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Avantone CLA-10 (Yamaha NS-10M Clone) Review

Rate this studio monitor

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 153 90.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 7 4.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 4 2.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 6 3.5%

  • Total voters
    170

PeteL

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That is a real problem. What is their solution? Let's use this crap speaker to figure out how those myriad of "cheap" systems do:

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The paper asks "why" but never answers it. You don't answer it. Nor has anyone else.

The solution it to help weed out the "cheap" reproduction system if by that you mean responses that are poor. Because if you mean cost, you have no idea what you are talking about as a $50 IEM can run circles around many high performance systems. There is zero barrier to having a superb and unified response between us and production.

We need defined goalposts. That IEM came about because Harman created a such a target and us collectively here, amplified it. So company responded and produced a superb product with hardly any cost.

If such a target is defined by the Pro industry, as I have repeatedly said, the consumer industry will come along assuming it is well done/founded in proper science and research.

This concept has been hugely successful to give us very high fidelity video products. I speak from expertise having spend 25+ years in video world. Audio folks need to step up to the plate.


What nonsense to say. This has nothing to do with me alone. I have quoted Dr. Olive/Toole as saying this is the number one problem facing us from achieving high fidelity. You are going to claim this is just for them too? No, standards are for everyone. Standards create large markets and simplify interoperability. The business of mixing and mastering would become hugely simpler if the world of playback was narrowed to standardized specification much like we have in video. This will reduce labor costs, and improve fidelity as they don't have to target many and master none. Listener enjoyment may very well be increased as well seeing how even average joe prefers neutral speakers and is bothered by colorations.
OK, we have comes full circle, you are not interested in debating with good faith. We had the NS-10 CLA-10 discussion and you already know I am not advocating it, so does not the majority but some still do, whether it's justified in their case or not.

You know full well when I said "cheap", I meant poorly reproducing Bluetooth speakers but you dismiss the fact that I mentioned headphones, and by extension IEMs are something we agree needs addressing.

Have fun yacking on your own.
 
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amirm

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You know full well when I said "cheap", I meant poorly reproducing Bluetooth speaker
I did, and I addressed it as such. But you didn't say Bluetooth. Let's look a the response of a these portable speakers:

CEA2034%20--%20Bose%20SoundLink%20Revolve.png


index.php


How the heck do you mix and master music that simultaneously plays well on these two devices as well as millions of others? Answer is that you cannot. It is a fantasy world built on top of house of cards. It is absurd to claim that there is any solution to this problem other than standardization.

I will do my part to force proper response in these devices. Question is, whether the production side of the house comes along.
 

teched58

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May I throw another idea into the mix (so that everyone hates me)? I think we are missing/neglecting the cultural aspects at play. Work/professional culture.

Engineers communicate with each other via standards. It is a lingua franca that's understood by all degreed engineers (and scientists). I am talking about engineers who've passed through engineering school, not those who've picked up learning on their own and call themselves engineers. These degreed EEs tend to have worked at tech companies (as have Amir and I; I have an EE). and this further inculcates one in the value and utility of standards and how standards enable one to share knowledge/bring it forward cleanly and correctly

Musicians, (many, not all) recording, mixing, and mastering engineers tend NOT to be degreed engineers. Recording "engineers" very often learn their craft by doing and by being "apprenticed" to studios and within the music industry. They are NOT steeped in the value of standards. They are not quantitative folks. They are subjectivists (in a good sense, not the Stereophile cable elevator sense).

THESE TWO GROUPS -- the degreed engineers on the one hand and the recording industry ppl on the other -- SPEAK DIFFERENT LANGUAGES.

I think this is the root of the disconnect.

An analogous situation (with which I'm less familiar) is how now there are many tech people (e.g., at Apple and Amazon, et al) who are now in this new streaming era at the top of the TV/cable/streaming content creation chain. They are the ones greenlighting movies and TV series. They too speak a different language from the traditional Hollywood types. I'm sure there is a huge cultural disconnect at the interfaces between these two groups, too.
 
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goat76

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This is absurd. How do you know this? You have no reference whatsoever. Yet you know there is no "tonality issue?" Why don't you declare world peace while you are at it if all it takes is an empty claim like this. I evaluate a ton of speaker tonality, and never ever land at the position you are. There is always doubt when I play tracks across many albums and productions.
It's not difficult at all to hear if a track sounds well-balanced and doesn't have severe problems with the tonality balance. If the overall tonality of the mix sounds off in one way or another, most people notice it pretty much right away after comparing it to a tonality-wise well-balanced reference track. It can be all sorts of things as a boomy sounding low-end, an obviously too-fat-sounding midrange, a scooped-sounding midrange, too much energy in certain areas of the higher frequency range, and so on that disturbs the overall balance of the track.

But the problem when mixing a song for a long time concentrating on finer details and the correlation between separate sound objects in the mix, it's not uncommon that the mixing engineer gets acclimated to a really wacky-sounding overall tonality, and that is undependable on how good the frequency balance is of his monitor system, he has just lost the overall picture of the balance of the mix and the best he can do to recalibrate his hearing is to re-tune it to reference track.

If the song's tonal balance is still somewhat off after the mix has left the mixing engineer, a fresh listen to the song by the mastering engineer will almost immediately tell him what is needed for the song to sound more naturally balanced. That's why most mastering engineers prefer to work fast before they too get acclimated to the tonal balance of the mix.

The right tool for adjusting the overall tonality of a song is obviously a flat-sounding full-range speaker system, which plays well-known reference tracks in a way that sounds well-balanced to the mastering engineer.

Take this track I post earlier:


It has different amount of bass on different speakers/headphones. How do you know what is right and what is not? You look into some kind of magic globe???

Research into transducers routinely shows "program specific" factors. These need to be taken out of the equation but we can't since we can't disentangle music tonality from speaker.

The amount of bass will differ between different speakers and that is expected, but that doesn't have much to do with the overall tonal balance of the song as most speakers are capable of reproducing the majority of the frequency spectrum of most musical instruments.

The overall tonal balance will differ somewhat depending on what type of instrumentation the particular type of music usually contains. If a certain music genre contains mostly bass-heavy instrumentation, the overall tonal balance will naturally shift to that side of the frequency spectrum, and the other way around if the music mostly contains bass-light instrumentation. But no matter what type of instruments the music contains, the music will always have a natural-sounding balance to the overall sound even if the balance will differ between different types of music and different kind of instruments typically used for that type of music, and most people will be able to hear if that balance is off in one way or another using an "in the ballpark" balanced sound system.

The track you posted sounds natural when it comes to the overall tonal balance, even if it's a bass-heavy song, and it will sound well-balanced on most speakers that don't wanders too far away from neutrality in the overall tonality, even if not all of them have the same bass extension.


.
 
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amirm

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It's not difficult at all to hear if a track sounds well-balanced and doesn't have severe problems with the tonality balance.
So you are putting limits on art then. Because if the talent wanted to make something bright, bassy or mid forward, you would consider that a mistake. Right?
 

goat76

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Finally found a YouTube video that shows mixing with raw tracks, with effects (wet), no effects (dry), vocal only, guitar only, all guitars, bass only, guitars with drums, all together.

This particular album the mixer says was the easiest album he ever mixed because this band “mixed themselves” because they recorded a lot of it together.

It shows the sound of individual tracks and what a mix engineer does to make that track sound it’s best WHEN PLAYED with all the other tracks.

If you listen/watch close there is a brief discussion how one guitar is panned full left, the other full right. How a mono track is split so that the track has a much wider stereo image.

Notice how the hosts are picking up on/guessing as to effects. Asking if he high-passed the bass. Which means it probably arrived high-passed before he got it.

There is also a segment where he shows one part of applying eq to a track using the EQ of the board, and what it does to that instrument, and other eq using outboard equipment on piano.


The track is played back mostly through near field monitors (MSP7) but is switched to his Dynaudios but also goes to an old tv with stereo side speakers.

There is a lot of technical terms being tossed about but this video has sort of pop-up’s that explain them. They rattle off equipment model numbers like “57 on a snare” which people around recording instantly know is a Shure SM57 microphone to record a snare drum (which is a defacto industry standard/technique for well over 40 years) but don’t get bogged down in that, the main thing is the before, and after, on a track, and whole thing together.

There is a great segment where the engineer talks about the song, what it’s about, the techniques he used to help convey the meaning of the song.

If you want to have some general idea about what this step in the process is about (mixing) this will give you some idea what is involved in turning a raw set of tracks into something [more polished, pleasant, emotional, pick your adjectives]. You might decide it’s worse. This artist has 100% control/approval over mix. There is one part where the mix engineer talks about the artist being next to him in the mix and would ask if he could dirty it up a little.

Hope you enjoy.


Great video, I especially liked the part when Bob said that Bruce wanted him to "dirty up the mix" because it sounded way "too good" and "clean". That's a thing I understand and can relate to as I personally mostly listen to noise rock and am a fan of Steve Albini. Steve usually leaves the "natural dirt" of the live sound in the mix which I think makes it more real-sounding, with very little processing, and sounds closer to a raw mix.
It is the complete opposite of the Michael Jackson song that was mentioned earlier in the thread, that one sounds way too clean and probably pretty far from how that music sounds when played live.
 

goat76

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So you are putting limits on art then. Because if the talent wanted to make something bright, bassy or mid forward, you would consider that a mistake. Right?

Nope. In most cases, it's not that hard to hear if the bright, bassy, or mid-forward sound is there in the actual art itself, or if it was part of the overall tonal balance of the production at large. I would say it's a minimal chance that the artists wanted the overall balance of the production to override the balance of the art itself.
 

Travis

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Masterering and Mix Engineers are now “Stars” and in the marketing chain for speakers, plug ins, outboard gear, DAWs. You have to take everything an engineer says regarding a product with a BOX of salt.

Bob Ludwig worked with Eggleston to develop the Signature Ivy which were his main monitors ($150K?), seen the measurements on those?

Manny has a signature headphone with Audeez.

Then there is ‘dis guy with his beloved JBL 4310 (curves in Dr. Toole’s book, described as “good for their day”). 4310s were in a lot of California studios, in the 70s.

Bruce Swedien at the Harrison console in Westlake Studios, in a photo taken during the mixing of Michael Jackson's Thriller.
Bruce Swedien at the Harrison console in Westlake Studios, in a photo taken during the mixing of Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Not seen are his Auratones which sat in between the 4310s, all voices were checked on those (curves also in Dr. Toole’s book, but incorrectly described as being used in the industry for “mixing” entire songs). He also mixed Off the Wall (20 million records), and Bad (35 million sold) with the 4310s. He had 3 pairs he hauled around with all of this other gear.

As far as Epic was concerned (the music business) the equipment and man in the photo above was the standard, par excellence.

If he had todays state of the art monitors how much better would it be? They “Re-master” at the drop of a hat to sell more records. You think if there was any commercial appeal to any of the albums being Re-mixed on “better” speakers that it wouldn’t happen? That’s an assumption of course, but one that is on much more solid footing than the assumption that a standard for control rooms/monitors will result in an “improvement” in the software. Never get between a record company/copyright owner and the ability to make more money on back catalog.

JBL blew it with their marketing. They should have been offering Swedien his own signature monitors. What really happened is that he wore all 3 pairs out, sent them to JBL for repair, they sent them back with 4311 drivers, they sounded awful (to him), he tossed them and switched to Westlakes (he kept his Auratones).

Twenty years later JBL Professional even got in on the “iconic studio monitor reissue” bandwagon:

“LAS VEGAS, Nevada — At CES 2019, JBL by HARMAN today introduced the 4312G studio monitor, a modern take on the classic JBL loudspeaker. Crafted in the mold of the legendary 4310/4311 family, and the more recent 70th Anniversary 4312SE, the 4312G delivers thundering, clear bass, with crystalline and precise highs, even at the highest listening levels.”

How do those 4312G and SE measure?

“Crystalline and precise highs.” “Thundering bass.”Oh boy. JBL missed the boat again, should have gotten Bruce to endorse those, done whatever he required them to do to make that happen, brought him to CES where he would talk about the great 4310s that led to top selling lp of all time, and two more also up there and he would say “and these are even better than those, wish I had these back then.”

There are numerous studios, including some that have recorded or mixed some of the all time favorite tracks among members here, that have fancy audio cables. It’s marketing, both the cable maker, and the studio owner.

