I hope you’re marvellously well! Today I want to share a studio monitor shootout I recently did with Vintage King.
When looking for a new set of studio monitors, testing, and reading reviews online, most of time you will find about 3-5 top contestants that would make good options. So how can you tell which of these speakers are the perfect fit for you?
With this video, I want to try to help you to answer that question: I visit Vintage Kings showroom in L.A. and we test 5 different sets of speakers in the mid – high-end segment. Each of these speakers have received great reviews and are go-to choices in this price range.
As a reference, I’m using a record I produced a while back, the song “Stages” by Vedera. The label had 3 of the greatest mixers of all time mix this song: Mark Endert, Spike Stent and Serban Ghenea. I chose this song, because I know it inside out and I also attended Spike Stent’s mixing session, so I have a really good idea of what it sounds like.
In the shootout producer/mixer Alex Oana and I point out the different tonal characteristics of each of the speakers, their optimal use and benefits depending on the style of music you’re working in. We also and discuss which speakers we would prefer in a producing/recording vs. mixing environment.
Alex shares great insights into different factors that will impact the sound of your monitors: Speaker placement, room treatment and size, different monitor designs and cabinet characteristics, 2 way speakers vs. 3 way speakers and more.
It was a very informative tour and I learnt a lot myself! You can watch the shootout below:
By the way: There are only two days left to enter Genelec G Three Speaker giveaway. So get in there while you still can!
Studio Monitors tested in this shootout:
Overall I was very impressed with all of the speakers we tested. In the end it comes down to your personal needs and preferences.
I hope this shootout helps you to make a great decision when picking up your next pair of studio monitors!
Have a marvellous time recording and mixing,
I really need to turn off my email notifications when I sit down to practise mixing… A high end monitor shootout video isn’t going to help me get this song mixed ha ha!! Mmmm… monitors…
Haha @plap-disqus-54a367d629152b720749e187b3eaa11b:disqus I’m sorry! Yes. It’s definitely a high end shoot out, I am glad that Vintage King gave us the time to check the speakers out! Sorry to distract from your work my friend! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Brilliant. Loved this video. Makes me want to drive up to Nashville and check out the VK store there! I think there’s a road trip in my not-too-distant future……
Excellent @lemmeador:disqus! Let me know how it goes over there! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
so subjective, I always asked myself should I really mix on a $10k set of speakers if in reality no-one is going to listen to it on a a 10k set of speakers. And is anyone ever going to listen in a perfect room? I think for the pro’s it comes down to ‘do you want to enjoy your work’. Lets face it NS10’s aren’t an exciting/easy speaker to listen to. I use Alesis m1’s, and in reality I hate listening on them. But when I balance on them I get what I want. But considering the high end detail in modern mixes it kinda pays to have a set of off the shelf hifi speakers with a hyped top end to hear exactly what is going on. More times than not the low end is hyped too. Could it be a case of two sets of speakers are essential?
Hi @disqus_z9XYkdtItY:disqus I completely understand! I think mixing on a 6-9k set of speakers will give us a better understanding of depth etc, but mainly because accurate speakers, obviously in a well treated room, will give us a greater understanding of how it will sound it different circumstances etc. However my first chart song was mixed on a pair of Alesis Monitors! haha Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
I really enjoy all your videos, this one included. While my personal setup does not have even a single £k price tag, I can learn things about what a £10k set of speakers does, or how you use them, to help me and my humble setup.
I can certainly understand that mixing and mastering with the best stuff means that it is technically perfect (or as near as skill will allow) and while a listening setup may be cheap, dodgy and imprefect, at least any perfections heard are those of the listening setup, not of the source.
However, and what you often say Warren, I hold on to the fact that some of the greatest old music created was done so with tin cans, sixteen tracks and some very creative fiddling. I hold on to that thought like a drowning man holds on to a float!
