I am looking to attain some studio monitors and recently I had a friend offer up these http://www.alesis.com/monitoronemkii and he says that they need a power amp.
Question 1: Are these worth buying (for under $200 for the pair) or are their better ones I should be looking at?
Question 2: I’m lost about the amp… suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Monitor One’s are an excellent choice. They do have an active version of those. Nice and tight, and very transparent. A.R.T. makes really good amps if you’d prefer the passive setup with a separate amp. A 75 watt one would do perfectly.
a very good choice for the price
Not bad. But if monitors are closely to a wall, acoustic phase inverter should be on the forward panel.
If you have an opportunity to listen to them before you purchase them, I would recommend doing so. I went to a store intending to purchase a particular brand, listened to them, and they didn’t suit my personal needs, and I ended-up walking away with an entirely different set of monitors. There’s so many variables involved with things like this – what suits you personally, the size you need for your workspace or studio, your budget, what suits the style of music you mostly compose/produce etc… I think it’s hard to make recommendations when everyone has their own needs. If/when you demo the monitors in the store, be sure to test them with the kind of music you mostly produce. i.e. If you mostly produce dance/electronic music, bass might be more important to you, but less important if you are producing classical music.
For the record, I purchased Mackie monitors, I opted for the MR5 because of price and size, but the MR8 versions are solid also. Again, get what’s right for you. All the reviews I’ve read for the Alesis you listed above by the way have been nothing but 5/5 so you won’t go far wrong with them. Let us know what you end up getting and how you like them after a few weeks of use.
I think in the case of studio monitors, you’re going to want to look for the most transparent, clearest reproduction. Remember, a good set of monitors will bring out things in the recording that you might not normally hear. If you’re going to do the ear test make sure you bring some music with you THAT ISN ’T YOURS to reference. Don’t even bother using what they have hooked up in the store. Any audio you listen to through them will only tell one side of the story.
You’re not looking for the “best sounding” or “voiced” speakers in this case, so you should bring a song or two that you know EXTREMELY well. Listen to the songs in as many places as possible, and then compare all of that info with how they come out of the monitors you’re choosing from. KRK , JBL, Yamaha, and Alesis are all great choices. There’s usually a frequency chart that shows the monitor’s response across the range. The flatter the better. If you see any big dips on that chart move on.
In pictures of large studios they have 2 sets of speakers in the control room, a near field set, and a far field set. I’ve never been to or worked in a studio where they switched out their speakers. They don’t have to. The one’s you see most of the time are Yamaha NS-10’s. These speakers have been the goto near field in the industry for ever. They tend to make your ears tired after 5-6 hours of use, but their very flat. Usually in the pictures you’ll also see a small 3-4 inch speaker sitting up there as well. Having the little mono speaker is also a great thing because (you should always) you’ll want to make sure your track sound good in mono. Phase cancellation could sneak in and it’s always a good move to make sure instruments aren’t disappearing in mono.
The Alesis monitor 1’s are like the NS-10’s except they manage to sound less harsh and you can mix on them for days. Definitely check out a pair of KRK ’s too. If I was going on a 48 hour mix-a-thon I’d do KRK ’s or Monitor One’s.
Couldn’t agree more with Scott here, John. Go shopping! Most places worthy of being called a good music shop will have rooms where you can sequester yourself away and give a good listen to several brands and models. You may also consider combining a couple different models to obtain the perfect fit for the space you are using them in. I ended up doing this for my studio, as it offers me a wider range of sound and allows me to catch little things I wouldn’t have with my old set-up. Nothing will ever sound exactly the same when you get them home (kind of like trying on clothes in a department store), so think creatively about how to achieve the overall result you desire. I’d start with what you feel is missing from your current set-up. Once these things are pinpointed, you can compare your choices more constructively while in the store.
Hopefully I can offer a little insight to the monitors as bought the exact ones about 4 years ago, I believe now. I currently use them as my secondary monitors and a pair of PM5 ’s ( http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?category=526&subcategory=527&product=14280) as my main near field monitors.
Overall, the Monitor Ones are pretty solid …both physically (they are heavy and well built) and sonically as well. They do a good job of not coloring the audio, and are a very “flat”. If you’re not used to monitors that don’t color the sound, these will sound very dull to you however….I mean quite muffled. Not that they are, but it depends on what you’re used to listening to. For my personal taste, they lack a little bit in the mid-high range, and are quite decent at handling lows….now I have adjusted to those facts, so I know now to compensate on my mixes, but it did frustrate me at first.
At the same time, that is always a normal part of the process – getting your ears trained to your new monitors, as some of the other suggested….so it’s not a con for these speakers.
If you have a tight budget this is a good choice, other then you need an amp…I mean, I use an old JVC stereo receiver from the 80’s and they have always been great!...they can handle being turned up very loud as well, in case that’s your thing ...if you have a little more money to play with, definitely go to the store, take a track you’ve listened to 1000 times and play it through their systems….then you’ll know for sure which ones to get.