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A question to the connaisseurs and experienced engineers about monitors ...
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #61
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
If I ever have a place that I can run a pair of HG3's (writing/mixing on monitors is just a no-no right now), I'll literally fall down on my knees in tears of joy. I'm THAAAAT serious.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #62
Lives for gear
 
K. Osborne's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I think it's just about how your ears hear music and at what volumes and how you work. That simple. I love NS10s but I also love Sony boomboxes and Focal Solo 6s. Go figure. I got used to my workflow mixing on the yamahas, how things sound to me, I mix quietly, check it on other systems, pump it up on the bigs for the clients.

I don't think it's a game of learning your speakers. That's a waste of a thought process. Sure have an idea but come on...you have GOT to trust your speakers or at least one set for accuracy. Still I find It's more important to learn your own ears and what you're really hearing, at what volumes, and how you interpret sound while mixing. It's seriously important to have at least one pair. There are some GREAT monitors out now. I'm partial to Focal but man, there are so many.

I think people fooling themselves just end up learning poorly. They look at the screen, mix about 50% visually , feel good about their heck of a deal monitors, and post on GS about why their mixes suck... Oh yeah , you have to use your ears to mix, righttttt
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #63
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by antstudio ➡️
Some may not like this suggestion but if you still have access to your friend's room have you considered applying an EQ curve to your monitors to see if you can find a setting that more closely matches your friend's system and that helps you find those troublesome frequencies? I'm not thinking you'd mix into this or print with it but maybe just use it to check your mixes once in a while. Not an ideal solution and maybe not even possible but I'd be interested of this works for you.
Hi antstudio, the thing is I don't have any measurement device to find out what the ATC's frequency distribution graph looks like and IMHO you can't just match the curves and expect to have an exact replica of a speaker.

Because there is the nature of the sound of the drivers , the box design, the amp response , the cross over etc etc which when added up, have their own sound characteristics. Even the EQ that will be added can and will affect the sound :S
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #64
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by K. Osborne ➡️
I think it's just about how your ears hear music and at what volumes and how you work. That simple. I love NS10s but I also love Sony boomboxes and Focal Solo 6s. Go figure. I got used to my workflow mixing on the yamahas, how things sound to me, I mix quietly, check it on other systems, pump it up on the bigs for the clients.

I don't think it's a game of learning your speakers. That's a waste of a thought process. Sure have an idea but come on...you have GOT to trust your speakers or at least one set for accuracy. Still I find It's more important to learn your own ears and what you're really hearing, at what volumes, and how you interpret sound while mixing. It's seriously important to have at least one pair. There are some GREAT monitors out now. I'm partial to Focal but man, there are so many.

I think people fooling themselves just end up learning poorly. They look at the screen, mix about 50% visually , feel good about their heck of a deal monitors, and post on GS about why their mixes suck... Oh yeah , you have to use your ears to mix, righttttt
Hi Kendal would you please share some of the mixes you made ?? By the way you write you surely must be a mixing guru and i'd love to hear how your mixes sound with regards to harshness ?? Give me a list of your best mixes please ?? I'll go and analyze them a bit. Thanks for your co-operation
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #65
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonbreath ➡️
my experience tells me that as often as not (and i'm not saying this is necessarily the case for you Alec) even nominally "pro" users , fail to get the best from their speakers , by way of a combination of less than ideal positioning, both within the roo, and in relation to the listener, and ALSO the positioning of other items, as well as the acoustic design/treatment of the room.

you can ONLY consider the speakers in conjunction with the rest of the environment they are within.....

for example, your much maligned K&H O300's ....

they are really VERY positioning critical..... especially when a reasonable sized console is involved....

I've found that adjustments of a few centimetres, and just a degree or two can make a huge difference in the imaging and subjective speed quality of the decision making process as a result....

your description of everything being smooth and "niiice" when it perhaps ought not to be, is , to me at any rate, indicative that the alignment is less than ideal....

i've found the O300 to be a very capable and reliable monitor , i've used them plenty, and set up a number of rooms with them as the primary reference source....

but , as i said,.... the results are hugely dependent on set up ..... and that set up will be slightly different for every room..

