#1
I'm new to recording music and pretty much got my setup complete. I use reaper with biasfx, guitar plugged into focusrite 2i2..superior drummer and a few other plugins for orchestra and other sounds.

I've been told many times to invest in studio monitors rather than using the computer's built in speakers or headphones. I don't have a ton to spend though, Ideally I'd like to spend around 100-200 dollars. Some lower price ones that I have found in the area are M-audio AV40s and BX5a but I've heard from a lot of people to stay away from M-audios as they are not very good.

I'd rather spend a little more on a good brand although as I am just starting I don't want something too fancy either. As far as music, I'm mostly just recording progressive metal. From crisp cleans to heavy OD.

I don't know what I need. I get people telling me to invest in the most high end monitors out there but do I need that? I just need something to listen back to while I'm in my room tracking with my guitar
Last edited by daddyorca at Jan 31, 2017,
#2
daddyorca The Bx5a were offered to me by a friend for 60 but although that is pretty much dirt cheap, if these aren't good ones I'd much rather not spend the money.
#3
AudioTechnica ATH-M50x

For around $150, I think it does the job well enough
If you want to shell out $300 for really flat tone, ATH-M70x
Gear:
- ESP LTD MH-50
- Strandberg OS 7
- A cheap fender strat knock-off not worth naming
- Garageband
- Boss GT-1
- Potato
#4
I'll start by telling you what you don't want to hear. You're asking about a product that most people spend about $1000 on. To use that as a point of reference, you're asking what you should get with a budget of only about 10-20% of that.

You can see how that makes it a difficult question - even on the used market.

I'd keep saving if I were you. Anything you get now will not meet your needs for very long at all, and you'll wind up buying again.

If you really, really must get something now, and in that price range, there is good news, though. If you can find an old pair on the used market, I've seen the Yorkville YSM-1 monitors go for just under $200. In fact, I was forced to let my own pair go for that much.

Here is another point to consider. Your room actually matters more than the monitors. The last place I was in, I could mix just fine. I moved here, set up my gear - everything exactly the same - and couldn't make a usable mix to save my soul. The difference was the room.

I found that if I moved my chair anwyere from a meter or two in either direction from where I had it, I wound up with a wide variety of "opinions" based on where I was in the room. The bass, for instance, went from overbearing to almost gone.

Once I added some treatment (that I made myself for less than the top end of your budget), I found I could mix waaaaay better.

With your current budget, I'd recommend just getting a decent set of flat-ish stereo speakers at a garage sale ($40) and using the rest of your budget to treat your room.

Then when you upgrade your monitors, you're only walking away from a $40 set of garage sale speakers.

Here is a link to how I built mine. Be sure to check for captions, as many of the photos are captioned with simple instructions, materials, etc.

https://plus.google.com/photos/105151472351939734946/albums/5666851243565868161?authkey=CMqj8aqgrZKZDQ


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.
#5
axemanchris Thanks a lot for the reply! Yeah I'm completely new to this so I had no idea there was that much being spent. With that being said, I still mainly just want to try out recording. How essential to home recording IS a pair of high end monitors? I'm guessing my best bet it to just drop the 60 on the BX5a's that my friend is offered and save up until I can afford a good set? Also by then I'll have more experience in this. I don't mind losing the 60 so I guess I'll just go for it.
Last edited by daddyorca at Jan 31, 2017,
#6
Well, there is high end.... and then there is high end.

My ballpark of $1000 is the first "high end." When you consider that a lot of guitars cost that much, or a lot of amps cost that much, or that a lot of drummers spend that much on hardware alone on their kits, it's not really that much. Then you can go to the next "high end", where pretty much, the sky is the limit. A lot of pro studios can spend closer to $10 000 on monitors.

How important is good monitoring? Somewhere between "vital" and "absolutely critical."

However..... you can spend $10K on monitoring, and if you don't invest in your room, you're still further behind monkey-boy next door who is mixing on ear buds. So.... your room is even *more* important than good monitors.

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.
#7
Let me use a visual analogy.

Your monitors are your lenses which you use to see. Can't see f**k all without lenses. The better the lenses, the better you see stuff.

Your computer speakers are like trying to see with tinted yellow lenses. All those trees you just painted with those lenses on look fantastic. Until you take the lenses off and put on some clear ones... and you wonder why the hell you painted your trees blue.

But if your room is filled with bright lights that shine directly in your eyes, a fog machine on overdrive, and big tall pillars that create weird shadows.... well.... you're screwed right out the gate. The best lenses in the world aren't going to save you.

The bad news is that you really don't *know* how bad your room is until you've either
a) done some technical testing - not that difficult, but just yet another thing to learn....
b) asked "why the hell do all my mixes sound great in my studio and suck everywhere else?"

The default assumption, unless the room has been designed from the get-go with acoustics in mind, is that it is probably an acoustical night-mare. Probably. Especially if it is small. Or especially if you have wood paneling. Or double-especially..... if you have both. Haha. Or especially if the dimensions are such that one dimension is an even multiple of another. (like, say, an 8 x 16 room). Or double-especially if all the dimensions are even multiples of each other. (like that same room, only with an 8' ceiling!)

