Tag Archives: Audio Monitors

Review: Studio Speakers – Samson Resolv A6 vs. M-Audio BX5

20 May


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I’ve used quite a few Speakers in the last 12 years (or so) I’ve been working on Audiostuff. I started with some passive Tannoy’s (not so much a fan of those) but over the years i also used:

- Yamaha MSP 7 (great speakers) – around 1000 EUR for a pair

- EMES Black TV HR Active (unique / rare / kinda good but you really have to get used to them / technically a good concept tho’) around 1400 EUR for a pair

- Genelec 1032a (they are good / really analytic – don’t like the overall sound tho’)  around 1800-2000 EUR for a pair

- ME-Geithain RL 904 (unique german brand but quite common / really analytic / don’t like the overall sound tho’ you really have to get used to them) around 2500-3000 EUR for a pair

- Dynaudio BM6A (really loved them , great speakers) around 1300 EUR for a pair

- Fostex pm 0.5 (meh … not so good but better than any common, random plastic PC speaker) around 150-180 EUR for a pair

- KRK RP6 RoKit G2 (one of best speaker I’ve used esp. in that price range … great over all sound / powerful, quite balanced, good low-end, analytic but not too much, you actually can kinda enjoy listing to stuff) around 400 EUR for a pair

and i also used some KRK RP5 RoKit G2 on smaller workstations and as Surround speakers – around 290 EUR for a pair

So i really loved the last setup i had: a KRK 5.1 setup with 3x RP6 ‘s and 2x RP5’s. I used that the longest time and really got familiar with it … enjoyed using it.

But then I changed my Job, I did go freelance (as you might know I work for all kinds of projects and people now – like for ScruffyTV (a lot of Podcast work there in addition to other stuff) and even more so on more audio based / orientated stuff) So anyway, I kinda had to leave my beloved KRK setup at my old workplace.

Anyway … now i thought, well lets see how good the cheaper stuff really is – since i got asked a lot what cheap Studio-Speakers people should get, people who just get started. I did quite some research and it seemed that most small and “cheap” speakers (like most 5″ speakers) are not so good for accurate and have not so good sound reproduction for any sound stuff, esp. if you have a pro’ish approach to / for your work. At the end of the day I was kinda left with really only two “low-priced” options:

The quite common M-Audio BX5 and the Samson Resolv A6 both of which got good some notes (so to say) for the low price they go for.

So i got both for a test-run

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First of the Samson Resolv A6. The price in Germany is around 175 EUR for a pair, which is actually quite cheap for a pair of 2-way 6.5″ speakers. And for that, they are actually surprisingly good. Keep in mind of a pair of KRK RP6 (same size, almost same spec’s) you pay around 400 EUR (and even that is considered a lower priced speaker). Now they have a lil bit of a lower end issue in terms of not quite power full and precise in that range (so really not like the KRK’s) But if you have a not so good room that actually can be good (if u have a good listing spot and get used to it)

also they are missing a bit in the higher mid range and maybe a little bit of too much emphasized in the 150-300 Hz area but that really shows only in a few tracks (and if u don’t have a perfect placement of the speakers). Over all they are quite good sounding. They have an open sound. For the price range analytic enough to get pro work done. The Stereo-filed is ok, actually good for a Studio-speaker in that price range. I actually was surprised how much really i can hear single instruments in some tracks / mixes.

They have a lil issue with some white noise in “Standby” but that actually should be not a big issue for mixing at all. You only will notice that when you have nothing playing. And if you want to dial in stuff like “noise reduction” on some audio recordings you always could use headphones to make sure its it ok, but really it’s not that bad at all – really just a little bit white noise.

Now, these speakers are quite big and kinda heavy, so for smaller rooms and for people “on the road” a bit too much maybe.

So for a common Edit-Suite setup it might e bit tricky to get a good placement. They are not as uncomplicated to place to get a good sound out of them. I always had the feeling the placement of the KRK’s was less “complicated”. It kinda was like the KRK’s sounded good everywhere. Anyways, sometimes its better to get smaller speakers (like the KRK RP5 RoKit’s – in that size really nothing comes close in the price range). But I did read that the smaller Samson Resolv A5 are not as good as the these bigger Resolv A6. So that is not really an option.

