Mixing without Monitor speakers

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
DeeJay1657
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:43 am

Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by DeeJay1657 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 2:02 pm

Is there a huge difference when it comes to the subjective quality of a mix if its done with monitor headphones over speakers? I currently only have Audio Technica Headphones and im getting to the point where im going to be mixing my first song.

Do you guys have any tips for learning how to mix frequencies?
Do you also have any pointers or ideas on how you mix?
Also, when recording from an external source, do you usually EQ before, or after you have recorded?

login
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by login » Thu Oct 22, 2015 2:12 pm

IMHO there is simply no comparision, mixing on monitors is way easier.

If you want a great start at learning mixing check out lynda.com they have a 10 day trial. Tgeir have like 3 good courses on mixing and a set of focused ones on delay, reverb, compression and EQ. They are excellent and if you have the time you could watch it withim the trial period.

tedlogan
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by tedlogan » Thu Oct 22, 2015 2:13 pm

I find it extremely difficult to get an OK mix with just headphones (Sennheiser HD600s).

What usually suffers is the volume balance as well as the high end, as it's all hyped when sitting on your ears. You listen to it on another sound source the next day and deflation sets in as it now sounds like utter shit. Main reason I had my Tannoy Reveal 6Ds repaired, and things have improved quite a bit.

The number one priority for any music maker/sound designer etc should be monitor speakers, with room treatment being a very close second. If you cannot mix loudly due to circumstances in your residence - good! Your tracks will come out a lot better when mixed at low volumes mostly. As a wise person called "yep" once said in another famous thread on another forum far away, mixing without reliable monitors in an unreliable room "is like painting in the dark".

Then there's a million other factors which more knowledgeable people on here could enlighten you with.

DeeJay1657
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:43 am

Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by DeeJay1657 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 2:30 pm

tedlogan wrote:I find it extremely difficult to get an OK mix with just headphones (Sennheiser HD600s).

What usually suffers is the volume balance as well as the high end, as it's all hyped when sitting on your ears. You listen to it on another sound source the next day and deflation sets in as it now sounds like utter shit. Main reason I had my Tannoy Reveal 6Ds repaired, and things have improved quite a bit.

The number one priority for any music maker/sound designer etc should be monitor speakers, with room treatment being a very close second. If you cannot mix loudly due to circumstances in your residence - good! Your tracks will come out a lot better when mixed at low volumes mostly. As a wise person called "yep" once said in another famous thread on another forum far away, mixing without reliable monitors in an unreliable room "is like painting in the dark".

Then there's a million other factors which more knowledgeable people on here could enlighten you with.
Would you say its still possible to make a decent mix of a track with monitor headphones? I dont have the best quality speakers, and they arent even monitors.
Also, do you have any recommendations on quality but affordable monitor speakers? Brands?

Richie Witch
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by Richie Witch » Thu Oct 22, 2015 2:32 pm

DeeJay1657 wrote:Is there a huge difference when it comes to the subjective quality of a mix if its done with monitor headphones over speakers? I currently only have Audio Technica Headphones and im getting to the point where im going to be mixing my first song.
Yes. I love my AKG K702s, but I just can't mix on them. The individual track levels, stereo spread, reverb wet/dry mix, and bass resonance are never right if I try to do it on headphones. If headphones are all you have to work with, it is more important than ever that you listen to your mix on other systems: your car stereo, your friend's car stereo, earbuds, computer speakers, iPod docking station, and anything else you can think of.
DeeJay1657 wrote:Do you guys have any tips for learning how to mix frequencies?
This is so dependent on the genre and instruments/sounds involved, I can't answer this one.
DeeJay1657 wrote:Do you also have any pointers or ideas on how you mix?
Everybody approaches this differently, but my mixing routine involves grouping associated sounds/instruments together, and then perfecting the mix within that group. For example, I'll make a percussion group, a bass group, a harmony group, a vocals group, etc. The groups are then mixed together in pairs as if they were composite instruments. For me, this is more intuitive and faster than trying to mix/balance 30+ individual tracks. Your mileage may vary.
DeeJay1657 wrote:Also, when recording from an external source, do you usually EQ before, or after you have recorded?
If I EQ during recording, it is only to remove something I find offensive in the recording. For example, I was recently recording some tiny ceramic bells, but I was picking up some low frequency thump as the opening of the bell pushed air over the diaphragm of the mic. I cut about 6 dB at around 500 Hz and the issue disappeared. Unless it's a situation like this, I EQ post-recording.

Hope that helps.
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.5 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2

Richie Witch
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by Richie Witch » Thu Oct 22, 2015 2:35 pm

DeeJay1657 wrote:Also, do you have any recommendations on quality but affordable monitor speakers? Brands?
Check out this article, recently updated for 2015.

http://www.musicradar.com/news/tech/20- ... ers-570959
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.5 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2

DeeJay1657
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by DeeJay1657 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 2:38 pm

Richie Witch wrote:
DeeJay1657 wrote:Is there a huge difference when it comes to the subjective quality of a mix if its done with monitor headphones over speakers? I currently only have Audio Technica Headphones and im getting to the point where im going to be mixing my first song.
Yes. I love my AKG K702s, but I just can't mix on them. The individual track levels, stereo spread, reverb wet/dry mix, and bass resonance are never right if I try to do it on headphones. If headphones are all you have to work with, it is more important than ever that you listen to your mix on other systems: your car stereo, your friend's car stereo, earbuds, computer speakers, iPod docking station, and anything else you can think of.
DeeJay1657 wrote:Do you guys have any tips for learning how to mix frequencies?
This is so dependent on the genre and instruments/sounds involved, I can't answer this one.
DeeJay1657 wrote:Do you also have any pointers or ideas on how you mix?
Everybody approaches this differently, but my mixing routine involves grouping associated sounds/instruments together, and then perfecting the mix within that group. For example, I'll make a percussion group, a bass group, a harmony group, a vocals group, etc. The groups are then mixed together in pairs as if they were composite instruments. For me, this is more intuitive and faster than trying to mix/balance 30+ individual tracks. Your mileage may vary.
DeeJay1657 wrote:Also, when recording from an external source, do you usually EQ before, or after you have recorded?
If I EQ during recording, it is only to remove something I find offensive in the recording. For example, I was recently recording some tiny ceramic bells, but I was picking up some low frequency thump as the opening of the bell pushed air over the diaphragm of the mic. I cut about 6 dB at around 500 Hz and the issue disappeared. Unless it's a situation like this, I EQ post-recording.

