Upgrading to JBL Monitors- Should I upgrade Audio Interface as well?

NathanTiemeyer

Active Member
Hi all!

For a while I've been mixing on my DT-770 headphones, but I believe it's time to step up my game and finally invest in some studio monitors, as well as some basic room treatment.
I'm on a budget so I'm not going top tier, but, after some extensive research I've found the JBL LSR305's seem to be the best bang for your buck in my price range.
Also my new studio space is a 12x10 room so I think the size of the speaker is perfect. Anyone else here use these monitors? I've heard nothing but good things from them. My initial budget was around $500 but after hearing the JBL's, what they can do, and their outrageously good price point, I think I'm ready to pull the trigger on them ... Unless any of you awesome people here can convince me otherwise :)

Also, I'm currently using a Scarlett Solo interface, which has been great.
But considering its outputs are limited to RCA, I'm afraid if I stick with the Solo once I purchase and hook up the new monitors, I may not be getting the highest audio quality possible. Would upgrading to a better interface such as the Scarlett 2i2 be worth it? I'd like to avoid having to upgrade my interface if I can, but if it's truly worth it then I'm more than willing to make that upgrade too.

Thanks in advance!

-Nathan
 

synthpunk

Senior Member
The Scarlet interfaces are more than usable if you would like to upgrade take a very close look at the Audient desktop interfaces which have low latency and extremely good pre amps.

EDIT: There is also the UA Apollo Twin which if you have the budget for the interface and additional long-term budget for the amazing plugins as is worth it as well.
 
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Fab

protect your ears!
Jbl are indeed great bang for buck. Still use mine. Can't say much about interfaces, though focusrite are generally good, they have decent free plugins every month and preamps also good for the price.

Weird thing randomly remembered.

The Jbl305s I had developed a high buzzing sound in the mid range frequencies,

If that ever happens, check the rim holding the main speaker cone and gently tighten each screw with an allen key (whilst music is playing through them) until the buzzing stops. It's weird but was only needed once. Must be using weak tighteners at the factory.

Apparently it's common with this model, I remember a fair few complaints around the internet about that.
 
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NathanTiemeyer

NathanTiemeyer

Active Member
The Scarlet interfaces are more than usable if you would like to upgrade take a very close look at the Audient desktop interfaces which have low latency and extremely good pre amps.
I'll have to check the Audient interfaces out! Do they work well with Mac?


Do you have Thunderbolt on your computer?

Yes, I do! I have 2 thunderbolt inputs, currently using one for my external monitor input. I'm on a MacBook Pro if that means anything.
 
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NathanTiemeyer

NathanTiemeyer

Active Member
Jbl are indeed great bang for buck. Still use mine. Can't say much about interfaces, though focusrite are generally good, they have decent free plugins every month and preamps also good for the price.
Great to hear! :) Are you using the LSR305's or something similar?
 

Ashermusic

Senior Member

chillbot

Sock Muppet
I'm not sure about the LSR305 but I have two pairs of the LSR308 and they are fantastic. I sometimes think they sound as good or better then other speakers I have that cost 10x as much. Not to name-drop famous people or anything, but when @Nick Batzdorf came by my studio even he was impressed with them.

However, I wouldn't use them without a sub... instead of upgrading your audio interface couldn't you splurge on the LSR310S? There's no bass in the LSR308 and I imagine the LSR305 has even less... your room would be so happy with a sub!
 

chimuelo

Star Of Stage & Screen
Thanks Jay.
Just ordered one.

Got a 2U 12" deep ATA with a TC Fireworx, the Element will sit on top of it.
Sending it with a KSM8 to my son to use with Logic/MacBook Pro.

Always appreciate your advice on anything Mac/Logic..
 

Ashermusic

Senior Member
Thanks Jay.
Just ordered one.

Got a 2U 12" deep ATA with a TC Fireworx, the Element will sit on top of it.
Sending it with a KSM8 to my son to use with Logic/MacBook Pro.

Always appreciate your advice on anything Mac/Logic..
The Remote is worth buying as well, makes everything easier.
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
As someone who does some work for a company that makes interfaces (iConnectivity), and in general as a connoisseur of the finest audio interfaces known to man... I would say you don't need to rush out and get a new audio interface.

Even your inexpensive Focusrite is not dog poop. The differences between the way it and a high-end one sounds are certainly real, but they're pretty subtle in the grand scheme of things - especially the output.
 
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NathanTiemeyer

NathanTiemeyer

Active Member
I'm not sure about the LSR305 but I have two pairs of the LSR308 and they are fantastic. I sometimes think they sound as good or better then other speakers I have that cost 10x as much. Not to name-drop famous people or anything, but when @Nick Batzdorf came by my studio even he was impressed with them.

However, I wouldn't use them without a sub... instead of upgrading your audio interface couldn't you splurge on the LSR310S? There's no bass in the LSR308 and I imagine the LSR305 has even less... your room would be so happy with a sub!
Thanks for the heads up guys. I'll have to be mindful of the bass when I demo them again. But from what I've read, the bass seems to do the job. I'm doing orchestral work which doesn't really require my work to be bass heavy anyway ... Even though I do love a good boomy bass .. I'm trying to create honest, flat, and realistic mixes. Then again, aren't we all? :)
Again, I'll have to do some critical listening see how I really feel about them. I'll also be treating my room with bass traps so hopefully that along with proper speaker placement should take care of any problems with the bass. Plus I'll be checking my mixes on headphones, car audio, etc. and that can help with the bass as well.

