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Got Focal Trio 6be, not what I expected
Old 2nd April 2021
  #1
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funky_munkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Got Focal Trio 6be, not what I expected

I got Focal Trios, placed on my desk. The sound isn't what I expected. I'm fairly sure it's my room so now I don't know what to do.

My room is 12'x13' fairly well treated with bass traps in 3 of the 4 corners, FR points, and mini traps throughout the room. It sounds way better than before.

So I figured I'd get a pair of Focal Trio 6s. Having heard the twins and being blown away by them, the trios just have had to be better, right?

Wrong.

I only hear the bass in the corners of the room. The monitors are unbelievably loud that I've had to reduce gain by -20dB in my compressor, and do a LC @ 70 Hz in my RME.

I wonder if I bit more than I can chew. Should I return these? And stick to my KRK Rokit 3s with a sub?

Or should I fix my room and keep these?
Old 2nd April 2021
  #2
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by funky_munkey ➡️
... The monitors are unbelievably loud that I've had to reduce gain by -20dB in my compressor...


Hold it there... What on earth is a compressor doing in your monitoring path?!
Old 2nd April 2021
  #3
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elamberth's Avatar
 
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🎧 10 years
I have the trio 6s in a room about the size of yours. They sound great and translate very well. I can run them whisper quiet or plenty loud with room to turn them up (I don’t). They should work at a variety of volumes. As noted above, do you have anything in your monitoring path besides the speakers? Maybe measure your room to see where you are?
Old 2nd April 2021
  #4
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by funky_munkey ➡️

I only hear the bass in the corners of the room. The monitors are unbelievably loud that I've had to reduce gain by -20dB in my compressor, and do a LC @ 70 Hz in my RME.
I second the about your "compressor" - and does "LC" mean Low Cut? As in high-pass? It sure reads to me like you are cutting the low end at 70Hz. In order to "reduce the volume"? Is that the case? And then wondering why your sound lacks bass?

Why don't you remove the filter (and the "compressor" - I hope that's a typo) and just turn down the level in the control room? Put your speakers back to 'normal' and just lower the level.

You should not be "tailoring" your monitor path in any way unless:
a) you are listening purely recreationally - i.e. not trying to record, edit or mix
b) you are scientifically calibrating your system with a reference mic and a piece of software designed exactly for that purpose.

Quote:
Or should I fix my room and keep these?
Well you always want to fix the room first, but if your room was sufficiently trapped to prevent unwanted cancellations in the low frequencies with one model of speaker, I don't think that should drastically change when you try a different speaker. Seems unlikely that the room suddenly changed its response, but also unlikely that a well respected speaker from the same company is acting wonky.

That leaves you with a possible "compressor" (?) and a "Low Cut" filter (?) inserted in what should be a pristine monitor path.

Don't you have a monitor controller you can use to simply turn down the level? If you can afford $3k for a new pair of speakers, you should be able to dig up a couple hundred more for a decent passive level control at least. Also such speakers probably already have a 'sensitivity' knob or switch on the back. Maybe they are set too high and can be turned down right there.
Old 3rd April 2021 | Show parent
  #5
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funky_munkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Compressor is my fallback for protecting against sudden spikes in volume. Any spikes or loud noises (thanks IK Multimedia) hopefully gets caught by the compressor.

So far it's been working well enough. Suffice to say when I'm driving the monitors up, they're well below the threshold so the compressor isn't active at all (hard knee, so I'd know).

And of course my testing is with the High Pass filter disabled so I can hear the full bass. It's just spotty and boomy in certain areas in my room. I'm wondering if I'll be better off with a Twin + Sub setup.
Old 3rd April 2021
  #6
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funky_munkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I like the focus mode. But unfortunately in my listening position I can barely tell the difference between the 2/3 way mode.

I'm wondering if I should downgrade my setup to the twins + sub. It might end up being the same cost, but I feel the effect of the bass can be controlled with subwoofer placement.

I'm also going to get sonar works so maybe I should measure the room response to get an idea of the issues?

I'm sort of on the fence. On one hand I like these monitors and I'd like to keep them. OTOH I wonder if I'm burning money buying something that I won't get to experience the full effect of. Sort of like buying a lambo to get groceries.
Old 3rd April 2021
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funky_munkey ➡️
...bass traps in 3 of the 4 corners... I only hear the bass in the corners of the room.
Well, you put "bass traps" in the corners, and then wonder why all your bass is trapped in the corners...







