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Thread: Disappointed with track result, using studio monitors...

  1. #1
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    Disappointed with track result, using studio monitors...

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    Here is a little story about a little guy with a crappy soundcard and two big speakers:

    My hi-fi system is every parents and every close neighbor’s true nightmare! It’s a huge pair of speakers which contains two 10” bass elements, one 5” middle tone element and a 2” tweeter in each case – powered with a huge amplifier. In addition to that I got a 15” subwoofer! These monsters were actually my studio monitors up to a point at some weeks ago! They where connected to a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 soundcard. Well, I did all the mastering and production on this system, and I got really satisfied with the end result! Everyone said so to! The problem was that the sound was some different at some other speakers, like those in the car, the CD boom box and some other places. I went into some forums, like this one, and asked why.

    It’s critical to use a pair of two good studio monitors, I was told, because they have a flat frequency response which gives you much more control during producing. Actually; they said that if I get the sound nice on two studio monitors, the track will sound nice everywhere! And I also had to use a pro soundcard!

    Then I bought this! I bought my self a pair of Alesis Monitor One MK2 active and a Hammerfall DSP soundcard; HDSP 9632.

    Then I sat my self down and started to create a mix. I did the whole mix and mastered it as good as I could with my new studio monitors. But then came the real shock; the mix sounded REALLY crappy and bad mastered at many different speakers! The synth bass line was rumbling and fighting with the bass drum. The mid tone was gone. The treble was also very bad adjusted. The whole mix sounded almost as it was randomly mastered by a three year old child.

    Well, in the end I had to re-master the whole mix at my huge speakers, and suddenly the mix sounded way better, even at many different speakers!

    Right now I can’t see the point of using big bucks on two small monitors. I would really appreciate being proved wrong here, because I’ve spent a lot of cash on these two suckers...

    !

    CubbyHouse

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    rule number 1:
    Know thy monitors!

    how can you make any decent judgement about mixes before you've got to know the monitors response? It takes time, but i'm sure you'll get used to the monitors & produce good mixes.

    also... the room, layout, furnishings, monitor position & many other things, will massively affect how you hear the sound from your monitors. Makee sure you have them set up correctly and in a suitable room too...



    MM

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    check out this article for example:

    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995...5abef48c5b0002


    and this one too...


    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/May0...ioinstal4.asp?

    hope that helps



    MM
    Last edited by messyman; 11-14-2003 at 01:00 PM.

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    As those articles that messyman point out the room you mix in can really affect the outcome. Nearfield monitors are supposed to help overcome that but that is not very true.

    But standing waves, axial modes and early relfections are going to still be in the room no matter what speakers you use.

    You can get good mixes in a bad room but the work is a lot harder. Which means mix, burn, run out to the car, tweak, burn, play it on the neighbors stereo, tweak, burn etc.

    Some bass traps, diffusors and acoustic foam can really make a difference when place in the right spots. In essence, they level out the frequency response of the room. An no, a graphic equalizer cannot solve this problem, it will only mask one and allow another to pop up, plus introduce comb filtering.

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    The reason why you get near-field with fairly flat response is becasue they work as a point of reference, which is why they are also called "reference monitors".

    The idea is that you can hear what is actually recorded on the tape (or on the hard-drive, as the case may be) ... and not whatever 'coloration' is added by your speakers. The idea is 'transparency' of sound.

    Every speaker system in home audio, car stereo, headphones, etc. has a different response. Over time, you learn how to create a good 'reference mix' which sounds good no matter what system you play it on.

    Many studio have a number of additional 'piece of crap' speakers which they use as an additional reference point. Some will even have several such sets, and even cars in a room with different stereos installed, or "mock living rooms" with a medium-quality stereo installed. They check their mixes against all of these different setups to make sure that it sounds reasonably good with all of them.

    I don't know many people who can afford taht kind of setup! For myself, I burn a CD and then go play it in both my Toyota Corolla and my wife's Honda Minivan. Then I check it on my kids $30 boombox and the nice Bose system in the front room. I take notes from those listening tests, to see if there is any consistancy from situation to situation ... because that's where the problems are found.

