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Topic: Question re; monitors (speakers)

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  1. #1

    Question re; monitors (speakers)

    I was going to post this in the Listening Room, but then thought that I might
    knock someone off the first page. :-(

    Can anyone suggest any powered monitor speakers that work well at LOW volumes?

    I live in a condo and tend to work on my music (very) late at night. I usually
    use headphones, but would like to add a good set of monitors so I can check
    the stereo field and bass response.

    I've found that the bass response drops off quite noticeably as I lower the
    volume. A pair of Yamaha HS50m's that I bought a few months ago sounded
    good at medium to loud (even without the recommended HS10w woofer). But
    at low volumes, they were pretty much worthless.

    Should I stick to headphones? Buy a cabin the woods? Only write for piccolos?

    - k

  2. #2

    Re: Question re; monitors (speakers)

    Actually, your ears lose low and high sensitivity at low volumes. It might not be the speakers at all.

    Two solutions: 1) Put an EQ in the loop and scoop the signal when listening at low levels, or 2) get the speakers as close to your ears as possible, so it's quiet to your neighbors, but normal to you.

    Headphones take approach #2 to the extreme. Maybe you can rig up some speaker stands or a desk extension that is a good compromise.

  3. #3

    Re: Question re; monitors (speakers)

    The acoustic condition of the area is nearly still more importantly than the monitors themselves. In an acoustically unfavorable area even the best monitors sound worse, than it cheap monitors do in an acoustically optimized area.

    And, in addition it comes still that each area needs its volume, in order optimal hearing results to receive. If you cannot hear in the volume which is optimal for your area, then is it very difficult to receive a good mix.

    In your position I would compare again and again with reference material, and with the time you will get accustomed to the monitors.
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

  4. #4
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
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    Re: Question re; monitors (speakers)

    I often use my Mackie HR824s at very low volume, mainly because I like it that way, and I think I get excellent results.
    They seem to deliver a consistent spectrum, in my working environment, from almost off ( in volume ) to moderately loud.

    Also, my favorite headphones for tracking and getting a good mix are
    AKG-K240 DF
    Very often I get so close in the headphones that only minimal tweaks are necessary on the speakers.

    I used to labor intensly and for hours trying to get a good mix on my old JBL 4311s and never got it quite right.
    ( Bad speakers in an untreated enviroment are still bad speakers. Sorry to say I see no evidence that bad speakers sound better than good ones in an untreated environemnt. If the environment is the constant then better speakers is still an upgrade in my opinion. )

    Now, with the Mackies ... even a quick pass at it, is better sounding every where I go, and with minimal effort I can get the mix just the way I want it.

    I've heard mixes I've done on a huge movie theater system and they were exactly (~~ exactly ~~ ) like I mixed them.
    These 2 songs specifically:
    http://www.trudyholler.com/cd/mp3_cl...udy_Holler.mp3

    http://www.trudyholler.com/cd/mp3_cl...udy_Holler.mp3


    These HR824s are the best investment *I've made* in 20 years. Of course, it might just be a lucky match for me and these monitors and my untreated room ... don't know ...
    but I'm happy enough with them to want an other pair for the other side of the room where I do my tracking.

    Oh, PS:
    My room is totally untreated. I believe the trick is learning to listen to the speakers and not the room, possibly some of the reason I like it quiet. :-)

    *Your mileage may vary.

  5. #5
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

  6. #6

    Re: Question re; monitors (speakers)

    Another way to control bass is to move the speakers closer, or further from a wall or corner.

  7. #7

    Re: Question re; monitors (speakers)

    Thank you all for your comments.

    I know a bit about room treatment, but at the low levels I'm using I doubt
    (perhaps wrongly) that the room is contributing much to the sound. And I'm
    already sitting in a 'sweet spot' about 2 feet in front of the speakers. That's
    pretty close.

    Steve_Karl - I've been using K240's for long time. I love them and think that
    that's how music is supposed to sound. It's good to know you have had success
    using them. I've also had my eye on the HR824s. Your suggestion that they sound
    good at low volumes may encourage me to revisit them.

    As for tweaking the speaker response via internal or external eq, or towels :-),
    that's always seemed to defeat the whole purpose of spending a lot of money
    on reference speakers. How do you know when you've gotten them 'flat'? Buy a
    decibel meter and play sweep tones?

    thanks again, - k

  8. #8
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
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    Re: Question re; monitors (speakers)

    Quote Originally Posted by klassical
    Thank you all for your comments.

    I know a bit about room treatment, but at the low levels I'm using I doubt
    (perhaps wrongly) that the room is contributing much to the sound. And I'm
    already sitting in a 'sweet spot' about 2 feet in front of the speakers. That's
    pretty close.

    Steve_Karl - I've been using K240's for long time. I love them and think that
    that's how music is supposed to sound. It's good to know you have had success
    using them. I've also had my eye on the HR824s. Your suggestion that they sound
    good at low volumes may encourage me to revisit them.

    As for tweaking the speaker response via internal or external eq, or towels :-),
    that's always seemed to defeat the whole purpose of spending a lot of money
    on reference speakers. How do you know when you've gotten them 'flat'? Buy a
    decibel meter and play sweep tones?

    thanks again, - k
    I also have K-240M phones whih are nice, but not as flat as the 240DF.
    I heard that the current 240 is a hybred ( sound wise ) of the 2.
    A tech. at AKG told me, but I haven't listened to the newer 240 phones.

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