Saturday, August 2, 2014

Project Studio Monitor Speakers, Then and Now.

Studios used to have huge 15" woofer based main monitors, Yamaha NS10 bookshelf speakers and 5" Auratones on the mixer bridge, as the picture above from 1986 shows.

There are many stories of classic albums being mainly mixed on the Auratones, while the main monitors were just used to impress the record company executes, or during tracking.

Small Project Studios now rule, and everyone has one.  The current fashion is to have them based around powered 2 way monitors with 5" to 8" woofers.

But that isn't what we have. We were using an old 30W channel Hi-Fi amp with passive 8" 3 way bookshelf near field monitors, larger 10" 2 way tower type far monitors, topped off with our Auraclone and some tiny 3" computer speakers. All these things modified or rebuilt.   The switch box selecting them is a DIY unit using the case from an old PC printer selector unit for instance.

But the point of this article is the tiny computer monitors for checking low end playback. They are what we use much of the time now. And we have recently rebuilt them from 4 ohm 3" 2W units to 8 ohm 2" 10W units using SWAN B2S drivers.

Used thin MDF to make new baffles for the smaller drivers, cut the plastics and put it together with contact cement and some hot glue.


An Auratone and our Auraclone is too Hi-Fi to now judge the low end delivery platforms.  As most of our videos and music will be listened to on a Laptop, Smart Phone or tablet with built in tiny speakers, if you haven't got a bass sound with enough upper harmonics, it will just disappear.  Also if the midrange sounds are too bright, that is all that comes across.  Putting a high pass filter in the Master output at 400Hz or 500Hz helps too with this worst case,

We also put tracks on our cheap Android phone with a mono speaker and that has proven instructional. So much so that we plan to get a replacement Galaxy Phone speaker (they are about $3 on eBay, which appears to be a 32 ohm unit?) and connect that into our monitor set up and see how that compares.

The world has changed. Hi-Fi isn't a thing any more, and people use much smaller audio systems as the lowest common denominator. The low end reference needs to change.

We can be contacted at Art & Technology, and check out our YouTube Channel or our music on SoundCloud.