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I solved a huge problem in my studio monitoring by realizing that studio monitors don’t work miracles.

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Studio Monitors

Studio Monitors
Once upon a time I had money burning a hole in my pocket.  I had less faith in my monitors than I do for a guy with a suit on in Washington.  I HAD to make a big change and I was afraid that maybe my monitors at the time were too cheap.   I HAD to know if a $4k monitoring setup was going to be a life-changer.  I made the plunge.

I’ve had my Focal Sole 6 BE pair with Focal Sub 6 since the fall of ’09.  My very first mix without “learning” the monitors came out better than the previous mix (which was actually the 3rd revision) on my Mackie HR824s.  I had about eight years to “learn” those.  In Mackie’s defense (I think) it’s my view my pair of HR824s are broken.

My mixes aren’t perfect on the $4k Focals.  Why the hell not?  :pI know a BIG reason why.

To follow up Paul999s’s The Studio Monitor Conspiracy blog where he mentioned that he’s had just as good of luck mixing on hi-fi speakers, I thought I’d add a point that no one seems to have made in that 110+ comment blog.

Do we expect too much from our studio monitors?

Even in theory, studio monitors can only do so much.  Let me explain my frustration that I solved last week.  When I sit down and mix, I generally end up breaking more rules than I would have liked.  I  certainly don’t start out adding 20dB of top end to hihats and 18dB of low end to kick drums. (That’s pretty damn extreme even for me.)    However, in the course of a mix sometimes wild things happens when I’m trying to all instruments to sit right.    When the band demands big drums, big guitars, big vocals, etc you never know what may go down.  In order to squeeze all that junk into one suitcase, there’s a point where you start doing belly flops.  This isn’t ideal, but I think anyone pushing to make better and better mixes is gonna end up pushing some rules and know full well that they are just about out of real estate.  Therer’s almost always one region or another where I’m like, “Hmmm, I’m not sure if I’m gonna get away with that one.”  I think just about any great recording has this characteristic, although they seem to somehow get away with it.

It finally occurred to me the other day that it’s not a monitors job to tell you when me when I’ve went too far.  Never in a description for Yamaha, KRK, Mackie, JBL, or Barefoot does it say, “You’ll never mix bass heavy again” or “You’ll never mix too bright again”.  The only thing they all generally claim is that their frequency response is more or less flat.

By definition, a flat monitor CAN’T tell you when you are too bright….not compared to a bright speaker or a bright set of headphones.  It CAN’T tell you when you have too much 60Hz.  Not compared with a system with too much 60Hz.

The Unstrokable

I was raised broke.  Our house was always hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  I chose the former.  It built my tolerances up a bit.  I’d get to junior high school and some dumb girl would complain to the teacher that she was “hot”. (Trust me, she was referring to her strokability.)  I’d scrunch up my eyebrows like only a baffled mafia gangster could do with a cigar in his mouth because I couldn’t figure out how The Unstrokable had arrived at this wild conclusion.  It was as if it at 69 degrees all hell broke loose.  That’s when she started to complain.

I think a lot of us adhere to the view that those “hidden details” are suddenly exposed by our monitors will mean that if the mixes sound great on the monitors, they’ll sound great in the kid’s car with 8 10” subwoofers.  The implication is the monitors are a “low tolerance” device and they will complain faster than “standard speakers”.  I can say with certainty that this is the exact OPPOSITE of what monitors do.  Flat frequency response means you hear the most neutral of positions and, therefore, they won’t show sibilance like the car with MB Quart tweeters.  They won’t show 1k problems like the alarm clock.  They won’t show 3k problems like running the mix through a guitar amp.

I’m not sure if I’m the only whacko on the planet who somehow shifted his monitors to be a Magic Line Crossing alert, but I’m positive this was how I viewed my monitors for some time, if only subconsciously.

If you are expecting your monitors to be the first to complain about this or that, you are out of luck.  The only bright side is that a monitor (in theory) shouldn’t forget to tell you about a frequency that maybe a non-flat monitor may.

Why I Can’t Learn Monitors

I’ve decided that I have no ability to learn monitors.  Why?  I lose perspective in about 10 seconds.

I was going through my reference material.  I listened to Stone Temple Pilot’s Meatplow several times.  It doesn’t sound boxy, but they’ve got more 400Hz or 500Hz than I know how to squeeze in without sounding boxy.  The top end is “nice”.  It isn’t a “deep bass” recording compared to hip hop and a lot of other rock stuff, but it’s a worthy reference track.  I dig the production.

Then I tossed in Aerosmith’s “Eat The Rich”.  (Also made in 1994)  Eat The Rich is WAY brighter and the low end is WAY deeper.  Eat The Rich is relatively harsh after listening to Meatplow four times in a row.  If we flip flop and I had started out listening to Eat The Rich I’d say that Meatplow is dull and has no meat in the bottom.

So which one is “right”? ;)

All of these perceptions were done on that one pair of monitors.  The truth is both recordings are tip top productions (with tip top budgets) and you can’t do a whole lot better in rock land.

The 10 Hour Mix

If you haven’t mixed for 10 hours (due to a slave-driving band) and then listened the next day just to say in an Eddie Murphy voice, “It wasn’t me” than you probably haven’t been doing this very long.  I heard a marathon mix I had done about a month ago.  I’m not sure how that guy who mixed it had 20dB too much of 5k on there, but he did.  Me, the much smarter and more talented person who listened to the mix the next morning, noticed this right off the bat and was entirely embarrassed.

Conclusion

It’s not my fault for buying the $4k monitors.  I was misled.  I was under the impression that they’d come with bucket seats, a sunroof, a never-mix-too-bassy again guarantee, and maybe a testicular cancer prohibiter.  I didn’t know they were just speakers.  Granted, they are very well-designed and pleasing speakers to listen to and their numbers look good in ETF in my highly treated room, but they are just speakers.

None of us would expect a speaker to overcome human greed or human laziness. So why is it we expect it to solve an equally perplexing human pyschology problem like “maintaining perspective”?  Could you imagine the marketing jargon?  “The First Studio Monitor To End Racism – Simply plug in and crank it up and you’ll see flawed assumptions you’ve engrained for decades magically melt away.”

Bullshit.  It’s just a damn speaker.

Reference your mixes every 5 minutes. The 5-Minute Reference Idea Solved.

Brandon

According to the Ron Power’s biography of Mark Twain, Frederick Douglas was against women having the right to vote.

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garww – 02-07-2012, 01:41 AM
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I’ve never seen a test on those amps, so they are suspect to some degree.

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bobbeals – 02-07-2012, 08:04 AM
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Brandon,
Thank you! I’m using the Mackies you refer to and I’m very happy. It’s good to know that even YOU need to remix every once in a while. Am I the only guy out there that mixes in the studio and then goes out and listens to it in the car, on my “under the cabinet” CD player and on my computer at home before declaring “It’s a wrap”? Yea for mid range (price, not frequency) monitors.

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bobbeals – 02-07-2012, 08:05 AM
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Oh, and btw, I’ve been using those monitors for a year and have yet to develop testicular cancer…mmm

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DanTheMan – 02-07-2012, 08:07 AM
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Good one Brandon, but soon I’m going to have to do “an argument for accurate monitoring.”

Dan

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screamindave – 02-07-2012, 09:01 AM
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Good article, Brandon!
I had been mixing on a pair of JBL 3 way book shelf speakers for the last 5 years or so and took a chance on a pair of Prodipe Ribbon 8 monitors for $279.00 shipped, based on a review on Sound on Sound. Listening to the last project I recorded on the Prodipes showed why I fought the JBL’s so much, even after “learning” them. The more time I spend on them, the more I like them.

$279 verses $4K…….hmmmm…..tough choice….

BTW – The 5 Minute Reference idea is golden…….and it works.
Dave

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aj113 – 02-07-2012, 09:06 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by bobbeals View Post
…..Am I the only guy out there that mixes in the studio and then goes out and listens to it in the car, on my “under the cabinet” CD player and on my computer at home before declaring “It’s a wrap”? Yea for mid range (price, not frequency) monitors.
You shouldn’t be the only guy – everybody should be doing it, regardless of the quality of your monitors. How else can you know whether your mix is good or not?
BTW you forgot earbuds plugged into an mp3 player/ipod too. Pretty much everybody walks around these days with those things stuffed into their ears, so it makes sense to ensure that your music sounds good through them.

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bubingaisgod – 02-07-2012, 10:11 AM
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LMAO at the last part of this.

It’s the age old idea that if you buy a sports car, it might make you a better driver. Or if you buy a really expensive guitar, your going to sound good. Granted, expensive equipment in capable hands will do the job “better” then shitty equipment, but in my experience, that capable person will probably make the crappy equipment sound just as good. If anything, different.

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venuestudio – 02-07-2012, 10:18 AM
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I would have to disagree that a speaker with a flat response can’t tell you when you have too much of a given frequency. Having a flat frequency response with a calibrated signal has nothing to do with reproducing music other than the fact that a flat speaker will play give all frequencies equal treatment. And that’s what we want in a monitor. You need to know that what is coming out of the monitor is the true sound. That the monitor is not adding or subtracting anything. If your mix is bright on a flat monitor it’s that way because you mixed it that way, not because the monitor polluted the sound (a good thing to know).

I just bought a pair of Focal CMS65s. Had them burned in for 100 hours at Zen Pro Audio (great guy the Warren Dent is by the way, they have a free burn in service). They are considered to be a pretty flat monitor. My first mix sounds so much cleaner and exact. It is less about learning these speakers but understanding they are giving me the truth. If I hear a bit too much in the 400Hz range I know it’s not because the speaker has a bump there.