I set up a pair in a room with an Audient 8024 a few years ago, and until we got the positioning "just right" there was something of "smoothing vagueness" about the image... perhaps like viewing through water.... and then when you moved forward, and leaned in over the fader tray, it was like putting your head in to the water and seeing more clearly,

once we'd spent several hours mucking about with tiny adjustments , we finally got to a point where THAT clarity of image was what we heard at the mix position....

(as i recall, i think aiming them at a point about a foot and a bit behind the listeners ear line through their head was once of the key moves)



given that your concern is about HF/Hi-Mid detail, my inference is that you're listening slightly off axis from the tweeter's centre line...


A brief experience with set of focals in the same room ,(but minus the Console) leads me to suspect they may also be very position sensitive....


perhaps your friend with the ATC's has them set up correctly..... in a more ideal environment ??
HI Dragon , I have done all the things that you said , first by using the focals only , they still sound smooth with regards to harsh frequencies(my settings are left on flat) , i put my ears close to the tweeter but still i couldn't hear the harshness , so I can't blame the room. Those speakers are smooth.

Same thing with the Klein and Hummel tried all sorts of different placements , they didn't sound harsh when the material was harsh, but they have a more clinical precise straight sound when compared to the focals. But they are in no way telling you HEY MAN THERE IS A PROBLEM HERE, THERE IS A PROBLEM THERE, which the ATC did easily when the material was played on them. Now I understand why people use those speakers for mastering.

As someone said, I think that people find those focal speakers amazing are those who have been using lesser speakers before(just like me), but after sometime you get to know their weak points. I'm not the first person who complains about focal twins and KH 0300 tendency to make everything sound nice , I didn't believe them before but now I do.
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #66
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by alecsribet ➡️
... why do tracks that were mixed on crappy old peaky systems with crazy bumps and dips in the frequency distribution , sound better than today's mixes , with today's supposedly better level equipment.

They don't actually sound better, you just like the old sound better. I do too (for the most part) although there are some exceptional sounding productions being made these days.

I do think that, on the aggregate, the engineers of yesterday knew how to listen and hear better. They understood 'tone' better than guys today; not all, but as a general rule. The bar was higher and the craft more disciplined, and also more guild-like; not anyone could get in, but if you got in they taught you everything they knew.

Lastly, older arrangements tended to have fewer sounds, simpler parts, and more space, so the resulting mixes had more space as well, and they didn't eat up that space with heavy compression and limiting. Bigger transients and bigger spaces lead to mixes that sound better when cranked up.

On the flipside, modern music is made to sound jamming and powerful at modest/conversational levels on bandlimited systems like laptop/computer speakers, retail store sound systems, restaurant sound systems, and cell phones. Heavier compression and more brightness makes things pop in those kinds of environments. Music today is not generally produced for you to sit and listen to a whole record at 85dB while doing nothing else; it's meant to be listened to in the background while you check emails or browse for cereal and jeans.

I expect that's a big part of the reason why I dislike shopping, the music drains me.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #67
Lives for gear
 
Enlightened Hand's Avatar
 
16 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by alecsribet ➡️
HI Dragon , I have done all the things that you said , first by using the focals only , they still sound smooth with regards to harsh frequencies(my settings are left on flat) , i put my ears close to the tweeter but still i couldn't hear the harshness , so I can't blame the room. Those speakers are smooth.
And how does one quantify "smooth"? What is smooth? How do you measure for "smooth"? What if the basic assumptions about acceptable variance are altered? Would "smooth" still be "smooth"?

The point is that the descriptions you're using are subjective. They don't mean anything to anyone but you. And they can't be used to make an objective judgement about the characteristics of a particular speaker.
Quote:
...Same thing with the Klein and Hummel tried all sorts of different placements , they didn't sound harsh when the material was harsh, but they have a more clinical precise straight sound when compared to the focals. But they are in no way telling you HEY MAN THERE IS A PROBLEM HERE, THERE IS A PROBLEM THERE, which the ATC did easily when the material was played on them. Now I understand why people use those speakers for mastering.
Again, we're in anecdotal, subjective territory. You say "all sorts of different placements". What does that really mean? In what space? How was the system calibrated? What were the exact placements? What is the surface composition of the space? What are the dimensions? What is the exact playback material; At what dBSPL? What listening distance?

All of that affects playback and again, can't be overlooked if you're going to state a conclusion like, "they are in no way telling you hey man there is a problem here..." I know a few professionals that have killer sounding rooms with 0300s. I've listened, as a professional myself. I was very impressed. So I have to take the internet criticisms with a lot of salt.

In this matter, the point is not to get carried away with assumptions (most of which are unqualified), and to focus on keeping opinions about monitoring tempered in the realities that go along with them. Those realities are that there are always shortcomings somewhere in a design, and that can't be avoided. Also, everyone has different preferences, so some design voicing is intentionally emphasized in a certain fashion to suit certain listener preferences. That's yet another reason why monitoring is not limited to a particular "no compromise" design, all brand name dropping aside.
Quote:
...As someone said, I think that people find those focal speakers amazing are those who have been using lesser speakers before(just like me), but after sometime you get to know their weak points. I'm not the first person who complains about focal twins and KH 0300 tendency to make everything sound nice , I didn't believe them before but now I do.
I think you've possibly been spending way too much time around people that don't know what they're talking about. I'm not a Focal user, and I have my thoughts about them being unnecessarily elevated in reputation around this place specifically. But they are decent critical listening speakers, if one prefers their voicing and is satisfied with their design. Many folks are. As far as the 0300s go, I don't know too many serious critical listeners, with reasonable expectations from nearfields, that happen to have acoustically great rooms, are careful to not botch the evaluation opportunity with screwy placements and other such absurdity (and have no axe to grind) that don't think they are amazing little speakers for critical listening from the nearfield position.
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #68
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand ➡️
And how does one quantify "smooth"? What is smooth? How do you measure for "smooth"? What if the basic assumptions about acceptable variance are altered? Would "smooth" still be "smooth"?

The point is that the descriptions you're using are subjective. They don't mean anything to anyone but you. And they can't be used to make an objective judgement about the characteristics of a particular speaker. Again, we're in anecdotal, subjective territory. You say "all sorts of different placements". What does that really mean? In what space? How was the system calibrated? What were the exact placements? What is the surface composition of the space? What are the dimensions? What is the exact playback material; At what dBSPL? What listening distance?

All of that affects playback and again, can't be overlooked if you're going to state a conclusion like, "they are in no way telling you hey man there is a problem here..." I know a few professionals that have killer sounding rooms with 0300s. I've listened, as a professional myself. I was very impressed. So I have to take the internet criticisms with a lot of salt.

In this matter, the point is not to get carried away with assumptions (most of which are unqualified), and to focus on keeping opinions about monitoring tempered in the realities that go along with them. Those realities are that there are always shortcomings somewhere in a design, and that can't be avoided. Also, everyone has different preferences, so some design voicing is intentionally emphasized in a certain fashion to suit certain listener preferences. That's yet another reason why monitoring is not limited to a particular "no compromise" design, all brand name dropping aside. I think you've possibly been spending way too much time around people that don't know what they're talking about. I'm not a Focal user, and I have my thoughts about them being unnecessarily elevated in reputation around this place specifically. But they are decent critical listening speakers, if one prefers their voicing and is satisfied with their design. Many folks are. As far as the 0300s go, I don't know too many serious critical listeners, with reasonable expectations from nearfields, that happen to have acoustically great rooms, are careful to not botch the evaluation opportunity with screwy placements and other such absurdity (and have no axe to grind) that don't think they are amazing little speakers for critical listening from the nearfield position.
Hi again The definition of smooth is very simple. Tracks that have those qualities when played in clubs , you won't see anyone covering their/his ears, and the sound is not strident and harsh.

On the contrary, with the tracks that sound piercing and harsh, I have seen people covering their ears, and some simply getting away from the dancefloor. It is that simple.

I never asked you to believe me on my experiences , feel free to ignore them , I never said that those speakers are crap, I simply said that they don't let me hear the peaky harshness and highly sibilant frequencies in tracks , ACCORDING TO ME they don't represent this information as a WARNING, but rather as EVERYTHING IS COOL AND FINE.

Those warnings were easily perceived when using the ATC, simple and straightforward. It's not my fault , it's just the way it is.

