#1
Basically, what would you recommend for someone who just wants to do some decent mixing on a tight budget?
#3
Quote by lemurflames
How tight?

hmmm...not sure. I can save towards a goal, but right now I just wanna know what are the cheapest monitors on the market that will get the job done. Does that make any sense?
#4
It's generally agreed that to get something usable as proper monitors you have to spend a few hundred dollars. If you're on a tight budget, you should consider using headphones - Sennheiser make some good ones at a low price.

You'd still need a way to play your mix out loud for comparison, but that can be done using a standard set of decent PC speakers or even by plugging into the aux input of a stereo system.

It's not the same as proper monitors, but it gets the job done for people on a budget.

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#5
I use audioengine a5+. These are awesome speakers for the price. Not exactly studio monitors but very good quality and has a flat EQ I believe. Look at the reviews of them. Don't know if this is of any help, but then again it might be. They serve me very well
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#6
Headphones - ATH-M50 $110 - $160

I have no experience with speakers.
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#7
I have a set of Shure SRH440 headphones. They are pretty awesome, but I'm not fond of using headphones, and I've read that headphones aren't ideal for mixing.

Quote by mitch311
I use audioengine a5+. These are awesome speakers for the price. Not exactly studio monitors but very good quality and has a flat EQ I believe. Look at the reviews of them. Don't know if this is of any help, but then again it might be. They serve me very well

Thanks, I'll give that a look.
#8
ESI Near05's. My prefered model is out of production, but the newer ones are slightly better. Best clarity I've heard from monitors, surprisingly smooth EQ, but with less bass response at higher volumes.
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#9
I am also looking for a cheap monitor which I can use with my interface around 100$ - 200$.
I have good Sennheiser headphones but I also want to play without headphones sometimes
#10
At a low budget, the best advice I have is to buy an audio switcher and get some decent headphones (I use Sennheiser HD201's), some cheap hi-fi speakers, as well as iPod earbuds and simply listen to your mix through each source and get it to sound good through all three.

The problem with cheaper monitors, particularly if you're new to mixing, is that you often end up mixing to your monitors, which not everyone is going to be listening through. Your best goal is to get the mix to sound good through a decent pair of monitors, some basic speakers, and iPod earbuds (if they sound good through these, then you've got half of your audience covered); this way, the mix should be relatively balanced and sound good through most systems. I often take around my latest mix and play in every sound system I have, including my car.

Of course, you'll never be able to get a perfect mix across wildly varying systems, but get close, then tweak it with a pair of monitors. This is just one school of thought, the other option is to get good monitors and become familiar with how they sound, so that you can tell what your mix actually sounds like, but this takes experience and half-decent equipment.

Good luck!
#11
Quote by zooloo99
At a low budget, the best advice I have is to buy an audio switcher and get some decent headphones (I use Sennheiser HD201's), some cheap hi-fi speakers, as well as iPod earbuds and simply listen to your mix through each source and get it to sound good through all three.

The problem with cheaper monitors, particularly if you're new to mixing, is that you often end up mixing to your monitors, which not everyone is going to be listening through. Your best goal is to get the mix to sound good through a decent pair of monitors, some basic speakers, and iPod earbuds (if they sound good through these, then you've got half of your audience covered); this way, the mix should be relatively balanced and sound good through most systems. I often take around my latest mix and play in every sound system I have, including my car.

Of course, you'll never be able to get a perfect mix across wildly varying systems, but get close, then tweak it with a pair of monitors. This is just one school of thought, the other option is to get good monitors and become familiar with how they sound, so that you can tell what your mix actually sounds like, but this takes experience and half-decent equipment.

Good luck!


I'm not good with this sort of stuff, but what are hi-fi speakers? Are those monitors?

I can do what you say, I have some expensive headphones and ear buds, and I good car stereo. I just need some better monitors than the $30 PC speakers I currently use. Do you have any recommendations?
#12
Quote by Jacques-Henri
Actually, the best thing you can do is get a really crappy pair of earbuds ; if your mix sounds good through that, it'll sound good through anything


F**k me.

Is this advice from experience, or from mere conjecture combined with a loosely applied platitude?

W4RP1G - hi-fi speakers are what you would normally connect to your stereo. They are generally tailored to "bring out" features of your music. You know, the "thumping bass" and the "searing and sparkling highs." The problem is, in order to achieve that, they must be, by definition, inaccurate.

Monitors are designed to be as flat as possible. Most consumers don't want this, because they describe how they make their music "bland" or "uninteresting" or even "dull."

But consider the analogy I always use for this. You've got a pair of those funky shades with the yellow lenses that makes everything look like a bright sunny day - even when it isn't. Wear those glasses and go outside and paint a picture of a landscape - the trees, the water, the sky, etc. Looks fantastic, right? Now take the shades off. Looks pretty f**king hilarious, actually, doesn't it? Those blue trees and the green sky and the whatever-colour-that-is water. Well, is it any wonder? How can you choose colours when you can't see them accurately? That is like mixing on stereo "hi fi" speakers.

Now, just because your headphones are expensive doesn't mean they're any good for mixing. Sure, those $300 Beats by Dre headphones sound really kick@ss when you're listening to hip-hop. You know why? Because they boost the sh!t outta the bass to give you that "slammin' bass" and then they peak the highs to give you those "sparkling highs." Sound familiar? You betcha. Want some yellow shades to go with those?

Probably the cheapest monitors I would look at would be the Behringer Truth series. By all accounts, they're really pretty decent, as long as you get them with 6" or better drivers. You certainly won't get better for the price, I don't figure. Yeah, you're not going to walk out for less than about $400 for the pair. But seriously, spending any less than that is like spending $100 on a mountain bike and expecting to actually go mountain biking. Oh, sure, it *looks* like a mountain bike, but aside from that, good luck with that.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

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#13
Quote by axemanchris

Probably the cheapest monitors I would look at would be the Behringer Truth series. By all accounts, they're really pretty decent, as long as you get them with 6" or better drivers. You certainly won't get better for the price, I don't figure. Yeah, you're not going to walk out for less than about $400 for the pair. But seriously, spending any less than that is like spending $100 on a mountain bike and expecting to actually go mountain biking. Oh, sure, it *looks* like a mountain bike, but aside from that, good luck with that.

CT


I will second the Behringer Truth line. Despite their reputation, they got these right. I have the B3031As and they're worth every penny
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#14
Listen to axemanchris. Jacques-Henri clearly doesn't know what he's talking about! I was going to respond in a fit of rage before chris summed it up.

I wouldn't buy Alesis M1s (they haven't been mentioned yet, but they are cheap and you'll probably stumble across them) - I have them, they sound fine, but have had a couple of faults that were a bit annoying to sort out and still haven't been entirely fixed.
#15
The axeman strikes again with his real-world analogies

Seriously though, what Chris says is the truth (or should that be Truth (c) Behringer 2012? ) and if you mix on earbuds you fully deserve the mix to sound like turd, flying from your speakers and slapping you round the face for making such a poor decision.
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#16
Quote by DisarmGoliath
if you mix on earbuds you fully deserve the mix to sound like turd, flying from your speakers and slapping you round the face for making such a poor decision.

That said, checking a mix that's nearing completion on them can be a good idea. I've heard some mixes that sound great on monitors but the second they're anywhere else I want to poke holes in my speakers/headphones/earbuds/etc.
#17
Quote by chatterbox272
That said, checking a mix that's nearing completion on them can be a good idea. I've heard some mixes that sound great on monitors but the second they're anywhere else I want to poke holes in my speakers/headphones/earbuds/etc.

Translation issues are worth checking, yes, but depending on the genre I certainly wouldn't make or break the decision to bounce a project based on translation to earbuds (particularly for something like classical music or jazz, where the majority of the audience demographic are likely to be more audiophile in nature, and listen on something of higher sonic quality).
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#18
Another vote for Behringer Truth serie. Particularly B2030A that I own. Behringer may have bad reputation but these things are dead FLAT, detailed nearfield monitors with no obvious coloration. Propably because they are clones (surprise surprise) of some old Genelec model that I do not remember. Anyway they have been very favourably reviewed several times in magazines and my ear agrees, they do their job as monitors as they should.

Only their bass extension is left to be desired, it rolls off fast after 60hz so subwoofer support is recommended.
B2031 model apparently has more bass but I heard it has too much of it. Cant really say because I havent heard it.

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Last edited by MaaZeus at Nov 8, 2012,
#19
Quote by MaaZeus
Another vote for Behringer Truth serie. Particularly B2030A that I own. Behringer may have bad reputation but these things are dead FLAT, detailed nearfield monitors with no obvious coloration. Propably because they are clones (surprise surprise) of some old Genelec model that I do not remember. Anyway they have been very favourably reviewed several times in magazines and my ear agrees, they do their job as monitors as they should.

Only their bass extension is left to be desired, it rolls off fast after 60hz so subwoofer support is recommended.
B2031 model apparently has more bass but I heard it has too much of it. Cant really say because I havent heard it.


I've got the B3031A's (the most expensive they've got), the bass starts rolling off around just under 50hz
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#20
Quote by lockwolf
I've got the B3031A's (the most expensive they've got), the bass starts rolling off around just under 50hz



Different speaker from B2031A. Extension may not differ, but I remember people saying it has strong midbass bump and therefore preferring the B2030A which is flatter.

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#21
How do the Behringer TRUTHs compare to the KRK Rokit series? I've noticed many youtube guitarists use Rokit monitors, and the 5" Rokits are much cheaper than the B2031As.
#22
This is not from experience with the KRK's, but when you combine the words "cheaper than Behringer" with 5" speakers, I'd get worried.

I'm not dissing Behringer. I'll stand by them long before a lot of people. I still use some of their stuff, though I have outgrown most of it. You can't beat them in the "bang for the buck" department, but if you're willing to spend some, you can certainly beat them.

I'd be wary of any monitor with less than a 6" speaker. A 5" speaker just starts getting too physically small to produce lower frequencies. Even a 6" driver is pushing it a bit. Ideally, I'd want an 8" driver, but my room is way too small for a speaker like that.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#23
Quote by W4RP1G
How do the Behringer TRUTHs compare to the KRK Rokit series? I've noticed many youtube guitarists use Rokit monitors, and the 5" Rokits are much cheaper than the B2031As.

I have the KRK Rokit 6's - I prefer them to the Truth's, but I've learnt these speakers so I would do. I wouldn't advise going for the 5's unless you're in a very small room; the 6's and 8's hype the low end a bit, but it's more than manageable and I think half the problem is their placement and the room people put them in too.

With either pair I don't think you're going wrong, compared to the majority of the other monitors out there in the price range, but a lot of it comes down to your listening environment and learning to mix on the speakers. NS-10's are not, and were not, the flattest or best-sounding monitors available to pro studios in their hey-day, but they got huge because people encountered them a lot and grew up learning to mix on them (ignoring the advantages of a sealed-box/infinite baffle design for midrange tim-domain response, vs ported speaker enclosures) and are still quite common today, despite major advances in loudspeaker technology.

Bottom line: we will advise you to get your environment right, and choose speakers as accurate as you can afford, but a great engineer could spend a few months with a low end set of monitors and still produce amazing results because they listen to their environment and 'learn the environment', both by playing reference material and seeing how the sound reacts to changes they make to the mix. If you can learn your speakers/room, you can get away with entry/mid-level monitors for a long time before you will benefit from an upgrade, as long as you take the time to acknowledge and suss out the innaccuracies in your mix environment (whether that is the speakers, standing waves, bass buildup in the corners or high-end reflection from the walls).
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#24
Damn, this is more complicated than I thought. I will be using these in my living room of my apartment, probably at a relatively low volume. So you guys are basically saying that I can't go wrong with Rokits or Truths as long as the speakers are at least 6"? Would going for an 8" speaker be pointless if I don't intend to crank up the volume?
#25
It's hard to say without seeing the room. Here's an idea, if you have a semi-decent hi-fi with speakers that produce a decent amount of low end, set it up on a table in the approximate area you expect to place the monitors when you get them. Now play some music on the system, at a volume you would expect to mix on.

Ignoring the fact that the speakers are going to be uneven in frequency response, and most likely boosted in the bass and highs ('smile' EQ, we call this) do you notice any dodgy, boomy resonances on particular notes that seem louder than the others? Do you hear any nasty, honky texture to the sound in the upper mids/treble? Basically, you can already get a vague idea if this position and size of speaker is going to pose you problems that will need correcting (either by getting smaller woofers, changing the placement of the speakers, or putting up some treatment against the reflections/build-ups).

So if you already encounter a lot of problems here, where songs you are used to listening to (always use songs you're very familiar with... in fact, for future reference it's a good idea to make a CD/playlist of a few songs you know inside-out, as a reference list for critical listening) you can probably surmise that you will get similar problems if you buy any monitors of a similar size driver, and place them in the same place.


I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with getting the 8's, but they cost more for little-to-no gain if you're in a room that won't benefit from the extended frequency response. The only benefit from the KRK 8's over the 6's is a flatter frequency response (±0.5dB as opposed to ±1dB across the stated ranges, I think it is for them). If you extend the low end though to an area that is arguably less important outside of club mixes and hip-hop, you're increasing the likelihood of problems in the low end considerably.

If you have a large living room, by all means give it a try, but make sure you keep the receipt in case you have to return them for a smaller pair. And like I said earlier, I mix on the 6's and have no problem with them. If you listen to 'Hollow Ground' in my profile, that's actually quite an old mix (I'm referencing a mix as I didn't have any involvement in the tracking; the audio files are freely available on the another site's recording forum) but I heard it recently in a venue I did the live sound for as a favour to the promoter, and if I can say so myself it sounded heavy as fuck with a massive, pumping low end that quite surprised me, as I mixed it for that effect but obviously don't get the same picture at home as I do in front of a big PA. Still, the lack of sub-bass at home didn't create any problems with translation to the bigger system.
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#26
Unfortunately, I don't have a decent sound system to test things out, I just use my TV, or my cheap Logitech computer speakers. Here's my living room and how the speakers would be setup:

#27
Ok, well perhaps the Logitech speakers can take that role, albeit not as effectively. I forgot to mention earlier, btw, that if you feel any of this is overwhelming don't hesitate to ask for an explanation of anything we say - we're happy to help if it doesn't fall on deaf ears

Anyway, the first thing that concerns me from the diagram is the placement of the speakers. Ideally, if you have a rectangular/'cuboid' room you should place the speakers towards a shorter wall, so they're fire down the length of the room and reduce any issues with sound bouncing off the far wall considerably. This also helps with standing waves as well.

I am a bit busy to alter the diagram for you at the moment, maybe Chris, Matrix or another regular will be on soon and can do so instead, but I would suggest you have the speakers against the shorter wall to the left, and if space allows - about 1 foot in from the wall minimum (i.e the back of the speakers aren't pushed against the wall, which increases the buildup of bass frequencies significantly).

Will you be using dedicated speaker stands, or placing them on a desk? Stands isn't a problem as you can move them forward etc. but on a desk you will possibly need to get some dense foam or solid granite slabs/roofing slate to place the monitors on, to reduce the transmission into the desk (which could be prone to resonate at certain frequencies/harmonics and would be very annoying and hard to work with).
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#28
Another vote here for the Behringer Truth series.

I've got a pair of 3030As that I picked up for £160, boxed in mint condition with 6 months left on the warranty, greatest bargain ever. Kevlar woofers and ribbon tweeters for the kind of money is insane - and they really do have the performance to match the specs.


If you're after a cheap brand new set of speakers for mixing you could do worse than the M-Audio AV40 for around £100, though personally I'd still much rather go used.

The ESI nEAR 05s are excellent little monitors and worth picking up if you see them used.


I avoid KRK Rokits like the plague, can't stand em. Hyped sounding, poor midrange, and mixes translate badly. Some people have a lot of success with them, but I don't think they're a wise choice.
#29
Quote by DisarmGoliath

Anyway, the first thing that concerns me from the diagram is the placement of the speakers. Ideally, if you have a rectangular/'cuboid' room you should place the speakers towards a shorter wall, so they're fire down the length of the room and reduce any issues with sound bouncing off the far wall considerably. This also helps with standing waves as well.

I am a bit busy to alter the diagram for you at the moment, maybe Chris, Matrix or another regular will be on soon and can do so instead, but I would suggest you have the speakers against the shorter wall to the left, and if space allows - about 1 foot in from the wall minimum (i.e the back of the speakers aren't pushed against the wall, which increases the buildup of bass frequencies significantly).


No need to re-do the diagram. You explained this perfectly well.

Quote by DisarmGoliath

Will you be using dedicated speaker stands, or placing them on a desk? Stands isn't a problem as you can move them forward etc. but on a desk you will possibly need to get some dense foam or solid granite slabs/roofing slate to place the monitors on, to reduce the transmission into the desk (which could be prone to resonate at certain frequencies/harmonics and would be very annoying and hard to work with).


Yes, it is amazing how much the mere "sitting speakers on a desk" influences the sound. The desk resonates!

Now, wouldn't granite or roofing slate just carry vibrations right through to the desk? I mean, concrete resonates.

I'd think that you'd want something absorbent that won't vibrate along with the speakers and carry those vibrations through to the desk.

I built my own stands very inexpensively.

Basically they go like this:

speaker (monitor)
rigid fiberglass insulation
1/2" plywood
construction block
construction block
1/2" plywood
screws (put through the plywood from above) so the stands rest on four tiny points

then wrapped the whole thing in a black cloth "skirt" I made from stuff on sale at the fabric place.

The less contact the speakers make with anything that will otherwise resonate (including the floor), the better.

You can see one of them pretty well here:



CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#30
Quote by axemanchris
No need to re-do the diagram. You explained this perfectly well.

Danke schön


Yes, it is amazing how much the mere "sitting speakers on a desk" influences the sound. The desk resonates!

Now, wouldn't granite or roofing slate just carry vibrations right through to the desk? I mean, concrete resonates.

I'd think that you'd want something absorbent that won't vibrate along with the speakers and carry those vibrations through to the desk.

Well, as you see with your stands the differing materials reduces the transmission of vibrations from one to another (as the granite/slate won't resonate anywhere near as much as the wood of a desk, and it will be in different harmonics/frequencies) so I would expect the slab to act as a form of barrier. Of course a layer of dense foam between two slate tiles or thin granite slabs would work better though isn't always that stable.

I built my own stands very inexpensively.

Basically they go like this:

speaker (monitor)
rigid fiberglass insulation
1/2" plywood
construction block
construction block
1/2" plywood
screws (put through the plywood from above) so the stands rest on four tiny points

then wrapped the whole thing in a black cloth "skirt" I made from stuff on sale at the fabric place.

The less contact the speakers make with anything that will otherwise resonate (including the floor), the better.

You can see one of them pretty well here:



CT

Your stands are great, if I had space for that I'd probably do something similar although I manage well enough with my speaker stands anyway (desk is too small even if I wanted to place them on there, but they'd be too low anyway if they were on the desk - at least I have them at ear-height on these stands).

What you've mentioned is obviously very effective for reducing the transmission, although I guess the amount of space he has on the desk, and the stability of it all (depending on the dimensions of the various materials), may be a factor to TS.
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#31
Quote by W4RP1G
Unfortunately, I don't have a decent sound system to test things out, I just use my TV, or my cheap Logitech computer speakers. Here's my living room and how the speakers would be setup:



Damn, that looks like my house, no joke. I've got my setup on the wall where the kitchens at in the living room (well, sorta, hard to explain without pics).
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#32
I haven't tried the Truths personally, but I have a set of Equator D5s that translate really nicely.

So, Truths or D5s.
also Chris dude that guitar is nice, I happen to have one too!
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Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#33
Quote by DisarmGoliath

...the granite/slate won't resonate anywhere near as much as the wood of a desk, and it will be in different harmonics/frequencies) so I would expect the slab to act as a form of barrier.


I was surprised to find out how much even concrete resonates. But true enough, not near as much as, say, a large wooden desktop, or a wooden bookshelf.

Quote by DisarmGoliath

Your stands are great, if I had space for that I'd probably do something similar although I manage well enough with my speaker stands anyway (desk is too small even if I wanted to place them on there, but they'd be too low anyway if they were on the desk - at least I have them at ear-height on these stands).

What you've mentioned is obviously very effective for reducing the transmission, although I guess the amount of space he has on the desk, and the stability of it all (depending on the dimensions of the various materials), may be a factor to TS.


Thanks! Grand total - about $25. When I play my music, though, and put my hand on the floor right beside the screws that serve as little legs, I don't feel *anything.*

You do significant considerations. I had a desk that was fantastic - literally twice the size. And then when I "moved in" to the new room, I had to choose between a much smaller desk or placing my speakers on the desktop. This desk is 32" in a room that is only 8' wide. With the panels, the speaker stands, etc., it's a pretty cozy fit. haha

Stability is a potential issue. What you don't really see in the picture is that I have a closet in the corner just behind and to the right of the guitar in the picture. There is *just* enough room for the bifolds to open up and clear the speaker stand, which obviously doesn't leave a ton of room to walk between the speaker stand and the entrance to the closet. With the speakers sitting on fiberglass pads (rigid or not, they're not *that* rigid), it would be easy to bump one and knock it off kilter. I just store little things in there - cable baskets, guitar cases, etc.

I would guess, though, that with a room that is literally 4 times the size of my control room, he shouldn't have *that* much difficulty fitting a desk with a couple of speaker stands along the 14' wall. It just comes down to whether or not he wants to.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.