Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Do not underestimate the power!

One of the weaknesses of my recording set-up has been the speakers. I've been using the Yamaha YSTM20DSP speakers that came with the PC I bought many years ago. They are not as bad as some computer speakers, but you can't expect much bass from such small units.

I've been eyeing up various monitors for some time. There's a vast price range, but I was aiming at the lower end. I know people who have the KRK Rokit and like them. I eventually managed to get some money put aside, but had to set my sights slightly lower. The M-Audio BX5 D2 looked good. One problem is the lack of places where you can actually go and try out the various options, especially if you are looking at the lower end models. I've been mostly going my reviews and forum postings. Gearslutz has plenty of opinions, but may just leave you overwhelmed.

Then I saw the Studiospares Seiwin monitors. These were a similar price to the BX5, but with bigger speakers and more power. The reviews I found were positive, so I decided to take a chance on them. +Studiospares Ltd is near where I work and I've driven past them hundreds of times without going in. I popped in last week to buy these. They had a deal that included some isolation pads and I found some cheap (balanced) cables. They were friendly in there. I will probably be back some time.

So I got them home and set up. First impressions are good. I can just hear so much more. Not just the bass, but the drums are also much clearer. Vocals seem to come from a point just in front of me. Listening to some Bj√∂rk was a wonderful experience.

I'm using the swiveling shelves on the sides of my Ikea Jerker desk. I've seen comments that this desk is not ideal as the speakers really need to go where the uprights for the upper shelves are. So mine are further apart than most sources recommend. The ideal is supposed to be where the speakers and your head are in an equilateral triangle. That may not always be the case. I need to experiment a lot more. In any case they should give me a more accurate picture of what my mixes sound like than the Yamahas.

The other aspect you will see mentioned a lot is acoustic treatment of the room. I may look into getting some for the corners behind the desk and the walls on each side. The wall behind me is covered in shelves of books etc that may absorb some sound. Again, I'm not looking to spend a fortune. An 'ideal' room needs to be specially built. Maybe I should have taken that into consideration when we built the house. Oh, and eggboxes do not do much to help acoustics, even if they look a bit like some of the materials used in studios.

You may also notice in the picture my new Sennheiser HD201 headphones. I needed something new as some of my old headphones are falling apart. I needed something better for monitoring that didn't leak much sound, or creak like my old Sonys. These seem popular as a budget option.

Now I just need to do some more recording...

By the way, I've only recently discovered that my M-Audio Omni i/o box is more useful than I realised. It can take extra inputs that just get mixed with the usual output without being available to the computer. So I now have my record player and my Zoom G3X guitar rig plugged in so that everything can go through the new speakers. You can't easily tweak the individual levels, but this is very convenient.