Hi @disqus_nJ14sQSxTa:disqus thanks for your kind words! I’ve made great albums on cheap and dodgy gear! Haha it’s perfectly ok! I believe the HiFi sounding amazing Speakers make it easy to hear every detail, but we still need to check the mix on many different sources! Agreed most of my favourite music was done on 4, 8, or 16 track machines! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Vintage King gave me a pair of the Focal SM9 demos to test for a couple of days after just describing my needs and preferences. I mixed two tracks on those and those translated perfectly to my car, hifi speakers and what not. Also, they have a build in two way mode and a EQ bypass. Bought a new pair while returning the demos. I couldn’t be happier with the Focals and Vintage King! I do pop productions and also EDM like Drum’n’Bass and Electronica. Those speakers blew me away being honest, detailed and hsve punch and bass at the same time!
Fantastic @stefanbredereck:disqus! Wonderful to her that! That’s a perfect example of how to help out us out, letting us try the equipment, making sure it suits our needs before we buy! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
And thank you for your videos! Always interesting and inspiring. Keep it up!
This was great. I learned a ton. So much that can affect what and how you are hearing. That’s why I always test on multiple sources, including my car. You may laugh, but I use a pair of Bose L1’s as my primary monitors. Probably not the best, and not nearly a standard, but they are paid for and I like them. I will upgrade after I get more preamps and a better room (I move often). All of the speakers you went through sounded great to me. I’ll be watching the used market…
Thanks ever so much @plap-disqus-13fe9d84310e77f13a6d184dbf1232f3:disqus! I have evener mixed through Bose, so I can’t really comment on them. I believe only personally experience matters, music is something we listen to, charts only tell us a piece of the story! They could be amazing! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
I hope you’re doing marvelously well! I just joined your site last week and am learning a ton. I love your share the knowledge approach. I have felt that way for years. I watched the monitor shootout and something struck me when you were checking out the ATCs. I very luckily (I think) came into a pair of Celestion Ditton 66s. A friend of mine found them at a garage sale for $5(!) because both tweeters were fried and one of the mids as well. I managed to replace the tweeters and was able to fix the mid driver because, of course everything was screwed together back in the day. I have seen people pay $1200 for these on the web even thought they are 40 year old speakers.
In your video, what struck me was how much you guys noticed the instant openness or width of the image. This is exactly what I like about my Dittons. And both have dome mid drivers. Supertramp’s Crime of the Century is one of my favourite albums of all time, not just for the content, but also the production. I have owned this album in any format you care to mention, but when I heard it on the Celestions, I heard things in the mix that I had never heard before. And I used to listen to it in headphones all the time when I was a teen in the ’70s.
Have you ever heard the Dittons, and if so, what was your impression of them. It’s hard to measure them against the speakers in your shoot out obviously, because the audio is coming through your lavaliere mics to my Mac Mini into my living room speakers (Peavey PRM-308s’s) through a receiver. To me the Dittons are luscious and live, with warm low mids and a tight bass, mostly due to the closed cabinet/passive radiator design. And a sweet spot a mile wide! There is no audio dealer where I live that sells high end monitors, so I don’t have anything to compare them to. I believe they were BBC certified back in the day.
I also like to have all the frequencies coming from the same place, rather than a sub, unless you’re mixing surround and/or the sub is really well matched to the satellite speakers. And I swear I can tell when a sub is not placed between the satellites, contrary to what most folks say… Lastly, I have felt 20Hz come out of these, so I’m not missing any bottom end, and the sealed mid range domes allow even a punchy snare to kick you in the chest. I put on the Eagles Hell Freezes Over concert (Best live mix I’ve heard in a while), turn up the volume and I’m front row at the concert. Just a joy to listen to. And Pink Floyd The Wall. That plane is crashing into my studio! They have made me sit down and listen to entire albums again, just like the olden days…
Sorry, I really didn’t mean for this to be so long. I hope I didn’t take too much of your time.
Cheers, and thanks so much for the videos!
Hi @jeff_hohner:disqus, it sounds like you have found amazing speakers! The Ditton’s sound like they are incredible! Thanks ever so much for your kind words and your wonderful insight! Welcome to the Academy, it’s an amazing place, you’re really going to enjoy working with everyone in here, it’s so supportive and everyone growing really fast indeed! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren P.S. I LOVE Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’, it’s a masterpiece!