Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box?

Posted by: cesmith

Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/26/20 11:21 AM

Hello,

I am looking to obtain a good set of speakers to use for play-along with BIAB. I have a Dell XPS laptop and the built in speakers are not sufficient for what I want to do.

I am a jazz double bassist and would like to play along with speakers blue-toothed to my computer. I am looking to mostly practice playing melodies and soloing along with backing tracks of chord changes.

Given the instrument I play standing up, plugging in or microphoning through headphones may be a bit more difficult, but I'm open to suggestions. What is a good audio configuration with BIAB for a stand-up double bassist?

Thank you!
Posted by: Don Gaynor

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/26/20 01:47 PM

Cesmith,

Older laptops were notorious for having very poor soundcards and the recommendation was to upgrade your soundcard for improved system sound. This has been greatly improved in recent years.

I have Barry MS-40s that I highly recommend. They are near-field monitors so take a bit of getting used to. They are fully capable of peeling paint or wallpaper so they should handle your bass adequately.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000IKSIOM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/26/20 02:12 PM

Welcome to the forum.

We need to know your budget.

Any size restrictions?

You probably know, there are powered and unpowered speakers. We generally call the powered ones monitors.

I highly recommend getting a modest audio interface such as a Focusrite 2i2 that connects to your laptop via USB. It bypasses the laptop audio (although Don is right, they are getting better) and it bypasses those horrid little headphone mini-jacks on laptops.

Since you play bass, can we assume the low end response is not as important for you?

What genre do you favor? The answer for classical might be different than for heavy metal or disco.

And, what's your budget!
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/26/20 03:57 PM

I use Pioneer S-DJ50X powered (Active) monitors with BiaB and find them perfect for my purposes.
Posted by: cesmith

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/26/20 08:57 PM

Thanks for the reply and welcome.

Size: It'd be nice to have the speakers on a desk or table if possible. If the speakers would need to go on the floor, I would want them able to be tucked away somewhat when not in use.

Low-end response: While I do play bass, and intend to use the speakers for play-along, it might also benefit me to use the speakers for listening and transcribing as well. So, it would be good to have a decent low-end response. For play-along, I would mostly be doing jazz standards (piano/guitar + drum BIAB backing track). For listening and transcribing, I also like a lot of 60s/70s Soul + R&B in addition to jazz.

Interface & Budget: I hadn't thought of getting an interface at this time, but it may be worthwhile for recording purposes as well. Would it be possible to acquire the interface and speakers for around $400-500? If you have possibilities in mind that are a bit outside this range, please do suggest them as well.

Thank you.
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/27/20 06:11 AM

With the laptop, I would recommend that you buy several things.

1. A USB external interface running ASIO.

2. A pair of powered, studio reference monitors.

Depending on what you buy, you're looking at a budget of around $500 for these items. They will, however, allow you to do so much more with your music and recording.

Connect the interface to the laptop and plug the speakers into the interface and you're ready to go
Posted by: TheMaartian

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/27/20 07:55 AM

Originally Posted By: Guitarhacker
With the laptop, I would recommend that you buy several things.

1. A USB external interface running ASIO.

2. A pair of powered, studio reference monitors.

Depending on what you buy, you're looking at a budget of around $500 for these items. They will, however, allow you to do so much more with your music and recording.

Connect the interface to the laptop and plug the speakers into the interface and you're ready to go

Great advice. While it's possible to spend TONS of money on an audio interface and powered monitors, you might want to consider a quality, entry-level bundle. Here's a terrific one for $310.

PreSonus AudioBox 96 Ultimate Bundle

Available from many suppliers. Here's an Amazon link:

AudioBox 96 Ultimate Bundle from Amazon

The bundle also includes a license to Studio One Artist ($99 value). Great DAW. I use Studio One 5 Pro instead of Real Band.

Posted by: cesmith

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/27/20 11:49 AM

Looks like a great package. Thanks very much!
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/27/20 05:40 PM

Pioneer S-DJ50X powered (Active) monitors should be about US$300 (pair). I did a fair amount of research and a lot of listening to various products before settling on these.
Posted by: rharv

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/28/20 02:50 PM

One thing to consider is the speaker's frequency range.

I have a friend who got the aforementioned Presonus kit, but has yet to get the computer to hook it all up to, so I look forward to hearing it but can't comment yet.
I did note these speakers only go down to 80Hz ..

The ones mentioned by VideoTrack and Don go down to 50Hz, which is a little better but still not quite what I personally need for monitors.

In my research you need a little bigger woofer to get down farther in the lower range.
However these take up more room, so there is always a tradeoff.
Posted by: TheMaartian

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/29/20 05:53 AM

That's part of the reason I mentioned the PreSonus bundle. I've got excellent 8" monitors, but even those won't fully cover a double bass. The OP can always upgrade the monitors in the future, using the same audio interface. The bundle will still be a significant upgrade in audio over his built-in speakers.
Posted by: MountainSide

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/29/20 06:16 AM

This is an interesting discussion and got me thinking. As Rharv suggested, speakers with a bigger woofer would be helpful, but wouldn't a sub accomplish the same thing?

