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Thread: Mackie CR3 monitors hurting my ears?

  1. #1
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    Mackie CR3 monitors hurting my ears?

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    Hello everyone,


    I have been playing guitar and other string instruments for some years now and I would like to be able to record and mix my own material. I would like to accomplish an OK sound, good enough to share with band members so they get the idea of the song and can learn it before we actually go to studio.


    I will mostly use samples for the drums, then record guitar, bass and vocals through the audio interface.


    With this in mind, I bought the following hardware:


    - USB M-Audio interface 2x2: I bought this through Amazon. Used it for 2 weeks and then I had some problems I think with the power source through the USB port that caused the interface to power on and off inttermittently. In other words, I could not record anything. Luckily, Amazon refunded to total of the purchase.So I bought another audio interface.
    - USB ONYX Artist 1.2: This audio interface works good so far.
    - Mic: AT2020
    - Cheap headphones / Phillips bluetooth speaker.


    For audio ouput, at first I used some cheap headphones I had at home and then exported the track to MP3 and play it through a Phillips bluetooth speaker that sounds pretty good. But, I had to constantly export files and set it to be listened in my bluetooth speaker. This was very time consuming. So, I decided to buy studio monitors. So I bought Mackies CR3 and I connect them with balanced cables.


    Since I started using the monitors I have been feeling my ears sore. The audio feels a little like needles in my ears. I do not how to put it in words.


    At this point I thought, my recordings are really bad so they sound bad and that "bad" sound is killing my ears. So, I started to listen other music, from spotify/youtube but the problem persists.


    I have tried finding a solution online and "playing with" the driver configuration with no luck.


    These raises a few questions:


    - Are these mackie's not that good and this should be expected? Or should I buy others?
    - My interface in not translating/sending good sound?
    - Since I am new to using studio monitors, my ears need to adjust to this kind of speakers?
    - There is a "Direct monitor" button on my audio interface. ¿Should this be on while using the monitors? Is it related to my problem at all?


    I hope you guys can help me. I want to continue recording and mixing but do not want to hurt my ears in the process.


    I have attached a picture of my setup here: 20190225-171405 — imgbb.com


    Thank you very much in advance!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by alonsosdp View Post
    - Are these mackie's not that good and this should be expected? Or should I buy others?
    Well, "good" is relative - and of course calling these "studio monitors" is a bit of stretch. But, they've gotten good reviews in their price range and I don't think I've seen a mention about exceptional harshness. So it does sound like there's something wrong, somewhere.

    - My interface in not translating/sending good sound?
    Unlikely. The only thing affecting the sound output from an audio interface is/are the digital-to-analog converters, and these are extremely similar-sounding, especially in the budget end of things. Back in the day there were perceivable differences, nowadays it's hard to tell one interface apart from another from the sound output alone (stuff like the built-in mic preamps are a different story).

    - Since I am new to using studio monitors, my ears need to adjust to this kind of speakers?
    Usually switching to monitor-like speakers is a moment of clarity rather than anguish Your ears adjust pretty quickly and it shouldn't be painful at any point.

    - There is a "Direct monitor" button on my audio interface. ¿Should this be on while using the monitors? Is it related to my problem at all?
    The "direct monitor" button is for recording - it allows you to listen to the signal being recorded without it passing through the converters & computer and thus bypassing latency. It shouldn't affect this at all.

    All that said, I would guess the monitors are either broken - one thing you could try is to directly connect them to another source than your computer (maybe your phone, for example?) and see if they still sound like that. If they do, it's safe to assume it's the monitors to blame. If they don't, however, then there's probably something in your computer that's affecting the overall sound output. Double check that there's no "system EQ" setting or anything like that.

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  4. #3
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    Any chance you can post a sound sample of what's hurting your ears? We won't have the same speakers to listen to, but maybe post a file from your computer, then an undistorted recording or video of the actual sound of the speakers themselves? That could help people to help you trouble-shoot the problem...


    GJ
    Gregg Juke
    Nocturnal Productions
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  6. #4
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    Thank you very much for the detailed response Krushing. I appreciate it.

    Usually switching to monitor-like speakers is a moment of clarity rather than anguish Your ears adjust pretty quickly and it shouldn't be painful at any point.
    That is exactly what I thought! Pretty disappointing since this are my first "monitors".

    rhythmgj
    Any chance you can post a sound sample of what's hurting your ears? We won't have the same speakers to listen to, but maybe post a file from your computer, then an undistorted recording or video of the actual sound of the speakers themselves? That could help people to help you trouble-shoot the problem...
    Yes, I have recorded a small video of a song played with the speakers. I am not sure if the hurting sound would transmit this way, but is worth to try.

    The link of the video is: Video mackie - TransferNow

    Also, I brought this monitors from abroad in my cabin bag. Maybe they hit and they broke?

    Thank you!

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    Can't really hear it in the video - if you listen to that video audio with headphones, do you think the harsh sound is there?

  8. #6
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    Also-- Any chance you can borrow/rent/whatever another set of speakers, switch them in, and see if the "hurt" noise is still there?


    GJ
    Gregg Juke
    Nocturnal Productions
    The Sonic Vault Recording Studio
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    Thank you both! My ears are still a little soar for the testings I have done so I think I might need to keet the speakers off for a day or two to recover. I am going to do a swap of monitors with a friend that has his home studio more equipped. He will lend me some KRK and I will put my monitors in his studio. This way I think we can actually know. If the monitors are actually bad, because of, I guess the frequencies they emit are not what they should. ¿Do you think it is possible to fix it with an EQ for my operating system? If so, how could I determine which frequencies are hurting me and which not? Do I have to set them higher or lower? Or the monitors would go to waste? Thank you very much for the help!

  10. #8
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    We need to determine if the problem is actually your monitors or not.


    GJ
    Gregg Juke
    Nocturnal Productions
    The Sonic Vault Recording Studio
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    Update

    Hello everyone,

    As an update, I have tested the KRK Rokit 5 monitors (lended by a friend) in the place I currently use my Mackies and they actually sound good, with no ear hurting. Also, I have done some testings with a windows APO Equalizer software and I have noticed that, reducing the db by -8 (approx) of frequencies from 1k to 8k has helped a lot and it does not hurt my ears anymore while I listen to music. However, this config will not pass to my DAW when I do recordings and playback from it. So I have to put a EQ en each track to reduce the db of those frequencies. It is kind of annoying. Also, the sound is not really good when I do this modifications.

    ¿Do you know what can I do to improve this situation? Thank you very much.

    Regards,

  12. #10
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    Return the monitors for a refund.


    GJ
    Gregg Juke
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