So, over all quite good speakers for the money. Are they as good as KRK RP6 RoKit’s? …not really. But the Resolv A6 are really usable esp. if you just get stared and have to keep your start-investment costs low. If you get experience with them, get to know them – so to say – you really can get work done!

Technical specs are good: a 2-way 6.5″ woven carbon fibre woofer with 75W, 1″ silk dome tweeter with 25W, (so overall 100W) frequency response is in the 40Hz-30kHz, there are XLR and 1/4″ balanced inputs and unbalanced RCA inputs its AV / magnetically  shielded and solid MDF case construction. There is a High Frequency adjustment knob that can be helpful if needed and actually is rare in that price range of speakers. The volume knob is a bit tricky to adjust in lower volume levels so it might take a lil while to get both speakers set to the same level but in the end it works. Oh BTW the low frequency port is on the front … what in my experience is better esp. if you don’t have “perfect” placement of the speakers. (too close to a wall / in a corner)

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The other candidates are the M-Audio BX5 – 177 EUR for a pair – (i got the older version so the newer BX5a might be a bit better but overall these are the same). The BX5’s are well made and actually have a good size for smaller rooms and the usual editing suite setup.

In terms of Sound, I’m not so sure. Even though they are quite powerful for the size and have a good strong low-end for the size, they really have a noticeable lag in the mid-range, so they really don’t sound open at all. if you have an orchestral track (movie score) for example there really is all the “wood” and open sound missing… you really have a hard time getting the room and clearness of a mix.

The high range is actually good, maybe a bit too “fine” but quite analytic with a somehow odd “rolloff” tho’. It sounds too sharp in a way.

So in the end I have to say they are not as good as the Samson Resolv 6A. One good thing is tho’ that these speakers are quite common in home studios and even edit suits so people are used to them and it might be possible that you “have to” / might use them at some point.

Technical specs are ok: it’s a overall 70W speaker with a 5″ woofer and 1″ tweeter, magnetically shielded, balanced XLR and balanced/unbalanced TRS inputs, volume control (that actually works good and smooth). The low frequency port is on the back of the speaker  … what in my experience is tricky / not so ideal esp. if you don’t have “perfect” placement of the speakers. (too close to a wall / in a corner) so i kinda noticed a bit of a low end “overload” for some tracks i played … not too bad just something you might keep in mind.

In conclusion: If you don’t have the funds, have to save some money you really could get away with the Samson Resolv A6. They really sound good/ok for the money. If you have the funds go with the KRK RP6 RoKit G2 tho’.

I really would not recommend the M-Audio BX5(a) even though they are common (oddly ;-))  and small they really just sound not right / not good enough to compete with the SAMSON’s or even more so with the KRK’s at all.

At the end of the day – if you really want to deliver a good mix – you really should check speakers for yourself – listen to your reference tracks on them.

As for all speakers  – even the expensive ones – you have to get to know them, you have to get experienced with them (so to say). But don’t get any random audio speaker that doesn’t sound “right” for you.

UPDATE: it’s all about audio

8 Apr

UPDATED APRIL 8, 2012 – (original post date: Aug 25, 2010)

Well, what can i say that’s where i‘m coming from … 13 years ago ( or even more ) i started in radio broadcast / radio production … and did lots of things with sound … i don’t want to talk about that work now … i want to talk about some essential gear you need to work with your sound.

…. read more

it’s all about audio

9 Jul

Well, that’s where i‘m coming from … 12 years ago ( or even before ) i started in radio broadcast … and did lots of things with sound … i don’t want to talk about that work now … i want to talk about some essential solution gear you need to work with your sound.

Audio Software

First of all its the software you are using for post. well there is ProTools a really great tool i really love ist … but its the mots expensive one you can get … and the LE systems are not  up to date ( with just about 48 tracks working at the same time … )

Nuendo is the most advanced Native System but its expensive too … but if you want all the option AND you have the money (or a windows machine) go with that … cubase is good too but more Music oriented… but it should work too (especially if you have an windows machine)

I use LogicPro (version 8 o. 9 is quite good) cuz it’s the best solution for the money … and you get tones and tones of samples, loops, and sound-fx to work with (great stuff … we us  them all the time) … and if you just about to start try LogicExpress … its great for starters.

Well we got that covered …  now i could go thru all the fancy stuff i like or would like to own … but the reason for this is to let you know the essentials of necessary things you have to have…

So here is the cost-effective Version of stuff i know and or work with (so i can recommend it ;)

Audio-Interface

At first you need an Audio-Interface that also enables you to record something with an mic … that even could work both – in a studio-like-envoierment for some kind of Voiceover or Podcast-recording and on Set as well as an on Location to Notebook recorder.

On thing you have to keep in mind with this „audio-interfaces“ the digital inside is almost the same … you get good quality with all new Interfaces … only thing  that different is the built quality, noise level and quality of the Mic-Pre-Amp and the driver for your computer. In the end you have to consider how professional your interest  is …  you can get good results even with the cheaper stuff.

super cheap:

Tascam US-100 USB 2.0 Computer Audio Interface

Tascam US-122MKII – USB 2.0 Computer Audio Interface

quite good:

PreSonus AudioBox USB – Audio Recording Interface

tc electronic Desktop Konnekt 6 – FireWire Audio Interface

more pro‘ish:

Tascam US-800 – 8 Input, 4 Output USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface

Tascam US-1641 – USB 2.0 Recording Interface

All are good & workable … i don‘t recommend M-Audio or Behringer … not that good of a quality and you will run in some software / driver problems (i had them …a pain … really)

On thing you can use the Zoom H4n as an Audio interface via USB you can even use the XLR inputs  but it’s not made for that in the first place … so you don’t have that much of options & quality to monitor (just a headphone jack . not that good for connecting Audio Monitors)

next part – i make it quick:

Microphones

Quite good for voice over recording in a Studio environment  or Podcasting is a Large-Diaphragm-Condensers (you need phantom power which all the interfaces on top have even the H4n)

i like, use & recommend

Rode NT1-A
Great sound for male Voiceovers, very powerful but a lil explosive sensitive so make sure you haven an pop-killer.

AudioTechnica AT3035
Very open and nice clean sound … pretty much an all-round mic even for female voices not that intense & powerful (AT4033 might a better solution)

quite ok too are:

MXL Mics (like the MXL 2006)

Studio Projects or SE Electronics

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Ok last thing you have to have and quite important as well:

Audio Monitors / Speakers

… make sure you don’t get the cheapest option …. they most likely sound like that … and if you mix some soundtrack, voice or music you son’t want that. so in the end you have to know your speakers (so listen to you favorite music, movies and stuff to get familiar with them in your environment and if you have the chance even test some speakers with your favorite Tracks before you buy them … you always should consider powered version (with amp built-in, cuz the amps are 50% of making the “sound” of an Speaker

i would recommend:

Fostex PM0.4 as an budget- / cheapest version

KRK RoKit 5 G2 for smaller rooms
KRK RoKit 6 G2 for normal usage

both KRK’s are very clean & powerful … very universal to use

maybe even M-Audio Studiophile BX5a or BX8a

i don’t like the very cheap M-Audio or Edirol stuff you won’t have any “fun” with them… believe me.

You might want to have even some headphones … but don’t make you master mix with them … most likely its to “powerful” (loudness)when you listen with them and you will get disappointed when you hear it on speakers;)

so i would recommend Sennheiser HD 201 they are quite inexpensive and good sounding for the money (not that cheap of a midrange sound cheap headphones have) and they are quit comfortable to wear over a longer period of time.

So that’s it we got the essentials covered …. in the end its a matter of Taste and money and experience… you can make work everything ;)

Oh one more thing

My “high-end” version … if you have some money to spend … try this: (but i let you know, there even some more expensive options)

Interface
RME Fireface 800 or 400 (i use)

Microphone
(studios we rent have them)

Neumann TLM 103 or U87
Rode Classic II
AudioTechnica AT4033 or AT4050 (i use)

Audio-Monitor
(studios we rent have them)

Dynaudio Acoustics BM6A
or Yamaha MSP7
or KRK VXT6
or KRK Expose E8B

Headphones:
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro (i use)
(studios we rent have them)
or Beyerdynamic DT 250
or Sony MDR-7509HD

BTW for all my European fellows great vendor i recommend: http://www.thomann.de/

 

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