So What's the Deal with Studio Monitors?? - AVS Forum
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Question So What's the Deal with Studio Monitors??

My friend "John Solit" has a Mackie PROFX 12 channel mixer running M-Audio Bx5a monitors. It sounds awesome when connected to an iPhone, playing music.

Bit-Rate/room acoustics aside, is there any advantage that a "studio" reproduction has over a "traditional" 2 channel receiver-speaker combo?
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by pcbarnard View Post
My friend "John Solit" has a Mackie PROFX 12 channel mixer running M-Audio Bx5a monitors. It sounds awesome when connected to an iPhone, playing music.

Bit-Rate/room acoustics aside, is there any advantage that a "studio" reproduction has over a "traditional" 2 channel receiver-speaker combo?
Nope
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Old 08-28-2014, 05:55 AM
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None whatsoever. Those aren't particularly good studio monitors either.
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:08 AM
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The main difference between a studio monitor and a home speaker is how they look. In many cases there's no difference. The most successful studio monitor ever was the Yamaha NS-10, which was a home speaker.
A nearfield monitor is expressly designed for listening distances of less than 6 feet, in that the tweeter and midbass wave fronts are fully integrated within 3 feet or so of the baffle. But most small home bookshelf speakers share that characteristic anyway.
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
The main difference between a studio monitor and a home speaker is how they look. In many cases there's no difference. The most successful studio monitor ever was the Yamaha NS-10, which was a home speaker.
I was under the impression that studio monitors are designed to reproduce a flat or "transparent" sound. Does this not differentiate them from the home speaker? Why are all speakers not designed to reproduce a "real, flat, un-colored, whatever you want to call it" sound? The coloration could then come from the receiver, equalizer, or some external source...

I realize I haven't even touched upon the coloration that comes from cabinetry.
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcbarnard View Post
I was under the impression that studio monitors are designed to reproduce a flat or "transparent" sound. Does this not differentiate them from the home speaker? Why are all speakers not designed to reproduce a "real, flat, un-colored, whatever you want to call it" sound? The coloration could then come from the receiver, equalizer, or some external source...

I realize I haven't even touched upon the coloration that comes from cabinetry.
That is true of some monitors and some home speakers. All speakers color sound somewhat because all speakers generate audible distortions. Almost all distortion in any audio system derives from the speakers. All speakers also sound different from one another because of those distortions. What you discovered is that you like the sound of those monitors.
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:03 AM
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Many years ago I set up my office system with Event 20/20bas powered 'studio monitors' I loved the way they sounded, still do.
But as others have noted, I could have gotten similar results with 'home speakers' selected on the same criteria.
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcbarnard View Post
I was under the impression that studio monitors are designed to reproduce a flat or "transparent" sound.
No more so than any other speaker.

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Old 08-28-2014, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
No more so than any other speaker.
While this is true, one may generally expect the design of a studio monitor to prioritize accuracy in a small range of listening position where home speaker designs may have a greater range of design intents.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:33 PM
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I think maybe the only "Studio Monitors" I've really known of were:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LS3/5A

The Linn version was quite nice. I don't know if they are even
made anymore.
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Old 08-28-2014, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
While this is true, one may generally expect the design of a studio monitor to prioritize accuracy in a small range of listening position where home speaker designs may have a greater range of design intents.
What Bill and I are saying is that one should not expect that.
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Old 08-28-2014, 02:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilcal View Post
I think maybe the only "Studio Monitors" I've really known of were:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LS3/5A

The Linn version was quite nice. I don't know if they are even
made anymore.
The LS3/5a was quite an innovation in its day, but remember this is a 1970's design.

They are still made on a revival/replica basis.

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...2-loudspeaker/

My take is that there has been an ongoing convergence between speakers for home audio and studio monitors migrating home audio speakers in the direction of studio monitors. The convergence is is close to being complete for good or better quality mainstream loudspeakers.
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Old 08-28-2014, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post
What Bill and I are saying is that one should not expect that.
Of course not, it is a generalization and with it comes many exceptions.
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Old 08-28-2014, 03:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post
What Bill and I are saying is that one should not expect that.
Right. Studio monitor has degenerated into a marketing term that means whatever its author wants it to mean.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilcal View Post
The Linn version was quite nice.
It was a fun speaker, but the only characteristic it shared with a 3/5A was it's size and driver arrangement. The Kans were not terribly accurate and not built to the 3/5A spec laid out by the BBC.
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:58 PM
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[QUOTE=FMW;26950601.... All speakers also sound different from one another because of those distortions. ....[/QUOTE]
And a few other faults.
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Old 08-29-2014, 06:37 AM
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You can get flat and accurate 'hi-fi' grade speakers, particularly the more expensive models. You can also get coloured 'studio monitors' particularly among the less expensive models. The room you use them in has more effect than the brand when similar sized drivers and powerful amps are used. Has you mate treated his studio at all?

The reason why active 'studio monitors' are so popular at the moment has more to do with value and convienience. Once you get to as little as $500 a pair you can expect to have an active crossover, 4 amplifiers built in and a long guarantee. This can save a lot of space and money.

Don't trust what I say though. I'm biased. I bought my first pair of small but powerful actives 5 years ago and have been so impressed I have been slowly replacing all my old AVR/amp + passive systems ever since. No idea why the pro and semi pro manufacturers offer such great value compared to their traditional home hi-fi equivalents but they do. So don't miss out.
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Old 08-29-2014, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeightonBeck View Post
You can get flat and accurate 'hi-fi' grade speakers, particularly the more expensive models. You can also get coloured 'studio monitors' particularly among the less expensive models. The room you use them in has more effect than the brand when similar sized drivers and powerful amps are used. Has you mate treated his studio at all?

The reason why active 'studio monitors' are so popular at the moment has more to do with value and convienience. Once you get to as little as $500 a pair you can expect to have an active crossover, 4 amplifiers built in and a long guarantee. This can save a lot of space and money.

Don't trust what I say though. I'm biased. I bought my first pair of small but powerful actives 5 years ago and have been so impressed I have been slowly replacing all my old AVR/amp + passive systems ever since. No idea why the pro and semi pro manufacturers offer such great value compared to their traditional home hi-fi equivalents but they do. So don't miss out.
I think economies of scale is a major reason. There are a few home speaker systems that benefit from the same reason and they are also great values.

Last edited by FMW; 08-29-2014 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:42 PM
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If I may chime in. There can be real differences between REAL studio monitor speakers and consumer grade speakers. Some consumer speakers can be very good at reproduction and some are voiced to sound good or to meet marketing goals. If you really would like to cut through the crap, read Floyd Toole's book on sound reproduction. A real studio monitor is a tool and can be a harsh judge when listening to lousy recordings, but on good ones (recordings) you will hear the sound exactly as the engineer and artist's intended. And that may be audio nirvana.

Last edited by MLCrassus; 09-01-2014 at 06:19 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-01-2014, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by MLCrassus View Post
If I may chime in. There can be real differences between REAL studio monitor speakers and consumer grade speakers. Some consumer speakers can be very good at reproduction and some are voiced to sound good or to meet marketing goals. If you really would like to cut through the crap, read Floyd Toole's book on sound reproduction. A real studio monitor is a tool and can be a harsh judge when listening to lousy recordings, but on good ones (recordings) you will here the sound exactly as the engineer and artist's intended. And that may be audio nirvana.
You need to think about what you are saying in a real context, whst is a "real" studio monitor? The yamaha ns10 sounds like crap to me and I have seen more than one engineer say if you can make it sound good on those it will sound good anywhere. That supports neither accuracy nor beauty. Yet they were nearly ubiquitous for at least a decade.

On this board, suggesting that because something is marketed as a studio monitor it must be good is misleading. Saying studio monitors that meet your personal standards are good is meaningless because of all the people who come to this site only one has any idea what is inside your head.
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Old 09-01-2014, 05:52 PM
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That is pretty much what I meant. I too think that the NS 10 sounds awful, as does the auratone 5, and yet you saw them on meter bridges everywhere. I was speaking of professional products such as the Big Reds and Urie products in days of yore, or more recently like the JBL pro products, or the ATC speakers. Just because a manufacture calls something a "Studio Monitor" doesn't mean that it is one, even though there are a lot of consumer products that are good enough to be used as monitoring tools. I think we probably agree more than we disagree,even though I think you misinterpreted what I said.
By the way I never Cared for the Altec 604 or the JBL 4310 either.

Last edited by MLCrassus; 09-01-2014 at 06:16 PM. Reason: clarification
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