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garww – 02-07-2012, 11:02 AM
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Ya, you can have tools that are accurate for mixing. That is still the best approach. Switching to other playback devices is counter productive, but one has to learn to listen in the initial stages some how. It’s not like everyone can go through 20-30 sets of monitors in a couple years and understand what is important.

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paul999 – 02-07-2012, 11:03 AM
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Great points in this article! I totally get what you mean about not being able to learn monitors. I am just way too thick headed to learn monitors. Using reference mixes is very smart and I’ve been forcing myself to do this more and more especially at the end of a mix.

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garww – 02-07-2012, 11:24 AM
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Electronic can be difficult. So you record a 8×10 bass cab and adjust levels based on monitor level compression. What does that sound like on a 15″ playback system where speaker compression and distortion are less of a factor. With and without loudness compensation.

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headrheum – 02-07-2012, 11:34 AM
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Get this:
A good mixer mixes better than the average guy using mediocre monitors.
A good mixer mixes MUCH better than the average guy using good monitors.

If you are not a good mixer, you will keep blaming unrelated stuff.

Are you a good mixer?
That is the question which has to be answered.

If yes, how did you come to that conclusion? Have you mixed for at least 10.000 hours?
If “not yet”, you have A LOT to learn and nowhere near to be a good mixer. Not from video tutorials or workshops though, I have to warn you.

This is a PROFESSION, not a hobby.
Stop treating it as if it’s a kind of hobby that you can fool around.

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aj113 – 02-07-2012, 11:57 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by headrheum View Post
…..This is a PROFESSION, not a hobby.
Stop treating it as if it’s a kind of hobby that you can fool around.
On this forum, it’s a hobby. I don’t agree about the 10000 hours thing either. If you can engineer and produce well, you can engineer and produce well, and you will only get better with experience. However if you simply do not have the inate ability to engineer/produce, no amount of hours is going to make you any better at the task.

I can’t dance to save my life. I could spend 10000 hours on the dancefloor practising but I would still be a hopeless dancer at the end of it.

Good job I can mix then isn’t it…….?

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garageband – 02-07-2012, 12:09 PM
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Are you a good mixer?

If yes, how did you come to that conclusion? If “not yet”, you have A LOT to learn and nowhere near to be a good mixer
You should hang around the forum more and listen to people’s work. If it sounds good, it is good. Arbitrary measurements don’t seem to have much to do with it. I am pleased you’ve let us know how it is, though.

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m24p – 02-07-2012, 12:25 PM
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@headrheum:
Unless you actually meant 10 hours, I’m going to have to disagree with you. If someone who is talented has been mixing full-time for 4 years, they could definitely be a good mixer. To say otherwise is some sort of mindless elitist snobbery. Guess what? You could have mixed for 40,000 hours and still be a terrible mixer.

And mixing can also be a hobby that you can fool around at. Your mixes won’t be as good as someone of equal talent who has more experience, obviously, but you can have fun doing it. Again, just because it’s a profession for some doesn’t mean it can’t be a valid hobby. That’s ridiculous. Some people are professional drummers. Does that mean I can’t just fool around with drums for a fun hobby? Of course not! My drumming won’t be as good, obviously, but I can beat the crap out of my kit and have fun doing it.

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aj113 – 02-07-2012, 12:30 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by m24p View Post
@headrheum:
…… Your mixes won’t be as good as someone of equal talent who has more experience….
Agreed, and equally as valid – your mixes could be better than someone of less talent who has more experience.

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aj113 – 02-07-2012, 12:32 PM
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Just a side issue – what is a ‘mixer’ exactly? I thought a mixer was lump of steel/plastic with channels, knobs and slidey things.

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Danny Danzi – 02-07-2012, 12:52 PM
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Just to add on to this great blog…I totally agree with Venuestudio on this and will also add in that I sincerely feel that if you need to learn your monitors, you’re missing the big picture. Anytime we have to compensate for what we think we hear, you just lost stock as an engineer. For example, if you have a set of monitors that give out a bit too much bass and you know when you hear a certain amount of bass in them (even though it may sound right) that you need to back down the bass, you’re compensating.

The ideal situation for an engineer is to walk into a situation, hear the right stuff and make the right calls because the monitors are giving him/her the proper representation of what is really coming out.

Headreum: you can be the best mix engineer on the planet and fall flat on your face with monitors that give you false representation. I’m living proof of that. Of course I’m not and never have been the best mix engineer on the planet…lol….but, I’ve always thought I was pretty good at this. However, my monitors not being eq’d for flat totally wrecked my world for about…oh 15 years or so. This made me have to make several trips to my car with a pen and paper writing down all the things that were wrong. I’d come back in to my studio and go to fix all these things I wrote down, and wouldn’t hear ANY of them! This is one of the biggest issues with home recording engineers today.

The fix? Get your monitors right and as flat as possible no matter what it costs to get them that way. You can’t make the right calls if you don’t hear the right stuff. Improper monitoring environments can make the best engineers sound like amateurs. They may get the levels right, they may get the special effects and panning right, but rest assured, they’ll fail just about every time with instrument equalization. We’re in a field where two things are super important.

1. You don’t compensate. You hear correctly or you do something to fix what is making you compensate.

2. You don’t second guess because of false representation. As soon as you are playing the guessing game, you waste time, you waste money with CD’s that have one song on them that hit the trash can after they fail the car test, and you can really get depressed if this goes on for long enough.

The day the clouds parted and the sun came out to where I heard everything the way I should and my mixes transfered perfectly on every system was the day I felt I became an engineer. All the time I spent trying to learn and compensate was time well wasted. It did nothing for me other than deter my progress and make me hate this field. You guys have to understand, the engineering field should only be a challenge to you when you have clients/players that are not delivering the goods because they aren’t good players. Garbage in, garbage out. That said, controlling garbage is like having a good nose. You know how to handle garbage that smells….you eliminate it. Garbage that is sort of acceptable, you know how to deal with it. You may keep a box that had your new pre-amp in it….that box is garbage….it can be thrown away. But you may keep it for a while. The rotten sack of potatoes smells so bad, you grab that sucker, wrap it up and toss it out.

Now imagine not having the right eq for your monitors for you to “smell” the problems. This is exactly what we do when we try to learn our monitors or compensate. It’s like looking for that smell in your kitchen that your mom/wife/roomate keeps telling you is driving them crazy….but the kicker is, you have no sense of smell so you won’t ever find it. If you try to learn your monitors and or compensate, you’ve already lost in my opinion.

When I fixed all my issues, the greatest thing there was I found out I actually WAS the best engineer on the planet! Hahaha…sike, I’m kidding….but seriously, it gave me a new confidence that made me realize it was never me at all. I was decent at this the whole time. But my monitors were so off, it forced me to mix in headphones. I did a decent job there, but once my monitors were flattened, this other entity emerged. I’ve accepted one thing in life…the only guy I know that can mix through headphones and rip your face off, is Boz. I don’t know how he does it, but he does. LOL! I sure can’t do it…and to be honest, I don’t miss mixing in cans exclusively like I used to. There really is no right or wrong way if something works for a person….but according to some of the best mixes we’ve ever heard, they started with good monitors that were sending out the proper representation. So, it’s always good to start there and improvise when needed.

-Danny

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aj113 – 02-07-2012, 01:10 PM
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Whatever monitors you have you will be compensating to a greater or lesser degree. All monitors have their own sound, their own colours. If that wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t have the choice of literally thousands of monitors that are on the market today, there would be one, standard ‘Flat’ monitor that everyone would get, and we could move on and start a discussion about the amp that drives your monitors, and how much that is affecting your ‘flat’ sound.

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venuestudio – 02-07-2012, 01:15 PM
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The problem I have had in the past with learning monitors is that in the middle of a mix, when I was deep in the poop of trying to eq a snare or get the guitar to sit right, I was not always thinking “my monitors have that bump at 400Hz and a dip at 3K”. I was busy trying to eq the instrument and the monitors were fighting me, lying to me. Inaccurate monitors mean you have to get the instrument tone correct, setting the dynamics correctly and set it in the mix correctly… by guessing. That sucks.

Danny hit it dead on, if your monitors are not up to giving you a faithful representation of the music do anythiing you have to in order to correct it. I promise it will change the way you mix for the better.

brandondrury – 02-07-2012, 01:44 PM
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Am I the only guy out there that mixes in the studio and then goes out and listens to it in the car, on my “under the cabinet” CD player and on my computer at home before declaring “It’s a wrap”?
Nope, there’s a video with Butch Vig and the Foo Fighters doing this on their last record. I think you may be half-assing it if you DON’T do this…unless your mixes never surprise you on other stereos.

I would have to disagree that a speaker with a flat response can’t tell you when you have too much of a given frequency
Well, you’ve kinda sorta misquoted me.

I said….

By definition, a flat monitor CAN’T tell you when you are too bright….not compared to a bright speaker or a bright set of headphones. It CAN’T tell you when you have too much 60Hz. Not compared with a system with too much 60Hz.
If a person is skilled enough to put all instruments exactly where they should be (right on the bullseye) then the monitor is the perfect choice. If they need confirmation that they haven’t went too far, they need to listen on a device that will take that particular problem too far. That’s my point.

This may be part of the issue and the BIG point. If a person is looking for a flat monitor to expose bad peaks as well as a bad-peaky stereo, it’s not gonna happen so maybe even looking for these is a problem in monitoring.

This issue I have is tolerances. As mentioned STP and Aerosmith both sound quite different, but they are both in the ballpark. With any given sound, you can be “safe” as long as you are +/- 10 units. Sometimes I know my kick drum is pushing the limit to say +9 and I could play it safe and pull it back to 0 units, but there’s a part of me that wants to have some fun. The monitor is good for telling you where zero is, but it isn’t going to fart out on you like car stereo might and let you know you are actually at +12 units.

I can’t dance to save my life. I could spend 10000 hours on the dancefloor practising but I would still be a hopeless dancer at the end of it.
Patrick Swayze could show you how.

You could have mixed for 40,000 hours and still be a terrible mixer.
Takes one to know one.

I imagine most people struggle the most due to bad sounding tracks and arrangements. (Hard lessons to learn…particular the arranging.) Well-arranged, great sounding bands sound pretty damn good by just playing with volume faders.

several trips to my car with a pen and paper writing down all the things that were wrong. I’d come back in to my studio and go to fix all these things I wrote down, and wouldn’t hear ANY of them!
That was a hourly ritual with the Mackie HR824s. With the Focals, it happened for the first time about a month ago (after I dicked up the low end). It’s so much nicer when you come back with your list and say, “Oh, duhhhh. That was obvious.”

it gave me a new confidence that made me realize it was never me at all.
That’s how I felt about my monitors until this recent fiasco. It only takes one lie (or one BIG surprise) for you to start second guessing everything…even if that was an isolated incident.

(Thunderous post, as usual, Danny .)

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garww – 02-07-2012, 02:15 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by aj113 View Post
Just a side issue – what is a ‘mixer’ exactly? I thought a mixer was lump of steel/plastic with channels, knobs and slidey things.
Mine is made by Oster and is good for slurpies and chipped ice drinks.

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garww – 02-07-2012, 02:31 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by aj113 View Post
Whatever monitors you have you will be compensating to a greater or lesser degree. All monitors have their own sound, their own colours. If that wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t have the choice of literally thousands of monitors that are on the market today, there would be one, standard ‘Flat’ monitor that everyone would get, and we could move on and start a discussion about the amp that drives your monitors, and how much that is affecting your ‘flat’ sound.
Very much of this is they all sound like small 2-way ported boxes – different name tag : ) Danny’s ribbon tweeter is actually different

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Prado Escondido – 02-07-2012, 02:32 PM
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“By definition, a flat monitor CAN’T tell you when you are too bright….not compared to a bright speaker or a bright set of headphones. It CAN’T tell you when you have too much 60Hz. Not compared with a system with too much 60Hz.”

With all due respect, I think this statement is completely wrong and backwards. It is exactly becasue the monitor repsonse is flat that you know if something in the mix is too bright. If the monitor produces diminished high frequency response, then it will sound good … but be shrill on other systems. If it exaggerates high frequency responses, you will adjust it downward … but it will sound too drab on other systems. Flat means neutral, not dull.

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aj113 – 02-07-2012, 02:33 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by brandondrury View Post
…..I imagine most people struggle the most due to bad sounding tracks and arrangements. (Hard lessons to learn…particular the arranging.) Well-arranged, great sounding bands sound pretty damn good by just playing with volume faders.
All ye who have ears – listen! This is the best piece of advice I have seen to date on this forum. Get the song right, get the arrangement right, use good musicians, good mics, record at good levels, and mix at good levels. All the rest is incidental.

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aj113 – 02-07-2012, 02:38 PM
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Brandon, You are now using reference tracks, we have already discussed many advantages of this, but another one is that you can use a reference track to help you adjust your own project for any discrepancies your monitors may have. If you know that your reference track sounds great, you can adjust your own project to have similar levels and frequencies. That’s what I do anyway – works for me.

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Prado Escondido – 02-07-2012, 02:45 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by aj113 View Post
Whatever monitors you have you will be compensating to a greater or lesser degree. All monitors have their own sound, their own colours. If that wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t have the choice of literally thousands of monitors that are on the market today, there would be one, standard ‘Flat’ monitor that everyone would get, and we could move on and start a discussion about the amp that drives your monitors, and how much that is affecting your ‘flat’ sound.
I agree with the first two sentences … but not the third.

Setting aside issues like near fields, mid fields, etc., the reason we don’t have ‘the flat monitor’ that everyone agrees upon is that there are various acoustic and electronic design theories underlying the production of different monitors in search of the 20 to 20k+ flat response … and, there is marketing for the hungry hobbyist … in which group I included myself … which results in multiple price points.

The theory of use of the ‘flat frequency response’ in mixing is unassailable science … the practice of creating monitor approximating it remains art.

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Chalo – 02-07-2012, 03:49 PM
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In mixing, IMHO, there’s no escape for listening the mix in the widest assortment of playback devices you can get your hands on. Car, old stereo cassette recorder, old tv with single 2.5″ speaker… you name it. The real value of having good monitors to listen in the studio is that they’re less tiresome to lsiten to than bass heavy or bright speakers, and they give you the perspective of how the sonic sources are behaving. The amp from the band, the old acoustic guitar, the new preamp…

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garww – 02-07-2012, 04:22 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by Chalo View Post
In mixing, IMHO, there’s no escape for listening the mix in the widest assortment of playback devices you can get your hands on. Car, old stereo cassette recorder, old tv with single 2.5″ speaker… you name it. The real value of having good monitors to listen in the studio is that they’re less tiresome to lsiten to than bass heavy or bright speakers, and they give you the perspective of how the sonic sources are behaving. The amp from the band, the old acoustic guitar, the new preamp…
I don’t agree. What’s the point of wasting your time. I do use a cassette deck to test the dynamic range sometimes to see if it’s analog ready : )

If one has the choice, monitors that you can trust are the smart move. Not everyone has that choice

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Danny Danzi – 02-07-2012, 05:40 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by aj113 View Post
Whatever monitors you have you will be compensating to a greater or lesser degree. All monitors have their own sound, their own colours. If that wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t have the choice of literally thousands of monitors that are on the market today, there would be one, standard ‘Flat’ monitor that everyone would get, and we could move on and start a discussion about the amp that drives your monitors, and how much that is affecting your ‘flat’ sound.
Totally agree with that comment aj…however, we have to really consider how much we compensate. There has to be a fine line or it becomes a guessing game and that’s where you can run into problems. I have quite a few of my friends that have set-ups to where they hear a certain amount of bass or high end sizzle. That bass to me, sounds right in those monitors. The high end sizzle also sounds right. However, because they know these monitors and learned them, they know when they mix out and listen somewhere else, the low end would be too much if we left it like that and the high end would be also. There has to be a guessing game at some point there to where you experiment with what is too much bass, what is too much treble.

I think when we have to do that, we’re missing the point really. That’s what I meant by my comment about learning monitors and compensating. When you’re in THIS particular situation, I think it’s just the wrong way to go about it and it should be fixed so that when you hear that bass or high end that just sounds right, it should be right and left alone, ya know what I mean?

Also…well said on the “amp that drives your monitors”! This is something that isn’t often discussed. In certain situations, it can be super important. Other times…depending on what you’re using, it won’t be all that huge. Like for example, you’re going to notice a difference between a PA system power amp and a Hafler geared towards the recording realm. You may not notice a difference between a Hafler and a Samson on your Tannoy monitors..but you may notice some difference in your Events or Genelecs. So it’s always different really…but DEFINITELY is something to consider. It just depends on the situation.

-Danny

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MikeGSaxman – 02-07-2012, 06:20 PM
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I’ve been using an ancient pair of Acoustic Research AR-7s for more years than I can remember. They have massive toggle switches on the back which allow me to switch to a flat response. They are perfect for me in my home studio. And they’re probably worth about 5 bucks…

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artzeal – 02-07-2012, 06:38 PM
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Just from the perspective of the physics of sound and acoustics: linear aka flat response is essential. If a monitor has distortion or inaccurate phase response at say 80hz, that also means that when it reproduces something at 80z the overtone harmonics are going to be out of whack at 160, 320 640 etc. It may be subtle, but its there and it throws off everything. The unsolvable problem is if you correct to to compensate (and you can’t – every adjustment will throw something else off; its still going to be out of whack on every other system you play it on that isn’t exactly the same. While it is possible to “learn a speaker” to an extent, by and large, given that the way the ear and mind adjust to fatigue, Fletcher Munson effects and the rest, it can’t be an accurate or consistent reference. If you mix on something accurate: then it will be as good as it possibly can on other systems, whether they be high end or crapola. It should also be considered that some HiFi speakers may outperform some studio monitors.

It reminds me of painting. You need good full spectrum lighting to match color accurately. if you paint under fluorescents the color will only look good under fluorescents, and terrible under halogens and visa-versa. Only a painting done in daylight or full spectrum light will have accurate color and will also look better under adverse lighting.

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aj113 – 02-07-2012, 07:25 PM
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Just for the record, a flat frequency response in monitors is not crucial for accurate monitoring. (Just as well since there is no such thing.) If that were true, NS10′s would not be so good at their job, and we would not have so many albums with a killer production over the decades (unless you are of the opinion that the producers just ‘got lucky’ on these occasions.)

The time-domain response of a monitor is far more important than the frequency response. Adjustments that have been made in the mix to compensate for monitor frequencies can be rectified, adjustments (especially tracking adjustments) that have been made made to compensate for time-domain responses can be virtually impossible to rectify. In addition, a low time-domain response will tell you far more about your mix than a ‘flat’ frequency response ever can.

For example, turn your monitors down a bit; – what use is your flat frequency response now? Mid frequencies are significantly more pronounced to the human ear at lower levels. So are you going to turn your monitors up again and pretend that you never heard that mid boost, or you going to compensate with eq for your monitor’s apparent non-flat frequency response?

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garageband – 02-07-2012, 07:43 PM
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80z the overtone harmonics are going to be out of whack at 160, 320 640 etc
Just to clarify: The overtone series for 80Hz is 80, 160, 240, 320, 400, 480, 560, 640, etc. If 80Hz were an E, the notes would be E, E, B, E, G#, B, D, E

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DanTheMan – 02-07-2012, 07:56 PM
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Bees! Oh God GET THEM OFF ME! The bees! The Bees!

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garww – 02-07-2012, 09:01 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by MikeGSaxman View Post
I’ve been using an ancient pair of Acoustic Research AR-7s for more years than I can remember. They have massive toggle switches on the back which allow me to switch to a flat response. They are perfect for me in my home studio. And they’re probably worth about 5 bucks…
Those are sweet little speakers.

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fHumble fHingaz – 02-07-2012, 09:30 PM
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Wow, why do these blogs seem to attract these nasty, mean-spirited trolls – as a home-hobbiest/ sometime-semi-professional, I’m beginning to feel like one of the 3 Billygoats Gruff…you know.. the troll said “Who’s that walking across MY bridge”…

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garww – 02-07-2012, 10:15 PM
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It’s almost always the alter ego of an existing user.

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m24p – 02-07-2012, 10:36 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by brandondrury View Post
Quote Originally Posted by me View Post
[You don't need 10,000 hours of experience to be a good mixer, and on the flip side] you could have 40000 hours of experience and be a terrible mixer.
Takes one to know one.
I don’t really get your point. It sounds like you’re saying that unless you’re a terrible mixer, you can’t tell if anyone else is a terrible mixer? All I’m trying to say is, while loads of experience helps, it doesn’t ensure that one will make amzing mixes; nor does lack of 10,000+ hours of experience preclude one from making awesome mixes.

Could you elaborate a little more on your comment to me, Brandon?

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rca33 – 02-08-2012, 03:46 AM
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In 2008 I started this topic, and in 2012 I feel that this article isn’t very far from what I was meaning back then.

Accurate speakers for mastering – A good or bad thing ?

Any excellent speaker (be it a very expensive studio monitor or a high-end loudspeaker like you see on Abbey Road) is going to be very forgiving.

You can put 95% of commercial recordings playing through them, and they will sound good, even when other (most) loudspeakers (or even the car stereo) can sound great with one recording, and awful with another (I’m always considering professional and commercial releases).

The thing is: most people will never hear a recording on a high end (or high specs) system/loudspeakers!

A few years ago I had a system in my house that really pushed my limits mixing wise. It was a Bose 321 System!!!
Due to the lack of linearity of that system, I REALLY had to fight in order to have bass without sounding too boxy, in order to have a mids that are present but not hurting the ear, etc.
I’m not saying that anyone should use such a system to mix, but it IS a tough job, and while those mixes sounded great on studio monitors or even my car, those same mixes that I started on regular monitors sounded like garbage through the Bose.

If I remember correctly, even the ‘good old’ NS-10 where used initially as a way to reference music in a ‘real world’ scenario.

As for the number of hours that anyone mixes, I couldn’t care less until I see (hear) the final results.
Mixing is a part of a musical component, and it’s a part of a talent that you can improve every time you mix (and learn), but you’ll never be great at it if you don’t have the talent.

I can have the best painter in the world teaching me how to make great paintings 12 hours a day, but I will still won’t be able to do anything better than my dog! 

I believe that most top-end engineers would do great mixes with a laptop sitting on the top of a gear knob.

garww – 02-08-2012, 09:58 AM
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Why would you mix on 321 when you can get a pair on Radio Shack Minimus 7 for $50 ?

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rca33 – 02-08-2012, 10:42 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by garww View Post
Why would you mix on 321 when you can get a pair on Radio Shack Minimus 7 for $50 ?
I don’t know those speakers, but I can understand where you’re trying to go with that price point.

I didn’t say that you should mix on any specific set of speakers (you can read it again).

I said that you can’t/shouldn’t mix with the ‘high-end gear customer’ in mind, because it will be pointless, considering the extreme low percentage that they represent.

How can you rely only on one set of monitors with an amazing frequency response, flat down to 20hz, if you’re not testing it through the (more real) perspective of the standard iPod earbuds (that have a very limited response on the low end)?

You won’t mix with the iPod earbuds, but you need to know how it sounds, just like every mix had to pass the “mono test”, in a time when mono tv’s and clock radios where the standard.

IMHO, there’s a difference between the point where you are “cleaning” all tracks and have the need to have something surgical (a good set of headphones will act like a microscope for clicks and all sort of noises, as a good set of monitor will), and there’s another point when we are trying to bring the whole mix into the “real world”.

When the album ‘Thriller’ was finally done, they were very happy… …until they heard the pressed version on vinyl. After hearing the pressed version (which made them very unhappy), they had to come back to the studio and do a lot of cuts, tweaks and remix.

Were they mixing/mastering the whole Thriller record on budget monitors?

There’s no doubt that in those days, the mastering process would represent a lot more that it does today (blame it on vinyl), but the disappointment came only after it came out of the studio, and let’s face it, none of them were newbies at making records.

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acoustic – 02-08-2012, 10:49 AM
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after I took a look at the killer home studio tech sheet on mixing with monitors headphones and base reflex I had a brake through with my sound I was pissed of with my krk monitors and burnt them up with my electric guitar so I had only a set of hy-fi base reflex speaker’s and by mixing with them I had to go back to school to killer home recording and that’s how I got my brake through –thanks brandon –you got it right—–acoustic

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garww – 02-08-2012, 01:28 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by acoustic View Post
after I took a look at the killer home studio tech sheet on mixing with monitors headphones and base reflex I had a brake through with my sound I was pissed of with my krk monitors and burnt them up with my electric guitar so I had only a set of hy-fi base reflex speaker’s and by mixing with them I had to go back to school to killer home recording and that’s how I got my brake through –thanks brandon –you got it right—–acoustic
Another success story : )

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the evil – 02-08-2012, 02:04 PM
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i think the more we spend the more accurate ( the better sounding) we think they should be. in car audio and home audio 9 times out 10 if everything in your system is top notch and you upgrade your speakers there is going to be a dramatic difference. is that what we expect out of our monitors? probably… the disappointment ensues when realizing that the mixes we are making didnt get as dramitaclly better. does that mean we should just throw in the towel as engineers? no, the question is what has changed? i cant believe that upgrading to a better quality monitor would make anyone mix worse, but for some studios it might only be a 2% change for some it might be substantial.
i believe it is true the more accurate we hear our monitors the better our mixes will be, but you are not going to achieve big boy production just by upgrading speakers. if anyone thinks this than they are hoping for miracles.
i also think its true that you do need to know your monitors, especially when you have been using other ones for so long. what you percieve to be right will change and if you were in the habit of compensating for how unaccurate your last set was there will be a learning curve on new monitors. i also believe that a few less trips to the car is money well spent.
the bottom line is when we upgrade to anything we expect the stars to align and give us what we were after all along. sometimes it does for a while (i hope) and sometimes it was a miserable failure. expecting a compressor to make you a mastering engineer is the same as getting new monitors to make all your mixes epic.
All the gear we purchase are just tools and learning how to use them is what makes the end result. i dont expect anything spectacular from any gear i purchase but i do hope that it gives me something.

it does have me wondering, has anyone ever gone from a $200 pair of monitors to a $20000 set of monitors? there might be something to it….

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bholst – 02-09-2012, 10:09 AM
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You should buy the monitors that I’m designing Brandon! They will be $30,000 for the pair and they will be GUARANTEED to make your mixes ****er!!! bahahaha. Good blog man!

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Ken J – 02-09-2012, 10:11 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by the evil View Post

it does have me wondering, has anyone ever gone from a $200 pair of monitors to a $20000 set of monitors? there might be something to it….
There is something to it for a home studio owner……. It’s called a second mortgage.

I’ll just keep my JBL LSRs and my M-Audio BX8s. They serve me well. No second mortgage required. As you can tell from the songs I posted in the bash section, Yup! They do all right for me.

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Ken J – 02-09-2012, 10:56 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by bholst View Post
You should buy the monitors that I’m designing Brandon! They will be $30,000 for the pair and they will be GUARANTEED to make your mixes ****er!!! bahahaha. Good blog man!
You making up Radio Shack raw speakers mounted in old cigar boxes? They gotta sound killer at $30K a pair!

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garww – 02-10-2012, 02:26 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by Ken J View Post
You making up Radio Shack raw speakers mounted in old cigar boxes? They gotta sound killer at $30K a pair!
Ha ! I’ve suggested, before, much of this stuff looks like car components stuffed in a box

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kakeux – 02-10-2012, 02:55 AM
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We are on a “home recording” forum….So we have to keep this into perspective….

No one will buy a 30000$ monitoring system to put in a 6 feet by 6 feet control room.

For monitoring, I can see two directions:

1. You have a real studio setup (room correctly treated, correctly sized) and then having a “accurate” monitoring system is good.

2. You have a room that has stinky socks on the floor, a bed and door that opens directly to the kitchen. Then just having sound is already a compromize.

In case of 1, well I’m pretty sure accurate, flat, good monitoring system will increase the chance to get good mixes. However, if you suck, you’ll suck no matter your monitoring system.

In case of two, my best recommendation is try to get as many monitoring system you can. Mix on the one you feel the moste confident and the better sounding one. Tripple check on all the system you have.

I have heard a bunch of really good mixes here on RR….I’m not sure they have been done on ideal monitoring system…I also have heard some bad mixes made on huge monitoring system…

So compromise is a way of life and I’m sure it’s the best thing to start with. There is so much to elarn before getting limited with a not good monitoring system….Then when you will really feel like the monitoring is the only thing that limits your mixing skills, well start searching for the Holy graal. Danni explain that story in better words…

Unless you have 200000$ as budget, going step by step is my better advice.

