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.

I still didn’t buy new speakers. I thought about the Genelec 8030, but as @keith303 said they don’t go super low, but lower than my Eris 5. I have a huge room Mode at 45 Hz (not crucial with the Eris) and use drc to correct it in general (see link below).

If the HS8 wouldn’t be so heavy I would take these. IIRC @keith303 was using the HS8 also in the past and now upgrade to the Hedd 7 inch monitors.

@keith303 do you find the Hedd much better than the HS8 and do you use any room correction software?

For those who are on Linux and are looking for a great drc solution check this out

Room is roughly twice is deep (8 m) compared to what you see on the photo.

What’s its size in square meters? My room has got about 60 square meters. And I still haven’t managed to measure anything yet. The speaker position is already perfect for sure. But I have to admit that in the meantime mixing and mastering started to piss me off a little bit. It takes much longer than what I did in the past and I’m not really sure if it has improved regarding the overall sound balance. It has become quite technical (even though I’m probably just scratching the surface), which kills the fun in a certain way. But it has to be done, no doubt about it. At this point I’m thinking about using reference tracks for the first time, on the other hand I don’t want to sound like everybody else. You wrote that your bass is always too loud. why do you think that way? The songs I’ve heard from you so far doesn’t have a bass which is too loud. When I compare my tracks with others, the bass also COULD be a little softer, but on the other hand everything is fine. There are plenty of songs out there which sound different than others in terms of the overall sound balance. And to be honest, there are way too much “professional productions” which suck through speakers. Seeing it this way we should be satisfied. As long as the tracks sound reasonably well on every system I’m ok with it. It can’t be bad if it’s good through a car radio. But of course it always could be better. :slightly_smiling_face:

Nevertheless I’m still trying to find the easiest, fastest and best way to get the desired results without diving too deep into the technical things. And I just don’t want to measure everything out.

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Hello!
I think that this is an overrated subject to discuss.
As a human been, our ears work Absolutely different ways. One person can hear the 18khz frequency in 32, others cant. Even two different person in the same room can hear absolutely differently.
Just use the device that sounds Comfortable for your ears " to save hearing health as long as possible and protect your ears" .
I use headphones since 2004 on minimal amount of volume “10 fo 100” while writing music, mixing and mastering.
I have never used monitors because i know that good monitors in a “bad” room will sound so bad. And to get your monitors work as they should by their manual’s references, you should Build the room from zero fitting and calibrating with the monitors parameters.

I got the HEDDs last year, after running a combo of Adam A7 + Adam Sub10 for about 10 years.
I always thought the A7 were “pretty good” speakers, but i really love how the HEDDs changed the way i can enjoy audio in this room now.

they have a pretty narrow sweet spot, but as long as you don’t leave it, it’s just a pleasure to listen to them.
i could spit out all that fuzz about transparency, imaging, tight bass, accurate mids, brilliant treble and sharp transients, but i think it’s more appropriate to say, that they’re just much, much better in every way that i could express with words compared to the A7 / Sub 10 combo,

Being a sucker for AMT tweeters, i also ordered the EVE audio SC208 together with the HEDDs, so i had 30 days of time to decide which pair to keep. I returned the SC208 after 2 days already :slight_smile:

When comparing them against each other i also experienced how much of a difference the speaker placement has on the sound.
image
Having the HEDDs standing inside the foam packaging parts made the EVEs (placed on stands) sound a tad bit more resolving, detailed, (…) → better.
Changing them against each other made the HEDDs sound better by a great margin.

You really can’t A/B nearfields if they are not standing at the very same position.

The Type 07 (as well as the Type 20 + 30) are meanwhile available with the Lineariser application (plugin) integrated into the speakers. The Lineariser turns the HEDDs into virtually perfectly frequency and phase linear speakers. Especially the phase linearization introduces latency… up to 100 ms with the MK1 and around 14ms with the now available MK2, but it sonically makes a huge difference when all frequency portions of the signal reach your ears exactly at the same time.

Contrary to the datasheets, the HEDDs start to audibly roll off their bass at around <32hz. ( i think they’re specified with 38)

As you might already guess, i can only recommend at least trying the HEDDs before deciding on anything else, if you’re OK with the price point.
I know the HS8 from a friend’s place. Haven’t had them here to listen, but from what i have heard in his room, they’re nothing i’d strive after.

no i don’t. i have a pretty well treated room (broadband with good and low-end with acceptable decay times).

I don’t like the idea of room correction software as well. you might be able to mask decay times and standing waves, but your also manipulate direct sound in a great way.
That’s something i always realize at how bad my living room sounds, where an AVR driven Audyssey XT32 kills certain bass frequencies entirely (as my living room is a sonic catastrophe),

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Thanks for the detailed description. Sure, room treatment is always better than DSP, but in order to improve something in my room I need to massively treat the ceiling (only have three 10 cm thick basotect pannels there) and maybe even the rear wall to treat the 45Hz room mode. Without DSP the 130 Hz mode (002 mode floor ceiling) completely destroys the sound here. I can move further from the front wall to improve this, but than I run into other problems. To get the 70 Hz mode down I can add 4 more bass traps to the front wall, but then my windows are blocked.

I also bought 3 monster bass traps from GIK and have them at the moment on the front wall. Some SBIR at around 200 Hz got better, but except of this there is no measurable (with REW) effect. So, this was a bit a waste of money (600€). Maybe I put them to the side wall in front of the red absorbers to treat the 70 Hz mode which comes from a standing wave between the side walls (~4.5 m distance).

One problem I see with your setup is the big table, which could lead to issues in the 800 - 1000 Hz range (likely a dip). At least I have this problem with my 180x80 table. Your bass traps are huge! Did you build a wooden frame around it or are these just plain Rockwool bags? Do you notice any effect from the panel on the front wall between the speakers?

The room is around 45 m2. My speakers go only to ~60 Hz which is for sure not low enough. To mix the bass I use headphones and the car speakers. Usually my kicks are too loud and my sub bass is too low.

For instance here the low end is wrong imo (the kick is too loud):

while here I got it right more or less imo:

The whole topic also pisses me off, because you need a shit load of absorbers to achieve anything. The treatment works well in the time domain, but to get the frequency response flat is very difficult.

Yes, the kick of the first song is too loud. The second one is ok.
That’s why I always use a VU meter on my kick and adjust it to 0 VU. If you do so the kick can’t get too loud. You can adjust everything else, just like the bass, to the kick. And I would do it in mono. :wink:

That’s too technical for my taste, I don’t deal with it. I just work as described here and there. Using compressors to flaten the frequencies (and volume) if necessary, using a limiter to avoid clipping, cutting frequencies if necessary, mixing in mono and adjusting the instrument’s volume to the kick’s volume. The more simple it is, the better it is. At least for my taste. :slightly_smiling_face: