New monitors for my new studio

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garethmetcalf
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New monitors for my new studio

#1

Postby garethmetcalf » Sat, 2020-Oct-31, 09:12

Hi fellow gear heads.

Without wanting to turn this into one of those classic threads from another well known online forum, I am after some thoughts from any of you that have experience of some of the newer studio monitors.

I have been using a pair of Mackie HR824's since 2002 (which confusingly appears to be 18 years ago..). I have nothing but good things to say about these to be honest, they've served me very well and I don't get why there are a load of Mackie haters online.

I built them into soffit walls in my last room and they worked really well, but I knew there was a problem with bass from the rear of the speaker venting through the 'chimney' of the soffit. For my new build I want it to be as good as it can be, and it seems that this might be the right time to replace and upgrade my monitors. Here's to hoping for 18 years from the replacement set.

My shortlist is:

Eve SC208 - looks good, and I like the price
Neumann KH120 - well reviewed, but I'm worried about the size of the woofer. I don't think I'll get the bass extension I want from it
Neumann KH310 - mostly well reviewed, and like the idea of the sealed cabinet. Less happy about the price
Focal Trio6 Be - very well reviewed, love the idea of being able to switch off the woofer. Really unhappy about the price

Question:
Have any of you got any experience with any of the above? Or any other recommendations for £1500+ pairs of monitors that would be a realistic upgrade from the Mackie's.

Thanks
Gareth



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New monitors for my new studio

#2

Postby Soundman2020 » Sat, 2020-Oct-31, 11:34

Without wanting to turn this into one of those classic threads from another well known online forum,
Ahh yes! I'm pretty sure I know what you mean! :) Best stay away from that... :roll:

I have been using a pair of Mackie HR824's ... they've served me very well and I don't get why there are a load of Mackie haters online.
I agree! Those are decent speakers at a decent price. Perhaps it's more of an elitist name-brand thing: They aren't traditional "big name" studio reference monitors, and they aren't crazy expensive, so some folks think they aren't any good. In reality they are just fine for a budget studio... as you already found out in your last place! You can do good work on them, with no problem.

I knew there was a problem with bass from the rear of the speaker venting through the 'chimney' of the soffit.
I'm still wondering if that might have been partly my fault: There might not have been enough damping on the rear of the speaker, and in the rear of the enclosure box. Or perhaps some of the damping came loose over time, moving from where it was supposed to be.

Eve SC208 - looks good, and I like the price
I've done a few studios with Eve speakers, and I like them. They perform well, have really good high-end, can be soffit-mounted nicely and simply, and the guys at Eve are great: very helpful. One feature I do like about the, is that they have no controls on the rear panel: everything is done from one knob on the front panel, which is great for soffit-mounting. You don't need to worry about leaving an easy access path through the soffit to be able to adjust the controls, which can be a tall order in a small room. That "one-knob" control is a very neat feature. They also have another nifty feature on many of their speakers, the Eve logo marks the location of the acoustic axis! Takes all the guess work out of locating and aiming the speaker. I'm not sure if this is true for all of their speakers, but it is for some of them. Shows careful thought was given to design.

Neumann KH120 - well reviewed, but I'm worried about the size of the woofer. I don't think I'll get the bass extension I want from it
Regardless of which speaker you choose, I would still suggest adding a sub. In addition to the bass extension, a properly positioned sub that is properly tuned can also deal with some of the remaining acoustic issues in the room, such as the very low end modal stuff, and SBIR. Couple a pair of KH120's with a KH805 (if you can still find one) or a KH750, and you have an awesome combination. Hard to go wrong with that... except for the price! One thing I love about the KH subs, is that the manufacturer's claims are wrong... :) ... in a GOOD way. For example, they say that the KH805 goes down to 18 Hz, but that isn't correct: it goes down to 16 Hz, easily, and can get to 14 Hz quite convincingly, if you push it a bit, with no distortion or other issues. Now, you might wonder why you'd need a sub that goes deep into the infra-sonic range, when there's no musical instrument that gets that low (or even close!): the answer is ... acoustics! The music might not go that low, but the room response does. Dealing with room response issues with a sub doesn't just fix issues at that frequency: rather, it smooths out frequency response across the entire spectrum. It doesn't seem logical or intuitive at first glance, but it is.

