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Andi



Joined: 02/09/04
Posts: 1203
Loc: Berkshire, UK
Off centre mix conundrum
      #985899 - 05/05/12 11:33 AM
Hi folks. I have a bit of a conundrum: I'm spending some downtime getting used to a new set of Neumann KH120As, listening to a lot of music and running through a few old jobs that are familliar.

I have one particular track that sounds well off-centre, the stereo image is biased quite clearly towards the left speaker, which I never noticed with my previous monitors.

I have checked the spatial settings on the monitors and they match. I have IK Mulitimeidas ARC installed and I have tested with the correction both in and out - same bias to the left.

On the cans the image sounds centered, which appears to suggest something in the monitor chain downstream of the Cubase Control Room.

The Cubase main buss meters indicate that the track is, if anything slightly warm to the right, my RME Fireface mixer suggests the opposite. Left is left and right is right throughout.

If I sum to mono on my monitor controller, dead centre stereo image, the phantom is so strong that you could tap the cab.

Other tracks centre fine, all of which (other than the cans) indicates an off centre mix (I have only the 2-track for this).

Peak and RMS and ball-of-string meters appear to balance, but the rhs speaker is bass light - an additional 2-3 dB at 60 Hz makes it sound OK on the cabs but convinces all the meters and the cans that the mix is listing heavily to starboard.

I have isolated both mid and side components and both are left biased, suggesting monitoring chain, but again, switching the monitor controller to mono centres the image. I have also tested with the monitor controller in various poistions in case there is a mismatch at some point in the range - same story.

Sorry this rambles but in summary, I think;
- mono test suggests that the interface channels, monitors and room position are OK.
- cans and meters suggest that the mix is OK
- other material suggest that all the hardware is OK

What's the incredibly simple thing that I'm missing?

Thanks to all.

A.

Oh, it sounds fine on my mono Mixcube

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


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 22294
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Off centre mix conundrum new [Re: Andi]
      #985909 - 05/05/12 12:24 PM
Quote Andi:

If I sum to mono on my monitor controller, dead centre stereo image, the phantom is so strong that you could tap the cab.




Then the problem definitely isn't the speakers. Any room or speaker anomalies would affect the phantom mono image very obviously.

So the problem is either with the source material, or with something upstream of the monitor controller.

If the left-heavy balance isn't apparent with all source material (and I see you have checked with some decent commercial music) then it implies that the specific mix is lopsided. You wouldn't be the first person to discover faulty mixes after upgrading the monitoring!

Often listening to the left channel only and then the right channel only, and comparing their tonal balance, will quickly reveal the nature of the problem. Often it's spill of the kick or snare drums, or the bass amp sound getting into strongly panned mics.

Quote:

I have isolated both mid and side components and both are left biased




That's a clever trick!

hugh



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


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Andi



Joined: 02/09/04
Posts: 1203
Loc: Berkshire, UK
Re: Off centre mix conundrum new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #985917 - 05/05/12 01:57 PM

Quote:

I have isolated both mid and side components and both are left biased




That's a clever trick!

hugh






Very kind but that must have happened by accident then

What does puzzle though is that both the sides AND the mid are off-centre. I checked that I'm not introducing any inbalance in my processing by isolating the mid/side in the monitor channel in the Cubase Control room, ie at the very end of the chain immediately before the output to the real world which suggests that the issue is downstream of that?

By ear, the issue is clearly the low-end, I listened to each channel independantly and it's clearly 40- 80 Hz in spite of what all the meters are telling me (bearing in mind that this is straddling the low-linear region of these spakers). The cans check is a puzzle but low frequencies and cans is a bit of a minefield anyway, let's face it.

Interestingly, I eventually worked-out how to use the incredibly complex routing I used to set-up a focusrite VRM box without having to replug anything and (allowing that I may be kidding myself) I'm pretty sure it sounds slightly off the left (I do find very low end difficult to locate on cans).

That off-centre mid does confuse me, I'm tempted to try collapsing the lows fully to mono and see what happens (not sure I've got anything to do that simply, I'll have to give that a mull-over).

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


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Bossman
active member


Joined: 30/09/02
Posts: 1618
Loc: UK
Re: Off centre mix conundrum new [Re: Andi]
      #985921 - 05/05/12 03:05 PM
just a thought... perhaps try using a test tone, mono, panned central, sweep it through the frequency range and see if your phantom centre moves about as you sweep through different frequencies.

...or try playing scales on a synth, and see if the stereo image in consistent throughout the scale.

my hunch is that its the acoustics in the room.. how well treated is the room? is it symmetrical? do you have adequate bass trapping?

you could try swapping the cables feeding the monitors and see if your stereo image flips to the other side... if it does then its the source, and if it is still on the same side then it could be the acoustics. or the positioning of the monitors, or the monitors themselves... try swapping the monitors over, or just moving them to a different position perhaps.

--------------------
www.Lozjackson.com


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Andi



Joined: 02/09/04
Posts: 1203
Loc: Berkshire, UK
Re: Off centre mix conundrum new [Re: Bossman]
      #985949 - 05/05/12 07:25 PM
Mate

There's a tequila here with your name on it; swapped channels in the RME mixer and the sound shifts to the right. Still not sure why the mid signal is lopsided but this pretty categorically supports the logic that it's the mix.

Why I didn't think of this I'm not sure.



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


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