Just kidding. I'm guessing you're still getting bass buildup in the corners, and so it's the only place in the room where the bass from your new 6.5" monitors sound comparable to...

Quote:
...KRK Rokit 3s with a sub?
It's probably sacrilege around here, but maybe you could try the KRK sub with the Focals (and an appropriate crossover) just to hear if the missing sub is what you're actually missing? If that turns out to be unrelated to the issue, then at least you'll be further down the process of elimination, trying to find what is the problem.

EDIT: saw you just posted some similar thoughts about a sub. The Solo BE might even sound better if they don't have to deal with the deeper bass freqs, but you could also try Twins + sub, like you mentioned
Old 3rd April 2021 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by funky_munkey ➡️
It's just spotty and boomy in certain areas in my room..
That certainly sounds to me like something caused by inadequate bass trapping.
Old 4th April 2021 | Show parent
  #9
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funky_munkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by PuggaMahone ➡️
Well, you put "bass traps" in the corners, and then wonder why all your bass is trapped in the corners...







Just kidding. I'm guessing you're still getting bass buildup in the corners, and so it's the only place in the room where the bass from your new 6.5" monitors sound comparable to...



It's probably sacrilege around here, but maybe you could try the KRK sub with the Focals (and an appropriate crossover) just to hear if the missing sub is what you're actually missing? If that turns out to be unrelated to the issue, then at least you'll be further down the process of elimination, trying to find what is the problem.

EDIT: saw you just posted some similar thoughts about a sub. The Solo BE might even sound better if they don't have to deal with the deeper bass freqs, but you could also try Twins + sub, like you mentioned
Are you saying the Solo6 BE + Sub6 would be a better combo for my room (i.e. smallish medium treated room)?

I'm so torn because I like the 2/3 way flexibility on the focals.
Old 4th April 2021
  #10
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🎧 10 years
I don't know how close your desk is to the wall, but why don't you get some speaker stands so you can find the optimal position for your speakers?

Moving them around a bit can make a huge difference.
Old 4th April 2021 | Show parent
  #11
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funky_munkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shobud ➡️
I don't know how close your desk is to the wall, but why don't you get some speaker stands so you can find the optimal position for your speakers?

Moving them around a bit can make a huge difference.
I’m using my home theater stands and yes they opened up the speakers a bit more. I’d have to get the expensive stands to truly move them around - and they cost nearly a grand and 4 weeks to arrive. Plus I gotta get the isoacoustics.

So it comes down to this - if I go this route I’m basically going all-in on the trios and I’m wondering if that’s worth it right now. Or am I better off with a solo 6be + Mackie sub and spending the rest of the money in improving the room.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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funky_munkey's Avatar
 
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Should I keep the vocals or spend the $$$ on improving my room instead?

Or should I opt for Solos + Sub? I've heard the twin + sub and it's a terrific combo.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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standup's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Reposition the monitors. The nulls will move around the room with each new spot you put them in. Read about SBIR.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by funky_munkey ➡️
Compressor is my fallback for protecting against sudden spikes in volume. Any spikes or loud noises (thanks IK Multimedia) hopefully gets caught by the compressor.
A limiter on your master bus would do task much better and most people have one on there any way. Which compressor are you using? You’re likely heavily coloring your monitors path using a piece of gear that doesn’t belong in it doing a task it is poor at. If you have software that is causing sudden spikes, you should just ditch it. But to sacrifice your monitoring path for the sake of using some whack software is a really really poor decision.

It sounds like you just want people on here to tell you which monitors to buy so all your problems will magically be solved (spoiler alert: NOT gonna happen!), but what you should be listening to are the folks who are telling you about the real source of your issues, which are having some compressor in your monitoring path, your lack of taking the time to move your monitors around and your room acoustics.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #15
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funky_munkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismercifulfate ➡️
A limiter on your master bus would do task much better and most people have one on there any way. Which compressor are you using? You’re likely heavily coloring your monitors path using a piece of gear that doesn’t belong in it doing a task it is poor at. If you have software that is causing sudden spikes, you should just ditch it. But to sacrifice your monitoring path for the sake of using some whack software is a really really poor decision.

