Good Speaker Monitoring for Mix and Mastering or Sound designing

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Mohammadyarahmad
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Joined: 15 Jan 2023

Post 03 Feb 2024

Hello,
First of all,
My genre is Electro House. I have 2 speaker monitors :
1)JBL 1 Series 104 Speaker Monitoring (4.5 inches, 60Hz - 20kHz)
2)Presonus Eris E3.5 (3.5 inches, 80 Hz - 20 kHz)

Which one do you recommend for mixing and mastering and sound designing?
Actually, are they good? or I should change them?

Secondly,
In general, how do you choose an honest speaker monitoring?
Do you use a speaker monitoring for sound designing or use a headphone instead?

Thanks

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jam-s
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Post 03 Feb 2024

Both. Make sure it sounds good on as many systems you can try it on.

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selig
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Post 03 Feb 2024

Speakers are like shoes - they fit differently for every foot, and we often need more than one pair for different tasks. Plus, the only way you know for sure if they fit is to try them on.

One final note is that in most cases you’ll want to be aware of the entire audible spectrum so you know what is leaving your studio. If you can’t hear the bottom two octaves, or hear them accurately, you won’t know what you’re sending out. For reference, the lowest note on a bass guitar is around 40Hz, so you’ll want to make sure you can hear that low (and possibly lower) clear and accurate if at all possible. In my experience you can’t ignore that range and hope for the best…
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mcatalao
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Post 04 Feb 2024

Man i just got my Adam's A7 left monitor blown. I thought it was the fuse but something is broken because it just blown the 2 new fuse, so something is short circuiting there...

Anyway, these Adams were pretty short on the lows so i got a pair of focals alpha 80 some 5 years ago (the adams have alread more than 12 i think!), and i really like them. Listen to what Selig is saying, you really need a flat response over the whole frequency range, AND you'll benefit a lot from a treated room.

The focals Alpha 80 go down to 35 Hz, and they are pretty flat (+-3 db from 32 Hz to 22kHz). However i miss the Adams from more "judicious" vocal editing, hope i can get them fixed! Both great stuff.

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FGL
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Post 04 Feb 2024



I hear the entire spectrum. But I actually never work below 80. And in my opinion, if there's a lot of energy below 120, it's not good for the whole mix. But I also have a tendency to overdo the volume in the high mids because I have bad old rock and roll taste there.

Mohammadyarahmad
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Post 06 Feb 2024

Thanks, everyone. <3
I concluded that it's better to use both headphone and speaker monitoring, especially for low frequencies in my genre.

but it's a bit annoying to choose the kick with a headphone.
What do you suggest?

Mohammadyarahmad
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Post 06 Feb 2024

FGL wrote:
04 Feb 2024


I hear the entire spectrum. But I actually never work below 80. And in my opinion, if there's a lot of energy below 120, it's not good for the whole mix. But I also have a tendency to overdo the volume in the high mids because I have bad old rock and roll taste there.
Nice for testing audio hardware :thumbs_up:

robussc
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Post 06 Feb 2024

Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
06 Feb 2024
Thanks, everyone. <3
I concluded that it's better to use both headphone and speaker monitoring, especially for low frequencies in my genre.

but it's a bit annoying to choose the kick with a headphone.
What do you suggest?
Get a sub? Presonus have a good cheap one.
Software: Reason 12 + Objekt, Vintage Vault 4, V-Collection 9 + Pigments, Vintage Verb + Supermassive
Hardware: M1 Mac mini + dual monitors, Launchkey 61, Scarlett 18i20, Rokit 6 monitors, AT4040 mic, DT-990 Pro phones

Mohammadyarahmad
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Post 07 Feb 2024

robussc wrote:
06 Feb 2024
Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
06 Feb 2024
Thanks, everyone. <3
I concluded that it's better to use both headphone and speaker monitoring, especially for low frequencies in my genre.

but it's a bit annoying to choose the kick with a headphone.
What do you suggest?
Get a sub? Presonus have a good cheap one.
Interesting :thumbs_up:

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mcatalao
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Post 07 Feb 2024

FGL wrote:
04 Feb 2024


I hear the entire spectrum. But I actually never work below 80. And in my opinion, if there's a lot of energy below 120, it's not good for the whole mix. But I also have a tendency to overdo the volume in the high mids because I have bad old rock and roll taste there.
That's not the real point, imho. The question is, how can you make that call (that you have too much or too few energy) if your system doesn't reproduce that low? How can you cut something at 40 and judge what that cut produces from 35 to 70 if your monitor is not linear under 50? That being said, a lot of stuff happens between 40 and 80 to say you don't work below it, a lot of male vocals have a lot of energy there, pianos start around 30 Hz, a double bass E is 41 HZ... And synths can go even under that.

raffito9
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Post 07 Feb 2024

robussc wrote:
06 Feb 2024
Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
06 Feb 2024
Thanks, everyone. <3
I concluded that it's better to use both headphone and speaker monitoring, especially for low frequencies in my genre.

but it's a bit annoying to choose the kick with a headphone.
What do you suggest?
Get a sub? Presonus have a good cheap one.
Does a sub add "color" to your sound? Or is it a good addition to a studio monitor setup? Like, having a better reference on how it would sound on a big system?

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selig
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Post 07 Feb 2024

raffito9 wrote:
07 Feb 2024
robussc wrote:
06 Feb 2024


Get a sub? Presonus have a good cheap one.
Does a sub add "color" to your sound? Or is it a good addition to a studio monitor setup? Like, having a better reference on how it would sound on a big system?
Does a speaker color the sound? Yes, some do, some not so much.

For me the bigger issue was getting a sub that integrated well with the main speakers such that you didn't "hear" the sub as separate in any way. It shouldn't sound any different than if each of your main speakers suddenly had a woofer the same/similar size. The best way to ensure this is to invest in a "system" designed to work together. My JBL system was the first I heard that did this to my liking, and I've been using it for 20 years now!

Some important qualities to look for are the ability. to crossover the main speakers, which in most cases means you send the main L/R outputs to the sub first, they are filtered with the inverse filter of the sub to prevent build up from overlapping frequency ranges. Also necessary are a sub level control, and a polarity control. Crossover frequency isn't as important with a well designed system, but if you go "bespoke" it can come in handy for tuning the system.

Bottom line, adding a sub IS a bit more work but totally worth it IMO, even for smaller rooms (if a car can benefit from a sub, a bedroom studio can do so ).
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robussc
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Post 07 Feb 2024

raffito9 wrote:
07 Feb 2024
robussc wrote:
06 Feb 2024


Get a sub? Presonus have a good cheap one.
Does a sub add "color" to your sound? Or is it a good addition to a studio monitor setup? Like, having a better reference on how it would sound on a big system?
If it's a decent reference sub and its level is properly balanced with the other speakers then it should fill out the bottom end nicely (and they generally have a cross over frequency so you can adjust to your speakers). For dance music production (which I believe the OP was interested in) it would be essential as clubs will be using subs so you'd be mixing blind without it.

Edit: miissed Selig's reply, so yeah what he said. :)
Software: Reason 12 + Objekt, Vintage Vault 4, V-Collection 9 + Pigments, Vintage Verb + Supermassive
Hardware: M1 Mac mini + dual monitors, Launchkey 61, Scarlett 18i20, Rokit 6 monitors, AT4040 mic, DT-990 Pro phones

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FGL
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Post 12 Feb 2024

mcatalao wrote:
07 Feb 2024
FGL wrote:
04 Feb 2024


I hear the entire spectrum. But I actually never work below 80. And in my opinion, if there's a lot of energy below 120, it's not good for the whole mix. But I also have a tendency to overdo the volume in the high mids because I have bad old rock and roll taste there.
That's not the real point, imho. The question is, how can you make that call (that you have too much or too few energy) if your system doesn't reproduce that low? How can you cut something at 40 and judge what that cut produces from 35 to 70 if your monitor is not linear under 50? That being said, a lot of stuff happens between 40 and 80 to say you don't work below it, a lot of male vocals have a lot of energy there, pianos start around 30 Hz, a double bass E is 41 HZ... And synths can go even under that.
If I can hear the entire spectrum, my system will reproduce the entire spectrum. Seems logical to me. But I see problems like this before I hear them, because in order to properly perceive the low frequencies you have to listen very loudly. But my goal is always that the things I do work on every system, so that they also sound good on in-ear systems, like in the car and on all other systems. The worst thing is that you release something and then people play on their systems again and use the Equilizer presets there. On the other hand, I always find certain frequencies annoying and I could eliminate frequencies until nothing can be heard at all. Chamber concerts in the town hall are really bad. I always want to destroy all the instruments immediately, there are frequencies, really.
Bildschirmfoto 2024-02-12 um 23.30.46.png
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selig
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Post 13 Feb 2024

FGL wrote:
12 Feb 2024

If I can hear the entire spectrum, my system will reproduce the entire spectrum. Seems logical to me. But I see problems like this before I hear them, because in order to properly perceive the low frequencies you have to listen very loudly…
Not following - if your system doesn’t reproduce 40 Hz how can you hear it? You CAN hear 40 Hz, technically speaking. But not if it’s not coming out of your speakers!

And I would have to totally disagree you need to monitor very loudly to hear low frequencies. Many engineers mix at a low monitor level for much of the work. Yes, 100% you should check your mix at a louder playback volume during the process - more so if that is how the music is intended to be heard! In my experience you can’t mix any frequency range by looking at displays alone, if that’s what you are suggesting - apologies if not!
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tomusurp
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Post 13 Feb 2024

Producer and engineer here. Mostly EDM and some trap

I can say that I’ve tested many speakers, but my favorites are Tannoy, JBL and Genelec. Tannoy and Genelec I would say are more accurate and flat but yet still sound great and open. Tannoy and JBL are total steals for their price range. Genelec is just too pricey for my taste. I don’t like any of the other brands. I use the 5” woofer models but also have a subwoofer to check how much compression or roll off is needed in the low end during mastering
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selig
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Post 13 Feb 2024

tomusurp wrote:
13 Feb 2024
Producer and engineer here. Mostly EDM and some trap

I can say that I’ve tested many speakers, but my favorites are Tannoy, JBL and Genelec. Tannoy and Genelec I would say are more accurate and flat but yet still sound great and open. Tannoy and JBL are total steals for their price range. Genelec is just too pricey for my taste. I don’t like any of the other brands. I use the 5” woofer models but also have a subwoofer to check how much compression or roll off is needed in the low end during mastering
Same, but have never experienced a manufacturer with a consistent quality. I love my current JBLs (LSR series) but almost didn't even consider them because I never liked JBLs before. I also love KRK E8s (discontinued) but never found another KRK I could work on. The original 12" Tannoy Golds are awesome but none of their powered monitors have done a thing for me. I've used Yamaha NS10s for 40 years as of next year, and never could stand any other Yamaha monitor.

So after over 40 years in the studio, I don't have any favorite speaker 'brands', just favorite models. That's not to say that is the only way to look at things, just sharing my personal take on it.
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tomusurp
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Post 13 Feb 2024

selig wrote:
13 Feb 2024
tomusurp wrote:
13 Feb 2024
Producer and engineer here. Mostly EDM and some trap

I can say that I’ve tested many speakers, but my favorites are Tannoy, JBL and Genelec. Tannoy and Genelec I would say are more accurate and flat but yet still sound great and open. Tannoy and JBL are total steals for their price range. Genelec is just too pricey for my taste. I don’t like any of the other brands. I use the 5” woofer models but also have a subwoofer to check how much compression or roll off is needed in the low end during mastering
Same, but have never experienced a manufacturer with a consistent quality. I love my current JBLs (LSR series) but almost didn't even consider them because I never liked JBLs before. I also love KRK E8s (discontinued) but never found another KRK I could work on. The original 12" Tannoy Golds are awesome but none of their powered monitors have done a thing for me. I've used Yamaha NS10s for 40 years as of next year, and never could stand any other Yamaha monitor.

So after over 40 years in the studio, I don't have any favorite speaker 'brands', just favorite models. That's not to say that is the only way to look at things, just sharing my personal take on it.
Oh I dislike the KRK’s, the models I’ve tested sound way too boxy. I have the JBL LSR model for my subwoofer and their MK model for my secondary set of monitors. Tannoy Reveal is my main. I’m very happy with them, not only for mixing and mastering my own music but to listen to any kind of music too.

There’s also a really cool site (equipboard.com) that documents all kinds of gear and software popular and underground producers use. So for people who need a guideline it could be helpful and just fun to see what your favorite producers use. But for specific gear like monitors, headphones and interfaces I’m always one to test it out and research it first.
"The hottest in the matrix"
My music:
https://www.youtube.com/c/TomUsurp
https://www.tomusurp.com


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DaveyG
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Post 13 Feb 2024

I don't have particularly strong opinions about any speaker brand except KRK. I know they have their fans but I've never heard a good KRK speaker. To me they always sound more like HiFi speakers than monitoring speakers.

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crimsonwarlock
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Post 13 Feb 2024

Mohammadyarahmad wrote:
03 Feb 2024
In general, how do you choose an honest speaker monitoring?
What's missing in this discussion is the influence of the room. If you have an untreated/unmeasured room, it doesn't matter what monitors you put into them. You won't get any honest results. As for headphones, this...


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selig
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Post 13 Feb 2024

DaveyG wrote:
13 Feb 2024
I don't have particularly strong opinions about any speaker brand except KRK. I know they have their fans but I've never heard a good KRK speaker. To me they always sound more like HiFi speakers than monitoring speakers.
Agree except for one standout, still one of my all time favorites to mix on, the "expose" E8, which was massively over powered with huge heat sinks on the sides and more of a trapezoid shape when viewed from above. They never did anything like them before or after, which was my point I guess.
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FGL
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Post 14 Feb 2024

selig wrote:
13 Feb 2024
FGL wrote:
12 Feb 2024

If I can hear the entire spectrum, my system will reproduce the entire spectrum. Seems logical to me. But I see problems like this before I hear them, because in order to properly perceive the low frequencies you have to listen very loudly…
Not following - if your system doesn’t reproduce 40 Hz how can you hear it? You CAN hear 40 Hz, technically speaking. But not if it’s not coming out of your speakers!

And I would have to totally disagree you need to monitor very loudly to hear low frequencies. Many engineers mix at a low monitor level for much of the work. Yes, 100% you should check your mix at a louder playback volume during the process - more so if that is how the music is intended to be heard! In my experience you can’t mix any frequency range by looking at displays alone, if that’s what you are suggesting - apologies if not!
I don't understand the irritation here. It's like I said at the beginning. I hear the entire spectrum. So my system also reproduces the entire spectrum.

And the second thing. Personally, I find it easier to make out frequencies that are hard to hear when I hear it louder. I also consider this to be a general fact.

By the way: If I listen to things quieter, very quiet, I can better hear outliers in the volume. But I, like most people, usually work at moderate volume.

Of course, it's absolutely true that you can't mix properly if you don't listen but only pay attention to the screen displays. But this is so obvious that I don't understand how anyone could come up with the idea that I would suggest it. But here I only refer to the fact of experience. I see it faster than I hear it. With ten channels, I switch through and first see which channels are producing strong activity at the edges of the spectrum. I limit these channels from the outset based on my experience. Most of the time I haven't done exactly this with a channel when problems arise. I'll do some fine tuning later.

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mcatalao
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Post 14 Feb 2024

FGL wrote:
12 Feb 2024

If I can hear the entire spectrum, my system will reproduce the entire spectrum. Seems logical to me. But I see problems like this before I hear them, because in order to properly perceive the low frequencies you have to listen very loudly. But my goal is always that the things I do work on every system, so that they also sound good on in-ear systems, like in the car and on all other systems. The worst thing is that you release something and then people play on their systems again and use the Equilizer presets there. On the other hand, I always find certain frequencies annoying and I could eliminate frequencies until nothing can be heard at all. Chamber concerts in the town hall are really bad. I always want to destroy all the instruments immediately, there are frequencies, really.Bildschirmfoto 2024-02-12 um 23.30.46.png
Not necessarily. I don't know what monitors you have but what happens is that under the specification the woofers move but with less or more energy, so less balanced than in the rest of the spectrum. In essence if you have a monitor that has a 40 to 20k representation doesn't mean they don't cut completely from 40hz down they have a +-2 db linearity from 40 to 20000hz but outside it will be worse, so your monitors are surely lying.

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FGL
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Post 14 Feb 2024

mcatalao wrote:
14 Feb 2024
FGL wrote:
12 Feb 2024

If I can hear the entire spectrum, my system will reproduce the entire spectrum. Seems logical to me. But I see problems like this before I hear them, because in order to properly perceive the low frequencies you have to listen very loudly. But my goal is always that the things I do work on every system, so that they also sound good on in-ear systems, like in the car and on all other systems. The worst thing is that you release something and then people play on their systems again and use the Equilizer presets there. On the other hand, I always find certain frequencies annoying and I could eliminate frequencies until nothing can be heard at all. Chamber concerts in the town hall are really bad. I always want to destroy all the instruments immediately, there are frequencies, really.Bildschirmfoto 2024-02-12 um 23.30.46.png
Not necessarily. I don't know what monitors you have but what happens is that under the specification the woofers move but with less or more energy, so less balanced than in the rest of the spectrum. In essence if you have a monitor that has a 40 to 20k representation doesn't mean they don't cut completely from 40hz down they have a +-2 db linearity from 40 to 20000hz but outside it will be worse, so your monitors are surely lying.
Well, I can hear everything in the test file. I was surprised myself due to my age and poor ear care.

But the fact that the systems are different is a good indication. Even with a lot of money we can't get a physical laboratory system. Elon and his billionaire buddies could afford something like that. But it would also be pointless.

That's why it's so important to cross-check what you're doing on different systems. But even then, I have audiophile relatives (speaker builders) and you can't please them. There is already MP3 devilish stuff.
Last edited by FGL on 14 Feb 2024, edited 5 times in total.

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selig
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Post 14 Feb 2024

FGL wrote:
14 Feb 2024
I don't understand the irritation here.
I have somehow giving you a TOTALLY different impression than I intended. I’m not irritated by anything anyone has said. As far as I can tell, we happen to have a very different experience working with audio, that’s all. Which is a good thing IMO.
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