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Budget power speakers/ PA/ monitors

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Hey all,

 

I've been having big problems with my current studio monitors (Presonus Eris E4.5), I am pretty much just pushing them too hard for how small they are - after 10 mins of high gain playing they start crackling horribly. I have resigned to the fact that this is because they are too small, and the pod go signal is just too much for the small speakers to handle. All I want is for speakers that I can play in stereo, play reasonably loud (but only loud household levels), and have them not crackle. I only have a small budget so I am hoping to keep it under $1000 AUD (~$800 USD).

 

Any suggestions for any type of speakers that would work for me would be greatly appreciated. I've spent way too much time trying to find fixes for my speakers crackling and I'm rather sick of it haha.

 

Thanks for your help!

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I suggest you go with minimum 6” speakers. Bigger is better so if 8” fits in your budget I’d go with those. You don’t need 10” for your purposes.

 

As for brand, any powered studio monitors (virtually all of which are FRFR) should work fine. Most audio stores that sell these speakers have a test setup in the store where you can compare different brands. Pricing is a very local determination,  so let your ears be your guide re: cost/value preference.

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Thanks very much for the help. Just to double check and get another opinion - do you think that the problems I am having with my speakers crackling after playing higher gain/ reverb tones would be caused by having 4.5" speakers? Does it sound to you like I am just driving them too hard for what they are built for? I had someone at my local music store check the speakers for me with their gear, and they couldn't replicate the crackling...

Thanks for the help

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On 2/26/2021 at 7:30 AM, silverhead said:

I suggest you go with minimum 6” speakers. Bigger is better so if 8” fits in your budget I’d go with those. You don’t need 10” for your purposes.

 

The size of the mid driver in a 2 channel speaker mostly depends on SPL; to play louder you need to move more air, and moving more air means means either having a larger driver (moving the same amount as a smaller driver will move more air with bigger driver) or, the woofer will move further back and forth.  Also; bass is what what requires the woofer to move most air; while treble (high frequencies) require very little movement.  So the deeper the bass, the larger the woofer you generally require.  So at one point; it gets easier to move more air with a bigger woofer, so you're never going to see 4 inch driver playing incredibly loud and having amazing low end response.  

 

BUT, the bigger the woofer, the more mass it has, and it becomes more and more difficult to move it back and forth.  And the higher the frequency, the faster it needs to move back and forth.  So that is why you have a extremely small and light tweeter, and a mid woofer (plays mid frequencies) in 2ch speakers and, you have 3 channel speakers (or more, MTM, etc.) with tweeter, mid woofer and bass woofer; each getting larger.

 

So for 2 channel speakers; the typical size is 5 to 6.5 inch.  These can typically play VERY loud in a small to medium room.  Larger drivers become more relevant if you want to play very loud or if you have a larger room...   Sounds get less loud the further you are, so the bigger the room, generally the further you are, so generally need to compensate with either much higher quality drivers or just get larger drivers...

 

ANYHOW.  LOL.  I was also looking to maybe get a set of studio monitors to upgrade my computer speakers, and use with the Go.  KRK seemed to pop up a lot; but sadly; with speakers; it can be really subjective.  Someone can love the sound of a speaker, while another might totally hate it... We all hear differently, have different tastes, expectations, etc.,  lots of recommendations for 'best';

 

https://www.musictech.net/guides/buyers-guide/best-budget-studio-monitors/

https://www.musicradar.com/news/best-budget-studio-monitors

https://musiccritic.com/equipment/speakers/best-budget-studio-monitors/

https://www.4soundengineers.com/budget-studio-monitors/

 

So your best bet might be try to identify a few which fits the budget and seem interesting to you, and try to go listen to them somewhere.  None of them should 'crackle' at 'normal' listening levels; (often can be caused by the amp not being able to drive the speakers correctly)  plus guitar doesn't have massive bass so it shouldn't be super taxing for speakers...  So yeah, might not be super hard to want more volume than the  25w/side + smaller drivers can handle...

 

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I am having with my speakers crackling after playing higher gain/ reverb tones would be caused by having 4.5" speakers?

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Posted January 29 by grdGo33

Just to be sure, did you record with a mic the sound of the studio monitors?  If not, if just recorded through DAW and Go, then has little to do with the studio monitors...

 

Also I couldn't hear any crackling.  Are you talking about a sort of 'wobble' in the sound?  To me it sounds almost like a tremolo or like you have some sort of phase issue.  I can also hear some background noise, like some hiss in the background, is that what you're referring to?

 

Also, either the issue is with the Go, with the speakers, or just with a special combination of both... If it's from the Go, you'd likely get the same issue with headphones or through USB.  Are you?  If it's the speakers, well, should do the same with just music.  Does it also occur on both speakers or just one of them?  All patches, or just that one patch?  If when you're getting the issue, you edit your patch to remove some of the effects, does it have any effect on the crackle?  If you switch patch, does the issue go away and come back 5m later?  If you turn the Go on and off the issues goes away and come back 5m later?

 

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I have an excellent powered speaker for use with my Pod Go, which is the Headrush FRFR108. The quality, fullness bottom end and volume is staggering. The first time I plugged in, I simply could not get my head round that this huge, huge sound was coming from such a compact unit with a mere 8" speaker.

 

These are under £200 each and I'm so impressed that once gigging and rehearsing start again, I'm buying a second without hesitation. These can be angled in different positions on the floor as a stage monitor, or mounted for PA projection.

 

There is a 12" version too, the Headrush FRFR112, that are a more expensive, with the same 2000w power rating but these are around double the size and weight of the FRFR108.  When gigging, I put my MFX straight through the main PA so I'd only need one as a monitor for me, but I could position a second one for others in the band at a different volume level or send it to the audience if the PA was limited.

 

Staggeringly good, I'd recommend these without hesitation for home or gigging.

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2 hours ago, voxman55 said:

Headrush FRFR108

Thanks very much voxman55, I will have a look into this, it sounds like a good option for me.

 

9 hours ago, grdGo33 said:

So yeah, might not be super hard to want more volume than the  25w/side + smaller drivers can handle...

Thanks for all the information there grdGo33, I think I am pushing my speakers too hard...

 

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9 hours ago, grdGo33 said:

Just to be sure, did you record with a mic the sound of the studio monitors?  If not, if just recorded through DAW and Go, then has little to do with the studio monitors...

 

Also I couldn't hear any crackling.  Are you talking about a sort of 'wobble' in the sound?  To me it sounds almost like a tremolo or like you have some sort of phase issue.  I can also hear some background noise, like some hiss in the background, is that what you're referring to?

 

Also, either the issue is with the Go, with the speakers, or just with a special combination of both... If it's from the Go, you'd likely get the same issue with headphones or through USB.  Are you?  If it's the speakers, well, should do the same with just music.  Does it also occur on both speakers or just one of them?  All patches, or just that one patch?  If when you're getting the issue, you edit your patch to remove some of the effects, does it have any effect on the crackle?  If you switch patch, does the issue go away and come back 5m later?  If you turn the Go on and off the issues goes away and come back 5m later?

 

When recording in my previous post, I recorded with a mic the sound of my studio monitors, not through DAW. The mic did not pick up the crackling very well, but it is incredibly noticeable when in the room with the speakers, the 'wobble' isn't the issue. It occurs in both speakers, and is caused by the use of high gain, or high reverb patches, but once it starts it happens with all patches. When I switch patches the issue doesn't go away, and the crackling doesn't go away when I turn the Go off and on again.

 

From some extensive chats and testing with my local music shop, the consensus reached was that I am just slamming the speakers too hard. I have tried putting a compressor at the end of my signal chain to ease the strain on the speakers as well - which possibly has helped, but it only gives me an extra 5-10mins before the crackling comes back again.

 

So yeah, the only option I think that is left is that I am just slamming the speakers, and they are too small for what I am trying to do with them.

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Ah yeah many class D amps, if they don't have large enough heatsinks to dissipate heat caused by using more watts, can overheat if they are played at max/high power for too long, so likely that's what you're experiencing...    Built-in amps in the monitors are probably overheating...

 

I was also thinking of mentioning FRFR, but they're just different beasts;

 

anyway, some of his points might be argued (ex; can elevate FRFR), but, design-wise, a FRFR with a 2000 watt amp (made to play loud, live; like a PA speakers) vs studio monitors; which are designed more to be tonally accurate, maximize sound quality over quantity, etc., it's more about what you want/need.

 

Not saying studio monitors are better, many here seem to absolutely love the headrush FRFR 108 and say they sound absolutely fantastic.  (haven't heard the FRFR 108 myself) 

 

https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/headrush-frfr-108-vs-studio-monitors-please-help-me-choose.152476/

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Studio monitors are a must-have for recording and are good for home practice. Out of the monitors you listed, I've heard people recommend the HS80M.

If you gig then eventually you'll need a good FRFR for a monitor or backline speaker (if you don't have a PA). Some people like the FRFR-108 but I found it lacking volume/clarity when used with a loud rock band. If you get one, I think eventually you'll probably want something better.

 

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Studio monitors are far more useful at home. I use mine for listening to and learning songs. I only use my FRFR (CLR) at band practice and gigs.

 

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In my opinion frfr108 not so good for me, so I prefer a studio monitor like KRK, but I have r6g3. So you can try with KRK, in other hand you can sell it if it worth for you.

 

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For me personally, I don’t find playing through studio monitors as inspiring as something that moves air more and can fill the room. I know others disagree. I just prefer something more amp in the room like for playing at my house or rehearsals. The 108 isn’t pro quality by any means, but for the price I’m not sure how anyone can complain. Wait to find a blemished or used one AND then apply those saving to a set of studio monitors and then you have the best of both worlds!

 

So just depends what you're after.  I remember a long time ago while researching music & HT speakers, many were recommending studio monitors as opposed to audiophile speakers for music:  Save $ on 'overpriced' amps & get 'pro' gear which suffers less from audiofoolery & snakeoil BS like audiophile gear tends to have; no audiophile 'pricing'.  So go the pro route by going studio monitors for sound quality imho good idea.

 

Anyway, imho, for a more music or sound quality investment; studio monitors likely the way to go.  For a guitar only with possible gigging, playing with band, etc., then yeah definitely go FRFR. 

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I believe that the Alto TS308 is exactly the same as the Headrush but with a different label. I have one and use it pretty much exactly as @voxman55 describes. I use mine live exactly as he describes and I have used it in rehearsal with a reasonably loud 5 piece Rock band with success as well. It is a killer little speaker that works very well with either my Pod GO or my floor Helix. 

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I have a pair of Alto TS212 tops....I generally only use one for shows and rehearsals. Altos are very flat and I have been very happy with mine for years.

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23 hours ago, scotterp said:

I believe that the Alto TS308 is exactly the same as the Headrush but with a different label. I have one and use it pretty much exactly as @voxman55 describes. I use mine live exactly as he describes and I have used it in rehearsal with a reasonably loud 5 piece Rock band with success as well. It is a killer little speaker that works very well with either my Pod GO or my floor Helix. 

Glad you're having success with it - both cracking speakers and huge bang for buck. 

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Headrush FRFR108 sounds great with Pod Go.  Not too expensive either.

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