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ChrisCummins 12th November 2009 01:01 PM

The value of cheap speakers
while browsing GearSlutz I notice that on a lot of 'bedroom' studios, there will often be 2 or more pairs of speakers. One pair of monitors, and then miscellaneous other 'cheap' speakers. However, on a lot of high end purpose-built studios, there will often just be the one pair of (often colossal) monitors. I have recently taken to checking my mixes on a pair of 'regular' hi fi next to my monitors but apart from sounding thinner and honkier, I'm not really sure how I can use the results of this reference check to better optimise my mixes for all playback systems. Why is it that the higher end studios rarely have more than one set of monitors? Why do people use multiple pairs? Is it helpful? Your input please. jkthtyrt


JoaT 12th November 2009 01:12 PM

I have not seen many (if not one) high end studio with only one set of speakers, expecially not one with only the mains (the big wall mount monitors).

Check the pictures more carefully. There's often at least one pair of nearfields on top of the desk.. NS10s, Genelecs and Auratones / Avantones are commonplace.

It is always a good practice to check your mix on different systems.

JoaT 12th November 2009 01:19 PM

I'll add to the previous...

The things you look for when checking with other monitors are the potential problem spots. Does it get muddy or overly bright in a disturbing way? Is there anything distorting at higher levels? Do you hear everything that's supposed to be heard? Is something sticking out from the mix differently when compared to your mains? Does the bass work on high & low levels?

You should familiarize yourself well with any speakers you intend using as reference monitors. Listen to a lot of music through them so you learn to know how things should sound with them. After you feel you know the speakers and the sound they produce well you can check your own work on them and get information that actually benefits your mixes.

ChrisCummins 12th November 2009 03:46 PM

Thanks for the info, very informative. kfhkh Usually I'm looking at the promotional photographs where they tidy all the cables/clutter away so I assume the ugly little speakers go with them. Is there any advantage of having the reference speakers closer then the monitors?


JoaT 12th November 2009 05:23 PM

No advantage. The optimal placement of the stereo speakers is described in detail on many places, so I won't go there now.

The reason those smaller references are often closer is usually purely practical. When mixing, it is good to have the primary monitors at optimal position. And when they are there, you can't place anything else on the same spot.

So, the usual solution is to place the smaller references next to the main ones.

One important function of the "crappy" reference speakers is to provide a listening medium when checking the mixes in mono. And when used mono it doesn't matter much how far (or close) apart the speakers are.

For mono listening you actually need only one speaker. And the traditional way the "crappy monitor" and "mono monitor" has arranged is to use one Auratone (or similar) speaker in the middle.