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studio monitors and quality of home speakers
Kees de Visser
post May 2 2012, 22:38
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QUOTE (honestguv @ May 2 2012, 17:33) *
I would suggest a bit of caution about drawing general conclusions from a particular set of measurements without their supporting discussion. It is straightforward for the major monitor manufacturers to make speakers with reasonably flat on axis responses and most of them both claim that they do and produce on axis measurements in support of the claim.
I second that. If these measurements are valid, and at the same time different from those made in anechoic chambers, it would be interesting to find out why.
Ethan wrote:
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The problem with anechoic chambers is they are anechoic only down to 100 Hz, or maybe 80 Hz if it's a really good one.
This might explain different results under 100 Hz, but not why the rather huge dips are not found in traditional measurements.
It would be nice if Ethan could give some more info about the test.
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RobWansbeck
post May 5 2012, 22:45
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The dips could be the result of phase cancellation due to microphone placement.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post May 8 2012, 13:32
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QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ May 1 2012, 23:52) *
I don't know if it's ever been done before, but it would be interesting to see if they've ever tried to use perfectly accurate studio monitors and then just have various applications that can mimic the performance of cheaper speakers to try to get the best overall performance as possible on a variety of speakers.


First problem - finding perfectly accurate studio monitors. Hens teeth!

Second problem - finding reliable eq packages that would make them sound like other real world bad speakers.



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ktf
post May 8 2012, 16:03
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ May 8 2012, 14:32) *
Second problem - finding reliable eq packages that would make them sound like other real world bad speakers.


I don't think thats very hard: measure the impulse response of the speakers (probably in a room that fits the kind of equipment) and use convolution to emulate the speaker. You could try to counter your non-perfect monitor problem by deconvolution as well. Probably the result won't be perfect (as deconvolution certainly wont give perfect results), but thats not the objective. If it emulates well, which of course has to be tested, the problem is solved. In the mastering stage, the time delay of convolution/deconvoltion won't be a problem too.

This post has been edited by ktf: May 8 2012, 16:05


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Arnold B. Kruege...
post May 9 2012, 14:24
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QUOTE (ktf @ May 8 2012, 11:03) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ May 8 2012, 14:32) *
Second problem - finding reliable eq packages that would make them sound like other real world bad speakers.


I don't think thats very hard: measure the impulse response of the speakers (probably in a room that fits the kind of equipment) and use convolution to emulate the speaker.


I guess you don't know that the world is full of people who took an introductory DSP class or something like it and hit on the same idea.

The more motivated went into the lab and actually tried it. Reality struck! The few that actually stuck with it for a number of years, were smart enough to overcome the practical problems, got funding so they could still eat while fooling around for years with no commercial results, and were lucky; produced products and built a company around them. Say, Audessy.
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ktf
post May 9 2012, 14:38
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ May 9 2012, 15:24) *
... produced products and built a company around them. Say, Audessy.


I wasn't talking about fighting acoustics, (that's what Audyssey seems to do) which is of course pretty much impossible. "Adding" coloration and slew to a much better system is something different entirely.

Why would anyone have tried to make a set sound worse actually, besides from this application? Convolution (for reverb, for instance) is already used, why wouldn't it work for speakers?

This post has been edited by ktf: May 9 2012, 15:05


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krabapple
post May 9 2012, 16:38
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Isn't most studio monitoring on these speakers (NS10s etc) done in the near field -- thus , mostly on-axis sound -- and wouldn't that affect how the recording sounds in 'normal' home listening -- which is by no means guaranteed to be nearfield?

(My understanding is that studios often have a nearfield pair, mounted on or near the console, and a pair of floorstanders farther away, so maybe this isn't an issue, though the accuracy of the speakers and the acoustics of the room still are.)

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markanini
post May 10 2012, 15:18
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Yeah, the equilateral triangle, each side 3-6 feet, is usually observed in studios only. Another thing is most people aren't concern with keeping a minimum distance of 25cm to the back wall and corners, resulting in a bass boost.

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Thasp
post May 12 2012, 05:51
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QUOTE (honestguv @ May 2 2012, 08:33) *
QUOTE (RonaldDumsfeld @ May 2 2012, 15:24) *
So it seems that studio monitors in general have a tendency to have a small dip at just those frequencies that the human ear is most sensitive too. A bit like the old 'loudness control' we used to have on hi-fi amplifiers. I'm surprised to learn this. It is contrary to my own (untutored) expectations.

