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Interesting 5" monitor shootout

Anything about hardware musical instruments.

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KVRAF
 
3832 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:14 am Interesting 5" monitor shootout

People have asked questions before about the Yamaha HS5s and I think that they are very useful, but not really for EDM. Here's an interesting shootout with a couple of other monitors. It's hard to say how much of this is owing to room/mic/port placement issues, but, the KRKs sound like mudboxes to my ears. Both the HS5s and the JBLs do not reproduce the bass particularly well either.

Anyway, if you considering 5" monitors, you might find this interesting, YMMV.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oFwIyxSKjY
KVRian
 
870 posts since 17 Apr, 2005
 

Postby JCJR; Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:58 pm Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

Yeah, that guy seems trying hard to give non biased demos. He sells everything he tests apparently, so there seems no motivation to favor or disfavor one product over the other. If he's maybe gonna make a sale, then he shouldn't care enough which one you buy, to intentionally misrepresent during testing.
KVRist
 
408 posts since 21 Feb, 2014

Postby LimboLoves; Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:23 pm Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

So which one won? I can't tell
Shy
KVRAF
 
4900 posts since 26 Jun, 2004

Postby Shy; Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:31 pm Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

JBL, as expected.
"Music is spiritual. The music business is not." - Claudio Monteverdi
KVRAF
 
3832 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:56 pm Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

Shy wrote:JBL, as expected.


Yes, but, the HS5s aren't bad. To my ears, the clearest statement is that the KRKs lost. The HS5s don't fare as well in the low end as the JBLs, but, I think that the high end suffers a bit less at a cost of perhaps a loss of flatness in the mids. I think that the big takeaway from this is that five inch monitors often struggle to accurately reproduce the bottom end. I don't think that subs are really a solution either.

The JBLs aren't expensive though, YMMV.
KVRAF
 
3832 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:07 pm Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

LimboLoves wrote:So which one won? I can't tell


Pay careful attention to the transitions between the source and each monitor. Focus each time you listen to the transition. Listen just for the change in low end, then rewind, play again and listen to the change in high, end, these are the easiest things to hear.
KVRian
 
870 posts since 17 Apr, 2005
 

Postby JCJR; Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:59 pm Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

I've listened to a lot of the guy's videos. Using modest headphones, didn't dig out the etymotic er4 to test, which are best I have available. And old fried ears anyway.

With the modest quality phones (and my antique ears) it is surprising how close the sound matches the line signal, on some of the speakers, going between the line signal versus the speaker recording.

A few of the less expensive speakers seem to have a less detectable transition, than a few of the high dollar speakers. Though some of the high dollar speakers have barely detectible differences from the direct source. Ought to dig out the er4's and relisten to some of em. See if the differences are more detectable.

Generally the spensive one can get lots louder of course. One doesn't listen loud all the time, but with some of the little speakers that wouldn't even be an available option. :)

With a few notable exceptions, is surprising how close to the same sonic ballpark many of them lie. A few years ago, did a lot of auditioning and the different monitors were all over the place in tone.
KVRAF
 
3832 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:14 pm Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

JCJR wrote:I've listened to a lot of the guy's videos. Using modest headphones, didn't dig out the etymotic er4 to test, which are best I have available. And old fried ears anyway.

With the modest quality phones (and my antique ears) it is surprising how close the sound matches the line signal, on some of the speakers, going between the line signal versus the speaker recording.

A few of the less expensive speakers seem to have a less detectable transition, than a few of the high dollar speakers. Though some of the high dollar speakers have barely detectible differences from the direct source. Ought to dig out the er4's and relisten to some of em. See if the differences are more detectable.

Generally the spensive one can get lots louder of course. One doesn't listen loud all the time, but with some of the little speakers that wouldn't even be an available option. :)

With a few notable exceptions, is surprising how close to the same sonic ballpark many of them lie. A few years ago, did a lot of auditioning and the different monitors were all over the place in tone.


I haven't listened to any of his other videos, I just stumbled across this one and reposted it here because the subject of small monitors comes up a lot and I found them lacking for EDM. To me though, at least in that video, the differences between the KRKs and the others are dramatic.

I'm not in the market for monitors, I'm happy with what I have and will use them until they don't work.
KVRian
 
870 posts since 17 Apr, 2005
 

Postby JCJR; Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:40 pm Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

Yep, that 5" krk sounds more distinguishable from the source than the other two.

Having listened to most of the videos, a couple of the more expensive ones seem to deviate from the source in a surprisingly "less than subtle" fashion.

I've been in the pangs of monitor lust for a few days but am hoping it will pass like a bad cold or a touch of the flu.

A lot of the 5" monitors might be a little underpowered to pair with a subwoofer and substitute for a bigger system. But some of the 6" systems have the same amps and tweeter as the 8" version. Making me wonder if, paired with a sub, maybe a 6" would be better. Maybe yielding smoother reproduction in the 500 to 2khz range, compared to an 8".

I agree that a sub combined with a 5" or 6" two way, might not work the same as a big threeway with 12", 5" mid, and tweeter.

On the other hand, ferinstance the jbl 4326 and 4328 are identical except cab size, woofer size, and slight differences in the tweeter crossover point and slope. Paired with a sub, maybe the 4326 would deliver more of what one would be looking for, if shopping for a big three way. Maybe cross it over pretty high on the subwoofer. 100 hz or better. Dunno, just trying to recover from new monitor flu. :)
KVRAF
 
3832 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:22 pm Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

JCJR wrote:Yep, that 5" krk sounds more distinguishable from the source than the other two.

Having listened to most of the videos, a couple of the more expensive ones seem to deviate from the source in a surprisingly "less than subtle" fashion.

I've been in the pangs of monitor lust for a few days but am hoping it will pass like a bad cold or a touch of the flu.

A lot of the 5" monitors might be a little underpowered to pair with a subwoofer and substitute for a bigger system. But some of the 6" systems have the same amps and tweeter as the 8" version. Making me wonder if, paired with a sub, maybe a 6" would be better. Maybe yielding smoother reproduction in the 500 to 2khz range, compared to an 8".

I agree that a sub combined with a 5" or 6" two way, might not work the same as a big threeway with 12", 5" mid, and tweeter.

On the other hand, ferinstance the jbl 4326 and 4328 are identical except cab size, woofer size, and slight differences in the tweeter crossover point and slope. Paired with a sub, maybe the 4326 would deliver more of what one would be looking for, if shopping for a big three way. Maybe cross it over pretty high on the subwoofer. 100 hz or better. Dunno, just trying to recover from new monitor flu. :)


First, I'm a complete amateur, I make no serious claims to knowing what I'm doing when it comes to mixing or engineering. Music is a hobby for me, albeit an expensive one, and I it will never be more than that.

Ok, disclaimer out of the way. I found that the HS5s lacking simply for low end extension. It wasn't really that they weren't loud enough, I simply couldn't hear detail in the bass at reasonable volumes. I also found them much more sensitive to placement than other monitors, they didn't work at all for me against a wall.

I tried several subs, granted, none of them particularly accurate, but in any case, I found trying to arrange three speakers in my not ideal space a lot harder than just arranging two. I think that for most people shopping in this price range, if you are thinking subs, just go for a larger monitor.

I switched to some middle of the road 6.5" monitors, DSM-1s (no longer in production), if it matters. I'm very happy with them for two reasons. First, I can hear the bass issues that I couldn't hear before, my non-ideal room notwithstanding. Second, and this has more to do with the power issues, I stopped using my monitors for just jamming out my tracks. When I'm working on EDM stuff I use a small PA system with a JBL 18" woofer and two small tops. No, it's not accurate, but it sounds good, fills the room, and gives me that inspiration that you sometimes only get from a bit too much SPL. Moreover, and I think that this is important, my monitors would distort while jamming which ends up being far less accurate than my bass heavy jam system which can get much louder than is sensible in a space as small as mine. They are much easier to balance the bass because they are on the other side of the (small) room. I just adjust the level of the sub from the amp until things sound about right for whatever it is that I'm doing.

Now, when I think that the track is pieced together, and it's on to more refined mixing and trying to critically listen to detail, I use my monitors and mix at a fairly low volume, comparatively. It could be that the HS5s would work for me in this setting, I don't know, I can't really tell how intertwined my monitoring issues were with trying to use them as basically a DJ monitor. In any case, I also found them to have too much hiss, and too sensitive to ground issues. By comparison, my DSM-1s are dead quiet fed with a digital signal direct from my interface.

Before I had the the HS5s I used some Alesis Monitor 1s for many years. I never felt like they were short on bass, although, they too were very sensitive to placement. I would probably still be using them now except a studio accident caused a blown tweeter and I could not find a replacement. The point is, I don't like replacing my monitors because, for me, the most important thing is getting used to what I have. That said, I was not happy with my first replacement choice (the HS5s) and I wouldn't again go with a 5" monitor.
KVRist
 
94 posts since 22 Apr, 2006

Postby amyhughes; Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:58 am Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

I have the HS5s and the Yamaha sub. I like the combination just fine, but then I don't mix at high volume and I don't make EDM. My "studio" is an 8x8 den with two open doorways. I do find the bass response varies wildly throughout the room, so I have to sit in just the right spot. I've been blaming that on the room.
KVRAF
 
3832 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:18 am Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

amyhughes wrote:I have the HS5s and the Yamaha sub. I like the combination just fine, but then I don't mix at high volume and I don't make EDM. My "studio" is an 8x8 den with two open doorways. I do find the bass response varies wildly throughout the room, so I have to sit in just the right spot. I've been blaming that on the room.


If by 8x8 you mean feet, I suspect that your room is somewhat to blame, but there's no getting away from the fact that subs complicate speaker placement in any room.

http://www.pro-tools-expert.com/home-pa ... -poll.html

I suspect that the (expensive) Yamaha sub is probably quite a bit more accurate than anything that I was using, nonetheless, I also suspect that one can generally achieve more consistent results with less effort by simply going to a monitor with lower bass extension.

I became very frustrated trying to make it work and couldn't get it to sound right at all, it was just easier to throw money at the problem and go with a different monitor. Since then, I've learned a bit more about subs and speakers and have managed to improve my home theatre and PA sound quite a bit, but I'm still not interested in having a sub as part of a reference monitor.

To be clear, I don't "mix" at high volume either, I'm talking about the equivalent of tracking/jamming. Further, if it wasn't clear, I will say that I really like the HS5s, without a sub, for singer songwriter stuff.
KVRist
 
94 posts since 22 Apr, 2006

Postby amyhughes; Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:27 am Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

Interesting and depressing article :) Thanks for the link.
KVRAF
 
3832 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:36 am Re: Interesting 5" monitor shootout

amyhughes wrote:Interesting and depressing article :) Thanks for the link.


Well, I don't want to depress anyone :) Subs essentially bring another crossover, as well as another speaker, into the mix and this complicates things, and for me, I couldn't get it right.

Here's a different article with a lot of support for subs.

http://www.recordingreview.com/blog/rec ... -monitors/

I don't agree with them, but as I've said, I literally have a small club system in my studio so if I want to hear bass down to 30hz to "check for rumble", my second system covers that ground. I can switch back and forth instantly which allows me to hear how particular frequencies on the club system translate in my monitors. The author of that article is talking about not enough bass in mackie 824s, to me, that sounds like room/placement problems as well.

Here's another discussion from sweetwater with a variety of responses.

https://www.sweetwater.com/forums/showt ... er-for-MIX

But again, I'm no expert. I just think that as difficult as it is to get two monitors setup properly, it complicates the matter to add a sub. So for people in the market for very small monitors, it's almost always the case that the room isn't treated and I would suggest going to a slightly larger monitor rather than adding a sub to that environment.

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