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  1. #1

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    Can anybody recommend a pair of monitors (speakers) for music production? My DAW is just a tower computer. I need something that I can output from my PC. What I've been doing to date is, the initial mix is done via good headphones, then I'll take the mix out to my car which has a good stereo system in it to check for anything that's not noticable in headphones, then lastly I'll listen to the song over my smart phone..ie a tiny speaker on an Android phone to see how it sounds. The master will be a compromise between the three systems. But it would make life so much easier if I had one good set of speakers that does all these. In other words, I'd like to be able to mix through one set of speakers with confidence that the mix will sound good out of any system. If there are any speakers out there like this please, do tell.

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  3. #2

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    No one set of speakers will give you all the sounds, a real good mastering engineer will know his speaker well enough to have a general idea, but in long run they will test on all the target system. Unless mastering for vinyl the main reason to use a mastering engineer is to create multiple masters according to the type of target. A mix for film, for home system, for smartphone, for ear buds and so on.

    Good studio monitors are very expensive so first thing you want to do is set a budget then check out speaker in that price range. Know the sound you want very flat speakers, speakers that hype the bottom, etc. Also you want to connect the speaker to your audio interface not the sound card of the computer.

    A lot of decisions to make so you can narrow down the choices.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  4. #3

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    Thanks. When you say audio interface on my computer are you talking about the green (color coded) output audio jack? I don't have a separate sound card installed. What I do is, record on my Tascam and then export the tracks into an Audacity project on the computer, where I'll mix and master them. When mixing all that I've just been using headphones plugged directly into the headphone jack on the computer.

  5. #4

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    Docbop is talking about a separate device that connects to the computer via usually USB or Firewire, and it contains Analog to Digital and Digital to Analog converters that are vastly superior in quality to the sound outputs built into you computer. M-Audio, Presonus, and Focusrite are a few of the good brands of audio interface. Most of them have built in mic preamps that are usually very good. If you invest in one of hem, your sound quality all around will increase.

    You can get monitor speakers from M-Audio (I have a pair that I have been using for 12 years) but other brands are Mackie, KRK, Alesis, Tannoy, and JBL are brands to look at, and most of them have monitor speakers for under $300. a pair.

  6. #5

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    you need a set of powered studio monitors..do a search at sweetwater...really depends on your budget...but there are some nice yamahas, jbl's and mackies that can get the job done..on a home level

    cheers

  7. #6

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    Ah...I get it...Thanks much

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzy_Dan View Post
    Can anybody recommend a pair of monitors (speakers) for music production? My DAW is just a tower computer. I need something that I can output from my PC. What I've been doing to date is, the initial mix is done via good headphones, then I'll take the mix out to my car which has a good stereo system in it to check for anything that's not noticable in headphones, then lastly I'll listen to the song over my smart phone..ie a tiny speaker on an Android phone to see how it sounds. The master will be a compromise between the three systems. But it would make life so much easier if I had one good set of speakers that does all these. In other words, I'd like to be able to mix through one set of speakers with confidence that the mix will sound good out of any system. If there are any speakers out there like this please, do tell.
    That's the way to do it regardless of the monitors.

    The bottom of the barrel for flat response would be the M-Audio BX5's. I got the pair for $200.
    I'm not sure what would be one step up from that. robertm2000 pointed out some good brands.

  9. #8

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    Is this the reason that when I listen to the different tracks of a song on my Tascam, they sound so much cleaner? Maybe it's all in my head, but when I export tracks out of my Tascam into Audacity on my PC, it just doesn't sound as clean. Maybe it's in my head...IDK

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzy_Dan View Post
    Is this the reason that when I listen to the different tracks of a song on my Tascam, they sound so much cleaner? Maybe it's all in my head, but when I export tracks out of my Tascam into Audacity on my PC, it just doesn't sound as clean. Maybe it's in my head...IDK
    No, it's not in your head,

    If you're listening through headphones on the Tascam, then put the tracks on your computer and listen through headphones on the computer without a USB audio interface, the Tascam is probably going to sound better. The headphone out on an audio interface is going to sound better than the regular headphone out on a computer.
    When you 'render' a file, as in making a wav. or MP3 as a final mix that has nothing to do with the audio interface. The computer is doing the work.
    There can be some misconceptions about that.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    No, it's not in your head,

    If you're listening through headphones on the Tascam, then put the tracks on your computer and listen through headphones on the computer without a USB audio interface, the Tascam is probably going to sound better. The headphone out on an audio interface is going to sound better than the regular headphone out on a computer.
    When you 'render' a file, as in making a wav. or MP3 as a final mix that has nothing to do with the audio interface. The computer is doing the work.
    There can be some misconceptions about that.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
    Thanks...Yah I'm talking about just listening to them, not the process of creating the actuall wav file. I see how the two could be confused. Maybe I'll grab one of those usb audio interfaces. I like convenience of the visual in Audacity and how it's generally easier to arrange and edit, but apparently I'm sacrificing some quality without the usb interface... I'll have to try to take advantage of both worlds until I get some extra cash

  12. #11
    I'd suggest not to trust reviews or forum opinions Check out studio tour vids and see what people are actually using.

  13. #12

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    You want a nice pair of powered speakers for your DAW. It makes it all more enjoyable.

    But, you're always going to be checking on different systems. I believe that's just how it goes, until you have a mega-bucks, acoustically perfect listening environment. And even then ... You'll compare to other environments because you'll know your audience doesn't have mega-bucks, acoustically perfect listening environments.

    The best advice I've ever received (and I don't do it often enough, I admit) is to listen to well-recorded product in your targeted genre in your environment and on your speakers until you know what good recordings sound like in your own environment. Use the "good recordings" for reference and aim to make your mixes sound like those sound in your space.

    It's a start.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzy_Dan View Post
    Thanks...Yah I'm talking about just listening to them, not the process of creating the actuall wav file. I see how the two could be confused. Maybe I'll grab one of those usb audio interfaces. I like convenience of the visual in Audacity and how it's generally easier to arrange and edit, but apparently I'm sacrificing some quality without the usb interface... I'll have to try to take advantage of both worlds until I get some extra cash
    Probably, but I'm not sure why the headphone out on the Tascam would be that much better than the headphone out on the computer. I got rid of a Presonus Firebox a year or two ago and there was definitely more detail with the interface than without it.
    I need another interface so I might take a chance on this. I need midi + USB in's;

    Amazon.com: BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UMC204HD: Musical Instruments

    Or Focusrite, Steinberg, Presonus, etc..

  15. #14

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    When I decided to upgrade from Hifi speakers to (near field) studio monitors, I took some recordings that I know really well to the shop and played it on different monitors. I was looking for something in the range of €200to €300 for a pair of monitors and ended up spending more than €800 for a pair of Dynaudio BM 5A MK2 - 2 years later.
    If your own mixes sound balanced on different playback systems, I´d keep what you have and know well and get a good audio interface first, because like M-ster said - you will still have to check your mix in different environments anyway.

  16. #15

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    Guitar Center just had their Yamaha monitors on sale, buy 1 get second 1/2 price... I was looking at the HS8 to start a little home studio, but decided to wait a bit and now I regret not saving the $175

    Pretty sure the sale ended yesterday... hoping it continues a couple days longer. The sale was listed in the stores, not online.

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    Cheers,
    Steve

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzy_Dan View Post
    Thanks. When you say audio interface on my computer are you talking about the green (color coded) output audio jack? I don't have a separate sound card installed. What I do is, record on my Tascam and then export the tracks into an Audacity project on the computer, where I'll mix and master them. When mixing all that I've just been using headphones plugged directly into the headphone jack on the computer.

    No that's your sound card on your computer. They are okay at best and using them for recording even driving monitors can increase the load on the computer. There have been companies in the past that made audio interfaces that plugged in like a PC card, but they usually had a big "octapus" type connector cable with multiple inputs, multiple outputs.

    Here's the link to Sweetwater's audio interfaces they come in all price ranges:

    Audio Interfaces | Sweetwater
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  18. #17

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    A very good set of monitors was the original Alesis M1 Active. I bet you could find them on Ebay or Craigslist for well under $100 for the pair. I Have many different monitors, but it is still my M1s I do my final test on. They are a tiny bit light in the lowest end but are very accurate everywhere else.
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  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop View Post
    No that's your sound card on your computer. They are okay at best and using them for recording even driving monitors can increase the load on the computer. There have been companies in the past that made audio interfaces that plugged in like a PC card, but they usually had a big "octapus" type connector cable with multiple inputs, multiple outputs.

    Here's the link to Sweetwater's audio interfaces they come in all price ranges:

    Audio Interfaces | Sweetwater
    I'm aprox in the same position as the OP and I need a USB audio interface. Just about anything will be an improvement over the headphone out on a computer.

    I'm leaning towards one of these since I need regular midi in/out;

    Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD | Sweetwater

    Steinberg UR22mkII | Sweetwater

  20. #19

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    Dan.

    i’ve been using a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 usb interface with my Mac and Logic Pro. For monitors I’m using JBL LSR 305’s. Great speakers for not an enormous chunk of change.

    Jonathan

  21. #20

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    I have been looking seriously at a pair of Neumann KH120-A which are active monitors. This is the same Neumann of microphone fame. The speakers were previously made by a monitor company, K&H, that Neumann acquired.

    Neumann KH 120 5.25" Powered Studio Monitor | Sweetwater

    This is the price for one channel, not a pair. You need require two for stereo.

    The cherry would be a pair of ATC 25 Actives. But hell, I can't afford those.

  22. #21

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    I've been using KRK Rokit 6 powered monitors with my DAW. They do what I need, and are reasonably priced.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by generalduke View Post
    When I decided to upgrade from Hifi speakers to (near field) studio monitors, I took some recordings that I know really well to the shop and played it on different monitors. I was looking for something in the range of €200to €300 for a pair of monitors and ended up spending more than €800 for a pair of Dynaudio BM 5A MK2 - 2 years later.
    If your own mixes sound balanced on different playback systems, I´d keep what you have and know well and get a good audio interface first, because like M-ster said - you will still have to check your mix in different environments anyway.
    Dynaudio bm10's are good
    (My day job is Broadcast Sound mixer)

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by skykomishone View Post
    I've been using KRK Rokit 6 powered monitors with my DAW. They do what I need, and are reasonably priced.

    Thing to watch out for with the Rokit series speakers is they have very hyped bass response. Ran into many who mixed on Rokit speakers took the recording to another system and wondered where the low end went. So really need to know the speakers you mix on to avoid surprises with listening on other systems.

    Many of the big name mastering engineers are still using old so-so speaker systems and not new state of the art speakers. Why because those old speaker they understand exactly what they are hearing and how it related to the real world targets they are mastering for.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.