Small Studio Monitors?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by baddarryl, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. baddarryl


    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    Here is what I am looking to do: I am just setting up my personal practice space in my house and need good speakers for playing of backing tracks that I can isolate or at least hear the bass clearly. It is not a large room and I am on a fairly low budget for these. I was pointed toward these by a sales guy at Sweetwater. I have emailed him for further recommendation. I am very tempted by the Eris E5 monitors and I saw this review:

    First off, these speakers sound fantastic - very balanced, plenty of Bass, plenty of volume, etc. At this size, they are simply great. really depends on how you are going to use them. I wanted to use them with my computer, connected to a sound card. Nope....all sorts of static type noise. Tried 1/8" to RCA, 1/8" to 1/4" and finally 1/8" to XLR - all had the same noise. So, I tried different PCs - work laptop, wife's desktop, etc and all had the same issue. What is maddening is that connecting an iPhone, iPad or Android phone works perfectly. The only way I could avoid this noise with a PC was to connect a PreAmp between the PC and speakers. I'm sure these speakers would be a great choice for connecting to a mixing board, just not a PC.

    PreSonus Eris E5 5.25" Powered Studio Monitor Pair

    I have also looked at the Alesis Alesis Elevate 5 MKII 5" Powered Studio Monitors which is what I was looking at before he recommended the Eris, but they seem to get lots of love.

    What are you using in this scenario? Thank you.
  2. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    I have been using the M-audio bx5's, they work well and more than loud enough for a small studio.
  3. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    For your needs and budget I can’t imagine a better deal than JBL LSR305s.
  4. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
  5. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    I think you're on the right track with the Alesis if that's what you're looking into. But there are other option you can consider if you haven't done it yet:

    1) for that cash you can get a good bass amp like the Warwick BC20 and use the AUX in to plaback/play along with backing tracks or isolated tracks. This will get you the best bass sound with decent backing track audio.

    2) A USB interface (cheap ones like the Presonus Audiobox) has headphone monitoring as well as balanced 1/4 inch outs for studio monitors. Using the interface vs the sound card will get you better audio and true recording fidelity sound through good headphones or near-field studio monitors vs the enhanced sound of the soundcard and multimedia speakers.

    3) Or, a set of good multimedia speakers for your computer sound card will get you the enhanced digital audio you may seek. But good sounding multimedia speakers do cost 2 to 3x more than those Alesis you have scoped. This will get you the best enhanced digital audio sound vs the flat frequency range of good quality near-field studio monitors used for mixing and mastering. But if you decide to mix, the enhanced audio will be a huge negative to get tracks balanced and EQ because everything is enhanced, and you'll need to spend a lot of time training your ears to mix.

    Everyone has different workflows for what they want in recording and tracking, the best you can do is to experiment with various set ups and find the system you like best.
  6. I use KRK 6's.

    "Line out" from the back of my comp split to L/R stereo.

    The KRK's are self powered.

    When I first turned the comp and speakers on there was atrocious interference of some kind.

    So I used a Hum-X hum destroyer set up as in the pic below..both KRK a/c plugs go into the orange receptacle and then that plugs into the Hum-X.

    Zero interference or noise now....just the sweet music.

  7. I have 2 Mackie HR624’s and they’re excellent. I bought a GC store demo pair.
    There’s a used pair for sale on Reverb (I am not connected w/seller).
    Sorry, I don’t know if you can use them with a PC (seems like that’s your intent); I connect them to an interface.
  8. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    I use the Presonus Eris E5's in my small home studio. I love them for monitors, but if you want to hear bass clearly ANY small monitor (under 8") is not going to give you what you want. If you run a sub with them that might get you there.

    I would not feed any self-powered monitor with an unbalanced line level signal, your results won't be as likely to be noise-free as using balanced outs fed from a good audio interface.

    I feed my E5s with a pair of 1/4" balanced cables and they are dead quiet when they're supposed to be.

    For your purposes feeding your backing tracks device into a small amp auxiliary input would be ideal. If you don't have a small amp something like a Rumble 40 would be the same price as a set of E5's and that's without an audio interface or cabling.
  9. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Mackie MR5 mk3 here. Fed from the main outs of my MOTU 828 mkIII. I run these for recording, mixing, listening and practicing. I'll often run a bass amp sim from Logic for my tone if my SansAmp RBI is not handy.

    My room is about 15' x 20' and they work well.
  10. I don't get this! Do you want to use the speakers for backing tracks or for your bass?
    I have a bass amp at home, but use mainly small monitor speakers in combination with a Pleasureboard. Small monitor speakers even in combination with a Subwoofer sound in my opinion not as good as even a low price bass amp with a decent 1x10 or larger bass enclosure. In my rehearsal room I prefer the combo of small monitor speakers (only 3" speaker!) with the pleasureboard against a bass amp but the main reason is that I can play at very low volumes but have the same feeling as standing in front a a large bass enclosure.

    I did read a lot of reviews and discussion about low-budget monitors. I own a pair of Focal Alpha 50 and a pair of 3" Adams. Conclusion:

    Good: JBL, Yamaha, Focal, Presonus, Adam
    Not so good: KRK, Mackie. KRK seems to build very good expensive speakers, but the low-budget speakers get very bad reviews.

    I forgot to mention what everybody who knows his stuff has to say about speakers: It's the room, stupid! Not the speakers. Did you treat your room??????
  11. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    Well I guess it depends through what speakers you hear your bass.
    I've practiced all my life through either studio speakers at home or PA stuff for rehearsal and Live , I never thought it sounded bad. In fact , I hate "bass amp" , I never needed that "coloration".
    When I'm plugged Direct to a PA , it always sounds like whet I'm used to.....

    As for the OP : best budget studio monitors by a mile IME : JBL LSR305
    Do a Google and read the reviews.
    mapleglo likes this.
  12. ThudThudThud


    Jun 4, 2010
    2 cents: Just remember that near-field reference monitors are going to produce uncoloured reproduction of whatever source is played through them. To some this can be quite harsh, and not 'musical.' Most post-production/mastered music is going to sound better through traditional audio speakers/amplifiers as mastered music is specifically attuned to this.

    I used the M-Audio BX5, and they are just fine for tracking, mixing etc.
  13. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    got some rock it 5s at guitar center, because the salesperson at gc told me they were made in Long Beach (not true)
    anyway they're pretty alright, but they can get a little sub like if you're into that sort of thing
  14. As I wrote, I use small(!) monitor speakers in combinatin with a Pleasureboard. Like you, I nearly never use a bass-amp at home. My remark was about reproduction of the low end with small speakers (3" for example).