I have placed my ears close to the tweeter(this way you cannot blame the room) and still I found that nothing alarming peaks out from the KH0300 and it sounds even smoother on the focals(Not alarming AT ALL).

If you are happy with your 0300 or focals and other people are happy as well ... I am happy for them.

I am just here to share my observation and opinions. Some people may think that it's complete bull**** and some people might have experiences what I have experienced , in both ways it's all good
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #69
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 ➡️
They also use other monitors in conjunction, like John says.

However, from what I have seen (contrary to what he suggests), IF someone uses the NS10's at all, they are far more likely to use them for most of the mixing decisions and reference other monitors now and again for overall shape, bass, etc, as opposed to doing it the other way round. But they still have another pair or two to do what the 10's don't being the point.
I use the NS10 as the main listening then use other monitors to get feedback more but almost all decisions are made in the mix with yamaha
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #70
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by alecsribet ➡️
Thousands of albums were made using the NS-10M nearfields as the MAIN SOURCE OF MONITORING. Virtually every well-known mixing engineer in history (people such as Andy Wallace, Terry Date, Brendan O’Brien, the Lord-Alge brothers, Charles Dye, Dave Pensado, Ben Grosse, you name it) used them to make some of the most amazing production works ever. In 2007, they were awarded the Technical Grammy® Award.
Not during recording they weren't! A mix is one thing, a recording is something else. Yes - you can do a great mix on Ns10 (etc). But remember two things:

1. money mixes are generally well recorded
2. Recording is usually on full range monitors to spot the "issues"
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #71
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman ➡️
...1. money mixes are generally well recorded
2. Recording is usually on full range monitors to spot the "issues"
As is mastering.
Old 26th September 2012
  #72
Lives for gear
 
Arksun's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by alecsribet ➡️
According to this THEORY , the perfect monitor would be the one with the flattest frequency response graph.
Unless of course it compromises other aspects of performance to attain such a flat response, then it could well be the worst monitor in the world.

Unless you can afford to invest a lot into the room acoustics, any frequency swings of the monitor will be small compared to the peaks and nulls of the room itself.

The things that spring to mind with regard to what aspects make up a good monitor to me are

1) Frequency Response
2) Step-Response
3) Crossover type
4) Phase response
5) Dynamic response
6) Power handling
7) Distortion levels (THD and IMD)
8) Time domain response

and I rate ALL of them as important as each other.
As to how much you should pay attention to specs?, well everyone fudges the results differently so it rarely tells the full story anyways. Nothing can top listening of course. Though I would be more likely to trust those that are willing to publish as many actual detailed measured specs as possible. Some manufacturers only list a freq response without even a tolerance level specified!. Some show a freq response graph, but use extreme 1/2 or 1/3 oct smoothing to make it appear flatter than it actually is.
Others do show graphs for freq, time domain and THD responses measured in their own anechoic chamber.
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #73
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
OP, if exposing harshness is what you desire have a listen to a pair of Unity The Rock's! I am an afternoon into a few days of demo and amongst a good few first impressions is that they most definitely do NOT let any harshness go hidden. To the point where many new chart records become a very painful affair indeed. Skrillex e.g. is utterly unlistenable (not like I'd go out of my way to listen to it either, but wow...harsh!).
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #74
Audio X
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand ➡️
I would say that it's harder to skin the cat than you think, regardless of the price.
You had mentioned "the best" speakers having "trade offs". What are you considering the best speakers ...that you've worked with ..and what area of their design and it's implementation are you considering as a trade off?

