The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Why is it that most mastering studios do NOT use "studio monitors"? Studio Monitors
Old 10th March 2018
  #31
Gear Nut
 

calling it "studio" or "hi fi" is just a marketing angle.
a good speaker is a good speaker.
Old 11th March 2018
  #32
Lives for gear
 
MASSIVE Master's Avatar
 

Verified Member
"Hi-Fi" = high fidelity (truthfulness).

"True" Hi-fi speakers are generally unflattering and consistent. But there is cheap garbage also that says "Hi Fi" on it (especailly back in the day).

On the flip side, a giant selection of "flat, neutral studio monitors" are anything but. Line up a dozen different units and try to find two that sound the same. Not that there aren't some wonderful units out there - But the vast majority of the typical GC stuff I've heard belongs in a tire fire.
Old 11th March 2018
  #33
Lives for gear
 
Silvertone's Avatar
Being able to access the full frequency spectrum when monitoring the signal is what’s most important in mastering. Otherwise you’re just flying blind.

I mix on B&W speakers. Have both N805’s and N802’s and can switch between mix and mastering rooms when pulling a mix. Everybody should be lucky enough to do this. I can’t imagine mixing any other way now.

Speakers are boxes, every box has its own sound. You can design ruler flat but it will only be flat in the chamber that they are developed in, once you put them in a real room all bets are off.
Old 12th March 2018
  #34
Lives for gear
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Speakers are a very personal thing. Just like phono cartridges and headphones what YOU hear is not necessarily what everyone will hear. You have to be comfortable with the speakers you choose and learn to trust them. If you have a good room and good speakers then you can do a good job of mastering. There are some brands of speakers you see the top mastering engineers using and those, in many cases, have become the standard by which other speakers are judged. I see people with 3 to 5 sets of speakers in their mastering rooms and wonder what they are all used for. I, think for the money, the best things a mastering engineer can have is a good room and good speakers. Without both you will, IMHO, struggle to do a good job and yes there are people who are mastering on NS-10s in an untreated room and providing decent results but....imagine what they could do with a GREAT room and GREAT speakers. FWIW
Old 12th March 2018
  #35
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Old 12th March 2018
  #36
Lives for gear
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
Thank you for the info however B&W speakers are marketed as "Home Audio" per their own website: Bowers & Wilkins Home Audio, Hi Fi Speakers, Stereo Speakers - Bowers & Wilkins | B&W Speakers

This is where my confusion, and the thought behind this post, originated.
Audiophiles are some of the most demanding listeners on the planet and if they are "satisfied" with B&Ws (which for the most part they are) then I guess they are good enough for the rest of us. I think you see more B&W and Dunlavy speakers that almost any other speaker in pro mastering studios. (at least in the US)

What ever "floats your boat"...
Old 12th March 2018
  #37
Lives for gear
 
Paul Gold's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
A studio monitor by definition is a speaker system to be used in a recording (and mastering environment) thus the requirements are for drivers that can take abuse and keep going all day long.
Studio monitors are built to be tough and easy to service.
Right. Home listening speakers are to studio monitors as studio monitors are to PA speakers. Some which are quite Hi-Fi. There are PA speakers I could work on if They were appropriate for the room.

In the days of shuttling tape and doing needle drops all day, being a little careless could pop a driver on a Duntech or B&W.
Old 13th March 2018
  #38
Lives for gear
 
Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 

Verified Member
yes! my big Dunlavy’s are brutally honest and detailed,
scary to most mixers who are accustomed to yer typical mixertop 2-way speakers.
there are details you hear on the Duns that you don’t hear on NS-10s, Mackie, Genelec, etc.
but I think you know this already, & were just pondering a philosophical Q.
you see these in many mastering rooms around the globe.
i added the Dunlavy subs to fill in the lowest octave.
but i generally check a master on my tiny Fostex as well,
just to hear how it all fits in an opposite scenario.
best, JT
Attached Thumbnails
Why is it that most mastering studios do NOT use "studio monitors"?-8840a17f-f0a6-4693-b4e9-543dc899c130.jpg  
Old 13th March 2018
  #39
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moostapha View Post
You just described pretty much all of the "studio monitors" that edm/dance producers like. And you missed my point.