Compound that again if you have a lot of reflective surfaces (plaster walls, concrete or hardwood floors, etc.)

The house I moved out of had a room I got really lucky with. I didn't even treat it and it was decent to mix in. It was about 16x20. It was mostly carpeted. The ceiling was vaulted (ie not parallel to the floor, which means sound that bounced off it did so and crossed paths over my head and didn't bounce directly off the floor) to a fairly decent height. The walls were a combination of stucco'ed (so stuff that bounced off it went in all kinds of different directions... and the ceiling was the same stucco) parts and parts that were old re-claimed barn-board (fairly soft and porous).

The room I moved into was wood paneling and 10 x 20. The only solution was to move into a new room. Which didn't really exist.... so I had to build one.
:-/


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.
Last edited by axemanchris at Jan 31, 2017,
#8
axemanchris Thanks for the info. I'm going to go ahead and do more research but if monitoring is really that vital I really don't mind ultimately spending 1000+ considering I have much more than that invested in guitars already
#9
No problem, but remember.... you can spend the moon on monitors, but if you don't treat your room too, it will be wasted money.

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.
#10
BX5a for that price range are great.

If you look at the holy grail of monitors, the NS10, they weren't very expensive and sound like cardboard, yet if you get a mix to sound good on these, it translates well pretty much anywhere.
#11
Although the NS10's were (even are, still) ubiquitous, I'm not sure anyone would hold them up as the "holy grail." In any case, though, the sign of a good monitor is whether or not a mix done on them will translate to other systems... and they, indeed, did that very well.

The HS series are modeled after the NS series monitors. I have the HS8's and I *love* them.

Interesting that they were originally just marketed as bookshelf speakers, but once studios started using them for mixing, Yamaha figured they were onto something, and started marketing them differently.

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.
#13
KRK Rokit 5's in a good room will beat a high end pair of monitors in a bad room any day of the week.

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.
#14
Quote by axemanchris
Well, there is high end.... and then there is high end.

My ballpark of $1000 is the first "high end." When you consider that a lot of guitars cost that much, or a lot of amps cost that much, or that a lot of drummers spend that much on hardware alone on their kits, it's not really that much. Then you can go to the next "high end", where pretty much, the sky is the limit. A lot of pro studios can spend closer to $10 000 on monitors.

How important is good monitoring? Somewhere between "vital" and "absolutely critical."

However..... you can spend $10K on monitoring, and if you don't invest in your room, you're still further behind monkey-boy next door who is mixing on ear buds. So.... your room is even *more* important than good monitors.

CT


I've seen places that spend tens of thousands on custom mains... and all the engineers do all their mixing on their $700/pr NS10s.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
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.
#15
The big monitors in the studios are usually to impress the management mooks and look good on pictures. Most studios I've worked in had a smaller monitoring system, and only occasionally blasted the big ones to impress clients.
#16
JBL LSR305! They are awesome! Obv those are the ones that I have so I will defend them, but you can read many many reviews saying that they sound the most flat from all the options you have at that price range, also when you will want to take your mixes to the next level, you will want to treat your room, have the monitors properly positioned, you know, all the little details, so I'd start looking on that too!
#17
Quote by diabolical
The big monitors in the studios are usually to impress the management mooks and look good on pictures. Most studios I've worked in had a smaller monitoring system, and only occasionally blasted the big ones to impress clients.


I only ever use the giant soffit mounted mains to check my low end. Admittedly I would adore having the Griffin G1.5s that are in the studios I'm in most of the time.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
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.
#18
I've got Tannoy 5's. Few years old and bought them nearly new off a guy who was moving into a smaller space so had to let some things go.

Fantastic build quality, excellent reproduction and I am very happy with them!
*** Can't Stop What's Coming ***
#19
Quote by axemanchris
With your current budget, I'd recommend just getting a decent set of flat-ish stereo speakers at a garage sale ($40) and using the rest of your budget to treat your room.

Then when you upgrade your monitors, you're only walking away from a $40 set of garage sale speakers.
Came here to say just this, the room matters most of all.

Also any speakers with no 'hyped' frequencies and corrective equalization will do the job, just because they're not labeled as "studio monitors" doesn't mean they won't work. I mix on an older set of Fisher STV-880's (which is some notoriously bad stuff from Fisher), which aren't great by any means but my familiarity of their sounds allows for usually good mix translation as I've been hearing music on them since I was little (parents almost threw them out).


When it comes to room treatment, unless it's all you can get your hands on and you hate being crafty, try to avoid acoustic foam as much as possible. Tho it looks cool, and is better than no treatment at all, it doesn't stop all offensive reflecting frequencies or fully control bass. Plus proper 703 fiberglass is cheaper. And STAY AWAY from egg-crate foam, that doesn't treat anything at all.

Take it from me, I was ignorant and bought 100+ square feet of foam without doing any research. Again it's better than no treatment, but compared to how a real studio sounds it's blehh.