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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!

I'm thinking on maybe getting a good pair of monitor speakers to use them when mixing songs; as some of the mixes I've made sound good using my home sound system speakers, but not that good when I play them in the car, for example. I know it's not good to use a sound stereo speakers 'cause they have filters and are made to actually sound good; but I have no other way right now...

So, what do you all use?

Ben
 

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I basically start with a pair of small JBL monitors. I use these 99% of the time if I am just putting guitars over a BT. On other occasions, I then take a 2nd step and fine tune with a pair of large Cerwin Vega home stereo speakers, which have more midrange and low end. I usually stop there, but if it's something I want to put a lot of effort into, I burn the recording onto a CDR and move to another room where I play several mixes over a very large home theater system consisting of a Carver 1200W main amp connected to a pair of Legacy Focus reference speakers (which are some of the best home speakers I have ever heard at any price IMO). These speakers have been used by many sound engineers to do final mastering i.e. Bob Rock or Quincy Jones.

If I still feel the need to fine tune the bass, I throw the CDR into my SUV that has 5 Rockford Fosgate amps with over 2700Watts of thump.....it works fine for that.


Sorry for the long response.....but you asked.
 

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Ben,

Getting some good monitors will definately help out, but you may go out and buy really nice monitors, mix a song, and then realize it still sounds bad in the car. My post doesn't really have much of a point other than once you get your monitors, realize that it won't be an instant solution.

Eric
 

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I paid $250 for my Yamaha MSP-3 monitors and am very happy with them. Here's the write up on the new MSP-5:

Ultra-compact enclosures allow easy placement. Small face print makes them very accurate for "point source" listening. Hookup is quick and easy with both XLR and 1/4" phone jacks available. Plus you'll get 67 combined watts of biamped monitor power. The custom designed 5" woofer and 1" titanium tweeter offer excellent response, separation and durability. The MSP5's dome tweeter, surrounded by a wave guide horn offers a broad coverage area of 120 degrees. Two separate amplifiers powering the woofer and tweeter means incredibly low distortion levels. A total of 67 watts, 40 to the woofer and 27 to the tweeter, generates a much larger sound field than would normally be expected from a system of this size.

Flat frequency response out to 40kHz makes the MSP5 great for mastering, where high sample and bit rates are the norm. The smooth circular horn surrounding the tweeter delivers uniform dispersion without distortion or coloration. Complete magnetic shielding and compact size permits easy placement near all types of audio, video and computer equipment. The MSP5's 4 position EQ switch for low frequency and 3 position switch for high frequency match the system's response to the acoustic environment.

Features:
Compact 2-way, biamped, bass-reflex monitor system
Built-in 67-watt amplifier
5" woofer and 1" titanium tweeter
Two line inputs
Balanced XLR, balanced 1/4" and unbalanced RCA jack inputs
4-position EQ switch for low frequencies; 3-position for high frequencies
Magnetic shielding
Frequency response: 50Hz-40kHz
Size: 6-5/8"w x 11"h x 8-3/4"d. Wt. 16.5 lbs. ea.
 

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I use Mackie HR 824s. My mixes got way more accurate after getting those. I still had to learn its charecteristics compared to other systems. I still check every mix in about 3-4 systems and rooms. Real studio monitors will help.
 

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I'm just about to get my studio up and running and I'm going to try out a pair of Mordaunt Short speakers as close monitoring and my Dad has an ancient pair of real wooden Sony speakers that I'm gonna give a try going thru an ancient valve Teac amplifier. None of this stuff is maybe pro audio but I'm hoping it'll add some warmth. The Mordaunt Shorts are excellent speakers but I'd probably look at an old pair of Alesis Monitor 1's if it doesn't work out.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
coolez said:
Ben,

Getting some good monitors will definately help out, but you may go out and buy really nice monitors, mix a song, and then realize it still sounds bad in the car. My post doesn't really have much of a point other than once you get your monitors, realize that it won't be an instant solution.

Eric

[/ QUOTE ]

BTW, a good engineering trick is to put your mix down onto a tape or cd and go and play it in the car to see if you're getting all the frequencies coming thru. Digital radio is helping the sound get bigger but it's still a good way to check your stuff out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
[ QUOTE ]
wahwah said:

BTW, a good engineering trick is to put your mix down onto a tape or cd and go and play it in the car to see if you're getting all the frequencies coming thru. Digital radio is helping the sound get bigger but it's still a good way to check your stuff out.


[/ QUOTE ]

Wahwah,

Yeah... that's what I've been doing now (since I currently don't have monitors)... I have a minidisc player that I can play in my car stereo, so I use it to test the mix.....

Thanks all for your help!

Ben
 

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Bckwds Traveller said:
Hi all!

I'm thinking on maybe getting a good pair of monitor speakers to use them when mixing songs; as some of the mixes I've made sound good using my home sound system speakers, but not that good when I play them in the car, for example. I know it's not good to use a sound stereo speakers 'cause they have filters and are made to actually sound good; but I have no other way right now...

So, what do you all use?

Ben
Bc, what the others told you is all good. Just remember it's still not a sure thing. Here's why. Even though a monitor will give flat response, (which is what you want in the studio) it all depends on the room, and where the speakers are placed. The best bet...if you are serious about this....is to get a set of flat response monitors, a 31 band stereo EQ and have a room equalization done.

A guy will come out to your house with a machine that will tell you all the frequencies your room is missing, or adding too much of. He does this by cranking up your system to where it hisses or blows out "pink noise". This is monitored through his machine, and it will give a print out. Once he see's what you need, or what needs to be taken care of, you hook that 31 band Eq in line, and he will set it so the frequencies are all perfect. Once this is done, you never touch that EQ or the placement of those monitors again. If you do, you have to get this process redone.

They usually come to your house/studio and perform this service for about $75. This is one of the most important investments you can make in ANY studio...whether it be a basic home studio, or a professional one. I get this done once a year just to keep things flat. Anything played through my speakers in my studio, sounds the way I mixed it on ANY system...and this is what you want.

You will drive yourself insane making great mixes in your room, only to bring them out to your car or a buds house....and cringe at your results. This is due to the room sucking up, or not having the right EQ curve. Most rooms suck up bass from 160k on down. Thhis makes us add more bass to our mixes because we think we are lacking bass. We listen to the tune somewhere else, and want to throw up. This room EQ I talked about will solve 95% of your mixing problems, and don't let anyone tell you any different. This is the industry standard and something you should have done. A good pair of flat monitors, a Rane stereo 31 band EQ and the room EQ should cost a total of $1000 or less. A very cheap price to pay for something you love doing, are struggling with due to room limitations and because of all the time we can put into mixing one freakin' song. I know that pain very well....I've been there myself.

But I sincerely promise you....the above will improve your mixes. Once you get this done, it is upto you to train your ear for the room. Good headphones are also essential for stereo field placement. AKG 240 DF's are the most incredible, flat response phones I've ever used. It's very important to have at least one killer set of them. Stay away from the industry standard Sony MDR 7506. People swear by them, but they actually add bass, and are extremely loud. Very good for drummers that need to have things in their phones extremely loud. But terrible for mixing. Just a few tips for you to consider. Best of luck!
 

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Danny Danzi said:
Good headphones are also essential for stereo field placement. AKG 240 DF's are the most incredible, flat response phones I've ever used. It's very important to have at least one killer set of them.
Now I know what I want for Christmas :)
 

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I'd be more apt to run into a decent amplifier as opposed to counting on monitors (powered or not).
I find I get a lot less discoloration running into a quality amplifier !
 

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I'd be more apt to run into a decent amplifier as opposed to counting on monitors (powered or not).
I find I get a lot less discoloration running into a quality amplifier !
Hamer, just remember....if the room is not set up correctly and the monitors are giving you a false representation, the power amp won't make as much of a difference as you may think. Of course the best bet is to get a power amp designed for proper recording playback, but the right monitors and room make all the difference.

There's a product out that I feel is essential in the recording environment by Ik Multimedia. It's called ARC. It can make any set of monitors in any room sound fantastic. It's a bit pricey, but to me well worth it if all my recording issues go away...which they have completely. I've even brought back monitors that I haven't used in years because of this. Check it out if you get a minute at http://www.ikmultimedia.com/arc/ and look up testimonials to see what I had to say about it. It's the most powerful tool of the decade as far as I'm concerned. :)
 

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Lots of good info in here and I'll toss in my 2 cents.

I mix on a set of M-Audio BX8a's (still saving up for those Adam or Genelecs!)

And will listen to the mix on my wife's klipsch desktop setup, my home theater in my den my laptop speakers and finally in my car and take notes the whole time on each setup noting what is too loud, what's not loud enough, what frequencies are overbearing and which ones aren't loud enough, etc... then will go and tweak then listen again.

I think most importantly (and not sure if it has or hasn't been mentioned yet) is to occasinoally take a break. go grab something to eat, chill out outside away from any noise or music or anything like that to let your ears rest. If it's getting late in the afternoon, your mind and ears will be fatigued anyways and listening to music at the dB's often needed to get a good mix out of a studio setup can fatigue your brain and ears so if it's late in the day, go get sleep and hit it again the next day with a fresh set of ears.

And don't be scared to have friends listen and critique the mix. That's been a big help for me as well. Different ears hear different problems or good things in a mix.
 

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Danni Danzi has given good advice. Studio monitors are called reference monitors because they are supposed to reproduce exactly what goes into them ie a 'flat' response. They are not hi fidelity like home stereo speakers, and the amps that drive them. For an engineer to work with sound he/she needs to hear exactly what is recorded with no (or specific-read expensive gear) 'colouration' of the signal from any component in the signal chain beginning to end. Once the sound comes out of 'the end' (speakers) then you've got the room ambiance to deal with as Danni Danzi has relayed.

As for HamerPrototype's comment, all I can say is what's the use of having a good amp and not so good monitors, or vice versa? They both depend on each other so are both needed in the signal chain. One piece of advice is that any system is only as good as it's weakest link.
 

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Oh I forgot to say....the room is part of the link.

Perhaps the most common weak link in the chain is the person listening at the end. I guess that's why it takes years to master audio engineering, and why certain engineers are sought out by major artists.

Hmmmm... I'll keep on trying anyway!
 
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