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Last updated October 11, 2007

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Desktop Speakers (What's Better Than HK?)

From: Robert Broussard
Date: Fri Dec 1, 2000 9:42pm
Subject: Desktop Speakers (What's Better Than HK?)

What speakers should I consider for desktop and PB Macs that will be used to listen to music and for audio/video production.?



From: Danny Grizzle
Date: Sun Dec 3, 2000 10:45am
Subject: Re: Desktop Speakers (What's Better Than HK?)

I've been looking for a pair of powered speakers for my video edit system.

Mackie HR-824s have been at the top of my list. They've received spectacular reviews. $1200/pair @ Sweetwater Sound.

Recently, I spotted what appears to be a knockoff design from Behringer, the "Truth B2031". I've got limited experience with this brand, but their products seem to be very well engineered with very high quality, but follow a practice of exploiting low cost labor in China. Their look-alikes to the Mackie speakers above are about half the cost. I have not seen or heard them. $500/pair at American Music.

The Alesis M1 Actives may be a good choice in an even more economical speaker. These seem to be decent speakers, but not in the same class with the Mackies above. $500/pair.

For extra kick in the low end, you can consider adding a Sunfire Powered Sub Woofer to any of the systems above. About $1200 for a 11" square cube with a 2,700 watt amplifier. Another great product from audio legend Bob Carver. (Phase Linear, Carver, Sunfire).

There are too many active near-field monitors on the market to evaluate. The brands mentioned above are, with the exception of Sunfire, considered "budget" lines in the pro audio world.

Other near-field monitor manufacturers include Yamaha, Event Electronics, Roland, Tannoy, Hafler, Samson, KRK, JBL, and others.

With so many great audiophile-grade brands available, the one thing I will not be considering is using cheesy little powered computer speakers. I've heard and seen some pretty amazing products in this category that I would be glad to have on anything other than a production editing machine. But when it comes to critical work, I don't want a speaker where there are perhaps conflicting design priorities to match aesthetics with an Apple Cube or iMac. I want to know I am listening to my audio, making accurate decisions and corrections based on faithful high fidelity reproduction, not mistakenly listening to a the side effects of a really cool industrial design study.

Danny Grizzle

Desktop Speakers - How about Less than $200?

Matthew Groves wrote:

  Everyone's needs and budgets differ.

Does there exist a good speaker combination that would work for the casual editor for less than $200?

Sure. They are called headphones.

IMHO, unless you can afford a high quality room to place your speakers in, and have some way of isolating the disk, fan and monitor noise from your computer, there is not much point paying through the nose for speakers.

I edit with a very ordinary domestic Sony amp with sad little speakers much of the time. If I want to check for clicks and stuff, I shove a pair of cans on my head and feed 'em from the back of the mac. If I want the full theatre experience, I lug my powerbook downstairs and push the audio into a Yamaha something or other and a large room full of Bose. I also work at another site with an enormous old Yamaha amp and Technics speakers each the size of a fridge. It's useless because of the computer noise in the room.

Elliott Roper

FireWire Timecode to RS-422

Q. "Does anyone know whether, and how, the timecode signal alone can be broken out of a firewire socket to provide a useable signal to a VTR with a separate timecode input socket such as a Beta SP recorder?"

Roger Hewins
Instant Films
Nov. 11, 2000

The one solution I know of, will consist of two parts.

One is a Sony DVMC-DA2, about $400, which converts DV stream into separate video (Y/C or composite), audio and timecode /device control signals.  The timecode output is LANC/Control-L.

The 2nd converter is a TAO L-Port422 box (about $500) which takes Control-L/LANC timecode and device control signals and converts them to an RS-422 standard compatible with most professional VTRs including most Sony Beta SP ones.


"VX1000 colour bars"
Sat 2/21/98   Ron Tucker

Tried your colour bar technique on the VX1000. With my machine, it's much simpler and more useful than you think. There is no need to power down the camera. The record/standby lever does all the work. Here's how:

You have camera power on, in standby mode and viewfinder is active (let's say, while you're in the middle of a shoot). Suddenly, for some inexplicable reason, you want to put colour bars on your tape.

  • Simply put the "record lever" in lock position.  Your camera will now go to sleep.
  • Simutaneously press and hold "start" and "photo" buttons.  The red start button won't go in all the way because it's locked, but keep a slight pressure on it.
  • Move the record lever from locked to standby, allowing the record button to slide in.
  • Release both buttons.

Colour bars are now on.

To turn them off:

Put record lever in "lock" position, then return to "standby".   You now have a camera image.

...and ... you have no timecode glitches that might occur if you use the "power off" method.

When trying your "power off" method, I discovered the standby lever is not required in the "on" sequence, as long as it's already set on standby.   Just hold both buttons and turn the camera on, the bars will appear.  They can be removed by moving the standby lever to lock, rather than turning power off.

Thanks for a great site.

Ron Tucker
Vancouver Canada

"Appreciation for your site"
Thu 2/12/98   Greg Wyatt, Dupli City Studios

I have just found your site thanks to VideoGuys, and I must tell you that the amount of info you have accumulated is very impressive, as well as informative. The DV format is the best thing to happen to video since tape was put in a cassette. Combining such a powerful digital format with a hot technology like FireWire was pure genius, if not perfectly obvious. I have been using my Sony VX1000 to shoot a puppet show for West Covina Community Television, and my respect for the DV format increases every time I turn it on. There is nothing this camera can't do. "We" will be celebrating our 1-year anniversary this month, and appropriately, I will be purchasing the DV-300 as the first element to my very own edit bay. I will send in my thoughts on this product as soon as I get it.

Also, you may have seen the ads for the breakout box for the VX1000/EZ1. The one that adapts the 3.5mm stereo plug to a pair of XLR balanced mic inputs? The one that sells for $200? Well, the parts for that box are about $30 at your local electronics parts house (Radio Shack does NOT qualify), and that includes upgrades for combination XLR and 1/4" jacks. This is a terrific upgrade and a definite must for anyone using a prosumer camera for serious work.

Greg Wyatt
Dupli City Studios

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