#1
I am in the market for studio monitors for recording, tracking, and mixing rock/metal.
Right now I am using some crappy Logitech X-530 speakers, and would like to upgrade. My budget is $500-600 for a pair. I am a total newbie when it comes to studio monitors, so I am pretty much buying blindly. I am debating whether to get the KRK Rokit RP8G2, KRK VXT 4, or an M-Audio DSM-3. I've also heard very good things about the Adam A7x, but its way out of my price range.

Now, about the DSM-3, yes I know its M-Audio and they get a pretty bad rap on their monitors. The only thing that made me consider buying it is I can get them at a very good price, $465ish for a pair, when normally they sell for $800 EACH, and $1600 for a PAIR. I can barely find any reviews for them online, and for the reviews that i do find, its generally favorable. Has anyone have any experiences with M-Audio's DSM series?

Also, my room(basement) is untreated and it has tile floors. (Dunno if thats any helpful but i thought I'd just put it out there)

Suggestions for other monitors are welcome.
Thanks!
Last edited by raz1289 at Jul 11, 2011,
#2
Quote by raz1289
I am in the market for studio monitors for recording, tracking, and mixing rock/metal.
Right now I am using some crappy Logitech X-530 speakers, and would like to upgrade. My budget is $500-600 for a pair. I am a total newbie when it comes to studio monitors, so I am pretty much buying blindly. I am debating whether to get the KRK Rokit RP8G2, KRK VXT 4, or an M-Audio DSM-3. I've also heard very good things about the Adam A7x, but its way out of my price range.

Now, about the DSM-3, yes I know its M-Audio and they get a pretty bad rap on their monitors. The only thing that made me consider buying it is I can get them at a very good price, $465ish for a pair, when normally they sell for $800 EACH, and $1600 for a PAIR. I can barely find any reviews for them online, and for the reviews that i do find, its generally favorable. Has anyone have any experiences with M-Audio's DSM series?

Also, my room(basement) is untreated and it has tile floors. (Dunno if thats any helpful but i thought I'd just put it out there)

Suggestions for other monitors are welcome.
Thanks!

Of the monitors you mentioned, I'd choose the VXT 4's. Smaller woofer, yes, but they have a much flatter frequency response (more important in monitor design than an extended low end, though you won't miss that much low end anyway between them and the Rokit 8's, tbh).

As for Adam A7X's... well, I can only comment on the Adam A7's (older series) but a guy who lived a few floors up from me in my first year had A7's and tbh I didn't feel they lived up to the hype (though part of this was probably down to the room and the placement). They sounded hollow to me, like there was something missing and I couldn't quite fathom what - possibly something about the midrange. Enough of me rambling though...
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#3
If you're gonna be mixing in a room with tile floors I just wouldn't bother. Get some serious damping going on and get a pair of speakers with a flat frequency response. They don't even necessarily have to be 'studio' monitors, you just need to hear what you're actually working with as clear as possible ie flat response and no reverb from your tiled floor.
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#4
Forgot the last part of TS' post. Yeah, just get a large rug and position it centrally below your listening position, or if the room is very large then more in front of you so any direct reflections from the floor will not be so harsh. Other than that, you won't have any major problems as you hear little of the floor in most mix environments (afterall you are, presumably, sitting in a chair not too far away from a desk with the monitors ideally at ear height... the floor doesn't have much scope to become involved at this position.


Edit: And to the guy above - if it was a live room then fair enough, but in the average home studio the listening position is highly unlikely to be far enough from the speakers for the floor to have any noticeable impression on the early reflections.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jul 11, 2011,
#5
Good point DisarmGoliath. I was imagining quite a large room, probably due to my experience of studios thus far but the walls should still be treated in some way.
When altitude dropping, my ears started popping. One more red nightmare...
#6
If you have $600, get Yamaha HS80's. They go for $700 on places like musicians friend and guitarcenter, but you can find them new for $300 each without much trouble. They are easily the best monitors for the price.

From what I hear they were supposedly the new ns10, but they don't sound like them. They're actually very accurate. Bass is definitely there but it's not hyped and they've got very even mids and highs.

They've also got adjustable lows mids and highs to make up for placement in a less than perfect room.

I have a pair myself, but this recommendation is coming from someone who's heard a lot of other similarly priced monitors and picked these over them without much debate. I'm not just recommending it because it's what I have.
#7
Quote by DisarmGoliath

Edit: And to the guy above - if it was a live room then fair enough, but in the average home studio the listening position is highly unlikely to be far enough from the speakers for the floor to have any noticeable impression on the early reflections.


i'd be more worried about mic picking up way too much reverb, but as said a rug could help this...
#8
Quote by FireHawk
i'd be more worried about mic picking up way too much reverb, but as said a rug could help this...

Well, that was kinda my point but nevermind Maybe my rambling style of writing confused you
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#9
Oh well I guess I didn't catch that :P

Anyway I got Rokit 5s that I wouldn't suggest unless your in a tight space...I can't explain how my room is setup in my apartment (so I drew it) but it brings the bass up to about perfect with the walls...with that said in an open room they kinda suck.

My picture not to scale at all (yes in fact, blueprints are a big part of my job and I just did a horrible job and I don't care):
Attachments:
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#10
Thanks for the advice guys. I will not be recording with mics at all. All my recordings will be digital (guitar VSTs/amp sims, and piano VSTs). And yes, the monitors will be placed pretty close to me, and the desk which it will be sitting on is situated in the corner of my room.

Currently I'm leaning towards the DSM-3's because of the insane price deal I can get. However, the VXT 4 is lurking in the back of the mind because it has been suggested by DisarmGoliath. I'm also looking into the Yamahas that were suggested above.

Now, lets assume I have a proper studio environment(treated properly etc..), which monitors would you choose out of the 3 I mentioned in my first post?

Thanks
#12
wow where?? I'd buy it right this second if I could somehow order online or phone.
#13
Just because you can get something cheap doesn't make it good.

In a properly treated room a larger woofer(8ish inch) will probably be best. Bigger woofers tend to handle the low end better, and you really want to be hearing that accurately as you can run into lots of problems with playback on other speakers if it's not mixed right.

You have the money to get a very good pair of monitors. You really dont want to miss out on quality just because you got suckered into a "great deal". I recommended the Yamaha after hearing with them my own ears, but every music store I went to I asked if there were any comparable or better in that price range. It was pretty much unanimous that they were the best in the range and even up to $1000 a pair. The lows are very much present but not at all hyped, and the mids and highs are crystal clear. Stereo imaging is excellent as well. Things tend to get a little muddy with KRKs, but with the HS80, you can pinpoint exactly where in the stereo field your instruments are.

Now you seem to be a person that likes a good deal, so I highly suggest looking around at smaller stores than GC because you can find them pretty easily for $300 each instead of the usual $350.
#14
Why does no one mix with headphones? Audio Technica's AD900, beyerdynamics dt880 pro 600 Ohms, and even senn hd600s are regarded as very flat for that price point. Bear in mind that they wont be as flat, all of them have slightly rolled off highs and lows, but also bear in mind that the texture and clarity on a 400-500 pair of headphones should exceed that of a 600 dollar pair of speakers.

As for the comment about the 8 inch sub, I would strongly advise against anything that isn't flat. It's been said before, but I'll say it again, you need flat monitors to mix and master music. If you want to focus on the bass, mute everything else, and bump the volume up. Do not use bass heavy speakers.
#15
No one mixes on headphones because it's been proven that moving your headphones even a cm or 2 can change the sound and end up causing you to adjust your mix based on a specific positioning of said cans.
I've bought, sold, and traded more gear than I care to admit.
#16
Quote by twtgd09

As for the comment about the 8 inch sub, I would strongly advise against anything that isn't flat. It's been said before, but I'll say it again, you need flat monitors to mix and master music. If you want to focus on the bass, mute everything else, and bump the volume up. Do not use bass heavy speakers.


It's only flat if it's flat all the way down. If it rolls off at all anywhere it's not flat. I've had speakers and headphones say they can go all the way down to 20, but in reality they didn't come anywhere close.

Keep in mind that a larger woofer will just handle low end better. It doesn't have to boost it, but it will handle it better. Cars are a good example of this. My crappy car CAN cruise at 80mph+ but you can tell the car's not happy in doing so and it's very obvious it's working hard to stay at that speed. My friends BMW cruises at 80mph+ but feels like you're only going 50. Point being, the larger woofer is better equipped and can do the job much more smoothly.

As far as headphones vs monitors goes. With headphones there's no interaction with the world outside. No physical distance for the sound to develop, no reflections, and the left speaker ONLY goes to the left ear causing some drastic stereo imaging issues. These make setting effects, especially reverb, very difficult. Also, ear fatigue and overall head comfort is a bigger issue with headphones. It's good to check mixes in headphones, but a full session is generally not a good idea.
#18
Quote by lextexrex
I was actually surprised to hear from one of the KRK guys I spoke with that he preferred the 6's over the 8's.


I prefer my 5's over the 8's any day. To me, after spending 3 years mixing on 5's, the 8's just sound too boomy to me and the bass is always just overpowering. Given, I imagine that after 3 years on the 8's that the 5's would sound super thin. It all depends on how well you know your monitors.
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#19
Quote by Brendan.Clace
I prefer my 5's over the 8's any day. To me, after spending 3 years mixing on 5's, the 8's just sound too boomy to me and the bass is always just overpowering. Given, I imagine that after 3 years on the 8's that the 5's would sound super thin. It all depends on how well you know your monitors.


i have been mixing on my 5s about 3 yrs as well and have prefer the 5s over 8s. though i recorded in a bigger room one day 2 weeks ago and i was like wtf happened to the speakers?! i thought i screwed up something cause all the bass and low mids were gone. lol im worried they wont sound good wherever i move after i graduate lol.
#20
Quote by FireHawk
i have been mixing on my 5s about 3 yrs as well and have prefer the 5s over 8s. though i recorded in a bigger room one day 2 weeks ago and i was like wtf happened to the speakers?! i thought i screwed up something cause all the bass and low mids were gone. lol im worried they wont sound good wherever i move after i graduate lol.


Yeah, me as well. It's why I'm upgrading at the end of this school year. Might go ADAM, or even Genelec.
I've bought, sold, and traded more gear than I care to admit.
#21
Quote by Brendan.Clace
Yeah, me as well. It's why I'm upgrading at the end of this school year. Might go ADAM, or even Genelec.

I have to say the only speakers I've heard anywhere in my pricerange (up to £500 a pair) that I'd consider swapping my Rokit RP6's for is a pair of Genelec's we have at uni. Think it's the standard entry-level (for them) model but forgotten the model number - comes with the 'rounded feet' bases if that's a distinguishing feature lol
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#22
Quote by DisarmGoliath
I have to say the only speakers I've heard anywhere in my pricerange (up to £500 a pair) that I'd consider swapping my Rokit RP6's for is a pair of Genelec's we have at uni. Think it's the standard entry-level (for them) model but forgotten the model number - comes with the 'rounded feet' bases if that's a distinguishing feature lol



Sweet! Yeah I have always loved the Gen's and the ADAM's.
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#23
Quote by sandyman323
It's only flat if it's flat all the way down. If it rolls off at all anywhere it's not flat. I've had speakers and headphones say they can go all the way down to 20, but in reality they didn't come anywhere close.

Keep in mind that a larger woofer will just handle low end better. It doesn't have to boost it, but it will handle it better. Cars are a good example of this. My crappy car CAN cruise at 80mph+ but you can tell the car's not happy in doing so and it's very obvious it's working hard to stay at that speed. My friends BMW cruises at 80mph+ but feels like you're only going 50. Point being, the larger woofer is better equipped and can do the job much more smoothly.

As far as headphones vs monitors goes. With headphones there's no interaction with the world outside. No physical distance for the sound to develop, no reflections, and the left speaker ONLY goes to the left ear causing some drastic stereo imaging issues. These make setting effects, especially reverb, very difficult. Also, ear fatigue and overall head comfort is a bigger issue with headphones. It's good to check mixes in headphones, but a full session is generally not a good idea.


I see what your saying, but wouldn't increasing the size so it can move more air inevitably result in at least a little boost?

As for the headphones, I'm aware of the stereo imaging problems, not a fan of the "soundstage" on headphones, but do many people use headsets, shouldnt you have a reference pair on hand to use to make sure the stereo imaging doesnt sound like dog poo on headphones?
#24
Quote by twtgd09
I see what your saying, but wouldn't increasing the size so it can move more air inevitably result in at least a little boost?

Yes, and no, because the low end will be increased but it can still be kept under wraps (hence the monitors of any size having a fairly flat spectrum in a product range). In fact, to take the Rokit G2 series (as I know the approximate figures off the top of my head), the RP8's are actually flatter/more accurate than the 6's and the 6's than the 5's, as far as spec goes I might add. The RP6's are quoted as having a range of 49Hz-20kHz (I believe) ±1.5dB; the RP6's = 45Hz-20kHz ±1dB; and RP8's 43Hz-20kHz ±0.5dB.

As for the headphones, I'm aware of the stereo imaging problems, not a fan of the "soundstage" on headphones, but do many people use headsets, shouldnt you have a reference pair on hand to use to make sure the stereo imaging doesnt sound like dog poo on headphones?

Of course, but most of us just use the headphones we track with, or a random pair we use for iPods/mp3 players etc. The people listening on headphones are rarely going to be the people looking for the highest quality, unless they're on the move (but if they are high-quality audiophile headphones they should respond better and more akin to monitors, in theory, albeit with the inherent flaws of headphones).


Quote by Brendan.Clace
Sweet! Yeah I have always loved the Gen's and the ADAM's.

Genelecs seem very clear across the spectrum, especially in the low end which is definitely present but very tight and punchy. As for Adam's, I've already said earlier about my experience of the old A7's, though whether the A7X's are any better I haven't a clue - they were still great speakers but I would rather mix on my RP6's than them, for my own confidence.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jul 12, 2011,
#25
Gotcha, I guess I kind of overestimate how much sound quality means to most people who use headphones, so I figured that anyone recording should have a higher end pair of headphones. Thanks for your time.
#26
Tannoy Reveal 601a's 250 each. Awesome monitors. I say go for the dsm3's if you can get a deal that good. There awesome monitors, forget the shit people are saying about m-audio. (those monitors are co designed by digidesign/avid)
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#27
Quote by Kenova
forget the shit people are saying about m-audio. (those monitors are co designed by digidesign/avid)


Have you USED anything from them before? A lot of us have....and a lot of us are disappoint.
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#28
Quote by Kenova
Tannoy Reveal 601a's 250 each. Awesome monitors. I say go for the dsm3's if you can get a deal that good. There awesome monitors, forget the shit people are saying about m-audio. (those monitors are co designed by digidesign/avid)

Tannoy Reveal series - pretty good. M-Audio DSM's? Overpriced, and weaker than the competition.

If you seriously think DSM's are better than the VXT series (KRK) then you either haven't tried anything but KRK Rokit's (which I'd still take over any M-Audio monitors I've heard), or you suffer some form of hearing disorder.

Oh, and Digidesign is AVID, as are M-Audio... the amount of control they have over their products is diminishing with each announcement (Pro Tools 9 taking drastic measures to draw back customers and stop what was Digidesign going bankrupt is just one example... who'd have seen Digidesign removing the need for their own interface, or offering HD to native processing, for example? Or even scrapping the cripple that was M-Powered/LE and giving entry level users plug-in delay compensation?).
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