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#705087 02/16/22 07:05 AM
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Can anyone recommend a medium-end studio monitor?

I’m slowly building a small home studio and want to replace the cheap desktop computer speakers that have served me well since the 90’s with 2 powered monitors. Space is at a premium and I don’t need a separate sub-woofer unit. The office/studio is 12’ x 12’.

I have 3 basic needs for these monitors.
1. To listen to/produce BiaB arrangements and internet music; mainly SoundCloud and YouTube
2. Play my bass to MP3 files for learning songs and recording
3. To connect to a Korg keyboard via ¼” TRS output

I lump 1&2 together which are computer based separate from 3 which is instrument based.

In order to switch between listening/recording vs playing the keyboard I think I could use my existing multi-output audio/video/game switch box. But I’d need TRS to RCA(Red/white) adapters to connect the monitors to the switch, which hopefully won’t be a problem.

I should be able to achieve a massive step up from what I currently have for under $400 per monitor ($800 total). Focal has a unit North of $2000 . . . no thank you. And as far as I know I see no value in them being Bluetooth enabled. But a nice-to-have would be a sleep mode or complete shut off after say, 1 hour of non-use.

After 10 minutes of research I came across the JBL 305P as a possibility but wanted to hear from anybody with studio monitor experience. Probably there are factors I haven’t considered. Many thanks.

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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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Good choice on the JBL... I've had a set of their 8" powered speakers for years now. Very good sound and power. I feed my Korg keyboard and all instruments through a Focusrite 18i20 sound interface and that outputs directly to the JBLs. Enjoy if you go that route!




Steve

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i cant afford them..but i love the adam monitors .

for cheap presonus eris are decent powered monitors
ive heard.

if ya got bucks >>tannoy dual concentrics in lots of studios.

https://www.tannoy.com/product.html?modelCode=P0C2B

om




Last edited by justanoldmuso; 02/16/22 08:22 AM.

New Song "PRETTY GIRL" for my wife...Dec 2023
(my vocs....mixed for good earbuds.)
https://soundcloud.com/alfsongs/prettygirlrbfinalcalfsongsdec2023mp3
(and rock song THE STALLION and bluegrass song... BANKER MAN....90 songs useing bb/rb.)
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If I want Bluetooth audio, I use the little Logitech device: https://www.logitech.com/en-us/products/speakers/bluetooth-audio-adapter.980-000910.html

I too have long liked JBL, though my own monitors are actually big old floor-standing Tannoy dual-concentrics.


Jazz relative beginner, starting at a much older age than was helpful.
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Thanks for all your advice. Here is one review I found.
https://hyperbits.com/best-studio-monitors/

Steve, your Focusrite seems like a one powerful interface. I have the Tascam 208i and called JBL tech support. Reached audio engineer Tony Smith there, a very knowlegable guy who spent an hour on the phone with me. He says that my Tascam should be able to do everything I need in the TRS world and the 305Ps are well matched for my room size and in my budget.

Do you use your interface with RCA-based stereo speakers or just with TRS components?


https://soundcloud.com/user-646279677
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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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I mainly use the Pioneer S-DJ50X Active Monitors which I find are extremely good. They have the connections you mentioned, and include 3 types of inputs (XLR, TRS and RCA).

(I also have Yamaha NS-40M's which are really a reference monitor)

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In they long run you may end up with a number of different sets of speakers from $300 a pair to $5000 a speaker.

The JBL 305 are arguably a speaker set you will want in your arsenal. Just like SHure Sm57, you just gotta have one.

I would start with those, they are powered, light on the budget and sound very good (very "JBL"). Next perhaps a 8" you might try the Yamaha 8"s to get a little different sound profile.

Don't forget to add some bluetooth stuff like a Sonos, Jbl Charge, or similar to give you an idea what your stuff sounds like on real world gear.

A variety of different speakers from different manufacturers helps to give you an overall sound of the music you are producing.

Nobody is listening to your stuff on $10k speakers.


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I have a pair of the JBL305P. I also have ADAM-A7.

I did not like the bass response of the JBLs as well as the ADAM-A7 but they were much less in cost and I recommend them as being acceptable monitors.

I had a 300watt Gallien Krueger bass amp I gave to a neighbor with a couple of bass speakers and have had top-of-the-line Gallien Krueger amps and cabinets so I have a good idea what real bass should sound like.

I normally will play a bass DI into the DAW through whatever interface I may be using. This is a pretty common way bass gets recorded in any studio.

Any guitar played through software sounds like guitar played through software. I am not saying that is bad or good, just that it does not sound like live bass played through real bass amps and speakers. The advantage of playing a real bass guitar as opposed to playing the bass line on piano for example should be obvious to a competent bass player.

I think it would be pretty easy to overdrive those small JBLs with a bass guitar and harm them. At lower volume levels there is no problem.

I would highly recommend that you buy the best interface you can afford. Buying higher-quality monitor speakers can be acquired as you progress.
Presonus, Native Instruments, Focusrite, and MOTU all make good interfaces.

I have DT 770 Studio headphones that I have used for hundreds of hours to play bass, guitar, piano through at night. There are many good headsets and you should go to a music store and test them out to see what you like.

I really dislike going to Guitar Center but they do have all this gear set up so you can listen and make better buying decisions no matter where you actually buy the stuff from.

I don't think you will be unhappy with the JBL speakers.

Billy


New location, new environment, new music coming soon

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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Do you use your interface with RCA-based stereo speakers or just with TRS components?

My Focusrite connects directly to the JBLs via XLR cables on the interface main outs.

As far as Billy's comments about bass, as long as you are monitoring your levels going into your interface, you shouldn't need to worry about overdriving the speakers. My interface basically has a "volume knob" to control the output to the powered speakers so as long as I have that at a decent level, no worrys. My JBLs also have LED outputs right on the speaker, as long as there's no red, I'm good.




Steve

BIAB/RB 2022, Pro Tools 2020, Korg N5, JBL LSR 4328 Powered Monitors, AKG/Shure Mics.
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These feedbacks are much appreciated. For the reasons above I'm comfortable leaning toward JBL at this time. The value proposition with JBL appears strong to me.

Billy, I think you might be misreading a few things.

First, I'm not playing bass thru a piano or anything other than a real bass guitar.

Second, I would never play my bass thru a studio monitor or anything other than a bass amp, not even at "lower volume levels". Among other things, that would probably void the monitor warranty to begin with. I have a 500W RMS @ 4 ohms / 300W RMS @ 8 ohms chest rattling amp and smaller practice amps at the ready. For a couple years I was the bassist for a medium sized church where we bought two 2000 watt subs from Gloria Estafan's band that she outgrew. These units could push some serious air. Our sound man made sure things didn't get too out of hand smile

Third, I'm not interested in purchasing an interface; already have one.

Fourth, not interested in headphones, already have a good set (JBL by the way).

If I stated anything that misled you, I apologize.

Also, according to Sweetwater the ADAM A7X is no longer available.

"Sorry, the ADAM Audio A7X 7 inch Powered Studio Monitor is no longer available. We've left this page up for reference only. Check out the great alternatives on this page or call toll-free (800) 222-4700 to speak with a Sweetwater Sales Engineer about similar products."


https://soundcloud.com/user-646279677
BiaB 2024 Windows
For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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The big issue with monitors is what they are used for. You mentioned three different issues. In the monitor world some are very flat in sound, others "color" the sound. Many here remember Clark MacDonald a long time forum member. He used to mix with monitors that were just book shelf speakers from Radio Shack. His theory was that use what your ears get used to. Make a copy of the song on a CD and play it every where. In the car, on a portable stereo, in the home stereo, from an MP3 online, with headphone, and on your studio monitors. Once you get a "feel" for the sound and how it plays regarding bass, mix, etc then it really doesn't matter. This is called referencing your sound.

I bought a nice set of M Audio BX5a and have used them for years now the other day i bought a pair of cheap Persons 3" just to use on my laptop for any time i am not at my desk. not used to that sound yet but i do use them to compare.

The bottom line is always buy that best you can afford for your situation. Then "learn" them. Hear them with many different genres and styles of music.


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Rob brings up the important point to learn your monitors, whatever they are. Play CDs you like that are mastered well. What sounds great? What doesn’t? Part of this is learning the sound of your room. What booms? What disappears?

Monitors for listening and playing along are different from what you need for music production, where the monitors need to have a flat response. It sounds like you want to do both, which presents a challenge. I have two rooms, one for production and one for playing. My production is Adam 5xs with a sub. My playback room has two KRK 8s with no sub.



