I'm looking to outfit our B room with a decent set of tools for mastering. Any feedback on $4k -6k pairs of monitors that would work for mastering? A few variables: The room is relatively small and RPGed to an accurate but rather dead ambience. I'm working with rock music exclusively. I'd like to avoid using a subwoofer. I dont have room for floorstanding models. We mix on 1031a's and NS-10s so a different flavor might be helpfull??
Note to any REAL mastering slutz: I know I'm compromising and that REAL mastering monitors are larger and most expensive, but pretend your in my position!
So far I'm considering:
1. Meyer HD-1s
2. PMC AML-1s
3. Adam S3As
4. Tannoy Ellipse 10s
"I know I'm compromising and that REAL mastering monitors are larger and most expensive, but pretend your in my position!"
Most mastering facilities utilize more than one set of monitors. 4-6k is pretty reasonable for a set of nearfields, and a good start. Take a peek at some mastering websites, most will list montors, or atleast brands, on their site. Something differant than what you use for mixing is essential, you dont need to have a monitor that survives a snare at 100 dB through these. A differant room is even more important.
Most mastering rooms (mine included) do not use near-fields. I have a dedicated mastering room with "Audiophile" speakers. Most "mastering" speakers that I've seen are the Dunlavy, JM Lab, Von Schweikert and what I use, Wilson Audio.
Originally posted by Gravity8058 I'm looking to outfit our B room with a decent set of tools for mastering. Any feedback on $4k -6k pairs of monitors that would work for mastering? <SNIP>.
We have Telarc mastering with ATC 20 actives, which fit that price point. Their records sound quite good. Doug Sax is using ATC for mastering in his new room in Ojai, but those particular versions (150's) are well over this price. 20's make George Massenburg happy, he uses them and has told me several times how they saved a few jobs.
If ATC 20 actives aren't on your list, you would be missing a benchmark that would be important to consider. Eddie over at Oasis works on modified Tannoys (has for years) but a 20 demo I did recently really got his attention-as several clients recently came through with ATC (mix) work that he thought were some of the best work he has ever heard, requiring very little "mastering" correction.
I would think K+H O300 would be worth a listen as well, although they don't allow a real high level output. I've sold a few of the older K+H O198 (pre O300) for restoration. Nice and revealing, just not loud.
Mastering (speakers) are all over the map. I've seen a mastering engineer who does good work master on Augsbergers! That's something I would think would be a real disaster (horns etc). So it seems that if the engineer really understands the speakers and his room and how it all translates and eq's, some suprising solutions can get the job done.
Thanks for the thoughts gents.
Jim - I dont know Andre Lipinksky -- what is his company called?
Brad - I will check out the ATC 20s thanks for the tip.
Darius - Do you know which PMC models are used most in the UK for mastering?
I'm leaning towards active monitors, though I'm still open. I'd like to avoid adding a subwoofer because I've got a Genelec 1094 sub in my mixing room and I wouldn't want to both mix and master with a sub.
Does anyone have experience with any of the models I listed? I know the Slutz love Adam S3As but do you think they might work well at mastering as well?
Pro Acs?Sound great and will break your bank.
Most mastering engoneers marry one pair of monitors. I mastered 'The Boss' on my Adams S3a's last year and they loved it. I'm not a real mastering engineer. I know and have enough to make me dangerous.
I bought the Adams S3A's at 8:30 in the morning while working a NAMM show in '02. I was astonished by the articulation.
I am not a 'real' mastering engineer like Greg Calbi etc..
I do some mastering as part of a package and have the right gear to do it. I do enough of it to have a pretty good understanding of what a real mastering engineer is and can do.
I'm not one of those guys who runs it through a Finalizer or L2 and says 'here ya go, nice and loud'
To make a big decision, talk to the real mastering guys who will be honest with you.
Once you get beyond mid field monitors, you need to have a perfect acoustic environment. That's often what seperates the big guys from the middle guys. Besides, it bores the daylights out of me. I'd rather be writing and producing
which I do the other 80% of the time.
I ask for a lot of money and that alleviates the boredom.
The vast majority of mastering studios only use one set of monitors for the majority of their work. Most have an auxilliary pair or 2 of near field or consumer models to playback results on something familiar for the clients - and there might be a secondary surround system in the roon - but 95% of the time I find you end up listening to the one reference par. The majority of mastering studios that I know of have gone for floor standing full range monitors (i.e. with true bass extension down to at least 35Hz) that usually come from the "audiophile" world and less from the "pro audio" one.
$4-$6k is a very reasonable budget if you get something used. The B&W Nautilus 802 is a great one to try and find although it might be a little more cash than you are considering. Some "sleeper" pairs that you could also might find for this kind of cash would be the Dunlavy SC-III's & IV's, B&W N803's, Thiel 3.6 (this one is good more for jazz and classical than hard stuff), Eggleston Fontaine II or original Andra, etc.
oops - just re-read the original post and noticed you said that you don't have room for floor standers. You might want to check out Reference 3A's - they have some really nice monitor type speakers that coupled with a subwoofer might work well for your situation. Also - the Barefoot Mini-mains would probably work really well for you too but they are more cash. Main thing though - a tight room will have lots of standing waves and reflections - that's why you usually see larger dimensions in a dedicated mastering room
Originally posted by Dave Martin I think this is the understatement of the week. 'quite good', indeed!
Re: what speakers to use - I highly recommend saving for the ATCs if at all possible. Not only are we very happy with them, you can add Doug Sax, Mark Knopfler, Chuck Ainlay, Blackbird Studios, Fred Voegler and Bruce Leek to the growing list of happy user/owners. Not bad company!
The ATC scm-20s must use a sub for mastering. The scm-50s and bigger would be the better choice for mastering.