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jasno84



Joined: 15/12/12
Posts: 72
Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!!
      #1099311 - 23/04/14 10:23 PM
I just bought an Audient ID22 soundcard (very happy for the moment!) and thanks to the integrated monitor controller function I'd finally like to buy an Avantone Mixcube (suggested here in the forum many time and in Mike Senior wonderful book). Still have some questions before pulling the trigger:

1) Is the avantone mixcubes the best product for this purpose (double check mixes on a second pair of monitors & balancing mixes)? I'd like to stay with active design if possible.

2) Mike Senior says that summing to mono makes central sounds to increase of about 3 db. Well, if this is true (I'm sure it is!) how is then possible to judge the overall balance of a mix in this way? The balance will appear immediately different compared to the stereo mix we are working on. We should check the mix on the cube keeping in mind that central sounds have to be definitely louder than panned sounds on the cube? Or we should just try to obtain a balanced mix on the cube (so lowering that louder central volumes)?

3) I know that Mike Senior says that a single mixcube can be even better than a pair. But he also says that a useful trick for keeping the ears "fresh" and makes good decision while mixing is to switch often between pairs of monitors. So I'm thinking it could be a good idea to buy 2 of them, and use both of them for switching monitors purposes (classic switching between pairs of monitors), and probably just one for checking the mix overall balance. Could this be a good idea or better sticking with just one cube, being forced to work in mono when switching monitors?

4) The ID 22 has the useful sum to mono function. It's possible to sum to mono in three different ways: left speaker only, right speaker only and "phantom centre" (both speakers). How to use these different functions correctly? Left or right speakers would be the best choice for using just one mixcube, while "phantom centre" will be best for checking mono on both speakers at same time? And what happens if I choose "phantom centre" and then have just one mixcube connected? Will I loose some information? And last thing: a typical analogue monitor controller (like SPL 2control or Drawmer MC 2.1) how does behave in this regard?

5) Today I've tried the "rigt only" mono sum function with my KH-120A's. What surprised me is that the logo of the right speaker immediately started to flash red (limiter in action) when I switched to mono! In normal stereo there was no limiting at all, then I switched to mono (at same volume) and the limiter kicked in! And really, the volume didn't seem to be very loud to me. Any explanations for this?

6) At the moment, due to the lack of space, I may be forced to buy just one Mixcube in any case....but in October I should change apartment and I will have more space for placing 2 of them. In case I want to add another mixcube later, may I experience some problems? I'm guessing if they are sold as "matched pair" when sold together. And another doubt is that the first cube will then obviously have definitely more burn-in / effectivley usage than the second one. Could this be a real problem to consider?


Sorry for all this questions, but I'm trying to understand better these aspects and be sure to make the right purchase for my needs.

Thanks for your help!!!

Edited by jasno84 (23/04/14 10:30 PM)


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Mike Senior
SOS Mix Specialist


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Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: jasno84]
      #1099444 - 25/04/14 07:11 AM
Sounds like one for me...

Thanks for the kind words about the book -- glad you're enjoying it!

Quote:

1) Is the avantone mixcubes the best product for this purpose (double check mixes on a second pair of monitors & balancing mixes)? I'd like to stay with active design if possible.




They're still my first choice for an affordable single-driver midrange monitor, but there are other options available too. (I'd recomment glancing at my review of the Behringers, though, before going for either of those.)

Quote:

2) Mike Senior says that summing to mono makes central sounds to increase of about 3 db. Well, if this is true (I'm sure it is!) how is then possible to judge the overall balance of a mix in this way? The balance will appear immediately different compared to the stereo mix we are working on. We should check the mix on the cube keeping in mind that central sounds have to be definitely louder than panned sounds on the cube? Or we should just try to obtain a balanced mix on the cube (so lowering that louder central volumes)?




This is a question that only referencing can answer. Different styles value mono-compatibility different amounts on different instruments, so it's always a judgement call. Chapter 4 discusses the reasons for referencing further, and Chapter 19 talks you through the practicalities of the process. There's some more reading material on referencing here too.

Quote:

3) I know that Mike Senior says that a single mixcube can be even better than a pair. But he also says that a useful trick for keeping the ears "fresh" and makes good decision while mixing is to switch often between pairs of monitors. So I'm thinking it could be a good idea to buy 2 of them, and use both of them for switching monitors purposes (classic switching between pairs of monitors), and probably just one for checking the mix overall balance. Could this be a good idea or better sticking with just one cube, being forced to work in mono when switching monitors?




Depends how much money you have to spend! Personally I see no real reason for getting a pair of Mixcubes if you're using that speaker within the context of the monitoring arrangements I talk about in the book. I only use one myself.

Quote:

4) The ID 22 has the useful sum to mono function. It's possible to sum to mono in three different ways: left speaker only, right speaker only and "phantom centre" (both speakers). How to use these different functions correctly? Left or right speakers would be the best choice for using just one mixcube, while "phantom centre" will be best for checking mono on both speakers at same time? And what happens if I choose "phantom centre" and then have just one mixcube connected? Will I loose some information? And last thing: a typical analogue monitor controller (like SPL 2control or Drawmer MC 2.1) how does behave in this regard?




Whichever mono-sum option you use, you shouldn't lose any information monitoring via a single Mixcube. I'd personally use 'phantom centre', though, because it won't then matter which speaker output socket you've connected the Mixcube to.

Quote:

5) Today I've tried the "rigt only" mono sum function with my KH-120A's. What surprised me is that the logo of the right speaker immediately started to flash red (limiter in action) when I switched to mono! In normal stereo there was no limiting at all, then I switched to mono (at same volume) and the limiter kicked in! And really, the volume didn't seem to be very loud to me. Any explanations for this?




Entertaining. No idea why this should be, as I don't have these speakers myself and haven't noticed this on any other speaker.

Quote:

6) At the moment, due to the lack of space, I may be forced to buy just one Mixcube in any case....but in October I should change apartment and I will have more space for placing 2 of them. In case I want to add another mixcube later, may I experience some problems? I'm guessing if they are sold as "matched pair" when sold together. And another doubt is that the first cube will then obviously have definitely more burn-in / effectivley usage than the second one. Could this be a real problem to consider?




A moot point with any speaker. Personally I wouldn't worry about that myself from a 'burn-in' perspective. However, manufacturers do sometimes change component suppliers (or whatever) which may change the sound of apparently identical designs, or even make small updates to the design in response to use feedback, so I'd personally always buy a pair of speakers (and indeed mics) at once out of preference, whether they're ostensibly 'matched' or not.

Hope that helps!

--------------------
Recording Secrets for the Small Studio
A complete recording method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.


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jasno84



Joined: 15/12/12
Posts: 72
Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #1099525 - 25/04/14 01:53 PM
Quote:

Sounds like one for me...

Thanks for the kind words about the book -- glad you're enjoying it!




Thanks for your reply! Yes, I'm anjoying your book so much!!! A really great tool!! I've just finished the first part of the book and I will proceed soon! So far so good!!!

Quote:

They're still my first choice for an affordable single-driver midrange monitor, but there are other options available too. (I'd recomment glancing at my review of the Behringers, though, before going for either of those.)




I've read about the Fostex, Canford Audio and even Klein Hummel M52 alternatives, but really never find reviews about them & comparation between them and the Mixcubes. And looking to professional studio pictures around the world it seems that the Avantone are the most commonly used. So, based on your suggestion also, I think Mixcubes will be the safest bet.

I've read that the Auratone is going to launch a new edition of the Supercube: 5C Super Sound Cube Limited Edition. But looking to their website here: http://www.auratoneproaudio.com/products.html it seems that they will still be passive, since in the technical specs it says that Impedance is 8 OHMS. So I think they should be passive. I'm soooooooo curious to know how these performs, but I'd prefer staying active if possible since my nearfields are actives. I can consider switching to passive only if these new Auratones will be definitely better than the Mixcubes.

Quote:

Depends how much money you have to spend! Personally I see no real reason for getting a pair of Mixcubes if you're using that speaker within the context of the monitoring arrangements I talk about in the book. I only use one myself.




So nearfields + one mixcube + reference headphones will be enough from your point of view? When in your book you speak about switching often betwenn pair of monitors for defeating ear's fickeness (page 58 of your book), you mean switching between the nearfields and the single mixcube? Or you mean between 2 pairs of nearfields? This is the reason why I was thinking about getting 2 mixcubes...but if one is more than enough even for this purpose, I can start to order just one.

Quote:

Entertaining. No idea why this should be, as I don't have these speakers myself and haven't noticed this on any other speaker.




