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How Much To Spend On Monitors For Untreated Room
Old 1st December 2019
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velaramon View Post
I take your points. But to be fair, my question was posed in general terms because it was motivated by a general claim which I have read more than once from people who seem knowledgeable, namely, that it is not worth investing in monitors past a certain price if they are to be used in an untreated room.
Value is obviously personal, and something that has many variables- IMO it would be impossible for a group of people on the internet to be very helpful here. Speakers are, at best, a game of diminishing returns...These days there are many budget friendly options that really are very good, I'm most familiar with JBL 308's in that range, but I'm sure many others are very good here too.

Moving up from to the next bracket in price, the question is how much will modest improvements in the speakers (if they even exist) be masked by the room? The size of your room is pretty good for a *small* room, enough that you can position your speakers up against one wall to minimize SBIR and not too close to the side walls to minimize early reflections to some extent. On the bass end-

Quote:
Originally Posted by velaramon View Post
4. Construction is concrete.
Is not good news. A wood frame room 'leaks' more bass out, which means there is less bouncing around inside. Concrete on the other hand contains it, which means you will see significantly more modal activity and more irregularities in the low end both in frequency response and decay time.

In my view, there absolutely is value in learning about acoustics and how to better a room. It's amazingly cheap. Room eq wizard is free, a good measurement mic less than $100 and people on here who do charge consultation fees in real life offer help for no cost.

If someone is interested in a high quality listening experience, not taking advantage of this is kinda nuts IMO. Especially because there are plenty of ways to make up panels and traps that are reasonably effective, cheap, and can be moved. But even if you don't do any treatments taking measurements, positioning, and corrective eq are all worth while. Even for the "get used to your room" argument, it's helpful to actually know precisely what issues your room has...
Old 1st December 2019
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy4Jazz View Post
Room treatment matters in some situations but much less than the constant drum beat of “room treatment” would have you believe.
As a point of curiosity, how much experience do you have personally have in rooms that are well treated and measure well?

I've known engineers who do good work in rooms that have fairly minimal treatment, but generally are naturally favorable. But I've never encountered anyone that ultimately doesn't hear or respect the broad benefit of a great monitoring environment. I think it would be extremely unlikely that someone would work in a Northward room for a week and still think the benefits of a room on that level are situational or that getting used to the flaws in their room is tantamount to having a Northward room.

That being said, there are plenty of misguided home treatment efforts, and bespoke studios that either weren't designed that well in the first place, or where the owners have 'tweaked' them to the point where they look a lot better than they sound. That's why measurements are so important.

IMO, in this sort of thread it's worth noting that basically every post is from people ostensibly defending their own situation (mine too!). Those that have no treatment will say "treatment isn't important", those who have had a bad experience with big speakers in a small room will say "it's a terrible thing", those who have spent a lot of time and money on treatment will rave about its importance and so on...
Old 1st December 2019
  #33
Lives for gear
The “learn your room” advice is not helpful in a lot of “bad room” situations. Some bad rooms have very deep destructive nulls where speaker output at those frequencies is simply absent. There is, literally, nothing to learn by listening in the room. Any level setting, EQ or processing that the mixer does involving those frequencies will be as successful as playing darts blindfolded. You may hit the target every blue moon or so, but you will never be able to hear those frequencies in that room. What can you learn from that?
Old 2nd December 2019
  #34
Gear Nut
 
OHM GHOST's Avatar
 

I'm in the better monitor over room treatment school of thought...given less than ideal conditions.
I have had many houses/apartments over the years, could not ideally "treat" them all.
I am more than pleased with my (non rear ported) Genelec 8010a's , which are seemingly designed with small untreated rooms in mind.
They are small but mighty. I face these head on at proper placement, I am more than happy with my mix translation these days, using these as my workaday mixing monitors. I do a/b with other monitors as well...

Last edited by OHM GHOST; 2nd December 2019 at 05:57 PM..
Old 2nd December 2019
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Buy the best speakers you can afford... yes.
Everything else can get better; your room, your skills, your perceptive abilities... the speakers stay as you bought them. So buy at least slightly “over your head”.

“Overly large monitors don’t sound good in very small rooms”...no.
That’s simply a long-standing BS trope believed by many people who should know better.
Speakers are “overly large” if you can’t lift them, or if they don’t fit through the door, or if you don’t have physical space on a wall to put the monitors side-by-side.
If you want to hear anything below 100hz or listen to genres with serious low frequency content at a satisfying volume, you need some size to allow for that.
In a different context, it’s like saying “you shouldn’t have an engine with more than 60 horsepower in a small car”. That doesn’t work if you expect to occasionally have some fun and a safety margin of performance.
+1 Thanks for saving me from writing exactly the same after reading the advice about large monitors in small rooms!
Old 2nd December 2019
  #36
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loopy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli_W View Post
+1 Thanks for saving me from writing exactly the same after reading the advice about large monitors in small rooms!



