Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

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The Scum
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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by The Scum » Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:50 pm

With those fabric wrapped traps, try putting them so they straddle the corners of the room at a 45-deg angle...even just resting on the floor.

I'd also recommend getting a measurement mic and learning to use REW. Everything you learn about measuring and treating a non-ideal room will translate when you can get into a more suitable room.
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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by alexdingley » Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:37 pm

So... maybe this should go in the "embarrassing Studio mistakes" thread... but this is a fun one.

As I mentioned early in this thread, I had been messing with the tone-control dip-switches on the Hafler near-fields (TRM-8 powered monitors) but even with the maximum bass boost dips thrown... I wasn't really getting much thump.

Well... I guess I'll chock this up to working in low-light and close quarters (crammed in behind the console and crouching with just an iPhone flashlight to guide me). I managed to mentally transpose (or just failed to read) which dip-switches I was interacting with... and I turned the treble all the way up and didn't tweak the bass.
Image

So... anyway, I've now got the speakers on stands, closer to the wall. I've also ordered some 90° XLR male ends and some right-angle IEC Power cords, so that I can get the speakers more-flush against the new 703 panels that I'm gonna whip up. I'm also gonna give some serious thought to doing the 'cut-triangle' "super-chunk" bass-traps in the corners of the room (or at least in the corners that I can manage to fit those into.)

Additionally on order is a measurement mic, and I'm gonna use REW to check out what my room is doing. Question on that:
If I use REW and a measurement mic... and determine that there are a few bumps/dips in my freq curve... is a decent-enough solution to simply buy a reasonably good 31band stereo eq, and compensate for those issues in line with my monitors (patched in between my control room monitor controller and the powered monitors?) — I see some used Ashly and DBX 31 band stereo EQ racks on Reverb for $200-$400.

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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by The Scum » Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:05 pm

Don't get the EQ. It doesn't solve the problem.

The main low frequency problems come from the dimensions of the room acting like a resonator. Frequencies cancel in some spots and reinforce in others. It's more of a problem in smaller rooms because the room modes happen up in the musical frequencies.

Those resonant frequencies then to keep resonating even after the sound source stops. They linger. And that lingering makes for low end mush. It's not so much a frequency problem as it is a time one.

An EQ won't keep them from ringing...boosting an apparently dipped frequency with Eq can actually cause it to resonate longer, and make the mush even worse.

I can say that $200 - $400 of fiberglass & related materials will help. Fiberglass in the right spot can hamper those resonances.

And REW can help you experiment with where to put it.

And then a little EQ (like is in your speakers) might take it the rest of the way.

I've been tinkering with a new control room, and doing a lot of this myself recently. Does the board host pictures for us? I could post some of my process & results...
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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by winky dinglehoffer » Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:43 am

The Scum wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:05 pm
Does the board host pictures for us? I could post some of my process & results...
When you type a post, there'll be two tabs on the left below the white space where you're typing. One of those is marked "Attachments." Go there to post photos. They need to be small, though, or they will be rejected.

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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by alexdingley » Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:07 am

Yeah, I tend to post the photos to flickr and then link them so that I can use hi-res photos. Cumbersome process, but when I want big photos, it works.

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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by Scodiddly » Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:56 am

I'd love to see some DIY photos.

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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:32 pm

There's a bunch on my studio build recap:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=89367

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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by alexdingley » Sat Mar 13, 2021 12:56 pm

Based on some of the advice here, and the fact that I've had these 5 ATS panels lying around since we moved in... I quickly cleated them up onto the walls. Thanks to some right-angle IEC power cords & some right-angle XLR connectors for the inputs to the Hafler monitors, I'm able to push them right up against the insulated fabric panels.

I think I'm hearing a difference... Waiting until there's an hour without the baby in the house, to really crank things up and do some critical listening.
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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by Theo_Karon » Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:00 pm

Chiming in to add that I don't think this is as meaningful of a distinction as it used to be.

Big tracking rooms are always going to be that - maybe there are soffited mains for excitement, but people are gonna stay on the NS10s or whatever for familiarity. Plus tons of reflective surfaces - gear, instruments etc - there are some very good sounding tracking rooms out there! But it's always a compromise.

But I've been giving this a lot of thought recently - I'm spec'ing out a fairly minimal mixing studio for my first year living in a new country, and as I'm bringing very little analog gear (about as much as you'd find in a typical mastering studio, just not those boxes), the plan I've settled on is, functionally, what most would consider a mastering room, built around a pair of PMC IB1s. Not cheap but they're the most intuitive speaker I've ever worked on - and I'm hoping they'll make me miss my console a little less :lol:

I understand the need to reference on small speakers during mixing (and will have a pair of mix cubes for this purpose) but, cost aside, I don't understand why a modern (i.e. mostly digital) mixing studio would have near fields as the primary monitor. Near fields solve specific problems (console reflections, less room interaction vs direct sound) that simply don't apply in a modern mixing studio, and while they may take some getting used to, I would argue that a great pair of mid or far field speakers in a well-designed room will beat the near fields every time in terms of detail, clarity and listening fatigue.

