Mixing & Mastering experiences

This is the first time that I mix and master also with studio monitors next to studio headphones and my common Hi-Fi speakers. What can I say? I can say for sure that I couldn’t mix and master without Hi-Fi speakers as a reference. But why? Well, as always I compose and mix completely on studio headphones until the track is finished, then I switch to speakers to check what’s up. This time I switched to my new studio monitors (Genelec 8030 CP) first and it sounded great, similar to what I’ve heard on headphones. But when I switched to Hi-Fi speakers it sounded like a piece of shit, completely flat without any contrast and a dysbalance in its volume regarding to all the instruments, especially when it comes to the drums (primarely kick and hihats). Due to the fact that the reason for existence of mastering is that a song sounds good on every system, studio monitors alone obviously aren’t enough. I wonder how someone can mix and master with studio monitors as a reference only, seemingly this is mostly the case, isn’t it? For me this is not the solution, I tend to mix and master on Hi-Fi speakers and check again on studio headphones. The studio monitors are an addition, but not THE reference. And yes, of course I calibrated the monitors to my room. So how can this be? Should I wash my ears? Am I doing something wrong? What are your experiences in terms of that?

here are some potential problems you might be encountering:

  • the genelec 8030 CP have a tiny 5" woofer and will therefore start to roll off at >2db below 54hz. you’re basically “blind” in the low end, unless you introduce a subwoofer into your system, which might however introduce phase issues and crosstalk, as every crossover frequency does.

  • your room might be plagued by room modes that will emphesize certain frequencies in the low end, potentially making up for a lack of bass in your mix.

  • headphones can help for detecting imaging problems in the sound stage and they’re certainly helpful to count-check your mixes / masters, but as long as you don’t own some certain cans that cost beyond the 1k € mark, they won’t help much for EQing due to coloration and are hardly suitable for mixing - even if they’re marketed as “studio” gear.

  • know your tools: how many hours have you spent getting to know your speakers / headphones? if you’re not accustomed to what you use, you don’t know how a good mix is supposed to sound in your environment and setup. sound coloration is definately taking place - also for studio speakers, especially when considering the individual room characteristics.

besides all that, i have yet to find somebody into mastering that claims it was a good idea to solely do the job on one single system. everyone recommends doing a/b/c comparisons - no matter the quality and price of their gear.

so what you have done and just experienced is actually part of the “best practice”.

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I have a set of Yamaha HS8 speakers and found that if I push my seat back about a foot or two I really hear a bass change.

It’s very tricky.

I try to use reference tracks to guide me, as well as playback on assorted speakers and headphones.

Much more important than speakers is room acoustics. If you haven’t done it yet, measure it with REW. I’m having the same problem. My bass is always too loud, but I think this is because I use the Eris 5 which roll off at about 60Hz. I wanted to go for the Genelec 8030 too or the Neumann KH 120. But I think choosing something larger (Adam T7V) is the better choice. HS 80 is also good, but they are quite heavy.
I also have some room treatment here. Nevertheless acoustic is far from perfect. IMG_20210513_164303

+10dB at 70Hz and 135Hz. But decay times are good and that’s the most important thing. You might use a parametric EQ to correct for the room or use Sonarworks.

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That’s right, I have to get to know my studio monitors, they’re still new to me. What I know is that on my Hi-Fi speakers the highs are always louder and the bass (< 1000Hz) softer compared to my studio headphones. I think on studio headphones (or headphones in general) you can hear way more detail, but a possible imbalance of highs, mids and lows is getting conceiled. Usually it’s not that bad, you just have to make some slightly adjustments after switching to speakers. But sometimes, just like this time, it really hurts.

Yes, I haven’t measured anything yet, I still haven’t found the time (and the mood) for measuring the frequency response of the room with REW. And I still don’t own a decibel meter. But anyway, there’s no way for room treatment of any kind. I have to live with non ideal conditions until I move. My “studio” (a computer and a desk) is next to a balcony (floor-to-ceiling windows on most of the walls) in my living room with an open kitchen and a hallway. No chance for good room accoustics in terms of making music. The room is even much bigger than the room shown on your pic.