Yea, I guess I should have been more specific regarding large vs small

So what I was referring to was something like say a Dynaudio BM-15a or a JBL 6328 in a typical untreated bedroom sized studio which I can state from experience will sound awful. So, large in size which generally also will have extended low frequency response as well. That's another can of worms in an untreated room.

Monitors like those need space in order to sound good, and that's in addition to the superior low end frequency response.
In a small room it's like wearing a gigantic set of headphones.
Old 2nd December 2019
  #37
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flextone's Avatar
 

My room is semi treated, but I recently moved to a pair of KS Digital C8 Reference and I can tell you that their coaxial design does wonders to eliminate flutter echoes in the sweet spot. Bass absolutely needs treatment, but for mids and highs I'm pretty happy vs my old Genelec 1031s.
Old 2nd December 2019
  #38
Gear Maniac
 

Don't worry too much about room treatment in the beginning as long you don't wanna make pro productions.
Just be sure that your room doesn't reflect that much and trust your ears, let a few friends have a listen and hear what they say.
In the beginning some room furnishing will be fine with soft materials like sofa's and chairs, curtains and maybe a carpet on the ground or wall.
Buy secondhand in a charityshop or fleamarket, good enough for a start.
For a medium sized room monitors 5 or 6 inch are allright like JBL 305/6 or Kali LP6 so about 350 to 400 and up is enough for a decent sound.
Just have a listen in a shop and judge for yourself.
And don't forget; there are lots of corksniffers on this forum so be carefull with all the advice you get and be sensible.
Old 2nd December 2019
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loopy View Post
Monitors like those need space in order to sound good.
Monitors of any size don’t need rooms scaled to their size in order to sound good. Good monitors of any size will sound good in a non-awful acoustic space of almost any size. The sound waves don’t know the size of the speakers they came from. Likewise, the room doesn’t know how large the speakers are. In both cases the room and the sound waves are the same and react the same to any size speaker.

BUT... the better argument against large speakers in a bad room (of any size) is that larger speakers usually reproduce somewhat accurately an octave or a half octave of the lowest frequencies that tiny speakers will barely touch. It is true that those are the most problematic frequencies in many rooms. So the choices, given an bad room, are:
1. Get tiny speakers that allow you to ignore that octave in your studio. You won’t correct anything that is wrong with the lowest octave of your work, but you won’t screw up anything that sounds wrong on your speakers but is actually OK.
2. Use speakers that will reproduce those frequencies in an environment that gives you an inaccurate picture of them and live with that.
3. Use analog or digital correction on your monitor feed to correct inaccuracies as much as possible.
4. Spend some study time, money and studio space on effective low frequency treatment to correct the acoustics of the room as much as possible.

I can see an argument that small speakers are a viable choice in bad rooms of any size.. Not a choice I would make, but understandable.
Old 2nd December 2019
  #40
Gear Addict
 

You are casually starting out. So don't spend too much money. Buy a used set of krk/yamaha monitors for $200, spend $300 on room treatment and call it a day for a while.
Old 2nd December 2019
  #41
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent View Post
You are casually starting out. So don't spend too much money. Buy a used set of krk/yamaha monitors for $200, spend $300 on room treatment and call it a day for a while.
300 means you'll have to DIY.
Old 2nd December 2019
  #42
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loopy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johannburkard View Post
300 means you'll have to DIY.
Yep.
Here is a site with some good info:

https://realtraps.com/index.htm
Old 3rd December 2019
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loopy View Post



Yea, I guess I should have been more specific regarding large vs small

So what I was referring to was something like say a Dynaudio BM-15a or a JBL 6328 in a typical untreated bedroom sized studio which I can state from experience will sound awful. So, large in size which generally also will have extended low frequency response as well. That's another can of worms in an untreated room.

Monitors like those need space in order to sound good, and that's in addition to the superior low end frequency response.
In a small room it's like wearing a gigantic set of headphones.
I think maybe you’re tying to say that most larger monitors need to be positioned further from the listening position, which means you hear more indirect sound, and smaller room require more specialised acoustic treatment to sound good. This isn’t the same as saying something like “big speakers don’t work properly in small rooms”, but small rooms certainly are more difficult to treat appropriately. The best-sounding small room I’ve been in had a panel absorber taking up half of the back wall, and the ceiling was fairly high. Huge JBL speakers.
Old 3rd December 2019
  #44
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DirkP's Avatar
I'd buy some monitors that have room correction like the new KRKs. I only know room correction from my AV Receiver but it does a lot in not so ideal rooms. And I would at least spend some money to improve the room, where the cost-benefit relation is the best.
Old 3rd December 2019
  #45
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loopy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli_W View Post
I think maybe you’re tying to say that most larger monitors need to be positioned further from the listening position, which means you hear more indirect sound, and smaller room require more specialised acoustic treatment to sound good. This isn’t the same as saying something like “big speakers don’t work properly in small rooms”, but small rooms certainly are more difficult to treat appropriately. The best-sounding small room I’ve been in had a panel absorber taking up half of the back wall, and the ceiling was fairly high. Huge JBL speakers.
That is exactly what I am trying to say. And I'm not doing a very good job of it thus confusing the issue for everyone.. Apologies. My bad!

So Bushman had a very good explanation which I agree with although I use a slightly different example.
To clarify, in a given room, 40hz is 40hz is 40hz.

It doesn't matter if it's coming from a Dynaudio BM15a with a 15 inch woofer or some small (cabinet size) Focal with an 8 inch woofer connected to a DSP which effectively is boosting the low frequency range of the smaller woofer and also putting out a clean sound at 40hz.
If the room has a problem, say a null at a certain point it's going to have that null no matter what speaker is producing the frequency that the null occurs at.
The room doesn't know the size of the speaker, as Bushman said.

So with regards to the urban legend that big speakers don't sound good in smaller rooms, from an acoustics POV that is a myth in my opinion.
Sorry I wasn't clear in defining this.

Oli_W said it much better than I have been attempting to do!
(See quote above).

When I moved from a large, mostly treated room to a smaller room, my BM15a just didn't sound good no matter where I positioned them. I moved my panels over but due to the size of the room I couldn't use all of them. I found I had to sit too far from the monitors to get a similar quality sound that I was getting in the larger room and since due to the smaller room my options were less I had to make a monitor change.
I also borrowed a set of JBL 6328 and had similar issues.
I downsized to a set of BM6a and all was well again.

I ultimately ended up dragging my Event ASP8 out of storage and have been using them for years. They work well in the room I am in now.
Old 3rd December 2019
  #46
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Loopy,
You ‘splain things nicely.
It also occurs to me that in a small room, or at a very short listening distance in any room, the distance between elements in a two or three way monitor cause more “smearing” (for lack of a real audio term), and a point-source single driver or coaxial monitor will often give better results than multi-driver monitors with eight or ten inches between drivers.
Old 3rd December 2019
  #47
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by velaramon View Post
Hi everyone. Title says it all.

I've read that spending a lot on monitors is only a good idea if you have a treated room. But how much is too much? At what price point or monitors would one not be able to hear any improvement by spending more? For example, are the Adam A7X or A8X overkill in an untreated room?

My use is mostly not for mixing, rather playing guitar (Helix) and listening to music. The room is not gonna be treated any time soon. But I would like to get as good sound as possible without wasting funds.

Thanks!
I often have to work in an untreated room (as it's my living room).

My monitors are the ME-Geithain RL934K - these have a cardioid response in the bass end, so they don't radiate bass from the rear like other monitors. I therefore don't need all the bass trapping that you need with other monitors.

In a treated room they will be better, of course, but in a normal room I can still get all the information I need and the bass is still clean and not muddied by reflections from the rear wall.
Old 7th December 2019
  #48
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The physical and electrical capabilities of the monitors must be considered too: small speaker boxiness, limiters, poor power handling leading to distortion and power compression, unclear crossovers, etc. Very cheap stuff is rather limited.
Old 7th December 2019
  #49
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johannburkard View Post
300 means you'll have to DIY.
yes. i believe people starting out should spend time rather than money. a few build it yourself projects never hurt a beginner.
Old 8th December 2019
  #50
Gear Maniac
 

Cost of perfect room treatment right now: $69

Old 9th December 2019
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N1Greg View Post
Cost of perfect room treatment right now: $69
Yeah, with the minor exceptions that it isn’t room treatment and it isn’t perfect, that’s some kind of a bargain.
I have no doubt that software room correction is usually better than a newbie with a graphic EQ at solving minor problems and making a room less acoustically awful.
BUT... software can’t correct or effectively compensate for destructive frequency nulls that usually compromise home studios.
In reality, “perfect room treatment” doesn’t exist, and only a few extremely expensive pro rooms, designed and built from scratch, approach perfect acoustics.
Old 9th December 2019
  #52
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I suggest the Yamaha line of near fields. If that's to much, look at Monoprice.

Near field speakers reduce the room interaction with the speaker.

No matter what you want to handle first reflections with 3+" of rock wool if you can.
Old 11th December 2019
  #53
Here for the gear
 

Specifically for OP's stated purpose, Proaudio Star has a sale of a pair of Presonus Eris 8s for $260 (I'm not affiliated). Then the rest of the budget could go to temporary/moveable room treatment. I have this setup in my living room for my TV and guitar simulator setup for composition/chilling. You can get a healthy bass by moving the Speakers closer to the wall behind them, or lessen low end by moving them away from the wall. I got a jbl m-patch 2 for $99 to switch easily between sources. Just a thought. When I'm not in my treated room, this setup has really improved my quality of life. Movies sound great too!
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