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Old 2013-01-27, 14:22
Heliophile's Avatar
Heliophile Heliophile is offline
 
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Good monitors sound too pretty, please help!

I'm having trouble choosing some decent nearfield monitors for my project studio. My idea of a good monitor is that its output is very direct, clean and neutral and it reveals any flaws in my mixes. I listened to many speakers in a large music store, but it turned out that the most neutral (and direct and clean) sounding monitors in my budget (I liked the KRK VXT8 and a certain Genelec model) actually made my mixes sound prettier. They seemed to obscure the flaws in my mixes! The cheaper speakers, that audibly had some problems in their frequency response (for example KRK Rokit series), did help me to distinguish more between a good commercial mix and my own mixes.

Have any of you encountered the same dillema and how did you solve it? Are there any monitors (below say €1250 a pair) that combine a neutral frequency response with a more brutal representation of the shortcomings of a mix?
  #2  
Old 2013-01-27, 15:15
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ryszard ryszard is offline
 
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Maybe you actually have good mixes?
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  #3  
Old 2013-01-27, 16:28
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Heliophile Heliophile is offline
 
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That's what I'd love to think of course :-).
But oddly, when playing back my mixes in my car or through a cheap hifi set, I hear more clearly that they sound much hollower than commercial mixes, the bass is way too loud or too soft, the highs sound too harsh, and so on.
  #4  
Old 2013-01-27, 17:29
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BoddAH BoddAH is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heliophile View Post
That's what I'd love to think of course :-).
But oddly, when playing back my mixes in my car or through a cheap hifi set, I hear more clearly that they sound much hollower than commercial mixes, the bass is way too loud or too soft, the highs sound too harsh, and so on.
Maybe you should mix in your car then!

Joking aside I suspect some commercial mixes to be intentionally "dumbed" down with consumer speakers in mind.

The monitors you cited are supposed to be pretty damn good an neutral and if your mix sounds good on them it probably *objectively* is on PERFECT spakers (i.e. your monitors).

It won't be on some others though. There's only 2 ways around this issue.

1. Try your mixes on various consumer-grade speaker setups and adjust your mix accordingly to have a good compromise that sounds good enough on all of them (yes it IS time consuming and frustrating), alternatively try something like http://global.focusrite.com/usb-audi...rfaces/vrm-box

2. Dumb your mix down. Make something that's just complex enough to be musically interesting but simple enough to get the musical point across on any speaker configuration. If your mix is too elaborate, it may sound just the way you want on professional monitors but much worse on anything else.

Edit: Maybe "dumb down" isn't exactly correct. What I mean is that you have to keep in mind the limitations of (sometimes) pretty crappy consumer speakers. Very subtle elements in a crowded mix may get lost with poor speakers. A complex mix may sound muddy and confused, sometimes it's better to have a more straightforward approach.

Avoid mixing too high and too low frequencies. A sick bass drum with no high-end at all for instance may sound cool on monitors or Hi-fi speakers with a subwoofer, but be completely inaudible on TV, laptop, or desktop computer speakers. Better to give that BD some more meat and high frequencies to make sure you can at least somewhat hear it on cheap speakers, etc.

Last edited by BoddAH; 2013-01-27 at 18:05.
  #5  
Old 2013-01-27, 22:55
Heliophile's Avatar
Heliophile Heliophile is offline
 
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Thanks for your suggestions, Boddah! I guess a good mix is one that also sounds good when cheap systems and/or poorly treated rooms take stuff away from it.
Have you personally tried the VRM box? Does it do what they promise?
  #6  
Old 2013-01-28, 00:32
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BoddAH BoddAH is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heliophile View Post
Thanks for your suggestions, Boddah! I guess a good mix is one that also sounds good when cheap systems and/or poorly treated rooms take stuff away from it.
Have you personally tried the VRM box? Does it do what they promise?
Yes I do own the VRM Box and use it a lot. For trying out different (virtual) reference speakers and even for standard mixing at night or on the go when I'm not in my home studio.

It works very well and for the price I think every producer should have it in his toolbox. It's pretty amazing technology.
  #7  
Old 2013-01-27, 20:05
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raymondh raymondh is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heliophile View Post
I'm having trouble choosing some decent nearfield monitors for my project studio. My idea of a good monitor is that its output is very direct, clean and neutral and it reveals any flaws in my mixes. I listened to many speakers in a large music store, but it turned out that the most neutral (and direct and clean) sounding monitors in my budget (I liked the KRK VXT8 and a certain Genelec model) actually made my mixes sound prettier. They seemed to obscure the flaws in my mixes! The cheaper speakers, that audibly had some problems in their frequency response (for example KRK Rokit series), did help me to distinguish more between a good commercial mix and my own mixes.

Have any of you encountered the same dillema and how did you solve it? Are there any monitors (below say €1250 a pair) that combine a neutral frequency response with a more brutal representation of the shortcomings of a mix?
I have newish VXT-6s, and I find the same. They sound really nice, and don't force me to mix well (something I am still learning to do).

There are four things I'm doing to deal with this:
1. Building a cheap mono powered speaker to also mix in mono on limited bandwidth speaker (with no crossover frequency)
2. using some cheap PC speakers as well to mix and hear what my tracks sound like on speakers people are more likely to use
3. trying to learn how to listen and really study the mix, comparing with reference tracks etc. The VXTs are revealing speakers, not a traffic light that tells me whether the mix is good. Up to me now to develop the skills to interpret the mix.
4. reading up on mixing

I think it is good if you like the sound of your monitors, because you're more likely to use them for listening to other music you enjoy, therefore you can get a better appreciation of how music should sound on those speakers. That's a hypothesis, I'm still a long way to prove it!!

cheers
Raymond
 

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