Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
lilesman
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Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by lilesman » Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:36 pm

Hello, I am an amateur producer looking to start performing live, but I don't own any speakers that I could perform with. I have decent Bose monitors that I use for producing but they lack the quality of studio monitors made for producing. I am looking for speakers that I could use in the studio, and also use for small live gigs. Is there any good PA systems for under $500 that would be good for both purposes? Thanks!

102455
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by 102455 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:58 pm

Chalk vs cheese.

Dragonbreath
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by Dragonbreath » Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:22 pm

Not really. They are very different beasts.

Bose speakers are not monitors. They are very colored.

Presonus makes PA speakers with coaxical that they claim gives you studio quality PA speakers but there far from your budget and I could not personally recommend someone using PA speakers as your main studio monitors.

I suggest you get real monitors first then rent a pair of PA speaker if you need to gig.

Sional
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by Sional » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:06 pm

Dragonbreath wrote:Not really.

Bose speakers are not monitors. They are very colored.
Bit of a sweeping statement, the On-Axis response graphs for their pro speaker range look pretty reasonable to me.

jestermgee
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by jestermgee » Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:44 am

I've seen this topic discussed a few times and I use to run my own party DJ outfit a while back, still operate the occasional party and have studio monitors.

As has been said, Studio and PA are 2 different applications completely. Monitors are designed to offer clear sound at close range.

PA speakers are pretty much the opposite with a focus on pushing out volume and low end and filling larger rooms. Even if you say you only want small rooms/crowds, once people start to get talking and things get into the swing you will find yourself out of volume quick. Not just that, monitors in a bigger room often with all the furniture vacant from the middle will sound absolute crap.

The good thing is that a "PA" system is quite simple to throw together and doesn't have to be costly or high end. No one will care about hearing those delicious tweeters above 22Khz, you really need to push volume at an OK quality.

My first system consisted of large floor cabinet speakers (the old 80s style 3 way speakers with 12" woofers. which cost me about $80 from a friend) I ripped out all the drivers and replaced with just cheap sub speakers and mid/high tweaters and ran it all off a 100w RMS technics component amplifier (which I got from a 2nd hand store for $60). Total cost for the starting PA rig (ex mixer and cd players) was about $250... That was almost 20 years ago and I DJd hundreds of back yard parties and functions, still have the amp in the shed but have replaced those speakers a long time ago.

Some time ago I added a 12" 200w sub with a plate amp like the home theater ones you get but used a large MTX sub box for a car which are well tuned. That allowed much better bass to be thrown which meant it sounded much louder without hurting ears.

I started DJing from age 11 so have had a lot of experience but I would certainly recommend looking for old speaker boxes and installing modern drivers and using a cheap amp. Save monitors for the studio.

Sional
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by Sional » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:44 am

To achieve good quality audio at high volumes in large venues is expensive. Some top bands (Supertramp springs to mind) get close. At lower price levels compromises have to be made and certain elements (e.g. loudness) may be prioritised at the expense of others (e.g. fidelity).

Some speaker applications do have specific requirements (e.g. transportability, ruggedness, weatherproof, types of inputs, etc.) which are not needed in other applications, but the audio reproduction aims should be roughly similar within a given price constraint.

Price for price, a "studio monitor" is unlikely to be any clearer than a "hi fi loudspeaker" (at any range!) but the studio monitor may have more appropriate features (XLR connectors, balanced inputs etc.).

102455
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by 102455 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:29 am

Sional wrote:Price for price, a "studio monitor" is unlikely to be any clearer than a "hi fi loudspeaker"
Clearer no......but it ought to have a flatter frequency response. Typically, hi-fi speakers are designed to sound "nice", whereas monitors are designed to be neutral.

Sional
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by Sional » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:50 pm

102455 wrote: Typically, hi-fi speakers are designed to sound "nice", whereas monitors are designed to be neutral.
I think you will find that is a myth. No reputable hi-fi company advertises their products as sounding nice, they prefer to tell you that they are accurate, and will typically provide graphs to show flat frequency response. People who buy expensive hi fi demand accurate fidelity (nothing added and nothing taken away) because "nice" is highly subjective. Also many professional studios use speakers which are marketed as hi fi products.

The following are links to Sound on Sound magazines two part take on the subject. It is an old review (2002) but I doubt much has changed.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Jun02/a ... nitors.asp

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Jul02/a ... itors2.asp

102455
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by 102455 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:19 pm

Sional wrote:The following are links to Sound on Sound magazines two part take on the subject.
They put it slightly differently, but it was effectively what I said.

You might get away with it if they're neutral sounding hifi speakers, but (IMO) you're more likely to get that trait in monitors.

I mean if all hifi speakers were flat, then why the huge number of different models? Why the verbose reviews that talk about the tonal characteristics like a wine taster talks about wine? With monitors, when someone asks which they should buy, the replies tend to be restricted to just a handful of models.


FYI before I bought my KRKs I used a pair of Tannoy Mercury hifi speakers.

Dragonbreath
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by Dragonbreath » Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:28 pm

You would have to spend more on a hifi speaker to get something that is neutral. Bose for example is very hyped sound in my experience. Its a got very scooped sound and the bass is usually very boosted in bass frequency response. Now they dont sound bad, in fact most people think they sound great, but they use principle of physcho-acoustics to "enhance" you listning experience. They typaclly boost high and low end witch are harder for the human ear to perceive at low volume. Non-neutral speakers are not good for reference for mixing purposes they will cause to make mix decision that will not convey properly on different systems.


Now if you main purpose it gig as dj rather then produce and mix, buy a pair of powered mains and eventually a sub.

Sional
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by Sional » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:02 pm

102455 wrote:
Sional wrote:The following are links to Sound on Sound magazines two part take on the subject.
They put it slightly differently, but it was effectively what I said.
The SOS review said "In terms of frequency response, it's hard to see where the 'professional' K-ROK is a better nearfield monitor than the 'hi-fi' DM303.", which seems to me to be slightly at odds to what you were saying
Dragonbreath wrote:You would have to spend more on a hifi speaker to get something that is neutral.
Why? Also not all "studio monitors" are totally neutral; some consider that KRK's Rockit series of monitors emphasise the bass.

102455
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by 102455 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:13 pm

Sional wrote:slightly at odds to what you were saying
That particular extract.....but they begin and end the article by saying "it depends".

A key piece of text is "in the design of the hi-fi speakers, there does tend to be a certain amount of balance-tweaking, engineered to help ensure that a speaker reviews well and sounds competitive in the retail environment". Slightly at odds to what you were saying. :P

reeloy
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by reeloy » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:35 pm

....let's put it this way...

a crap mix will sound not so bad on good hifi speakers....and that specific example you picked is not common sense at all.....and krk rok series, er, well, is not common sense either, if we're talking good monitoring here...

what so ever, only a good mix sounds good on a real studio monitor...
from consumer side you could say...a good studio monitor sounds too honest, well, crap you might also say if you got no idea what it means to get hundred single noises smoothly into one pair of stereo...
and how it is to sit and MOVE in front of it the whole day and tomorrow while doin' so....

Sional
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by Sional » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:49 pm

102455 wrote:
Sional wrote:slightly at odds to what you were saying
That particular extract.....but they begin and end the article by saying "it depends".

A key piece of text is "in the design of the hi-fi speakers, there does tend to be a certain amount of balance-tweaking, engineered to help ensure that a speaker reviews well and sounds competitive in the retail environment". Slightly at odds to what you were saying. :P
Not when you quote the full paragraph.

"The frequency-response measurement of each of our guinea-pig speakers shows scant evidence of subtle tailoring to suit different roles. The curves are primarily dominated by the particular strengths and weaknesses of the drivers used, the size and proportions of their front panels and the low-frequency roll-off shapes chosen. I say primarily dominated because, particularly in the design of the hi-fi speakers, there does tend to be a certain amount of balance-tweaking, engineered to help ensure that a speaker reviews well and sounds competitive in the retail environment. But there's certainly no obvious split here between 'hi-fi' and 'pro' in terms of frequency response."

Sional
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Re: Studio Monitor vs. PA Speakers

Post by Sional » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:50 pm

reeloy wrote:....let's put it this way...

a crap mix will sound not so bad on good hifi speakers.
Why on earth would a crap mix sound not so bad on good hi fi speakers?

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