It sounds like you just want people on here to tell you which monitors to buy so all your problems will magically be solved (spoiler alert: NOT gonna happen!), but what you should be listening to are the folks who are telling you about the real source of your issues, which are having some compressor in your monitoring path, your lack of taking the time to move your monitors around and your room acoustics.
Fair point. But it's not just software. I can't predict all ways that a loud volume can occur. Sometimes it's the simple fact that my mixes are at -10dB and I play youtube and it blasts out, or a plugin is too hot (Omnisphere) and the first note is jarringly loud. Or you audition a loop that's too loud.

Or you insert a plugin (NI Driver) that blasts out noise by design.

Random audio spikes is one of those things you want to catch before it happens. I'm appalled at the lack of audio devices out there that don't have a fail safe for protecting hearing. I couldn't find a monitor controller that has a built-in limiter/compressor/inverse noise gate.

The compressor in my case is a dbx166xs which is acting as a limiter. The focals don't have a gain knob in them (!!!) so I'm using the gain knob on my dbx to lower it by 10dB. Again, the compressor is just a failsafe and in normal operation acts like a pass-through (or it should).

It's still loud with my RME set to 1/3rd volume. I can't believe it when I read folks who say the focals aren't loud enough.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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🎧 15 years
Sounds like you've got some room acoustics issues.

- Optimise the position of the speakers (put them on stands, tweeters at about ear height, close to the front wall and firing down the longest dimension of your room)
- Optimise your listening position (start at 38% back along the length of the room and adjust as necessary).
- Minimise reflective surfaces between you and the speakers (a small desk is better than a large one).
- Make sure you have effective acoustic treatment - most people underestimate how much and how big this needs to be (thicker and bigger is better, foam is generally a poor choice).
- Ideally use a measurement mic and REW software to work out the best positions.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by funky_munkey ➡️
It's still loud with my RME set to 1/3rd volume. I can't believe it when I read folks who say the focals aren't loud enough.
Have you tried changing the sensitivity switch on the Focals?
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #18
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funky_munkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by explorer ➡️
Have you tried changing the sensitivity switch on the Focals?
Yes they're at +4dBu.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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🎧 5 years
Give them time to break in, especially for the low end
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by funky_munkey ➡️
Fair point. But it's not just software. I can't predict all ways that a loud volume can occur. Sometimes it's the simple fact that my mixes are at -10dB and I play youtube and it blasts out, or a plugin is too hot (Omnisphere) and the first note is jarringly loud. Or you audition a loop that's too loud.

Or you insert a plugin (NI Driver) that blasts out noise by design.

Random audio spikes is one of those things you want to catch before it happens. I'm appalled at the lack of audio devices out there that don't have a fail safe for protecting hearing. I couldn't find a monitor controller that has a built-in limiter/compressor/inverse noise gate.

The compressor in my case is a dbx166xs which is acting as a limiter. The focals don't have a gain knob in them (!!!) so I'm using the gain knob on my dbx to lower it by 10dB. Again, the compressor is just a failsafe and in normal operation acts like a pass-through (or it should).

It's still loud with my RME set to 1/3rd volume. I can't believe it when I read folks who say the focals aren't loud enough.
None of that would be a problem if you had a monitor controller. It seems like you’re having to use software to control the volume output from your interface, which is why you are experiencing all those issues. A monitor controller will let you have a volume knob at your fingertips that will control the volume coming from both your daw and your computer audio, both which you could leave wide open. No limiter would be needed. And you may think that cheapo dbx comp is colorless but if you were to get your monitoring in order and A/B it, you would find otherwise.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #21
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funky_munkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismercifulfate ➡️
None of that would be a problem if you had a monitor controller. It seems like you’re having to use software to control the volume output from your interface, which is why you are experiencing all those issues. A monitor controller will let you have a volume knob at your fingertips that will control the volume coming from both your daw and your computer audio, both which you could leave wide open. No limiter would be needed. And you may think that cheapo dbx comp is colorless but if you were to get your monitoring in order and A/B it, you would find otherwise.
My RME babyface has a monitor dial built-in, so there's no need for an external controller.

Reaching for the monitor knob isn't the problem. It's the unexpected burst of sound in unanticipated scenarios. I'd be surprised if you hadn't experienced it yourself.

That being said, I'll try with the compressor out of the way.

Are these monitors worth the $5k asking price, is the other question. Or for $5k is there a leaner, meaner setup for small rooms?
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #22
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by funky_munkey ➡️
My RME babyface has a monitor dial built-in, so there's no need for an external controller.

Reaching for the monitor knob isn't the problem. It's the unexpected burst of sound in unanticipated scenarios. I'd be surprised if you hadn't experienced it yourself.
I’ve been recording/mixing professionally for over 10 years and the only time I can remember having a sudden unexpected sound was when I did something stupid/user error, like accidentally route a bus to it’s own input or hit the listenback button (which is inconveniently next to the cues button) on the console when there is a drummer playing in the live room. And even then, if my monitors are at normal listening levels, it’s never so loud that it would damage my hearing or my monitors.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #23
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by funky_munkey ➡️
Reaching for the monitor knob isn't the problem. It's the unexpected burst of sound in unanticipated scenarios. I'd be surprised if you hadn't experienced it yourself.
I have to echo thismercifulfate. The last time I can recall an unexpected burst of sound really shocking me was when I accidentally sent the SMPTE track to the speakers. IOW, pre-computer days. I agree you are using the wrong tool to prevent a problem that you really should not be having in the first place.

It's like saying I drive with my emergency brake on because you never know when your car is going to unexpectedly put itself into gear, pop the clutch and lurch forward.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #24
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funky_munkey's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq ➡️
I have to echo thismercifulfate. The last time I can recall an unexpected burst of sound really shocking me was when I accidentally sent the SMPTE track to the speakers. IOW, pre-computer days. I agree you are using the wrong tool to prevent a problem that you really should not be having in the first place.

It's like saying I drive with my emergency brake on because you never know when your car is going to unexpectedly put itself into gear, pop the clutch and lurch forward.

In my world (music production) this happens a lot more often than you'd think.
Very simply put, jumps between presets will do this. So will changing effect presets (where one is really loud). Try Guitar Rig or Reaktor for 30 minutes and you'll hear it yourself. I had to learn this the hard way.

Unfortunately hearing is a depreciating asset, so it pays well to take care of it at whatever the expense.

I understand in other disciplines like mixing, mastering, this is less of a concern as you're in a more predictable environment.

Back to the question of, for $5K does anyone think they can get a better speaker setup or should I scale down my budget due to the size of my room?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #25
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santibanks's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by funky_munkey ➡️
In my world (music production) this happens a lot more often than you'd think.
For some reason everything seems so troubling and problematic…

yes, sound sources have different volume levels on a machine. Not all itunes songs are equally loud, not all youtube videos are equally loud, not all presets in your production environment are equally loud...

When it comes to itunes, spotify and that whole shebang: that's mastered stuff and will for sure not exceed the 0 db. It can be loud AF, but it will not clip because that's what it's optimised for.
So the only thing you might need to do here is reach for the volume dial and turn it down. Either on your RME or in the player. I do both multiple times on a daily basis. Fact of life, not really bothersome. You would do the same on a hifi stereo...

So that leaves your production environment. Slap a limiter on the masterbus to make sure it doesn't clip. And happy preset browsing. Yes some are louder than others, if some plugins are too loud, just turn the volume down. But your monitors will be fine (especially the Focals, it's not that we are talking about a cheap speaker with crappy amplifier).

And yes: i am "in your world".

To your initial question: the monitors you have are fine. Just turn them down to make them not incredibly loud. I have the volume dial on my monitors set at 1/4th and that gets plenty loud.
Get rid of the compressor in the chain. Get rid of that low cut on the RME (70Hz.... no wonder) and evaluate.

If bass is still lacking in your sweet spot, just move the speakers around a bit and see if that changes, just to see what happens. Actually, you might to play just some white noise and measure the response at your sweetspot to see if you can get the lows out as they are specified by Focal (for example: don't expect to hear 40Hz if these speakers are limited to 60Hz).

If you only hear bass in the corners that either indicates that bass nulls at your sweet spot (phase issue) or that the corner actually amplifies/resonates something which is not really there. Given that you had a cut at 70Hz, that sounds like the latter as with a 70Hz cut, I wouldn't expect bass in just the corners.
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