Yes it is interesting but I would suggest a bit of caution about drawing general conclusions from a particular set of measurements without their supporting discussion. It is straightforward for the major monitor manufacturers to make speakers with reasonably flat on axis responses and most of them both claim that they do and produce on axis measurements in support of the claim.


Try any of those speakers and compare them to something of quality intended for the home environment like Thiel or Vandersteen and you'll hear for yourself. Now it is all about making something cheap that will impress people at Guitarcenter who are newcomers to recording. There is a very thin line between professional recording and "professional out of my basement" recording nowadays. It makes sense to engineer products to people who WANT a monitor that will hide the flaws in their amateur recording. The midrange is the hardest part to get right - so monitors that are easygoing in the midrange will make more amateur mixes & recordings sound tolerable.

Another purpose for those dips - to manufacture monitors that are "client pleasers" - Genelec 1031a are historic studio CLIENT speakers. Very few people actually mix on them, and very few engineers actually play finished products for the label execs on the NS10s. Every tool has its purpose. Do you want to play your finished product to the people paying for it through speakers that reveal every flaw, or speakers that will hide every flaw? Avatar had the big brother version of the Tannoy 800A... they were used once in over a decade, on some Foxy Brown session. That was it!! The 1031 and Urei 813 were only ever used to deafen the record label execs walking on the session to "see how things were going", then back to the NS10s or the engineer's monitors of choice for the real work.

Just because a company claims they are making an accurate product and markets it as a "studio" or "professional" product does not mean it is so! Often, the most accurate reproduction equipment is NOT made for the professional world, and the more a company spends time ADVERTISING how flat their product is, the less time they spend in the lab making it so!

Let's talk about so called flat results! Often those results of measurements are SMOOTHED to make a very BUMPY frequency response look flat. The degree of smoothing depends on the manufacturer and who is doing the measurements. A 5 dB null at 1 Khz and a 5 dB peak at 2 KHz can easily be made to look flat through smoothing and averaging out the measurement.

Lastly, room EQ and DSP is awful poison. Most studios with Big Red Lansing 604e speakers found them going unused. They were always afflicted with intense room EQ. Nearfields gained popularity as it allowed freelance engineers to get around the awful room tuning used on the control room's main speakers.

I forget if this were in the 60s, 70s, or 80s. Somewhere along the line, people found out that our brain can actually hear the room and subtract it from the equation. Even though we HEAR the room, our brain subtracts it from what we are actually trying to process. By trying to EQ out the room, you are compensating for something your brain is already compensating for. This becomes aurally very confusing, and is only useful for the lowest of frequencies where our brain has trouble telling the room from the original sound anyway. If you have true life measurements of a speaker - say, you measure them outside in a field and get a set of results, and attempt to EQ out the peaks, this can work. Measuring speakers in a room and EQing them to be flat in that room however, this will result in a nightmare.

I understand people being skeptical of one person's claims. On HA, I am not sure of Ethan's reputation. In the professional recording community(and basement recording community as well!), Ethan is well renowned as an expert in his craft whose findings are more often than not based on proper experiments and real science, not untested hypothesis.

P.S.

On measuring NS10s. If someone can find me a set they are measuring where the left and the right measure even within 20% of each other, I'll trade you my 3A signatures for the pair. Really! Good luck. I recall Rich Costey using NS10s four years ago in bewilderment of why the left side of his mix sounded so F'd up. The tweeter measured 10 dB different than the other. We swap out the NS10, same problem. I spent 2 hours going through 30+ drivers and crossovers to find a set that measured within even 3 dB of each other so the session could continue.

This post has been edited by Thasp: May 12 2012, 06:10
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lanayapiper
post Oct 12 2012, 13:13
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QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ Apr 27 2012, 16:52) *
Has there ever been a documented case of a recording sounding worse on quality home speakers because the studio monitors used to make the recording where of lower quality?


I guess there's none. The only possibility for this issue is when the device is totally not in good condition. Let's see what others have to say.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Oct 15 2012, 14:50
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QUOTE (lanayapiper @ Oct 12 2012, 08:13) *
QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ Apr 27 2012, 16:52) *
Has there ever been a documented case of a recording sounding worse on quality home speakers because the studio monitors used to make the recording where of lower quality?


I guess there's none. The only possibility for this issue is when the device is totally not in good condition. Let's see what others have to say.


