Monitor Field Trip to Guitar Center

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by ultrabike, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    I've been fairly curious about relative tone performance between different entry level Pro monitors. Quite a few months ago (maybe years) the JBL LSR305s became pretty popular for their performance and affordability. This got me thinking. On a bedroom or small area where large speakers and electronics is an inconvenience, perhaps 5" entry level active pro monitors with their integrated amps is a option to save a little on real state (and even money). Anyhow, this got me interested and sometime ago, after listening to a few of these at Guitar Center, I picked a pair of MR5 MK3s from them along with some stands.

    I like what I hear. I took it further and bought a not-so-small Dayton SUB-1200 to cover the bass which a 5" cannot do well. It was on sale for $100 and hard to resist.

    Still, I got surprised when I saw the MR5s out of the stands in Guitar Center and read some forums claiming that the LSR305 destroy the MR5s. I picked my MR5s by ear, but I decided to measure them.

    I always felt the LSR305s where brighter than the MR5s. I also felt both are pretty good. HOWEVER, bare in mind that I listen to my MR5s with a -2 dB HF setting, and Guitar Center had them set this way as wll. The LSR305s where heard and measured with LF and HF setting set to 0 dB.

    Here are the comparo results:

    JBL LSR305 - red and green (measured twice, even after moving the mic)
    Mackie MR5 - blue (measured only once at GC)

    LSR305_vs_MR5.png

    It is possible to do this comparo with the MR5 set to 0 dB, which I may do later. However, this is close to how I heard them.

    I've also heard how immune the LSR305 is to position. Well here are measurements of the LSR305 at 45 degrees (left and right) horizontal:

    JBL LSR305 on-axis - green
    JBL LSR305 45 degrees left - yellow
    JBL LSR305 45 degrees right - red

    LSR305_0_45_deg.png

    Well, LSR305 are not immune. However:

    JBL LSR305 on-axis - green
    JBL LSR305 45 degrees - yellow
    Mackie MR5 on-axis - blue
    Mackie MR5 45 degrees - red

    LSR305_vs_MR5_off_axis.png

    The LSR305s do seem to hold better off axis than the MR5s (above measurements of the MR5s are not from GC but at the time I measured mine at the park). JBLs waveguide does seem to help.

    I was also asked to compare these with the M-Audio BX8. I heard the BX8 boomy and a bit off relative to it's peers. Here are some relative measurements:

    Mackie MR5 - white
    JBL LSR305 - green
    M-Aduio BX8 - red

    LSR305_MR5_BX8.png

    These measurements do seem in line with what I heard.

    I will say that I preferred the MR5s to the LSR305s. However, the LSR305s are not bad at all, and they do have good off-axis response.

    (EDIT: Added mic and soundcard calibration. Changed dBSPL scale)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  2. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    As far as the KRKs, it is sometimes hard to get a form a good opinion of them, because they have a few tone knobs which may be randomly tweaked at the time of listening. I measured them w/o regard to this, but bare in mind that tone can be tailored with some of these.

    KRK RP8 - red
    KRK RP6 - yellow
    JBL LSR305 - green

    JBL305_KP8_KP6.png

    The KRKs are surprisingly similar in the bass and lower mids response, specially considering the size of the RP8. However, the RP6 looses control in the treble relative to the RP8 and LSR305. RP8 does not seem that bad. However, who knows in what random position those tone knobs where.

    And here are the LSR308 vs the LSR305:

    LSR308 - red
    LSR305 - green

    LSR305_vs_LSR308.png

    Pretty close, with the 308 naturally having a bit more low end extension.

    (EDIT: Added mic and soundcard calibration. Changed dBSPL scale)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
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  3. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    Also in the mix are the Yamaha HS7. I would say the Yamaha speakers sound somewhat in between the LSR305 and the MR5s, but didn't spend too much time with them. I don't know about their off-axis response. Given the size of the woofer, they seem to offer lower frequency extension than the 5" montors.

