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Bob Katz FAQs: Nearfield not useful for mixing Studio Monitors
Old 17th December 2010
  #31
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Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman View Post
yes, the highs are a little less
I said this as a positive thing, highs are more pleasant, less fatiguing, you can better concentrate to what you are doing and what is happening
Old 17th December 2010
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
Bob is a knowledgeable, dedicated and passionate mastering engineer.

[...]
I've always been greatly impressed by his writings.
Old 17th December 2010
  #33
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Bob Katz FAQs: Nearfield not useful for mixing

The solo6s are interesting in that they feel almost like a hifi/nearfield crossbreed, at least on the top end. Maybe mum was a hifi. I've also got some B&W602S3 wired up that I work thru during the last 25% of the mix.

Things smear together and fill up a room on hifis and it is interesting to think about how that will come across during the last part of buffing/reverbs.
Old 17th December 2010
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Successful adaption is what endears an artist to one particular system or another. All high quality systems work well, in the right hands.
Well said. This is the answer to most threads on this forum, especially the ones that pass the 5 page mark.
Old 18th December 2010
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post
I also double dog dare anyone with just use near field monitors to get a pair of PMC IB1S-A in your studio as well.


And when they arrive, just explain to your wife that you had to spend the ten grand because Glenn double-dog dared you!
Old 18th December 2010
  #36
Quote:
Originally Posted by elan View Post
well i think that's not the point, I think it has more to do with "the natural sound"

If you take a mix you'll discover in nature there are not many hi freq, if you listen to ambient noise or if you measure an hi fi or playback system in a room, it has not many hi freq

while a nearfield in the sweet spot of the equilateral triangle is quite flat, hi and lows are at the same volume or hi could even be hyped

That is a situation that doesn't happen in the real world, also usually what's pleasant has not that kind of curve

While this is considered accurate, it is also something that people who are not used to nearfield.. tend to say "what a strange sound"

Now, you can argue saying "that's accuracy"

I think the point is more.. ok but you need to listen in an environment, while nearfields are like headphones, so you don't have an environment that interacts with you, or at least it doesn't interact as in real world happens

while mid fields, are more distant, the sound is more spread and I think your brain perceive it like is used to perceive a sound, music

so less fatiguing and more coherent
Perhaps you missed my point. I was asserting that learning to listen to binaural playback is a learned experience.
We can argue how "more natural" mid-field listening is vs. near-field listening. "More natural" is a
subjective psycho-acoustic experience that is entirely learned and relative to the individual.
The fact of the matter is that each of these playback systems are entirely
synthetic.

If you've trained on near-fields, that is your reference point and you will learn how that experience
translates to other environments spectrally, in transient-response, and spatially.

If you find that you gravitate towards a particular monitoring system because
it's easier for you, that's perfectly valid.

That, however, does not negate the utility of near-field monitoring systems.

jeff
Old 18th December 2010
  #37
As with most things in audio I really think it's about situation and preference.

I'm a person who has had home studios forever from a corner in the apartment living room, to a spare bedroom, to a full and dedicated detached converted 2 car garage.

but I also work in large commercial facilities as well as hire top line mixers for various projects - so the scope and needs of each project are different.

that being said, I think the most important thing for the mixer in ANY environment is to have an intimate understanding of that space, and how the mixes translate.

I swear, that some of the best mixes I had done early on were because I was literally mixing and monitoring on the same stereo system I listened to 100% of my recreational listening on - I had a level of intimacy about translation that was very deep.

I always suggest that, especially home recordists, listen to A LOT of commercial material in their mixing environment to gain that same sense of intimacy and perspective - from there, I believe almost anything is possible.
Old 18th December 2010
  #38
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Ernest Buckley's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elan View Post
nearfield-monitors-for-mastering | n | audio-faq

Hello

I think this faq is very interesting, I agree with it, I always thought nearfield listening is a bit strange

So, the question is.. why every one makes records on nearfields?
Or this isn't true?

Every time I read an interview of some big they tell you they mix on ns10 (which I like a lot) or in other nearfields...

But I find them very fatiguing and sometimes strange..

What do you think?
I haven`t sold a million records but I would say about 75% of my mixing time is spent on headphones. I mix on my near fields 20% of that and that remaining 5% is spent mixing on some really cheesy computer speakers. Considering that most people are listening on phones these days, I think its wise to spend more time on them mixing.
Old 18th December 2010
  #39
N88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lives For Fuzz View Post
I swear, that some of the best mixes I had done early on were because I was literally mixing and monitoring on the same stereo system I listened to 100% of my recreational listening on - I had a level of intimacy about translation that was very deep.
Yeah. There was an intuitive ease to the process. I could feel it, get it, and it was right. Of course, I didn't know any different, either.
Old 18th December 2010
  #40
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Well... i agree with him.... but it's a personal thing... at this moment, i am not even using NF monitors in my studio, and the translation so far is great...
Old 18th December 2010
  #41
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Tube World's Avatar
Thousands of us have obtained good mixes (including myself) using just near field monitors. Tony also has made some good points as well.

With that being said, lets say you went to pro studio where they have near and mid field monitors and you learned the character of the monitors. Can anyone really say that your final mixes in that setup would not better translate than your near fields alone? The PMC's for instance would allow you to hear detail that the Focal Solo's could ever give you. So the fine tuning of compression ratio's, reverb tails, etc would be that much more refined, not to mention the bass extension.
Old 18th December 2010
  #42
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With things like Toontrack EZmix and plugin presets...
And all the good plugin metering..Do we really even need to listen..

I mean I can mix with out monitors... Isn't it just a matter of making pretty colors on a screen... It's art MAAAANNN!!!
Old 18th December 2010
  #43
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May he Mr. Katz wants to make you think about this.
But it is just an opinion and what works for you may not work for Mr. Katz.

He stated many times in the Mastering Section that his Book and his articles should give inspiration to the reader.

I think he is not going to try to make an all time generalization.
Old 18th December 2010
  #44
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Circumstances have forced me in recent times to mix through headphones, something I had never even really considered in the past. I've found, though, that I can get very good mixes that way, needing only minor tweaks when I listen back on near fields, or reference systems.

I think that, unless a monitoring system is defective or seriously deficient, you can learn to work with most and adjust your mixes to compensate for that system's shortcomings.

The good things about headphones (with a crossfeed circuit) is that you can really hear reverbs, bad edits, distortions, etc. The bad thing is that occasionally the bottom end interacts in ways you hadn't anticipated when played back in a room. So you tweak it a bit, and you're good.

I would advise anyone with a subpar control room (like a garage or very small room) to invest in a decent set of headphones, and spend some time learning their quirks. It's the cheapest way to get something close to a predictable listening environment, and once you learn it well, you'll get mixes that translate as well as anything you do on nearfields, midfields, etc.
Old 18th December 2010
  #45
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I think there are two aspects of Bob Katz's arguments that need to be distinguished. There 's the question of nearfield monitoring distances and the actual speakers designed to work at nearfield distances. With these distinctions in mind, here's my brief take on what he says:

Nearfield Monitoring (distance)

Quote:
One problem is that nearfield monitoring is like wearing big headphones! The stereo imaging is so wide that it discourages you from making a "big" master that will translate to home systems.
This seems like a reasonable argument. Not to say that one couldn't learn to master at nearfield distances. But it's arguable that it's not optimal.
Quote:
The fourth problem is that nearfield monitoring exaggerates transients and affects your perception of the relationship of lead and solo versus rhythm.
Perhaps. Nearfield distances alter the balance of direct to ambient room signal which changes the perception of transients. So one could argue that having a higher ratio of room ambience is beneficial.
Quote:
The fifth problem is that nearfield position exaggerates ambience, creating a higher ratio of direct to room sound.
Yes, with the clarification that a higher ratio of direct signal to room sound gives more of a sense of the ambience within the recording itself. It gives less sense of the control room ambience. However, whether this is a good or bad thing is probably a matter of opinion.
Nearfield Monitors (speakers)

Quote:
The second problem is that the high frequency response of speakers that are to be used as nearfields has to be tailored for such close use, so they won't bite your ear, so not just any speaker can be used as a nearfield.
I disagree here because I think he misdiagnoses the main design characteristic that distinguishes a nearfield from a speaker intended for longer listening distances. It's not a matter of high frequency balance. It's a matter of crossover frequency, driver spacing and off-axis dispersion. The concern with nearfield monitoring is that you want the wave fronts from all the drivers to coalesce within a short distance. This means keeping the drivers closer together and using lower crossover points. Nothing in this regard prevents a nearfield monitor from being used at longer listening distances. In fact, longer listening distances give the individual driver wave fronts even more of a chance to coalesce. On the other hand, speakers primarily designed for longer listening distances will typically sound imbalanced and disjointed at nearfield distances.
Quote:
The third problem is that very few of the speakers designed as nearfields have adequate dynamics and low frequency extension (with some exceptions, I've seen engineers use Meyer HD-1s as nearfields, but these can sound overbright when used this close).
I agree. And personally, I extend this same argument to tracking and mixing. Wide dynamics and frequency extension are important in every step of the recording process. I don't think there should be distinctions between speakers used for tracking, mixing, mastering, post, or whatever. One should use the best speakers one can within practical limits. And IMO most nearfield monitors are significantly lacking in both dynamics and frequency extension. That's why I designed what is essentially a large mastering tower that also has the form and function of a nearfield.
Quote:
So nearfields are not particularly good for anything, either mixing or mastering!
Well, that may be a bit extreme. I think he makes a better argument that nearfield listening distances are less than optimal.
Old 18th December 2010
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slipperman View Post
And that's what makes the world go round!!!



