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Which Selection and Types of Studios Monitors For Mixing?

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I will preface this by saying I have an opinion on this formed over 25+ years as a mix engineer. Just looking to discuss in an open forum what approach other experienced engineers use.

In my view, one studio monitor is doable for mixing, but having two or three can be a big benefit when mixing. The change of perspective can be a healthy challenge.

For example, a robust set with ample bass, high sound pressure levels, impressive clarity, and a superb stereo image. Then contrast this with the extreme simplicity of a single-driver, narrow-bandwidth monitor akin to the Auratone. Particularly in mono, such a monitor can be immensely helpful in achieving balance, mirroring the utility of NS10s in this regard.

In my setup, I utilise a compact set of IK Multimedia iLouds. While these monitors may initially pose trust issues during the initial stages of mixing due to their limitations in handling bass and tendency to distort at higher volumes, I've found that these drawbacks force me to intricately shape the low-end. This process, I believe, adds a significant benefit to my mixes, making them more translatable and realistic in diverse listening environments. Additionally, the iLouds excel in evaluating vocal balance, contributing to the overall precision of my mixes.

:cool:
 

staticV3

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In my setup, I utilise a compact set of IK Multimedia iLouds. While these monitors may initially pose trust issues during the initial stages of mixing due to their limitations in handling bass and tendency to distort at higher volumes, I've found that these drawbacks force me to intricately shape the low-end. This process, I believe, adds a significant benefit to my mixes, making them more translatable and realistic in diverse listening environments.
Have you tried testing this hypothesis?

To me at least, intricately shaping the low end to suit the flaws of one particular loudspeaker does not sound like a very good way of achieving a sound that translates well to a variety of playback devices.

Just like pro colorists do their work on perfect reference monitors instead of their kid's Fire tablet, I wish the music I listen to was mixed on a similarly perfect sound system.
 

dasdoing

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Just like pro colorists do their work on perfect reference monitors instead of their kid's Fire tablet, I wish the music I listen to was mixed on a similarly perfect sound system.

that's not a good analogy. Imagine Fire Tablets couldn't do the green color. You would have to make pictures work on them somehow and your perfect reference monitors won't show you how.
 
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Have you tried testing this hypothesis?

Yes countless times.

To me at least, intricately shaping the low end to suit the flaws of one particular loudspeaker does not sound like a very good way of achieving a sound that translates well to a variety of playback devices.

Just like pro colorists do their work on perfect reference monitors instead of their kid's Fire tablet, I wish the music I listen to was mixed on a similarly perfect sound system.

You have misunderstood the process, the smaller monitors show me something that I may have missed on my more full-range main monitors. I make adjustments that make the less capable monitors smoother, and sound very similar on the mains. Talking about refinement not reworking.

After all, a lot of clients listen on smaller speakers, cars, soundbars, BT etc etc

This is in essence why having alternative monitors can be of benefit.
 
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that's not a good analogy. Imagine Fire Tablets couldn't do the green color. You would have to make pictures work on them somehow and your perfect reference monitors won't show you how.

Exactly!
 

Geert

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Then contrast this with the extreme simplicity of a single-driver, narrow-bandwidth monitor akin to the Auratone. Particularly in mono, such a monitor can be immensely helpful in achieving balance, mirroring the utility of NS10s in this regard.

Note that we already have more than a 100 pages discussing the Auratone and NS10's in the associated review threads. Don't think we want to starts these ugly discussions all over again.
 

staticV3

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Not sure how that link is helpful here tbh. There's nothing about your hypothesis on there (at least that I can find).

You have misunderstood the process, the smaller monitors show me something that I may have missed on my more full-range main monitors. I make adjustments that make the less capable monitors smoother, and sound very similar on the mains.
But where and how do you draw the line?
Surely a large part of those that consume your work use their iPhone's built-in speakers. So do you match your mains to those? If not, why?
What makes the iLoud the right target?
 

Geert

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In my setup, I utilise a compact set of IK Multimedia iLouds. While these monitors may initially pose trust issues during the initial stages of mixing due to their limitations in handling bass and tendency to distort at higher volumes, I've found that these drawbacks force me to intricately shape the low-end.

I use the same monitors for the same purpose.

To me at least, intricately shaping the low end to suit the flaws of one particular loudspeaker does not sound like a very good way of achieving a sound that translates well to a variety of playback devices.

Not accounting for certain limitations of small speakers will certainly not improve translation. Note that the iLoud's have a flat frequency respons, so it's not a matter of shaping the bass to a unique diverging response, it's more a matter of accounting for limited dynamics.

What makes the iLoud the right target?

Because that target is flat. And in the end, you need to choose something to work with. I think lots of people will appreciate we're no longer Auratones for this purpose.
 
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But where and how do you draw the line?
Surely a large part of those that consume your work use their iPhone's built-in speakers. So do you match your mains to those? If not, why?
What makes the iLoud the right target?


I appreciate your counterpoints, however you are making it into a bigger thing than it really is - I am curious why? Regarding the iLouds, a quick check suggests that tweaking the sidechaining effect on the bass in electronic productions or making subtle adjustments to the bass drum's resonance could enhance the overall low-end, resulting in a more cohesive and confident sound. I've observed positive outcomes on both my consumer soundbar and my previous car stereo, etc and the time investment for these tweaks is minimal.

In terms of phone speakers, I've found that ensuring a smooth mid-range is crucial, a lesson learned from sending mixes to iPhone speakers with the Audreio app. It's a little extra effort that I, as a full-time mix engineer, find worthwhile.