    Mackie MR5 - red
    JBL LSR305 - green
    Yamaha HS7 - white

    LSR305_HS7_MR5.png

    Here are the HS7 vs the HS8, showing similar tone, but perhaps a little more low frequency extension and hump in the HS8s as expected:

    Yamaha HS7 - white
    Yamaha HS8 - yellow

    HS7_HS8.png

    (EDIT: Added mic and soundcard calibration. Changed dBSPL scale)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  4. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    And here are the Presonus E5s. I was interested in Presonus at some point, and these don't sound that bad. Except IMO they were lacking in bass considering their 5" woofer. They sounded leaner than the response suggests. They are a little bright.

    JBL LSR305 - blue
    Presonus E5 - yellow

    JBL305_vs_PresonusE5.png

    Also here are the Sterling MX5s. IMO they actually sounded pretty good. Expected less.

    JBL LSR305 - blue
    Sterling MX5 - green

    LSR305_SterlingMX5.png

    (EDIT: Added mic and soundcard calibration. Changed dBSPL scale)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  5. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    And last of this set is the Tannoy Reveal 802. I've heard about Tannoy quite a bit. It is a bigger monitor than the LSR305 and has more extension. IMO it shares a similar tone as well, but perhaps not the same off-axis qualities the LSR305 provides (did not measure the Tannoy off-axis though, so just going by what I remember I heard). They do sound a bit revealingly bright to me (which may be fixed by applying the "high cut" setting)

    JBL LSR305 - blue
    Tannoy Reveal 802 - green

    LSR305_vs_TanoyReveal802.png

    Most of the 5" monitors are priced around $150 and $120 on a good day.
    The 7"-8" woofer ones can hit $250 or $300.

    I prefer the 5" monitors aided by a sub, but YMMV.

    (EDIT: Added mic and soundcard calibration. Changed dBSPL scale)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  6. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    Notice: All these measurements were done at Guitar Center, not an anechoic chamber which may affect sonics. Furthermore, again, the MR5s where measured with -2 dB in the high pass filter.
     
  7. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    This is excellent! I'm sure there were more obvious sonic differences than what the measurements show, correct?
     
  8. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Most of these look quite bright considering that they're supposed to be listened to in a more nearfield environment. Your in-room response of the MR5 in the other thread was not at the listening position, was it? How do they measure at your listening position? (I thought you had such measurements on Changstar which looked more like a straight line than the B&K target.)
    Would be interesting how they compare to the (passive) OSMTs.
     
  9. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    I could zoom in a bit, similar to what we do here with headphones, and differences might be more apparent. Note however that room interactions affects sound signature quite a bit.

    Also note these are active pro monitors. They are supposed to sound relatively flat. Consumer stuff might not measure this well (even "reference" grade crap).

    Anyhow, I'll try some zoom in action in a few of these.

    Some did sounded somewhat bright to me indeed (in the GC room). The in-room response of the MR5 was on-axis, and so are all of them here. The MR5 is IMO more flat than some of the other monitors (after -2 dB) on-axis. At listening position many of these may sound a little flatter depending on their off-axis behavior. LSR305s might not change that much though, as that's one of their attributes allegedly due to their tweeter waveguide. But one still has the -2 dB HF filter in the JBLs as well.

    The OSMTs would be an awesome comparo.

    EDIT: Serious is correct, added mic and soundcard calibration to the measurements. Also changed dBSPL to better visualize the monitor's different characteristics.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
  10. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    Yeah, I just meant subjectively what you heard when listening to each monitor. Room will play a large roll like you said, but headphones that measure similarly can often be quite different once heard.
     
  11. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    Monitors were indeed somewhat similar. However, the BX8s for example were easily picked up as being a bit colored. KRK's with their tone settings all over the map are pretty obvious as well.

    Here are some zoomed plots with the HD600s in the mix.

    Now we have the LSR305s, BX8s and HD600. One can see that indeed the BX8 are somewhat boomy (off the chart between 50 to 70 Hz) and a little mids deficient. Fun U-shaped in fact. The LSR305s are a little analytical but IMO pretty good. Those are also my impressions and measurements. Which are in no way authoritative. I also tried to align the responses better than in the previous posts, but it's not necessarily perfect.

    HD600_BX8_LSR305.png

    Now lets compare the LSR305 with the HD800s (one can still apply -2dB HF on the LSR305s)

    HD800 - green
    LSR305 - blue

    HD800_LSR305.png

    Now the MR5s with the HD600s

    HD600 - green
    MR5 - red

    HD600_MR5s.png

    This of course is on-axis. Severe angle offsets will roll off the treble obviously.