Really, its an unaswerable question, or at least one that shouldn't be answered by any sensible person.

Since there is no absolute standard for "sounding better", the question is in dire danger of falling into a mass of dueling personal opinions.
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seditious3
post Oct 22 2012, 17:53
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QUOTE
I also seem to remember stuff about recording engineers listening in their car because they figured if it sounded good in their car it would sound good anywhere.



That was Motown:

http://books.google.com/books?id=0tz5Ypiju...ers&f=false

http://www.tangible-technology.com/media/media_1.html
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tnargs
post Oct 23 2012, 01:36
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QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Apr 29 2012, 01:32) *
....What David did was fly all ten speakers high up over the stage in a huge auditorium. .... I've seen a photo of the test setup and it was valid. ...

A local manufacturer of (pro stage/cineam and home) loudspeakers uses the same technique. Works well.
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tnargs
post Oct 23 2012, 01:56
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QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Apr 29 2012, 01:32) *
    The Tannoy ...a broad 3dB dip centered around 4 KHz.
    The Genelec ...a broad 4 dB dip centered around 4 KHz.
    The Event ...a broad 4 dB dip between 4 and 6 KHz.
    The Dynaudio ...a narrow 9 dB dip at 3.5 KHz ....
    The Mackie ...a broad 2 dB dip between 1.6 and 4 KHz.
    The Alesis ...
    The M&K ...narrow dips of 3 and 4 dB at 3 KHz and 6 KHz ...
    The NS10 ...a narrow 4 dB boost at 1.6 KHz ...
    The Adam ...a broad 6 dB scoop centered at 4 KHz...
    The Event ...a 9 dB narrow dip at 4 KHz...

Let's say, based on the above, 000's of recordings are out there with some emphasis in the 2k-5kHz region, because the monitors had a dip there.

And let's say a lot of home playback loudspeakers don't share this trait.

This is the very region that Linkwitz says is emphasised by close mic'ing techniques, and needs a bit of restraint in mixing or playback of many recordings. Based on the above, we might be getting the opposite.

This might be one systemic contributor to that 'in your face, CD sound' that many attribute to poor old CD. ohmy.gif

My sincere hope is that studios don't use these monitors for final mastering (which is best done in a simulated home listening room with full range speakers at normal distance); I hope the use of these monitors is primarily for getting the details right and forensically peeking into the mix for little glitches and for dialling in correct panning and echo etc. In which case something of a boost in the region in question, like the NS10, would be the best servant. IMHO cool.gif
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tnargs
post Oct 23 2012, 02:10
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QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Apr 28 2012, 02:53) *
QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ Apr 27 2012, 11:52) *
Has there ever been a documented case of a recording sounding worse on quality home speakers because the studio monitors used to make the recording where of lower quality?

In recent years I've become disturbed by the trend to market "pleasing sounding" speakers to pro mix engineers. ...

It's potentially worse than you think, Ethan. Imagine someone actively marketing to mixing studios a clone of the Auratone 5C with the commendation "full-range reference studio monitors let you hear what your mixes will sound like on real-world systems such as car stereos, computers, televisions, iPod stations and other bass-challenged systems"? unsure.gif

Too late to stop, it's already happening!
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Oct 23 2012, 20:28
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QUOTE (tnargs @ Oct 22 2012, 21:10) *
QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Apr 28 2012, 02:53) *
QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ Apr 27 2012, 11:52) *
Has there ever been a documented case of a recording sounding worse on quality home speakers because the studio monitors used to make the recording where of lower quality?

In recent years I've become disturbed by the trend to market "pleasing sounding" speakers to pro mix engineers. ...

It's potentially worse than you think, Ethan. Imagine someone actively marketing to mixing studios a clone of the Auratone 5C with the commendation "full-range reference studio monitors let you hear what your mixes will sound like on real-world systems such as car stereos, computers, televisions, iPod stations and other bass-challenged systems"? unsure.gif

Too late to stop, it's already happening!


Usually, monitoring on real world playback systems was reserved for post mix - usually mastering.

The historical name of the game is make the recording sound great on accurate speakers, and acceptable on crappy ones.

This post has been edited by Arnold B. Krueger: Oct 23 2012, 20:28
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markanini
post Oct 23 2012, 20:45
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What are Doug Sax and Rob Ludwig using?

This post has been edited by markanini: Oct 23 2012, 21:08
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