I ask because I find myself in the same situation wondering about my KRK 8's.

Jeff
Posted by: TheMaartian

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/29/20 07:38 AM

A sub can be helpful, but good ones (for mixing) are pricey. A VST like Fundamental Bass from W.A. Productions is useful when mixing low freq material.

Fundamental Bass VST

Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/29/20 08:55 AM

Jeff, I have KRK 8s in my larger room for play-along. They work fine and bring good volume if needed. I would not use them to mix. The OP asked for speakers to play along with, and I think they are great for that.
Posted by: MountainSide

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/29/20 11:18 AM

OK, thanks for commenting Matt. I do sometimes wonder about the low end.

Jeff
Posted by: rharv

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/29/20 02:57 PM

"KRK 8s", "KRK 8's"
The above is kinda ambiguous. (sorry)

There is apparently a KRK 8s (subwoofer) and KRK (Rokit) 8" monitor and other possible interpretations.

Which do you guys use?
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/29/20 03:16 PM

Good catch Bob. You won’t like my answer. I use both in that room. I don’t think I ‘need’ the sub but sometimes it gives just a tiny boost.
Posted by: MountainSide

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/30/20 05:50 AM

I just have two KRK 8" speakers, no sub. I've always wondered what the KRK sub would do for my system. Since my current 8's speakers themselves apparently go down to 36HZ (+/- 3db), the sub 10" sub apparently goes down a bit further to about 30hz.

Didn't seem to offer much bang for the buck. Their 12 incher apparently goes down to 26Hz but far outside my budget.

Jeff
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/30/20 06:11 AM

If I hadn’t already had a sub I would not have bought it to use with the KRK 8 monitors. When it’s on, yuh feel it shaking the room more than hear it.
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 12/30/20 11:13 AM

A "2+1" computer speaker system (2 treble speakers plus 1 sub woofer speaker)likely will match your need and budget. This +++ Logictech Z407 Computer Speakers +++ system is Bluetooth, micro USB and 3.5 mm capable, comes with a wireless rotary controller, 40 watts RMS of power and is $80 US at BestBuy. A 20 watt RMS system is $40.
Posted by: Bob Calver

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 01/11/21 02:54 AM

I have an AIWA pc set of speakers with a subwoofer that seems to match Jim's logitech solution. I've also had a look at some of the monitor speakers cited above.

However, most have a separate eq facility. My system as a separate control for the bass volume. So my question is how does one arrive at a representative sound for mixing if the monitors themselves have an eq setting?

What I'm currently doing is play a selection of commercially recorded sounds and get the sound i like. then presumably, my recordings should in eq terms just about be 'right' for matching commercially recorded songs.

i know i can get spectral analysis software but the low tech solution is to use my ears. advice from the forum would be greatly appreciated.
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 01/11/21 12:23 PM

Bob,

I think the match your eq to reference songs by ear is by far the best approach. First you have a selection of reference songs, most people don't. Second you're training your brain to listen critically. Finally, as long as your satisfied, it works.

One suggestion though if I may.

Step 1 is to calibrate your maximum listening level to 80 db or slightly less. Load a sound level meter application into a smartphone or buy a sound level meter off the internet. Max out the volume level of your DAW, Band-in-a-Box, Windows audio playback miser. Minimize the volume level of your audio amplifier. Place the smartphone or sound meter close to your head. Play the loudest passage of the loudest reference song you have. Slowly raise the audio amplifier volume control until it is registering your maximum volume level or 80 db.
Posted by: Simon - PG Music

Re: Best set of speakers for play-along with Band in a Box? - 01/11/21 03:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Bob Calver
I have an AIWA pc set of speakers with a subwoofer that seems to match Jim's logitech solution. I've also had a look at some of the monitor speakers cited above.

However, most have a separate eq facility. My system as a separate control for the bass volume. So my question is how does one arrive at a representative sound for mixing if the monitors themselves have an eq setting?

What I'm currently doing is play a selection of commercially recorded sounds and get the sound i like. then presumably, my recordings should in eq terms just about be 'right' for matching commercially recorded songs.

i know i can get spectral analysis software but the low tech solution is to use my ears. advice from the forum would be greatly appreciated.



Back in audio school we calibrated the studio monitors weekly. We played pink noise through each speaker and used a DB meter to match them up. We calibrated the pink noise to 79db for the monitors and 84db for the sub (as the DB meter will read less level from the sub depending on weighting). I often used a DB meter app on my phone for this.

This was using speakers that each had their own level control - for "computer speakers" you might need to have your DAW play the pink noise, pan from left to right to calibrate each with the sub turned off (or at least read an average SPL if you can't adjust left and right independently), then add a low pass filter after the pink noise with the cutoff at your sub's cutoff frequency to calibrate the sub independently.