Hopefully all of this will be just fine ... and I won't have to worry about the bass?
 
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NathanTiemeyer

NathanTiemeyer

Active Member
As someone who does some work for a company that makes interfaces (iConnectivity), and in general as a connoisseur of the finest audio interfaces known to man... I would say you don't need to rush out and get a new audio interface.

Even your inexpensive Focusrite is not dog poop. The differences between the way it and a high-end one sounds are certainly real, but they're pretty subtle in the grand scheme of things - especially the output.
Thank you Nick! Glad to hear something good about my Solo. My Scarlett Solo sure has gotten some good use, it's quite a good value for the price.
Would hooking up the JBLS to the Solo via RCA cables (unbalanced) be the best solution, however? Or should I opt for a different interface that has balanced inputs? Again, I'm novice when it comes to balanced/unbalanced so please enlighten me! Thanks again!

In that case let me heartily recommend the new Apogee Element 24. Terrific converters, very clean mic-pres, good headphone output, low latency, and rock solid.

https://ask.audio/articles/review-apogee-element-24-thunderbolt-audio-interface
Jay, thanks a bunch for the recommendation. I'm a Logic and Mac user as well. :) Just curious, is there anything you'd recommend in the $200 - $300 range in terms of interfaces?
 

ctsai89

Poem of Ecstasy
i use scarlet focusrite 2i4 to my JBL 305's. There sometimes noise when you play loud music like EDM while adjusting the volume but other than that, it gets the job done.
 

Rohann

Professional Forum Browser
Sorry to say, but would have to warn against 1st-gen Focusrite interfaces in the Scarlett range for VI stuff. The latency is generally quite poor; I've had a 6i6 that was replaced by an 18i8 and the latency didn't really get better. The 2nd gen is considerably better with USB, however, so it might be worth looking for factory refurbished 2nd gen Scarletts or the like if you're aiming for a lower pricerange.

JBL's are great, though I'd recommend 8" if you can spin it. They do go on sale. Avoids the need for a sub at some point. I found Yamaha HS80M's to sound somewhat similar (relatively flat for the pricerange), and HS7's/8's are also a consideration if found on sale. JBL's are hard to beat for the price, though.
Re: Bass. Getting 8" monitors isn't really for doing bassier work, it's more just to hear the lower frequency range more accurately, even with simple string arrangements. If you ever do use deeper frequency pads or the like it might be hard to catch buildups in awkward ranges with just 5" monitors. You could always add a sub, but have to make sure the sub isn't exaggerating the bass. There are lots of monitors secondhand worth trying out, Yamaha HS80's/HS8's are quite commonly sold too, I found a pair of HS80M's lightly used for about $275 USD locally.
 
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Daniel Petras

Active Member
You do always have the option to monitor the sub bass stuff on your headphones as well, but for sure my next pair of monitors will be something that represent the lower frequencies better. There's a sense of security knowing you can hear everything you need to hear.
 
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NathanTiemeyer

NathanTiemeyer

Active Member
Sorry to say, but would have to warn against 1st-gen Focusrite interfaces in the Scarlett range for VI stuff. The latency is generally quite poor; I've had a 6i6 that was replaced by an 18i8 and the latency didn't really get better. The 2nd gen is considerably better with USB, however, so it might be worth looking for factory refurbished 2nd gen Scarletts or the like if you're aiming for a lower pricerange.

JBL's are great, though I'd recommend 8" if you can spin it. They do go on sale. Avoids the need for a sub at some point. I found Yamaha HS80M's to sound somewhat similar (relatively flat for the pricerange), and HS7's/8's are also a consideration if found on sale. JBL's are hard to beat for the price, though.
Re: Bass. Getting 8" monitors isn't really for doing bassier work, it's more just to hear the lower frequency range more accurately, even with simple string arrangements. If you ever do use deeper frequency pads or the like it might be hard to catch buildups in awkward ranges with just 5" monitors. You could always add a sub, but have to make sure the sub isn't exaggerating the bass. There are lots of monitors secondhand worth trying out, Yamaha HS80's/HS8's are quite commonly sold too, I found a pair of HS80M's lightly used for about $275 USD locally.

Very interesting. That's just the thing though- I'd consider the 8's but I'd think (again I may be wrong) the overall sound including the bass coming from the 8's would be overwhelming in my small 12x10 foot studio space. Which is why the I'd go for the 5's. Unless I'm wrong about the overwhelming presence of the 8's in a small room? Again I've never had a setup with either speaker so I can't say I've heard it, I've only read about it. Could the overwhelming sound from the 8's in a small room just be a personal taste thing?


You do always have the option to monitor the sub bass stuff on your headphones as well, but for sure my next pair of monitors will be something that represent the lower frequencies better. There's a sense of security knowing you can hear everything you need to hear.
You really think the bass is really that lacking that much on the 5's, huh? Maybe the 8's would be better? Do you do more trailer music? That makes sense as to why you've want monitors with more bass prominence. Whenever I think of more bass and budget monitors, I immediately of the KRK Rokits. Lol. :) I actually considered the Rokit 6's until I heard the JBLs.