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Using powered computer speakers to replace Auratones?

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  • Using powered computer speakers to replace Auratones?

    I'm about to incorporate a Mackie Big Knob into my home studio setup, allowing me to hook up the Adam A7s and Yamaha NS10Ms. Normally, I like to mix with three sets of speakers, and I want to avoid using a speaker switch on the amp running the NS10s to switch to some crappy Radio Shack speakers (Minimus 7 I think), that I've been using instead of Auratones for the last ten years or so.

    So, it occured to me to get some cheapo computer speakers to give me the small speaker reference. Anyone done this? Any recommendations for active computer speakers that can simulate the Auratone sound? I've got a pair of Edirol MA-10As on my non-studio computer, but they sound too good for this purpose, if you know what I mean.

  • #2
    Avantone are coming out with powered versions of their nice little Auratone knockoffs. Of course I found this out after I picked up an amp on eBay to power my nonpowered ones coming in few weeks.

    The Avantones are supposed to be perfect for this.
    __________
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    • #3
      computer speakers would be the perfect reference that most people will be listening to their mp3's on while at work or at home on the computer. i would say it would be better than horrortones.

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      • #4
        I second the idea of Avantones. I power mine with an old cheap used hifi amp. What I like about them is that they sound like they are in the same ballpark as my Adam A7s, the middle seems pretty flat, they're just lacking in the high and low ends.

        Computer speakers seem to be all over the place tone-wise and with their cheap plastic exteriors probably have frequency responses that are far from flat.
        "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."- George Orwell

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        • #5
          I'm of two minds, here. On the one hand, aj has a real point -- on the other HT has maybe an even better point -- most computer speakers are not just limited in frequency range -- they're wildly uneven. Although, as I remember Auratones -- and it has literally been at least 18 or 19 years, I think -- they impressed me as having something of a comb-filter effect to their mid and lower/treble range, bespeaking a certain sort of irregularity.

          But it's been a while. I was never really a fan though I came close to buying a pair once... can't remember what stopped me. Maybe it was the notion that my "good" speakers at the time didn't even cost that much. When I was actually working on other people's projects in 'real' studios -- my own little 4 track rig was something of a side-thought: a goofy little lap where I could do all the cool things that would not have been appropriate on someone else's straightahead music.
          .

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          • #6
            I was never really a fan though I came close to buying a pair once... can't remember what stopped me.


            sanity?

            id still just get a cheap set of computer speakers.... but it wouldnt be to mix on, just to check on. with and without the sub. i wouldnt mix on horrortones either. or yamama ns10's for that matter.

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            • #7
              Granted, I haven't heard the Avontones but what convinced me to purchase them later this month is the fact that they are flat. I love the concept of a limited bandwidth speaker like the Auratone or the old Studer speaker trick... except this is a flat speaker. No crossover for accurate mids, lows cut off at 90 and the highs at 15k I think. Single cone to eliminate phase issues. And they take 200 watts for headroom galore.

              But like I said, I haven't actually hear them yet.
              __________
              Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
              Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
              Jesus

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              • #8
                you can still have cone distortion which result in phase issues.... and i cant imagine not hearing more than 2 octaves on the bottom.

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                • #9
                  those small speakers were for checking your mix on AM radio - who worries about that these days?
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                  • #10
                    check this type of stuff out:
                    http://sound.westhost.com/doppler.htm

                    its basically singular drive freq distortion with phase shift/modulation.

                    the fact is on that end there is no perfect speaker to choose...

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                    • #11
                      Not only to check AM mixes on. But TV as well. Who needs that? I've got a nice audio system on my main TV but... I love watching TV in bed, and listening to the little speakers on the TV itself. That is a fact of life that probably won't change soon. At least in my house it won't. I suspect in other households as well.

                      MTV, Fuse, VH1... most folks are still "listening" to their music through the boob tube.

                      Alpha, I never thought of the Avantones being a "perfect" speaker. I never got the impression the original question had to do with the search for the perfect speaker. If I misread, my apologies.

                      The real reason I'm interested in the Avantones is the limited bandwidth yet flat response throughout their usable range. I can fully understand others not needing or desiring these traits.

