OK, this may open a can of worms, as writing about speakers is akin to saying what the “best” programming language is, so I’d better be precise about what I’m writing about – it won’t be about:
- The “best value” “cheap crap” speaker you can get for your Mac or PC
- Nor will it be about anything resembling “home stereo speakers” (although you can use some of them)
- And it certainly won’t be about “audiophile speakers” as they’re generally overpriced pretentious crap
What this post is about is a set of “Studio Monitors” which I bought for use with my various synthesisers and then discovered of course that they were also about what I was using with my Mac (or PC if you’re less fortunate ;)
If you read my post on Headphones, one if the key points I made was that selecting any “sonic translation device” depends on your hearing (unless you want to be able to impress a bunch of kids ;). You should buy something for the people who listen, so if that’s you, and your partner, and your kids – then they are the only people who’s opinion matters… Snooty guests who may come over for dinner don’t count (unless you’re amazingly shallow).
Right! Having got all the qualification out of the way, I’ve managed to stumble my way in to what are probably the best value Monitor Speakers for <$500 (AU). How can I say that? It all starts with a guy called Keith R Klawitter who founded http://www.krksys.com/ that have made some amazing studio speakers and headphones (which are the ones I eventually chose in that previous post) but unfortunately (for KRK), Keith left them and became independent (and also happens to own all the patents on the speaker technology he developed). One of the things Keith did was a collaboration with Behringer to develop the NEKKST range of which my choice, the K8’s are part of it, having the following qualities:
- Ultra-linear 150-Watt reference-class studio monitor
- Designed by renowned acoustic icon Keith Klawitter, founder of KRK
- Advanced Waveguide technology creates ultimate acoustic dispersion and extremely large “sweet zone”
- True bi-amping mode with 2 separate amplifiers for ultimate sound reproduction
- Ultra-high resolution, 1″ silk dome tweeter for ultimate sound reproduction
The astute will notice the 150 Watts which would probably deafen you if you turned them up full blast at a few feet from you (which they would be), but the whole point of this is that they’re “over spec’d” and that what I’m after is quality and one of the ways to get that is a top spec’d product which is being under utilised. This is certainly proven as the speakers are way better than my KRK headphones which are amazing!
But that’s not really the point for this post. The point is to choose a pair of speakers which are Rolls-Royce in quality for your Mac or PC on a comparatively “beer budget” and if that’s what you’re after, the K8’s are probably what you’re after. Furthermore, if you want some really good Bass response, then you can always get a NEKKST K10, which although I’ve never heard them, I’m sure would vibrate your SOCKS OFF!
Having been in to electronics and audio since I was about 14, there’s a lot more I can write on this, and probably will, but to give you a hint – here’s a few things to consider:
- The K8’s and a K10 could form an AWESOME budget stereo which would be beyond what most people have
- If you’re connecting digital sources, then you have to have good Digital-To-Analogue converters (going beyond just connecting them into the 3.5″ jack on your Mac or PC) to get the best
So stay tuned, as I will write about both of these topics some time. Meanwhile, listen easily, with precision and power :)
I’ve decided to do a bit of a “deep dive” in to the Fuse ESB, which is now owned by Red Hat, to upgrade my technical skills in this area. I’ve actually ended up using a product called Fuse Service Workbench instead of this and will eventually do a post similar to this on how to install it. The directions given here will work though if you want to set up “Basic Fuse” along with the Developer Studio.
One thing I have discovered (by getting FSW up and running) is that due to various bugs in Oracle’s JDK 1.7 on Apple – you should use it, at least for this. Instead, you need to use Apple’s JDK 1.6, making sure that you set JAVA_HOME to the real path, not a symbolically linked one (of which there are many). I’m assuming 1.7 is OK on Windows (as the doc says it should be) – feel free to let me know your experiences in the comments section.
For simplicity, I’m using the RedHad FUSE ESB which includes: Installers, Testing, Performance, Third party verification, Centralized management of uniquely configured brokers with Fuse Fabric and Incremental patching. It’s a 30 day trial, but I’m just using it for the quick and easy installation.
1. Install JBoss FUSE Beta (6.1)
Get it from http://www.jboss.org/products/fuse, unzip the file, uncomment the (last) admin user line from etc/users.properties:
and start the ESB, so you should get something like this:
JBoss-FUSE rwest$ bin/fuse Please wait while Fabric8 is loading... 100% [=============================================================] _ ____ ______ | | _ \ | ____| | | |_) | ___ ___ ___ | |__ _ _ ___ ___ _ | | _ < / _ \/ __/ __| | __| | | / __|/ _ \ | |__| | |_) | (_) \__ \__ \ | | | |_| \__ \ __/ \____/|____/ \___/|___/___/ |_| \__,_|___/\___| JBoss Fuse (6.1.0.redhat-328) http://www.redhat.com/products/jbossenterprisemiddleware/fuse/ Hit '<tab>' for a list of available commands and '[cmd] --help' for help on a specific command. Open a browser to http://localhost:8181 to access the management console Hit '<ctrl-d>' or 'osgi:shutdown' to shutdown JBoss Fuse.
As mentioned above, you can then go to http://localhost:8181 and login
which should give you the welcome screen!
Congratulations – you’ve almost got FUSE running as what you have at the moment is a Fabric, which is kind of like a ‘mini cloud’
Now you should shut FUSE down using
JBossFuse:karaf@root> osgi:shutdown Confirm: shutdown instance root (yes/no): yes JBossFuse:karaf@root> JBoss-FUSE rwest$
so you can …
2. Install JBoss Developer Studio 7.1
Get it from https://www.jboss.org/products/devstudio.html and just open it – as it’s a jar file, on a Mac (which I use) it will just run the installer:
If you’re on a Mac, then the JVM/JDK will probably be set to your browser’s JVM, which is not correct – it should be set to your JDK. In the case of Apple, it should be 1.6:
>> TODO: Update Diagram Below
Contrary to the screen above, you can use the “Visual Page Editor” on a Mac if you do a 32-bit installation. At the end you can then start the IDE and at a minimum you should install all of the “Integration Stack” items as some of these work with FUSE:
and there’s some pretty cool stuff such as support for Rules systems like Drools and Guvnor. You’ll probably get a warning about “unsigned content”, but that’s just someone (in Red Hat) being lazy.
After the installation, JBoss DevStudio will want to reboot and then you’ll be right for development with FUSE which we’ll cover in the next installment…
NOTE: Still a bit more updating to do, but most of the above should be correct.