Have you had the chance to work with Grand Utopia from Focal, Ivy from Eggleston or Dunlavy V or VI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand ➡️
There is currently no playback system on Earth that can reproduce the authentic sound of an actual acoustic space, and any audio performance made in such a space, completely. You need both the sound of the space and the performance, and both accurately, to get authentic fidelity. That's a problem we haven't solved. So, the implication that respected brands are somehow able to provide a "no compromise" solution to the problem of accurately reproducing recorded sound through a playback system, and all one needs is enough money to make it happen, is something I find misleading.
You'd be surprised..
These blind test have been done many times and by the best designers to demonstrate and sell their speakers ...sort of like The Wizard Of Oz.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand ➡️
But ultimately, that's besides the point. Monitoring for the purpose of critical listening, as tracking and mixing personnel do, isn't necessarily about complete fidelity. It's about "enough" fidelity, in certain critical areas of consideration. It's approached in that fashion to allow a critical listener the easy opportunity to make mix balance and signal processing decisions, with a reasonable expectation that the decisions they make, and the general way they hear those decisions, will faithfully translate to the widest variety of playback systems. You don't need playback from the gods. But it's very tough to get by with playback that's unpredictable. That's why speaker design elements work together in a move towards controlling certain pernicious variables. In that design objective there are ALWAYS trade offs.
Can you be specific about what trade offs you're talking about? I'm not sure I follow.
Old 26th September 2012
  #75
Deleted 0833250
Guest
...I think a good set of second-hand audiophile speakers are (for the price) often better than most "monitors" out there these days...


Incidentally, anyone know what the speakers on the inside are here: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m8...gp9o1_1280.jpg
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #76
Gear Head
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I totally agree with using a really good pair of second hand speakers,

Using a pair of xanadu AW11's, really small company, really good speakers.
Made for brutal honesty, they will tell you when something's off. But when it sounds good, well it's pretty awesome.

I don't want to have things leaving my place without having heard everything, and these enable me to do so.

The HS50's, well I'm not really using them a lot
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Old 27th September 2012 | Show parent
  #77
Audio X
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaartenT ➡️
I totally agree with using a really good pair of second hand speakers
Speakers | Marketplace | AudiogoN - The High-end Audio Community
Old 27th September 2012 | Show parent
  #78
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaartenT ➡️

I don't want to have things leaving my place without having heard everything, and these enable me to do so.
AMEN :D
Old 27th September 2012 | Show parent
  #79
Lives for gear
 
Enlightened Hand's Avatar
 
16 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio X ➡️
You had mentioned "the best" speakers having "trade offs". What are you considering the best speakers ...that you've worked with ..and what area of their design and it's implementation are you considering as a trade off?

Have you had the chance to work with Grand Utopia from Focal, Ivy from Eggleston or Dunlavy V or VI?

You'd be surprised..
These blind test have been done many times and by the best designers to demonstrate and sell their speakers ...sort of like The Wizard Of Oz.

Can you be specific about what trade offs you're talking about? I'm not sure I follow.
I'm not sure you follow either.

Big, loud, expensive and fancy does not equal the-way-it-sounds-in-real-life. That's because the way it sounds in real life is more than dynamically limited, bandwidth limited, sound coming at a person from the source.

I've listened to dozens of different mains systems, in purpose built rooms, with more headroom and SPL output than some of those that you mention. I regularly have discussions, in real life, with speaker designers from a very respected company, because I happen to be friends with a couple.

The bottom line is simple, without being able to completely transport the acoustics of a tracking location into a listening space, you're out of luck, if complete fidelity to the source is the actual goal. Also, loudspeaker transducers are pretty much terrible as far as distortion levels go when compared to the distortion levels throughout the rest of the chain. Finally, the dynamic range of sound in real life is incredible. Loudspeakers are limited in their ability to reproduce such range. The "best" have relatively wide dynamic ranges, that are (here's that phrase again) "good enough", but not the real life experience.

The plain truth is yeah, you might find a system and room that's "good enough" to consistently produce critical listening results from (which was my point initially). But when compared to standing in the actual room a performance is happening in, it NEVER sounds exactly the same. And I know this because I've tried it, on some very impressive systems, several times. Don't let the pomp and circumstance of "audiophile" culture fool you.

But I will say that with playback of simple stereo recordings of single acoustic instruments and/or other not-so-complex material, that were made in environments that are acoustically, minimally invasive to the recording, playback can be stunningly realistic (and may well fool quite a few folks) over well designed systems, especially if the source isn't dynamically extreme. However, when complex material is introduced, the shortcomings of a system become apparent. Most sound in real life is astoundingly complex unfortunately.

