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Avantone MixCube vs New Auratone 5C (again) So different! Why?
Old 26th January 2018
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Avantone MixCube vs New Auratone 5C (again) So different! Why?

Hi,
Sorry, I know there are a lot of threads on this subject. But I just wanted to post some immediate thoughts and questions, and couldn't find one thread that totally related...

I have a new pair of Avantone MixCubes, powered, with a used pair of the reissue 5C's sitting right on top of them. My main JBLs had to go off to get new surrounds, so I used that as a reason to finally take the plunge and get a pair of Auratone style monitors. I love my JBLs, but mix translation to the real world can be a problem...

So, based on reading a bunch of stuff, and having heard about them for years, I bought a pair of the Avantone MixCubes. When I first fired them up, knowing full well they'd be mid-range heavy, I was still surprised by how crappy they sounded. Wow. Crappy in a sort of inaccurate way, like the midrange frequencies weren't being represented accurately, kind of honky or something? Hard to say. I tried them a bit, then just went back to the JBLs, and mulled my options. Only then upon further Googling did I see that the original Auratones had been reissued, and I read a few good things about them relative to the Avantones. Saw a really good deal on used pair of the reissued 5C's, so I bought them, and got a cheap Hafler amp. Then I read a scathing Sound on Sound review of the reissued 5C's, wondered if I'd made a mistake, and started working on the Avantone's just for yuks, to check it out. Figured when the Auratones showed up I'd do a shootout and sell whichever pair I liked the least. Well, I actually really got into mixing on the Avantones. Almost like some kind of weird challenge, having to trans-interpolate (??) what the Avantones were telling me into mix decisions. But it was fun, and it felt good somehow, and I oddly got into the way they were sounding. And I think the mixes I've been working on with them have come out well, perhaps better balanced than they might otherwise have been. And reverbs and fx in a nice place.

Today the Autatones showed up and I plugged them in and set them right on top of the Mixcubes and - Wow, do they sound different! That's mainly what prompted me to post here. They sound completely different. And so I"m wondering what the deal is. Even though I started enjoying mixing on the Avantones, my first impression still holds true in that they seem to DO something to the sound, like there is a boost in the 500-700 range, or something like that? They sound kind of nasal or honky in an upper low mid way, maybe 600 Hz? Less highs than the Auratones, but more lows? By comparison, the Auratones sound almost scooped on the upper low mid range. But when I listen to mixes from some of my favorite albums on them, the Auratones sound "right", like it's the mix sound I know and love, just with less low bass, and less high highs. (Although they are not as lacking on low bass and high highs as I'd expected.) So, I don't know - is it better to have the nasty, seemingly less "accurate" medicine of the Avantones to force me to acknowledge and work with those problem frequencies, or is it better to have a more accurate image of the whole mix but with less bass and highs represented? I kind of like them both, in different ways. Anyway, just thought I'd share that here, since I have them both sitting side by side, or top on top rather. Love to hear anyone else's thoughts... Thanks!
Old 26th January 2018
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Avantone entered the market because Auratone was dead and gone. So they didn't worry much about duplicating the sound of the Auratone driver. Vintage Auratones were going for $400 a pair, if they came in at around half that people would buy them and never know there was such a difference.

Turns out, though, that as Billy Crystal said in The Princess Bride, Auratone was only mostly dead. They came back, and they found a vendor who absolutely nailed the original driver. Bad news for Avantone.

As for that SOS review, well, they've been wrong before. In my opinion.
Old 26th January 2018
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Or as Eric Idle says in Monty Python and the Holy Grail "I'm not dead yet...!"

Yeah, at first after I read the SOS review I thought I'd screwed up ordering the Auratones. But since I got a good deal I figured, what the hell, it was just a good opportunity to do a shootout and decide for myself. It is really just kind of crazy how different they sound. Is it just the driver? The amp in the Avantones? There is no crossover per se, correct?

If was simply a question of picking the one that most accurately represents the music that is being played, I'd pick the Auratone, even though I don't hear the tough love, mix magic "Horrortone" aspect at all. But maybe the weird EQ tweaks I'm hearing in the Avantones lead to better mix decisions? Anyway, going to work with both for a while and see how it goes...
Old 26th January 2018
  #4
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tedtan's Avatar
 

I've thought about picking up a pair of one or the other, so I'd appreciate your thoughts after you've had a chance to compare your results from each.
Old 26th January 2018
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

I recently installed a new set of Auratones. Using a Bryston 2BLP and Mogami 3103 on banana plugs. Im blown away by how good they sound. Certainly limited bandwidth but what is there sounds impressive and dare I say detailed in its own little way. Not what I was expecting after using a single active Avantone that sounded like a trashy alarm clock speaker.