Hope that helps.
Everybody approaches this differently, but my mixing routine involves grouping associated sounds/instruments together, and then perfecting the mix within that group. For example, I'll make a percussion group, a bass group, a harmony group, a vocals group, etc. The groups are then mixed together in pairs as if they were composite instruments. For me, this is more intuitive and faster than trying to mix/balance 30+ individual tracks. Your mileage may vary.
So for example, if I were making a minimal track, which is focused around percussion and bass, I could EQ the Kicks and other various percussion to work together with the bass?

Richie Witch
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by Richie Witch » Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:01 pm

DeeJay1657 wrote:So for example, if I were making a minimal track, which is focused around percussion and bass, I could EQ the Kicks and other various percussion to work together with the bass?
So in this example, I'd create all my percussion sounds on individual tracks, in order to use different types of modulation and processing on each percussion sound. I'd work with each sound, including filtering or EQ, or anything else I thought it needed until I was completely happy with each sound.

Then I would group all those sounds and bring all the faders down to silence. Starting with the most important percussion sound (kick drum?), I would bring that fader up until the group meter reads -6 dB. From there, I bring up each fader in order of importance until I have a mix I really like. At this point, I can hear if the group needs any processing--maybe a little glue compression or drum-room reverb, so I'd apply that to the group.

Once that group sounds as good as I can get it, I mute the group and move on to the next group--the bass group in your example. Maybe it's several layered bass synths with some FX glitches for interest and movement. So I group all those and repeat the process I described above.

Etc, through all the groups.

Once that's done, I drop all the group faders to silence and bring them up one by one, in order of importance. Of course, I have to occasionally go back and tweak individual tracks now that I'm hearing it in the context of the mix, but these are always very small changes, since each group is pretty polished.

Once all the group faders are set, fine tune the whole thing by adding a few tweaks on the master track, and you're done! :D
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.5 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2

33tetragammon
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by 33tetragammon » Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:11 pm

i found this to be extremely helpful:



Goodhertz Canopener Studio (AU):

https://goodhertz.co/canopener-studio

this is also built into Audiofile Engineering's Triumph & Fidelia.

there is also a Canopener App for iPhone for your listening pleasure.

fantastic stuff imo!


Flux HEAR (AU/VST etc) :

http://www.fluxhome.com/products/plug_ins/ircam_hear-v3
Last edited by 33tetragammon on Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

H20nly
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by H20nly » Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:25 pm

^ nice.

*bookmark*

jlgrimes
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by jlgrimes » Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:32 pm

DeeJay1657 wrote:Is there a huge difference when it comes to the subjective quality of a mix if its done with monitor headphones over speakers? I currently only have Audio Technica Headphones and im getting to the point where im going to be mixing my first song.

Do you guys have any tips for learning how to mix frequencies?
Do you also have any pointers or ideas on how you mix?
Also, when recording from an external source, do you usually EQ before, or after you have recorded?

I found that it is difficult to determine levels when doing headphone mixes. Headphones kind of makes it easier to hear everything so it can make it harder to determine when you have clashing tracks at times.

To me it was a huge difference. I've really only used headphones for things such as checking reverbs and delays and such.

That said people say you can learn how to mix on headphones. It just makes it even more important to use reference mixes (which is important anyways whether you are using speakers or headphones).

login
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by login » Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:56 pm

Affordable monitors I would recommend:

Yamaha HS5,7 or 8

JBL 305, 308

Avoid M_audio and KRK Rokits

H20nly
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by H20nly » Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:27 pm

login wrote:Affordable monitors I would recommend:

Yamaha HS5,7 or 8

JBL 305, 308

Avoid M_audio and KRK Rokits
i'll add Adam F5 to that list of good quality reasonable price (i love the front facing port since i have a small space)

and +1 to staying away from M-Audio (BX series) as they seem bass heavy... great for playing your mix on at a party etc, but not for mixing it IMO.

TomViolenz
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by TomViolenz » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:10 pm

login wrote:Avoid KRK Rokits
:?
The 5s are pretty decent, the 6s overhype the bass a bit.

I would say that the krk 5s are the cheapest good monitors around.
With these and the AT headphones combined you should be able to do good mixes.

And another short note: Can you do good mixes without Monitor speakers and only studio headphones?

I'd say, depends. If you have a good Hifi stereo system at home that you are used to and listened to a lot of music on (prefeably of the genre you want to produce), then yes absolutely.
Do the precission work on the headphones and check the bass response and stereo field on the hifi system.
If it sounds close to the tracks you are used to, you probably are close.

And don't fret about perfection. If the cheapo Spotify users only pay you 10 ct over the life of the track instead of 15ct it's probably not because of imperfect mixing or unprofessional mastering ;-)
Last edited by TomViolenz on Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

DeeJay1657
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Re: Mixing without Monitor speakers

Post by DeeJay1657 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:43 pm

I really am thankful for all of your assistance. Im currently struggling with mixing and im excited to try all these ideas out.

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