You are here

Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby lordmike » Sun May 17, 2020 3:35 pm

I'm making a real study of learning everything I can about home recording/mixing so I purchased the book Mixing Secret for the Small Studio and I've seeing some (a lot) of things that I've done incorrectly. The missteps haven't always been out of ignorance, sometimes other limitations have gotten in the way, but I would like to make as many corrections as I can. I currently run G3 Rokit 5's with a KRK sub. I know these get a lot of hate but I genuinely like how they sound. I realize they are more HI-FI than mixing speakers but my mixes are greatly improving and I do a lot more than just mixing on this computer. That being said, my stellar studio mixes don't always sound as good on other sources and I realize that the KRK's are likely the cause. In the book's online resources, Mike Senior talks about Neumann KH 80 monitors and Neumann KH 750 sub. Neumanns are on my "someday" list but are a little out of my reach right now. I could probably swing the monitors but the sub is a no-go. He also raves about the Auratone monitors. So here is my question (finally), would I be better served buying the the Neumann monitors and pairing them with the KRK sub or would I be better off buying the modern equivalent to the Auratones, the Avantone Pro Active MixCubes? My feeling is the Avantones are the better bet because it would give me the ability to hear multiple sources in one room and a lot of room problems that can hinder the best near field monitors are less impactful on the Auratone style monitor. I'd hate to buy the Neumanns only to discover the KRKs weren't the problem, it was the room. But, of course, I could be wrong and want opinions.

Also, this is very important, if I buy the the Avantones, should I get black or cream? :D
lordmike
Poster
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:43 pm

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun May 17, 2020 3:48 pm

How good is your room, i.e. how large and how well treated? I did a quick search for acoustic and treatment in your posts and found nothing though I'm sure it has been discussed with you before. If your room is untreated it will definitely be compromising your mixes, and if small that will be especially true of the bass.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12207
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby lordmike » Sun May 17, 2020 4:26 pm

My room is approximately 10.5' x 12.5' so not tiny. I have Auralex style foam bass traps in all four ceiling corners, long foam strips where two wall surfaces meet, and a checkerboard pattern of 12 x 12 x 1 foam tiles on opposing walls. The checkerboard pattern is exactly opposite on opposing walls. There is also a large sound blanket over the window, and carpeting with an additional Persian rug on top (because what respectable studio doesn't have a Persian rug?). This room is also my practice space so I have equipment and book shelves in there that act as diffusers (per Mastering Secrets). The space is far from perfect but is pretty dead. Compared to where is compared to where it was when I started it is like night and day. There is some high end reverberation when you clap but you really have to clap loudly to hear a tiny bit. People often comment how nice it is to sit and listen to music in here. But, I acknowledge it is a crappy room in a crappy apartment, there is only so much that can be done. The mineral fiber traps discussed in the book are not only out of my price range, but I'm pretty sure my landlord would kill me if I started poking holes in the walls to install them.

I could send pics if that would help anyone answer my question.
lordmike
Poster
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:43 pm

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun May 17, 2020 4:37 pm

lordmike wrote:In the book's online resources, Mike Senior talks about Neumann KH 80 monitors and Neumann KH 750 sub. Neumanns are on my "someday" list but are a little out of my reach right now. I could probably swing the monitors but the sub is a no-go.

The KH80s are insanely good value for money! So buy the KH80s and save up for the sub later... you may even decide you don't need the sub after you've worked with the 80s for a while. And depending on your room acoustics , a sub may actually be more detrimental than helpful anyway!

...would I be better served buying the the Neumann monitors and pairing them with the KRK sub or would I be better off buying the modern equivalent to the Auratones, the Avantone Pro Active MixCubes?

Easy: Buy the KH80s. By all means experiment with the sub, but I suspect you'll find it makes things worse rather than better.

My feeling is the Avantones are the better bet because it would give me the ability to hear multiple sources in one room and a lot of room problems that can hinder the best near field monitors are less impactful on the Auratone style monitor.

Sorry, I don't agree. The big problems in most rooms are standing waves, and they will tend to have the same impact regardless of the speakers you use in terms of making some bass notes stick out and some disappear. I'm not a fan of using different speakers in the same room to judge 'transportability'.

I am a fan of the Auratone as a single-driver mono speaker in a sealed cabinet, which brings some useful things to the party including single-speaker mono, mid-forward restricted bandwidth listening, and minimal bass overhang/resonances... But the KH80's DSP correction pretty much sorts out the latter anyway (unlike many small ported speakers), and I don't think you'd have any problem judging the mid balance with the KH80s because they are so remarkably transparent and accurate! And single-speaker mono is easy to achieve with a decent monitor controller (hardware or software)

I'd hate to buy the Neumanns only to discover the KRKs weren't the problem, it was the room. But, of course, I could be wrong and want opinions.