Actually, he's says they are not useful for ANYTHING if ya read the whole she-bang.

Personally... I think he's hitting "la pipa" again on this one.

And several others.

For starters.

Whatever: BIG LARK. ALL GOOD. GIANT FIASCO AT THIS EARLY JUNCTURE.

Bob doesn't hafta mix my records. I do.

SM.
How many records has Bob mixed anyway? Any that anyone would know?
Old 18th December 2010
  #47
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neenja View Post
How many records has Bob mixed anyway? Any that anyone would know?
Be careful Mr. Katz tracked and engineered and mixed many records more than you will think off.

One comes to mind is SARA K a superb acoustic session with great ambiances!!

I am pretty sure he knows what he is talking about!!
Old 18th December 2010
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
(And every drummer who came in would have his own drum key and know how to use it.)
To Dream....the impossible dreeeeeam....
Old 18th December 2010
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
Be careful Mr. Katz tracked and engineered and mixed many records more than you will think off.

One comes to mind is SARA K a superb acoustic session with great ambiances!!

I am pretty sure he knows what he is talking about!!
He clearly has an opinion on it, but history shows that nearfields are very useful for mixing even with their limitations (which were built in to deal with the way music is normally mixed.)
Old 21st December 2010
  #50
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I agree with Mr. Barefoot. Good points made, and some I disagree with.
Although Bob Katz thinks big picture as well as detail, he didn't mention
something. Translation. While proper quality monitoring, ideal distances,
and ideal acoustics will help anyone. The results still matter most of all.

Does your mix translate well in several different outside systems? Clubs,
Car and Home Stereos, Television, Earbuds, Laptops, etc.. If that is the
result of your mixing and/or mastering, you're doing it right. Whether on
Bowers towers or through a clock radio's speakers. Tranlsation matters.
Old 21st December 2010
  #51
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elan View Post
I said this as a positive thing, highs are more pleasant, less fatiguing, you can better concentrate to what you are doing and what is happening
yes, i did understand it like this and agree 100%
Old 21st December 2010
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
And when they arrive, just explain to your wife that you had to spend the ten grand because Glenn double-dog dared you!
Wife (in her gnarly voice): "What are *those things* ?

Me: "What things?"

Wife: "Those big things in your studio?"

Me: "What studio?"

hehhehheh
Old 22nd December 2010
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark D. View Post

Does your mix translate well in several different outside systems? Clubs,
Car and Home Stereos, Television, Earbuds, Laptops, etc.. If that is the
result of your mixing and/or mastering, you're doing it right. Whether on
Bowers towers or through a clock radio's speakers. Tranlsation matters.
It's always a pleasure to read and to learn what Thomas Barefoot is writing. and Bob Katz.
I've quoted you cause in this case the real question is: do we want to work//adress only to low/med fidelity mediums?
Old 22nd December 2010
  #54
Nearfield vs. Midfield

So when does a nearfield distance become midfield? How far back do my monitors have to be to quality as mid-field mixing?

Also the size of the room and the ability for the bass frequencies to develop must play a role here.

Can monitors billed as "near field" be used as mid field in a large enough room, or are there inherent design differences?
Old 22nd December 2010
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diamondjim View Post
or are there inherent design differences?
There are. I'm no expert on the design considerations, but nearfield and midfield dispersion would be different for a start; then there is the (perhaps more obvious) difference, which is that midfields are bigger and can therefore be designed with wider and more accurate bandwidth. The directivity of the HF drivers would probably differ as well, with nearfields having a more "short-throw" design than midfields.

None of that should necessarily stop you from experimenting and using a particular pair of speakers in either scenario though.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #56
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Bob Katz FAQs: Nearfield not useful for mixing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neenja

How many records has Bob mixed anyway? Any that anyone would know?
I'd like to see that as well.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timlloyd View Post
None of that should necessarily stop you from experimenting and using a particular pair of speakers in either scenario though.
Good point.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neenja View Post
How many records has Bob mixed anyway? Any that anyone would know?
Bob Katz Credits - ARTISTdirect Music
Old 22nd December 2010
  #59
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So, about 3.....with a small number of non-specific "engineer" credits.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReSeRe View Post
do we want to work/adress only to low/med fidelity mediums?
We'd want to address all fidelities. You don't want to overlook details that could be heard in even
limited, higher quality, play-back environments. The producer of some soon to be important album
may hear your work on a better system. What you miss due to monitoring could cost you a future
job with them. Criticism of albums in industry publications are usually by folks with great playback
systems. There's no reason what sounds great in those can't sound great in the inferior systems.
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