Cheers!

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Ken J – 02-10-2012, 05:27 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by kakeux View Post
I have heard a bunch of really good mixes here on RR….I’m not sure they have been done on ideal monitoring system…I also have heard some bad mixes made on huge monitoring system…
In my short time here, I have had the opportunity to hear the same things. Some great mixes and some really crappy mixes. It’s not always the gear you use. It’s how you use the gear that makes the good results happen. The gear you use doesn’t make the mix great. It’s your engineering skills that makes a mix great. 20% gear and 80% engineering skills is the mix I teach in my classroom.

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bubingaisgod – 02-11-2012, 03:38 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by venuestudio View Post
I would have to disagree that a speaker with a flat response can’t tell you when you have too much of a given frequency. Having a flat frequency response with a calibrated signal has nothing to do with reproducing music other than the fact that a flat speaker will play give all frequencies equal treatment. And that’s what we want in a monitor. You need to know that what is coming out of the monitor is the true sound. That the monitor is not adding or subtracting anything. If your mix is bright on a flat monitor it’s that way because you mixed it that way, not because the monitor polluted the sound (a good thing to know).

I just bought a pair of Focal CMS65s. Had them burned in for 100 hours at Zen Pro Audio (great guy the Warren Dent is by the way, they have a free burn in service). They are considered to be a pretty flat monitor. My first mix sounds so much cleaner and exact. It is less about learning these speakers but understanding they are giving me the truth. If I hear a bit too much in the 400Hz range I know it’s not because the speaker has a bump there.

That’s the whole point of a flat response lol! When they say flat response, they mean the speakers pay no special attention to any individual frequency across it’s usable spectrum. There is no coloration. If your not hearing exactly what you are recording, then you have a calibration issue. I used to have volume issues when I was younger because of that. Now I just use a Dynamic Range meter. If there is something pulling out of the overall range of your project, you can identify it, then find the exact frequency(s) or plug-in settings that are causing the issue.

There are so many variables. It pays to use a control station like the Presonus Central Station as well, because flat response is worthless if you aren’t using a transparent monitor\headphone distribution unit. Units like the Behringer Powerplay Pro XL, and most interfaces have bass and treble controls. Like my RME Fireface UFX. EXCELLENT unit, but the main outputs all have EQ, compression, and other DSP FX. Although they are good for monitoring headphones to the ARTIST, you are setting yourself up for a disaster as an engineer if you use the same settings. As far as mixing, I have several pairs of headphones ranging from early 90′s sony walkman headphones, to a pair of 70′s Jensen Studio headphones. I also keep an I-touch right next to me, so I can do quick mixdowns and see if I’m good or not. Trust your ears, but you have to also trust the mainstay of current consumer electronics if you want to make professional recordings. IMHO

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aj113 – 02-11-2012, 03:48 PM
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Well as I said earlier, you’re all soooo wrong! The time-domain response is far more important than the frequency response. The frequency response of your monitors can be as flat as a flat thing but if their time-domain response is excessive you’ll have a hard time hearing anything accurately. A flat frequency response is a nice bonus – the icing on the cake if you will – but it is not super-important.

As I said before, why do you think NS10′s were – and still are – so popular?

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bubingaisgod – 02-11-2012, 03:49 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by aj113 View Post
On this forum, it’s a hobby. I don’t agree about the 10000 hours thing either. If you can engineer and produce well, you can engineer and produce well, and you will only get better with experience. However if you simply do not have the inate ability to engineer/produce, no amount of hours is going to make you any better at the task.

I can’t dance to save my life. I could spend 10000 hours on the dancefloor practising but I would still be a hopeless dancer at the end of it.

Good job I can mix then isn’t it…….?

You know, if you have a good quality recording from the get go, you will have less to mix. So technically, the longer you NEED to sit and mix, the less talented of a recording engineer you are. But that is not ALWAYS true, because of course there are situations where you WANT to mix for a long time because you care about the project, or it’s a big project, etc. But you sitting and mixing a stereo track for 10 hours doesn’t make you a “professional”.

I know a girl that once gave a friend of mine a hard time because she gave him a 14 track song to mix and it was done in 2 days. She said there was no way he could do that and have it be a quality mix.
He said then there is no way you can be a girl and record such good quality tracks. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes it’s not.

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aj113 – 02-11-2012, 03:50 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by Ken J View Post
In my short time here, I have had the opportunity to hear the same things. Some great mixes and some really crappy mixes. It’s not always the gear you use. It’s how you use the gear that makes the good results happen. The gear you use doesn’t make the mix great. It’s your engineering skills that makes a mix great. 20% gear and 80% engineering skills is the mix I teach in my classroom.
Totally agree!

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Ken J – 02-12-2012, 06:42 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by bubingaisgod View Post
You know, if you have a good quality recording from the get go, you will have less to mix. So technically, the longer you NEED to sit and mix, the less talented of a recording engineer you are. But that is not ALWAYS true, because of course there are situations where you WANT to mix for a long time because you care about the project, or it’s a big project, etc. But you sitting and mixing a stereo track for 10 hours doesn’t make you a “professional”.

I know a girl that once gave a friend of mine a hard time because she gave him a 14 track song to mix and it was done in 2 days. She said there was no way he could do that and have it be a quality mix.
He said then there is no way you can be a girl and record such good quality tracks. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes it’s not.
I totally agree that a good mix starts at the tracking stage. If the tracks were properly recorded using correct mic, line, DI techniques and the like, at the beginning of the mixing stage the engineer should be able to toss all the faders up to unity reset the EQ to flat and the mix should just about be there. With minor tweaks of the faders, EQ and pan, you should be able to produce a very reasonable dry mix. Then add effects to taste and re EQ and pan. Engineering skills play a very big part in audio recording.

You can get a great mix from cheap gear or a crappy mix from great gear. It’s all in your listening skills and how you twist the knobs. Engineering skills matter most.

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bubingaisgod – 02-12-2012, 08:05 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by Ken J View Post
I totally agree that a good mix starts at the tracking stage. If the tracks were properly recorded using correct mic, line, DI techniques and the like, at the beginning of the mixing stage the engineer should be able to toss all the faders up to unity reset the EQ to flat and the mix should just about be there. With minor tweaks of the faders, EQ and pan, you should be able to produce a very reasonable dry mix. Then add effects to taste and re EQ and pan. Engineering skills play a very big part in audio recording.

You can get a great mix from cheap gear or a crappy mix from great gear. It’s all in your listening skills and how you twist the knobs. Engineering skills matter most.

Yeah man, I’ve seen a lot of people EQing severely after tracking and before FX are added. Personally the only EQ I work with Pre mix are shelf filters and compression. I have neither as outboard gear right now. Just the Waves Mercury bundle and a bunch of those free VSTs. All my rack gear was stolen and I had to start over

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Ken J – 02-12-2012, 11:00 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by bubingaisgod View Post
Yeah man, I’ve seen a lot of people EQing severely after tracking and before FX are added. Personally the only EQ I work with Pre mix are shelf filters and compression. I have neither as outboard gear right now. Just the Waves Mercury bundle and a bunch of those free VSTs. All my rack gear was stolen and I had to start over
I found years ago is to track completely flat with no added effects including compression. Then save a copy. Remember that you can always add effects to the track but once those effects are embedded, you can’t take them away if they do not suit the purpose. Many new engineers who use any effects during tracking usually add the wrong thing or over or under due an effect or compression. Then the track is embedded poorly and retracking must be done in order to save the project. Not only is this a waste of time for the studio, engineer and client, it is also an embarrassment to the studio and engineer not doing the job correctly in the first place. It also wastes money.

Now if you are at home tracking your own band or have a personal project up on the screen, waste all the time you want trying new things out. That’s how you learn. But when it comes to a paying client, better be spot on.

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garageband – 02-12-2012, 11:34 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by Ken J View Post
I found years ago is to track completely flat with no added effects including compression. Then save a copy. Remember that you can always add effects to the track but once those effects are embedded, you can’t take them away if they do not suit the purpose. Many new engineers who use any effects during tracking usually add the wrong thing or over or under due an effect or compression. Then the track is embedded poorly and retracking must be done in order to save the project. Not only is this a waste of time for the studio, engineer and client, it is also an embarrassment to the studio and engineer not doing the job correctly in the first place. It also wastes money.

Now if you are at home tracking your own band or have a personal project up on the screen, waste all the time you want trying new things out. That’s how you learn. But when it comes to a paying client, better be spot on.
This kind of implies that there is no way to do this correctly. Done correctly, it sames tons of time later., esp. when it comes to compression and additionally necessary automation. There are lots of things to be careful of and ways to screw up that can result in a gotta retrack-level fail. These are handy techniques that can produce superior results that are worthwhile to learn. Sure, learn and practice them on your own time, not the client’s. Myself, I just can’t be governed or harangued by “OMG, what if I screw this up?” Live free or die.

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brandondrury – 02-12-2012, 02:26 PM
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“By definition, a flat monitor CAN’T tell you when you are too bright….not compared to a bright speaker or a bright set of headphones. It CAN’T tell you when you have too much 60Hz. Not compared with a system with too much 60Hz.”
With all due respect, I think this statement is completely wrong and backwards. It is exactly becasue the monitor repsonse is flat that you know if something in the mix is too bright. If the monitor produces diminished high frequency response, then it will sound good … but be shrill on other systems. If it exaggerates high frequency responses, you will adjust it downward … but it will sound too drab on other systems. Flat means neutral, not dull.
I seem to have articulated myself poorly.Let me explain it again to make sure I’m saying what I want to say.

A mix sounds good on the expensive monitors that ETF says are within +/- 2.5dB of flat for the entire range. Cool! Go to the car with 7k boosted 22dB (it happens) and now you hear sibilance tearing your face off. We can blame the shitty car stereo, but Foo Fighters and Black Eyed Peas don’t have any problems.

Go back to the fancy, flat monitors. The sibilance isn’t there.

In this case, absolute faith in an accurate monitoring system has not shown what a mix does under real-world pressure.

I’m of the opinion that flat monitors you trust are the ONLY way to mix. However, flat monitors will never attempt to break the mix (unless you refer to a lack of dips in frequency response as “breaking it”). Flat monitors give you an accurate picture, but they say nothing about how the mix is going to hold up under extreme conditions.

I’ve noticed recently that you can take a big boy mix and toss a high Q EQ boosting 6dB on it and sweep. You’ll hear the sound of the EQ, but you won’t hear the mix break. Toss your own mix on there (particularly one where you are a little concerned about this frequency or that) and in my experience, many times it will break. There will be a peaky quality to something that leaps out as pain that obviously needs addressing.

The bigger issue here isn’t monitoring at all (which is why the title of this article is what it is). The bigger issue is great recordings somehow sound good in the Ford Tempo and on the Focals while my mixes generally work well on the Focals but not with the 22dB boost at 7k.

This is the issue.

Brandon

garageband – 02-12-2012, 03:08 PM
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I’ve noticed recently that you can take a big boy mix and toss a high Q EQ boosting 6dB on it and sweep. You’ll hear the sound of the EQ, but you won’t hear the mix break. Toss your own mix on there (particularly one where you are a little concerned about this frequency or that) and in my experience, many times it will break. There will be a peaky quality to something that leaps out as pain that obviously needs addressing.
This is a great exercise.

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Ken J – 02-12-2012, 04:08 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by garageband View Post
This kind of implies that there is no way to do this correctly. Done correctly, it sames tons of time later., esp. when it comes to compression and additionally necessary automation. There are lots of things to be careful of and ways to screw up that can result in a gotta retrack-level fail. These are handy techniques that can produce superior results that are worthwhile to learn. Sure, learn and practice them on your own time, not the client’s. Myself, I just can’t be governed or harangued by “OMG, what if I screw this up?” Live free or die.
You have to look at tracking as an art form. There is no right or wrong way within perimeters. Everyone screws up tracking. It’s a normal thing when we start. Many think that when they get the gear in their hands, the tracking and mixing are easy. They say “I can do this”. But when it comes to placing that mic in front of a guitar cab or whatever, all bets are off. It can really become a challenge to find the correct sweet spot to capture the right sound you are looking for. No different then a young artist with his first set of paints and brushes. How many pieces of canvas are thrown away? As time and experience work together, an engineer will discover what works for his situation and the mistakes go away to acceptable results.

As a seasoned engineer I will use effects on the way in during tracking from time to time. Time and experience show me how to do it with success. Would I let a young intern do the same? No way in hell because he does not have the experience. The intern can achieve the same effect during processing of the raw track. If he then screws it up, no harm is done because we have the original track to re-apply effects to. About the only thing I would allow an intern to do during a tracking session with a plug or hardware is work with a few gates while tracking drums. That is something that needs to be learned while tracking to avoid excessive bleed. The rest can be done after the fact of tracking. I would apply the same rules to anyone in a home studio that is just starting to learn. The same rule should apply to any seasoned engineer walking into a new studio with gear he has not had experience with. A Behringer compressor is going to react differently at a given setting then a Manley compressor and the like. The same applies to software effects.

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garww – 02-12-2012, 07:40 PM
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“many times it will break”

Your studio boxes can help a lot. Here’s a pic of my 5″ tapered cone midrange with a hard dome that handles 1200Hz to 5kHz. You would be supprised how many “pro” mixes break on vocal, recorder, violin, etc..

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Danny Danzi – 02-13-2012, 07:56 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by Ken J View Post
I found years ago is to track completely flat with no added effects including compression. Then save a copy. Remember that you can always add effects to the track but once those effects are embedded, you can’t take them away if they do not suit the purpose. Many new engineers who use any effects during tracking usually add the wrong thing or over or under due an effect or compression. Then the track is embedded poorly and retracking must be done in order to save the project. Not only is this a waste of time for the studio, engineer and client, it is also an embarrassment to the studio and engineer not doing the job correctly in the first place. It also wastes money.

Now if you are at home tracking your own band or have a personal project up on the screen, waste all the time you want trying new things out. That’s how you learn. But when it comes to a paying client, better be spot on.
Ken, I really think it depends what school you come from. I’m not trying to discredit what you’re saying here…but let me give you a few scenarios and share a few things with you. Some of us come from the tape days. During those years, you had limitations due to your hardware gear. You may have recorded with certain effects because you knew that when you mixed you’d need some of those effects on the actual tracks in real time. We also got good at destructively processing because we had no choice really. This taught us how to record destructively and get away with it because…well…we’ve ruined our share of tracks to where we had to retrack. LOL! But you get good at it.

Now, with the stuff we have today, there isn’t as much of a need to record destructively. However, you have to take into account that there are color palets that must be considered. A guy like garageband has some pretty powerful analog processors in his arsenal. He’s going to use these pieces either because he likes the color/tonal characteristics, or because he just prefers what these tools do over digital plugins.

As much as we have cool stuff ITB, there are certain things OTB that some guys just prefer. For example, you mentioned no compression. Some guys like to use hardware gear to compress going in. Yeah, if over-done they can ruin a track but it depends on the engineer. Paul999 and myself share a secret that would make most experienced engineers cringe. We both use an old, cheap, piece of trash Behringer compressor going in on some of our instruments. As bad as this compressor may be, there is something about it that Paul and I both like where we have chosen it over pieces we own that are quadruple the amount of this piece of crap. LOL! Neither one of us can explain it other than…this crap really works. Hahahaha!

For example, I like to record going in at -6dB on all my stuff. Some guys use -10 -12 or whatever….but I like -6. Now, if I don’t compress, I get a spikey -6 dB. And…there’s a possibility of clipping. Some would say it would just be better for me to record at -10 dB and then I’d not worry abotu clipping. But in my mind, the best recordings I have ever done always seem to be -6, so I’m sticking to my guns. I run this compressor while going in and what it does is, it literally conditions my sounds. It’s not really compressing much. I may use -1.5 or -2 dB of gain reduction at 2:1. But, it’s a nice looking wave form at -6 dB without any spikes all over the place. It’s not square boxing and it’s not pumping or breathing. It’s like a well toned, model’s body.

For me that works and it’s what I prefer. The plugs I have are all good ones. From UAD to Waves and just about anything else you can think of. But there are certain situations where they just don’t give me what I need. Another example….I play in a Van Halen tribute band on the side. I’ve been working on an album of that stuff with my cover band for a while now. My guitar processor has some of the best phaser and flanger sounds known to man. I can’t come close to these with all the plugs I use…and let me tell you, like I’ve said, I have just abotu every plug known to man. They just don’t touch this. So I have to record in real time using these effects and print them destructively to the tracks.

I use Sonar as my DAW and it offers external inserts. I tried hooking up my processor post recording and effecting that way…but it didn’t have the same sound. There are times when effects in your loop are not the way to go. Sometimes we need the sounds on the track directly without going through a loop. It makes the sound an entity instead of “hey, that sounds like a guitar…and theres a flanger.” When I do it directly on the track or at the same time, it sounds like a sound/tone that was created as one. The loop effect can sometimes sound like the effect is too separated from the tone…if that makes sense?

So though I see where you’re coming from and agree with you, there are times where you’d pretty much be backing yourself into a corner if you lived by your rules all the time. And, like I say…it depends on the engineer and what school you come from. Us old tape guys can do some amazing things in real time. It’s easy for us to do this stuff because we’re so used to it. I’ve ruined my share of tracks in my years of doing this…but one day you wake up, and you just know how much is enough and you won’t ruin a track anymore.

-Danny

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m24p – 02-13-2012, 11:28 AM
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Ditto about that sweep technique being a great idea for checking mixes, I think I should start doing that as a regular tool for checking a mix. I suppose you could try several sweeps of boosts and cuts with various Qs and see what breaks.

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Danny Danzi – 02-13-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by garww View Post
“many times it will break”

Your studio boxes can help a lot. Here’s a pic of my 5″ tapered cone midrange with a hard dome that handles 1200Hz to 5kHz. You would be supprised how many “pro” mixes break on vocal, recorder, violin, etc..
This really is an awesome piece of info G. I believe at some point, you and garageband were having a discussion about mono mixes if I’m not mistaken….and he made a mention of listening in mono….and someone mentioned “I sub my speakers to mono” and he said “no, you don’t do it that way…you have to kill one of your monitors and change your master bus to mono THEN listen.”

That was one of the coolest pieces of information I had ever gotten from this site. I have a system here where I normally would just press a button on my monitor rig and they would go mono. But…it was both speakers doing that. When I tried what garageband had mentioned and turned off one monitor and then changed my master bus from stereo to mono….just wow…it was a difference that I had been missing for all the years I’d been doing it wrong. As of now, every mix of mine that has passed what I call “The Garageband True Mono Test” (LOL) has sounded fantastic everywhere. It just doesn’t lie like bringing two monitors in mono does. It’s amazing how different it sounds. A speaker like what you have here is an excellent idea. If something sounds good on that, you know it’s probably going to sound great everywhere.

I never had a chance to thank you garageband…so if you’re reading, thank you for the most awesome tip.

