Thread Starter
5" Monitors with Sub or 8" Monitors?

I'm trying to figure out what would be the best setup for my home studio I'm currently building. I have my gear on a desk that's 3" from the front to the wall. My speakers will be behind my Macbook very close to the wall, and I will be maybe 4 feet away from them.

I'm producing super bass heavy EDM, would it be better to get 5 inch monitors and a sub or 8 inch to get the most accurate bass?

I'm also heavily leaving towards the JBL LSR305s/308s but I'm also curious about the Yamaha HS5/8s.
Old 9th August 2017
  #2
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esldude's Avatar
 

I don't know which is better. I would say if you are doing super heavy EDM you'll benefit from the sub. The LSR305s with a sub would be fine I think. I have used them with a sub in a medium sized room and it relieves the small speakers enough you'll not have any problems. I don't do heavy EDM however. Certainly 308s would be a little less stressed, but I think you'll want a sub either way.
Old 9th August 2017
  #3
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I would go with sub for bass heavy music
Old 9th August 2017
  #4
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Lenzo's Avatar
8" and a sub.
L.
Old 9th August 2017
  #5
Using a subwoofer has nothing to do with the style of music you're working with. It has everything to do with knowing how much low frequency content of the recorded sound you want to be able to hear in order to monitor accurately. Most importantly, if you don't have the system calibrated properly, or the room is too small, or the monitor placement is wrong, adding a sub defeats the goal of accurate monitoring.

If you feel you must hear the low frequencies and you know nothing of proper calibration or have a room that is not professionally designed or treated for acoustics then it's not a good idea to add a sub if your goal is mix translation.

In your case it might be best to get headphones designed for studio work. I recommend the AKG K271 mk2. It takes a bit of mental training to mix on headphones but it's the cheapest way to sidestep room problems and get accurate monitoring. Combine working with the headphones with periodically checking on your monitors to keep the spatial perspective clear and you can learn to mix well in that way without throwing thousands of dollars at measuring and treating the acoustics of your room. It's a compromise that requires more work than money.
Old 9th August 2017
  #6
Here for the gear
Be a boss and get the 8 inches AND a sub. Everyone knows big speakers sound better. DUH!
Old 9th August 2017
  #7
Gear Maniac
I'd go for 8's and a SUBPAC. Any room in your house is going to have terrible low end reflections that you won't be able to fix no matter how big and plentiful the bass traps installed. It's much easer, and dare I say more accurate, to be able to feel the right amount of low end. The 8's will still sound good to the ears for production.
Old 9th August 2017
  #8
It's not about the "right amount" of low end (whatever that actually means). It's about accurate low end, and accuracy throughout the monitoring system.

For the purpose of translating a mix to the widest variety of playback systems we're talking much more than frequency response. There is the impulse response, the clarity of overlapping bass instruments, the identity of specific low pitches, and being able to know the difference between an unwanted rumble and a desired bass note. We're also talking about the overall headroom of the monitoring system and the clarity throughout that is achieved through proper calibration. That takes accurate monitoring.
Old 9th August 2017
  #9
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Thread Starter
So when I say I need the right monitors for bass heavy music, I don't mean that I just want big bassy boom. I want accurate bass response and to be able to hear a wider frequency of bass as I put alot of time into the low end of my songs. I will be acoustically treating my room as well.

I'm also trying to pick the right monitors that I won't have to upgrade from for at least a couple years. I'm trying to figure out if the 305s with a sub or the 308s would suit these needs.
Old 9th August 2017
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

5+sub

The JBL LSR305 + LSR310 should really do the trick.
The 305 works well on its own, adding the sub will make LOTS of bass for a small room
Old 10th August 2017
  #11
I think you'll be adding more headache than it's worth by adding a sub. I'd go with using a 3-way system.

Ignoring the completely unfounded hate that KRK gets around here from time to time, they have a pretty good, low cost 3-way: the RP10-3.

Going with something like that would take the guess work out of integrating the sub into the system. You would only have to deal with the room problems.
Old 11th August 2017
  #12
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Thread Starter
Would still like some more opinions, not really getting a straightfoward answer here.
Old 11th August 2017
  #13
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JayTee4303's Avatar
Rub the lamp, genie pops out, asks where you want you music heard.

Why not just mix into that?

Well...hearing loss might be an issue...neighbors...SOs...whatev... you've decided not to go that route.

You want some speaks that will let you make your music sound good on the system(s) referenced above, and at that point, accuracy might be a good idea.

Yamaha makes a pretty nice...system. Designed to work together, but with more flexibility than a lot of other 2.1 systems.

I rough mix on a pair of 2" Dell PC speakers. 90% of the rest on HS50s and an HS8s.

That final 10%...after listening on the...target system. Sometimes it's my phone. Sometimes a pair of Carvin LM153s driven by a 2 kilowatt Crown X4000. Sometimes in my car. Sometimes on a 12 kw JBL/Vega live rig.

I don't see a need to buy new speakers for a long time, if ever.

Unless someone builds a mousetrap that will let me mix direct thru my phone.
Old 11th August 2017
  #14
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esldude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazesWithWolves View Post
So when I say I need the right monitors for bass heavy music, I don't mean that I just want big bassy boom. I want accurate bass response and to be able to hear a wider frequency of bass as I put alot of time into the low end of my songs. I will be acoustically treating my room as well.

I'm also trying to pick the right monitors that I won't have to upgrade from for at least a couple years. I'm trying to figure out if the 305s with a sub or the 308s would suit these needs.
Well everyone reiterating their choices isn't more opinions. I'll explain my choice of 305 and sub (the 310 works too as I have one).

It was not about big bassy boom at all.

The 305 will go pretty good down to somewhere about 40 hz. The frequency is fine, but if you mix really bass heavy EDM, it might bump up against ability to put out enough at 40 hz without running into limits which might effect the clarity everywhere not just the bass. By using a sub, you relieve the 305s of the need to produce the bass heavy EDM low end considerably. Keeping it good and clear above 80 hz. The sub has more power and only has to handle the below 80 hz stuff.

Getting all to match and have even response in a small room is tough whether you get a 3 way all in one speaker or small monitors with a sub. You do at least have the option to find a good spot for the sub which may match better than a speaker with a fixed woofer you can't move independently.

In a small room getting that match at low frequencies is going to be tough, and getting bass below 40 hz is probably not much going to happen.

As for calibration, some free software called REW, can use gear you'll have and measure the room response. Letting you find out what you have and possibly move things to improve it. But low end is going to be tough in a small room. Ideally you would like a calibrated microphone for measuring with REW. At least for the low end and a few thousand hertz any okay omni you can lay hands on will be very useful though not perfect.

https://www.roomeqwizard.com/

Now can you do better with good headphones? I am not super experienced, but having tried it, I get far better results with speakers. For a year I had only the 305s in a moderate sized room sitting close to them. That worked really well at least for me vs headphones. So I am not saying no one can do better with headphones only that I couldn't.

So I don't know, the 305s seem to translate very well, since you do bass heavy EDM maybe the 308s would be better. One could do the 305s now, and spend the difference toward very good headphones. Then decide on a sub later.

You run into the same thing we all do. Starting off, you don't know which way is best, and won't in many ways until you try it. Even if you pick either one, you'll wonder could it have been as good or better the other way.

Maybe some super famous mixer can respond and give you the shortcut to the right answer. I am not that gal/guy.
Old 11th August 2017
  #15
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dont over contemplate, just buy some monitors. you will figure it out at some point.
Old 11th August 2017
  #16
You might gain some useful information from here: Soundoctor - all about subs

That's not to suggest that you do any and/or all of what the author suggests. But it might give you more information so you can know that it's not a trivial matter getting a subwoofer properly integrated into a monitoring system that is in a non-acoustically optimal listening space. There are many things to consider.
Old 11th August 2017
  #17
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I have both going on: Ns-10 and Hs-8. The first thing to do is to set the mix room up acoustically, dampening bass frequencies that get out of hand. What I did was use a tone generator program and a SPL meter, Set the generator for pink noise, adjust to 85db, then starting at 20 hz plot/record your spl reading, then go up in frequency, in 5hz increments. Find your frequencies you need to dampen.
Old 12th August 2017
  #18
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esldude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
You might gain some useful information from here: Soundoctor - all about subs

That's not to suggest that you do any and/or all of what the author suggests. But it might give you more information so you can know that it's not a trivial matter getting a subwoofer properly integrated into a monitoring system that is in a non-acoustically optimal listening space. There are many things to consider.
I think this is way overblown and out of date. Would have been good info maybe 15 years ago.

You can buy calibrated measuring mikes for $100 or less. Use the REW software to do your own impulse response which negates his long list of things you can't measure to fix.

Getting subs to work in small rooms is not trivial. But the soundoctor.com article is not up to date with what is possible.
Old 12th August 2017
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
I think this is way overblown and out of date. Would have been good info maybe 15 years ago.

You can buy calibrated measuring mikes for $100 or less. Use the REW software to do your own impulse response which negates his long list of things you can't measure to fix.

Getting subs to work in small rooms is not trivial. But the soundoctor.com article is not up to date with what is possible.


The physics of room acoustics that article references are not out of date, neither are the issues of driver time alignment or the needs involved with integrating another driver into a speaker system.

Sure, there are new tools to attempt to tackle these things. Most of them help a little. But none of them are the solution to the basic problem: an accurate monitoring system comprises speakers properly integrated with each other and a room that doesn't ruin the presentation, not to mention headroom requirements, quality of the drivers and quality of the amplification and crossovers. You can't simply buy a measurement mic and some software to fix those problems.

If it was as simple as you seem to be suggesting why is it that professionals, myself included, still consult acoustics experts and have rooms purpose built? We're all fools right? And you've got it figured out because you're so up with the times right?
Old 12th August 2017
  #20
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esldude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post


The physics of room acoustics that article references are not out of date, neither are the issues of driver time alignment or the needs involved with integrating another driver into a speaker system.

Sure, there are new tools to attempt to tackle these things. Most of them help a little. But none of them are the solution to the basic problem: an accurate monitoring system comprises speakers properly integrated with each other and a room that doesn't ruin the presentation, not to mention headroom requirements, quality of the drivers and quality of the amplification and crossovers. You can't simply buy a measurement mic and some software to fix those problems.

If it was as simple as you seem to be suggesting why is it that professionals, myself included, still consult acoustics experts and have rooms purpose built? We're all fools right? And you've got it figured out because you're so up with the times right?
Funny, you act as if buying a sub is a bad idea, and just buy a three way. Your reason is integration isn't easy.

Integration of a sub with a good pair of monitors is yes possible with some measuring gear of low cost and some good free software. If you are unaware of it then you are not up with the times.
Old 12th August 2017
  #21
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Some wise words from Enlightened Hand..

I don't have that great experiences with subs.. the project studio I work has some 8040's with genelec sub.. I've to turn the sub of when I'm there since the bass is all over the place, although the room has 1 meter of bass traps in corners.. It's funny how some bed room producers claim that their rooms are great and people with purpose built studios are struggling.. go figure.

Although I feel like I'd rather have less but trustworthy bass.. To me the whole trick is to have great bass without actually having too much bass, I mean mix wise. Sounds weird but sometimes I feel like it's easier to get bass right with my 2" reference speaker..

I think getting 5" speakers and some headphones is a good advice. Then you've 2 reference systems which you can A/B. AKG 270's Enlightened Hand suggested are OK, bass response is okayish, stereo field is a bit weird though.. But for the money they are great.

If you are doing EDM it's also a good question where is your music being played. It's a totally different to mix your music for clubs or for earbuds.. Don't ask me about how to mix for clubs, there are still people I'd like to ask tips about that.. but even that I feel is more skill dependent than monitoring dependent..

But yeah, I wouldn't contemplate it too much. Just buy some cheapish monitors.. use some studios if possible, then you get some reference points. You will figure it out.
Old 12th August 2017
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
Funny, you act as if buying a sub is a bad idea, and just buy a three way. Your reason is integration isn't easy.

Integration of a sub with a good pair of monitors is yes possible with some measuring gear of low cost and some good free software. If you are unaware of it then you are not up with the times.
A sub can be a VERY bad idea if your room acoustics are poor and you improperly integrate the sub into the existing monitoring system. A measurement mic and software are tools to help you see the problems. But there are steps to take to correct the problems that cost money and require specific acoustics knowledge. There are no free rides in acoustics.

If we want accuracy, when listening through speakers in a room, we need to consider everything as a whole. The room and the speaker system are one entity. Adding a sub complicates things, and those complications have to do with physically adding another sound source in an already compromised monitoring situation. The bottom line is that it's about making the work easier, not harder, which is why I don't usually recommend subs to those that have room acoustics problems.
Old 13th August 2017
  #23
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esldude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
A sub can be a VERY bad idea if your room acoustics are poor and you improperly integrate the sub into the existing monitoring system. A measurement mic and software are tools to help you see the problems. But there are steps to take to correct the problems that cost money and require specific acoustics knowledge. There are no free rides in acoustics.

If we want accuracy, when listening through speakers in a room, we need to consider everything as a whole. The room and the speaker system are one entity. Adding a sub complicates things, and those complications have to do with physically adding another sound source in an already compromised monitoring situation. The bottom line is that it's about making the work easier, not harder, which is why I don't usually recommend subs to those that have room acoustics problems.
A sub can also be a very good idea. Like another commenter posted, the sub lets you dial in how much you need.

We don't know the size of his room. I might approach it like this. Buy the monitors and use them. Use the free software and become comfortable with it. It does take some time to learn what it can do and how to make use of it. It is much more than some SPL EQ program. You mentioned hiring professionals for room design. If that is in your budget that is the way to go. If not, software and a little time allow you to benefit well beyond just throw up some good monitors and hope you can make it sound okay.

Once you have reached that point of effective understanding of the software, get a suitable sub from places that offer a 30 day or 45 day trial period with options of free returns. If you can't integrate well enough to benefit from the sub within that time frame then send it back.

Now I wouldn't think the sub as a big a deal to recommend except if one is doing bass heavy EDM you are going to stress a smaller monitor doing that.

The software BTW started as a solution specifically for home theater subs and studio subs maybe some 15 years ago. It has been improved to be useful for more than that though it is still one of the most useful things for the purpose of getting the lower 500 hz right. At those frequencies the size of your space and the position of yourself and your speakers within that space make for large differences.


For anyone interested in using the REW or similar software this thread might be helpful.

Measuring Room Acoustics

Or the video tutorial to get started here:
http://www.gikacoustics.com/room-eq-wizard-tutorial/

Last edited by esldude; 13th August 2017 at 01:27 AM..
Old 13th August 2017
  #24
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8" monitors are not a bad choice, with or without a sub. Long statements about subs that boil down to "Sub good!" vs "Sub bad!" don't need to be repeated. The other side in the argument heard you the first time, they just don't agree with you. Subs do usually need to be tinkered with and dialed in to correctly augment monitors, but even then they may not work in your room or you just may not like the combination. We've heard from some engineers with that experience. I like having dialed-in subs in a good room. There is no guarantee that another engineer, the OP for example, would like my set up at all. You pays your money and you makes your choice.
Old 6th September 2017
  #25
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@BlazesWithWolves, You mention the LSR305, 308 and imply the LSR310S sub. FWIW, I'm testing them right now and my impression is that the 308 is a compromise in too many ways, and I like the 305 much more. In fact, while I'm also testing the LSR705p that costs about 10x as much, I think I can live with the 305, which is saying a lot.

As for subs, I like the way the 305 integrates with the LSR310S, and not as happy with the 308. Maybe I'm liking the way the 305 polishes the high end. The 308 is a bit dull up there, and the bottom doesn't seem much stronger, just tubbier.

On the issue of working with/without a sub, there's an argument that needs to be voiced: it's more fun with a sub, it's more inspiring for the creative side, because it's more visceral. Acoustic instruments have a sensation dimension that electronics lack -- until you crank up the volume, and especially the bass.

Yes, there's more to learn, always, so keep on learning. But you're only here once. A small pair of monitors may be very accurate but for creative work they don't kick butt enough. Get a sub and kick up some molecules.

I like the LSR310S but it's neither perfect nor quite cheap enough.

It was funny to read a review of the $200 Monoprice sub in which the guy claimed he had measured their response and it didn't go down to 20 Hz as claimed. OK, maybe in one room they do or don't, but by how many dB, Hombre? Maybe an inexpensive sub like that Monoprice is a good approach for starters, since it won't be perfect anyway, and as I recall it can be easily bypassed with a foot switch during testing. Rumor has it that Monoprice studio speakers were designed by the long lost engineers from M-Audio. And no I don't have any vested interest.

Last edited by Fernand; 6th September 2017 at 01:17 PM..
Old 6th September 2017
  #26
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Thread Starter
Thanks for the input @Fernand it is very much appreciated . I actually went to GC and AB tested both sets of monitors and went with the 305s for the same reason, the 308s just didn't have much extra going on besides being able to produce some slightly lower bass tones louder. And I agree with you about the fun part, I will be looking to get a sub next. I just think that everyone else who says that there are too many problems with subs just don't want to take the time to integrate them properly, and probably aren't producing super low end bass music and therefore wouldn't need a sub anyway.
Old 7th September 2017
  #27
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If someone wants some cheap subs that really work, these are good.

https://www.parts-express.com/dayton...oofer--300-629

Claim 25 hz though I measured about 30hz at roughly - 3db. Dependent upon position in the room of course. The cabinets are fine and not a problem. We used a parametric EQ to tame a couple peaks between 40 and 80 hz. Made for a very nice surprisingly good result. They were being used in a video setup with 305s in a moderate sized room.
Old 11th September 2017
  #28
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As someone said, it doesn't matter how much bass something produces, the accuracy matters. Room matters. Often, people say, "I have a big room", but haven't sat in a studio with a big console, be it something used, or for eye candy, that makes entire one bedroom condo feel like I should gut the whole thing for a control room and a booth.

A sub can have all sorts of issues but what is not an issue is turning it off most of the time, and using it for reference when need be. With even decent placement, it can be a good tool and even if what you do does not translate, it does let you hear the deep lows better, which you can shape later without the sub. You can experiment and see if you get better mixes with and without the sub but IMO, it's a good reference tool.

The other part, well, one of many but the other important part. When you have speakers that accentuate the low end, be it a bigger speaker, or a sub, and it isn't accurate, not only does it not translate well, but you typically get mixes that are opposite of what you want. Instead of being bass heavy, they are light on bass as you take it out to compensate for the accentuated bass you are hearing. The less room treatment you have, and you should have some real heavy bass trapping along with broad band absorbers at that point, the worse it is going to be.

I would go with the best monitors you can afford and like to work with, regardless of size, and add a sub when you need to hear to create, and hear for reference. I do Hip Hop, which I don't need a subwoofer for that genre, but I come from an area of the country where everyone has a car, and having subs in the car is a very normal thing. It's a balancing act as it has to sound good on regular speakers and with subs so my reference is still pretty much a consumer reference at the end of the day.
Old 11th September 2017
  #29
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In your case i'd look in to 6,5-7" front ported monitors + subpac. Bass on 6,5 inchers is manageable, but still more enjoyable than on 5". Front ported, because your monitors will be close to the wall. Also 6,5-7 inchers tend to have better sounding mids than 8".
Subpack will give you waaaay better representation of what's going on down there, than sub in a small, untreated or badly treated room. On the other hand - subs are more fun while producing.
Old 13th September 2017
  #30
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2 lsr 305 with two subs or two lsr308 but not one sub with his comb filtering due to the sommation stereo to mono.
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