I recall the sound on sound interview saying something similar. that the new version was more hi fidelity than the vintage model. I am thinking about snatching up a vintage pair and run them side by side in my room just to see for myself. Curious which will suite my ears more.
Old 26th January 2018
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Yes, the Auratones sound surprisingly good, nice detail. The Avantones do not. But which one is better for making mix decisions?? Not sure... The Avantones sound puffy in the 5-600 range, or is it that the new Auratones are scooped in that range, which is what the Sound on Sound reviewer thought he heard??

I would love to hear about A/B tests between vintage and reissue Auratones. Although I think I did read in certain places that there were many iterations of the original Auratone, each sounding different, and that the reissue was based on the "best sounding" version. So I guess it depends which vintage version you are comparing them against.

For now I'm going to keep using both and see how it goes. My JBLs are still in the shop, so for now I'm at the mercy of these little guys, with only my ATHM50x's as a secondary reference. Put those on and you quickly realize how much low end you're not hearing!
Old 26th January 2018
  #7
Lives for gear
I purchased a single Avantone for mono mixing. I am extremely pleased with the translation results I get. Not sure why folks seem to be fixed on how they sound in general. They are not HI-FI speakers. They really bring out the mids to the point where you can start getting surgical with your EQ. If I can get a mix to sound good on the Avantone, 9.5 times out of 10 it sounds great everywhere.

Of course I am also mixing in stereo with my main monitors (Dynaudio BM5), head phones (Senn. HD650), and my in ears (UI UERM). The glue though is getting the mids right through the mono Avantone. That's been my experience anyway
Old 27th January 2018
  #8
Gear Nut
 

At this point leaning heavily toward the Auratones, since they sound - to me anyway - much more like a natural, balanced image of the mix, simply with a lot less low end. I continue to feel like the Avantones are "doing something" to affect how the frequencies are represented, especially in the low mid range...
Old 27th January 2018
  #9
Lives for gear
 

I can't offer any comparisons...

My current AURATones are from the early '80s. They do exactly what they're suppose to do. No hype, no BS.

They do require a nice Amp.

Personal opinion ... not interested in any 'new' version.
Old 28th January 2018
  #10
It sounds like you can get great results from either. You said originally that you really got into mixing with the Avantones and liked them.

They are both single cone speakers dealing with midrange. That's the key I suppose.

Since I've been using a pair of Avantones my mixes have improved out of sight. Who knows how it would be with the Auratones? When I bought my Avantones a couple of years ago the Auratones were more than mostly dead...they were dead dead. No distributors.
Old 28th January 2018
  #11
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
I built my own... I beleive the MCM drivers are still currently available from Newark

they do the 'midrange thing' it's really cool. When you subtract the lower octave and the top tops there is some really important stuff going on you need to focus on. also fun to listen to once in a while when you get fatigued with full range sound.
Old 28th January 2018
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by innerbooty View Post
with only my ATHM50x's as a secondary reference. Put those on and you quickly realize how much low end you're not hearing!
Don't forget though...those ATHM50s are bass jacked, aren't they?
Old 28th January 2018
  #13
Gear Nut
 

The AT phones are slightly hyped in the lows I think, which is helpful since I sometimes overdo stuff in the low end. But I feel like they are very balanced overall, and they sound good, and I know how to read the low end pretty well at this point.

And yes, I did enjoy the Avantones for the week or so I was mixing only with them. But I also felt like it was some kind of weird challenge to try to guess what I needed to do based on what I was hearing through them. But I guess in the end that's going to be true with most speakers, to some degree. My main JBL's are certainly not clinical or super accurate by any stretch, but I love how they sound, and I know pretty well at this point how what they are doing will translate elsewhere. But having a small cube speaker is going to be a big help I think.

My other main observation is that the Auratones are not lacking in high end nearly to the degree I thought they would be, the lows seem to be rolled off much more aggressively. The Avantones on the other hand seem to have less highs, and more lows, plus the aforementioned low mid bump. And even with the speakers sitting in exactly the same position, right on top of each other, the stereo image is totally different. Auratones much wider. Or Avantones narrower?

And although I'm leaning toward the Auratones, I still wonder if there is some kind of special mix magic to be had in the way the Avantones represent things, even if it sounds vaguely wrong to me. I guess it's all just what you get used to, and what works best for you.
Old 28th January 2018
  #14
I find the Avantones to lack lows and highs pretty emphatically. When I put a mix on them initially it sounds very bland and even. I've found if I can get it pumping or make it sound alive by the end of the mix process, it translates pretty well. I find them excellent for level setting and more than handy for eq.

