Monitors: Yamaha MSP3 vs IKM iloud mini

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KVRAF
2202 posts since 12 May, 2004 from Oxford, UK

Post Tue May 04, 2021 9:04 am

I currently have Yamaha MSP3s (not the MSP3a) which I've had for years. I struggle with mixing. I'm wondering if the IKM iloud minis would make it easier to hear clearly.

Anyone have experience of both?

KVRian
886 posts since 8 Mar, 2009

Post Wed May 05, 2021 10:27 am

Those IKM "monitors"are pretty trash even for the price. If you can stretch your budget a little further i'd strongly consider the JBL 06/08P series, Tannoy Gold, or the Kali Audio's LP, or IN's

If it was me i'd get the Tannoys as i can't abide vented, ported studio monitors. They are flat-ish and well toleranced not to mention coaxial designs are pretty good for less than ideal rooms, but all the others use waveguides, so will be equally useful in less than ideal acoustic environments within the sweet spot and a bit beyond depending on their off axis response. Most of these fair pretty well there for the price (averaging about 3-400 quid a pair)
I

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KVRAF
12806 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Wed May 05, 2021 12:33 pm

In the "affordable" category all monitors are a compromise.
ChamomileShark wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 9:04 am
I struggle with mixing. I'm wondering if the IKM iloud minis would make it easier to hear clearly.
May I ask what aspect you struggle with the most? You seriously think it's due to your monitors?
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KVRAF

Topic Starter

2202 posts since 12 May, 2004 from Oxford, UK

Post Wed May 05, 2021 2:01 pm

@TIMT. Looking at this the Kali's are I think a little cheaper than the IKM Micros. Tannoys a fair bit more. I'll need to look at them in more detail, thanks for the suggestions.

@Bert. Mixing is made more difficult if the monitors don't reproduce the sound in the mix properly? The comment from Sound on Sound was "more accurate and neutral speakers capable of greater resolution and bandwidth would make the task of mixing rather easier"

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KVRAF
12806 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Wed May 05, 2021 10:42 pm

Hmmm, yes and no.

My monitors are not perfect, but I know that when my mixes suck (if they suck) it's often passable :-P ) the reason is mainly between my ears.

I made my first mixes on hifi speakers someone else had already thrown away. I did a lot of listening in the car and on other people's stereos to see how they translated for compensation. When I listen to those mixes now, I know that if I then had better speakers it would not have made much difference. I have far better monitors now, and that does indeed make mixing somewhat easier. But I also realise that for a real improvement I have to pay more than 5x what my current monitors had costed and also my room acoustics need to be addressed. And the return is not that much because currently I can hear clearly what I need to hear.

I'm just saying swapping $300 monitors for another set of $300 monitors is likely not really going to help you. To be honest a budget of $1000 is required to get out of the compromised "affordable" market segment.

And to be fair: you dodged my question. Do you understand why I asked? If you experience trouble in the lowest octave and make bass-heavy music, then I would totally understand your position. Getting some monitors that are flat down to 45Hz instead of 70Hz could make the difference. But so could adding a sub (that could be the cheaper solution)
But if your mixes are a ball of mud in the midrange with snare drums that sound like hitting a pile of wet newspapers, then I doubt your problems can be solved with different speakers.
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KVRAF
2314 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Wed May 05, 2021 10:59 pm

Agree with everything BertKoor said, MSP series is actually very good mixing monitor, you should only struggle with low end on your MSP3, other than that, they have good transient response and separation, have quite flat frequency response, but not ideal placement can alter their sound tho.

Don't know why are you after mini monitors, if you suffer for not having good resolution, than look into something else now, both MSP3 and iLoud's have their compromises and use purpose, maybe now look into proper sized near fields on stands, if by any chance you have your current ones on your desk.

What do you struggle the most, so we can recommend you something that will work, also is your room treated and how is your speaker placement?

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

2202 posts since 12 May, 2004 from Oxford, UK

Post Thu May 06, 2021 2:17 am

hi, thanks for yor replies.

It's probably best if I explain the background to my question and some of the assumptions I've made which may prove to be false.

I do struggle with mixing. I spend alot of time on it and I don't enjoy it. I tend to do pastoral ambient which involves a lot of odd home made samples which are then manipulated. I gave up using drums in my music over 30 years ago. I generally don't have traditional bass, but sometimes have bass drones. There is often alot of layering of sounds in the midrange. I have been making small low mid EQ cuts to individual layers, have started EQing what goes into the reverbs and also reducing the overall reverb amounts / length..but a slight smeary overall sound I guess fits the genre. But I spend an awful amount of time on it. It's possible my hearing doesn't help although I'm not aware of any major issues other than I can't hear as high frequencies as I used to (I'm over 60). I have less problems mixing the straight up simpler synth stuff and my experimental pieces.

I use izotope tonal balance to check my final mixes, they are a little skewed compared to their templates (orchestral is perhaps the best fit) but it doesn't seem too bad. Applying Ozone 9 to the final mix makes some changes but nothing too outrageous except that it sometimes adds a major bass boost that I often overide.

I'm not expecting to make money from my music, I did in the past provide music to a publisher for library music and didn't get any adverse comments re production. That was perhaps a little less dense than my current style.

I've recently started upgrading my signal path. I changed out the failing mixing Mackie 1604 desk to a Soundcraft Signature 12 which I use so I can plug in all the hardware here, rather than mixing so EQ is left neutral. I changed out the old interface for a Steinberg UR-RT2. Both of those changes resulted in improvements, mainly that things could be louder without alot of noise.

That left the monitors. I got them a long time ago. I looked at the Sound on Sound review from 2002 and it says "However, while the MSP3 will suffice for some as a monitor speaker in very low-budget project studio environments, more accurate and neutral speakers capable of greater resolution and bandwidth would make the task of mixing rather easier."

So I thought perhaps the resolution would help with mixing and I'd be able to hear more in my mixes and also any of the music I listen to on my PC. I don't like headphones either for mixing or listening to music generally. I also thought that probably like many other areas prices would have come down and I could get something better, smaller and cheaper (or as cheap) as I had bought 20 years ago. That might not apply in the area of monitors.

The monitors are just under a metre away from me, forming a triangle. At the momentthey are probably set too low, at chest height.The room has not been treated and won't be.

So with a general feeling that the MSP 3s were not of the same quality as the rest of the gear. I'd seen on the Analogue Heaven list people praising the IKM iloud micros.

So that's why I'm asking if people have had experience of both of these and could comment.

Here is a 1 minute track that gives you some idea of what I do and how the finished piece sounds. It's a little simpler in terms of not having lots of mid range layers but I'm sort of coming to the realisation that a slight shift in style and sounds used makes everything easier to mix. I have stuff that I struggled with more but I realise that was because I was layering drones and so really I just made life difficult for myself.

https://markgriffiths.bandcamp.com/track/summers-gone

KVRAF
2314 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Thu May 06, 2021 3:36 am

Mixing takes special mindset and you as creator after spending lot of time on some sounds, can't part with them and re-gain objectivity, which many mixing engineers could do on first listen, they would decide what is really important and what not, than approach mix, subtract things, change focus, so long story short, think your "problem" is more of that nature, than anything else, you are making "wrong" creative decisions which lead to harder mixing decisions, as you said, when you keep it simpler, it works better, you can't have too many thing anyways, on that example I hear one element extra that is making total confusion to me as an listener, shifts my attention in totally different place and you decided to even make that element stand out, it's unavoidable to have different perspective on the mix.

Here's good channel that deals with philosophy of mixing and another where you can see how professional mixing engineer approach the mix and mix, total gems
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0tK9G ... JJsVjBrEhQ
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJPYyA ... Shj960cmUA

You can always upgrade your monitors, but still it's you who need to make creative and technical decisions, there's nothing wrong with your mix from technical point, it sounds clean and well produced, it's big picture as I already expanded.

It wont hurt to have monitors with higher resolution, at least to gain one octave more in low end, agree with poster above who suggested Tannoy Gold's.

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KVRian
1483 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Milan, Italy

Post Sat May 22, 2021 4:50 am

I mastered on the MSP5s for a number of years, great speakers, maybe try to find a pair? Unfortunately discontinued now.

Never tried the MSP3s but I heard they are good too, so not sure how much of an "upgrade" your proposed IKMs would be.

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

2202 posts since 12 May, 2004 from Oxford, UK

Post Sat May 22, 2021 5:25 am

hi, after answers here and elsewhere and looking on the net I've decided to change tack on this. It seems to get an appreciable shift in quality of speakers I need to spend alot more than my budget.

My plan now is to get a reasonable set of open headphones (I currently have only Beyer DT100 I bought in the early 80s) and go between the headphones & speakers (which are in an untreated room) to mix. I may also use Morphit to correct the response.

KVRist
98 posts since 12 Sep, 2007

Post Sat May 22, 2021 5:53 am

From my recent experience: get the best possible-for-budget planars or Sennheiser 6xx. Then absolutely get Realphones instead of Morphit, even if they don't offer a correction profile right now. I tried the Standard "open headphones" profile with my Monoliths at about 30%, and it sounded really good, even when compared to Sienna, which I use daily. It's on offer until mid(?) June I think, and you can demo it for a sufficiently long period in order to find out if it works for you.

KVRAF
2314 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Sat May 22, 2021 6:28 am

Second good cans + Realphones.

KVRian
1030 posts since 23 Sep, 2004 from there

Post Fri May 28, 2021 11:30 am

Yamaha's for sure from those if need to choose. I have MSP5's here still. Not used because of VSX but I never had problems with them other than missing sub after getting used to them :)
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