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garww – 02-13-2012, 12:09 PM
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This driver isn’t the whole answer, Danny. We can only try to make some selection on what tools we can find that might help. This box uses a compression driver above 5k and who would ever dream of using that ? Anyway, the L-Pad level on this one is set to where I think I will hear harshness on vocal and violin. I have a Telarc String Quartet that sounds bad on these. The notes list the whole chain from Schoeps capsules to B&W801 II and it’s impecable. You simply have to make your own decisions, even if Jack Renner was the engineer. I think it’s too hot on the CD.

Mixing loudness to radio and TV commerical levels don’t help – thinking everything needs to be in your face.

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aj113 – 02-13-2012, 12:41 PM
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Not entirely sure what the mono thing is all about. In the good old days we used to do it, but pretty much nobody listens in mono any more so I can’t see the point of pandering to the whims of a mono sound. Am I missing something?

Oh yes, and I’m one of the old school tape guys too. I also use a Behringer to compress pretty much everything going in. I have no qualms about it. If it sounds right going in then it’s not likely to sound bad coming out – that’s my philosophy anyway.

OTOH the one thing I would never do is gate drums on the way in. The drummer only has to half miss a shot and the take is goosed because the shot didn’t make it through the gate. Why give yourself that headache when you can set the gate to the optimum level for the recorded material afterwards?

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aj113 – 02-13-2012, 12:43 PM
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I see you’re all still banging on about frequency responses. Is nobody at all bothered about time-domain responses? How you can spend 7 pages discussing monitors without even bringing time-domain responses to the table? They are far more important than frequencies.

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garww – 02-13-2012, 01:44 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by aj113 View Post
I see you’re all still banging on about frequency responses. Is nobody at all bothered about time-domain responses? How you can spend 7 pages discussing monitors without even bringing time-domain responses to the table? They are far more important than frequencies.
I don’t think that is always a big issue, or weed all be using co-ax nearfields

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aj113 – 02-13-2012, 02:31 PM
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This is essentially a home recording forum. I will be very surprised if the vast majority are not using nearfield monitors, coaxial or not. In any case, the fact that you are using a nearfield monitor does not diminish the importance of time-domain reponse. Once again I refer you to the ubiquitous presence of NS10′s in recording studios globally.

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Danny Danzi – 02-13-2012, 06:41 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by aj113 View Post
Not entirely sure what the mono thing is all about. In the good old days we used to do it, but pretty much nobody listens in mono any more so I can’t see the point of pandering to the whims of a mono sound. Am I missing something?

Oh yes, and I’m one of the old school tape guys too. I also use a Behringer to compress pretty much everything going in. I have no qualms about it. If it sounds right going in then it’s not likely to sound bad coming out – that’s my philosophy anyway.

OTOH the one thing I would never do is gate drums on the way in. The drummer only has to half miss a shot and the take is goosed because the shot didn’t make it through the gate. Why give yourself that headache when you can set the gate to the optimum level for the recorded material afterwards?
Yeah I’d say you’re missing a little something. If you don’t do the mono thing anymore, give it a shot. Just make sure you only use one monitor and set your master bus to mono. It’s amazing what you can hear there that can make a difference when you go back to stereo. Little things like the sizzle in a guitar…a bit too much low end…levels on certain instruments…..maybe a kick drum isn’t loud enough….you’ll hear all that stuff in a different light. As for the gate thing you mentioned on drums, totally agree there. There’s no reason to destructively gate anymore…thank God! You too on the Behringer?! Hahahaha…that’s great…we’re all coming out now. Something about that dumb compressor…it just gives us a nice conditioned signal without any artifacts.

Quote Originally Posted by aj113 View Post
I see you’re all still banging on about frequency responses. Is nobody at all bothered about time-domain responses? How you can spend 7 pages discussing monitors without even bringing time-domain responses to the table? They are far more important than frequencies.
Ok you totally stumped me on this one. I’m not much into the science part of the audio field and don’t have a clue what time-domain responses are. I looked that up just now and read 5 different things and still don’t have a clue. I’m far from a dummy, but that’s way over my head and hasn’t affected the sound or performance of my projects ever. If it is, it’s not something that’s doing so in a manner in which is is hurting me. Proper freqeuncy responses and monitors are the most important things you can have in my opinion next to a good pc, a good soundcard with decent converters and a good set of ears. Without the monitors and proper responses….your good ears are useless. I don’t even need a good soundcard or converters to whip up an impressive mix. Give me a Realtek HD using asio4all drivers and Sonar and I’ll deliver the goods every time. A Realtek wouldn’t be my weapon of choice, but there is nothing special there with that card and many times on my net boxes, I have delivered great mixes using it when I’m not at my studio. Without good monitors and the right monitor tuning….I’m like a fish out of water. Time domain responses……it sure isn’t important on my end and hasn’t been for over 30 years.

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garww – 02-13-2012, 06:50 PM
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I don’t get the ns10 deal. Don’t you look at those and think the engineer is a real dumb ass ?

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Ken J – 02-13-2012, 07:27 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by Danny Danzi View Post
Ken, I really think it depends what school you come from. I’m not trying to discredit what you’re saying here…but let me give you a few scenarios and share a few things with you. Some of us come from the tape days. During those years, you had limitations due to your hardware gear. You may have recorded with certain effects because you knew that when you mixed you’d need some of those effects on the actual tracks in real time. We also got good at destructively processing because we had no choice really. This taught us how to record destructively and get away with it because…well…we’ve ruined our share of tracks to where we had to retrack. LOL! But you get good at it.

Now, with the stuff we have today, there isn’t as much of a need to record destructively. However, you have to take into account that there are color palets that must be considered. A guy like garageband has some pretty powerful analog processors in his arsenal. He’s going to use these pieces either because he likes the color/tonal characteristics, or because he just prefers what these tools do over digital plugins.

As much as we have cool stuff ITB, there are certain things OTB that some guys just prefer. For example, you mentioned no compression. Some guys like to use hardware gear to compress going in. Yeah, if over-done they can ruin a track but it depends on the engineer. Paul999 and myself share a secret that would make most experienced engineers cringe. We both use an old, cheap, piece of trash Behringer compressor going in on some of our instruments. As bad as this compressor may be, there is something about it that Paul and I both like where we have chosen it over pieces we own that are quadruple the amount of this piece of crap. LOL! Neither one of us can explain it other than…this crap really works. Hahahaha!

For example, I like to record going in at -6dB on all my stuff. Some guys use -10 -12 or whatever….but I like -6. Now, if I don’t compress, I get a spikey -6 dB. And…there’s a possibility of clipping. Some would say it would just be better for me to record at -10 dB and then I’d not worry abotu clipping. But in my mind, the best recordings I have ever done always seem to be -6, so I’m sticking to my guns. I run this compressor while going in and what it does is, it literally conditions my sounds. It’s not really compressing much. I may use -1.5 or -2 dB of gain reduction at 2:1. But, it’s a nice looking wave form at -6 dB without any spikes all over the place. It’s not square boxing and it’s not pumping or breathing. It’s like a well toned, model’s body.

For me that works and it’s what I prefer. The plugs I have are all good ones. From UAD to Waves and just about anything else you can think of. But there are certain situations where they just don’t give me what I need. Another example….I play in a Van Halen tribute band on the side. I’ve been working on an album of that stuff with my cover band for a while now. My guitar processor has some of the best phaser and flanger sounds known to man. I can’t come close to these with all the plugs I use…and let me tell you, like I’ve said, I have just abotu every plug known to man. They just don’t touch this. So I have to record in real time using these effects and print them destructively to the tracks.

I use Sonar as my DAW and it offers external inserts. I tried hooking up my processor post recording and effecting that way…but it didn’t have the same sound. There are times when effects in your loop are not the way to go. Sometimes we need the sounds on the track directly without going through a loop. It makes the sound an entity instead of “hey, that sounds like a guitar…and theres a flanger.” When I do it directly on the track or at the same time, it sounds like a sound/tone that was created as one. The loop effect can sometimes sound like the effect is too separated from the tone…if that makes sense?

So though I see where you’re coming from and agree with you, there are times where you’d pretty much be backing yourself into a corner if you lived by your rules all the time. And, like I say…it depends on the engineer and what school you come from. Us old tape guys can do some amazing things in real time. It’s easy for us to do this stuff because we’re so used to it. I’ve ruined my share of tracks in my years of doing this…but one day you wake up, and you just know how much is enough and you won’t ruin a track anymore.

-Danny
LOL! I cut my teeth on tape. Or should I say I cut tape with my teeth. I remember those days of tape very well. I have 35 years + in the studio as an engineer. Studer, Ampex, Otari will live in my heart and on the cutting floor forever. Yes, back then we did have to do a lot with effects and such on the way in. But these days of tracking on a computer based sequencer, It’s no longer needed. Compression and effects can be added at any time during the mix. Concerning your stomp boxes, sometimes you can add the effects while tracking. But that does not go to say that you must. Re-amping works well using the stomp boxes too. That way you can try out many flavors without committing to the track. We can also run two tracks of guitar, one dry and one with the stomp boxes attached. The way we work now is much more user friendly then the days of tape.

Here, If you head to my house bring some cold beer. I’ll let you play with one of my toys. She still works and is in prime shape. She was found in storage when I worked for Disney. I was told I could take that piece of crap home. It didn’t look like the picture when it left the storage area. It took 5 years to bring her back to life.

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garww – 02-13-2012, 08:18 PM
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Oh, she is pretty !

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Ken J – 02-13-2012, 08:52 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by garww View Post
Oh, she is pretty !
Dude, It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get her back to that condition. Those internal edges are sharp and the cuts really hurt. Not to mention that she is built like a tank. I swear that every piece of that machine has a minimum weight of a quarter ton. Sometimes I think a 57 Chevy would have been easier to locate original parts for and rebuild. Cheaper too!

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Danny Danzi – 02-13-2012, 11:03 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by Ken J View Post
LOL! I cut my teeth on tape. Or should I say I cut tape with my teeth. I remember those days of tape very well. I have 35 years + in the studio as an engineer. Studer, Ampex, Otari will live in my heart and on the cutting floor forever. Yes, back then we did have to do a lot with effects and such on the way in. But these days of tracking on a computer based sequencer, It’s no longer needed. Compression and effects can be added at any time during the mix. Concerning your stomp boxes, sometimes you can add the effects while tracking. But that does not go to say that you must. Re-amping works well using the stomp boxes too. That way you can try out many flavors without committing to the track. We can also run two tracks of guitar, one dry and one with the stomp boxes attached. The way we work now is much more user friendly then the days of tape.

Here, If you head to my house bring some cold beer. I’ll let you play with one of my toys. She still works and is in prime shape. She was found in storage when I worked for Disney. I was told I could take that piece of crap home. It didn’t look like the picture when it left the storage area. It took 5 years to bring her back to life.

I feel your pain brother. This one I still have at my house.

I have a 24 track 2 inch Tascam out for repair at the moment. I just didn’t have the time to work on it myself.

Yeah I know what you mean and I agree with you. There’s just something about how a sound will transfer when you do it destructively that I like. It just doesn’t sound the same when I use it as an insert and I usually don’t re-amp over here because I get it right the first time on my own stuff. LOL!

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Ken J – 02-14-2012, 05:01 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by Danny Danzi View Post
I feel your pain brother. This one I still have at my house.

I have a 24 track 2 inch Tascam out for repair at the moment. I just didn’t have the time to work on it myself.

Yeah I know what you mean and I agree with you. There’s just something about how a sound will transfer when you do it destructively that I like. It just doesn’t sound the same when I use it as an insert and I usually don’t re-amp over here because I get it right the first time on my own stuff. LOL!
When yours comes back and is in working order, I may have a paying job for you. I have a client with a few 1″, 24 track tapes that we need to break out into individual tracks and put them to disc in wave files so they can be remixed. Where are you located?

We have been looking for you!

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Danny Danzi – 02-14-2012, 12:38 PM
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Ah thanks for the offer Ken, but the one being fixed is a 2 inch machine. The pic I put up is a 1 inch machine, but it’s only 16 track. It’s funny we’re talking about this stuff….the dude I sent my 24 track 2 inch machine to just offered me an insane amount of money to buy it from me. It looks as though it needs heads and a few other things which would be a bit more than I wanted to spend right now. I don’t get much work on it these days, so I just may let it go. Plus I don’t really feel like picking that monster up. LOL! I had to load it in a van to take it there and it took 3 of us hahahaha! He’s interested in my 16 track also…I may dump that as well. I’ll miss them, but they just sit here and I’d rather someone make use of them, ya know? There was a time where it seemed like I was getting at least 1-2 jobs per week using those machines…but now it’s more like one per every other month or longer….and it’s been more trouble than it’s worth really. The time it takes me to run tape into the computer etc….I could have the mastering curve template ready to go for an entire album and make way more. Load up the reels, let it play, rough mix it in, unload reels, clean machine, demagnetize, next reel…repeat process….it’s just a pain. LOL! Thank you once again for the kind offer though.

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Danny Danzi – 02-14-2012, 12:49 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by aj113 View Post
This is essentially a home recording forum. I will be very surprised if the vast majority are not using nearfield monitors, coaxial or not. In any case, the fact that you are using a nearfield monitor does not diminish the importance of time-domain reponse. Once again I refer you to the ubiquitous presence of NS10′s in recording studios globally.
aj, as a user of NS-10′s since 1984, I bought them because of their presence globally. What I didn’t take into account was how some people have them set up. Some had monitor analyzing done…some stuffed paper and other stuff inside them or put stuff over the tweeters. I didn’t really know about any of that until years later. What I CAN tell you is….they were and still are, the worst set of monitors I have ever worked with hands down. Nothing I have ever used has sounded as bad as them and nothing I have ever used has put out such a misrepresentation of sound. They were so bad for me, I began to mix through headphones.

One day, I bought ARC…the plugin that corrects monitors. It didn’t even help those NS-10′s. As a matter of fact, to this day, they are the only set of monitors that have failed my ARC procedure. Now…add in a sub to them, totally different animal. The ARC procedure with a sub added totally changed everything. I now put them up against any monitor I own…but without ARC and the sub, man, to me they are the most useless pieces of crap of all time. I used to try and buy into the slogan of “if you can make something sound good on NS-10′s, it sounds good everywhere.”

That sure wasn’t the case for me. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make anything sound good on them due to there being 0 bass. If I can’t hear bass, I can’t compensate that it’s there. That’s a guessing game and as soon as I take on that approach, I’ve already lost in my opinion. I should never have to compensate for something that is there that I can’t hear…and that’s how it always was with those things. I never heard enough bass, so I mixed more in only to hear mud and rumbles everywhere. To this day, I will fail on those monitors even though I like to consider myself a pretty decent engineer that knows what he’s doing. With ARC on them and my sub, I’ll deliver the goods every time. Kill ARC and the sub, and you’ll think I have only been doing this for about 3 years or less. LOL!

Ken J – 02-14-2012, 08:43 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by Danny Danzi View Post
Ah thanks for the offer Ken, but the one being fixed is a 2 inch machine. The pic I put up is a 1 inch machine, but it’s only 16 track. It’s funny we’re talking about this stuff….the dude I sent my 24 track 2 inch machine to just offered me an insane amount of money to buy it from me. It looks as though it needs heads and a few other things which would be a bit more than I wanted to spend right now. I don’t get much work on it these days, so I just may let it go. Plus I don’t really feel like picking that monster up. LOL! I had to load it in a van to take it there and it took 3 of us hahahaha! He’s interested in my 16 track also…I may dump that as well. I’ll miss them, but they just sit here and I’d rather someone make use of them, ya know? There was a time where it seemed like I was getting at least 1-2 jobs per week using those machines…but now it’s more like one per every other month or longer….and it’s been more trouble than it’s worth really. The time it takes me to run tape into the computer etc….I could have the mastering curve template ready to go for an entire album and make way more. Load up the reels, let it play, rough mix it in, unload reels, clean machine, demagnetize, next reel…repeat process….it’s just a pain. LOL! Thank you once again for the kind offer though.
My deck has not been used in almost six months. If he offers you 10K or more, take the money. Most of the 2″ transfers I get, the tape is so bad from not being stored properly that the sound quality isn’t what it once was. As you know tape has to be stored sealed in a somewhat climate controlled area. Most of the stuff I get was found in someone’s basement or stored somewhere in an attic for years. client: “Can you transfer this for me?” me: “Will you cry when you look over my shoulder as the tape falls apart on the machine?”

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brandondrury – 02-16-2012, 02:21 PM
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Not entirely sure what the mono thing is all about. In the good old days we used to do it, but pretty much nobody listens in mono any more so I can’t see the point of pandering to the whims of a mono sound. Am I missing something?
I think you are missing the opportunity to avoid an “oh shit” moment. If I were to hear my mix in some situation where it is in mono and I said, “AHHHHH”, then that was something I would like to deal with in the mix itself. Mono ain’t gonna sound good for most things (some), but avoiding a catastrophe is worth a lot.

Much as Danny pointed out, checking in mono is a great way to make your stereo mix better in regard to separation and things of that sort.

Brandon

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Ken J – 02-16-2012, 07:33 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by brandondrury View Post
I think you are missing the opportunity to avoid an “oh shit” moment. If I were to hear my mix in some situation where it is in mono and I said, “AHHHHH”, then that was something I would like to deal with in the mix itself. Mono ain’t gonna sound good for most things (some), but avoiding a catastrophe is worth a lot.

Much as Danny pointed out, checking in mono is a great way to make your stereo mix better in regard to separation and things of that sort.

Brandon
By checking your mixes in mono, you can also hear who (instrument) is stepping on whos toes as far as EQ is concerned. It also help get the mud out of your mix.

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garww – 02-17-2012, 11:26 AM
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It might, also, help users deal with monitors if they consider they are very much like musical instruments

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rca33 – 02-17-2012, 02:59 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by Danny Danzi View Post
This really is an awesome piece of info G. I believe at some point, you and garageband were having a discussion about mono mixes if I’m not mistaken….and he made a mention of listening in mono….and someone mentioned “I sub my speakers to mono” and he said “no, you don’t do it that way…you have to kill one of your monitors and change your master bus to mono THEN listen.”

That was one of the coolest pieces of information I had ever gotten from this site.
It’s the first time that I’m reading this…but it makes a lot of sense!

I’ve been checking my mixes in mono (both speakers playing) and I have no doubt regarding the value of this test, but it does make a lot more sense listening in mono on a single speaker.

That is true mono!

I’m gonna try it…right now!

Thanks for bringing that out.

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garageband – 02-17-2012, 03:40 PM
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Just got done doing one. Wow, that’s easier. Less like herding cats.

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garww – 02-17-2012, 04:07 PM
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People can also choose to be somewhat aware of the MONO sum circuit, because they are not all the same. This can fall into the sum box discussion, in some respects. Are you getting double the voltage when you sum to MONO, etc..? So, we can have some of the phase issues we wish to avoid from routing MONO to stereo speakers show up to some degree in the common MONO switch. Have no idea how that is done in digital, of course : )