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Best studio monitors for price/quality?

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
You should consider factoring in the cost of Sonarworks or similar. Worth it even in good rooms and good monitors, but even more so when dealing with untreated spaces & cheaper monitors.
A friend uses it and likes it a lot. My only objection is that it means you're locked into a small sweet spot - especially in his room with his speakers.

But it does make his speakers sound good.
 

Ben H

Senior Member
I have the smaller Sceptre S6s and they are a GREAT pair of monitors.

PreSonus Sceptre S8 - coactual design compares favorably to 50 other high grade studio monitors I have tested (incl. 3500 EUR/piece Genelecs). No wonder - in order to have a strong start into the market, PreSonus licensed tech and design from boutique speaker manufacturer Fulcrum acoustics (read mindblowing, but if you must ask for the price, you can’t afford it).

They are the best speakers I’ve ever used. Period.
 
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sIR dORT

Active Member
Can I connect the JBL 305's to my Apollo twin duo using an XLR cable? It looks like there's on the back of the speaker.
 

LinusW

Active Member
ADAM T5V or T7V.
I compared just months ago and T7V sounded much better than Yamaha HS7, Focal Alpha 50, JBL LSR etc. to me. Still so cheap I bought a pair to put in the living room.

(I use A7 or A7X in my studios.)
 

Fredeke

Senior Member
I love my Eve SC208.
I've also owned a pair of SC205 which sounded great too but weren't punchy enough for my EDM (maybe a sub might have helped ?).
Eve speakers sound a lot like Adam ones, because they are designed by the same engineer.

But if you're on a budget, you may find those brands too expensive. JBL, Yamaha or Tannoy are about twice cheaper.
(But I don't recommend the Tannoy Reveal series because they have muddy bass and a serious quality control issue.)

Entry-level KRKs are even cheaper and still quite decent. I haven't paid attention to the brand in a while but when the brand was young I remember every model had a completely different sound. I don't know if that's still true.
 
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Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
You know, I'm *so* glad I have a subwoofer in my small room.

I was working with my big speakers while writing, sort of mixing as I went along, and everything sounded great. They're old-school UREI 809As, with a listed response down to 50Hz (although there's a lot of useful stuff well below that).

Then I switched to my Blue Sky System Ones (6.5" sats + 12" sub), my primary mixing speakers.

Whoa! Thumps in an Omnisphere processed guitar patch that I simply didn't hear on the big speakers.

Good catch. Not a big deal, I just rolled it off.

But it made me think of this thread. When I was at Recording magazine, we used to get readers' tapes in with vocal pops all the time. The little speakers people were using (usually Yamaha NS-10s at the time) stop at 60Hz, and mics usually pop around 55Hz. Now with synths and samples we have to worry about stuff a lot lower than that.
 
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OP
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sIR dORT

Active Member
Update: Got and tested the JBLs today, they sound great. Maybe a hair too much bass, but I'm nitpicking a bit. Again, thanks for all the help guys!
 

AllanH

Senior Member
Update: Got and tested the JBLs today, they sound great. Maybe a hair too much bass, but I'm nitpicking a bit. Again, thanks for all the help guys!
In tiny bit of advice regarding the 305s: They are rear-ported, so if you they are too close a wall or other reflective surface, it will affect the sound. If you at all hear a bit of "rumbling" or "muddiness" in the lower frequencies, I'd suggest moving a bit away from the wall or hanging some absorbent material on the wall (real treatment can come later).
 

Denkii

Active Member
IMHO: If you really only have a small room, don't bother with 8". Yes, you will lack some lower frequencies when you go smaller (esp. going with h7/h5) but you won't be able to turn them over 6 anyway before your room is filled with bass and everything is humming, even if it's somewhat treated. And if you're in an apartment, you'll have fun with your neighbors but not while listening to your music.

If the room is small, go for adequate speakers.

I once bought Alpha80s because I thought "I will be moving into a bigger room eventually so might as well buy these now and keep them for when I can make use of them" only to end up filtering the bass and driving them half assed which lead to horrible frustration while trying to master.

Buy small speakers, check low frequencies with good headphones and/or visually and listen to the mix on bigger speakers somewhere else if you can.
 

TigerTheFrog

Amphibiousician
After a lot of research, and much consideration of JBLs, I went for the Kali Audio LP-6. I highly recommend them. It's a new company founded by people who left JBL in 2018. More information from the founders HERE and there are a lot of great reviews you can find online. In a very short time, they have become very popular. I'm sure there are better monitors, but not at a $149 price point.

kali audio.jpg

What's really great about these is the way you can set them up using dipswitches in the back to match the way you have placed them in your studio.

