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what studio monitors y'all using?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Jeff Bonny, Jun 3, 2007.

  1. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Rather than continue the hijack of the Wizzy thread I figured I'd ask fresh what people have for playback monitors? Since I bought a mic to use live I've been recording on my laptop pretty much on a daily basis and am getting more interested in studio gear than I've been in the past. I inherited a pair of Tannoy PBM 8's and they sound fine to me but I really don't have any experience with anything else....for the most part over the years I've plugged a tape deck and later a CD player into a bass amp and been happy.

    If you felt like talking about your home recording/playback in rigs in general I wouldn't mind learning more about that too.

  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I use M audio SP8-B monitors downstairs, and the 5" version upstairs. If you're talking about doing this stuff purely for your own listening enjoyment, then go with whatever sounds best to your ears and run with it. If you want to make recordings that sound more professional, that's a steep learning curve, and I'm only at the bottom of that hill.

    About the speakers, it's simpler these days to get powered monitors in most cases. Most recording pros will tell you what they use, but then will tell you to go out to a place that sells a lot of different kinds and listen to a couple of reference cuts that you know well through a bunch of different kinds and see what sounds best. It's kind of like bass shopping, actually, except that I found it more intimidating because I didn't know what was supposed to be "good". The SP8's sound pretty good to me, but as always, there are things about them that I have to take into account when I'm mixing if I want the mix to translate. And then there's the whole question of what your room sounds like to consider.


    Oy...the whole recording thing is just as deep as the study of music in its own way.

    Anyway, I'll post a pic of my little rig, including the speakers. I like them well enough, but there are far better ones out there. Do you have a nice set of headphones? I usually check my recordings on four sources: the monitors in the pic, a pair of Sony V600 and/or 7506 phones, my car stereo (Alpine/Infinity...sort of like an upper end "off the rack" suit), and my wife's POS stereo in her study. When I can get something to sound halfway decent on all of these, it usually translates pretty well to most systems.

    (recording junk in pic: Soundcraft M12 board, MOTU 1224 interface, M-Audio Tampa preamp, Mac G4 tower [hidden], Alesis Masterlink, a few little M-Audio preamps whose name escapes me)

    Attached Files:

  3. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Why is your place so clean?

    Where'd you put the kid stuff?

    I can't find the floor for all the baby stuff.
  4. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Nice mouse pedestal!
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm sorta "functionally dyslexic", which can only be managed in my case by strong OCD tendencies...otherwise, I can't ever find anything. :D The kid stuff is in other rooms.

    The mouse pedestal was a gift, but I like it!
  6. larry


    Apr 11, 2004
    Chris gave great advice. I would add that whatever monitors you have, you have to learn them. If your room is not perfect and your monitors are not perfect, which few are (and by perfect I mean flat frequency response), then you need to just "know" how your mixes are going to translate to other playback systems through many hours of trial and error.

    Pain in the butt? You bet. You can minimize it by listening on several different systems. Each one will have its own strengths and you will hear different problems on different systems. You can use monitors, your home system, your car, etc. When it starts to sound good on all of them you're in the ballpark, like Chris said.

    The other critical thing is to listen to good mixes (professional CDs you like) on your monitors. A/B them with your mixes and listen for what's different. As you mix, ear fatigue can set in quickly and cloud your ability to make correct decisions. Having a "sanity check" makes a huge difference.

    I mix on Alesis M1 passives, Wharfedale 8.1's, and a Bose home system with a subwoofer, as well as a good set of headphones (AKG K240). I have them all routed so I can switch between them with a button.

    Can of worms indeed. Fun though. :)

    I'm no expert, BTW. I just love recording. Been at it in a serious way for around five years now.
  7. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Like so much good advice you read it and think "pretty obvious, why didn't I see that?" A/B-ing your mixes with known CDs fer example.

    Another question:
    Whatcha know about soundproofing? Two reasons I ask are that I live in a studio apartment zoned live/work for artists, I work odd hours and would like to be able to play/practice later and earlier than I'm comfortable doing right now...my pp articulation is getting good though. The second reason is the visual artist upstairs is driving me nuts. She was in a painting phase when I bought the place and now she's sculpting...noisily....at all hours and I need to diminish the sharp attack of objects being dropped on a poorly dampened hardwood floor before I snap and wring her neck. I just wanna do ceiling and walls as I'm above the parking garage and other than the small amount of transmission into the walls the floor isn't an issue. I've done some investigating and know doing it right ain't a cheap proposition.

    Thanks fellers.

  8. larry


    Apr 11, 2004
    Your options are limited for sound proofing in an apartment. Blocking outside (or upstairs) noise involves de-coupling your room and/or using lots of mass in between. These are both structural things out of your control.

