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Help me monitoring for my new studio! :-)

ToneJunkie

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I have a new studio that is 21 x 15 with vaulted ceilings... It will be used as a live room for my jazz band as well as a mixing room. I already have 13 sound panels made of owens corning 2" 703 style insulation and plan on spending about $1000 more making some bass traps and more double thick 703 based sound absorbers. I think the room will be pretty well treated to quell the reverb and take care of some bass. I think I have a good grasp on what to do sound absorption wise due to my experience with several other home studio spaces from my past.

So now here is where I need your help... my current monitor and headphone setup is KRK Rokit 6 Gen 2 and AKG K240's. So entry level speakers and cans... I want to upgrade for the new space. I want to spend around 2 grand total. I want to be able to mix and recreationally listen to music... so what I mean is I would like a system that is accurate enough but also fun to listen to. What should I do?

Options in no order of preference...
Option 1: Buy the best monitors that you recommend for 2k?
Option 2: Buy monitors and sub for 2k and turn off the sub for mixing.
Option 3: Buy monitors, or monitors and sub, and DSP room correction software for under 2k.
Option 4: Buy monitors and headphones so I have two references for under 2k.
Option 5: Something else that I'm not thinking of...

I would love recommendations on what you would do with that 2k. Thanks


Here is the new studio still under construction...
IMG_6718.jpg


Here is the old studio (13x13 room)
IMG_6719.jpg
 

DVDdoug

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Option 2: Buy monitors and sub for 2k and turn off the sub for mixing.
If the subwoofer is properly "integrated", adjusted, and accurate, why turn it off?

I think I have a good grasp on what to do sound absorption wise due to my experience with several other home studio spaces from my past...

...and DSP room correction software for under 2k.
"Diagnosis before treatment". A calibration microphone is about $100 USD and REW is free. Acoustic treatment is "better" than DSP/EQ but obviously more expensive.

If you are doing both, acoustic treatment comes first. Where you have cancellation (a dip in frequency response) it takes "infinite power' and "infinitely large" woofers/subwoofers to overcome the dip, and you're only correcting one place in the room. You also can't remove unwanted reverb. These things are best handled with acoustic treatment. You can EQ-out a peak but bass traps reduce the reflected bass which smooths-out the dips and the peaks.

Option 4: Buy monitors and headphones so I have two references for under 2k.
Most pros advise against using headphones as "monitors". They can be used when listening for "little defects" or when you're making edits that don't affect "sound quality" . But pros do often check their mix (and compare to a known good reference recording) on a variety of systems (headphones, a boom box, in their car, etc.).

Once you have decent monitors the important thing is to "learn your monitors". That is, how to make a good sounding mix that sounds on a variety of systems. If you later "upgrade" your monitors you'd have to get used to them before you can make a good mix again.

I read one article about a mixing engineer that does use headphones because he works in several different studios and this gives him a consistent/reliable sound. He says you don't need the "best" headphones, you just have to learn what a good mix sounds like on the headphones you have.


It will be used as a live room for my jazz band as well as a mixing room.
There might be a difference between what you want live (and/or for "live recording") and what you want for mixing. And in that case you might want some moveable/removable/reversible acoustic panels. etc.
 
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ToneJunkie

ToneJunkie

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Thanks for the reply Doug!
If the subwoofer is properly "integrated", adjusted, and accurate, why turn it off?
I have just read many times it is difficult to integrate a sub well and for mixing its better to just use the monitors with no sub... I guess I just took that for gospel...
"Diagnosis before treatment". A calibration microphone is about $100 USD and REW is free. Acoustic treatment is "better" than DSP/EQ but obviously more expensive.

If you are doing both, acoustic treatment comes first. Where you have cancellation (a dip in frequency response) it takes "infinite power' and "infinitely large" woofers/subwoofers to overcome the dip, and you're only correcting one place in the room. You also can't remove unwanted reverb. These things are best handled with acoustic treatment. You can EQ-out a peak but bass traps reduce the reflected bass which smooths-out the dips and the peaks.
Yes I thought my first paragraph explained that I am planning to treat first thing... I will have 4 large bass traps in the corners and 4 2x4 foot double thick panels at the reflection points of my monitoring seat and about 15 to 20 single thick absorption most of which will be on the ceiling including clouds above the mixing position and above the drums. I prefer the room to feel pretty dead. I'm not sure about the reverb comment... When I put the panels up in the rooms I have had in the past the reverb inherent in the room does seem to be cut drastically.

Most pros advise against using headphones as "monitors". They can be used when listening for "little defects" or when you're making edits that don't affect "sound quality" . But pros do often check their mix (and compare to a known good reference recording) on a variety of systems (headphones, a boom box, in their car, etc.).
Got it :)
Once you have decent monitors the important thing is to "learn your monitors". That is, how to make a good sounding mix that sounds on a variety of systems. If you later "upgrade" your monitors you'd have to get used to them before you can make a good mix again.
Yep I will be learning a new room as well as new monitors... thats kind of why I'm thinking of doing both at the same time.
There might be a difference between what you want live (and/or for "live recording") and what you want for mixing. And in that case you might want some moveable/removable/reversible acoustic panels. etc.
Thats a good idea... I would love a movable sound panel to block some of the cymbal high end from my ears! LOL. That stuff is treacherous to the hearing and I play with pretty quiet jazz drummers.
 

digitalfrost

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> Option 3: Buy monitors, or monitors and sub, and DSP room correction software for under 2k.

I'd go this route, but you could probably keep your monitors for now. A good subwoofer is always a good investment no matter what you do later, 2 subwoofers would be even better. And DSP correction can be had for next to nothing. So I'd do this first, then maybe spend some money on acoustic treatment (if necessary) and when you got all that 100% where you want it to be, then upgrade the monitors.

e: Btw, since you're building the studio anyway: DIY subwoofers can save you a lot of money, I assume you know how the handle the tools. You could even do things like a single or a double bass array with doubled-up walls...
 
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ToneJunkie

ToneJunkie

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Thanks for the reply!
you could probably keep your monitors for now. A good subwoofer is always a good investment no matter what you do later, 2 subwoofers would be even better.
They just hiss like a banchee and I'm sick of it! LOL. 2 subs! Wow I do not think I would need that much bass :)
And DSP correction can be had for next to nothing.
What DSP is that cheap? I was looking at Sonarworks and it seems it would cost me 300 with the mic.
DIY subwoofers can save you a lot of money
I'm good at building speaker boxes I think I have done 6 or so... but I don't really want to deal with putting in an amp and crossovers... At least I don't think I want to do it :)
 

digitalfrost

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They just hiss like a banchee and I'm sick of it! LOL. 2 subs! Wow I do not think I would need that much bass :)
Okay I understand that. 2 subs is not for the volume of bass, but to sweeten room modes and for the ability to have stereo bass.

What DSP is that cheap? I was looking at Sonarworks and it seems it would cost me 300 with the mic.
Room EQ Wizard (REW) for measuring costs nothing except a calibrated mic. You probably already own mic pres and interfaces anyway. As for DSP solutions http://drc-fir.sourceforge.net/doc/drc.html this is free and very good but a bit hard to use, but you can use the REW measurements with this and get very good results. Or REW can create EQ presets for you. There is also RePhase which is also free but also not easy to use. As for applying them. Lots of people use EqualizerAPO (which is also free), but if you need ASIO support you'd need some plugin either a parametric EQ or a convolver that you can put on the final bus in your DAW.

I'm good at building boxes but I don't really want to deal with putting in an amp and crossovers... At least I don't think I want to do it :)
There are plate amps where you literally only have to connect the speaker terminals, or you can get dedicated power amplifiers and either do the crossover in the PC with a multichannel soundcard, or you can something from MiniDSP. This doesn't involve a lot of soldering. Subs are active anyway.

Oh and here is some of the music I record and play...
This one was in my old studio...
LIve...
Dude this sounds awesome. I don't think you need new anything at all :D
 
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ToneJunkie

ToneJunkie

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2 subs is not for the volume of bass, but to sweeten room modes
Oh got it.
Room EQ Wizard (REW) for measuring costs nothing except a calibrated mic.
Sweet!
ots of people use EqualizerAPO (which is also free), but if you need ASIO support you'd need some plugin either a parametric EQ or a convolver that you can put on the final bus in your DAW.
I will have to look more into how to go about this process but sounds like a great plan.
There are plate amps where you literally only have to connect the speaker terminals
That sounds easy enough... I just have to work up the gumption to take on another project. I think I may rather purchase a sub and play guitar instead :)
 

alex-z

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2" panels won't absorb any bass at all, even at 4" you won't get much impact below 200Hz. Proper bass traps need to be over 1ft thick. Be careful with using too many thin absorption panels, you can end up with really short decay times for treble and long decay times for bass. You want the whole spectrum balanced.

Option 3 is easily the best. Don't get overly attached to the idea of "monitors" specifically. Any speaker which has a flat on-axis response and smooth off-axis response can be used for mixing work. Something like KEF Q350 are more competent than many "studio monitors".

https://www.accessories4less.com/ma...6.5-2-way-bookshelf-speaker-black-pair/1.html

Than add a pair of decent subs to get bass extension down to 20Hz.

https://www.svsound.com/products/pb-1000-pro-subwoofer

Tie the setup together with a miniDSP 2x4HD and UMIK-1 measurement mic.

https://www.minidsp.com/products/minidsp-in-a-box/minidsp-2x4-hd

Don't turn off the subs when mixing, that defeats the purpose of reducing room modes and intermodulation distortion. With proper setup of the miniDSP, the subs should blend seamlessly. I can sometimes tell when a mixer hasn't used subwoofers, because there will be excess energy below 40Hz that they didn't even hear.

