Home studio monitors - expectations?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by ajchance, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. ajchance

    ajchance Member

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    Ok, I've reached the frustration point with my home setup that I'm considering purchasing some powered monitors. I don't do that much recording, so I went cheap and set things up at home via my PC with an old pair of Bose bookshelf speakers powered by an ART amp through an EQ. (Small room, speakers on the desktop). I'm playing through my Line 6 HD500 more and more at home and church and I'm getting quite frustrated editing patches at home and not getting anything close to what I hear when I go plug into our PA.

    Since I'm in a small town and don't have the opportunity to personally sample different products locally, I was just wondering what expectations I should have if I pick up something like a set of KRK monitors? Is it going to be night and day, or is my tweaking ability really that lousy?!?
     
  2. Rkin1

    Rkin1 Supporting Member

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    Night and day difference. Get yourself some good monitors and ditch the Bose.
     
  3. Joseph Hanna

    Joseph Hanna Member

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    In this case I gotta strongly disagree. The OP is expressing frustration that his recording rig monitors don't sound like the P.A. he plugs into. There ain't ever gonna be anything that successfully bridges that sonic gap. They're without doubt two completely separate worlds.

    Suggesting studio monitors will proved a night and day difference in that particular scenario is wrong..they won't.

    I think there's a degree of a failed learning curve here on the OP's part and suggesting one throw money at it is mis-leading.
     
  4. ajchance

    ajchance Member

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    Perhaps, I should clarify. The home rig/PA difference has been the most glaring deficiency that has brought me to this point of frustration. I'm aware that tweaking tone through a PA is a different animal and that I shouldn't expect my home tone to sound exactly like the PA, but I'm not even able to get it in the same ballpark right now. I'm also having trouble with recordings sounding completely different when I play them through other playback modalities.

    I'm certainly a newbie at all this and would appreciate any tips, but my main question is what difference I should expect from the speaker swap? If it's not that significant a difference and I should be aware of other techniques to try, I'll save my money for elsewhere.

    Thanks for all the help!
     
  5. MickyZ

    MickyZ Member

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    Getting different monitors, especially those designed as studio monitors, will certainly help you get a patch tone that will likely be more consistent with what you want to hear and probably more consistent across several playback rigs. However, it still won't sound exactly like what you;ll get from a PA - different room, different speakers, etc. But then you can join the rest of us and complain about the sound guy not knowing his a$$ from a hole in the ground, especially at church... ;-)
     
  6. Tazboy

    Tazboy Member

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    The differences in the two rooms and systems are going to have a profound effect on what you are hearing. What you have to do is learn how the mixes translate between the two systems and rooms. This will take some time and effort to listen and compare, thus learn the differences. One suggestion is to take one or more recordings that are similar to what you are recording. Play them on both systems and critically listen to the differences between the two. Note which frequency ranges are missing or overly abundant in the PA. Use additive or subtractive EQ in your home mix to alter these frequencies (e.g., add low end if it is missing in the PA mix). The mix may not sound great at home, but will be better suited for the PA. There will be some trial and error involved, but once you figure out the adjustments, they will be close to the same each time.

    Any two playback systems and rooms will sound different. Playing your mixes back on different systems is a common practice. In additional to my mixing monitors, I listen to mine on my home stereo, iPod and both car systems to make sure they translate well to other playback systems.

    Even if you go out and buy new monitors, you will have the same problem because of the large differences between the two systems and rooms you are comparing.
     
  7. Rkin1

    Rkin1 Supporting Member

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    Getting to a flat frequency response in your monitors is step 1, imho. Tons of reference threads in the "Digital/Modeling" section here on TGP. Check out how folks are creating patches and you'll get a lot of great information.
     
  8. jmoose

    jmoose Member

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    Indeed.

    For this case the right answer would be to not get "studio monitors" but some kinda "stage monitor" since that's how he's actually using the stuff. Even if its just one powered wedge like a QSC K10 or whatever.
     
  9. ajchance

    ajchance Member

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    There seems to be two compelling opinions here:

    1. The speakers I'm using probably aren't ideal for my situation and should be replaced by something.

    2. In order to appropriately tweak my modeller, I need something that would give me a reasonable facsimile of our PA.

    Would it be reasonable to assume that I could get close to what I need by taking my modeller up to the church, get my patches how I like them on the PA system and then bring the patches back home and set my EQ to mimic what I hear at church? Essentially tune my home studio to come close to matching the PA?

