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What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by BigBob369 on 2012-05-03 21:42:42

This is just for home use.  Assuming both have a decent flat response and ample power, what would be the difference if any between the two choices? Which would sound better?



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by BigBob369 on 2012-05-03 22:58:46

Oh and just for the hell of it, how does either choice differ from just running it through a good 100w home stereo?  (Had to ask)



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by Rewolf48 on 2012-05-04 06:11:10

If the are all (PA, SM (studio monitor), HF (Hi Fi)) perfectly FRFR (Full Range, Flat Response) at all volume levels then no difference at all.

But they are not because they are for different applications.

The PA speaker is intended to be used loud because the whole point of it is to project sound into a large area - my FBT Maxx 2A are supposidly capable of outputting 121 dB SPL (Sound Pressure Level) at 1m which is at the Hearing Damage Possible sort of level (intantaneous - for long term listening you can get damage at 85dB).  I have two and they sound great at what I think is a reasonable volume, but they are not intended to be used at low volumes, so at home in the evening with the kids in bed when it is all turned down they don't sound so good and I switch to headphones.  Fletcher Munson comes into it of course and I can do some limited adjustements using the built in tome controls, but the 10" woofer just doesn't move properly at lower volumes.  The PA Speakers also tend to be quite large - smaller than a 4x12 Guitar Cab obviously, but larger than SM or HF.

If you are only going to play at home then the PA Speaker is a waste of space and you will not be using it in the intended operating range so sound quality will be compromised.

The Studio Monitor is intended to give the perfect FRFR so that it can be used as a reference, but of course while it might be good and close to FRFR in an anechoic chamber when you stick it in a room you get resonances and echos and FRFR goes out of the window unless you have spent time treating your room.  That said it will be a lot better than the Home Stereo because FRFR was generally not a design objective for the average (or not so average Hi Fi) - the intention was to give a "good sound" in an average untuned listening environment. Which means that to give the illusion of volume (the Fletcher Munson effect) it will probably push the Bass and Treble levels up. Compared with the HF and PA the Studio Monitor is intended to give a really flat response so that everything can be heard, and it can probably go louder than the HF without distortion.

So which is best with a Pod HD?  It depends.

It depends on:

      1)     your ears and how good they are (mine are fairly rubbish due to years of miss-use)

     2)     room treatment - in a rubbish room everything will sound rubbish

     3)     whether you care how accurate the sound is

     4)     what volume levels you are realistically going to use

     5)     how portable you want your Pod patches to be

If you are happy with your Home Stereo sound and are not planning on going rock concert loud and will only ever use the Pod in that environment then just use the Stereo, and tweak the patches so that they sound good and inspire you.

If you have better ears and appreciate hearing fine details and can treat your room a bit (or work with a near-field arrangement) then upgrade the HS to the Studio Monitors - if you don't treat the room you will not get the benefit of the higher quality so look seriously at heavy curtains, bass traps and similar options to dampen the room.  Your patches will be much more portable, but you might discover some of the music that you used to think sounded great isn't quite as good as you thought it was.

If you have aspirations of getting onto a Stage at some point then Home Stereo and Studio Monitors will just not cut it with a live drummer and heavy bass player.  You probably won't hear yourself at all - the "100w" home stereo was that "peak music power" or "RMS", and how much of that power can you actually use without distortion?  How efficient are the speakers? 100W sounds a lot but my Home Cinema receiver puts 100W RMS into each of the 7 channels (so 700W into the Satellites + the seperate 12" Sub is about 900W); the speakers are accurate but relatively inefficient.  It can get really loud but at the same time it doesn't feel like it because it just doesn't distort (you only realise how loud it was when you try to talk to someone), but it is intended to push the sound into a relatively small enclosed area and that nearly 1000W is nothing sound wise compared to the mere 500W (2 x (200W + 50W)) of the PA Speakers.  The PA Speakers while they shift a lot more air than the HiFi and can project into a much larger space, are actually rubbish when compared with what my old Marshall 4x12 Cab linked to a 50W valve head could do - now that combination can shift the air around, not clean, not FRFR, but LOUD.  Shame that I just never got to play the Large Auditorium Gigs where it could be used properly - and that is why I don't have it anymore; it is intended to fill a concert hall not a pub and certainly not a home studio or bedroom.

My compromise is the PA Speakers which are great on Saturday mornings and the Kids have gone out to Ballet so there is no volume restrictions (apparently it is quite loud on the street), and headphones for lower level listening.  I do have Nearfield Studio speakers (i.e use them to listen close up) but somehow never use them.  When I play live they will be backline for small gigs and personal monitors for large gigs - the full PA can do its job in the latter situation.

If I wasn't intending to play live again and only played for fun I would probably hook to the Pod HD to the Home Cinema (i.e. decent Home Stereo). 

If my Home Stereo isn't really that good and I was writing and recording and wanted the best quality output I would consider the Studio Monitors.

There is no right answer and no wrong answer.  It depends on music style, realistic volume levels, aspirations, 3rd party factors (paper thin walls to the neighbours) and of course budget.



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by BigBob369 on 2012-05-04 12:47:34

Wow and thank you for such a thorough response Rewolf. What I'm trying to do is simply turn the POD HD into a guitar amp - without coloring added by running it through a real guitar amp. A simulated "Marshal Plexi" running through a "Greenback cab"... then running through a real Fender Deluxe Reverb or other real amp loses a lot in the translation as I'm sure you know.  And the amp outputs don't really help much. So as for levels and sound and all that, I'm just trying to accurately reproduce the amp sims as if it were a real amp. Volume and all but at the modest end of the spectrum, like say a 40W guitar amp.  And I'll be doing this in a basement music room where I normally run all my other amps.  So what I need is an amp/speaker to complete the POD. Same as everyone else here I guess except my priority is home use, and maybe small jams.

  Someone in another more specific thread I started suggested a keyboard amp for this purpose (Roland KC300-350) but new these are a little outside my prefered budget.



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by varmint on 2012-05-04 12:52:49

Great answer, Rewolf48!

Big Bob, I can add some insight into using powered monitors at home. Years ago I bought a pair of Roland CM30 monitors to use with my Pod XT Live. I bought them on sale, so didn't do a lot of research into finding "the best I could get", but they had favorable reviews online. I found that they sounded great with the XTL. After upgrading my computer into a DAW, I ended up using them as all-around studio monitors.

Forward to 2010, I bought one Alesis Transactive 50 monitor to use with the XTL, since the CM30's now had other duties. Again, it was a refurb on sale for pretty cheap, and this has two channels plus built-in effects (the CM30's didn't have effects). Nowadays, I use it for amping my HD bean in channel 1 and sometimes plug a mic into channel 2 (with a little reverb). I've been using that 50 watt setup for jamming with a basement band, and it's adequate enough to be heard in the mix, which includes two drummers, but I have to crank it up just below the distortion level. If I needed to be any louder, like a large room, hall or an outdoor gig, I would definitely have to route it into the more efficient speakers of a PA system. Just my 2 cents, but last line of Rewolfs post says it all.



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by BigBob369 on 2012-05-04 13:49:05

This is very helpful also.  Hearing someone else's learning curve/gear history always is.Thanks Varmint!

I can get the Alto 112A's for $299 and the Yamaha HS80's for $250 (both said to be very flat and natural in their respective fields). I may just go ahead and try both, sending back one. If I can. LOL

EDIT: Oh wait, I see now that the Alesis is a small amp/mixer like a Roland KC300 keyboard amp, which another poster recommended to me. I thought you meant studio monitor speakers. They make those as well.  Damn the Alesis is going for $199!  Hmmm....

Did you post a pic of it with the POD mounted to the top? That was cool.

EDIT Again: There are at least two or three Alesis Transactive 50's out there.  Is this the Alesis Transactive 50 DRUM amp or the regular one with the silver face?

This is the drum one:

<a target=new href=http://www.newenglandmusicsupply.com/images/uploads/alesis-transactivedrummer-small.jpg"class="jive-image" src="http://www.newenglandmusicsupply.com/images/uploads/alesis-transactivedrummer-small.jpg"/>



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by lasvideo on 2012-05-04 15:44:33

I just started using the QSC K10 speaker. Something I would have not even considered before getting the HD500. It faithfully presents all the nuances of the HD500 I hear on headphones. Cabs, amps and effects.

K10_overview.jpg



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by Seppi on 2012-05-04 19:22:16

^^ That's a very nice(and very expensive) speakers!! Good for you!



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by varmint on 2012-05-04 19:29:42

BigBob, you are correct, mine is the regular one with the silver face, and a spiffy blue light over the knobs. And yes, I rigged a way to mount the pod on top!

Sorry I didn't clarify the difference between the amp/mixers I own and studio monitors (which I've never had), but you get the idea. A monitor is a monitor as far as I'm concerned.

If you search around in these forums, you'll find lots of good recommendations like the QSC K10 mentioned above.

Like I said, that TA50 was a steal, I got it from MF for only $100, as one of their Stupid Deals. When it gets warm it smells like burnt wiring, which probably explains the refurbishing I think, but it works fine. I suppose if I was more obsessive about my tone I would get something "better", but better costs more, and I'm always on a budget.

Good luck!



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by BigBob369 on 2012-05-06 02:03:46

Hey I'm on a budget too. Partly just because I only thought I was buying the POD HD and that was it.  I didn't think ahead. Now on top of that $400 I'm into $270 for headphones and now another possibly $300 or more for amplification. 

I went down to GC to get the Alto 112A and they were all out. So I got one off the floor for $50 bucks off the $299 price.  So far it sounds pretty damn good. Slight tweaking needed for the best tone on existing patches but it's mostly a little knob twiddling, nothing major.  I just have to get used to having a tweeter horn in my "amp".

The Alto is pretty darn accurate, and BIG sounding. A little too bassy but it's tight and easily dialed down.  It's a lot warmer than I thought a POD>PA would be. I'm really having a lot of fun with this rig.



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by rgatling on 2012-05-06 09:13:14

I'm trying a Mackie Thump TH-12A.  I may try the Alto 112A as well, just to compare.  So far, so good with the Mackie.  I am adjusting all my patches while playing through it and starting to get the HD500 dialed in (finally).  My Fender cleans and DrZ tones are getting there



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by BigBob369 on 2012-05-06 19:12:38

I'm getting some gorgeous Fender cleans out of the Alto today. Very realistic tone plus some extra big bass that the PA speaker adds on it's own. I dialed most of it down but deliberately  left a little extra in there compared to an actual Fender amp. The Deluxe sounds like a Twin and the Twin sounds HUGE.

Let me ask you guys something, what output mode do you all use with a powered PA speaker? I tried the amp ones but as with my guitar amps it sounds like crap. Only studio/direct out seems to sound good.  But that's supposed to be for recording. So what is supposed to work best with a PA, and what works best for you?



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by BigBob369 on 2012-05-06 20:00:49

.

Oh I almost forgot, as for my home audio receiver, here's the tech analysis  from an online review/amplifier test:

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/receivers/yamaha-rx-v659/rx-v659-measurements-analysis

.



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by varmint on 2012-05-07 02:48:04

Studio/direct is the recommended output mode for FR/FR monitors and amps, as well as for recording purposes. It's what I use, but it really comes down to what sounds best to your ears.



Re: What are the differences between using a single powered PA or single powered studio monitor for POD at home?
by BigBob369 on 2012-05-07 14:17:43

varmint wrote:

Studio/direct is the recommended output mode for FR/FR monitors and amps, as well as for recording purposes. It's what I use, but it really comes down to what sounds best to your ears.

I"m so glad you said that because that's the only thing that does sound good to my ears.

Running it that way the Alto 112A is turning out to be really quite good for this purpose.  I just spent the last hour or so going back and forth between my Sennheiser 698's and the Alto, and with the exception of some deeper bass in the Alto  the sound is really just about the same. I had a set of Beyerdynamic 880's until a couple weeks ago, which are about dead flat and brutally accurate,  and from memory I bet they'd be even closer to the Alto. WIthout the high end extension to 40,000Hz that is. lol

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