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Best At Home Speakers for under $550


kenmasters
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New to setting up modellers.  Looking for input before I make a move.  I have a hd500x but looking to upgrade to a Helix along with a set of speaker(s) to accurately get the best tone spectrum possible.  I've narrowed my options down to a few, but happy to know if there are other options.  $550 is the budget for speakers.  Using it at home only so no need for power/volume, however, the speakers must sound good even at low volumes.  Prefer a small footprint without excessive noise (like cooling fans, etc.)

 

Studio Monitors (probably only need 1, but would be nice to get two since I will be playing backing tracks too).  Pricing used for comparison purposes only. 

 

- Yamaha HS8 or two HS7s  ($350 or $299 x 2)

- One Yamaha DXR8  - $550

- Pair of Yamaha MSP7 - $399

- Pair of Yamaha MSP5 - $275 x 2

- One KRK VT series (probably the 6s [$450] given the budget, or 2 x the 4" [$299 x2]) 

- Will it sound decent on even less expensive KRK Rokits? 

 

Active Speakers

- One... Line 6 L2M   - $700

 

Other options if price wasn't an issue

- Atomic CLR Neo wedge, $1200

- Line 6 Firehawk 1500 , $1000

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Studio Monitors (probably only need 1, but would be nice to get two

.

 

Though they're often sold individually, having one studio monitor is ridiculous. Given that their primary function is to mix/monitor recordings, it baffles me that they're not sold in pairs...but I digress. Especially if you want to play along with recorded music, one monitor will be somewhat less than adequate...by about half. ;)

 

Besides, with that budget, you can get a really nice pair of monitors. JBL LSR305's are excellent, 5" drivers so they don't take up a huge amount of real estate. Usually about $300 for the pair. They'll do quite nicely for playing at home, or mixing/monitoring recordings from a DAW, should you decide to get into that.

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I agree - get a pair of studio monitors, not just one. 5" speakers will be (barely) adequate of you want to crank it up now and then. Don't go as low as 4", and get 6" if you can afford it.

 

As for manufacturer, your best bet is to visit an audio store that has a selection set up for listening and evaluation purposes. Bring an audio recording with you (iPhone, MP3 player) that you know well and choose the speakers through which it sounds best to you.

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I agree with both the gentlemen ahead of me. Although I would say for home use and mixing 5" will be just fine. Don't expect huge volumes out of them though. And please go find a store who has a display set up for detailed testing. Our Pro Audio Director uses a great display set up so that he can properly demo the speakers for mixing and editing. Not just playing a random radio station through them. 

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Another vote for the JBL LSR 305's. I picked a pair of these for just under $300 for monitoring at the home studio. Also work great for patch creation with the Helix. They won't melt your face off, but that's not the goal. Accurate, affordable, sized just right. Put the $250 you'll save in your speaker budget toward something else (good cables, stands?)

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Another vote for the JBL LSR 305's. I picked a pair of these for just under $300 for monitoring at the home studio. Also work great for patch creation with the Helix. They won't melt your face off, but that's not the goal. Accurate, affordable, sized just right. Put the $250 you'll save in your speaker budget toward something else (good cables, stands?)

Don't waste money on absurdly priced cables. Gold-dipped, assembled by vestal virgins, alien technology, and whatever else a certain company claims makes their cables sound "better", is a crock. They've been fleecing the gullible for years. The signal either gets there, or it doesn't. If you're not connecting speakers hundreds of feet from the source, or running them inside a wall, then they don't need to be 3" in diameter, have Kevlar shielding, or diamond tips. Just make sure you use the appropriate type...balanced or unbalanced, depending on all the ins and outs in question.

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You don't need to go new. Grab a lightly used set of Event 20/20BAS off Ebay or Reverb. I've been mixing on my passive Event 20/20 since 1996. The BAS is the active model with built in bi-amp. 8" woofers and I've used them to mix every record and artist I've ever worked with.

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Another vote for the LSR305s I create all my tones on them and those translate to FOH very very well.... You can spend several hundred more dollars and end up with a worse set of monitors... check the reviews... outstanding number of positive reviews and praise. Outstanding value...

 

And if you don't already have one and aren't using a decent recording interface that can audio source mixing duties.. get a small mixer too.

 

My LSR305s are decently loud.. loud enough to lollipop off the wife at least.

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My LSR305s are decently loud.. loud enough to lollipop off the wife at least.

Yeah, I have no volume issues with mine either. They're near-field monitors...you neither want, nor need tsunami-inducing volume for them to accomplish their task. If I want to melt concrete, I've got my L2T, and a 100W tube amp and Marshall 4x12 sitting right beside the JBL's.

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.

 

Though they're often sold individually, having one studio monitor is ridiculous. Given that their primary function is to mix/monitor recordings, it baffles me that they're not sold in pairs...but I digress. Especially if you want to play along with recorded music, one monitor will be somewhat less than adequate...by about half. ;)

 

Besides, with that budget, you can get a really nice pair of monitors. JBL LSR305's are excellent, 5" drivers so they don't take up a huge amount of real estate. Usually about $300 for the pair. They'll do quite nicely for playing at home, or mixing/monitoring recordings from a DAW, should you decide to get into that.

 

 

Thanks for all the feedback.    I'm looking into the JBLs now.  They appear to be a good deal on the used market for a pair.   

 

While I do prefer a pair, my primary purpose is using the helix with a guitar.  The guitar is mono.  I'm used to playing through a single amp/speaker and the only benefit of stereo is listening to backing tracks on the same set of speakers.   But if the JBLs are just as good as a $500 speaker (like a KRK VT6), then I'm all for that. 

 

As for listening to them live before purchasing.  I live in Toronto Canada and I'm not sure who has a wide selection of studio monitors that can be tested in-store?   

 

Thanks!

K

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....

 

As for listening to them live before purchasing.  I live in Toronto Canada and I'm not sure who has a wide selection of studio monitors that can be tested in-store?   

 

..

Any Long & McQuade store should have a good setup. They're also a Line 6 retailer.

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I use a pair of Samson RSXM12A active monitors (only $350 each) and they sound awesome! In my opinion, the best deal out there for a very flat-response active monitor that won't break the bank. The sound I hear from my monitors (using them as a stereo pair) is exactly what I hear when I record our rehearsals and live gigs directly.

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Hi there:

 

this obsession for pure tone is driving me crazy as you guys

 

I have a Pair of Yamaha MSP7, they are PERFECT for your purposes

 

I would totally suggest you to buy them, they are flat response, have a lot of options to manage the excess of unwanted frequencies or for compensating them, NO NOISE like a fan, truly powerfull and amazing tone at low volumes, horsework for studio mixing, but think about this:

 

All the music you hear in your favorite albums, and specially those classic ones, were analog processed by professional music industry tech people. So, don't forget there is a great amount of money invested in that Tears For Fears album you enjoy to have that amazing tone that you can appreciate in your i-pod, your car stereo and your home domestic equipment as well. 

 

Monitors are just tools to correct certain details or frequencies to achieve this goal of making a recording result sounds the best possible in any music-player device.

 

For your porpuse, this kind of tools are excessive but you will hear heavenly this amazing digital processor Helix the best possible.

 

Using monitors for recording is different from using it for guitar practicing, but is going to be the best way to set up your tones from Helix-guitar-stomps-pickups-etc...

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Using monitors for recording is different from using it for guitar practicing, but is going to be the best way to set up your tones from Helix-guitar-stomps-pickups-etc...

What would you recommend for practicing?

Thanks.

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What would you recommend for practicing?

Thanks.

I recommend you nothing but the best; even for practicing

 

new strings, warm up, set up your hardware, calibrate pickups, and yes, for practicing, professional monitors, so you hear details in your playing that will hear louder when you record or play live LOUD

 

yamaha MSP7 are just perfect

 

it's also a very different experience when it's about professional headphones use

 

when you work with professional monitors for flat response you have the chance to correct everything you want to improve from your tone

 

but when the mix comes, then your drummer, singer, bassman, keyboardist are gonna make more noise but you will still hear your tone and probably you will tweak less

 

it's easy: you play, practice, monitor professionaly, then you connect to a PA and it is going to be very probable that you will not need to change anything

 

thanks for reading

 

go for Yamaha MSP7

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