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21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

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21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby CS70 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:08 am

Not exactly a recording post, but applicable to DAW mixing - so I thought of picking the collective brains of the forumites, which I know do much more than only music.

I currently have a dual 27" screen setup that I use both for mixing (typically, DAW console or editors in one window, all the rest in the other) and video editing. One of the two monitors starts having issues, and instead of replacing it with a new one, I'm thinking about getting a single good, high-refresh rate, high resolution (definitely over 1080p) curved screen. Something like the BenQ EX3501R (but I have an nvidia card, so there's some setup work with that it seems) or the Asus MX38VC, which is far more expensive though.

Without going into reference monitors (which are unnecessary for what I do with video), good blacks, high contrast, no color washout and good gamut are important.

Anyone have hands-on experience with moving from two monitors to a single, ultra-wide one? Pro/cons?

I've made my research so not looking for generalities, but stuff that you didn't expect when you actually did the move.
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby The Elf » Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:57 am

I did try a wide TV for a while, but went back to dual 27" monitors. Since I work with my Cubase Project window maximised on one screen and mixer window maximised on the other this actually makes working easier than having to size two windows on one large screen.

Personally I can't get on with curved screens, but that's just preference.
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby The Red Bladder » Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:12 pm

We have a 'scope' monitor but I never use it - I too edit videos and a 21:9 'scope' monitor is just not suitable - though thre guy that edits some stuff here on Premiere Pro uses it, but I've never asked him why - and since the lockdown, he's been working from home, using two 27" screens.

The BenQ thing you mention costs £600 and does not give you as much realestate as two 28" screens that are considerably cheaper. I have two calibrated AOC U2879VF 4K screens in front of me as we speak and I use one side for the programme and the other for the film monitoring and final colouring. They cost just £200 each - cheaper and a better solution! A more expensive and better quality screen is the 27" ViewSonic VP2768 which cost £350 each.

We have some 18-year-old 4:3 Viewsonics here that have been in daily use and they are performing as if I bought them yesterday!

Remember that a 21:9 aspect ratio is not true 'scope' which is the cube of 4:3, i.e. 64:27, which has become 2.39:1 or 2.4:1. As nearly all video is viewed on a 16:9 screen, going 'scope' means black-bars and that displays on a 21:9 as having black bars all the way around.
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:57 pm

I have an LG ultrawide (Non-curved) plus a 21” BENQ just off to the side. This works great for audio writing to video with video on the BENQ.
I am still learning about video so have no idea about the colour accuracy of the LG and if it is suitable for accurate video use.

I find the LG crisp enough for working with Logic. I also like that I don’t have 2 monitors bezels dead centre in front of me. My mind may change as I learn more of the requirements for getting accurate colours etc for video editing.
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby CS70 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 2:15 pm

Thanks all, good stuff!
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby Zukan » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:18 am

I use a 42" Hisense TV (from Tesco) and it serves me fine.

Never gone down the dual monitor route. I should though.
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby ManFromGlass » Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:38 pm

Quick irrelevant -
Seems a number of composers here are up to 5 screens connected. Some are turned vertically so they can see score notation. Still scratching my head why. Gives new meaning to Studio Tan.
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby Forum Admin » Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:09 pm

A few years ago I looked into rotating my Apple Thunderbolt 27" display and my 4K, 27-inch Philips monitor (a £400 bargain in the PC World Black Friday sale five years ago) so that both were in Portrait mode.

While this gave exceptionally deep screen estate for simultaneously viewing horizontal tracks, I had to split the Studio One arrange window over the two monitor screens, which worked fine in Apple OS X. After a few days, though, I found I couldn't live with the more restricted width that meant I could see fewer Console (mixer) channels in S1. I also got neck ache quickly from physically moving my head up to look at the top tracks, then back down to tweak settings on the Console.

So back to using both monitors butted together in landscape mode. I dislike the bezel up the middle, but my brain tunes it out after a decent length session. Though I still think one of those ultrawide monitors 8-) would be cool to have.
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby desmond » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:40 pm

While I'm reduced to only my single MBP screen as my graphics chip is dead meaning I can't use an external monitor (which does tend to slow down my workflow, and is annoying), my ideal preference is to have one largish main monitor for working space, and another secondary monitor (which can be smaller) to the side for secondary things (plugins, meters, Netflix etc).

I used to have two main monitors back in the day, but it is annoying to have the dual-sized bezel right in your main working view when you look straight ahead, and shifting both monitors over to the side to compensate doesn't really work either.

I'm not too fussed about ultrawide or curved monitors, it's a bit too much of a good thing that you can't really use that effectively unless you really need to constantly watch/monitor a ton of things.

I do rely heavily on Spaces/virtual desktops though, which became essential to me a long time ago...
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby MOF » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:53 pm

With Logic why not use screensets and just one big screen?
https://support.apple.com/kb/PH24713?lo ... cale=en_US
I presume (but don’t know) that other DAWs have something similar.
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby CS70 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:55 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:Quick irrelevant -
Seems a number of composers here are up to 5 screens connected. Some are turned vertically so they can see score notation. Still scratching my head why. Gives new meaning to Studio Tan.

Ahah, I would actually add a third screen , but I've designed my desk so that there's around 5U of outboard in front of me and another 2U layer over, on top of which rest the screens.

A screen over them and everybody will be thinking I'm praying to god... :D
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby CS70 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:57 pm

Forum Admin wrote:A few years ago I looked into rotating my Apple Thunderbolt 27" display and my 4K, 27-inch Philips monitor (a £400 bargain in the PC World Black Friday sale five years ago) so that both were in Portrait mode.

While this gave exceptionally deep screen estate for simultaneously viewing horizontal tracks, I had to split the Studio One arrange window over the two monitor screens, which worked fine in Apple OS X. After a few days, though, I found I couldn't live with the more restricted width that meant I could see fewer Console (mixer) channels in S1. I also got neck ache quickly from physically moving my head up to look at the top tracks, then back down to tweak settings on the Console.

So back to using both monitors butted together in landscape mode. I dislike the bezel up the middle, but my brain tunes it out after a decent length session. Though I still think one of those ultrawide monitors 8-) would be cool to have.


Thought actually of having 3 portrait, but it really doesn't work with the 16:9 video editing.

I must say the curved ultrawide is tempting just because of the toy factor. Plus, only ONE screen to calibrate! :D
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby desmond » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:07 pm

MOF wrote:With Logic why not use screensets and just one big screen?

I've been using screensets since Logic 1, but they are not an alternative to a decent monitor (or multiple monitors) - just a good way to automatically switch between different window and tool configurations on whatever monitor setup you are using...
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby desmond » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:08 pm

CS70 wrote:A screen over them and everybody will be thinking I'm praying to god... :D

"Oh, the ceiling needs painting again..."
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Re: 21:9 screen vs. dual monitors

Postby MOF » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:54 pm

With Logic why not use screensets and just one big screen?

I've been using screensets since Logic 1, but they are not an alternative to a decent monitor (or multiple monitors) - just a good way to automatically switch between different window and tool configurations on whatever monitor setup you are using...
I find multiple monitors a real pain, friends have gone down that route and there’s a lot of head turning and moving the mouse from one screen to the other to get to the dock and then back to the first monitor.
My iMac 27” screen is sharp enough and big enough, especially once you use screensets since different editors/windows can take up the whole screen or several arranged and sized how you like on one page.
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