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Advice on tiny monitors for bedroom desk

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Perrygoround, Apr 4, 2018.


  1. Perrygoround

    Perrygoround

    Jun 27, 2016
    Hi, I am starting in this world of recording my own demo songs -as a hobbyist- and I feel in need of some small monitors.
    I am currently using headphones, but after some time they are not confortable for my ears and head. Plus, I am experiencing that the final result is quite different from the monitors to other devices. So I think I should try to improve with some small monitors.
    Before giving me advice on bigger things, let me explain my situation. I record with a laptop, through an ESI U22XT Audio interface, both of them on my desk-table. I use Reaper as DAW and I mainly record guitars and bass and add some MIDI drums. In front of my desk I have a window, not a wall. I have some cmts of free space between the desk and the window. The monitors will need to be on the same desk, so space is limited. I know is not the ideal working place, but in my small rented appartment I can't do any better. My main concern, apart sound quality, is size and weight.
    Giving the space restrictions I was looking at the smaller sized ones. I think my weight range can go up to 5 Kgs total (the pair, not the unity). My research so far has led me to things like the Presonus Eris 4.5 or the Alesis Elevate 5. ¿Any experience with any of those or recommendations of more appropiate ones?
    Thanks.
     
  2. ofajen

    ofajen Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    Perrygoround likes this.
  3. Perrygoround

    Perrygoround

    Jun 27, 2016
    Thanks Otto, I will take a look. But I am not sure having the sub on my feet and the speakers on my desk will help making mixes. I will check it.
     
  4. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    So your front wall is a highly reflective glass surface that will reflect out of phase sounds back into the room. Not ideal, but not much you can do about it according to your account. Just keep it in mind when preparing mixes.

    In a small space you want as little space between the back of your monitors and the front wall as possible. Here's a handy calculator that will determine your quarter and half wavelength cancellation frequencies based on proximity to the front wall (or window in your case) mh-audio.nl - Acoustic. The moral of the story here is that you want your desk and monitors as close to the front wall as possible without actually touching it. If you can get the backs of the monitors all the way to within an eighth of an inch from the front wall you'll be about as good as you can get given your situation. If your room was large enough that you could push your desk and monitors far enough back (many feet) to drive the cancellation frequencies way down into a region you'd likely high pass out of your mix regardless you'd be in the best possible shape. You don't have that kind of space here, so your only option is to do what I've described above which will drive the cancellation into the upper bass and lower midrange where it is more easily dealt with. As a bonus it will give you more floor space in the room.

    Also remember to work on your monitor placement as much as possible. Placing them on your mix desk is not a good idea, but it sounds like you don't have another option. With that in mind, try to space them as wide as you can to get closer to an equilateral triangle between the two monitors and a spot just behind your head when seated in the mix position. Additionally, and perhaps more important, you want to either elevate the monitors or angle them up such that the high frequency driver is pointed directly at your ear. Many times placing monitors directly on the mix desk has the high frequency driver pointing at the user's shoulders rather than their ears which will give you a reduced response in the higher, more directional frequencies.

    The Eris monitors are great. I have no experience with the Elevates. If those are your options I'd go with the Eris as they sound great and rank very highly in a host of reviews.

    That's where subs typically go. The sounds they put out are largely omnidirectional. If you do go with a sub, place it asymetrically in the room and as close to one of the monitors as possible. Do not center it in the room. Now, all that said; If you don't have any acoustic treatments in your room that will specifically deal with the low frequencies a subwoofer puts out I would advise skipping one entirely.
     
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  5. Perrygoround

    Perrygoround

    Jun 27, 2016
    Wow, that was a very usefull and informative post. Thanks a lot!!
    So, I think my best choice will be trying to buy some stands for the monitors. I have some room at the sides of my desk where I could place the stands and put the monitors over them.
    I will try to follow your great advice about placement and orientation. Thanks again :D
     
  6. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Stands are a much better option than the desk. Follow the same rules about proximity to the front wall, equilateral placement and angle, and elevation.
     
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  7. Perrygoround

    Perrygoround

    Jun 27, 2016
    I will!! :D
     
  8. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Just got my PreSonus Sceptre S6s (hope they're worth the money) and stands should be coming tomorrow. ;)
     
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  9. Perrygoround

    Perrygoround

    Jun 27, 2016
    Those are bit out of my possibilities. But let us know how it goes ;)
     
  10. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Yeah I overspent for my needs, but they were on sale with a rebate offer. ;)
     
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  11. Badwater

    Badwater

    Jan 12, 2017
    Yamaha, JBL, and Tannoy make good small studio monitors for small areas. 4 or 5 inch speakers will do. If money is tight, a good set of studio monitor headphones will do. Sennhiser HD280 pro is a good one. Or the AKG240 Studio.

    If you're going to do demos, why limit yourself. Do full on recordings and create your own music.
     
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  12. Perrygoround

    Perrygoround

    Jun 27, 2016
    Yes, I was listening to some comparison demos and I think that JBLs are the ones I liked the most.
     
  13. Ulf_Hansson

    Ulf_Hansson

    Apr 15, 2014
    Just keep in mind that "liked the most" may not be what you need in a monitor speaker. You'll need something that reveals any flaws in your mixes and is flat enough to translate well to a large number of listening environments -- which unfortunately often means that the sound may be unflattering in a simple listening test.

    (Although, it _can_ be argued that "translate well to a large number of listening environments" is also a false premise, and that all mixing/mastering should now pass a crappy mp3 conversion and be done via cheap earPods.)
     
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  14. Timpanogos Slim

    Timpanogos Slim

    May 26, 2017
    The closer you put a sub to a reflective surface like a wall or a floor, or better yet on the floor near a corner, the louder it will be. Within reason of course, root mean square is still a thing.

    As for myself, I'm using the venerable e-mu 1616m and right now my monitors are a pair of old JVC FS-5000 executive mini stereo system speakers, on little tripods (makes their low end, what exists, less muddy), and a little bit of eq in the output strip in patchmix. I'm considering mini-sub options.

    20170905_133150.

    Usually powered by a Breeze Audio BA100 class-D mini amp. Which is itself powered by a Lenovo 20v laptop power supply that i hacked a new barrel plug onto. The 100W rating of the Breeze unit is with a 26v supply into 2-ohm speakers and probably with 1% THD. At the sub-20w listening levels i have it at, it does an excellent job.

    There are a lot of good small speakers out there. They are vastly outnumbered by bad small speakers. Just throwing in my two bits on that issue.
     
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