[linux-audio-user] good studio monitors

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Subject: [linux-audio-user] good studio monitors
From: Florin Andrei (florin_AT_andrei.myip.org)
Date: Fri Jul 23 2004 - 02:04:00 EEST

I'm quite familiar with a wide range of high-end studio headphones, but
i'm much less familiar with studio monitors.

So, what do you guys own or use? What do you recommend?

I own a pair of near-field Alesis M1 Active MkII. It seems like they're
"value" monitors, which means they're mediocre-sounding (in the studio
monitors league) but they didn't punch a hole in my wallet.


They're bi-amplified and, yes, that you can tell: the transition between
the bass cone and the treble bullet is smooth and there are no
out-of-phase artifacts. There's no smearing like with passive filters on
the output high-current lines.

They're a bit bass-heavy and i actually think they're intentionally made
like that. Alesis has a weird recommendation in the manual, saying that
you should plug one of the holes with a cloth if bass is too fat, or
even both holes if bass is waaay too big. I kinda feel that they
intended them to typically have one hole plugged at all times. That's
something for a bass-control knob to adjust, i know, but for the price
($400) i guess i have no right to complain.
It's actually very weird how such a small bass cone can deliver so well
at such low frequencies. Even if i turn up the volume, they're still
crisp and controlled. I never turned it up into the distortion zone, my
neighbours are not exactly fans of electronic music. :-)

Treble is good, but definitely not as transparent as, say, high-end
Beyerdynamic or Sennheiser phones. They're a bit harsh and lack sparkle
(although certain narrow bands in the mid-high i'm pretty sure are
actually over-emphasized), but not too much.
I didn't see a frequency response graph yet, but i'm pretty sure there's
a "noodle" with all kinds of curls in the treble zone. Nothing
impossible to live with, it's just that it feels like it's there.

Midrange is ok, but not remarquable in any way. It's not too quiet or
anything, it's just that it's kinda tasteless.

I keep them in my bedroom (no laughs please) and actually they're close
to a corner (ok, now you're allowed to laugh).
No, the fat bass is not because of that, they're fat anyway (but the
corner may make the situation worse - i'll have to fix that one day).

The ideal listening zone is ok, if not exactly too big. If the two
monitors and my head are making a triangle 2 meters (6 feet) across, the
ideal zone is the size of a medium-to-small beach ball.
I can use them to fill a room with sound and they're still ok. Not
studio-monitor-ok (they're barely that in the ideal zone), but
hifi-speaker-ok. That's odd for such small boxes.
I don't know enough about monitors to tell whether this is typical for
near-fields or not. I know it would be typical for mid-fields, not to
mention main monitors.

Now the inquisitive comments:

I'll be curious to hear how Alesis' flagship ProLinear 820 DSP sound
like, just to compare them with my M1 Active MkII.
But, well, Alesis is not the best in the field of monitors, so i'm not
too worried about that.

I've heard some people saying that the Adam monitors are the best thing
since sliced bread (especially the mid-fields and above, such as the
S3A). Quote: "more accurate than most high-end headphones" which i find
hard to believe.
Anyone using them? The technology certainly looks interesting.


Also, i've heard a lot about Genelec, but never had a chance to listen
to them. Comments?

How about Mackie?

Florin Andrei


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