    You might improve things by putting up some sound-absorbing
    material in your room. Compressed fiberglass insulation works best. Google "bass traps" and do some reading. It will probably help keep some of your bass sound from disturbing others, but dampening the reflections inside your room is very different from sealing off the sound travelling in or out. That's the difference between sound-treating and sound-proofing.

    You could also ask your neighbor to put some rubber floor mats under her work area. That would help with dropped tools.

    Probably not what you wanted to hear...
  9. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    I asked her about mats and met with a lot of resistance.

    It is an apartment but one with polished concrete floors and open rafters...definitely built as an unfinished work space. What I'd like to do with the ceiling is hang a false one from the open truss beams out of panels with heavy rubber dampening material designed for that purpose. The rubber stuff is fairly available I just haven't reached any conclusion on what to use to support it. I'd like to avoid drywall (sheet rock) as I'll be hanging it from aircraft cable and that stuff is a major pain doing that kinda thing.
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Larry's advice is excellent as usual. Soundproofing has two aspects: one kind, involving building a room within a room, is designed to isolate the interior space from external noise; the second kind has to do with taming the acoustics of sounds created within a room to make them more recording friendly.

    I doubt you'll be able to do too much with the first type in your current location, but you might be able to mitigate the noise enough to make things a little better than they are now. The second kind of soundproofing (the interior kind) - acoustically treating a room or space - is discussed in This thread from the (BG) Recording Gear forum. I have a few pics up in posts 12 and 13 of the homebrew corner and ceiling treatments I've built for my music room, and would be happy to share construction details if yer interested. They've helped a lot in this room. It still ain't perfect, but it's usable now and it wasn't really before I installed the panels.
  11. bpclark


    Apr 30, 2003
    West Central, OH
    Check out the site and forums at http://www.johnlsayers.com. It's a great source for information about studio construction and sound treatment etc.
  12. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    I’d very much appreciate that info and I’ll look at that link. I’m also not letting you guys discourage me from continuing to think seriously about hanging a false ceiling to keep sound out. ;)

    I own the stuff to do the aircraft cable dropdowns to hang it off of….I just need to educate myself on the best materials. Donaconda with heavy vinyl is what I’d do right now with the information I have but since this is going to be a several thousand dollar project (one thing I’ve concluded is there’s no cheap way) I want as many opinions and options as I can get. Measure twice, cut once y’know?

    Another option that I want to investigate more are prefab vox/drum/guitar amp type booths. It may be less expensive and give better results to do a 150sf “room within a room” than to try and do all 780sf of my space.

    dang i see the stage manager coming...gotta run. thanks again!

  13. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Jeff, it would be way easier to make a soundproof studio in your place than to isolate your whole apartment.
    By the time you get the sculptor taken care of you'll be able to hear how much noise is coming through the window glass. :)

    Back in the day I built a recording studio in Don Mills and it was basically building a second structure inside the shell. Rubber isolator pads, pre-cast concrete, etc. Lots of work.

    We recorded in a live/work studio on Great Northern Way a few years ago that had a couple of rooms inside the larger space, a bigger one and a booth, and it worked out very well. The control room doesn't need to be soundproof, of course.

    The other plus would be that you could take your studio with you if you wanted to move, whether pre-fab or built movie-set style.

    Call me if you want. 604-812-7271
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    For a drop ceiling kind of thing, you could try rock wool (also called mineral fiber - same stuff I have in my corner traps, window treatment, and ceiling panels). If you made a bunch of square or recangular panels made of (can't spell it, but it's pronounced, "loo-on") thin plywood, you could attach 2" of rock wool on either side and then hang the panels close together. That would probably quiet the place down a good bit.

    My panels are all made this way, only they're all one-sided and framed around the edges. I should probably have put some more rock wool on the backs of the ceiling panels, but life got busy and I never got around to it. At any rate, the panels in the window frames (in one of the pics in the other linked thread) do a nice job of minimizing the noise from the street, so I imagine they'd do the same for sculptors.
  15. marcray


    Nov 28, 2006
    Englishman in Oyster Bay, NY
    Aging Former Bass Player
    PMC TB2S... truest speakers I've ever used. Have Genelecs but found they are very hype-y, still use them occasoinally though.
  16. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    I most definitely will call you when I get back to Vancouver mid month. Doing a movie-set style booth is sounding pretty appealing.

    You remember which building you recorded in? I'm in the one with the red railing right at the curve where E. 2nd turns into Great Northern Way.

  17. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    It might have been that one Jeff. :)

    There's a Hispanic guy who runs a studio on the second or third floor where we did the radio theme song for Peter Thompson's Bay Area bluegrass show.

    John Reischman's "Bluegrass Signal" with Tammy Fassaert and Nick Hornbuckle.

    The guy was real easy to work with and it turned out great.
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