It's always the room... but the Neumanns will reveal the limitations of both the KRKs and your own mixing skills very quickly -- just as they should!
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27023
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby lordmike » Sun May 17, 2020 4:45 pm

Ok! that is a lot of good information. So, judging by the description of my room size and treatment, should I get the 4" or 5" version? The price difference is pretty big.
lordmike
Poster
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:43 pm

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby outofphase » Sun May 17, 2020 4:45 pm

MixCubes are great for final mixing, mastering, but not for all the time usage IMO.
Do you have headphones? I'd better buy another type of monitoring than other monitors.
User avatar
outofphase
New here
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat May 16, 2020 4:25 pm
My setup: Adam S3X-V, Lynx Hilo, Beyerdynamic 1990
My turntables article.

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun May 17, 2020 4:55 pm

lordmike wrote:Ok! that is a lot of good information. So, judging by the description of my room size and treatment, should I get the 4" or 5" version? The price difference is pretty big.

4 or 5-inch version of what? I thought you were set on buying Neumann KH80s?
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27023
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby lordmike » Sun May 17, 2020 4:58 pm

I was making the assumption that the kh120 was just the bigger brother of the kh80. Is this not the case?
lordmike
Poster
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:43 pm

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby lordmike » Sun May 17, 2020 5:11 pm

outofphase wrote:MixCubes are great for final mixing, mastering, but not for all the time usage IMO.
Do you have headphones? I'd better buy another type of monitoring than other monitors.

I have a pair of Senheisers and a pair of Blue MixFi headphones.
lordmike
Poster
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:43 pm

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun May 17, 2020 5:18 pm

lordmike wrote:My room is approximately 10.5' x 12.5' so not tiny. I have Auralex style foam bass traps in all four ceiling corners, long foam strips where two wall surfaces meet, and a checkerboard pattern of 12 x 12 x 1 foam tiles on opposing walls. The checkerboard pattern is exactly opposite on opposing walls. There is also a large sound blanket over the window, and carpeting with an additional Persian rug on top (because what respectable studio doesn't have a Persian rug?). This room is also my practice space so I have equipment and book shelves in there that act as diffusers (per Mastering Secrets). The space is far from perfect but is pretty dead. Compared to where is compared to where it was when I started it is like night and day. There is some high end reverberation when you clap but you really have to clap loudly to hear a tiny bit. People often comment how nice it is to sit and listen to music in here. But, I acknowledge it is a crappy room in a crappy apartment, there is only so much that can be done. The mineral fiber traps discussed in the book are not only out of my price range, but I'm pretty sure my landlord would kill me if I started poking holes in the walls to install them.

I could send pics if that would help anyone answer my question.

No the question was simply because I could not find any reference to room treatment in a quick search of your prior posts. While 3 x 4 metres roughly is a small room in acoustic terms it sound's like you have done the best you can with it. :thumbup:

Better traps might make a difference (better control of the mid range?) but whether it would be worth the cost I can't say. Use decent open back headphones to check the low end and accept that the room is not going to reproduce bass evenly.

lordmike wrote:I was making the assumption that the kh120 was just the bigger brother of the kh80. Is this not the case?

In a way that are but the KH80s have sophisticated DSP onboard which the older KH120s don't have. I don't think you'd see any significant benefit in buying the KH120s over the KH80s but I haven't compared them.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12207
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun May 17, 2020 5:27 pm

lordmike wrote:I was making the assumption that the kh120 was just the bigger brother of the kh80. Is this not the case?

Nope. They do look similar, but they have very different technology. The KH80 uses DSP correction to optimise its performance which is, in most ways, better than the (older) KH120.

Don't get me wrong -- the KH120 is a really great speaker and I still rate it highly, but if I was buying today I'd buy the KH80 without hesitation.

Most people are concerned about the bass from such a small speaker, but the specs for its bass response quote a roll-off frequency only 5Hz higher than the KH120 which isn't noticeable in practice, and although its max SPL is also a little lower it's designed as a near-field speaker and it's more than loud enough for that application.

But the real winner is that built-in DSP correction which sorts out the bass alignment and midrange precision and allows the KH80 to easily outperform the KH120 in all the ways that actually matter in a real world studio application.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/neumann-kh80-dsp
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27023
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby lordmike » Sun May 17, 2020 5:37 pm

So it looks like I’ll be getting those monitors and selling my Rokits and sub. In my space I feel like the sub is probably overkill and I can always add it back in later. Is the dsp diffucult to set up?
lordmike
Poster
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:43 pm

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby Trevor Johnson » Sun May 17, 2020 5:42 pm

"Is the DSP difficult to set up?"

Since Hugh very kindly directed me to these speakers last week, (rather than bother with a similar sized twenty year old design), I am going to buy a pair.

https://en-de.neumann.com/kh-80-dsp-a-g

It looks like the DSP is very simple to set up!
Trevor Johnson
Regular
Posts: 281
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 12:00 am

Re: Mixing Secrets Book - Monitor Question

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun May 17, 2020 6:45 pm

lordmike wrote:So it looks like I’ll be getting those monitors and selling my Rokits and sub. In my space I feel like the sub is probably overkill and I can always add it back in later. Is the dsp diffucult to set up?

There isn't much to set up. You just need to comfigure it for placement (proximity to boundaries). The DSP compensates for the speaker drivers and cabinet, not the room, so there's no faffing about with a measurement mic.

The Neumann app (which wasnt available at the time of my review) lets you do a little more tweaking and room optimisation, but it's optional rather than a necessity.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27023
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound