Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums
Sign in to follow this  
CoolBritannia

Studio Monitors

Recommended Posts

Hi guys, fairly new to home recording, so I thought I'd ask for some advice.

 

I'm recording on a zoom r16 with a sE2000 mic'd Blackstar Stage 60 amp, playing a (just showing off now)Deluxe Fender Strat, Deluxe Fender Tele, 2009 Les Paul Traditional and as of Monday an ES 339 (my gorgeous new baby!)

 

I'm running a laptop speaker system through the headphone jack but I'm getting a shedload of feedback when recording the lead tracks as I'm in a small room, so I need to wear headphones for recording, and I've been told to buy a monitor pair for mixing as headphones don't really cut it when it comes to mixing.

 

So, can anyone confirm or deny the advice I've been given?

 

Muchos appreciated dudes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're mic-ing up instruments/vocals and recording in the same room you're always gong to have to use headphones whether you've got a £10.00 pair of PC speakers or a £10,000,00 set of monitors. What headphones you use is your choice. What's good for others may not suit you.

 

If you're happy with recording/mixing on headphones or your PC speakers, and you're getting the sound you want, you're done. The whole idea is that you're happy.

If you want a better chance of your mixes sounding good on other peoples Hi-Fi or in the car etc then a pair of monitors are a nice thing to have. Essential? no, not for everybody.

Do I have monitors? yes but I only bought my first pair a few months ago.

Have they made a difference to the mix/sound? yes, particularly when I play my own CD's in the car.

Do you have to buy some? no, that's your choice. The whole idea is that you're happy with your sound.

 

As you're new to recording I'd suggest this book Guerilla Home Recording: How to Get Great Sound from Any Studio. It's £8.75 from Amazon. It assumes you know little or nothing about recording and it's aimed specifically at people who are recording in anything other than custom built studios using anything other than cutting edge equipment. That describes me and very likely 95% of other home recordists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mixing with headphones (to me) is tough: i fatigue quickly wearing them for an extended period of time, and they are bass heavy to start with... :)

 

Monitors give you (hopefully) an accurate representation of what you've tracked, and help you identify where re-tracking/EQ/tweaking is needed. Listen to a bunch with a recording/mix you are familiar with, and choose best ones your budget will allow.

 

I have Alesis M1Active 620s, and they're nice while not too much $$.

 

hope this helps,

Don

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mixing with headphones is a big no-no. Headphones will warp your sense of space, especially if you do any cool stereo panning.

 

Headphones are good for tracking and fun as a reference when listening to final mixes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I think you'll get more mileage out of learning your current equipment, experimenting, and exploring all the elements of mixing with a critical ear than from just buying some monitors. Studio monitors aren't a magic cure, and their sound reproduction qualities vary from example to example just as headphones do.

 

The slow accumulation of knowledge about things and techniques on the "capture" side (rooms, mics, all the stuff in your signal chain) and then all the things you can do to what you capture (e.q., panning, reverb, compression and on and on...) is what matters most. You can do all that with monitors of course, but a decent/good pair of headphones is perfectly fine for learning to really listen and tweak, day or night (and often preferable for focusing your attention, imho).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great points clayville, but would you do you even 80% of your final mixing with just headphones? I stand firm that with headphones you lose sight on how the whole mix sounds. Monitors will give you the big picture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never mixed on headphones but I haven't always mixed on proper monitors either. Before I got monitors I used fairly good Hi-Fi speakers and although my stuff sounded good to me on those there was always something not quite right when I played my CD's on other peoples systems or in the car. It came as a surprise to me how bad my stuff sounded on the new monitors and I was quite depressed about it. I went back to my old recordings and found myself stripping out compression plugins, using less reverb and going for a much clearer sound than I had previously. I wouldn't say that my recordings are release quality now but they certainly sound better to me. Even so, I wouldn't say that everyone should do it my way. If headphones or PC speakers get the job done for you and you're happy with the result, you're done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great points clayville, but would you do you even 80% of your final mixing with just headphones? I stand firm that with headphones you lose sight on how the whole mix sounds. Monitors will give you the big picture.

 

Well, I'd say it depends on what the beginning home-recordist is really trying to do. Is he just recording himself on guitar and hoping to learn how to get a 'good' sound? Is he playing along to backing tracks or other pre-mixed sources (drum machines, loops, etc) where he has no (or little) control over the sound of the underlying elements? Is he trying to do quick captures for song demo purposes? Or placing mics all over the band room to try and capture rehearsal? or something else entirely?

 

I'm just saying that for a beginner, using something like the o.p.'s Zoom with a host of built-in DSP effects, there's probably more value toward achieving better results in really learning what he has already than in dropping more coin on decent studio monitors.

 

In my self-taught case, I've now made hundreds of home-recorded hobby projects using all of those methods above and I learn something new almost every time, dealing mostly with just a lead guitar layer but often more. My intent isn't to make a relase-ready commercial cut on my home stuff, but 95% of them were mixed on a trusty pair of Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones - decent, but not outrageously expensive. Anyway, those mixes don't seem to suffer too much no matter what the playback circumstances. Of course they sound a bit different on my iPod than they do on my home system or in my car -- or through the older Tannoy PBM-8 studio monitors I picked up fairly recently. But so does Steely Dan. It seems to me that learning How to mix on whatever equipment you have is a better value that upgrading your equipment and hoping your mixes will instantly sound better as a result.

 

That said... get the best equipment you can afford!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest BentonC

I would also highly recommend Etymotic ER-4 headphones. This is the only headphone that I have ever been exposed to that were sufficient for mixing: http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er4.aspx (The ER-4S models are the ones)

They have the flattest frequency response I've ever heard from any headphones to date.

 

As said plenty of times already, monitors are really the way to go for mixing. There is a huge difference between monitors and phones, namely the stereo image you recieve when you are wearing headphones, as well as frequency responses you are getting in an open room- even if you have foam on the walls.

 

If you don't have a space that is practical for mixing with monitors all the time- which most of us with home studio setups will experience- then these headphones might just do the trick...

 

Whatever you choose, I'm sure you'll get used to the response from it, and at least be able to get a good reference from them for whatever you might be looking to accomplish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think having a nice flat set of headphones is great for checking where your mix is at but I wouldn't advise doing an entire mix with just headphones. It's also important to check your mix on multiple speaker and headphone setups because at the end of the day, a good mix will translate better on multiple systems. Another thing to think about to is how well your room sounds to begin with. If you have a pair of $10k monitors but the room isn't designed or treated correctly, you will still have a hard time creating a well balanced mix. I would first spend some time and money getting the room as best treated as I can before I go out and spend the cash on monitors. But it's all personal preference. To each his own. Just something to think about

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest BentonC

I think having a nice flat set of headphones is great for checking where your mix is at but I wouldn't advise doing an entire mix with just headphones. It's also important to check your mix on multiple speaker and headphone setups because at the end of the day, a good mix will translate better on multiple systems. Another thing to think about to is how well your room sounds to begin with. If you have a pair of $10k monitors but the room isn't designed or treated correctly, you will still have a hard time creating a well balanced mix. I would first spend some time and money getting the room as best treated as I can before I go out and spend the cash on monitors. But it's all personal preference. To each his own. Just something to think about

 

 

+1... Good points!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good points from evol, clayville, and about rooms from kerpalexander23.........May I add, use both monitors and headphones. Use real studio monitors and flat response headphones designed for recording.....Compare what you do as you work with your sound through normal / regular phones and stereo speakers...Back and forth, etc.......Choose your brands via lots of reviews, on-site (store) testing, and your budget....and..... never...ever....pay list price, and always price match.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...