Thus, I'd suggest adding a sub, no matter which speaker you choose. The big drawback here, is the cost. But if I had to choose between a pair of mains that go down really low, with no sub, or a pair of less expensive mains that don't go very low combined with a good sub, good placement, and good tuning... well, that's a no-brainer! The sub+mains combination wins, for sure. Even better is a pair of mains plus TWO subs! You can do some really neat tricks with that, such as a plane (or "planar" if you prefer) wave bass array...

Sometimes you'll hear engineers or audiophiles rant about it not being a good idea to use subs in a control room, spouting some techno-babble reasons for that, such as time-of-flight differences, or phase issues, or other stuff, but the truth is that these reasons are simply not valid for a properly designed and tuned system. The results speak for themselves.

In summary: all of the speakers you mention are good options for your room, and price isn't always the best indicator of performance. You could maybe add Genelec to your list, a they have some really good stuff too, and some of it is in your rice range. But the "egg" shape of many of their speakers makes it tricky to mount in a soffit. Not from the acoustic point of view (they work great in soffits!), but from the physical point of view, of mounting them straight and level, and aimed properly, ad cutting the baffle hole to that curve shape with a curved interior profile...

Anyway, that's my $0.02! Maybe others might want to add their own opinions.

- Stuart -



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New monitors for my new studio

#3

Postby garethmetcalf » Sat, 2020-Oct-31, 12:53

Thanks Stuart

I had wondered about the Neumann KH120 with a sub. I've just read up on the newer KH80s with the KH750 sub which seem to review extremely well. They are tiny though and would look odd soffit mounted in a big wall!
I wondered whether the Neumann app could be used for the digital tuning instead of the old Behringer, but I think it has less filters?

I think I need to listen to the Eve SC208, the KH120s and sub and maybe the KH310s. Oh and maybe some Focals - the Twin 6??

Hmmm
Gareth



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New monitors for my new studio

#4

Postby Soundman2020 » Sat, 2020-Oct-31, 18:12

I already have an Adam T10S sub but this was quite cheap so not sure it will be the required quality.
If you already have that, then you could certainly use it. No problem. I have an Adam Sub8, which I find to be under-powered for most rooms, unless the room is very small, but the T10 should be OK for your place. It might not be ideal, but it can be used, if that's what you have on hand. The neat thing about using subs for low end extension and also for acoustics, is that they are relatively easy to replace, and relatively easy to tune, since they are usually not installed permanently inside anything, like the mains commonly are. In fact, you would not even need to replace the T10 in the future; you could just add a second sub, of another brand and model, the re-tune the whole system to take the most advantage of that. One sub by itself can already do some neat magic tricks, and two subs can do a lot more. Four subs gives you incredible control, and I have even seen a setup with 8 subs (! :shock: ) that gives you fantastic control over the low end in your room. That one was four subs on the front wall, and four on the rear wall, with two low down near the floor and two up high near the ceiling in each case, creating a true plain wave bass array. Not so easy to tune 8 subs to do that, but the outcome is incredible.

Of course, I'm not saying you should put 8 subs in your room! :!: Just pointing out that ANY number of subs is good, starting with just one, and 2 or more are better.

So we can put your T10 to good use initially, then add another sub later if you decide to do that, and can stretch the budget.

That would be my recommendation.


- Stuart -



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New monitors for my new studio

#5

Postby SoWhat » Sat, 2020-Oct-31, 18:36

8 subs


Conjures up Homer Simpson thinking about food (what else???): "mmmmmmmm 8 subs aarrrggghhhh"



garethmetcalf
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#6

Postby garethmetcalf » Sun, 2020-Nov-01, 08:19

That’s good news.

