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  1. #1
    Music / Hi-Fi enthusiast Registered Member Les Adams's Avatar
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    Studio monitors and pro gear for hi-fi?

    As somebody who has owned and operated a professional recording studio and a bit of a hi-fi enthusiast, I was wondering how many people have tried using studio monitor loudspeakers or professional audio equipment at home and with what degree of success?

    Now, I realise the the term "studio monitor" is open to misuse so I will be more specific. I am referring to the likes of Genelec, PMC, Westlake, JBL professional series and at the bottom end of the pro market Fostex and KRK. These are all designed purely for recording studios as monitors. This means that the producer and / or recording engineer uses them to balance and eq the final mix. Therefore, is it not the case that using these speakers at home is likely to give the closest reproduction to how the original master was mixed?

    In the 1970's rock music fans bought JBL L100's to listen at home as they were the domestic version of the popular and widely used 4311 studio monitor. Is this not a valid point today and has anybody tried a pair of Genelec speakers at home?

    I used to own a 32 track recording studio and I still have the Westlake BBSM-8 speakers that were used for recording and final mixdown, but now they are in my home studio which is used for radio production. They sound awesome, but they are not exactly pleasing to the eye, so I have a pair of Audio Vector M2 domestic speakers in the lounge for hi-fi stereo.

    Also, the amplifier used to drive the Weslake's is a C-Audio SR-606, an amplifier that was widely used to drive studio monitors and in big PA systems and delivers 650wpc RMS. It is a beast! However, I have hooked it up to my Audiovector speakers to see how it performed against the Quad 909 I normally use. No comparison, the Quad left it standing in terms of sound quality, imaging, clarity and all areas except brute power! I have also tried pro power amps from Amcron and JBL with the same results.

    Given that amps like these are used widely to drive the speakers the engineer is using to balance and eq the mix, it seems surprising and a bit worrying that they lack the finess and musicality of domestic amps like the Quad in favour of massive power.

    Has anyone else tried or experimented with pro audio at home and with what results?
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  2. #2
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    I have a home studio myself, using ADAM monitors for my mains.

    The main idea behind monitors is to show a "truthful" representation of music - keeping it as clean as possible to accentuate flaws and strengths. Now hifi is another animal - people want certain tones or coloration to equipment and buy along those lines. Why else would one want to get tubes or some crazy expensive MC cartridge for an obsolete vinyl spinning machine?

    Seriously, in my studio I want to hear everything in my music, good and bad- that is why I have the ADAMS and have the room fully treated (the room is not optimal otherwise). I'll be honest, most studio monitors are colored too - just at lower amounts that home stereo stuff - I personally think Genelecs are too bright, JBLs exagerate bass (as do Events), KRKs are ok, and the Dynaudios and ADAMS are pretty much perfect (for the money).

  3. #3
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Les Adams
    I was wondering how many people have tried using studio monitor loudspeakers or professional audio equipment at home and with what degree of success?
    I don't want to seem too negative here, but my experience is less than positive. Although the dealer actually tried to talk me out of buying a Crown power amp when I was young and stupid, I bought it anyway. I liked the rugged looks, the rack ears, and the power. I thought it was "cool" to have real pro gear. While it was utterly reliable, I ultimately replaced it a year or so later when I realized that its sound quality was less than stellar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Les Adams
    In the 1970's rock music fans bought JBL L100's to listen at home as they were the domestic version of the popular and widely used 4311 studio monitor. Is this not a valid point today and has anybody tried a pair of Genelec speakers at home?
    The experience I just related dates back to the 70s when I was in my teens. I remember the L100 well. While it was well built and had great lineage, it was not my cup of tea with its mid bass and upper midrange peaks. Boom glare. While it was considered a great "rock" speaker, I greatly preferred the neutrality and superior first octave performance of speakers like the Advent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Les Adams
    Given that amps like these are used widely to drive the speakers the engineer is using to balance and eq the mix, it seems surprising and a bit worrying that they lack the finess and musicality of domestic amps like the Quad in favour of massive power.
    It is in no way surprising to me. The primary objectives for pro gear are very different from that of home based high fidelity components. Above all, pro amps need to be powerful, rugged, and have the ability to drive large quantities of PA speaker bins. Like pickup trucks, utility is the driving force here, not performance. In that regard, they do their job quite well.

    rw

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