Maybe there just was too much sub power in that mix...and summing to mono increases some levels to the point where the builted-in limiter started to flash on the kickdrum...well I hope it's nothing too weird happening.

Another question: In your link http://www.cambridge-mt.com/ms-ch2.htm you recomend Beyerdynamic DT880 PRO and Sennheiser HD-650. I have Akg K240MKII and was actually thinking about an improvement. You had the chance to listen to the new AKG K712 Pro also in recent time? I've just read SOS review and it seems a very nice review!!! Maybe these could be the right one for me (never heard Beyerdynamic 880 but I've read on the web that they are maybe little bass shy and so not perfect choice for dance music makers, and just heard once the HD-650 but I found them little too fatiguing on the kickdrum...very powerful "thumpf" on kickdrums and the ears became tired pretty soon. Maybe it was the amplifier that was not so good. Was the headphone amp integrated in my old interface, Focusrite Saffire 6 Usb...who knows!).

Thanks again!


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
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Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: jasno84]
      #1099539 - 25/04/14 02:39 PM
To throw in my two-penneth worth...

Quote jasno84:

2) Mike Senior says that summing to mono makes central sounds to increase of about 3 db. Well, if this is true (I'm sure it is!) how is then possible to judge the overall balance of a mix in this way? The balance will appear immediately different compared to the stereo mix we are working on.




Of course -- and that's the whole point. You're checking the compatibility between the stereo and mono versions, and the acceptability of the inherent mix compromises you have to make in the nsame of compatibility.

Quote:

4) The ID 22 has the useful sum to mono function. It's possible to sum to mono in three different ways: left speaker only, right speaker only and "phantom centre" (both speakers). How to use these different functions correctly?




The problem with listening to a phantom mono is that you get an erroneous impression of the bass end of the mix, because of the way the two speakers generate bass and couple that into the room. For that reason it is always best to check mono on a single speaker -- something that the BBC drummed into all of its employees back in the day -- and that's why Audient added that option.

Quote:

And what happens if I choose "phantom centre" and then have just one mixcube connected? Will I loose some information?




No, the mono sum occurs in advance of the speaker selection.

Quote:

And last thing: a typical analogue monitor controller (like SPL 2control or Drawmer MC 2.1) how does behave in this regard?




There is no such thing as a 'typical monitor controller' -- they all seem to have different functionality. The Dramwer supports mono on a single speaker, partly because I've had that discussion with Drawmer, as I have with Audient. The SPL does not.

Quote:

5) Today I've tried the "rigt only" mono sum function with my KH-120A's. What surprised me is that the logo of the right speaker immediately started to flash red (limiter in action) when I switched to mono! In normal stereo there was no limiting at all, then I switched to mono (at same volume) and the limiter kicked in! And really, the volume didn't seem to be very loud to me. Any explanations for this?




Either your monitoring gain structure is very close to the edge, or you have some nasty subsonic rubbish that is combining in phase to generate massive signal peaks in mono. Check the mix in stereo and mono on a goniometer display.

A single Avantone is generally adequate. The lack of low end makes them fairly pointless for use as an alternative stereo reference monitor, while all their useful qualities are accessible in mono.

H

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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Mike Senior
SOS Mix Specialist


Joined: 08/08/03
Posts: 1393
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: jasno84]
      #1099605 - 26/04/14 06:22 AM
Quote jasno84:

So nearfields + one mixcube + reference headphones will be enough from your point of view?




Not quite. Grotboxes of some kind are pretty important too.

Quote:

Another question: In your link http://www.cambridge-mt.com/ms-ch2.htm you recomend Beyerdynamic DT880 PRO and Sennheiser HD-650. I have Akg K240MKII and was actually thinking about an improvement. You had the chance to listen to the new AKG K712 Pro also in recent time? I've just read SOS review and it seems a very nice review!!!




I've not heard these myself, I'm afraid, but I'd certainly give them a listen (and indeed the latest Shure open-back cans) if I were in the market for a new pair.

--------------------
Recording Secrets for the Small Studio
A complete recording method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.


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CS70



Joined: 26/11/12
Posts: 412
Loc: Oslo, Norway
Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #1099649 - 26/04/14 12:15 PM
Quote Mike Senior:

Not quite. Grotboxes of some kind are pretty important too.




By the way: do iphones or other type of phones qualify as grotboxes, when using on the built-in speaker of course, not headphones?

--------------------
http://www.silver-spoon.org - It's just music
..and the FB page


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Martin WalkerModerator
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Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: CS70]
      #1099678 - 26/04/14 03:12 PM
Quote CS70:

By the way: do iphones or other type of phones qualify as grotboxes, when using on the built-in speaker of course, not headphones?




They may partially qualify in that they are likely to be single driver designs (giving you a more revealing midrange where some lesser twin-driver nearfield monitors let you down).

Mobile phones could also well be single-point sources, although not necessarily (most of the larger iPad-style devices offer stereo playback, albeit with a comparatively narrow stereo image).


As for low distortion and the well-damped time-domain response of a worthy grotbox, probably not

So, to sum up, yes, they might be usefully pressed into service as a sub-standard grotbox, particularly if they only have a single playback device, but they won't be a quarter as useful as a purpose-designed grotbox.


Martin

--------------------
YewTreeMagic


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Martin WalkerModerator
Watcher Of The Skies


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Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: jasno84]
      #1099680 - 26/04/14 03:17 PM
Oh, and if you're interested in a little grotbox DIY, this thread is well worth a read:

www.soundonsound.com/forum/showflat.php?Number=966954

Hope it helps!


Martin

--------------------
YewTreeMagic


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Andi



Joined: 02/09/04
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Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: jasno84]
      #1099693 - 26/04/14 05:22 PM
Was about to wade-in but luckily read the thread and see it's all pretty well said. I'm also using KH120A s along with a single (loverly black) Mixcube and use a pair of very cheap (under £20) Altec Lansing PC speakers for a final (grot) check - the Mixcube is far too good for grot. Oh, and a pair of HD650s.

All works well - and for any Cubase users with multi-out soundcards it's all software switchable from the Control Room. Woo Hoo!

A.

--------------------
Andi, www.thedustbowlaudio.com Mixing, Mastering, Audio Editing (and articles) at The Dustbowl Audio

Edited by Andi (26/04/14 05:46 PM)


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jasno84



Joined: 15/12/12
Posts: 72
Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: Andi]
      #1100023 - 28/04/14 02:17 PM
Thanks to all for you great support!! I still have a couple of questions / clarifications:

1) it seems to me that there's still a bit of confusion when speaking about Mixcubes / Grot Boxes. Reading articles on regarded music magazines (not least the last SOS spotlight http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may14/articles/spotlight-0514.htm and this other article http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul09/articles/qa0709_1.htm ), I got the impression that people speak about grot boxes and Mixcubes (or Auratone substitute) as if they are the same thing. Or, more precisely, as if mixcubes is one of the best "grot boxes" options you can buy.

Well, in Mike Senior book they are instead clearly distinguished in different chapters. but really, forums and other SOS articles seem to group these 2 topics together and this confuse me a little. So......what's the truth?


2) Second question is related to the first one. Thinking about the nature of mixcubes, it seems logic to me to think at it (or them, if used in pair) as an "average" grot box. Let me explain: if I use, for example, 2 cheap pc speakers closed together, these cheap grot boxes may have a very strange frequency response. So the track may sound good or not depending on that particular unbalanced speakers. And this could lead to wrong mixing decisions at the end. The mixcube instead, while still being limited in the frequency range (like cheap grot boxes), should guarantee a more neutral and balanced response and so guarantee a better overall translability to other system. Don't you think so?

So.... why is it often suggested to use a mixcube in mono + stereo cheap grotboxes instead of using the cube in mono (for mono compability and balancing) AND in stereo (for having a second "cheap" reference, like grot boxes) ? They should do what grotboxes do in the end, but even better and with better "overall translability".

Maybe I'm missing something?


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James PerrettModerator



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Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: jasno84]
      #1100120 - 29/04/14 09:18 AM
I think you've probably reached the stage where you need to stop reading and start trying out things for yourself. You may find that you prefer to use a single Mixcube or, if you have 2, you may find that you prefer to use both and just hit the mono switch when you want mono compatibility. Personally, I've tried speakers similar to the Mixcubes and ended up ignoring them and just using my nearfields (LS3/5a's) in mono. That's what works for me but you may find you prefer a different way of working. Just treat all the written suggestions as starting points for you to experiment with.

--------------------
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.net


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: jasno84]
      #1100163 - 29/04/14 12:33 PM
Quote jasno84:

it seems to me that there's still a bit of confusion when speaking about Mixcubes / Grot Boxes.




Probably... there's a lot of confusion about all manner of things!

To me, there are two distinct functional requirements, but both are often referred to as 'grot boxes' as a convenient and indicative slang phrase.

The first requirement is for a speaker which has accurate time-domain performance (and often significant mid-range dominance) to aid mixing decisions. This is usually a small sealed-cabinet design, like the Avantone or NS10. The other is for something which represents typical poor-quality domestic listening equipment to assess how well a mix will travel -- and that can be anything from nasty ported PC speakers, to laptop squawkers, or anything else that represents your worst case market.

Sometimes both functions can be performed by the same speaker, sometimes not!

Single-speaker mono monitoring is a different role again... but one which can often be conveniently combined with the first requirement above.

H

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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jasno84



Joined: 15/12/12
Posts: 72
Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1100169 - 29/04/14 01:02 PM
Hi James, thanks for the suggestion: you are right, trying things is always a great thing! but I've always found extremely useful (at least to me) to read "user manuals" and to dig into interesting things in order to understand them as much as I can in order to obtain the best results. Some months ago I didn't even knew about Auratone's substitute, and I think they are great tools if used in the right way. So i just wanted to understand this topic better, especially regarding to grot boxes and how to effectively use them, compared to the mixcube

Hugh, thanks for your explanations, it's more clear now. I think I will start with one cube and then see how my mix translate on other systems, maybe after some practice I'll know better if I need some other tool or not! With my KH120A (that you and some other people usefully recomended me...I love them!!!) my mixes are translating pretty well, but there is still something little "less" right than commercial reference tracks, especially regarding the playback on small systems (car stereo, etc etc) or very big ones (like club PA, especially in the bass / sub bass range). I think (hope) the mixcubes will help me in balancing little better the elements of the mix and so translating better on small "real world" systems. As for the bass/sub bass decision for big club PA....maybe an upgrade to the wonderful KH-310 sealed cabinet would help! Oh...what a dream!!!

Thanks for the help!!


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SeanEarle



Joined: 07/02/12
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Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: jasno84]
      #1100198 - 29/04/14 03:11 PM
Hi guys

I have a related question. On my mixing desk I have two sets of stereo outs for monitoring. I only use one set at the moment and switch the monitoring section to mono, when I want to check that out.

How best should I go about setting up the second set of stereo outs with a single mix cube? I could build a stereo to mono y-cable with all of the appropriate resisters in place, but wasn't sure if doing that would do something bad to the desk/single speaker should I leave the monitoring switched to mono. Perhaps I could connect just the left or right output and then make sure I switch to mono, but wouldn't I lose volume that way? Any advice?

Cheers!

Sean


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Martin WalkerModerator
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Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: SeanEarle]
      #1100607 - 01/05/14 02:37 PM
Hi Sean, and welcome to the SOS Forums!

Personally I'd make the mono y-cable as discussed earlier, so you can just switch from one monitor output to the other to go from stereo on 'main' monitors to mono on single grotbox.

The resistors are there not only to mix left and right channels to mono, but to ensure there's no damage to desk or active speakers.


Martin

--------------------
YewTreeMagic


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #1100632 - 01/05/14 03:56 PM
^ wot 'e said!


H

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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SeanEarle



Joined: 07/02/12
Posts: 2
Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1100664 - 01/05/14 07:25 PM
Ok, thanks very much. So just to confirm - switching the desk outputs to mono, when I'm using the stereo to mono y-cable into the mixcube - that would be bad right? Are we talking 'doing damage to the equipment bad' or just sounding bad?


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James PerrettModerator



Joined: 10/09/01
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Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: SeanEarle]
      #1100675 - 01/05/14 09:19 PM
Switching the desk outputs to mono while you are using the Y cable should make no difference. I can't see why it would damage anything.

--------------------
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.net


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: James Perrett]
      #1100678 - 01/05/14 10:04 PM
The level might drop a bit, depending on how the desk mono is set up, but there's no risk of damaging anything.

H

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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jasno84



Joined: 15/12/12
Posts: 72
Re: Mixcube Purchase, Mono Check & Other Questions!!! new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1104488 - 22/05/14 11:58 PM
I want to thanks everyone for their advices! The Mixcube has arrived almost a week ago and it's really nice to have this "secondary reference mono grot box" at disposal. I've already improved some of my mixes. Good investment!

And I have to say that yes, one cube seems more than enough for my setup....definitely a good choice!

Thanks again to all!


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