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Dynaudio BM15p with Hafler P3000...my very 1st impressions
Old 19th July 2005
  #1
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Dynaudio BM15p with Hafler P3000...my very 1st impressions

So, I barely got my new setup fired up (pair of Dynaudio BM15 passive monitors with a Hafler P3000 amp) and I've got a few observations:

Compared to my ol' HR824's, the Dynaudios are definitely WAY more pronounced in the mids/upper-mids and lack anything below about 80Hz. I'm a bit hazy on the low-mids so far, but the Dyn's don't seem as "glossy" or "smooth" (which may be a good thing, read on). My room is treated and sounded good with the 824's, but I moved to the BM15's in search of a more honest midrange...perhaps that's what I'm hearing with the Dyn's. This is my first exposure to a passive/power amp setup in my room - I've always used active bi-amped monitors. I will definitely be getting a sub to go with these.

I played a very recent mix (which was done primarily in headphones late at night a couple days ago - how's THAT for a test track?!) and the BM15's sounded crowded, crunchy, aggressive, and narrow. These are probably all good things because it will force me to achieve a more open, smooth, balanced, and wide mix.

I'm also mixing with the monitors upright, tweeters on the inner-half - I've read tweeter inner/outer placement is about 50/50 for people who own these and the actives.

Anyhow, it'll be really interseting to see how the next couple projects translate. If these don't work out, I think I'll try the Truth Audio speakers next (most likely active).
Old 19th July 2005
  #2
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Do not make any judgments about the BM15 without a proper run-in period. Check the Dynaudio documentation on this -- set up the pair face to face, reverse polarity on one, signal in mono. Run them at least 12-24 hours, at moderate volume.

Many (most ) high definition speakers like this will benefit from burning in. From experience, the difference in the Dynaudio BM15 is dramatic.

Steve


PS -- speaker cables are your friends here.... huge differences, depending on what you've been using. If you've not checked this, try some Tara Labs Klara cables (cheap - about $40-50 per 10' pair). Or for more $$ the Kubala-Sosna. Very interesting tonal changes with revealing speakers like the Dyns.
Old 19th July 2005
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeegybug
Do not make any judgments about the BM15 without a proper run-in period. Check the Dynaudio documentation on this -- set up the pair face to face, reverse polarity on one, signal in mono. Run them at least 12-24 hours, at moderate volume.
I know about that procedure - however, these are used BM15's which are about 4 years old and have passed through the hands of two other owners (but you wouldn't know it, these boxes are in near-mint shape). The guy I bought them from was pretty sure the original owner conducted a proper run-in.

Quote:
PS -- speaker cables are your friends here.... huge differences, depending on what you've been using. If you've not checked this, try some Tara Labs Klara cables (cheap - about $40-50 per 10' pair). Or for more $$ the Kubala-Sosna. Very interesting tonal changes with revealing speakers like the Dyns.
I would think that swapping out the amp would make a more drastic difference than cables - but I'm sure I'll try "higher quality" speaker cables at some point (if I stay with passive monitors). Thanks!
Old 19th July 2005
  #4
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Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscoleman
Compared to my ol' HR824's, the Dynaudios are definitely WAY more pronounced in the mids/upper-mids and lack anything below about 80Hz. I'm a bit hazy on the low-mids so far, but the Dyn's don't seem as "glossy" or "smooth" (which may be a good thing, read on). My room is treated and sounded good with the 824's, but I moved to the BM15's in search of a more honest midrange...perhaps that's what I'm hearing with the Dyn's. This is my first exposure to a passive/power amp setup in my room - I've always used active bi-amped monitors. I will definitely be getting a sub to go with these.
I'm going to assume that you burned your monitors in for 24-48 hours with some music and have decent speaker cables attached before listening. If you haven't burned them in, set up a CD on repeat play at like 80dB SPL C-weighted and let it run. Then listen again in a day or two.

IMHO, one of the things that I wasn't diggin' on the 824's was the bloated and over exaggerated low end. It took me a while (like a year) to get a handle on what the speaker was adding vs. what was actually there to how the room was affecting it. Even after I got a handle on it, the bottom was never clear and putting the low end jammy together felt like guesswork because there wasn't much definition to it. I found myself wondering "Is the bass actually boomy at 60-80hz or is that just the monitors?" I'd push up the fader for the kick drum and clients loved it before I did anything including moving the mic and that's a little scary.

The Dyn's cleared all that up and if something feels weak in the low end it's most likely because it IS weak. The pronounced upper mids? I hear them as being open, I can see into the audio and have an easier time picking and placing effects, seperating vocals, guitars etc. Honestly, they really made a better engineer but like we say, YMMV. I know plenty of people who love the 824's and work on them every day, but I was doing back flips when I sold my pair.

BTW, the Truth Audio monitors are great too. I had the passive's on loan a few years ago and tracked an album with them. I wasn't too happy when my friend took them back and neither was the band!
Old 19th July 2005
  #5
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I'd love to see the engineers face after swaping out an NS-10 woof!!!

"hey, this one's gonna need some burn in time"

Old 19th July 2005
  #6
I think the passives are not so great if you don't have a big room. The actives
with the room compensation would be much better. In my room, the passives didnt work at all.
Old 19th July 2005
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioez
I'd love to see the engineers face after swaping out an NS-10 woof!!!

"hey, this one's gonna need some burn in time"

LMFBO!

My first job in the biz was at a studio with a chief AE who used NS-10's at about 115dB and always had three or four seperate dbx Subharmonic Synths going at the same time. One of the first things I learned (came right after the location of the dumpster IIRC) was how to swap out an NS-10 woofer. No joke, we'd go through 5 or 6 a month, maybe more...it was so long ago. FWIW, they were fused too.

Old 19th July 2005
  #8
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The time I heard the Dyn 15As was a weird experience. Had them for about a week. Made mixes sound great.. on them. But they were horrible at translating and I think they are very inaccurate and their top end is hyped not in frequency, but in exciter like harmonic distortion kind of way. But the translation issues have more to do with their mysterious low mids.. Low mids that sound fine on them can sound really boxy on other systems. This is just my opinion of course, but I think they are the most overated monitors in the business. If you want accurate then go with Adam S3A, Truth Audio TA1A, or the PMC actives. They all sound great and translate beautifully, especially joined with a properly placed sub in a good room.

Steve
www.bangrecording.com
www.blacklinerock.com
Old 19th July 2005
  #9
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Thanks for the input, guys. Jay - are you saying that even though these are used monitors, I should still burn them in? The last guy who owned them didn't use them much I don't think, if that makes any difference.

I quickly brought up another rough mix which sounded pretty nice on the Dyn's - I'm thinking that the first mix I put up (which was NOT my best work) was revealed for what it was on the BM15's...garbage. It seems that junk mixes sound a lot junkier on these boxes, which is a good thing. I won't really know what to think until a fresh mix session tomorrow, though.

I'm going to give these a little while before I even think about selling 'em off. In the meantime, I'm poking around with some new plug-ins. Not to hijack my own thread, but dammit - why did I have to go and demo all the URS EQ's and McDSP stuff...I WANT IT ALL! I was hoping to narrow it down to just a couple models of each, but now I'm gonna probably end up with all of them. I'm really done with the Waves sound...I feel like Waves and my 824's have put an indellible stamp on my work the last couple years. It's late, I'm tired, and I'm probably giving the gear too much credit...but hey, I also get to try my new Drawmer 1968 on the mixbus tomorrow, too! [/tiredstreamofconsiousnessgearsluttalk]
Old 19th July 2005
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscoleman
Thanks for the input, guys. Jay - are you saying that even though these are used monitors, I should still burn them in? The last guy who owned them didn't use them much I don't think, if that makes any difference.

I quickly brought up another rough mix which sounded pretty nice on the Dyn's - I'm thinking that the first mix I put up (which was NOT my best work) was revealed for what it was on the BM15's...garbage. It seems that junk mixes sound a lot junkier on these boxes, which is a good thing. I won't really know what to think until a fresh mix session tomorrow, though.
I didn't know that they were used, you can skip the burn-in lol.

If you can hear a ****ty mix as a ****ty mix then the Dyn's are doing their job! I'll tell 'ya, I went to Dale in NYC armed with a couple dozen CD's and listened to everything they had in the demo room including a set of S3A's and I went in there thinking that the S3A's would slay and I'd have to plunk down $5K and figure out where to get the money from later. I listened to everything from rough mixes to finals, pre & post mastered stuff and especially a lot of commercial CD's that I use for reference...everything about the passive BM15's felt 'right' to me.

Not to say that the Adam's sucked because they are really good, but the Dyn's were a LOT less expensive and I liked them more. I found myself wondering why I had picked certain reverbs on mixes (as in, should've used a hall and not a plate) and hearing where I went overboard with the Subharmonic Synth on one project where I was going for the Tchad Blake vibe. I had mixed that record on the 824's and kept piling more low end but it wasn't getting deeper, just muddier. Granted the end result was good (didn't stop it from hitting MTV) but it wasn't what I was hearing in my head. When I heard those mixes on the Dyn's it took about 30 seconds for me to figure out where I went wrong in trying to get the low end size and weight.

The BM15's aren't going to move air like Smackie's but I don't need that...I want accuracy in my monitor chain. The nice part about going with passive monitors (at least for a pro setup) is that you can upograde the amp or the monitors without having to replace the other. That also holds true for servicing, if the amp blows a channel you can hook up another amp and keep working or if you fry a driver and don't have a spare on hand you can bring in another set of speakers and keep going. Zero down time, you gotta love that!
Old 20th July 2005
  #11
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Alright, so after my first day of mixing, I'm a little less confused by these monitors, but the experience is still so STRANGE compared to the 824's...it's like two different worlds (not better/worse, just very very different...so far).

I calibrated them to my standard monitoring levels (bandwidth-limited pink noise at -20dBFS out of my DAW reading 85dBSPL, slow C-weighted on the ol' Rat Shack meter). I found myself really cranking these monitors, which I hardly EVER did with the Mackies. I mean CRANKING - for me anyway - I was hitting about 100dB without even thinking much about it. After a while I realized I was searching for the low-end. I ordered a sub yesterday, so we'll see how these things sound with some augmented low end in a few days.

The mid range is still screwing me up...there's part of it that's forcing me to make better decisions in the midrange, but then there's another part that feels almost unstable and phasey (no, nothing's wrong with my system's phase)...though again, it might be the mix material. But this is material I handle every week and I've never noticed this...hm, maybe this is a good thing, perhaps the Dyn's are showing me things I never heard on the 824's. I hope this is the case.

I was hoping these would be "nice" to listen to, but so far they're not. They definitely make me feel like I'm working - which is good, cause I am. I wouldn't call them out and out fatiguing, but I also wouldn't put them under the "smooth" category.

Anyhow, I don't know if this is helping anyone, I just thought I'd document my monitor search after 6 or 7 years on the Mackies. I might take up Truth Audio on their free trial offer and put up against the Dyn's directly. We'll see.

-Chris
Old 20th July 2005
  #12
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Here's one of the tunes I mixed today. It's a live recording which already contains submixed tracks (all keys and guits on one stereo track, drums on a stereo track, vocals on their own tracks, etc - usually I'd be doing the live recording, too, but I didn't this week)...so my hands are pretty tied on a few things. Anyhow, just thought I'd post it to see if it's even in the ballpark on other's systems...

by the way, I'm probably going to ditch the slap delay on the vocals.
Attached Files

sadclown.mp3 (5.25 MB, 1446 views)

Old 20th July 2005
  #13
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That's mostly consistent with my experience with the Bm15, except I felt the bass was fairly reasonable, occasionally at least. Room treatment ok I assume -- not mixing right in the middle of the room?

I thought the low mids were pretty weak, although the upper mids had good clarity and detail. That was the main reason I couldn't use them, my stuff just ended up too thick in the upper bass/low mid (150-350 Hz or so, give or take). And your take matches mine as far as listening pleasure -- I tried these in the home theater once and it sounded like hot icepicks... not nice. Of course mixing monitors are supposed to be "accurate" not "pretty"... but these were well produced commercial CDs, I expect a better match when I make these kinds of comparisons.

You said you're using Hafler right? Those are usually fairly "soft" sounding IME, if yours is a MOSFET version. So a punchier amp might not help. The best match I found for the Dyns (or any monitors for that matter) was an old McIntosh tube amp. more $ though.

Let us know how the Truth compares if you do that. If you're in the mood for additional options, I'd highly recommend the PMC. That was where the bass and midrange was for me, by far the most articulate vocals I've heard from any speaker. And the transmission line is a unique bass tone, very tight.

Steve
Old 20th July 2005
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscoleman
I found myself really cranking these monitors, which I hardly EVER did with the Mackies. I mean CRANKING - for me anyway - I was hitting about 100dB without even thinking much about it. After a while I realized I was searching for the low-end. I ordered a sub yesterday, so we'll see how these things sound with some augmented low end in a few days.
Forget the sub for now grasshopper.

How's the mix translating?

Meaning...when you take the mix outside your room, how does it sound in the real world? Is it light in the low end?

You can probably spend a lot more time shaping the low end with EQ and compression before throwing more gear at the problem.


Quote:
The mid range is still screwing me up...there's part of it that's forcing me to make better decisions in the midrange, but then there's another part that feels almost unstable and phasey (no, nothing's wrong with my system's phase)...though again, it might be the mix material. But this is material I handle every week and I've never noticed this...hm, maybe this is a good thing, perhaps the Dyn's are showing me things I never heard on the 824's. I hope this is the case.
I'm wondering what your room is like. The Dyn's (like most good monitors) are pretty sensitive to the room. If things feel phasey as you move your head around you might need to get the reflections under control.

What do you think of other mixes played on the Dyn's? Not your own stuff, but records other people mixed...the standards to which we all strive.
Old 20th July 2005
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscoleman
Here's one of the tunes I mixed today. It's a live recording which already contains submixed tracks (all keys and guits on one stereo track, drums on a stereo track, vocals on their own tracks, etc - usually I'd be doing the live recording, too, but I didn't this week)...so my hands are pretty tied on a few things. Anyhow, just thought I'd post it to see if it's even in the ballpark on other's systems...

by the way, I'm probably going to ditch the slap delay on the vocals.

I think this mix is nice. It has a bit of boxyness in the SD. The balances are really nice though. I'd like more bass and less bass drum. The mix overall sounds dark to me. Is it dark in your room?
Old 20th July 2005
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound
I think this mix is nice. It has a bit of boxyness in the SD. The balances are really nice though. I'd like more bass and less bass drum. The mix overall sounds dark to me. Is it dark in your room?
I actually remixed it right after I posted it and I brought the bass up (I accidentally had a compressor plugin bypassed which screwed up my gain structure on the bass, doh) and took a bit of meat out of the kick.

As far as the mix being dark - this is what I'm talking about in terms of translation. I wouldn't have called it "dark" when I was mixing it, but I'm not used to these monitors yet, so maybe I need to mix brighter in order to translate (I hope not...). Then again, I've been going through a "darker" phase of mixing lately - I'm pretty tired of everyone boosting the hell out of 12kHz on everything, so I don't really do it.

Anyhow, thanks for the input, always appreciated. I'm going to move my monitors around a bit and see if things change a bit in terms of frequency response and stereo imaging.
Old 21st July 2005
  #17
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BTW, dark wasn't meant in a bad way. I think it worked for the song.
Old 21st July 2005
  #18
I still have a pair of BM-15's for cross reference (mains are now ATC -100A's). I use a Hafler P-9500 with the Dyns and would hate to use less amp. Most of the ""flat response design" speakers like this I've used need plenty o' juice in the copper to get the kind of bass extension you're looking for. I'd get another P-3000 and run them in bridged mode. Also, this type of speaker is _very_ sensitive to room anomolies. If you give them enough amp and make sure your room is straight, I think they'll work well for you.

Good luck!

craig
Old 21st July 2005
  #19
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the p3k is a very mid aggressive amp... try another amp if it is still bothering you.
Old 21st July 2005
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by septaudio
I use a Hafler P-9500 with the Dyns and would hate to use less amp. Most of the ""flat response design" speakers like this I've used need plenty o' juice in the copper to get the kind of bass extension you're looking for. I'd get another P-3000 and run them in bridged mode. Also, this type of speaker is _very_ sensitive to room anomolies. If you give them enough amp and make sure your room is straight, I think they'll work well for you.

Good luck!

craig
The dual-bridged-mono-amp idea is worth looking into, but the P3000 I've got is an older unit (with the power switch oriented horizontally, not vertically like the newer breed)...if I buy another used one, how well do you think it will match up to the one I've got?

I might just sell the P3000 and go with a P7000 - a whole lot beefier and I won't have to worry about sides matching up.

