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Opinions on monitor needs at altitude
Old 27th August 2007
  #1
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Opinions on monitor needs at altitude

Gang,

I was wondering what you Gearslutz thought should be considered while mixing at altitude. I'm in the process of pulling together a project studio and am looking at different monitoring solutions. One thing that struck me was that I'll be mixing at 9,880 feet (~3,293 meters) and that this fact probably should be considered. Was wondering what you folks thought about how the lower barometric pressure and thinner air would affect mixing and what compensating considerations should be made as gear choices are finalized.

Regards,

jobobreck
Old 27th August 2007
  #2
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bitman's Avatar
Where are you?
I'm at 9800 feet in Dillon/Keystone, CO

Wait.. You must be in Breckenridge Hu?
Old 27th August 2007
  #3
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years back there was a rumour going around about how the mixes at caribou ranch (in the rockies) didn't translate to studios at sea level.

that there being less oxygen at higher altitudes, this somehow affected the speed at which the high end travelled between the speakers and one's ears, or some such thing.

my place is in mexico (around 7,000 high), and MHO is that this is bull****. we've mixed things here and sent them to LA for mastering and there have been no surprises. there are other studios here where stuff gets mixed all the time and ends up all over the world, armando avila (AKA del cosmo)'s place comes to mind, and AFAIK there have been no problems at all.
Old 27th August 2007
  #4
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bitman Ya- here in Breck ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bitman View Post
Where are you?
I'm at 9800 feet in Dillon/Keystone, CO

Wait.. You must be in Breckenridge Hu?
Old 27th August 2007
  #5
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I had an acoustician come in to my studio (about a mile high) and he says there's not as much bass here as at sea level because the air is thin or something? He swears that it's true.... he says LA guys come here and go "where's the bass?" --- that's honestly the toughest problem I have in my studio is getting enough bass. FWIW.
j
Old 27th August 2007
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayman View Post
He swears that it's true.... he says LA guys come here and go "where's the bass?" --- that's honestly the toughest problem I have in my studio is getting enough bass. FWIW.
j
well in mexico city (7,000 feet) i just invested a sizable amount of $ on custom bass traps, so that's sure not a problem here.

BTW could it be that the room and conditions the LA guys came from were very different to the room and conditions in your room? have you not gone to different rooms in the same city, that had the same monitors and noticed some differences? i sure have. i've noticed differences in two different rooms in the same studio, with the same monitors. the studio was ours by the way, in LA. we had NS10s, custom made big monitors with Gauss and TAD components, both rooms were designed by chris huston, and tuned by coco and augsberger at different times. i never knew of anyone, in the years that the place was open, who preferred to mix in room 'B'. theoretically they should have sounded the same, or at least similar, but they sure didn't.
Old 27th August 2007
  #8
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@ killahurts- groovy modeling tool. i have no idea what i'm supposed to do with that in deciding on monitors....but still a neat link.

@raal- great points. so your suggesting that you have observed no sound bias between different altitudes? i can't really say what prompted to ask this question, but i figured if anyone had some thoughts on it, it'd be you guys.

@gearslutz- this place rocks
Old 27th August 2007
  #9
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max cooper's Avatar
 

The medium in which a sound wave is travelling does not always respond adiabatically, and as a result the speed of sound can vary with frequency.[4]
The limitations of the concept of speed of sound due to extreme attenuation are also of concern. The attenuation which exists at sea level for high frequencies applies to successively lower frequencies as atmospheric pressure decreases, or as the mean free path increases. For this reason, the concept of speed of sound (except for frequencies approaching zero) progressively loses its range of applicability at high altitudes.:[3]


Speed of sound - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I'm working on an EQ plugin that takes this into account. You just enter your elevation and it does the rest. Sorry, no Audio Units for Windows.
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Old 27th August 2007
  #10
Dan
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Apparently, according to the Wikipedia entry, temperature has a greater affect on sound than barometric pressure. Hopefully, you'll be mixing at room temperature, and not outdoors.
Old 27th August 2007
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jobobreck View Post
@raal- great points. so your suggesting that you have observed no sound bias between different altitudes?
nothing i would consider noticeable. never tried mixing on top of mount everest, but there seems to be no problem here.

LA based AE steve sykes, who does excellent work BTW, came to the studio to mix, he'd never been in this studio, mixed an album that sounded amazing and did very well commercially. it was mastered at grundman's in LA. no one noticed anything peculiar at all.
Old 28th August 2007
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

i'm no expert professor, but sound exists because it makes molecules in the atmosphere vibrate - vibrating air molecules results in "sound" as imterpreted by our ears. Thus no sound in space - one would imagine the silence up there deafening....

So what atmospheric meduim that sound waves are traveling through is obviously critical. The composition of the air molecules, temerature and pressure (resulting humidity, etc) would have an effect on "sound". But that's theory.

Whether or not this translates is another thing - if it is your mixing room up there one would imagine you reference songs mixed in ny, la nashville etc and know how all this soiunds in your native enviroment.

if you are 10 years in LA and visit a studio in the colorado front range, perhaps one might notice a difference - to me, however, it would only seem reasonable if you noticed a diference in sound in your hotel room and rental car, etc.

otherwise practically speaking i might be a little skeptical....
Old 28th August 2007
  #13
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would you mix it on a boat? would you mix it in a moat?

This question is ridiculous. You're getting philosophical here, because everyone is at some kind of altitude. Come on now.

Let's face it: I can still hear things in the mountains, and obviously this is an ancient fact, hence yodeling (although yodelers do yodel very loudly).

Please just mix like a normal person would in any kind of human element. My only advice to you would be to turn up the volume and stop your whining, because whining throws things off.

However, I do have underwater mixing tips if you would like some. Feel free to contact me for them.
<----that's you beaming up into the mountains.
Old 28th August 2007
  #14
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bitman's Avatar
We live and (barely) breath at a higher elevation than all you flatlanders.
I mix it and master it till it sounds right then out it goes. All my clients live up here anyway so I guess it don't matter much.

- And I'm only playin with you all heh

:Ron
Old 28th August 2007
  #15
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@ Dan- heh- ya, given we've already had our first snowfall over tree line, doubt i'll be doing much mixing outside '-)

@titanium panties- not sure how my question was interpreted as whining. but now that the feedback is in, i'm down with ignoring the altitude and crankin on mixdown...

thanks all for the feedback.
Old 28th August 2007
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raal View Post
well in mexico city (7,000 feet) i just invested a sizable amount of $ on custom bass traps, so that's sure not a problem here.

.
Actually if the altitude theory is true... you should need less bass trapping

There is the same amount of oxygen at high altitudes but there is less pressure so it is harder to get oxygen to the lungs; as far as speakers ? i have no idea


.
Old 28th August 2007
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevep View Post
Actually if the altitude theory is true... you should need less bass trapping.
my point exactly.
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