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Ideal studio monitors for a boss br-800 digital recorder?

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  • Ideal studio monitors for a boss br-800 digital recorder?

    What would be great monitors for a boss br-800 ? doesn't need to be the best but decent. I plan to use a small guitar amp as a monitor (sounds good with my sony walkman). but time will come when i will have to get real monitors for it. what would you suggest?

    Like would an Alesis Elevate 3 work ? or a KRK rokit 5 G3 work?
    Last edited by mbengs1; 03-22-2014, 12:22 AM.

  • #2
    The M-Audio BX5 are a great set of monitors for the price. I bought a set for $200 when they were on sale. They normally sell for $300+ a pair.
    the good part is they are bi amped and use a 40W amp for the woofer And 30W amp for the tweeter which give you 70W total.
    I run mine at about 50% volume and they are more than enough power for mixing and the sound is solid enough where
    I can use them to monitor my instruments tracking including bass which would tear up cheap monitors.

    I see Guitar Center has them on sale for $99 each. I'd definitely grab a pair at that price. 7AodEVsAhg&kwid=productads-plaid^74855750202-sku^109426767@ADL4GC-adType^PLA-device^c-adid^32882221482

    Using a guitar amp may work for tracking but wont be worth messing with mixing. First off its not stereo. Second, its have instrument level inputs, not line level inputs. Third, the amps EQ is voiced for guitar which ranges fro 200Hz to around 6Khz maximum, with a big bump in the midrange tones around 1~4Khz and your speaker probably wont produce frequencies much more than the amp does rilling off at 4~5K as well.

    Drum cymbals, kick, vocals and bass will all be colored or missing playing back through a guitar amp so you'd wind up boosting those instruments mixing.
    Instruments like guitar would have too much midrange so you'd wind up attenuating it down.
    Then when you play the songs back through normal speakers the mix will sound awful. You wind up having too much highs and lows and not enough mids,
    just the opposite of what you heard through the guitar amp.

    This is the key to monitors and mixing. The are your baseline for everything you do mixing. They have a very flat frequency response to the ears. You can
    pump test tones through them and anywhere along the frequency spectrum from 20 ~ 20,000+ Herts (your hearing range) the ears will hear the same
    level of volume in decibels.

    Most playback systems, even your audiophile stuff like Hi Fi's, Headphones, Computer Monitors, Laptop Speakers, TV set speaker, etc. do not have a flat response.
    They have a hyped response to make what is being played back sound bigger and better than it actually is. The Hi Fi manufacturers assume what's going to be played back
    through their systems was mixed on pro gear that had a flat frequency response so when they hype it, it will sound good through their speakers. Then they add EQ controls to
    make them flexible enough to suite the listeners ears and surrounding room.

    There's a number of reasons for this. Part of it dates back to earlier technologies like LP recordings. Long ago the industry did have any standards and when they made 78 rpm LP's
    each recording company used their own standards based on what they could get for decent playback quality. Later the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) set up standards
    all the manufacturers and recording industry could used to make a standardized recording and playback gear. This fixed most of the issues with cutting LP's so they would play back on any
    decent HiFi system.
    You cant forget the radio industry either. They can be getting Disks to play with wildly different EQ response's so having a targeted standard was essential for the industry so it was done scientifically
    based around the technology of the time.

    The methods of obtaining a good frequency response have changed when CD's and digital became popular because you weren't worried about a record needle jumping out of the grove, but it still
    has to begin using a flat frequency monitor system mixing.

    The good news is the cost of decent quality studio monitors used for home recording has never been so inexpensive. back when I began recording a good set of studio monitors could easily cost
    $10,000 and up. Many of your pro studio monitors still do cost that much. What has changed is there is a low end market that didn't even exist 10 years ago. $200 may sound like allot but it really isn't. You'd easily pay that much for a budget guitar today. The thing is you cant get a good mix without them so having the rest of the recording gear and software is pretty much useless unless you accurately hear what is being played back.

    You can try and use computer monitors for example, and you may succeed getting the mix to sound good on those monitors only.
    Its going to be pot luck having it sound good on any other system. Its actually good you try and do this because you'll learn a lot in the process.
    I've done it myself. Used the best system I could get my hands on, then try the mix out on a boom box, car stereo, A Hi Fi system, Headphones etc.
    When you hear a fault on one system, like too much bass at a certain frequency, you go back to the mix and tweak it down a hair and then try another mix down
    and see how it sounds on the other systems again, often times finding that tweak exposes another problem you have to deal with.

    Its a whole lot of work, and you may get one mix out of 10 to sound somewhat tolerable to the ears. You eventually begin to realize the shortcomings and all
    the extra work could easily be avoided when you have a set of studio monitors. You'll still have to cross check your mixes, but you'll be getting highly consistent
    mixes that play back well on all systems (if the music was Performed, tracked and mixed well which is of course a huge part of getting a good recording too)

    At least you wont be beating you head against the wall because of the speakers and can focus on all the other things that make up a good recording.
    A bad sound source just throws a blanket over everything and its impossible to know where your problems and strengths reside.


    • #3
      do yourself a favour... go into a store that sells monitors with some cd's that you love the sound of... ask them to set you up where you can switch between the different speakers, and then decide for yourself


      • #4
        Great advice from the posters above.

        I'd add that any set of monitors is only as good as the room in which they are being used, and your ability to learn how the sound on those monitors translates to other listening systems.

        On the first point - even the most rudimentary of room treatments can make a huge difference to what you hear, and therefore, the quality of mixes. It's worth googling your options in this regard - simple options like putting heavy furniture in the corners, putting soft wall hangings at reflection points, and having something diffusive, like a bookcase or something, behind the listening position, can and will improve the translatability of your mixes. If you're handy with tools, and have a dedicated space for your mixing rig, the web is full of simple designs for bass traps, diffusors, ceiling clouds etc., that will take that simple treatment to the next level. For anyone producing mixes for public consumption, I'd say that room treatment is every bit as important (probably more so) than monitor selection.

        On the second point - you have to learn your monitors. What sounds great to you on a pair of 6" nearfields may not translate all that well to other systems, until you learn how those monitors translate. So for instance, on my old Tannoy Reveals, I know that the mids have to sound super tight on those, or there is a danger that they'll be all over the place on regular hifi system/car/laptop/wherever. And that their bottom end isn't the hottest or most accurate - so I'll have to double check the bottom end on a different set of speakers, and reference headphones, to be absolutely sure that the mix is ready for public consumption.
        Learning your moniotors means simply putting in the hours - doing mixes and seeing how they translate, and listening to tons of reference material. As your ears tune into the specific character of your monitors, you'll find that a lot of your favourite reference records were not put together the way you thought they were!
        flip the phase


        • #5
          Besides near fields, I use a number of different sets of monitors to check mixes. I have a Stereo Hi Fi setup with a head that drives
          a set of speakers that contain 12", 2 mids and 2 Tweeters each. That head has speaker selectors that can select another set of cabs
          containing Car Triaxial speakeras.

          Then I have another Alesis Reference Head that drives a set of Passive Studio Monitors. Next
          I have a set of Harmon Kardon Computer Monitors and Sub Speaker.

          Then I can also crank up my Stereo PA system which consists of 18" subs, Yamaha 15" and horn cabs, Cerwin Vega cabs with 15's and
          horns and a pair of 10" reflex cabs all driven by a pair of Crown heads for about 2500W

          I can turn on any one, pair or combination of speakers to hear how my mixes sound.
          You can easily find old HiFi systems at garage sales that have a pair of speakers and an Aux input, then just connect it
          to the computers output using a Y jack or switch box.

          I even have a pair of Graphic EQ's that have the graphic display and I can look up at any time and see what Frequencies I'm
          pushing, tracking or mixing. They aren't super accurate but helpful at times. I used to use them for enhancing the sound but I've gotten away from that.
          The one head also has a loudness switch which I turn off when mixing so the speakers match the studio monitors better.

          I'll often times track through monitors using headphones only when I need to avoid feedback and bleed over tracking vocals.
          I can kick on extra speakers for tracking bass so I don't overdo the lows pushing my near fields.

          Then as I mix, I can kick different sets on for checking the bass range and highs.
          For example, my Near fields are great for mids and highs, but they may not produce sub lows all that well.
          I could use a high pass filter mixing and eliminate them as many do to be safe. But then playing back music on
          a full range system may sound anemic and lack that power pushing kick your feel more than you hear.

          I know for example, when I use the Triaxials for checking bass, if its booming and muddy I know I'll have too much bass
          playing back mixes on other systems like in the car. If I dial up the sub lows evenly on those, They sound good on just about
          any other system. I can also use my mastering limiter to get my mixes up to commercial levels safely without the bass frequencies
          taking the mids and highs down.

          The additional monitors wont give me a good mix on their own because each color the mix in their own way. The Computer monitors
          for example Hype the highs and lows and I'd wind up lacking those frequencies If I mixed on them only, but when used to check a mix
          they can reveal faults I may not have noticed mixing on the near fields only. Plus having them let be check the mixes through at least a
          half dozen different cab and head combinations so I don't have to do a mix down, take it to some other playback system, only to find out
          I botched the mix and have to go back to the drawing board and remix.

          You do have to do that as well, but not as often. I may do a mix down then wait a few weeks before listening to it in the car.
          I place the song in rotation with other songs I've mixed and I can get a better comparison of how well it was mixed when played back
          to back with others. I may hear the bottom drop out, have one guitar weaker than another, the vocals may be too up front or buried etc.
          I can then take specific notes on what I need to do and when I go back to remix, I make only those changes that are needed. I may not
          even detect those subtle 1/2db increases of decreases were needed when I'm back at my mixing console, but I know they will make
          the final mix right. I also know there's the mastering step between the mixing and final mix that will enhance the mix. If I had a weak
          vocal and boosted it in the mix, a small change can have a big effect once the mastering tools are applied.

          Remixing may even make some issues worse. I cant count the times where micro managing every detail to death only makes matters worse
          and when you go back to the first mix, you found you got it right the first time. Other times you do have to keep digging into every detail
          to make it right. Having several sets of monitors can help allot but its like Gubu said. You have to put the hours in and get to know them all.
          you do that when you play through an instrument amplifier. you tweak and tweak until you find its best tones to work with. You do the same
          with monitors, except on a more complex level because you're trying to get "All" the instruments to play back through the same speakers and
          not having any one instrument dominate the speaker cone vibrations.

          Its not easy getting all those vibrations riding on the same speaker cones in harmony so all the wave patterns move together as a single sound.