None of that is, however, the point. Like I mentioned before, one doesn't need playback from the gods. One needs precision in certain critical areas of consideration so work can be done. Mastering engineers typically come closest because they use broadband, high headroom, time aligned, reasonably linear systems, in purpose built rooms. And from their listening seats, it's easy enough to fool your brain into thinking you're "really there". But when you've been really there you know it's just an illusion and it doesn't compare. In any case, so long as you can get work done on the system, it's good enough. And the best systems, even with their approximations of real life sound, are usually the easiest to get work done on in a consistent fashion.
Old 27th September 2012
  #80
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The funny thing is that I've always been able to spot the sound of live music from way outside the room in a heartbeat. I've never even been fooled once by a recording no matter how great the playback system was.
Old 27th September 2012 | Show parent
  #81
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
The funny thing is that I've always been able to spot the sound of live music from way outside the room in a heartbeat. I've never even been fooled once by a recording no matter how great the playback system was.
Due to the help and encouragement from guys like you and Glenn, when I built the mastering buildout to my studio and had the opening party, several attendees remarked that the sound coming from the Cello/Duns sounded as if a live guitarist was playing in the room. It was gratifying.

But I think my experience is the same as yours. There is a lack of smooth or something. And with modern PA I only find it getting worse, which bugs me as the tools are so much better.

Bill
Old 30th September 2012 | Show parent
  #82
Lives for gear
 
Tone Laborer's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand ➡️
Not to speak for Thomas, but it could be anything: Take your pick:
Actually, that was a joke, EHand. No, I don't really believe AURATONES are "the one technology that is the answer to great sound. "
Old 30th September 2012 | Show parent
  #83
Audio X
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand ➡️
I'm not sure you follow either.

Big, loud, expensive and fancy does not equal the-way-it-sounds-in-real-life. That's because the way it sounds in real life is more than dynamically limited, bandwidth limited, sound coming at a person from the source.

I've listened to dozens of different mains systems, in purpose built rooms, with more headroom and SPL output than some of those that you mention. I regularly have discussions, in real life, with speaker designers from a very respected company, because I happen to be friends with a couple.

The bottom line is simple, without being able to completely transport the acoustics of a tracking location into a listening space, you're out of luck, if complete fidelity to the source is the actual goal. Also, loudspeaker transducers are pretty much terrible as far as distortion levels go when compared to the distortion levels throughout the rest of the chain. Finally, the dynamic range of sound in real life is incredible. Loudspeakers are limited in their ability to reproduce such range. The "best" have relatively wide dynamic ranges, that are (here's that phrase again) "good enough", but not the real life experience.

The plain truth is yeah, you might find a system and room that's "good enough" to consistently produce critical listening results from (which was my point initially). But when compared to standing in the actual room a performance is happening in, it NEVER sounds exactly the same. And I know this because I've tried it, on some very impressive systems, several times. Don't let the pomp and circumstance of "audiophile" culture fool you.

But I will say that with playback of simple stereo recordings of single acoustic instruments and/or other not-so-complex material, that were made in environments that are acoustically, minimally invasive to the recording, playback can be stunningly realistic (and may well fool quite a few folks) over well designed systems, especially if the source isn't dynamically extreme. However, when complex material is introduced, the shortcomings of a system become apparent. Most sound in real life is astoundingly complex unfortunately.

None of that is, however, the point. Like I mentioned before, one doesn't need playback from the gods. One needs precision in certain critical areas of consideration so work can be done. Mastering engineers typically come closest because they use broadband, high headroom, time aligned, reasonably linear systems, in purpose built rooms. And from their listening seats, it's easy enough to fool your brain into thinking you're "really there". But when you've been really there you know it's just an illusion and it doesn't compare. In any case, so long as you can get work done on the system, it's good enough. And the best systems, even with their approximations of real life sound, are usually the easiest to get work done on in a consistent fashion.
I was simply trying to have you clarify or find out from you what you meant by "trade offs".. and specifically find out what those trade offs were. ..unless you're simply saying that there is a difference between the live and recorded event and that is the trade off that even the best have to deal with.

Whether a sound is live or memorex seems to be a tangent that you are going off on. That's more a fact of physics and not something that I'm trying to dispute or a point that I am arguing.
Old 30th September 2012 | Show parent
  #84
Barefoot Sound
 
barefoot's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand ➡️
I'm not sure you follow either.

Big, loud, expensive and fancy does not equal the-way-it-sounds-in-real-life. That's because the way it sounds in real life is more than dynamically limited, bandwidth limited, sound coming at a person from the source.

I've listened to dozens of different mains systems, in purpose built rooms, with more headroom and SPL output than some of those that you mention. I regularly have discussions, in real life, with speaker designers from a very respected company, because I happen to be friends with a couple.

The bottom line is simple, without being able to completely transport the acoustics of a tracking location into a listening space, you're out of luck, if complete fidelity to the source is the actual goal. Also, loudspeaker transducers are pretty much terrible as far as distortion levels go when compared to the distortion levels throughout the rest of the chain. Finally, the dynamic range of sound in real life is incredible. Loudspeakers are limited in their ability to reproduce such range. The "best" have relatively wide dynamic ranges, that are (here's that phrase again) "good enough", but not the real life experience.

The plain truth is yeah, you might find a system and room that's "good enough" to consistently produce critical listening results from (which was my point initially). But when compared to standing in the actual room a performance is happening in, it NEVER sounds exactly the same. And I know this because I've tried it, on some very impressive systems, several times. Don't let the pomp and circumstance of "audiophile" culture fool you.

But I will say that with playback of simple stereo recordings of single acoustic instruments and/or other not-so-complex material, that were made in environments that are acoustically, minimally invasive to the recording, playback can be stunningly realistic (and may well fool quite a few folks) over well designed systems, especially if the source isn't dynamically extreme. However, when complex material is introduced, the shortcomings of a system become apparent. Most sound in real life is astoundingly complex unfortunately.

None of that is, however, the point. Like I mentioned before, one doesn't need playback from the gods. One needs precision in certain critical areas of consideration so work can be done. Mastering engineers typically come closest because they use broadband, high headroom, time aligned, reasonably linear systems, in purpose built rooms. And from their listening seats, it's easy enough to fool your brain into thinking you're "really there". But when you've been really there you know it's just an illusion and it doesn't compare. In any case, so long as you can get work done on the system, it's good enough. And the best systems, even with their approximations of real life sound, are usually the easiest to get work done on in a consistent fashion.
I enjoy reading your insightful posts Enlightened Hand.
Old 1st October 2012 | Show parent
  #85
Lives for gear
 
Enlightened Hand's Avatar
 
16 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Thank you much. I enjoy reading yours.
Old 12th October 2012
  #86
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Your observations are fine, let me have a shot.

We have found that people are less likely to listen to a song if it is too bright and harsh, even if the song is a masterpiece.

The listener will want to listen, but his ears won't allow him to, as it has been exposed to too much aggressive material.

Whilst picking the best monitor systems for our facility, we thoroughly tested many different brands for weeks. We(a team of 3 engineers) wanted THE speaker which could bring the flaws of a track forward without any sweetening or pleasing coloration of the sound.

We wanted a speaker that pointed harsh material to sound harsh and the pleasing materials to sound pleasing. WE WANTED CONTRAST.

The top3 of the list we picked, consisted of ATC 150, Lipinski, Klein and Hummel 0410, and we finally chose the Lipinski systems as they were standing at a slight notch above the competition.

We have noticed that much of the mid range priced speakers were not as precise, highly defined and honest as we wanted them to, speakers like the Unity Boulder, Focal Twin Be, Quested V2108, KH 0300, Munro Egg etc, were ok but not extremely revealing or contrasty and some even sounded pleasing and home stereo-like, which is a big NO NO for monitoring purposes.

The mid priced speakers that were standing out in a very good way were Genelec 8260, Quested V3110, Dynaudio Air 20, Psi Audio Active 25M.


In the LOW mid priced speaker category though it is quite a joke, very few(or none) of those speakers displaying detailed representations of the sound, with brutal honesty and most of them sounded problematic, hyped and some highly praised speaker brands were sounding like pleasing home stereo systems.

It is therefore not shocking to see the trend of harsh sounding records, from the mid and low budget projects.

THE NS10 is far from being a high definition tool but it allows the engineer to readily hear the harshness problems in his mix, which is very useful if you want to craft an exciting yet pleasing to the ear mix, a mix that the person will be able to listen over and over again without feeling pain from his ears.

