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studio monitors and quality of home speakers
Bartholomew MacG...
post Apr 27 2012, 16:52
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Has there ever been a documented case of a recording sounding worse on quality home speakers because the studio monitors used to make the recording where of lower quality?
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mixminus1
post Apr 27 2012, 17:49
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Define "worse".

For years, one of the studio standards for mixdown monitors were Yamaha NS-10Ms. They weren't/aren't within a stone's throw of any definition of "neutral" or "uncolored", and finding consumer-oriented speakers that are objectively superior is a fairly simple task, especially these days, but nonetheless, I'd guess the majority (vast majority?) of hit records from the 80s and 90s were mixed through them.

A good mix engineer "learns" their speakers, whatever they may be, and how mixes done on those speakers will translate to the enormous variety of playback systems that their recording will be heard through...and that's the key: translation. All speakers (and headphones, of course) sound different, so getting a well-balanced mix on a pair you know well is the best you can do, and then hopefully it holds together through other speakers, even if those speakers have very different frequency responses (and are in very different acoustic environments) than yours.

Note that this is really the key role that a good mastering engineer plays (or did, or should...): being able to hear if your mixes will translate well, and applying the necessary final adjustments to give them the best chance of doing so.


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Bartholomew MacG...
post Apr 30 2012, 06:18
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QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Apr 27 2012, 17:49) *
Define "worse".

For years, one of the studio standards for mixdown monitors were Yamaha NS-10Ms. They weren't/aren't within a stone's throw of any definition of "neutral" or "uncolored", and finding consumer-oriented speakers that are objectively superior is a fairly simple task, especially these days, but nonetheless, I'd guess the majority (vast majority?) of hit records from the 80s and 90s were mixed through them.

A good mix engineer "learns" their speakers, whatever they may be, and how mixes done on those speakers will translate to the enormous variety of playback systems that their recording will be heard through...and that's the key: translation. All speakers (and headphones, of course) sound different, so getting a well-balanced mix on a pair you know well is the best you can do, and then hopefully it holds together through other speakers, even if those speakers have very different frequency responses (and are in very different acoustic environments) than yours.

Note that this is really the key role that a good mastering engineer plays (or did, or should...): being able to hear if your mixes will translate well, and applying the necessary final adjustments to give them the best chance of doing so.



Well, that's the strange thing because audiophile speakers are often advertised as being accurate and "true to the sound that the artist intended" but if the studio monitors weren't accurate isn't this so-called "accuracy" really a form of distortion and inaccuracy? And some of these speakers are quite expensive and even have new materiasl in them. For example, supposedly the company Wilson-Benesch used a type of carbon fiber that was new for their drivers, so it seems quite ironic that all this time and effort is just making things sound worse in an objective sense because it's not the sound that the recording engineers heard.

And to make make matters worse, their might not be the one true sound that the people who made the recording actually wanted because the decisions were made by multiple people maybe - the artists, the recording engineer, the mastering engineer, the producers, maybe other people who worked for the record company. I'm a drummer and one time we were recording some stuff and the engineer told me to change snare drums and I think what he wanted sounded worse but I didn't want to waste time arguing with him so I just went along with it.

It seems the best situation would be to listen at home on the monitors that were used during the mastering phase of the recording because that was when the final decision was made. So if someone used Yamaha NS-10Ms in the studio, they would be the best choice for listening at home. And I think they started out as a home speaker but were later changed for studio use.
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DVDdoug
post Apr 30 2012, 18:52
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QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ Apr 29 2012, 22:18) *
...And to make matters worse, their might not be the one true sound that the people who made the recording actually wanted because the decisions were made by multiple people maybe - the artists, the recording engineer, the mastering engineer, the producers, maybe other people who worked for the record company...
With big-label releases, the mixing engineer & mastering engineer will have different set-ups and the song will have been listened-to by many different people on many different systems. In the end, I would assume management gets the sound they want, or at least a sound that is acceptable to them.

