Originally Posted by eugeneelgr
HD1221s and studio monitors are two different animals, in my opinion. Yes, they are both FRFR options, but that's about where the comparison ends.
I would never want to jam/gig with studio monitors, and I don't mix on the HD1221s. At jamming volume (read: with a drummer) studio monitors won't keep up, and you'll risk blowing the shit out of them. I have Rokit 8 monitors, and at the max volume I'm comfortable using them they don't even come remotely close to keeping up with the 1221s, or my 6505 halfstack.
If you can only afford one or the other, pick whichever you'll use most. If most of your time is jamming out by yourself at home, and you need something for mixing/recording, studio monitors are absolutely the way to go.
If you're 50/50, you CAN use the HD1221s for reference monitors but honestly they are the wrong tool for the job.
The Mackies are wedges. They sound the best if you are standing in front of them, with the speaker aimed at your face. I have a pair of them, and if I run them stereo I have them at angles so that I can hear myself. If I move away, the tone changes pretty dramatically - but they're monitor wedges, so the idea is that you stand in front of them (on a stage) to hear yourself. Most of the time, I have one facing me, and the other either tucked away or facing my drum rig when my drummers are here. Most of my recording is mono, and I add effects after the fact so I don't care about stereo spread when tracking.
It's also worth noting that the HD1221 fire the sound up. So if you have a ceiling fan in the room (which I do) you will have to turn it off when playing, because they'll reverberate the woosh-woosh-woosh of the blades all over hell. It's like listening to music through a fan.
The one to the right of my desk is the one that I use most of the time:
That said... If you want something portable, FRFR and more for jamming than for recording, the HD1221s are pretty solid. They are fucking LOUD. At the MG-meetup at my place, I had the masters on the 1221s at about 9:00 and they were more than loud enough to make the room perfect for jamming without being overly obnoxious. If I crank them right up and toss on a bass-heavy clean patch, they throw so much SPL out they'll lower the air pressure in the room and make it uncomfortable on your ears to be in here. They also have a voicing mode switch that can fatten up the low end for lower volume playing.
If I was going to get just an FRFR rig for guitar playing, I wouldn't get HD1221s again - I'd get a powered cab if it had to be one unit, or ideally a power amp and a closed back cab, which sounds the best.
I've played the Atomic stuff a bunch and I like the overall sound quality of the Mackie stuff more, but the straight cab is much better suited to be a guitarist's main source of tone than the wedges are. On the other hand, the wedges are flexible as hell - I use them as a bass amp, a drum amp for my vDrums, a keyboard amp, etc, etc. I'm sure the Atomic cabs can do that, and so can studio monitors, but my experience with the HD1221s in that respect has been great. They are loud as fuck and even at overkill-volume jamming levels with my drummers, they keep right up with my 6505.
So it's a coin toss imo for you - if you want something to record with most of the time, get studio monitors. If you want an FRFR rig and it's absolutely between the Mackie and monitors, get the HD1221. For live use, it's a no-brainer. You don't want tote delicate studio monitors around with you for gigs. The Mackie, you could chain to the back of your car and drag it to the gig and it'd be perfectly fine (and more metal looking) when it got there.