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Small Monitors for mixing

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Small Monitors for mixing

Postby james090 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:50 pm

I have had to move my small studio set up back to my parents for the time being, and am in a semi detached house (upstairs bedroom).

I did used to use ADAM A7 monitors, before having a break (and selling gear) so was just wondering what would be good, mixdown monitors for a small set up (PC, Mac, Audient iD-22, Sh01a, Hardware compressor, Akai Sampler) to mix ITB?

I have seen that Auratones are mean't to be ok for low noise? or do I just go for the better ADAM AX7 models?

Or indeed, are there any good headphones that would suffice for mixdowns?
I was always told years ago never to mix on headphones, but I think that may have changed somewhat, with newer h/phone monitoring software?

Thanks for any help
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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby blinddrew » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:21 pm

If you're in a small, untreated room I'd be inclined to start with headphones (possibly with sonarworks reference or similar) and see how far you can get from there.
There's a good article on mixing with headphones from Martin Walker on the site so have a quick read of that and see how you go. Having a nice set of headphones to hand is never a bad thing. :)
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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby Dan LB » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:31 pm

I agree with Blinddrew but if you absolutely must have speakers then have a look at the Neumann KH80s

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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby james090 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:24 pm

Thanks! I'd rather use Headphones as its easier, and quieter, if I can get a good mixdown on them with something like sonarworks reference as mentioned which looks good..

The only thing was my headphones weren't listed.. as I use my Technics DJ-1210s, so lets hope they add these to the list.. :)
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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby CS70 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:38 pm

Yes, good pair of open back headphones go a long way
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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:23 pm

blinddrew wrote:There's a good article on mixing with headphones from Martin Walker on the site so have a quick read of that and see how you go. Having a nice set of headphones to hand is never a bad thing. :)

Thanks for remembering Drew! 8-)

Here it is, amazingly written 11 years ago!!

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... headphones

Hope it helps you james090!


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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby Humble Bee » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:50 am

That's a great article!

Since I'm on the move a lot around Europe I have not been able to established a fixed music place with good acoustic treatment and such, I find myself mixing on headphones most of the time.

I use Sonarworks 4 with Akg k-702 cans and I'm very happy. I also compensate for the unnaturally wide stereo image using the direction mixer plug in logic just narrowing the image a bit on the stereo bus.

I run a single Avantone Mixcube for setting levels and mono. This setup is not so sensitive to room acoustics and is portable. Then just cheap Logitech speakers.

I would only start spending money on some serious monitors once I have a room that would work.

Next year...
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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby james090 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:52 pm

This is great Martin! and Humble Bee....

I am actually thinking of getting a rough mix only then sending the stems off to a proper mastering studio for mixdown and mastering anyway, so this has reinforced that!

The Avantone Mixcube i've heard from others is good so could be a good idea also as a portable nearfield monitor when not on headphones..

I just need to use Sonarworks once my Technics Headphones are catered for (as I use these for DJing and dance music mixdowns, and know them well)..

Great advice though people, as I come from the old school of having to have proper monitors, and room, so this is good to know! :)
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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby CJmastering » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:45 pm

just because you have a small set-up, doesn't mean your studio monitors have suffer.

You need to get something that represents all the frequencies that you record and mix with. Otherwise, how can you create a mix that translates well if you cannot hear what you are mixing and even recording.
Get the best pair of monitors yo can afford and get a good pair of headphones. Do not mix with headphones, just check your mixes with headphones and mix with the studio monitors.

You mentioned Adams, if you like then get a pair of them and get a sub with them so you can hear the lower frequencies.
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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby Luke W » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:04 pm

I’d have to disagree there, adding a sub in a small untreated room is more than likely to be a recipe for disaster. Having a system that plays all the way down to wind tunnel territory is one thing, having the space that allows it do that accurately is quite another!
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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:39 pm

CJmastering wrote:Get the best pair of monitors yo can afford and get a good pair of headphones. Do not mix with headphones, just check your mixes with headphones and mix with the studio monitors.

I can't agree with this, as although I know some professionals refuse to mix with headphones, many do rely on them (especially when in other studios when they don't necessarily know how good their acoustics are, or at the very least are not familiar with their acoustics).

Moreover, given the proportion of end listeners who now listen on headphones/earbuds, it's vital that your mixes sound good under headphones as well as through monitors.

And for those with indifferent rooms, it can be a damn sight cheaper to achieve a good mix using headphones than working through loudspeakers and then having to double check mixes on a variety of other playback systems - most of us who started out with little acoustic treatment and cheaper monitor speakers know all too weel how frustrating it is to get a 'good' mix that doesn't translate elsewhere.

Headphones (especially ones calibrated using utilities such as Sonarworks Reference) can really help with this, even in a hotel room or while on the road.

My two pennorth anyway ;)


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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby James Perrett » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:30 pm

I'm one of those who find it difficult to mix on headphones. I can get 90% of the way there but I find it far easier to carry out the final tweaks on speakers. The Neumann KH80's look very interesting. I haven't had a chance to hear them yet but Hugh's review implies that they're even better in some ways than the KH120's which are very decent small monitors.
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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby james090 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:47 am

I have to agree with Martin and James here..

I would love to get some good monitors like before, in the mixing space I was in before, but as mentioned, my space and room is limited, as well as sound levels, so any small reference monitors or indeed headphone mixing help would be good in my position..

When I move and have a proper space then something like the ADAM's is a no-brainer! :)
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Re: Small Monitors for mixing

Postby My Own Silence » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:21 pm

Once you learn some headphones it's fine - never caused me issues. I've also got a pair of Yamaha HS5s and some KRK 6000s which do help to be fair though.

Here's my trick - turn it down on the speakers. 2 advantages, it's easier to get a good mix of the balances at a low volume, but also less room interaction. Get your ears close to the monitors (is a a few feet Max). Iknow a few mixers who taught me this trick for when they are in less than ideal rooms to mix. works well, and combined with headphones you can achieve a good mix.
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