These concerns are a little less relevant to the home studio, and obviously one major factor is that there are some fairly cheap nearfields that are excellent - the same can't be said of their larger siblings! Nonetheless I often find the behavior of some people who clearly do have the money to spend on a top of the line mix room perplexing, to say the least. For instance, the trend of hypey near fields that seem like they're trying to bring the excitement of larger speakers to the meter bridge - those god awful barefoots with the side-loaded sub for instance - if you have 10k to spend on a pair of speakers you have either terribly mislaid your priorities, or you can afford to thoroughly treat the room and push the speakers back!

I have similar feelings about the preponderance of nearly horizontal 'console' esque outboard racks among console-less mixing setups - you have a chance to get the most horrible, immovable comb filter generator in your room permanently out of the way! Don't make a new one for no reason!!

My two cents. Obviously people are doing amazing work in all sorts of absurd situations and if I've stepped on anyone's toes I humbly apologize.

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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Sun Mar 14, 2021 11:02 am

Theo_Karon wrote:
Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:00 pm
I don't understand why a modern (i.e. mostly digital) mixing studio would have near fields as the primary monitor. Near fields solve specific problems (console reflections, less room interaction vs direct sound) that simply don't apply in a modern mixing studio, and while they may take some getting used to, I would argue that a great pair of mid or far field speakers in a well-designed room will beat the near fields every time in terms of detail, clarity and listening fatigue.
Agreed. You can't really argue with mid/far field monitors with nothing between them and the listener, and if people are working ITB there's really no reason to have some big desk in front of the speakers.

Going from near to mid/far field monitoring does take some getting used to, but it's a quick learning curve (and I guarantee you'll like it much better), and if you go deskless you'll never go back.

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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by TapeOpLarry » Mon Mar 15, 2021 10:04 pm

Why do people keep saying put the monitors up against the wall? This has always caused extreme bass buildup when I've been to fix people's home studios. Plus you'd need around 7 feet deep of 703 to choke down low end in a room. Please remember that. Resonant bass traps take up less space.
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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:22 am

Putting the monitors up against the wall does increase the low end in general, but having them a foot or three in front of the wall causes huge frequency dips in the low end, between say 50-100, aka the really extra super crucial part.

The dips are caused by SBIR from the front wall. The closer you get the monitors to the wall, the higher (and therefore easier to treat) the cancellation frequency is. In order to get the cancellation freq low enough to not be a problem, you need to get the monitors like 5-6' out from the front wall. Most people don't have a room big enough to afford them this luxury, hence the suggestion to put the monitors up against the wall. And yes, that will lead to a bass boost, but it'll be a general shelving boost, which is a lot more agreeable than a 20db dip. Lots of active monitors have low freq roll offs to compensate for this too.

703 isn't effective for basstrapping. You want less dense (pink fluffy) for bass. Or fancy VPR absorbers.

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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by mwerden » Wed Mar 17, 2021 7:31 am

TapeOpLarry wrote:
Mon Mar 15, 2021 10:04 pm
Why do people keep saying put the monitors up against the wall? This has always caused extreme bass buildup when I've been to fix people's home studios. Plus you'd need around 7 feet deep of 703 to choke down low end in a room. Please remember that. Resonant bass traps take up less space.
I was always curious about this too, until I just revamped my temporary bedroom control room. I was sure that I'd be better off a foot or two off the wall, but after a bunch of experimenting the speakers ended up as close to the wall as I could get them. Just one random example, I know, but definitely not the result I was expecting.
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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed Mar 17, 2021 8:38 am

I did that in my previous studio too, same result: much better as close to the wall as possible. Here's a couple links on the subject:

http://tripp.com.au/sbir.htm

http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/speaker- ... erference/

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Re: Differences in monitoring: mix rooms vs mastering suites

Post by Recycled_Brains » Wed Mar 17, 2021 8:44 am

mwerden wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 7:31 am
I was always curious about this too, until I just revamped my temporary bedroom control room. I was sure that I'd be better off a foot or two off the wall, but after a bunch of experimenting the speakers ended up as close to the wall as I could get them. Just one random example, I know, but definitely not the result I was expecting.
I've had the same experience. Tried several distance variations and practically touching the 4" panels on the wall behind the speakers ended up being the best compromise for my space, which is basically a bedroom sized room in my basement.
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