    I make these comparisons with headphones because to me the LSR305 resembles more an HD800, and the MR5 more an HD600 on-axis.

    Again, note the MR5s had -2 dB trim applied in the high frequencies, which might have been appropriate for the GC listening room.

    (EDIT: Added mic and soundcard calibration. Changed dBSPL scale)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  12. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    BTW, many monitors such as JBL LSR305, Tannoy Reveal 802, Presonus E5, and so forth do seem to measure with a slight tilt towards the high frequencies as some folks .

    Consider this:

    [​IMG]

    According to JBL's porno-plots above, the LSR does seem to have a slight bright tilt, and does come up a bit hot in the last octave. So are many of the competitors (consider speaker "B" and "C" above).

    It may sound a bit like a justification, but I do try to reconcile what I hear and measure across other places.

    Flatter speakers (on-axis) may be MR5, HS7 and HS8.

    Also note that these speakers were measured in an untreated room which can bring brightness and low frequency issues to monitor speakers (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/find/newsLetter/StudioMonitors-1.jsp)

    Most of these monitors have some sort of tone controls in the back (some maybe in the front) to tailor things to one's liking and to counteract room/speaker interactions. I actually use a miniDSP to fine tune things (BTW, they now have a higher resolution little 2x4 for a little more $).

    Also, one great quality of the LSR305 is it's ability to maintain off-axis response gracefully to some extent (they are not Omni-directional speakers).

    (I'm also salivating again over the Overnight Sensations, but they seem out of stock today.)

    I find also interesting that flat response does not sound offensive to me. I've heard a lot about this optimal frequency target that slopes down with frequency. I do like such an approach. But flat does not sound bright to me. Perhaps a bit unforgiving.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  13. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Also, I would say, these monitors should probably have a slightly downwards shelved treble response to make up for their close listening distance with more direct vs reflected energy. As I said, I think they would likely measure closer to flat at the listening position than the B&K target and I personally really like the B&K and similar targets.

    The comparison against the Overnight Sensations MT is probably not that fair considering that you will need an amplifier for them. They seemed to scale even with multi-thousand dollar amps.
     
  14. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    I may do a field trip again and measure some of the other monitors at listening position (no toe in) and perhaps off-axis, and they likely will go flatter. But the LSR305s where measured at 45 degree angles, twice, and they kept their characteristics all the way to 11 to 12 kHz.

    However, the Mackies at 45 degrees did indeed slanted down closer to the B&K. Other monitors perhaps will follow suit.

    A comparison with the OSMT IMO would be somewhat fair given their price, size and target response. I know they are about $130 a pair, but once you factor the amp things get a bit more even, and indeed you get the flexibility to use your favorite amp... at the expense of convenience.
     
  15. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    I have the OSMT sitting on top of an LS305 right now, so I might do some off-axis measurements out of curiosity. It's obvious to me that the 305 is held back by its electronics, having a grainy haze over the midrange. I would also describe them as being dynamically compressed, which is not usual for JBL speakers (especially horn/waveguide stuff)
     
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  16. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  17. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    JBL305offaxis.png
    OSMToffaxis.png

    So yes, the 305 waveguide dealio is no BS.
     
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  18. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    Yup. It goes down quite steeply above around 11 kHz or so though.
     
  19. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    Thinking about this. I may have a 2 dB compensation issue with my mic in the treble region. I will double check and if so, will redo measurements.

    Relative measurements remain valid AFAIK though.

    EDIT: Compensations applied to all plots above.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  20. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    Double checked. The calibration file makes a little bit of a difference. (EDIT: plots have been compensated with calibration files above)

    Here are two measurements of the HD600s with cal and w/o cal. On top is the LSR305. Based on the difference, the calibration may bring the LSR305s (and other monitors) down in the top end a little.

    HD600 With Calibrated Mic - Green
    HD600 With Mic (no calibration ) - Red
    LSR305 - Blue

    Calibration_test.png

    EDIT: Will take it to GC and redo calibrated, or see if I can apply the calibration to the files I already have.
    EDIT2: Compensations applied to all plots above.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016

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