BIAB 2024 Win Audiophile. Software: Studio One 6.5 Pro, Swam horns, Acoustica-7, Notion 6; Win 11 Home. Hardware: Intel i9, 32 Gb; Roland Integra-7, Presonus Studio 192, Presonus Faderport 8, Royer 121, Adam Sub8 & Neumann 120 monitors
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Rob.
all good points.
one reason i wont spend a fortune on monitors is ive lost count the number of times in a studio with very nice monitoring,...ie the mix sounded fantastic on the big
monitors...but sometimes not on a boombox...or other
el cheapo speakers. i learnt this the hard way.
sometimes the translation to junk stuff does work but sometimes not.
in summary its a very hard to balance to achieve whereby a song sounds great on everything.

lets also recognise many people these days listen on dollar store earbuds. yes..some pay lots for good iem's.
but most dont.

this topic has dogged me all my music life.

heres an interesting aspect...edifier charge i think 120 buks for a pretty decent pair of speakers powered.

ive asked myself too many times are we fooling ourselves mixing on fancy monitors which most of the world doesnt own ?

just asking.

om




Last edited by justanoldmuso; 02/17/22 06:35 AM.

New Song "PRETTY GIRL" for my wife...Dec 2023
(my vocs....mixed for good earbuds.)
https://soundcloud.com/alfsongs/prettygirlrbfinalcalfsongsdec2023mp3
(and rock song THE STALLION and bluegrass song... BANKER MAN....90 songs useing bb/rb.)
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Originally Posted By: Rob Helms
The big issue with monitors is what they are used for. You mentioned three different issues. In the monitor world some are very flat in sound, others "color" the sound. Many here remember Clark MacDonald a long time forum member. He used to mix with monitors that were just book shelf speakers from Radio Shack. His theory was that use what your ears get used to. Make a copy of the song on a CD and play it every where. In the car, on a portable stereo, in the home stereo, from an MP3 online, with headphone, and on your studio monitors. Once you get a "feel" for the sound and how it plays regarding bass, mix, etc then it really doesn't matter. This is called referencing your sound.
..................


Interesting. I have a friend who uses his home stereo and speakers for monitors. He listened and figured out the best settings for all playback devices. His mixes always sounded great!


Me, it's not about how many times you fail, it's about how many times you get back up.
Cop, that's not how field sobriety tests work.

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Good thoughts about referencing sound.

I've been preaching this tool for several years now, I love it: Sonarworks

It will take any bad reflections of frequencies in your room setting and create a flat response for your room sound. It also does this for MOST popular headphones. The idea behind it is if you can create a good sounding mix with a flat response from your room or headphones, it should sound good everywhere. I'll do most of my EQ parts of my mix through this tool and turn it off/on to compare with my natural bad room sound. It's also a good tool to improve your room. I've picked up various Auralex square tiles and room corner bass traps to improve the frequency response of my room. You can see the improvements by looking at the curve changes as you change the room.




Steve

BIAB/RB 2022, Pro Tools 2020, Korg N5, JBL LSR 4328 Powered Monitors, AKG/Shure Mics.
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Hi,

One of the first things you said was "I’m slowly building a small home studio"

I missed the 208i info thinking it was a Tascam 208M in one of the other posts.

DI or direct in is the most common way bass guitar gets recorded of the several methods that exist. Most all professional studios use Di along with bass microphones on real bass cabinets. I only ASSUME "I'm slowly building a small home studio" indicates you have the intention of recording your live bass playing through one of the five or six typical methods of recording bass. Here is a video describing five of the most common ways to record bass. https://youtu.be/8_BYSw5ZWjM

You can listen to music in any of the various forms, MP3, .wav, FLAC on the JBL 305P speakers and you can listen to the bass guitar in real-time as you are recording from your DAW or simply play through your DAW without any issues if you manage the volume. You can do the same thing through your headset.

There are three basic types of speakers. Production speakers, like the ones you play your bass through at church, reproduction speakers of the type you listen to music on your stereo, and studio speakers which normally try to produce a flat response and not add anything to what you put in them.

I only told you what speakers/headsets I own so you have some idea of what I base my thoughts and recommendations on and the fact that I own the speakers you were asking about. I have played my Fender P bass, Musicman bass, and my Fender Jazz bass, my Robin custom bass, and the bass I gave to the neighbor through all the monitors and headsets I own without any issue.
I have a Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI V2 to use as a bass preamp into any interface.

If you want to understand why what I am saying is true you can go to this electronic engineering website and read what Elliot has to say. https://sound-au.com/articles/guitar-voltage.htm

Just so you know, I am not an electronics engineer. I build custom professional tube amps for those few people who want top-quality tube guitar amps and are willing to pay the price. I am certainly not a professional studio recording engineer. Everything I have said here is about my own experience with equipment that I actually own and have used.

