Can I use my studio monitors as live sound monitors or speakers also?
October 19, 2008 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Can I use my studio monitors as live sound monitors or speakers also?

I'm looking into buying a small PA system to play live. I have a pair of studio monitors. Can I use them as my live sound monitors or even as speakers or would I run into problems with them(feedback, etc.)?
posted by bingwah to Technology (10 answers total)
by live sound monitors, do you mean using them like floor wedges, for the band to hear what's going on?

Feedback is created when a microphone's signal is output from a speaker, and the speaker volume is loud enough to be picked up by the microphone, which then feeds the speaker, etc. All speakers + microphones are susceptible to this; your studio monitors shouldn't be any more likely to feed back.

My suggestion would be to use speakers designed for a PA system specifically. The ones I've seen look a little bit more rugged than studio monitors. They also tend to have larger drivers.
posted by dubold at 1:50 PM on October 19, 2008

OK - I'll probably get some kind of PA system package with a powered mixer and speakers.

Yes, I do mean using my studio monitors like floor wedges. So it sounds like this would be ok to do right?
posted by bingwah at 2:49 PM on October 19, 2008

Many, many renowned home speakers begain as monitors (BBC LS3/5a, WATT of WATT/Puppy are two that come to mind). This is not just OK, there's a long tradition of doing exactly what you're talking about, very successfully. The premise rests on their being -good- monitors.
posted by jet_silver at 3:16 PM on October 19, 2008

You may want to consider that studio monitors are pretty fragile compared to PA style setups. They may not last long when subjected to the sort of bumping and jostling they would likely see as a set of touring speakers.
posted by Uncle Ira at 3:46 PM on October 19, 2008

using the studio monitors as floor wedges: i'd be concerned about damaging them. Uncle Ira is right; studio monitors are designed to stay in one place, not deal with all the banging around they'll be subjected to when you take them to (wherever). They'd probably survive, but I wouldn't consider it a good idea.

What do you need to do with this PA? how many instruments, etc?

jet_silver, i suspect you've misunderstood the poster's question. they're looking for live sound gear. If they have the coin to buy thousand dollar audiophile speakers, I doubt they'll want to use them as floor wedges.
posted by dubold at 4:05 PM on October 19, 2008

I probably wouldn't be traveling much with the PA. It's for my own amusement and to maybe do small shows for friends/family. It would just be for an acoustic guitar, harmonica and my voice.

I've found a few PA systems on that seem like they would suit my needs. Basically there is a powered mixer and a set of speakers which I guess could be used as monitors or speakers for a small show. One in particular I was looking at is this one.

I was just trying to figure out (since I already own studio monitors) do I need a whole PA system like this? Or could I just get a mixer and use my studio monitors with the mixer?
posted by bingwah at 5:24 PM on October 19, 2008

My guess is that if you're just playing small shows and its you, harmonic, guitar, voice, you won't need any monitors.
posted by drobot at 9:34 PM on October 19, 2008

Yeah, leave your monitors at home. You'll be fine.
posted by Jairus at 10:33 PM on October 19, 2008

at an early point in my bands career, we needed some monitors but didn't have the means to purchase any, so we used my nice, crystal clear, worth-$2000-but-bought-used-for-$300 b&w's. after being shoved around, thrown in the back of a truck, and blasted way louder than they should be for 6 months straight, they now sound like ass. i miss them, they were the nicest sounding speakers i'd ever had before i abused them to death, sniff sniff.

live shows always go louder than you expect, and delicate studio monitors are not built to take that. i wouldn't recommend you use your studio monitors (or any speakers not designed for use at live shows) unless you don't mind trashing them beyond recognition.
posted by messiahwannabe at 2:52 AM on October 20, 2008

I concur wholeheartedly with messiahwannabe. Even with the limited and mellow instrumentation you describe you would be shocked at how much louder you'll end up running your precious studio monitors when you're in a room with even 20 people compared to your studio/living room/office space etc. save them. buy a cheap PA, position the speakers so you can hear yourself play, you'll be fine.
posted by ryaninoakland at 6:36 AM on October 20, 2008

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