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How loud is your control room when tracking/mixing?
Old 29th January 2008
  #1
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guittarzzan's Avatar
How loud is your control room when tracking/mixing?

A couple questions for ya:

-What is a "safe" level of db's to be exposed to for a few hours while tracking/mixing?

-Since there's a big difference in what we hear between low volume levels and higher ones, how do you guys spend long amounts of time mixing, hearing it accurately so you can make good decisions and not going deaf?

cheers
Old 29th January 2008
  #2
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If the monitors are very close like 5-6 feet, which is the most common situation, I keep the volume very low, this prevents my ears to get stressed and keeps me from making mistakes after only few minutes of mixing. In the beginning it was disappointing, but not that I've become used to it I can't really mix at loud volumes.

Since I started mixing this way, my mixes improved and I can handle many hours of mixing without hearing a whistle in my ears at the end of the day!
Old 29th January 2008
  #3
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Hamburg58's Avatar
 

Always mix at a speaking voice volume....Don't ever mix with the speakers cranked! That's why most studios have a set of UREI's...So that rock and roll bands can come into the control room and listen to what they just did loud...

Speaking volume...And your ears will last longer...They will still get tired after 4 or 5 hours of mixing at speaking volume, but it's better than one hour! After one hour of loud UREI's, you can't trust your own ear to mix.
Old 29th January 2008
  #4
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I turn down the volume as low as I can. Speaking voice volume seems ok. Occasionally, I check what I did with higher levels for a short time but turn down the volume again. Every two, three hours, I go outside for a short walk just to "reset" my hearing.

Andre
Old 29th January 2008
  #5
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If you mix at speaking level you should be able to mix as long as you want without ear fatigue. More likely to fry emotionally and mentally long before your ears. I mix between 75-85. Krank it every now and then. I drop to 60 or lower in mono to do balancing.
Old 29th January 2008
  #6
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Disjointed's Avatar
 

i just happened to test mine yesterday and it came it at 85 db mixing volume
Old 29th January 2008
  #7
Gear Nut
 

levels over ~90 dB(A) leq can harm your ears, depending on the duration of the overload.
during tracking i always listen with very low level. i can hear better the intonation my ears are getting tired not so fast.
when mixing, i set the volume to around 90dB (SPL) (maybe a little more) and work with the dim-switch in. when i want to know, how my mix is sounding played loud, i just take out the dim.
like this i can always go back to the same listening-level.

like andre already mentioned, its good to vent your ears from time to time.thumbsup

i assisted once a well-known producer/engineer and he listened to his mixes with a level of way over 100 dB (SPL)... i mounted my earplugs while operating pt...
it's like a painter cutting-off his fingers...
Old 29th January 2008
  #8
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I don't know exactly how much dBs come out of my monitors when mixing, but I generally keep them very low on volume. This prevents my ears from getting f*d up.
Old 29th January 2008
  #9
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goldenlotus's Avatar
 

Tracking LOUD to keep the band pumped up.

Mixing usually pretty moderate, not loud at all.
Old 29th January 2008
  #10
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Protools Guy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyd View Post
If you mix at speaking level you should be able to mix as long as you want without ear fatigue. More likely to fry emotionally and mentally long before your ears. I mix between 75-85. Krank it every now and then. I drop to 60 or lower in mono to do balancing.
thumbsup
Old 29th January 2008
  #11
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lildrummerboy70's Avatar
 

I keep my mixing volume from 75-83 dBSPL. I know it may seem strange to keep the ceiling at 83, but 85 and up sounds too loud to loud to me. I keep an SPL meter at my desk at all times. I will crank the volume for short periods of time while mixing to feel the impact of the track. I will also turn the volume down very low to check balances.

During tracking, I try to keep the same general levels. You have to crank it for the band every now and then. Also, if you are doing electric guitar overdubs with the guitarist in the control room the speakers probably need to be cranked for the player to respond emotionally like he/she has the amp nearby.

I always keep earplugs with me. If I am in a situation where a producer or player legitimately needs the speakers loud for an extended period of time (ie for performance purposes), I just pop in my earplugs.

I had a session with a producer who was playing keyboards on the album we were working on. We did keyboard/synth overdubs one day and spent the next couple of days doing ruff/reference mixes to be sent to the guy who was going to mix the album. This producer wanted the to monitor from the mains at between 100 and 115 dBSPL all day!!!! Even with earplugs in, my ears were fatigued at the end of those days. It was crazy.
Old 30th January 2008
  #12
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guittarzzan's Avatar
Sounds like most of you keep it at a pretty low volume. So, here's my next question. Since our ears hear differently at lower volumes what's really going on between low and high freqs, how do you know you're making the right eq decisions? When you make eq adjustments, do you turn it up for a few seconds to see if you got it right or what? Since we hear more treble at lower volumes etc how do you keep from ending up with mixes that are bass heavy and dull on the top end. That would seem to be the result of mixing at low volumes.
I appreciate your feedback on this. I'm trying to get it right to save my ears, but am a bit confused as to how to keep it low and have a good sounding mix in the end.

cheers.
Old 30th January 2008
  #13
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Quote:
Sounds like most of you keep it at a pretty low volume. So, here's my next question. Since our ears hear differently at lower volumes what's really going on between low and high freqs, how do you know you're making the right eq decisions? When you make eq adjustments, do you turn it up for a few seconds to see if you got it right or what? Since we hear more treble at lower volumes etc how do you keep from ending up with mixes that are bass heavy and dull on the top end. That would seem to be the result of mixing at low volumes.
I appreciate your feedback on this. I'm trying to get it right to save my ears, but am a bit confused as to how to keep it low and have a good sounding mix in the end.
I was taught (and it seems to hold true) to verify that low end info is at the proper levels within a mix by listening at very low volume. If it's clearly audible , it's in the ballpark. Another consideration is that many of us are working in home studios with small control rooms, not large ones with fully trapped back walls, so there are likely to be low end and low mid standing wave issues which are accentuated by monitoring at loud levels. I treated my mix space, which helped a bunch, but mixes still translate better for me if I monitor at low to moderate levels. Our ears tend to lose sensitivity to upper mids and highs after extended exposure to high SPL's also. I have a couple pairs of monitors in my tracking area, which is where I'll listen at hotter levels. I also give myself some quiet time every couple of hours, since our ears are very much like dynamic mics and are self compressing when exposed to loud levels. The muscles around the ear contract to absorb the shock and need time to relax.
Old 30th January 2008
  #14
Gear Nut
 

I've read many places that 85dB is a good volume, I prefer not to keep measuring with an SPL meter, so a comfortable speaking volume works for me.

I too was taught to check my bass levels by turning the volume down (as well as checking in mono). When you turn it down, you take the room out of play (minimizing reflections and standing waves). Also, speakers/monitors react differently at lower volumes (our ears do too). If you can get your bass content audible at lower volumes, when you turn it up and get the speaker's box and driver working, your bass should really thump.

As far as making eq adjustments, if you're in a quiet enough mixing environment, you should be able to make them at your general mixing level.
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