The one really off-subject thing I detest is evening having to think about producing music that will get played on a boom box. I am happy to let Justin Bieber have that space...lol

And again, to answer your question about the JBL speakers. I don't think you will be unhappy with them. They are just low-cost speakers that do a pretty good job for the money. What they sound like to anyone is subjective and they will sound very different in different rooms.
Here is where you can buy the ADAM-A7 new or used from about $1000 to $1500. https://reverb.com/marketplace?product_type=pro-audio&query=ADAM%20Audio%20A7X%20Active%20Nearfield%20Monitors%20%28Pair%29

Billy

Last edited by Planobilly; 02/17/22 07:11 PM.

New location, new environment, new music coming soon

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Thanks to all again for your comments but somehow this thread got diverted away from it's original intent. I'm not sure why a few of you are talking about recording. Yes I am slowly building a home studio and yes I want an upgrade on the speakers in the room, and yes I am recording my bass. But the only involvement that my speakers (soon to be studio monitors) have in the recording process is that they allow me to hear the music that I am playing along with. Headphones or earbuds could serve the same purpose but I want good quality monitors for that purpose.

[Perhaps it's not understanding the recording process that I'm using that is causing confusion here. I am NOT using mics when I record, neither am I planning to plug my bass into a monitor. Rather, I am sending the XLR output from my bass amp to Input #1 of the Tascam 208i interface with Audacity playing the MP3 file I'm jamming to while recording my bass playing in real-time simultaneously. I'm sure this is childs-play for those that do this sort of thing. Before anybody suggests RealBand, I've spent significant time here on another post to get RealBand to work without success and can't justify any more time on that now (I suspect the culprit is a Windows and/or a RealBand setting somewhere). At this time Audacity does all I need and the recorded bass tones are good plus I do have bass/treble/High-pass/Low-Pass in Audacity should I need it. I realize that Audacity is limited and is not even a real DAW but it meets my needs and setting-up a recording session and processing and mixing the result requires less than 4 minutes; I've made dozens of recordings this way, works like a charm. Plus, the learning curves for full-featured DAWs are too significant for me to justify. I'd rather spend my time having fun with BiaB. I can see how confusion can creep in as this stuff can get complicated, in fact, my setup is a tad more involved in that I'm also able to send audio from my Windows 10 computer to tower speakers elsewhere in the house that are driven by a stereo receiver.]

. . . back to the monitors. I'm settling on the JBLs and fully expect them to replace both the cheap computer speakers I'm currently using and the small bass amp now connected to the Korg keyboard. In other words, all room audio (with the exception of my bass amp) will soon be sent to the JBLs with the Tascam interface as the central hub which has 4 XLR inputs and 8 TRS outputs; plenty for my needs.

Again, thanks to all who took the time to join this discussion, for those not yet recording and seek a simple way to do it hopefully this will be useful to you.


https://soundcloud.com/user-646279677
BiaB 2024 Windows
For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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You wrote ‘to listen to/produce’. The ‘produce’ part triggered the comments about recording.


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FYI, my JBL 305Ps arrived. It took a few hours to figure out how to get my PC and the Tascam 208i to talk but that's now solved.

So far I really like these monitors; they fill the room with good crisp treble and adequate bass.
Definately an improvement over what I previously had.

Thanks to all that provided comments on this inquiry.


https://soundcloud.com/user-646279677
BiaB 2024 Windows
For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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Fantastic. Thanks for letting us know what you settled with and how well they perform. Great information for future users who might be exploring the same product market.


BIAB & RB2024 Win.(Audiophile), Sonar Platinum, Cakewalk by Bandlab, Izotope Prod.Bundle, Roland RD-1000, Synthogy Ivory, Kontakt, Focusrite 18i20, KetronSD2, NS40M Monitors, Pioneer Active Monitors, AKG K271 Studio H'phones
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The User Showcase Forum is an excellent place to share your Band-in-a-Box® songs and listen to songs other program users are creating!

There are other places you can listen to these songs too! Visit our User Showcase page to sort by genre, artist (forum name), song title, and date - each listing will direct you to the forum post for that song.

If you'd rather listen to these songs in one place, head to our Band-in-a-Box® Radio, where you'll have the option to select the genre playlist for your listening pleasure. This page has SoundCloud built in, so it won't redirect you. We've also added the link to the Artists SoundCloud page here, and a link to their forum post.

We hope you find some inspiration from this amazing collection of User Showcase Songs!

Congratulations to the 2023 User Showcase Award Winners!

We've just announced the 2023 User Showcase Award Winners!

There are 45 winners, each receiving a Band-in-a-Box 2024 UltraPAK! Read the official announcement to see if you've won.

Our User Showcase Forum receives more than 50 posts per day, with people sharing their Band-in-a-Box songs and providing feedback for other songs posted.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed!

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