Haha no, none of them stuck. I’m just glad I went and picked them all up. Would have been great if a few were stuck in the tree. Haha!
Hi Danny - just wanted to borrow your brain. After reading your posts, and going back to my studio, I’ve made the decision to get myself a sub for my room. Taking your advice, it’s going to have inputs for the monitors and will output to my interface. Just needed some advice:
Most monitors seem to have 10" woofers. All popular brands, JBL, Mackie, Yamaha have 10" models. My rooms not small, but is 10" not overkill for most rooms? I know 10" woofers will translate bass sounds very well, but I’m worried about the bass overpowering everything else. Or am I confused to how the setup will work.
One final question:
There’s a huge amount written about monitor setup, placement, levels and so on. Almost nothing about sub woofer setup and placement. Do I just throw the thing on the floor under my table? On the table?
Thanks in advance!
I think that’s a wise move. Nah, don’t worry about too much sub. You just turn it down if you start mixing bass light. If you hear bass heavy mixes, turn it up a little.
Placement: I’ve seen so many different placements yet they worked. Sideways, in a corner, but they worked. Me personally, mine are even with my monitors under my console desk. So go under your table. Three keys that are important.
- Make sure the sub has a master volume control.
- Make sure the sub has a frequency control option.
- Make sure you use some sort of monitor correction.
The master volume on the sub needs to be used sparingly. You don’t need much. You want to hear a little and feel a little low end, but you want to hear more than you feel. Set up the sub volume and frequency controls while listening to reference material you know really good as well as your own stuff. Just add in enough sub to where it rounds the music out and select a frequency that gives you a happy medium. Too sub low loaded can cloud your decision making. Using too high a frequency can thin things out too much. Your room correction is going to curb the sub a bit or boost it a bit through the software as well as help choose the best frequency for your room based on its analysis. So don’t worry too much about manual perfection.
Once you get to that point, you gotta use correction like ARC from IKMultimedia or something comparable. Missing this step can make your journey even longer. In my humble opinion, if you are set up in the proper listeners triangle where your monitors are as far apart as they are from your main listening spot, room correction will be less important than monitor correction. I’ve mixed in some realy crap rooms when some of the studios I’ve worked in over booked and put me in storage rooms. Without monitor correction, I would have been toast. At closer range the room won’t wreak as much havoc no matter how bad the room is. Sort of like micing at close range. In a room with reflections or echo, you don’t hear the echo when you mic up close. It’s there but the other instruments hide it and it’s not as apparent anyway.
So make sure you correct the monitors. To me, it’s the most important decision you can make. Good luck!
I’ve spent part of my (free) afternoon tuning my speakers… for free!
What you need is the free room measurement programme ‘Room EQ Wizard’ (REW) and (preferably) a measuring mic. I bought a Behringer ECM 8000 for about 60 euro’s a while back. It has a bit of a steep learning curve this REW programme, but it’s worth it. I think I understand my room a lot better. And a good instruction vid helps too:
instruction video room correction. I had fiddled around with the REW software before but didnt understand exactly how it worked until I found this video.
What you do is make some (pink) noise and measure what actually comes out of your speakers. then you let the programme calculate the best eq filters to reach a flatter curve. Then you record those eq moves as an impulse. In your DAW you load up a programme that works with impulse responses - in Reaper that’s Reaverb - and stick it on the very end of your plugin chain of your masterfader. Hope this makes sense. I’m guessing it does the same thing a dedicated plugin like ARC does, but for free:
Oh and it works: even with my 5 inch woofers I’m already getting a better bass response! I’ll have to do it all over again once I get a subwoofer, but now I know how it won’t cost me more that half an hour.
Thanks Danny for reminding me to give it another try
I just stole the sub-woofer from our living room and set it up in my basement studio and am listening to some tunes trying to balance things out while I check back on the forum.
Next up is the ARC or Sonarworks Reference 4, whichever happens to have the best price when I’m able to pick it up.
@Aef Thanks for posting that software! I have to try and get a check it out in the meantime!
My new mantra:
You can’t mix what you can’t hear. It’s not just sound advice, it’s physics.
I can only thank Danny for giving advice that’s straight down the line and honest. As far as I’m concerned, this may the single best forum post about starting to mix and with Danny’s advice I’ve decided to sell some of my underused / unused items and will definitely invest in a subwoofer.
I’m mindful that I’m an amateur in the best sense of the word, And laying down $1000 on a sub is just silly. I often think that the amount of money I spend on this hobby of mine is going to be inversely proportional to the length of my marriage. It’s a balancing game…
But once I’m back at home (I’m currently touring Malaysia with my family) I’m going to convince my wife that my birthday present needs to be a reasonably priced sub, and then I’ll try out REW. I might even possibly have bought ARC years ago in a bundle but I’ll have to go through my emails to see if that’s true or not. I’ve got a Beheinger ECM8000 lying around (I actually use it as a second mic on acoustic guitars), so I can at least try REW and see what happens.
I know I’ll be sitting down for a few days listening to my reference tracks of Steely Dan and Daft Punk to see what all this effort is going to do to my sound. I’m also thinking about some more room treatment as well, if the wife doesn’t divorce me first…
I tend to agree with you there! Although I’m aware of the fact that I am now far enough in my mixing experience to appreciate these things for what they’re worth.
I also realise we moved away from the original post about ear fatigue. Maybe this is worth a separate post?
I’m with you there too!
I guess I’somewhat lucky there. My wife likes time for herself, has her own hobby’s and doesn’t need me around all the time. But even so I guess it’s a balancing act
Let us know how you fare, and what you think of the results.
We could even start a separate discussion on the way you apply eq’s in the REW software (I applied only up to 1000 Hz, others might only use it for the bottom 500 or even 200 Hz. REW has its own forum for the sound nerds that use it, but there’s a lot of Hifi/ home theater people on it. Not quite the same as home recording in a room that’s too small with a couple of DIY bass traps.
Build your own. I made 22 bass traps (I know, I 'm overdoing it, but it’s a lot easier to add some room ambience than to try and get rid of built up resonances). There’s several DIY project discriptions on You tube. Not very difficult. I got some second hand wooden slats for the sides for next to nothing and paid about 150 euro’s (about 200 dollars) for the cloth. I had quite a lot of 10 cm rockwool left lying around after a large renovation of our house and my (‘room in a room’) studio in the basement, so no extra costs there either. A lot of hours work though… Took me a couple of months, 3 or 4 a week. About 3/4 of an hour each.
Great idea, haven’t tried that yet.
Haha! Soooo true!
I have a basic question about setting up a subwoofer and thought it could use its own thread since it has diverged from Mad’s thread here:
I would really appreciate anyone’s input!
22 bass traps. That’s a bold statement (heard clearly without resonation…).
I’m DIY all the way. If I can build it and not buy it, I will. I built 8 myself to a very simple but effective design. I can whip out 8 in a single afternoon. I was toying with making another set, but I think I’m going down the sub and room correction route first. I haven’t done that thing I see on YouTube where I see some kid sitting in a room hot glued top to bottom with foam panels. I find it quite depressing to look at.
Hey @Aef - thanks a ton for posting this! I had no idea about this software. I was able to borrow a reference mic from a friend and am set to start trying to tune my room with my newly added subwoofer. Very excited!
Got any particular words of wisdom regarding the REW software?
It took me a quite some time to get all the preferences right. For instance, you have to do a parralel recording of a loop back from your DAW to get an internal timing reference of your audio interface. You need to know how your audio interface can help you there. My Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP has a loop back function, but setting up the mix control is tricky. And there doesn’t seem to be a way you can monitor the loop back signal. Delving in the Focusrtite user guide helped.
In your case you have to set your preferences for the sub as wel as your monitors.
Once you´ve got the preferences right, the recording is easy. The eq is quite complex, but follow the video I mentioned and you´ll manage. The one thing that surprised me is that the button which actually makes the eq´ed impulse response is just a line of quite small print
Match Response to Target . If you don´t know what you´re looking for, like I did first time around I tried using the software, you´l never find it.
You have quite a bit of choice in how you build the impulse. In the video it is advised to only use it for 0 to 500 Hz at the most. Perhaps even no more than 200. I used it up to a 1000. I still have to try and compare lower settings.
Anyway good luck! Let us know if it works.
Mrmph. Didn’t go well this morning! Miserable failure this morning. I had to stop because I can only feel like a complete idiot for so long… I was just looking at the IK ARC software and Sonarworks when I saw that you wrote back.
I know how you feel . I bought my measuring mic over a year ago, but never really put it to full use, basically because audio analysis is complex. Learning it first hand from some one who knows what their doing would certainly help. That´s why this video was a real eye opener for me.
One word: mind. Sometimes your mind create traps for yourself. We are sometimes very worry about our services and this perfect concept shouldn’t go beyond a limit line. Perhaps your worry makes your mind to be tired and your attention isn’t focused. Detail: a long exposition to higher volumes will damage your health, I think I mix at 70 dB maximum and get great results, after a great session, one checking with lower volumes for look for something exaggerated it’s a good trick, but after 2-3 checks leave more checks for the next day. Don’t worry so much, do you trust yourself? Do you know you’re good? So don’t worry. Listen your mix without worries and if you really think it should to be tweaked, so tweak it! If you force your mind mixing or mastering and force your ears you will not be feeling good.
I think this is the key to everything. Confidence is that thing which comes of experience (or arrogance!), and this thread has taught me some valuable lessons. Being on a budget is fine, but not to the point where mixes are impossible to do. Second guessing oneself is a game of getting over the anxiety of being good enough and just being.