Your headphones are the 'x' version...I have the non 'x' version which are very bass heavy. Maybe the 'x' version isn't so bassy.
Old 28th January 2018
  #15
Gear Nut
 

I'm not sure the "x" ATHM50's sound any different. They just have the removable cable, which is very cool. I have 4 pairs, x and the earlier incarnation. I think they sound the same. I guess I'd say the bass is pronounced, but not hyped per se. When I listen to "pro" mixes of albums I love on them, it sounds fantastic. So I know if I put on a mix of mine and I hear a lot of low end flab, then I've got a problem. Although I rarely use them to make critical mix decisions, mostly for tracking, and listening after hours, and for pleasure. Whoops, I might be hijacking my own thread...!
Old 28th January 2018
  #16
Pro mixes sound great on most things
Old 28th January 2018
  #17
Just buy the Yamaha HS5's and call it a day. They have top end, low end and great mids with no harshness that the NS10's have
Old 28th January 2018
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people View Post
Pro mixes sound great on most things
Yes! But I guess I mean that the bass on pro mixes (and masters, don't forget) doesn't sound overly hyped to me in the AT's. So if the bass on my mixes sounds weird in the AT's, then I know I've still got work to do. All part of the ongoing quest to make mixes that at least get vaguely in the vicinity of the ballpark of The Pantheon. A kid can dream...
Old 30th January 2018
  #19
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason rocks View Post
Just buy the Yamaha HS5's and call it a day. They have top end, low end and great mids with no harshness that the NS10's have
I'm not saying that the Yamaha HS5's are bad (they get good reviews), but they are a completely different animal.

As is mentioned several times on this thread, the Aurotones/Avantones are all about the mids. They help clear up that area almost in a surgical way. Once you EQ, set the levels, etc. and have them sounding good, the mix translates very well across systems. I use a mono Avantone so I can't speak for the guys that use them in stereo.
Old 30th January 2018
  #20
I have Mackie MR5 (the original versions) monitors to go with my 2 Mixcubes...and don't use the Mackies to mix on anymore whatsoever. It's all Mixcubes and then headphones, earbuds, laptops and phones for checking.

If my room was more trustworthy, I'd get more out of the Mackies I'm sure. But in a compromised room any move you make you're basically just guessing. With full range speakers, you need a decent room to mix in...one that doesn't warp the bass or the treble.

The Mixcubes take away all the guess work, and just deliver even in my 'reasonably treated room'. That's been my honest experience anyway.
Old 31st January 2018
  #21
Gear Nut
 

Curious how others use their "sound cube" style speakers when mixing. Just for fun I've been trying to work almost exclusively on them, while I check out this new scene (also my bigger monitors are still in the shop...) And granted, my ATHM50's may emphasize the bass a bit. But when I switch over to them after a bunch of hours working on the mix, feeling like I'm getting it sounding pretty good in the cubes, I am sometimes taken aback by the amount of low end flub floating around in the mix, and this is even without doing any boosting down in those low lows, and quite a bit of HP rolloff. Do you guys bounce back and forth between the cubes and your main monitors, or do you just assume you are going to have to tackle the ow lows once you've spent time working on the mids in the cubes? Just curious. Still trying to get a handle on the best mix workflow with these speakers....
Old 31st January 2018
  #22
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by innerbooty View Post
Curious how others use their "sound cube" style speakers when mixing. Just for fun I've been trying to work almost exclusively on them, while I check out this new scene (also my bigger monitors are still in the shop...) And granted, my ATHM50's may emphasize the bass a bit. But when I switch over to them after a bunch of hours working on the mix, feeling like I'm getting it sounding pretty good in the cubes, I am sometimes taken aback by the amount of low end flub floating around in the mix, and this is even without doing any boosting down in those low lows, and quite a bit of HP rolloff. Do you guys bounce back and forth between the cubes and your main monitors, or do you just assume you are going to have to tackle the ow lows once you've spent time working on the mids in the cubes? Just curious. Still trying to get a handle on the best mix workflow with these speakers....
back and forth .. not every minute but work for a bit, take a break, change monitors, check that, then switch ..

pretty standard .. learning to judge the highs and lows are not what my Mixcube (i use a mono one) are about for me .. if i only had that to use it would be tough ..

also need to get my Fostex 6301B working .. i like using that too .. mixed alot of remote TV on that one !!! slightly more full range i feel .. think it is ther power supply .. time to fix that
Old 31st January 2018
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by innerbooty View Post
... feeling like I'm getting it sounding pretty good in the cubes, I am sometimes taken aback by the amount of low end flub floating around in the mix...
That's the thing -- it's really easy to make mistakes in the low end with Auratones or Avantones or any of those things.