The economics in the recording industry, at every level, just like with consumer electronics, is the driving force.

Case in point. The tremendous success of this Forum which I sum up as initially showing that there isn’t a correlation between cost and performance of DACs, other products, is all about economics (forgive the shorthand, I know there are many more aspects to the forum
 
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amirm

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If he had todays state of the art monitors how much better would it be? They “Re-master” at the drop of a hat to sell more records. You think if there was any commercial appeal to any of the albums being Re-mixed on “better” speakers that it wouldn’t happen?
It would be better for the entire audio industry as a whole. As to the rest of your comment, this is the same industry that backed SACD and DVD-A/Audio which didn't make them any money. Let's agree that a lot more good would have come out of unifying the playback industry around fewer variations and with hit, reduce their cost of production and increase listener satisfaction.

I spent a couple of decades dealing with both business execs and technical people at both music labels and movie studios. Sadly they don't have the expertise or vision to drive anything in the industry with major exception of DVD which my partner drove when he headed Warner Home Video group. So no, such a change wouldn't come from the but could from recording industry. The cookbook is written for them. The only thing missing is the will.
 
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amirm

amirm

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In most cases, it's not that hard to hear if the bright, bassy, or mid-forward sound is there in the actual art itself, or if it was part of the overall tonal balance of the production at large.
The "most" is the problem.....
 

Travis

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It would be better for the entire audio industry as a whole. As to the rest of your comment, this is the same industry that backed SACD and DVD-A/Audio which didn't make them any money. Let's agree that a lot more good would have come out of unifying the playback industry around fewer variations and with hit, reduce their cost of production and increase listener satisfaction.
If remixing would improve content such that it was economically beneficial to the owners of that content, that’s our answer. (Wilson is doing this now as previously mentioned). His remix’s that I have all have been a vast improvement (to my ears) over the original. He hasn’t articulated an exact cause, other than technical limits of recording on tape. Nothing about monitors. But it doesn’t matter. If that is financially successful, it will expand.

Format wars VHS/Beta, have never turned out best for the consumer.

Format options for stereophiles haven’t turned out great either. Quad is a the best example of major labels partnering with consumer electronics (there were multiple formats and ways to decode) to try and improve reproduction. Too many different tech paths. Big failure.

DBX encoded lps, Dolby NR for cassettes, and a hundred other things along the way marketed as better sound, some even delivered.

There seems to have always been an audiophile alternative to every increase in fidelity medium. Micro grove record, the Stereo was it, not the best one, 3ch, but 2 ch to start, which has stayed because of economics (double the money for speaker makers) then HT (6 speakers).

Early stereo records, tapes, pretty hard to listen to. John all in the right channel, Paul all in the left, sometimes even getting their instruments correct also, Ringo and George in the middle. They had no idea what to do with it.

RTR was a big one, (loved your video on that). Very audiophile in its day from about ‘58 to ‘75. Very expensive, cost of machines, tapes vs. lps, unquestionably better fidelity. Convenience and portability can never be underestimated for audio.

If a remix will sell a profitable number of units, the industry will drive that. Just like the audiophile lp/hi-rez industry is getting stuff reissued all the time. Some are “improved”, some not. (With the case of remasters for the audiophiles, even in Tape Project tapes, there is no financial risk to copyright owner, they negotiate their master royalties, those audiophile labels take the risk).

If remixing because of bad monitors, tape machines, tape, bad mastering, whatever else, is a money maker it will explode just like remastering has. Of course some can be remixed, others not. Depends if the multitracks are available.

If the update makes economic sense to labels, they will even take it on their own and produce them directly, just like when everything got converted to CD, and then again for streaming, for sale on iTunes, and hirez downloads.

The big problem, without some research, better monitors or control rooms are not going to happen, let alone a standard. Somebody has got to show somebody somewhere the dollars and sense.

CTA 2034. A voluntary std. for car audio speakers and consumer speakers. For car audio speakers, if you comply with the standard you can put a sticker on your box that says complies with . . . .” Not with consumer speakers. Why is that? You can publish all of the 2034 specs and graphs if you want, but don’t have to.

