Proper Use Of Monitor Speakers

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voclizr
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Proper Use Of Monitor Speakers

Post by voclizr » Thu May 19, 2016 7:31 am

Hey!

I know this will seem like elementary home recording 101 to most of you guys and it's ridiculous for someone who's been at this as long as me, but I really only got my studio up to "perfection" only a few weeks ago and for so long I was mixing with headphones and, well, you know what I mean.

With only a small bit of "fixing" (ie, need a small bit of deep curtains for my three small windows) to do, my studio should be acoustically perfect. As you may know, I have a pair of JBL LSR308 studio monitors. My question is: How do I use them effectively to get my mixes the best they can be?

I can only get them about three feet apart from each other because my room is only 5'x12' and I need to use the short wall. The bass traps from the Auralex kit come out from the wall so much that there isn't enough room to spread them out any further, Also, on the back of each monitor there is a Hi pass and a lo pass filter.

Should I get the mixes to balance out and sound the best in these speakers? What am I looking to hear from them in a room that should now be as acoustically fit as it can be? How should I set the filters?

Thanks so much for your education.
Below is a pic of my setup from the front of the room.

Image

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AlexeiY
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Re: Proper Use Of Monitor Speakers

Post by AlexeiY » Thu May 19, 2016 12:55 pm

Hi John,
I still love your studio!
I use M-Audio Studiophile CX-5 monitor speakers in a less than ideal space, though they are farther apart than yours - about 6 feet. The CX-5's have several adjustment possibilities. One is an 'acoustic space switch' which reduces the frequencies below 200 Hz and has 3 positions: off; -2dB which is used when the speaker(s) is closer than 1 foot from the nearest wall; -4 dB which is used when the speaker(s) are within 1 foot from a corner of a room.
Actually, here's a link to the CX-5 manual. It has some useful information about monitor setup that pertains to any monitor.
http://www.maudio.nl/UserFiles/081022_CX5_UG_EN01.pdf

Cheers,
Alex
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Re: Proper Use Of Monitor Speakers

Post by Zoetrope » Fri May 20, 2016 9:07 am

The best advice I can give you is, however you set them up, whatever switches you flick, you need to calibrate your ears to this new setup. Play some music on them that you know very well, that you've heard a million times on a million systems, and that you know in your head what it should sound like. When you listen on this system, make a mental check list. How is the treble, how are the mid tones, how is the bass? More than I expected, less? This will give you a good idea of where this set up is lacking or might trick you into EQing something that doesn't need it.

Use your headphones as an additional reference. How does the sound compare? What's different. What mistakes could this lead to when mixing?

This sort of active listening and "brain calibration" will get you 80-90% of the way there. Then it's just doing mixes and listening to them on multiple systems and learning what else you need to take into account when mixing with this set up.

Remember, no set up is perfect. The goal is to have it sound as good as possible on as many different set ups as possible, including a crappy cell phone speaker, a car stereo, an elevator, a disco in the 70s, a dance club in 2016, airplane headphones, etc. It will not sound the same on all these, but should always sound "good", whatever that means. :)
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Re: Proper Use Of Monitor Speakers

Post by voclizr » Sat May 21, 2016 8:28 am

AlexeiY wrote:Hi John,
I still love your studio!
Even sans Carrie Underwood?! :shock:
That's saying something. ;)

Anyway, thanks Alex and Zo for your tips. In hindsight, maybe I should've gotten the 305s instead, but at the time I wasn't thinking about acoustic treatment.

:D
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Re: Proper Use Of Monitor Speakers

Post by AlexeiY » Sat May 21, 2016 11:38 am

voclizr wrote: Even sans Carrie Underwood?! :shock:
That's saying something. ;)
Remember, you must focus on your music... :lol:
voclizr wrote: maybe I should've gotten the 305s instead, but at the time I wasn't thinking about acoustic treatment.
I know what you mean about hindsight. Best to move on and file the thought away for the future, though that advice doesn't always work for me :?

Cheers,
Alex
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Re: Proper Use Of Monitor Speakers

Post by minerman » Mon May 23, 2016 7:38 pm

Hey JB,
Like already mentioned you just need to get used to your monitors the same way you had to get used to your headphones when you got a new pair. The more you use 'em, the better you'll get a knowing what/what not to do in your mixes...

For me, the more listening sources, the better. Listen in your car, on your home stereo, boom box, earbuds, etc. When you get to a point it sounds good on basically all of 'em, you're there. I will admit, my experience is a lot of trial/error, but you'll get there eventually...


I've got a question about your home: Why can't you turn the basement into a full-blown studio??? Looking at the pic of the basement, I counted, & it looks to be about 12 cinder blocks high, that's about 10-12', right??? I know you'd have to concrete or build the floor, but if it's that high, you'd still have enough room...Just a thought...

Cool looking setup, glad you're still doing the music thing too. I know if I couldn't piddle with my music on a daily basis, I'd go nuts... :lol:
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Re: Proper Use Of Monitor Speakers

Post by voclizr » Mon May 23, 2016 8:47 pm

minerman wrote:Hey JB,

I've got a question about your home: Why can't you turn the basement into a full-blown studio??? Looking at the pic of the basement, I counted, & it looks to be about 12 cinder blocks high, that's about 10-12', right??? I know you'd have to concrete or build the floor, but if it's that high, you'd still have enough room...Just a thought...
A few reasons. One of them being there's only one electrical outlet which is right next to the service panel. This is in a bad area, directly below the water outlet pipes. All it would take would be one small leak and goodbye to my investments. I wanted to ask the electrician to put in more outlets when the addition was being built last summer (in which case, it would've been free) but I forgot. :roll:

Another thing is I'm paranoid that the waterproofing will give and destroy my gear. Even though I got another 6 years on the warranty, that's not enough. I feel safer with it on the main floor.

Thanks for the tips (everybody).

;) :D
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John B
Lenovo Core i5 4460 Desktop PC (Windows 8 64 bit), Focusrite Scarlett 6i6, Nektar LX61 Keyboard MIDI Controller, Avantone Pro CV-12 tube condenser microphone, JBL LSR308 8" active monitors.
Cakewalk by Bandlab, Reason 7,
NI Session Strings, Vintage Organs & Strummed Acoustic Guitar, Miroslav Philharmonic, Garritan JABB 3, Toontrack EZ Keys & EZ Drummer 2, Trillan Bass Module, Arturia DX7 V FM synthesizer

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