It's not that hard to make a tuned enclosure for a single driver of that size (or smaller) where the low end will extend down enough to make them way more idiot-proof, and also way more fun to listen to.

Click the studio link in my sig in Post 2 and you'll see the ones that I made.
Old 31st January 2018
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by innerbooty View Post
Curious how others use their "sound cube" style speakers when mixing. Just for fun I've been trying to work almost exclusively on them, while I check out this new scene (also my bigger monitors are still in the shop...) And granted, my ATHM50's may emphasize the bass a bit. But when I switch over to them after a bunch of hours working on the mix, feeling like I'm getting it sounding pretty good in the cubes, I am sometimes taken aback by the amount of low end flub floating around in the mix, and this is even without doing any boosting down in those low lows, and quite a bit of HP rolloff. Do you guys bounce back and forth between the cubes and your main monitors, or do you just assume you are going to have to tackle the ow lows once you've spent time working on the mids in the cubes? Just curious. Still trying to get a handle on the best mix workflow with these speakers....
It is important that volume levels are matched when switching between monitors. Have you calibrated the SPLevel between the monitor pairs ?
Old 31st January 2018
  #25
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
That's the thing -- it's really easy to make mistakes in the low end with Auratones or Avantones or any of those things.

It's not that hard to make a tuned enclosure for a single driver of that size (or smaller) where the low end will extend down enough to make them way more idiot-proof, and also way more fun to listen to.

Click the studio link in my sig in Post 2 and you'll see the ones that I made.
are those the RED ones brent ??
Old 31st January 2018
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwh1192 View Post
are those the RED ones brent ??
Yeah -- the outsides are Christmas tissue paper "decoupaged" with Elmer's Glue.

I'll try to dig up the post about them that was in another (ancient) thread.
Old 31st January 2018
  #27
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Yeah -- the outsides are Christmas tissue paper "decoupaged" with Elmer's Glue.

I'll try to dig up the post about them that was in another (ancient) thread.
Suzy Homemaker Style !!! you are multi-faceted !!! i bet you make a mean apple pie .. well, if you don't i do !!!
Old 31st January 2018
  #28
Lives for gear
 
brockorama's Avatar
 

I have a pair of mixcubes.

At first I didn't know what they were doing, or what I was doing.

They sounded a lot better after the 200 hour mark (guessing)

I love and use these all the time with some DT770 phones for bass and some large infinity house speakers for mains. Not optimal, but translates well for me.
Old 31st January 2018
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwh1192 View Post
Suzy Homemaker Style !!! you are multi-faceted !!! i bet you make a mean apple pie .. well, if you don't i do !!!
I don't.

Here's that old post: That Old Post.
Old 31st January 2018
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by innerbooty View Post
Curious how others use their "sound cube" style speakers when mixing. Just for fun I've been trying to work almost exclusively on them, while I check out this new scene (also my bigger monitors are still in the shop...) And granted, my ATHM50's may emphasize the bass a bit. But when I switch over to them after a bunch of hours working on the mix, feeling like I'm getting it sounding pretty good in the cubes, I am sometimes taken aback by the amount of low end flub floating around in the mix, and this is even without doing any boosting down in those low lows, and quite a bit of HP rolloff. Do you guys bounce back and forth between the cubes and your main monitors, or do you just assume you are going to have to tackle the ow lows once you've spent time working on the mids in the cubes? Just curious. Still trying to get a handle on the best mix workflow with these speakers....
I'd be tossing those ATHM50x's for any mixing insights. Really...they are so base skewed, they are unusable as far as I'm concerned.

As I said earlier, I'm basically using the Mixcubes 90% of the time for mixing now and use ATHM70's to check on, plus earbuds, phones and laptop speakers for checking. The ATHM70's are very neutral, if a bit bright.

All I do is try to get things sounding good on the Mixcubes...in terms of bass (most of the stuff I do the bass is simply a bass guitar...so I have that and a kick down in the bass and that's about it) I make sure it's cutting through the cubes. In my room, I have to give it some to get the bass coming through.

You can hear some of my results here:

The Fish Tanks | Free Listening on SoundCloud

I'm pretty happy with how my mixes are coming along.
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