THX if you met the specs on FR and Directivity (which had been researched by Holman) in your movie house you got the trailer, the signs and you could advertise in the showtimes you were a THX theater. Boom.

To get to “This album was recorded, mixed and mastered in studios all meeting the stringent standards of AES 1234 assuring you the ultimate in sound quality on all of your playback devices”

You have to directly show that to be the case. It’s also got to be significant improvement. Like THX over the outdated theater sound. The preference of consumer loudspeakers meeting what Toole/Olive identified, with 95% confidence level kind of stuff.

I have tried to find some correlation with the “audiophile” demo tracks and monitors. Been digging slowly as time allows. Have confirmed about 20 (started with Thriller which is on a lot of lists) and it’s all over the place. Was hoping that Aja, Gaucho, and Nighfly were all on something ruler flat, in the same studio, nope. What’s starting to emerge is that it’s more about who is doing it, than what’s he doing it with.

Or, you can buy the $400 2 track tapes from the tape project, and others, I haven’t been disappointed yet. All great recordings. I believe the mastering engineer Tape Project uses to monitor has Magicos
 

thewas

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Twenty years later JBL Professional even got in on the “iconic studio monitor reissue” bandwagon:

“LAS VEGAS, Nevada — At CES 2019, JBL by HARMAN today introduced the 4312G studio monitor, a modern take on the classic JBL loudspeaker. Crafted in the mold of the legendary 4310/4311 family, and the more recent 70th Anniversary 4312SE, the 4312G delivers thundering, clear bass, with crystalline and precise highs, even at the highest listening levels.”

How do those 4312G and SE measure?

“Crystalline and precise highs.” “Thundering bass.”Oh boy. JBL missed the boat again, should have gotten Bruce to endorse those, done whatever he required them to do to make that happen, brought him to CES where he would talk about the great 4310s that led to top selling lp of all time, and two more also up there and he would say “and these are even better than those, wish I had these back then.”
Unfortunately no detailed anechoic measurements of the 4321G or SE but the JBL L100 classic which is the home/more luxurious version of those measures neutral as any good modern loudspeakers:

jbl-l100-classic-lautsprecher-stereo-53079.jpg

Source: https://www.hifitest.de/test/lautsprecher-stereo/jbl-l100-classic-17278
 
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amirm

amirm

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If remixing would improve content such that it was economically beneficial to the owners of that content, that’s our answer.
Let me be clear that I am not asking anyone to go back and remix. I am asking for a standard for production of future music.
 

Bob Olhsson

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A little context is required. At that time, most studios still had multiple full range, high quality "main" speakers built into the wall above the window into the studio. These were used for making eq and mike position decisions while recording.

The outside pair were way too close together to get much of an idea of a stereo balance. The workaround was to place "bookshelf" speakers on the console. Studios chose a pair of whatever was the biggest selling bookshelf at the time. The first used were KLH-6s followed by the JBL 4310 which was sold as a "pro" version of the L-100. (Any measurement needs to include the effect of the console placement on the response.) Most of us turned the midrange on the 4310s way down to the point there was a problem with blowing out the pots. These, along with the Auratones, were used to set the musical balance between instruments and voices. Any serious audio decisions had already been made and committed to tape using the "mains."
 

375HP2482

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Masterering and Mix Engineers are now “Stars” and in the marketing chain for speakers, plug ins, outboard gear, DAWs. You have to take everything an engineer says regarding a product with a BOX of salt.

JBL blew it with their marketing. They should have been offering Swedien his own signature monitors. What really happened is that he wore all 3 pairs out, sent them to JBL for repair, they sent them back with 4311 drivers, they sounded awful (to him), he tossed them and switched to Westlakes (he kept his Auratones).
JBL already had George Augspurger as their in-house studio expert and likely felt that was enough of a nod to the recording industry. And JBL has too much NIH engineering ego to put someone else's name on their product.
 

Travis

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JBL already had George Augspurger as their in-house studio expert and likely felt that was enough of a nod to the recording industry. And JBL has too much NIH engineering ego to put someone else's name on their product.
George was way down the road from JBL by the time Thriller was being recorded. They were hemorrhaging market share, thus my comment that they should have got on the “I used these on . . .” band wagon.
 
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