I’m leaning towards the Neumann KH310 but would like to try the Focal Twin as an alternative. I could use my Adam T10s with them for now and then maybe in the future change or add to the sub.

It’s still a lot of money to spend, but I’m hoping for twenty years out of this set of monitors so worth getting the right thing



garethmetcalf
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New monitors for my new studio

#7

Postby garethmetcalf » Thu, 2021-Jan-07, 15:39

Update: got demo sets of Focal Twin Be and Neumann KH310 arriving Tuesday.

I’ll share my thoughts once I’ve listened. Unfortunately the listening will need to be in the lounge, as the studio is under construction...

Cheers
Gareth



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New monitors for my new studio

#8

Postby SoWhat » Thu, 2021-Jan-07, 16:29

Fortunately the listening will need to be in the lounge with cocktails.

There, fixed that for you. :D

In all seriousness, congrats!

All the best,

Paul



garethmetcalf
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New monitors for my new studio

#9

Postby garethmetcalf » Thu, 2021-Jan-07, 16:54

Ha ha thanks Paul! Unfortunately I’m trying dry January for the first time, so listening will be with virgin cocktails!

Still, I’m looking forward to it!

Gareth



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New monitors for my new studio

#10

Postby garethmetcalf » Wed, 2021-Jan-13, 17:38

Hi

I managed to get a demo pair of each of the Neumann KH310 and the Focal Twin 6 BE from SX Pro - and very helpful they were too - and have just spent a day comparing both. Unfortunately I had to do this in my untreated living room as my studio is mid construction.

Anyway, the two pairs are quite different to each other, and both are excellent monitors that reveal a lot in a mix and provide fantastic sound staging.

My observations are that the Focal has excellent top end. I head things from those tweeters I haven't heard before, but I also found myself listening to some things and thinking that stuff was too bright. I concluded therefore that if I was mixing with them I'd be likely producing duller mixes than I should do. My conclusion is the top end on the Focal is a bit too forward or too loud, not sure which.

The sound staging and imaging was fantastic on both, but I found the KH310 sounded less like two speakers playing in a room. They were also more forgiving of me moving my head around on and off axis than the Focal.

What swung it in the end for me, though, was the bottom end. I was mixing a track on the Focal and when I switched to the KH310 I heard some unwanted low frequency noise on a track that I'd not picked up on the Focals. This is critically important to me and was enough to make the decision.

So, they're going back and a brand new pair of KH310s will be winging its way back to me, assuming SX Pro have a pair.

I hope this is helpful for someone.

Thanks
Gareth



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New monitors for my new studio

#11

Postby athnony » Mon, 2021-Feb-08, 21:34

The KH310s are great! Congrats Gareth!



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New monitors for my new studio

#12

Postby endorka » Wed, 2021-Feb-10, 19:19

Yes indeed thank you, a pair of KH310s are on the wish list for when I make my fortune :D

Nice to hear the bass range is well represented. They also look really well suited to soffit mounting.

Cheers,
Jennifer



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#13

Postby garethmetcalf » Thu, 2021-Feb-11, 14:16

As an update, I've been using these in a very small room in my house and they are really interesting monitors. They just work well. They don't sound particularly amazing but they're not supposed to. Mixing on them is not fatiguing and I am able to make mix decisions easily. I cannot wait to see what they sound like in a proper space.

Secondly, in my quest to figure out the soffit mounting using sorbothane I emailed their UK distributor and had a really helpful and friendly reply within 24 hours. I expect to hear back about the weight distribution and what was pleasing was there was no negative comments about my desire to soffit mount them.

So far so good!

(By the way I was lucky enough to get a grant recently that paid for them! they are very expensive!)

Gareth



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#14

Postby endorka » Fri, 2021-Feb-12, 22:47

Lovely speakers indeed, please let us know how you get on with them, and what the sorbothane people say.

It's great they got back to you. This is something I've really enjoyed when doing these acoustics / studio projects, although what you are buying is often small jobs to many companies and tradesmen in comparison to their usual work, I've found most of them very enthusiastic and helpful.

Cheers,
Jennifer




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