Shifting gears, I'm curious about your perspective on an ideal selection of speakers for a mixing studio?
 

staticV3

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I appreciate your counterpoints, however you are making it into a bigger thing than it really is - I am curious why?
Hm, I suppose my motivation is that:

A: I believe in Sean Olive theory of a circle of confusion, which in this case would be represented by content creators adapting their work to consumer products and manufacturers adapting their consumer products to the created content. Like a dog chasing its own tail, so to say.

B: as an enthusiastic consumer of audio content, I would hate my efforts in creating a neutral and we'll extended playback environment be negated by creators optimizing their work for lesser systems.

My concern is that if your mixes are designed to sound very similar on both your low BW iLoud and your (presumably) high BW mains, then they will inevitably make my high BW system sound like iLouds.

In other words, I think there is value in designing your bassline to be audible even if you high-pass it to simulate a basic speaker.

But making it sound very similar, high-passed or not, would make your mixes sound worse and worse as consumer audio products get better and creators take advantage of the increased capabilities.
 
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Geert

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I appreciate your counterpoints, however you are making it into a bigger thing than it really is - I am curious why? Regarding the iLouds, a quick check suggests that tweaking the sidechaining effect on the bass in electronic productions or making subtle adjustments to the bass drum's resonance could enhance the overall low-end, resulting in a more cohesive and confident sound. I've observed positive outcomes on both my consumer soundbar and my previous car stereo, etc and the time investment for these tweaks is minimal.

What people don't want to hear is that we use alternative speakers mainly to doublecheck, and optimize in a non destructive way.

My concern is that if your mixes are designed to sound very similar on both your low BW iLoud and your (presumably) high BW mains, then they will inevitably make my high BW system sound like iLouds. In other words, I think there is value in designing your bassline to be audible even if you high-pass it to simulate a basic speaker. But making it so that it sounds very similar, high-passed or not, would make your mixes sound worse and worse as consumer audio products get better and creators take advantage of the increased capabilities.

Except that we don't try to have them sound similar. If so we wouldn't invest in >25k main monitors. What we check is if the notion of bass is still there on speakers with a restricted low end. The kind of speakers al lot of people listen to ...

This is the FR of the iLouds. I believe lots of people listen to music on speakers with a less capable low end.
iloudmm_frequency_response@2x.jpg
 
OP
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OP apparently does:

That is a misrepresentation taken out of context, full sentence in bold for accurate representation "and sound very similar on the mains." Put another way, and still sound very similar on the mains as before checking on smaller speakers.

Do you advocate for relying solely on a single monitoring source for mixing? I respect that approach but it does have drawbacks in my experience; namely not having a backup set that I know and use regularly, should my mains stop working as every working day I have mixes lined up.

There are obviously various individual methods to achieve effective results. Personally, I primarily mix using one pair of monitors, but I also incorporate alternative monitors to challenge myself and gain a different perspective. The raison d'etre for creating this thread.
 
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Note that we already have more than a 100 pages discussing the Auratone and NS10's in the associated review threads. Don't think we want to starts these ugly discussions all over again.

Please excuse me, I am new here. That said, I am not looking specifically at lo-fi alternative speaker options.
 

staticV3

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That is a misrepresentation taken out of context
Really?

"and sound very similar on the mains" is an accurate representation,
but
"and sound very similar on the mains" is a misrepresentation, taken out of context?

C'mon man.
 

nagster

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I will preface this by saying I have an opinion on this formed over 25+ years as a mix engineer. Just looking to discuss in an open forum what approach other experienced engineers use.

In my view, one studio monitor is doable for mixing, but having two or three can be a big benefit when mixing. The change of perspective can be a healthy challenge.

For example, a robust set with ample bass, high sound pressure levels, impressive clarity, and a superb stereo image. Then contrast this with the extreme simplicity of a single-driver, narrow-bandwidth monitor akin to the Auratone. Particularly in mono, such a monitor can be immensely helpful in achieving balance, mirroring the utility of NS10s in this regard.

In my setup, I utilise a compact set of IK Multimedia iLouds. While these monitors may initially pose trust issues during the initial stages of mixing due to their limitations in handling bass and tendency to distort at higher volumes, I've found that these drawbacks force me to intricately shape the low-end. This process, I believe, adds a significant benefit to my mixes, making them more translatable and realistic in diverse listening environments. Additionally, the iLouds excel in evaluating vocal balance, contributing to the overall precision of my mixes.

:cool:
For that purpose, it seems possible to achieve it only with genelec ones, for example. Add sub if necessary.

>> narrow-bandwidth monitor
How about inserting LPF and HPF?

>> limitations in handling bass and tendency to distort at higher volumes,
How about lowering the volume or inserting a compressor/limiter?
 
OP
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Really?

"and sound very similar on the mains" is an accurate representation,
but
"and sound very similar on the mains" is a misrepresentation, taken out of context?

C'mon man.

You are doing it again, and leaving out the previous and post text so it's out of context - let's just park that...

I aim to make my mixes sound amazing on full-range speakers and spend a little time to sound amazing on less capable speakers too. Simple really.

Ever heard of checking the mix in the car?
 
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For that purpose, it seems possible to achieve it only with genelec ones, for example. Add sub if necessary.

>> narrow-bandwidth monitor
How about inserting LPF and HPF?

>> limitations in handling bass and tendency to distort at higher volumes,
How about lowering the volume or inserting a compressor/limiter?

For me, it is not the same and not about bandwidth but more about the complete package of different monitors.

Making a mix sound great on a 'choice' selection of monitors can make for a more transferrable mix. I am only talking about 2 or 3 speaker sets, plus headphones.

It is also for me a psychological trick, a change is as good as a rest and so forth.
 

Geert

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Ever heard of checking the mix in the car?

I know you mean well, but be aware you're again waving a red cape in front of a bull ;)

(Edit: with bull meaning this science oriented forum in general, not specific people).
 
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