    Over time you learn how a particular reference mix relates to those "real world" situations and lean less and less on running around with a CD!

    This part of the craftsmanship you are learning. It's kind of how you look at a paint sample in the store, and then you paint your living room ... and it looks great ... and then it dries ... and then you notive that it is too harse looking under the lights in the kitchen! The paint didn't change colors on you, the light and other factors changed.

    Sound is very similar.

    Advice? Stick with your studio monitors and practice, practice, practice.

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by dansgold


    Every speaker system in home audio, car stereo, headphones, etc. has a different response. Over time, you learn how to create a good 'reference mix' which sounds good no matter what system you play it on.


    I think it's impossible to make Trance music sound good "no matter what system you play it on", unless you're a magician...

    Why should it be a goal to make a track of hard pumpin 145bpm Trance music sound good on a pair of high-end speakers made for classical music ?

    Therefore I think it's a wrong approach trying to make the Trance music sound good on "any system". Instead, make it sound good on a pair of speakers made for Techno/Trance, and it will sound as good on any speaker system in that category.

    I think the goal should be to produce Trance music that sounds "awesome" on speakers made for Trance music instead of sounding "average" on any speaker system. I would have chopped the studio monitors in half whith an axe and then go back to the big speaker system you used before.


    Vic20

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    OK
    slightly off topic here but...
    why are Yamaha NS10s the best selling most ubiquitous studio monitors in the world? Is it because of their stunningly accurate and flat response? Because of their clarity and detail? NO!
    They are the best selling and most widely used because they're just fairly accurate and give a relatively good approximation of how things will sound on the "average system". Essentially if you can get your mix to sound right on them, then it'll sound OK in the car, OK on your dad's 5 grand Nakaimichi stereo and OK on you 200 dollar Aiwa mini system... etc

    And basically, that's what artists and engineers want (on the whole). Most people listen to music on hifi's that are just average and many are less than average, in terms of quality and fidelity.

    Because you don't know where or what the listener is gonna hear your tunes on, you try to create a mix that sounds OK or maybe even good on everything. If you start trying to create mixes that sound superb on one particlar kind of system like a club system or "speakers made for Trance music" (whatever the fvck they are), then it'll sound sh¡t if it ever get's played in the car or on the radio etc.

    If you want your music to sound good wherever you play it, then you have to create an "average" mix. i.e. one that doesn't require specialist speakers, subs amps etc

    Everyone obviously want to create the best sounding songs they can, but by trying to tailor the mix to suit just one kind of stereo, you could alienate a lot of potential listeners....



    MM
    Last edited by messyman; 11-15-2003 at 04:00 AM.

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by messyman
    ... why are Yamaha NS10s the best selling most ubiquitous studio monitors in the world? Is it because of their stunningly accurate and flat response? Because of their clarity and detail? NO!
    They are the best selling and most widely used because they're just fairly accurate and give a relatively good approximation of how things will sound on the "average system". Essentially if you can get your mix to sound right on them, then it'll sound OK in the car, OK on your dad's 5 grand Nakaimichi stereo and OK on you 200 dollar Aiwa mini system... etc
    Right ... and those are a good addition to nay studio setup. I still think it's best to have a reference set as well. The reason is that on anything else (including the NS10s) you don't get quite the seperation or clarity that you do with a good set of near-fields.

    It works like this:
    You listen to something on the NS10s and notice that your midrange sounds "muddy" and "indistinct". You can't really hear what is causing the problem on the NS10s. You go to your near-fields so that you can more clearly hear what is going on in that part of the mix ... and you can hear that the bass has too much of a midrange peak ... so that's what you cut a bit. You go back to the NS10s to make sure that you've fixed the problem for a "normal stereo".

  9. #9
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    yeh i agree 100% I'm not for a second suggesting that anyone should use NS10s as their sole monitor.. just saying that their ability to show engineers how tunes will sound on the average system has been their selling strength

    MM

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