That setup puts you at exactly $2000.
 

Inner Space

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I can sometimes tell when a mixer hasn't used subwoofers, because there will be excess energy below 40Hz that they didn't even hear.

Excellent post overall, but I don't understand the part quoted above. What era of recording? Seems to me there are only two possibilities - either before anyone on either end of the process used subwoofers, or after the start of HT and so on, by which time recording was digital, and mixers didn't need to hear noise below 40Hz, because they could see it on the screen. In the old days it was routinely filtered, just in case, and these days it rarely gets left in by mistake.
 

HammerSandwich

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Lots of people use EqualizerAPO (which is also free), but if you need ASIO support you'd need some plugin...
I believe you can fool this by integrating EQAPO with Voicemeeter. Audio software feeds ASIO/WASAPI to Voicemeeter, which outputs to EQAPO/output normally. I haven't tried it & the extra complication may not be worth it, but it might be worth a look.

@ToneJunkie, re: hardware, I agree about getting the room more finished & measuring first. That said, if you'll sit as close to the speakers as you do now, it'll be hard to beat KH 80s & 2x decent subs for your budget.
 
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ToneJunkie

ToneJunkie

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2" panels won't absorb any bass at all, even at 4" you won't get much impact below 200Hz. Proper bass traps need to be over 1ft thick. Be careful with using too many thin absorption panels, you can end up with really short decay times for treble and long decay times for bass. You want the whole spectrum balanced.
Got it... I plan on doing the bass trapping first (large absorber style)... I'm thinking superchunk.
Tie the setup together with a miniDSP 2x4HD and UMIK-1 measurement mic.
I like this unit... cool!

I agree about getting the room more finished & measuring first. That said, if you'll sit as close to the speakers as you do now, it'll be hard to beat KH 80s & 2x decent subs for your budget.
Yeah I have been looking at those and the KH120's for sure. I like the Kali Audio subs so that combo may be the ticket with the miniDSP 2x4HD doing the DSP work. I'm also thinking of going with a little cheaper desktop units like the Kali IN5 or something.
 

dasdoing

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there is Gas Flow Resistivity numbers for 703s: https://gearspace.com/board/studio-...ity-numbers-7.html?highlight=703#post14973209
using those you can use this calculator (let's say you have 30cm of working space): http://www.acousticmodelling.com/ml...d32=200&s41=2&d41=200&v41=17324&s42=1&d42=100
you see, you can actualy kind of work with 5cm panels, unless you have room modes in those "absorbtions nulls". 100mm is most eficient in this case.
this would be for backwall and first reflection points.

little known fact: if space is not a concern, the less rigid material is actualy more effective: http://www.acousticmodelling.com/ml...&d32=300&s41=2&d41=300&v41=5000&s42=1&d42=200
 
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tjkadar

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Those vaulted ceilings are a perfect place for hanging room treatments. Build a frame, stuff about 7" to 8" of insulation in it, hang it 4" from the ceiling, and you'll have a cloud able to absorb some lower frequencies. Run some LED lighting through it and above it, and it'll add some nice ambiance to the room.
 

Longshan

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I have a new studio that is 21 x 15 with vaulted ceilings... It will be used as a live room for my jazz band as well as a mixing room. I already have 13 sound panels made of owens corning 2" 703 style insulation and plan on spending about $1000 more making some bass traps and more double thick 703 based sound absorbers. I think the room will be pretty well treated to quell the reverb and take care of some bass. I think I have a good grasp on what to do sound absorption wise due to my experience with several other home studio spaces from my past.

So now here is where I need your help... my current monitor and headphone setup is KRK Rokit 6 Gen 2 and AKG K240's. So entry level speakers and cans... I want to upgrade for the new space. I want to spend around 2 grand total. I want to be able to mix and recreationally listen to music... so what I mean is I would like a system that is accurate enough but also fun to listen to. What should I do?

Options in no order of preference...
Option 1: Buy the best monitors that you recommend for 2k?
Option 2: Buy monitors and sub for 2k and turn off the sub for mixing.
Option 3: Buy monitors, or monitors and sub, and DSP room correction software for under 2k.
Option 4: Buy monitors and headphones so I have two references for under 2k.
Option 5: Something else that I'm not thinking of...

I would love recommendations on what you would do with that 2k. Thanks


Here is the new studio still under construction...
View attachment 147466

Here is the old studio (13x13 room)
View attachment 147468

For that budget, you can get a pair of the new Kali IN-8s, the WS-12 subwoofer, and a pair of decent open-backed headphones.

That's what I'd do.

