Dialogue/Doc work...what monitors?

I am setting up a new space to do basic audio work for my dialog that can translate well and I would like to be able to have a good pair of monitors I can grow and hone my skills with for a the next few years as I keep upgrading my studio.

My room is 3.4x6m with 3m ceilings. Basic treatment with bass traps and absorbers.

I have narrowed down my search to monitos that have the better vocals/mids. I will compliment the monitors with DT 1770. I may be getting a pair of DT 1990 because I also really enjoy headphones.

My search has pointed me towards:

Fluid FPX 7 (as per reviews like Zeos’, they are mid forward, maybe a bit harsh but very clear)

HEDD Type 05 (small, but allegedly better mids than the bigger 07 brother)

Neumann KH 120 (I would like to not go this route, unless extremely necessary. Everyone states that they are limited in volume and they have almost no existent lows, hence a need for a sub)

Yamaha MSP 7. Allegedly like the KH 120, but with more extension in the lows and better mids than the HS series (whether HS7 or HS8)

I’d love to hear from people here what are their thoughts on these and the use I plan to give them.

FYI: I’m in Europe and the pricing of these means the KH 120 are the most expensive pair, by quite a bit.

So I would suggest getting a monitor with a flat response and not something like the fluids because imo you don’t want to have emphasis on the range you want to edit, because you don’t want to color your vocals too much.

Also with most vocals, you will rarely need to edit under 80hz, as most natural voices don’t dig that deep and it’s common to eq that range out

Something like the Neumann KH80 DSP or iLOUD MTM are a great choice because you can dsp a more neutral response for your room

Also finding something like the JBL LSR4328P or Genelec 8320A used if you can find a good deal would be killer too.

If you can’t find any of the other options I mentioned at a good price, I think the msp 7 might be a good choice too. Something else to look into is the Focal Alpha 50 or Focal Alpha 65

Thanks for the seift reply!

I was under the impression that the FPX7s would be somewhat neutral, in that, their mids are not as recessed as most other two way speakers since the crossover is at 3.5khz.

Also, while I will be working with dialogue, I will be mixing said dialogue with music and other folley. I may have to present to clients, and in such case, I would like them to be a bit louder than working level so I can have a bit of a “wow” factor. I imagine that KH80 and the iLOUD would be a bit small to do that.

Like M0N stated for dialog / vocals you rarely need to go deep.
But if you think you would need to more lower and probably louder without a sub. Might have to bigger to have both.

Though monitors move pretty good in the used market (usually), if you don’t like what you get now, you can always sell and go bigger later on.


The JBLs look like they would be second hand only, like the MSP7 and they are somewhat at the same price incl. shipping.

I was under the impression, from lots of reviews, that the Alphas were too boomy, while the Shapes had less boom, more detail, but still recessed mids (i.e. good for music, but not great for me)

I understand I don’t need to go deeper, so for the work part isn’t much of an issue.

Ideally, and I forgot to add this, I would like to also have something that when a client comes in, I can fill the room with sound nicely and give them a bit of a wow effect. This is mainly why I was shy of the KH 120 to begin with.

I would not suggest presenting your final mix with studio monitors unless the client specifically asks. Studio monitors tend to not have the wow factor that some audiophile speakers or high end headphones do. They can also be very picky with rooms and also could reveal a flaw to a potential client. I do think you should show potential clients your setup and basically just explain why you are capable and aim for the utmost quality (clients love fancy rack mount gear lol, I make sure to turn it all on so its all glowing too lol) I would suggest getting a sweet midrange speaker that works will for what you work on to make it sound great and keep the studio monitors for your work rather then demoing to average clients. Also show them the mix on a dt1990 or other nice headphone for more wow factor.

Thanks @M0N

Really appreciate the feedback.

So, I can then go with a pair strictly for work and a pair for the client.

In that case, I will see which 2 pairs of monitors I can get. If going for the looks, I suspect a pair of Yamaha HS in white could do the job. The DT1990 is a nice extra trick.

I have a 65in qled TV that is where the work is shown, so there is some game going on for now!

Interesting idea of the DSP correction with Neumann. I would need to get an ipad, though…extra expense. Thomann has a bundle with ARC, but I don’t know if that would be the same.

Price wise, the Genelecs, Neumann 80 and Hedd 05 are in line. Would it not be somewhat similar to me if I was to use Sonarworks with say, something like an 8030 instead of Genelecs own software for the 8330? Same with the HEDD, or maybe A5x if I can drop the budget even further.

Yes, the speakers with built in dsp just tend to make it easier with less hassle to get a good dsp, but for sure software can do the same thing

Also some speakers have active dsp where it will actively correct itself

See if you can look around and bring some of your work to demo at places if you can, and see what you think represents your sound the best, as you want to make a really good impression

It also makes you appear more professional if you show that you also test on consumer gear to see how an average person would consume your content. Keep some apple earpods or samsung earbuds, along with beats, skullcandy stuff, and then some more budget audio standards like the m50x and senn hd5xx series stuff perhaps. Also make sure to also mention and try out your work on something like an average car stereo. Just try and predict how the listeners will consume your content and make sure to mention these tests to the client. Perhaps have a couple of just average people you know test it out and see what they like or dislike on what you have done. Typically clients will be very happy if you can make something sound enjoyable on both high and low end stuff. But make sure that stuff does represent your mix fairly well tho lol. You don’t have to have them listen to your mix on these, just have them out in a visible place and mention that you were doing consumer testing or something.

Edit: something fun might be to get some ksc75s and kph30i and then tout how your final product sounds great even on $10-30 usd headphones lol. Or sony mh755s or blon 03’s

Edit 2: also you want to represent your final product where it sounds really good in your studio, but also make sure it will sound good when the client takes it home and listens more, as you don’t want to have a client that is very disappointed when they get home and listen to find it sounds nowhere near as good as they heard it in the studio, so just check to see what they will be listening with and their use case

Ive heard great things about the iloud micro’s which are a very significant amount less than the others listed and provide a very flat frequency response. I don’t know from personal experience but apparently they have more low end than one would expect. I’d look into those if you want to save some money.

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They are surprising for their size, but for this application I don’t know if they would be exactly what hex is looking for because imo they are fairly picky with the room and have a narrow sweet spot. Also I think they have some issues in the upper bass region that might be a little problematic with deeper vocal work.

I recently picked up the mtm’s for my office at work and the simple to use room correction on there is great and I think the bass issue isn’t that big of a problem anymore until you get below the 60hz region. I just think they are a higher preforming product for actual studio work

That being said if you were on a budget and size constraint, the micros would have to be one the top pics

@M0N Excellent ideas re: various consumer grade phones. That’s where most of my clients’ consumers will be at: phones, laptops, earbuds.

That’s usually my main concern with monitors. I’d love to have a pair that would be able to reference and have a good translation to other delivery systems.

What do you mean re: bring my work to demo? You mean to the client with portable speakers? or to a shop to test out speakers? Where I am most only stock Adam T series as the highest thing along with KRK and the JBL 305/308. This is why I’m mostly engaged online looking at this.

I have about 1 large in EUR to make this happen. The KH 80 with ARC will set me back 880 at Thomann. 120 left isn’t much for “for client” speakers. I see that Sonarworks may be a better software, though, since it helps you take better measurements for your room (and it has some “headphone reference” stuff going on as well…?)

I think that my road may be more in line with the second hand Genelecs and JBLs you mention and hook up Sonarworks to do some magic.

Once again, really grateful for all the gems of wisdom!

Sorry about the confusion I was meaning go to some stores that stock some mid-range consumer speakers, like bookshelf’s that someone might actually have in their home, and pick out a consumer speaker for demoing the for show speakers, not talking about the studio monitors

I see!

I can explain my work a bit more to give the thread some context.

I’m a filmmaker. Today, many of my clients are not particularly willing to look at every element of production as a necessity. They are tight in their pockets. I work with a sound engineer when a client can afford that. I prefer that, it saves me time to work for other clients while also helping a friend with work. So, to add some value to my work, I also want to do some basic audio. Most of my clients aim for web delivery. So, think of phones, laptops, maybe at most something like that MTM pair of speakers…or some desktop speakers.

If they like music, they would have some Beats, or Bose. Maybe B&O or B&W.

I don’t think that they would spend large sums of money on hi-fi or even research much into their audio besides premium consumer. So, they would pay premium price for premium brand. Not necessarily for high performance.

My thinking, however, coming in from the visual side of life…“once you work with a reference, it will display accordingly to other delivery systems representing those systems” Sort of like working in the hypothetical centre constantly and whether things swing left, right, up or down, they will do so in relationship to that centre. Don’t know if that makes sense.

Ah, I do professional audio mastering on the side and typically my clients are corporations/businesses who don’t have the tight pockets lol

Somewhat different workflows and needs, my bad

Also yeah something like airpods, a Bose Bluetooth speaker, qc35s, a home soundbar, beats stuff like that would make sense.

I get what you are saying in that statement, but I am having a more difficult time trying to relate it to this conversation (I’m sorry I sometimes don’t do to well with analogies sometimes lol)

Hehe. What I meant to say is that, for photo/video grading, you can have a reference monitor that will give you this reference where you pay more for more colour gamut coverage, accuracy, hardware calibation, etc.

I thought that audio would be the same. But, from what I see, is that studio monitors seem to be shaped towards some specific use, or be better at some uses/genres, than others (and from the research I’ve done at forums, about 80% of people compose EDM) Unless you spend crazy money in treatment and monitors to have that “reference”, at least some EUR3000 (or lots more with ATC/PMC) on a monitor pair, you may not be able to find a neutral, flat, reference monitor that can work for everything. Even if you do, room accoustics need to be addressed to be able to make the best out of that pair of speakers and that can be a lot more money to work with it. It’s like a 20:1 ratio of expenses in audio vs photo and 10:1 to video.

I have done some research to fit things within my budget.

For client/looks: HS7/HS8 or maybe a pair of Fluid Audio’s FX8 as field reports say they have a bit sweet spot because of the coaxial design.

For work: New or Second hand pair of MSP5. Allegedly close to the KH 120 and better in the mids than MSP7. Some B-stock Eve 207 as well may be possible (Some speak well of the hardware DSP)

With the above, I can get Sonwarworks + mic combo as well.

The JBLs you mentioned I can find them second hand, but they are looking somewhat mistreated, so I am unwilling to take them. The genelecs 8330 are out of my price range for now…

If you are looking at the client ones, go for the fluid because the Yamaha hs might come off as dry and unpleasing

You shouldn’t have any issues for the work monitors either. Also it might be nice being able to test on the fluid and the Yamaha too if you feel like it