QUOTE
Has there ever been a documented case of a recording sounding worse on quality home speakers because the studio monitors used to make the recording where of lower quality?
It seems to be a common problem with amateurs. You don't have to read many Recording Magazine Reader's Tapes Reviews before monitors (or lack of monitors) are cited as a potential contributor to less-than-perfect mix.
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Posts in this topic
- Bartholomew MacGruber   studio monitors and quality of home speakers   Apr 27 2012, 16:52
- - mixminus1   Define "worse". For years, one of the s...   Apr 27 2012, 17:49
|- - Bartholomew MacGruber   QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Apr 27 2012, 17:49) De...   Apr 30 2012, 06:18
|- - DVDdoug   QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ Apr 29 2012, 2...   Apr 30 2012, 18:52
- - Ethan Winer   QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ Apr 27 2012, 1...   Apr 27 2012, 18:23
|- - Bartholomew MacGruber   QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Apr 27 2012, 18:23) ...   Apr 30 2012, 06:22
|- - tnargs   QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Apr 28 2012, 02:53) ...   Oct 23 2012, 02:10
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (tnargs @ Oct 22 2012, 21:10) QUOTE...   Oct 23 2012, 20:28
- - RonaldDumsfeld   QUOTE the trend to market "pleasing sounding...   Apr 27 2012, 21:16
|- - Ethan Winer   Yes, plenty of examples. Some years back, a fellow...   Apr 28 2012, 17:02
|- - honestguv   QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Apr 28 2012, 18:02) ...   Apr 28 2012, 20:15
||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (honestguv @ Apr 28 2012, 15:15) QU...   Apr 29 2012, 17:51
|- - markanini   QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Apr 28 2012, 17:02) ...   Apr 30 2012, 15:01
|- - tnargs   QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Apr 29 2012, 01:32) ...   Oct 23 2012, 01:56
- - tomtomthomson   QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ Apr 27 2012, 1...   Apr 30 2012, 03:22
- - Typhoon859   QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ Apr 30 2012, 0...   Apr 30 2012, 08:18
|- - Bartholomew MacGruber   OK, I can't remember all the places that I rea...   Apr 30 2012, 08:44
||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ Apr 30 2012, 0...   Apr 30 2012, 14:29
||- - seditious3   QUOTE I also seem to remember stuff about recordin...   Oct 22 2012, 17:53
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Typhoon859 @ Apr 30 2012, 03:18) Q...   Apr 30 2012, 14:25
- - AudioKitten   Maybe this is mostly a problem with amateur master...   May 1 2012, 16:25
- - Bartholomew MacGruber   I don't know if it's ever been done before...   May 2 2012, 04:52
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ May 1 2012, 23...   May 8 2012, 13:32
|- - ktf   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ May 8 2012, 14...   May 8 2012, 16:03
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (ktf @ May 8 2012, 11:03) QUOTE (Ar...   May 9 2012, 14:24
|- - ktf   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ May 9 2012, 15...   May 9 2012, 14:38
- - _if   If you took a set of any of the good monitors (rea...   May 2 2012, 07:12
|- - stephan_g   QUOTE (_if @ May 2 2012, 07:12) If you to...   May 2 2012, 09:36
|- - Bartholomew MacGruber   QUOTE (_if @ May 2 2012, 07:12) If you to...   May 2 2012, 09:37
- - icstm   is that type of EQ adjustment was audacity type sy...   May 2 2012, 13:19
- - RonaldDumsfeld   Thanks to Ethan for going to the trouble to post t...   May 2 2012, 15:24
|- - honestguv   QUOTE (RonaldDumsfeld @ May 2 2012, 15:24...   May 2 2012, 16:33
|- - Kees de Visser   QUOTE (honestguv @ May 2 2012, 17:33) I w...   May 2 2012, 22:38
|- - Thasp   QUOTE (honestguv @ May 2 2012, 08:33) QUO...   May 12 2012, 05:51
- - RonaldDumsfeld   To be fair Ethan did quote the test methodology. S...   May 2 2012, 18:16
- - RobWansbeck   The dips could be the result of phase cancellation...   May 5 2012, 22:45
- - krabapple   Isn't most studio monitoring on these speakers...   May 9 2012, 16:38
- - markanini   Yeah, the equilateral triangle, each side 3-6 feet...   May 10 2012, 15:18
- - lanayapiper   QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ Apr 27 2012, 1...   Oct 12 2012, 13:13
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (lanayapiper @ Oct 12 2012, 08:13) ...   Oct 15 2012, 14:50
- - tnargs   QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Apr 29 2012, 01:32) ...   Oct 23 2012, 01:36
- - markanini   What are Doug Sax and Rob Ludwig using?   Oct 23 2012, 20:45


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