    (All this is under the assumption that I follow advice and switch to studio monitors instead of my Bose setup. I'm essentially trying to find the best of both worlds: accurate studio monitoring with the ability to tweak my modeller accurately - possible?)
     
  10. Rkin1

    Rkin1 Supporting Member

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    Check out Scott's response to this very question (post #5)
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=996570&highlight=patches
     
  11. ajchance

    ajchance Member

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    Looks like I may be looking for a mousetrap that doesn't exist. Thanks for the post reference. This was another telling quote from one of the later posts in the same thread:

    "I have my Live FRFR presets
    I have my recording presets
    I have my live amp/effects Loop presets."
     
  12. hollowearth

    hollowearth Member

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    I'd get new speakers AND start learning more about room acoustics and recording. Can you record yourself at the church? Is that an option?
     
  13. chris k

    chris k Member

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    Why don't you tweak your patches at the church to where you want them. Maybe go early one day or on an off night. I would zero out any eq on the pa strip first.

    Then take these church PA created patches back to you home and see how they sound on your playback system. Record those patches that sounded good at the church on your PC/MAC and use those recordings as a template for how you should match up some new patches that you develop at home. Perhaps use quality headphones to critically listen and compare. Then take the patches you developed at home and see if they sound ok on the church PA.

    You are never going to replicate the church PA or the acoustics involved with a large hall at you home.
     
  14. ajchance

    ajchance Member

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    I think I will do exactly that. I have been recording us every Sunday for the past couple of years - our PA, unfortunately, is all with us on "stage", so I have to use the recordings to help make adjustments in the sound for the following week. Kind of a backward process, but with the limitations that we have (no adjustment capabilities from the back of the sanctuary), its the best we can do.
     
  15. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Find a used pair of Tannoy PBM6.5 II's and plug them in.

    That will drastically improve your home monitoring environment.

    Then, go to your church, plug into the system and tweak away.
     
  16. stratocat63

    stratocat63 Member

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    Yep. I'd say get as close to if not exactly what you will be going through on the gig.

    I make backing tracks for a good bit of my solo gig and I mix them on my PA rig. I started out using quality near fields but using the actual signal path I'll be using on the gig works out much better. Same thing with a direct guitar signal.
     
  17. jb4674

    jb4674 Member

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    Have you tried using a nice pair of headphones to get a base patch setup on the HD500? Once you get it set up make two copies, listen to it through the Bose speakers and edit one copy and call it home, then use the next one to edit it on the pa system and then try to compare them all.
     
  18. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

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    Its funny - my wife (who never seems to understand what areas of expertise I have) has totally bought into the B ose marketing and is convinced they must be the best sound company in the world.

    When I tell her no professional audio company even has the word "Bose" in its vocabulary she just looks at me like I'm from the moon.

    The challenge of studio monitors is the oldest soundman's vagary ever.

    Everything in audio is made to reproduce all frequencies at the levels they were originally recorded, from a microphone to a last-stage power amp, they can all put out almost exactly what came in. - Then you hit the speakers.

    Evetry speaker has its own personality, and there is no perfect speaker. There are only speakers that work for you. Recording mixers all understand this. The biggest challenge to any mixer is making a mix that will sound as expected when you walk out the door with it.

    If you think about it - most songs on the radio appear to be in the same ballpark - you don't have to reach for the volume, treble or bass switches while driving with each new song.

    This doesn't happen by accident, It happens because the enginees know how to get mixes in the ballpark in their studio.

    If we were talking about you doing audio mixes I would say: First - I say ditch the Bose. Get a good pair of studio monitors and bring in records that you know well and like, and see how they sound on your speaker. THAT is your reference. The idea is to have a set of speakers that you know so well you can mix on them and get a mix that sounds right on almost any system (and by right I mean "in the ballpark" compared to other well-known songs).

    In your case - seeing that your challenge is setting up effects for your chirch use - I would set them up at the church and leave them that way. Then take them home and see how they sound - but don't tweak them, you are more likely to tweak them away from what you want than towards it.

    That is, until you know those speakers so well you can evaluate any mix on them.
     
  19. ajchance

    ajchance Member

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    OK - a little follow up... I picked up some KRK V6 series 2 speakers from a fellow forumite: thanks to all who suggested changing from the Bose speakers. What a difference!!! Next to play around with the HD500. At this rate, however, even if the modeller is only marginally improved, I'm a happy camper!
     

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