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Studio Monitor Upgrade for $800 - help needed

Mr. Pickles

Member
Messages
327
I have $800 to upgrade my studio monitors.

I don't have much experience with any other brands than the Behringer Truths that I used to own and the M-Audio SP-8Bs that I've been using for years. And I most likely won't be able to audition any, so I'm making my decision based on reviews and advice.

My top choice so far is a pair of Equator Audio D8s. I'm also considering the JBL LSR308s or 305s with a sub. Sweetwater gave me a buy one get one for half price offer.

I'm running SONAR X1 on a PC. My interface is a MOTU 828mk3 locked up to a BLA Micro Clock and my monitor control is a Presonus Central Station. I have minimal sound treatment in an odd shaped bedroom (Auralex diffusion and absorption, no bass traps). I mix my own demos as an amateur just for fun.

 

JCM 800

Member
Messages
6,614
Look for a pair of used Dynaudio BM5a monitors. A nice step up from lower/entry level products.
 

Scott Whigham

Member
Messages
3,528
We all like gear but there's a certain logic to upgrading. Monitors + acoustics need to go hand-in-hand. You've done that here - the quality of your monitors equals the quality of your acoustic treatment. The problem is that, if you upgrade the monitors without upgrading the acoustic treatment (both in terms of materials + placement + amount), then your mixes won't be any better. Maybe you need to invest $300-$600 in acoustics first. If you go this route, the best case scenario is that you will be so shocked at how good your current monitors will sound + mixes will sound that you won't feel the need to upgrade monitors. The absolute worst case is that you still want to upgrade monitors. Regardless, you need to do the acoustic work.
 

thomassmith

Member
Messages
4
Scott is totally right! Some DIY: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1KaCfjrMzM
For acoustics you might need an acoustic expert for a room.

Important advice form an acoustic expert in Hungary: Using only Auralex foams results an inappropriate environment.Resonators and diffusers are also needed.

Anyway, here in the UK, ppl prefer KRK VXT 6 or VXT 8 in that price range. I know some producers who made amazing music with those. But some say gear does not matter as much as ears:)

Experts always told me to wait and save more money to buy decent ones. I spent a lot of time listening them and digging into the subject.
From the cheapest to the most expensive (these are on display in Hungary in a shop):
Genelec 8040, Genelec 8050,
PSI A21m (personally loved it because of the bass reflex),
ATC SCM 16 (highly recommended, very detailed),
Neumann KH 310 (previously klein and hummel o 300)
and the top of the top is ATC SCM 25. Perfection.
 

Monotremata

Member
Messages
1,338
Get the Equators!! :D

Im probably replacing my old SP-5S's (I even got suckered into buying the SP-8 sub) with the D5s. I still cant decide between the D5s or the Tannoy Reveal 501As (which I can get for almost half the Equators now), and like you I have no way to audition anything where I live nowadays, so Im giving it a day or two to get some feedback from some forums heh.

Man those SP-8s look huge compared to the SP-5s! Im gonna miss the M-Audios, thats if I can even sell them out in this wasteland hah. It took me a long time but I can mix on em in my sleep now, but that big high end spike and my hearing just dont get along and Ive always had trouble mixing the 1k-3k or so area with em.. Not to mention that sub did me no good other then to cause even more problems so after like 12 years I finally just disconnected it for good heh.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19,079
I have the smaller Equators. Sometimes I wish I had the bigger ones or a sub, but they are accurate and flat.
 

mattball826

Senior Member
Messages
20,798
jbl lsr or jump up to focals. dynaudio is also good.

d5 are ok for small home budget monitors but you already have several pairs of budget monitors. its like buying 3 or 4 consumer guitars instead of that really nice one. then you take a beating on resale or trade in.

i would also consider treating the room before anything else.
 

Jack Gilvey

Member
Messages
4,062
I really like the Equator for nearfield use. They work extremely well that way due, I assume, to the coax configuration. The closer you get, the better they sound and the less contribution the room makes.
If you have a Guitar Center near you, you can check out the JBL LSRs as well although I'd lean toward the Equators. I stopped in with a buddy yesterday and he mentioned he'd like to upgrade his monitors so I recommended the 305 based on reviews and we spent some time in their room switching back and forth among the 305, 308, and others (sales guys were all busy). Neither he nor I could hear anything particularly special in the LSRs although the center image was good, even in that situation. Still, I may take a pair home to try, out of curiosity, as it can be tough to tell in that setup.
 

rog951

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,806
>>>I really like the Equator for nearfield use. They work extremely well that way due, I assume, to the coax configuration. The closer you get, the better they sound and the less contribution the room makes<<<
I know what you mean by this as far as the "phase coherent" design of the Equator stuff, but you simply can't take the room out of the equation. If there's a peak or null or bad comb filtering at the listening position, it won't matter how close that listening position is to the speaker. If it's true that the Equator is better than most in a bad room, it would still be kinda like eating the least rotten meal out of a bunch of pretty rotten meals. ;)

BTW, I should say I'm not bagging on the D5s at all. In fact, I own a pair and they're great little monitors. I also have a pair of the old, big Mackies and the two together tell me all I need to know. My room is not the greatest but I do have my first reflection points well covered and 10 or so 2' x 4' panels of 2" thick absorption. I need to add some bass trapping though, for sure.

I was happily surprised by the difference of putting up just the two panels at the 1st reflection points. That was the first thing I did and made a big difference right away. I was flat out amazed once I added the rest of the panels though. I can remember not wanting to spend the money on this stuff for so long, and now that it's in, I want to buy more! Easily the best money I've spent in audio. Don't underestimate it.
 
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Jack Gilvey

Member
Messages
4,062
I know what you mean by this as far as the "phase coherent" design of the Equator stuff, but you simply can't take the room out of the equation. If there's a peak or null or bad comb filtering at the listening position, it won't matter how close that listening position is to the speaker. If it's true that the Equator is better than most in a bad room, it would still be kinda like eating the least rotten meal out of a bunch of pretty rotten meals. ;)

BTW, I should say I'm not bagging on the D5s at all. In fact, I own a pair and they're great little monitors. I also have a pair of the old, big Mackies and the two together tell me all I need to know. My room is not the greatest but I do have my first reflection points well covered and 10 or so 2' x 4' panels of 2" thick absorption. I need to add some bass trapping though, for sure.

I was happily surprised by the difference of putting up just the two panels at the 1st reflection points. That was the first thing I did and made a big difference right away. I was flat out amazed once I added the rest of the panels though. I can remember not wanting to spend the money on this stuff for so long, and now that it's in, I want to buy more! Easily the best money I've spent in audio. Don't underestimate it.
I don't disagree, rog, and have 4" thick, 2x4 703 panels installed at first-reflection points as well as 34" mineral-wool Superchunks in the corners - count me in as far as room treatments. :) All else equal, though, nearfield will be less subject to the room than farfield I think.
 

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
Messages
13,333
I listened to the Equators at NAMM - they are $777/pair. I think they sound very good. The story behind them is that they spent a long time "tuning" the crossover and other details using the Bernie Grundman mastering studio for comparison purposes. I guess they took the prototypes there and tweaked until they sounded as close to what Grundman was used to hearing as possible (I got this from the owner of the company).

They sound really good. They have a coax tweeter mounted inside the woofer for (supposedly) the best phase coherence. But he said the real trick was in tuning the crossover to get the right frequency response in the mid-range. There is variable DSP for the crossover onboard which you can tweak from the back to your own taste.

Like many entrepreneurs in the music biz he seemed part genius/part madman (very excitable) and very much believed in his own product.

I have a pair of the Adam A7 powered monitors which were just dropped to $399 apiece. I like them. But I might have gone for the Equator if they had them where I was buying to test out (they didn't). I guess he might only sell directly.

I like my Adams - very clear in midrange and seem to give me the mix I expect when I listen on other systems. The trick is to remember how tight the ribbons sound and to NOT go that direction - it is better to make them sound less defined (not more). You can get a very tight mix on these speakers (too tight in a way, if you go towards what the speaker does best which is define the midrange). I would say they are good for tracking though. I don't think they will lie to you.
 

Monotremata

Member
Messages
1,338
I have a pair of the Adam A7 powered monitors which were just dropped to $399 apiece. I like them. But I might have gone for the Equator if they had them where I was buying to test out (they didn't). I guess he might only sell directly.
Where did you find the A7s for $399 a piece?? Just checked and zZounds has em for $750 each...
 

cjcayea

cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce
Messages
4,031
Where did you find the A7s for $399 a piece?? Just checked and zZounds has em for $750 each...
if im not mistaken, the A7s are 399, its the A7X, which is the newer model, that is still 749. i recently bought a set of A5s for 399. theyre OK but certainly not awe inspiring.
 

Garnoch

Member
Messages
43
When I was going to stick to this price range I had settled on the Event 20/20 BAS. Since I decided spend more though, I went with the Adam A7x. Because of that, I'd also be interested in Adam F7 for you, but it would be a little over your budget.
 
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