                      Why limited bandwidth? I've always enjoyed the fresh perspective when switching to the old Auratones. No big wet bass, no air. Just... MIDRANGE. For better mix engineers than I, it may be a non-issue, for me, I tend to get distracted by the lows and highs.

                      I'm talking as an alternative to my mains.

                      By truncating the lows and highs, I'm looking foward to going back to the Auratone days but with flat response.

                      We'll see...
                      __________
                      Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
                      Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
                      Jesus

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                      • #12
                        Granted, I haven't heard the Avontones but what convinced me to purchase them later this month is the fact that they are flat. I love the concept of a limited bandwidth speaker like the Auratone or the old Studer speaker trick... except this is a flat speaker. No crossover for accurate mids, lows cut off at 90 and the highs at 15k I think. Single cone to eliminate phase issues. And they take 200 watts for headroom galore.

                        But like I said, I haven't actually hear them yet.


                        A modest proposal -- set up an EQ curve that rolls off under 120-150 Hz and above 8-10K and then use that with your full range monitors.

                        Of course, that doesn't afford an alternative to the inevitable imprecisions of a given pair of speakers --and, probably more importantly, doesn't offer the ability to use reference speakers in a different position in the room -- which is a technique I saw someone write about either on the web or perhaps in a magazine in the last year or so... They offered it as a sort of hedge against inevitable room problems... an alternative imperfect monitoring set up, as it were.

                        AlphaJerk mentioned a few other limited speakers, including the fabled white cone wonders, the NS10m. I have to say that my experience using my NS10m's as primaries was far from ideal. But when I put a pair of Even 20/20bas along side them (actually between them but let's not get fusssy), I found I had things moderately well covered. I didn't like the NS10m's as primaries (no bass, of course, and the mid-range issues they're famous for, as well) but when I side-lined them, I found that, for me, they worked quite well as "magnifying lens" speakers for zeroing in on upper mid issues, as well as doing ref checks.

                        I do think having at least one pair of some kind of reference is a good idea.

                        Back on the NS10m's... I've found that, with the right EQ, they can be quite enjoyable for everyday listening. I have an old Yamaha "Naturalsound" prosumer amp with both a "straight-wire" switch (takes all tone as well as stereo balance controls out of the circuit) and a neat little continuously variable loudness comp knob that let's me "dial in" comp from super subtle to lowrider smiley curve (all bass and treble, a la the whump and sizzle that comes out of the rides of the future deaf who like to make sure the rest of the world knows how great their taste in music is). With a moderate amount of compensation, the NS10m's sound like the bookshelf speakers I always dreamed I'd own back int he 60s (when I marveled that no records anywhere seemed to have consistent bass, one note booming out and the next all but disappearing in the mix... ahem). Anyhow... I've made peace with my NS10m's.
                        .

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                        • #13
                          I've seen ads for those Avantones, but man, they're expensive for what they are. If you've got any sort of wood working skills at all it would be so easy to make a pair. Either Parts-express or MCM sells these little 5" full range speakers. I've got four of em which I used in a prototype speaker cab I was building (built in hot spots firing out the side). Thing is, I A/B'd these drivers with my Auratones and my Hot Spots and they all sound super similar.

                          I'd say MDF, speaker terminals and those 5" drivers, you could knock out a pair for less than 50 smackers. Hey, I'll measure my Horrortones if you need dimensions.
                          -David

                          (the artist formally known as DC before the move to HC)

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                          • #14
                            To clarify my original post, let me just say that I want some sort of small speaker to duplicate/emulate what people listening on crappy computer speakers, car stereos, boomboxes, cheezy little portable iPod docks would hear. real world, so to say. I don't want something that sounds great, I've got the Adams for that. What I want to avoid is getting another amp, or a speaker selection switch, therefore the idea of some small powered computer speakers. Most of them are horrendous, lots of them depend on subwoofers (do not want), but there must be some that will suit this purpose. Any thoughts?

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                            • #15
                              those small speakers were for checking your mix on AM radio - who worries about that these days?


                              I don't worry about AM radio, but there are plenty of bandwidth limited systems in common use today - iPod headphones, computer desktop speakers, TV sets, cheap car stereos.

                              I have a pair of the Avant Mixcubes, and they're very good for their intended purpose - seeing what your mix is going to sound like on a "bass challenged" playback system.

                              Here's a link to my reivew of them in EQ.
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