The top 3 speakers we picked were very honest, revealing and brutal with regards to mistakes. They have this "in your face representation" of mistakes in the mids that the NS10 have, but without the horrible sound.
Old 12th October 2012 | Show parent
  #87
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis_Diaz ➡️
We wanted a speaker that pointed harsh material to sound harsh and the pleasing materials to sound pleasing. WE WANTED CONTRAST..
This is the difference between an accurate monitor speaker and a flattering one.

That said, I believe that there really IS a role for flattering speakers to play during production. When you play a take back during a tracking session, you don't want the performers getting lost in audio minutia and losing focus or confidence. They need to be making decisions about their performance and more flattering speakers can be a good tool for eliciting the best possible performances. In a great many cases the most accurate speakers are also the most fragile and likely to be damaged if somebody drops a mike or pulls a guitar cord out at the wrong time.

Another challenge is mixing. Really accurate speakers allow one to listen very deeply into a mix. While this is needed to reveal problems, for example in mastering, it can also lead to musical balances that are only acceptable on accurate speakers. This problem was what led us to using certain "reference speakers" such as Auratones and NS-10s in addition to our full range monitors. A mix that sounded great on both tended to sound great everywhere. The thing is that only certain "reference speakers" were found to work for this without sending one's mix completely off into left field. No manufacturer has ever consistently made good "reference speakers" so I have my doubts that anybody really knows why certain speakers work for this role while others don't.

My point is that there really is no universal "best" monitor speaker.
Old 12th October 2012 | Show parent
  #88
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
That said, I believe that there really IS a role for flattering speakers to play during production.
Absolutely right my friend, for production purposes, a flattering and easy listening speaker is the weapon of choice.

But the gentleman who created the thread I think was talking about speakers meant for critical listening and top flight engineering.

The challenge is to pick flattering speakers for your lounge or your production purposes and NOT your engineering purposes.

Many people nowadays are using too flattering and forgiving speakers, how do I know this ?? simply by listening to the mixes which our clients send us for mastering, and noticing how problematic and harsh most of them are.

Sometimes the clients are dazzled when they listen to their mixes on our speakers and hear discrepancies and ugliness that were not revealed to them on their listening systems which most of the time cost more than 4000 Euros. (I won't specify the brand names, but you have a clue of who I am pointing to)

Old 13th October 2012 | Show parent
  #89
Deleted 0833250
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
This is the difference between an accurate monitor speaker and a flattering one.

That said, I believe that there really IS a role for flattering speakers to play during production. When you play a take back during a tracking session, you don't want the performers getting lost in audio minutia and losing focus or confidence. They need to be making decisions about their performance and more flattering speakers can be a good tool for eliciting the best possible performances. In a great many cases the most accurate speakers are also the most fragile and likely to be damaged if somebody drops a mike or pulls a guitar cord out at the wrong time.

Another challenge is mixing. Really accurate speakers allow one to listen very deeply into a mix. While this is needed to reveal problems, for example in mastering, it can also lead to musical balances that are only acceptable on accurate speakers. This problem was what led us to using certain "reference speakers" such as Auratones and NS-10s in addition to our full range monitors. A mix that sounded great on both tended to sound great everywhere. The thing is that only certain "reference speakers" were found to work for this without sending one's mix completely off into left field. No manufacturer has ever consistently made good "reference speakers" so I have my doubts that anybody really knows why certain speakers work for this role while others don't.

My point is that there really is no universal "best" monitor speaker.
What about the Pro ACs, they seem to occupy a good mid-point between monitoring, mixing, HiFi, (price point), and even mastering?
Old 13th October 2012
  #90
Lives for gear
 
nzl62's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Our hearing is far from flat. In fact dips as much as 20dB are regarded as normal.

The single most important thing with monitors is knowing them and knowing how they translate. I'm guessing that most of the NS10 users know them like the backs of their hands. They are not flattering and the general consensus is that if it sounds good on a set of 10's the mix will sound good everywhere.
The overlooked reason for so many mixes being done on NS10's was because they were everywhere. A freelancer may walk into studio a with big JBL mains or studio B with Westlakes/Genelecs whatever but in both there there would be a set of 10's. They knew those and not the mains, safer choice
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