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Old 30th May 2011, 10:21 PM   #1
Marik is offline Marik  United States
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Default Mastering Studio Monitors

Hey folks,

Was thinking of building the mastering monitors. No any audiphile demands, like "musicality", "sound stage", etc. They should have smooth response throughout entire band, be very accurate and detailed, have good stereo image, and good off axis. No thundering volumes--mostly "normal" levels for listening classical music and no ground shaking bass. The room is not very big ~15'x15'x8, but very well acoustically treated--not dead, but with well controlled behavior.

I am thinking of 2 way (or MTM) with a sub for each channel. The crossover will be DEQ2496, the amplifier for now (until I get the concept proved) 6 channel Adcom.

For awhile I was auditioning different drivers. For the midwoofer worth to mention here were 5" Scan Speak Revelators and Tang Band W4-1337 (both with Vifa XT25 tweeters). Oddly enough, I much prefer (for what we do here) the W4, as more flat and detailed. On the contrary, the Revelators might be more pleasing to listen to, but I felt it as a little midrange forward, which is not what I want.
Any other good choices?

What size of subwoofer driver would you recommend for such room? I might want to stay with Al cone--is it a good idea? Again, what would be good choices?

For tweeters, as I mentioned, I already have XT25 and also was looking at the Seas 27TBFC/G. Also, was looking at the 3/4" Hiquphon OW1.

The budget for drivers is flexible. Would like to stay within $1000, but could stretch, if needed and if it significantly improves performance. Of course, if less than that for an excellent performance, I would not mind.

In short, looking for expert opinions for the drivers worth to audition, as well as for suggestions for design configurations.

Best, M

Last edited by Marik; 30th May 2011 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 30th May 2011, 11:02 PM   #2
Marik is offline Marik  United States
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Another option (other than 2 way small 4"-5" midwoofers with subs) would be a 2 way with bigger midwoofer (6.5"-7") with no subs. For the room size and type of music (again, classical) that might be a better option???

Thanks, M
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Old 31st May 2011, 09:46 PM   #3
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What's the listening distance and how far away from the walls will these be?
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Old 31st May 2011, 10:56 PM   #4
Marik is offline Marik  United States
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Originally Posted by 454Casull View Post
What's the listening distance and how far away from the walls will these be?
For practical reasons the speakers cannot go more than foot or two from the wall. Behind each speaker there are 2'x4'x4" bass trap panels hanging on the wall.

The listening distance is 6'-8'.

Best, M
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Old 1st June 2011, 08:09 AM   #5
rabbitz is offline rabbitz  Australia
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You may want to check the XT25's dispersion characteristics when used near field as it differs from a lot of tweeters. Someone here may be able to help as I've only used it far field. Maybe smaller tweeters such as a 19mm may give better near field dispersion.

The success of 15W85xx Revelator depends on the crossover and any forward mids would be down to the implementation of the crossover. As you have the drivers, this may (or not) do the job.
Zaph|Audio - ZD5 - Scan Speak 15W8530K00 and Vifa XT25


When doing a near field monitor it helps to have a reference speaker on hand otherwise there is no datum. I used the NS10M not because they were good but at least gave me a reference point.

Here's a studio monitor design from Vance Dickason (was also in the Loudspeaker Design Cookbook 6th edition).
Vance Dickason LDC6
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Old 1st June 2011, 08:59 AM   #6
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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haha the ol' ns10, resident in so many studios, pro and home, for exactly that reason.

i would agree the scans should not sound forward and with the right implementation should do just fine. i would also throw AudioTechnology C-Quenze 23 I 52 20 08 SD mid-bass into the mix and you can often specify your requirements if you need something unusual. a bit on the pricey side, but many believe these to be some of, if not the best drivers of their type available. i just missed buying a set recently used and still have my eye out for a deal
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Old 1st June 2011, 07:09 PM   #7
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How about Volt BM220.8 with something like a Peerless 810921 or SB Acoustics SB29RDC tweeter?

Zaph tested those tweets on his site and they seem as good as any. Indeed The SB appears to be based on the XT25 but measures better.
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You could skip the subs then.
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Old 2nd June 2011, 12:55 AM   #8
Marik is offline Marik  United States
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I have here an access to ATC, Quested, Focal, ProAc 2.5, and many other choices, so there would be no problem for a reference point.

Although many people hate it (or some grew not to hate it as much ) the NS10M would make it a good mixing monitor, but not for mastering purposes.

Yes, originally I was inspired by Zaph's ZD5 and purchased the Revelators and XT25 to give them a try and built those into a tower. It seems to have a good low extension (esp. for that size), and while some mid forward quality can be easily EQed, the whole thing might be somewhat colored, "musical" (whatever it is), and little too sweet. I'm sure I will greatly enjoy it using in my living room setup, though.

I looked at the Vance Dickason design. It looks like a great tracking/mixing monitor. Not sure if its response in 700Hz-3KHz and peak on 15KHz makes it a great mastering tool.

So it seems that for nearfields the 19mm tweeters might be preferable. Also, for nearfield the smaller 4"-5" (6.5" being max) midwoofers are also the way to go. Those two come together quite nicely (indeed, 3/4" don't go low, and the smaller 4-5 inchers can go pretty high). I think bigger midwoofers wouldn't be as good of the choice for those reasons. Would they?
Am I thinking right, or missing something?

Again, I am looking for something where the most linear frequency response and least coloration are the most important considerations.

Best, M

Last edited by Marik; 2nd June 2011 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 2nd June 2011, 07:17 AM   #9
rabbitz is offline rabbitz  Australia
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I can vouch for the 810921 (now SS D2608/91300) as I use it in my mains with 18W8531 as mids. Some however are bothered by the dip at 6kHz which for me was not an issue by maybe for mastering.

You may want to try the ZD5 in the small sealed box as a lot of builders reckon it's better in the mids than than tower. I think most paper cones do have colouration and actually coated my 18W8531 to remove some of this. IIRC the 15W85xx are already coated.

You're on the right track with a 5" midwoofer as it will have better off axis performance and less beaming than larger drivers. This allows you to cross over higher (above 3kHz) to smaller tweeters.

The most accurate and neutral driver I've ever used was the SEAS Nextel W15LY001 but I found it not engaging enough for my listening tastes when used as a home stereo music speaker which may make it a candidate for mastering. The Magnesium SEAS W15CY001 is supposed to be even more accurate and detailed but needs more crossover work due to the metal cone (see Troel's W15CY001/OW1). Troels has some examples that may give you some ideas or direction.
DIY Loudspeaker Projects Troels Gravesen
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Old 2nd June 2011, 11:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marik View Post
I have here an access to ATC, Quested, Focal, ProAc 2.5, and many other choices, so there would be no problem for a reference point.

Although many people hate it (or some grew not to hate it as much ) the NS10M would make it a good mixing monitor, but not for mastering purposes.
If you have access to Questeds you'll know what Volt woofers sound like.
I just do not share Rogers affinity to Morel tweets.
PMC also use Volt woofers btw.

NS10 would be totally useless for mastering. I find them useless for mixing as well because they have a peak/resonance in their treble response just where my hearing has a sensitivity peak. This makes them extremely fatiguing and even painful to listen to for me and insures that anything I mix on them comes out without any treble whatsoever. For that crosschecking/nearfield purpose I'll stick to my Auratones but I always preferred mixing on main monitors anyway.
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