No one in the hifi world wants a colored speaker.

They wind up with colored speakers because uncolored speakers are expensive to make.

Remember, the NS-10 was a failed hifi speaker before they wrote studio on the box and it became a staple.
All speakers are colored, it's the signature of a brand, its identity.

A Psi audio doesn't sound like a Neumann, Adam, Focal, B&W... or Meyersound

The categorization pro/hifi is a marketing concept. The Ns10 designed for the hifi was used in studio.

No one is able to design a pro speaker, only the more neutral speaker as possible. A hifi brand as Revel (hartman group) do that -neutral- very well.
Old 13th March 2018
  #40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank_Case View Post
Lipinski top of the line monitors are designed to be extremely flat, not flattering.

Frequency response:
50 Hz - 20 kHz ±1 dB.
28 Hz - 40 kHz ±3 dB.

+/-1dB for most of the audio range, now that's flat. Many so-called "perfectly flat" speakers can't do that.
that's not true, +/-1dB means 2dB variation only for those two measured points, it says nothing about what's happening between them, take a look at Lipinski L-707 frequency chart, that's far from linear.

Old 13th March 2018
  #41
Lives for gear
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan View Post
that's not true, +/-1dB means 2dB variation only for those two measured points, it says nothing about what's happening between them, take a look at Lipinski L-707 frequency chart, that's far from linear.

No speaker response curve that I have ever seen is ruler flat and can be even worse when put into a room that is not acoustically designed. GOOD ROOM+GOOD SPEAKERS=GOOD MONITORING.

DON'T FORGET THE ROOM! It is just as important or in some cases MORE important.
Old 13th March 2018
  #42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
No speaker response curve that I have ever seen is ruler flat and can be even worse when put into a room that is not acoustically designed. GOOD ROOM+GOOD SPEAKERS=GOOD MONITORING.

DON'T FORGET THE ROOM! It is just as important or in some cases MORE important.
that's obvious and no one disagrees with that, also that's not the point, was just talking about +/- parameter and what it means
Old 13th March 2018
  #43
Lives for gear
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan View Post
that's obvious and no one disagrees with that, also that's not the point, was just talking about +/- parameter and what it means
I understand BUT the room plays such an important role that+/- of a speaker response curve, in what was probably an anechoic chamber, says nothing about the REAL response of the speaker under "normal listening" situations in a real room. That is why mastering engineers hire acoustical designers to design their rooms AND choose speakers that are known for transparently projecting uncolored sound. FWIW
Old 13th March 2018
  #44
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan View Post
that's not true, ... take a look at Lipinski L-707 frequency chart, that's far from linear.


And here is a plot of the B&W 802D on-axis response as tested and published by Stereophile.com:



Quote:
Originally Posted by moostapha View Post
How (specifically) are speakers supposed to flatter the sound?

Smile curve? Frown curve? Boosted bass?
Like THIS! Both of these audiophile-grade speakers have a bump in the bass and other characteristics of "Flattering" that I claimed was common in HiFi speakers (my "wrong assumption") yet they are both ICONS in the mastering world.


Now compare this to the measured response of a "Studio Monitor" such as Unity Audio's "The Boulder":
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
No speaker response curve that I have ever seen is ruler flat ...



So my OP question remains - why do many mastering engineers choose something like the B&W 802 - which is designed to sound good - vs. a "studio monitor" like the Unity Boulder - which is designed to be accurate?

I'm not here to argue with anyone or dispute the quality of any speakers - I'm just an engineer seeking a better understanding.

(Yes, Thomas, I know the room is important - I'm asking about the speakers themselves)
Old 13th March 2018
  #45
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Tracking speakers need to be somewhat flattering or else the producers and performers will get lost in the minutia. They also need to be able to handle accidents like dropped mikes or unplugging from a guitar amp. If you are using tape, tracking speakers also need to be able to survive rewinding.

Flattering speakers defeat the whole purpose of mastering.
Old 13th March 2018
  #46
Gear Head
 
moostapha's Avatar
 

You do realize that the Boulder, in that chart, and ignoring that people mostly talk about the nautilus 800s not the diamond 2 series, is down 20dB by 14k, righht?
Old 13th March 2018
  #47
Lives for gear
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
And here is a plot of the B&W 802D on-axis response as tested and published by Stereophile.com:




Like THIS! Both of these audiophile-grade speakers have a bump in the bass and other characteristics of "Flattering" that I claimed was common in HiFi speakers (my "wrong assumption") yet they are both ICONS in the mastering world.


Now compare this to the measured response of a "Studio Monitor" such as Unity Audio's "The Boulder":



So my OP question remains - why do many mastering engineers choose something like the B&W 802 - which is designed to sound good - vs. a "studio monitor" like the Unity Boulder - which is designed to be accurate?

I'm not here to argue with anyone or dispute the quality of any speakers - I'm just an engineer seeking a better understanding.

(Yes, Thomas, I know the room is important - I'm asking about the speakers themselves)
I see the chart I really don't believe it but if you say and they say it is real then it must be "real" I have tested a lot of speakers in my professional life and have never EVER seen a completely flat curve. It is almost as if the unit got turned off between 1000 Hz and 20KHz but I am sure that did not happen. They ought to design microphones if they can get ruler flat response curves.

Some examples of speaker curves I am more use to seeing speaker response curve - Google Search
Old 13th March 2018
  #48
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by moostapha View Post
You do realize that the Boulder, in that chart, and ignoring that people mostly talk about the nautilus 800s not the diamond 2 series, is down 20dB by 14k, righht?
It's down ~20dB at 50k - it's a log scale chart.
Old 13th March 2018
  #49
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I see the chart I really don't believe it but if you say and they say it is real then it must be "real"
LOL - no "I" didn't say it, they did! But it's done with DSP correction.
Old 13th March 2018
  #50
Lives for gear
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
But it's done with DSP correction.
as suspected - it's pretty much useless to publish a frequency chart then: with appropriate dsp, you can make almost any speaker to measure like that...
Old 13th March 2018
  #51
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Tracking speakers need to be somewhat flattering or else the producers and performers will get lost in the minutia. They also need to be able to handle accidents like dropped mikes or unplugging from a guitar amp. If you are using tape, tracking speakers also need to be able to survive rewinding.

Flattering speakers defeat the whole purpose of mastering.
Bob - please look at the graphs that have been posted above. I'm saying what you're saying - but it seems to be the opposite, i.e., some of the speakers commonly used in mastering ARE "flattering"! That's what I'm trying to understand.
Old 13th March 2018
  #52
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
as suspected - it's pretty much useless to publish a frequency chart then: with appropriate dsp, you can make almost any speaker to measure like that...
That's true but is that what's commonly done? Do most ME's running B&Ws have full spectrum DSP correction running on them?
Old 13th March 2018
  #53
Lives for gear
 
Paul Gold's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Speaker design is a series of trade offs. If ruler flat frequency response is the goal other parameters will suffer. Ruler flat frequency response is not something I look for in a speaker. In fact I wouldn’t even look at a speaker with ruler flat frequency response because I know I won’t like it.
Old 13th March 2018
  #54
Lives for gear
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
And here is a plot of the B&W 802D on-axis response as tested and published by Stereophile.com:




Like THIS! Both of these audiophile-grade speakers have a bump in the bass and other characteristics of "Flattering" that I claimed was common in HiFi speakers (my "wrong assumption") yet they are both ICONS in the mastering world.


Now compare this to the measured response of a "Studio Monitor" such as Unity Audio's "The Boulder":



So my OP question remains - why do many mastering engineers choose something like the B&W 802 - which is designed to sound good - vs. a "studio monitor" like the Unity Boulder - which is designed to be accurate?

I'm not here to argue with anyone or dispute the quality of any speakers - I'm just an engineer seeking a better understanding.

(Yes, Thomas, I know the room is important - I'm asking about the speakers themselves)
You seem to be impressed with flat frequency response in speakers but our own ears are not flat and change frequency response depending on SPL levels.