About my room - yeah, not ideal, but it's treated about as well as possible (according to the acoustician I consulted). The room worked well for the 824's, so I may have mistakenly thought that it would work well for other monitors. Again, I've got lots of playing around to do with placement, a sub, etc. before I can even remotely decide on whether these will work for the long term.
Old 21st July 2005
  #21
You will be amazed at what a serious amp will do to these speakers... I garan-tee it!
Old 21st July 2005
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphajerk
the p3k is a very mid aggressive amp... try another amp if it is still bothering you.
Any suggestions outside of Bryston? I'd love to pick one of those up, but they're a wee bit costly...
Old 25th May 2006
  #23
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Serious amp

Quote:
Originally Posted by septaudio
You will be amazed at what a serious amp will do to these speakers... I garan-tee it!

Just wondering if a ADCOM 5500 would be serious enough to run a pair of BM15ps?


Matt
Old 25th May 2006
  #24
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Amps will make a big difference in these speakers. I have tried various amps with my BM 15's (dual mono Hafler 9505's, Yamaha 2200,Yamaha amp with Mastering Lab mods, and Crown Studio Reference). I almost sent the speakers back until I tried the Crown and have been happy since. I would like to try a pair of Brystons though. Good Luck
Old 25th May 2006
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscoleman
Here's one of the tunes I mixed today. It's a live recording which already contains submixed tracks (all keys and guits on one stereo track, drums on a stereo track, vocals on their own tracks, etc - usually I'd be doing the live recording, too, but I didn't this week)...so my hands are pretty tied on a few things. Anyhow, just thought I'd post it to see if it's even in the ballpark on other's systems...

by the way, I'm probably going to ditch the slap delay on the vocals.
Hey, WOW! I just stumbled apon this thread and I happened to give the mp3 a listen. Really nice, I love it!!!! Artist and album name . . .availablity??? I want to buy a copy!!!

Thanks!
Old 25th May 2006
  #26
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nice tune .... i have the BM15a's ... for years now ...

i like the slap ... kinda joe henry ish ...

maybe look at that pesky 200hz that floats around the stage from the backside of those wedge monitors ... that can give you that little bit of heavyness in the low mids ... Bm's are good for hearing that ...

used to work for house of blues .. lots of live recordings ... sooo much 200hz on that stage it was crazy

btw: who is the band ? i love that melancholy **** ... yeah baby

and i hear you on that 12k boost thing being out of control ....

nice work
Old 26th December 2007
  #27
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is anyone using Bryston with BM15 passives?
Old 23rd April 2008
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R. Hanson View Post
Amps will make a big difference in these speakers. I have tried various amps with my BM 15's (dual mono Hafler 9505's, Yamaha 2200,Yamaha amp with Mastering Lab mods, and Crown Studio Reference). I almost sent the speakers back until I tried the Crown and have been happy since. I would like to try a pair of Brystons though. Good Luck
what amp are yo now using with them? The Crowns still?
Old 24th April 2008
  #29
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Yes I'm still using the Crown Studio Reference with my BM 15's and even though I still like it, I'm looking at some active ATC's or Quested.
Old 24th April 2008
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscoleman View Post
Here's one of the tunes I mixed today. It's a live recording which already contains submixed tracks (all keys and guits on one stereo track, drums on a stereo track, vocals on their own tracks, etc - usually I'd be doing the live recording, too, but I didn't this week)...so my hands are pretty tied on a few things. Anyhow, just thought I'd post it to see if it's even in the ballpark on other's systems...

by the way, I'm probably going to ditch the slap delay on the vocals.
It sounds balanced to my hears. Love the mellowish vibe. I won't describe it as dark, just mellow and not hyped on top. Don't think it's worth to discuss mix strategy in this specific thread, suffice to say that I found the mix nice sounding and with no major flaws across the spectrum. If it sounds like this on all the system outside your studio ('cause you listened to it with some other monitors didn't you?) you should be set and done. I would listen to plenty of stuff you know very well with your new monitors just to get used to it. Grab a beer, sit down in front of'em and kick some time.

I only worked with the Mackies once and was not impressed at all. Very funny boxes, good for impressing people when cranked up.

I listened to Dynaudios a few more times, BM6, BM5, BM15 and always found them very good sounding with a good balance, open hi freqs, revealing mids, controlled lows.

I wouldn't worry to much if I were in your shoes.
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