Cool space. Make sure you show us what it looks like once you're finished.
 
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ToneJunkie

ToneJunkie

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there is Gas Flow Resistivity numbers for 703s: https://gearspace.com/board/studio-...ity-numbers-7.html?highlight=703#post14973209
using those you can use this calculator (let's say you have 30cm of working space): http://www.acousticmodelling.com/ml...d32=200&s41=2&d41=200&v41=17324&s42=1&d42=100
you see, you can actualy kind of work with 5cm panels, unless you have room modes in those "absorbtions nulls". 100mm is most eficient in this case.
this would be for backwall and first reflection points.

little known fact: if space is not a concern, the less rigid material is actualy more effective: http://www.acousticmodelling.com/ml...&d32=300&s41=2&d41=300&v41=5000&s42=1&d42=200
Great info!
Those vaulted ceilings are a perfect place for hanging room treatments. Build a frame, stuff about 7" to 8" of insulation in it, hang it 4" from the ceiling, and you'll have a cloud able to absorb some lower frequencies. Run some LED lighting through it and above it, and it'll add some nice ambiance to the room.
Yeah I have been thinking of that! I was up there while sanding and it seems to get a good amount of bass accumulation up there too.
For that budget, you can get a pair of the new Kali IN-8s, the WS-12 subwoofer, and a pair of decent open-backed headphones.

That's what I'd do.

Cool space. Make sure you show us what it looks like once you're finished.
Will do! I'm pretty excited. It will be the biggest and most treated studio I have built so far. This is my 4th.
 

dasdoing

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also, superchunks are great, but not optimal. porous absorbers act on velocity of the waves, and at the wall all velocities are 0. google about 1/4 wavelenght "rule". the first 10cm are only effective above ~850Hz, a range we better treat at first reflection. the perfect corner trap would indeed be triangular, but leaving space to the walls
 
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ToneJunkie

ToneJunkie

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also, superchunks are great, but not optimal. porous absorbers act on velocity of the waves, and at the wall all velocities are 0. google about 1/4 wavelenght "rule". the first 10cm are only effective above ~850Hz, a range we better treat at first reflection. the perfect corner trap would indeed be triangular, but leaving space to the walls
After some studying it looks like I'm going with 6" depth panels or 9" deep 24" x 48" panels in the corners... so not super chunk. They will have the large triangle of air behind them.
 

AA63

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Hi Tone,

Build the corner traps right into the walls before you finish the room. 12" min. And don't forget your ceiling/wall joints.Head over to the gearspace forums there are dedicated threads to doing this, and as much room treatment discussion as you can stomach from some of the world leaders in acoustics. There are TONS of diy schematics and recommendations. Get your room in order so that you can actually hear the monitors you end up choosing properly. On that note...

Spend your 2k on a good set of monitors. In your now well treated/tuned room, for mixing, you will not need a sub - they are nice for referencing and playback enjoyment, but are absolutely non-essential for mixing - add one later if you want. Monitor suggestions...

ProAc Studio 100s - second hand for about 1000-1200. They are exceptional. Power them with a Bryston 3-4b, or a nice 250 per side Hypex amp, they open up really nicely with higher powered amps. I am a bit biased as these are what I use but I have tried a ton and to my ears they cannot be beat - even when comparing to much higher priced barefoot/amphion/pmc/etc. range speakers. That said, they are your ears, people like and get good results from Adams, Dynaudio's, Focal's etc. that are all within that price range. My suggestion would be to pick them up second hand and try some out - there are usually a bunch around and these all retain their value quite well if you want to change/try something different.

Anyway good luck, happy reading and experimenting!
 

GimeDsp

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After some studying it looks like I'm going with 6" depth panels or 9" deep 24" x 48" panels in the corners... so not super chunk. They will have the large triangle of air behind them.

Please don't do that yet.
At the wall sound waves convert from velocity to pressure and you need different things for good bass control.

Also please stop Guessing what you need. guessing never works.
you will get crap results and waste money that way.

1. Get a good mic, unmik with cal file is as good as my buddies SF101 (almost)

2. Measure you room, learn what you need

3. get the first 90% there with speaker/sub position, IE, smoothest response below 300hz

4. get the RIGHT full spectrum absorption at the 1st reflection points, use the mirror trick. SOME fiberglass panels have a nasty bounce back at 400hz causing a nasty notch.

5. Mount all your panels 1" from the walls using stand of mounts.
something like these
https://www.buyinsulationproductstore.com/2-stand-off-impaler-brackets/

6. Leave the floor live and get a ceiling cloud. You need this to keep the vertical image locked

After you do this things
1. speaker placement
2. sub placement
3 ceiling cloud

then you can make the best compromise for the rest of the studio space and recording/mixing needs.
But rest assured, these steps are needed because no EQ or expensive monitor can replace proper placement then treatment.
 
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