Virtual Studio Monitoring - headphone mixing is REAL

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Re: Virtual Studio Monitoring - headphone mixing is REAL

Post by Airyck » Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:06 pm

For those mixing in an apartment you may want to consider getting a pair of nice very small speakers.

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Keep the volume low and keep the speakers as close as makes sense to make your triangle (closer if you need).
Put the music stuff in your dinning room or living room so you're not bugging people in their bedrooms when they are sleeping.

Make sure to have the speakers on isolation stands (to keep vibrations from the floors and walls) and build a few full traps for the corners of the room (dining room or living room is a good choice).

I built some of these full traps for really cheap, less than a couple hundred for floor to ceiling corner full traps

Put on some music and set the volume on your hardware and make sure the volume on the software is the highest it will go. Go into the different rooms of your apartment and close the door, see if you can hear it or feel it there at all. Go into the hallway and check your volume there. When you know you have it at a good level, mark your levels on your hardware with some tape so you never turn it up past that point.

It's more expensive but I use(d) a bmc-2 from TC electronics which has a level you can set where at a press of a button it always goes back to that level. When the button is on the volume knobs don't work so you can't turn it up by habit.

Make your music on the speakers. You wont be able to hear stuff as well at the low volumes but this can actually be a good thing. You'll make the important stuff stand out and you wont add as much useless garbage to the track you can't hear anyway. Don't even try to work on the bass on the small speakers, check that in your headphones and then go back to the speakers.

You can work in an apartment. I had to for many years and fought with what to do and this is the solution I came up with. You don't have to work only in headphones, you just have to have a system when using your speakers so you don't bother the neighbors (it's possible). I'm talking about in the U.S. where many apartments are cheap wood and have paper thin walls and you can hear the upstairs neighbor fart in his lazyboy.
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Re: Virtual Studio Monitoring - headphone mixing is REAL

Post by tedlogan » Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:07 pm

I checked out Isone, very interesting. But, I'm gonna do the sensible thing and follow Airyck's advice and use monitors. Treating a room should be easy - I mean how hard can it be to set up some bass traps, diffusors and absorbers? I already have Tannoy 6D monitors, just gotta fix the one speaker which is only producing hiss, and I have proper monitor stands filled with good ol cat litter. WIll also save me around £1000 I would have spent on Sennheiser HD800s. I can spend less than half that on fixing my gear and buying/making room treatment.

Mixing at low levels will always produce better results anyway. It's hard at first to train/force yourself to do this, as LOUDer just naturally sounds BETTER. A good soft mix will sound great loud, but the reverse is not always true.

Such basic things that most people know that I kept ignoring the last year, also being aware of all this. Moronicus insanitus. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results...

PS Jack Daniels in coffee is actually awful. I expected a different result and got it. Not a good one.

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Re: Virtual Studio Monitoring - headphone mixing is REAL

Post by fishmonkey » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:11 pm

most people don't want to spend money on proper acoustic treatment, however it makes a far bigger difference to sound quality than pretty much anything else you could upgrade in your playback signal chain.

good headphones are nice, but they don't even come close to the sensation of a good tight stereo speaker setup...
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Re: Virtual Studio Monitoring - headphone mixing is REAL

Post by sinextesia » Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:22 pm

VRM user here as well! I have a VRM Box but it is not stable enough in my opinion. I purchased then a Focusrite Saffire Pro DSP and it works like a charm!
I live in a small apartment too and I have to work most of the time with cans (AKG K712). I use the VRM technology not for having different mixing environment references but not to fatigate too much my ears! With VRM I can hear the sounds with some distance which helps me working much more time, this is my main reason for using the VRM technology. In fact I sold my RME to change to the Saffire DSP.

Of course whenever I can I work with my monitors (Genelec 8020) but in my opinion a Saffire DSP (VRM) with a SUBPAC (to feel the bass) is just perfect to work with a pair of cans!

Just wanted to share my experience...

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