See Fletcher Munson Curves fletcher munson curve - Google Search
Old 13th March 2018
  #55
Lives for gear
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Gold View Post
Speaker design is a series of trade offs. If ruler flat frequency response is the goal other parameters will suffer. Ruler flat frequency response is not something I look for in a speaker. In fact I wouldn’t even look at a speaker with ruler flat frequency response because I know I won’t like it.
i don't think it's a bad starting point to have speakers which sound neutral/measure pretty flat in an anechoic chamber ALONE, but it's much more important that the speakers and the room TOGETHER behave in a certain way.
_

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
That's true but is that what's commonly done? Do most ME's running B&Ws have full spectrum DSP correction running on them?
dunno about others, i do use external dsp for speaker AND room correction, wherever i work and i use it for tracking/mixing/mastering and mixing live. imo it reduces guessing about how a mix might 'translate' to other rooms/speaker systems
Old 13th March 2018
  #56
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
You seem to be impressed with flat frequency response in speakers but our own ears are not flat and change frequency response depending on SPL levels.

See Fletcher Munson Curves fletcher munson curve - Google Search
Accurate monitoring requires - as a minimum - the following things:

1) Monitor speakers should have "flat" amplitude response that does not distort the tonality of the source material

2) Monitor speakers should have tightly controlled time domain response that does not distort the spectral dynamics or dynamic range of the source material

3) Monitor speakers should be placed in properly treated room that does not distort #1 or #2 above

If any one of these requirements is not met you do not have an accurate monitoring system. Flat frequency response is one of those requirements.

Finally, Fletcher Munson affects they way humans hear - it does not affect #1 ,#2 or #3 above and is subject of a different discussion.
Old 13th March 2018
  #57
Lives for gear
 
Earcatcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
You seem to be impressed with flat frequency response in speakers but our own ears are not flat and change frequency response depending on SPL levels.

See Fletcher Munson Curves fletcher munson curve - Google Search
In relation to the original sound, speakers should be as flat as possible so our ears can do their Fletcher Munson thing. How difficult is that to understand? I see a lot of avoidance of the real question in this thread and it starts to annoy me. The OP wants to know why mastering studios use speakers that are not representative of the actual sound, but are in some way adding something or leaving something out. How do you judge a sound palette on a speaker that messes with the balance?

In imagery a long time ago a solution was already found in color management, where an added profile secures maximum color integrity between calibrated screens and also between screens and press. What is the sound equivalent of that and why is there not something like a calibrated reference sound monitor, exactly like we know it in the world of screens? And don't come up with stories of ears that are all different, because this is the same for eyes! When my eyes see greens where your eyes see reds it still doesn't matter, as long as I see the correct greens and you see the correct reds as we would have seen them in reality when observing the scene that the image was taken from.
Old 13th March 2018
  #58
Lives for gear
 
Paul Gold's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
Accurate monitoring requires - as a minimum - the following things:

1) Monitor speakers should have "flat" amplitude response that does not distort the tonality of the source material


Finally, Fletcher Munson affects they way humans hear - it does not affect #1 ,#2 or #3 above and is subject of a different discussion.
My speakers don't have a suggested listening SPL marked on them. If I listen at 75dB SPL the speakers that were perceived and measured as flat at 85dB SPL are still measured as flat but no longer perceived as flat. What to do?
Old 13th March 2018
  #59
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Gold View Post
My speakers don't have a suggested listening SPL marked on them. If I listen at 75dB SPL the speakers that were perceived and measured as flat at 85dB SPL are still measured as flat but no longer perceived as flat. What to do?
That's not a function of the monitors - that's a function of your ears! ANY monitor will do that, flat EQ or otherwise.
Old 13th March 2018
  #60
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
I see a lot of avoidance of the real question in this thread and it starts to annoy me. The OP wants to know why mastering studios use speakers that are not representative of the actual sound, but are in some way adding something or leaving something out. How do you judge a sound palette on a speaker that messes with the balance?
Thank you!

A better title for this thread would have been, "What kind of speakers are you using for mastering monitors and WHY?
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump