Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Jump to content

Opinion on PA Speakers vs. Studio Monitors for Home Use?


Recommended Posts

I would appreciate some guidance on my set-up and help me decide if I should make a change  ... apologies in advance for the long post but I think most of this is relevant to the question
First some background: 
I use the helix rack with output to either 1 single BOSE F1 stack (speaker and sub-woofer) or DT 880 Pro 250 Ohm Headphones
First, I don't play in clubs anymore just at home with backing tracks.  I like it loud and immersive and substantial in terms of the volume and do entertain guests in my home by jamming so my goal is  to be at a level where my friends and myself feel like they are experiencing live immersive music - but in my home - I live in the country and there is really no concern for neighbors complaining, etc ...
I run a laptop with Reaper loaded with my backing tracks and use the Helix as the interface and I feed the balanced XLR outs of the Helix into a single Bose F series stack (Model 812 loudspeaker and sub-woofer).  I feed both channels from Helix into this single stack as my space is small and stereo separation might be desirable but no room for a double stack that would make a difference.  In the past I have been satisfied with the sound and of course need to tweak at different volume levels.  When I am playing loud, I have the Helix volume control about 1/2 way up and its loud so admittedly I am not opening the helix wide up when playing through the BOSE F1 stack. 
My style of music is classic rock: Santana, ZZ Top, SRV, Etc ...
So several months ago I picked up a pair of DT 880 Pro 250 Ohm headphones ... and wow let me tell you I love the sound coming out of these headphones using the Helix headphone out at full output on the Helix.  Its really jut fantastic for my music style, etc ...
The Question
So now with the DT880 headphone experience I am re-thinking my output main speakers, the BOSE F1 stack is it is really a PA speaker and is that still the best choice for me in my current situation - not playing out anymore nor do I plan to?  Maybe I really can't push them loud enough to drive them - and I am now not satisfied with the sound of the BOSE compared to the DT 880 headphones but not sure they are even comparable? 
I am thinking I should move to a powered studio monitor that has enough power to get an immersive music experience in the size of a typical living area say 100 ft * 30 ft.  (crisp highs, clear mid range clarity, lows that can be heard and felt).
In terms of budget - that's a good question and depends on the value of the different options,  - so I am open to all suggestions. Also since I don't have a good space for speaker physical separation is 1 or 2 of whatever U should get the best choice or is there even another solution I have not thought of other than studio monitors?
What are your thoughts and suggestions? I am wide open to any options/solutions
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You didn't like the sound out of your Bose? Decent studio monitors that will do what you want to do (loud, feel it, etc) would be very expensive. You would be better served by a PA/powered speakers. I've used a Bose L1 for years with Helix stuff, and it sounds great to me....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Obviously the big difference between PA/monitors and headphones is the added room sound. Since you like the headphones sound, you probably should decrease reverb mix amounts and play close to the Bose speakers. Also taming walls sonic reflections helps, but that's a topic on it's own...


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your "typical" living area of 30ft x 100ft is more like a small club!  So most monitors are not intended to fill that sized space at what sounds like close to live gig levels.

I'd be thinking a pair of self powered PA speakers. would be the solution. I use exactly that as monitoring on stage.  I can say it works, but I use studio monitors at home, and the studio monitors sound better.  A lot of smaller PA systems seem to have a vocal enhancing EQ built in - and it does mean that what sounds great through the studio monitors is too bright through the PA wedges (yes, Fletcher Munson is probably a factor too) so it can sound great, but you might need to use your global EQ to adjust between the PA and your headphones.  At least with PA speakers you can probably easily audition them at a sensible level.  You would find studio monitors that could cut it, but like someone already said, for the level in that sized space they would be mega expensive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd agree with most of what's been said here about studio monitors.  They just don't sound like a great fit based on your description as they're really designed for critical listening at more controlled levels in  a controlled environment with you and the speakers arranged fairly precisely.  In my house I have both setups, a set of studio monitors (Yamaha HS7) and a "live performance" system using Yamaha DXR12 speakers.  They are different experiences, but they're designed specifically to be different.  In real life a PA will always sound different than headphones or studio speakers because they're designed specifically for even coverage across a large area.  They will always sound better and more natural the further you are away from them because they're designed for projection.  For me, that works perfectly because I use my DXR12 speaker setup to help me dial in tones that will be heard by my audience in a live situation and I sometimes play at higher volumes to get a sense of "live performance", but that is different than what you're describing as an immersive experience.

Maybe the right situation for you might be using something like a Line 6 Powercab in conjunction with your F1 setup to give you more of that on stage immersive experience that really requires a cabinet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Thanks immensely for all of your feedback.  Conclusion is that I will not go for studio monitors but continue to work with my F1 stack ... specifically I know that with Helix and Reaper there is practically an infinite amount of adjustments that can be made, the reverb was one suggestion - and I need to take each of my "complaints" and see if I can adjust them out so to speak.  The other is I typically play in close proximity to the F1's (3 ft or so) ... I will try to increase that distance more to see what effect that has.  If that does not work perhaps the F1's with Powercab would be a great balanced choice.


Again, thanks very much !!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...