I love the way they sound. Very "neutral," as they say. And I also think the white version (they have a black one too) is beautiful. Looking forward to mixing with these.
 
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X-Bassist

Senior Member
After a lot of research, and much consideration of JBLs, I went for the Kali Audio LP-6. I highly recommend them. It's a new company founded by people who left JBL in 20018. More information from the founders HERE and there are a lot of great reviews you can find online. In a very short time, they have become very popular. I'm sure there are better monitors, but not at a $149 price point.

View attachment 20631

What's really great about these is the way you can set them up using dipswitches in the back to match the way you have placed them in your studio.

I love the way they sound. Very "neutral," as they say. And I also think the white version (they have a black one too) is beautiful. Looking forward to mixing with these.
I like the illustrations on the back, no words needed! ;) Let us know how they work out for you.

At that price point it will be a matter of how solid the low end it and how flat the highs are. Neutral and flat is great. I still have 2 pair of equators (got a backup pair before they went out of business) and they also are very flat and neutral, great for mixing. At this price, a backup pair is not unthinkable, considering these small companies don’t always stay afloat, even with a great product.
 
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constaneum

Senior Member
IMHO: If you really only have a small room, don't bother with 8". Yes, you will lack some lower frequencies when you go smaller (esp. going with h7/h5) but you won't be able to turn them over 6 anyway before your room is filled with bass and everything is humming, even if it's somewhat treated. And if you're in an apartment, you'll have fun with your neighbors but not while listening to your music.

If the room is small, go for adequate speakers.

I once bought Alpha80s because I thought "I will be moving into a bigger room eventually so might as well buy these now and keep them for when I can make use of them" only to end up filtering the bass and driving them half assed which lead to horrible frustration while trying to master.

Buy small speakers, check low frequencies with good headphones and/or visually and listen to the mix on bigger speakers somewhere else if you can.
So what would you recommend as adequate speakers ? Hmm...
 

Denkii

Active Member
Depends on the size of your room but honestly the former mentioned JBLs and the Kali LP-6 offer supreme bang for your buck.
An alternative would be Yamaha HS7. Comparing those three is probably your best bet. Adams still get a lot of hype in a lot of places. When talking about budget speakers I still like the Focal Alphas... The list could continue.

But choosing monitors is a very personal thing. Some people will tell you "it has to be (insert brand and/or model name here)" and I simply disagree with that. If you can manage to listen to some monitors you are interested in, take advantage of that and form your own opinion. You WILL find some of them preferable over some others just based on how they sound.
For example: aiming for as much neutrality as you can may sound nice in theory but some people find themselves not being able to enjoy working with them (especially for long sessions). I don't know if you are on that page and if you don't know it yourself, you should try and find out whether that is something you would enjoy.

Find something you like and you can see yourself working with for years. Only if you know your speakers well, you'll be able to get used to what music should sound on those speakers. And remember: most people don't have audiophile uber neutral high end speakers at home so they won't even hear it like you did anyway. That's why it's not only "ok" but makes it almost mandatory to check your mix on as many 'normal' speakers as you can.

What music are you writing mostly? Are you writing for film? Where does this music get played mostly then: shitty TV speakers / sound bar / 5.1 home cinema?
Or is it EDM? You get my point...I would choose my main monitors partly based on what my main audience will probably consume my content on, for as long as it's within the reach of what I deem enjoyable to work with. That's a question only your own ears can answer.

Edit: especially try to listen to the JBLs and Kalis before buying, if you don't know what horn speakers sound like. Some love it, some hate it. It's not a conventional horn but still...it's definitely different from standard hifi and/or usual domes.

As for the Yamahas in particular: many people seem to suffer from ear fatigue quite fast with those if you believe what you can read online and I can see where that's coming from so if you can, it's also wise to check them out first. Personally I wouldn't recommend the HS 5 without a sub...they simply lack the oomph that I need ;)
But then again a sub comes with so many problems of it's own - especially in a small room. So I'd say check the HS 7.
 
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whiskers

Perpetual student
After a lot of research, and much consideration of JBLs, I went for the Kali Audio LP-6. I highly recommend them. It's a new company founded by people who left JBL in 2018. More information from the founders HERE and there are a lot of great reviews you can find online. In a very short time, they have become very popular. I'm sure there are better monitors, but not at a $149 price point.

View attachment 20631

What's really great about these is the way you can set them up using dipswitches in the back to match the way you have placed them in your studio.

I love the way they sound. Very "neutral," as they say. And I also think the white version (they have a black one too) is beautiful. Looking forward to mixing with these.
had I known about these when I got my LSR305s I would have had a tough time deciding :)
 
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