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Bob Katz FAQs: Nearfield not useful for mixing Studio Monitors
Old 24th December 2010
  #91
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FireMoon's Avatar
I think people are misconstruing the context Bob's words are meant in. As mentioned, Bob tends to work in the audiophile end of the market where the priorities are somewhat different. The majority of those who mix and engineer in Dance/Po/Rock RnB etc actually work to create a certain illusion. Whereas Bob tries to capture faithfully, the acoustic space and interaction between specific musicians. However, many on here are creating a different sort of aural canvas.

I have the impression Bob is talking about circumstances where with as little eq, compression, etc as possibler one is seeking to recreate a specific performance in a specific space. Now, with the best will in the world there are very few nearfield monitors which can accurately represent that sort of recording. It is , in essence, a paradox to even try listening to that sort of music so close to the speakers. it's akin to watching a band from seated under the vocalist's crotch..
Old 24th December 2010
  #92
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Space Station's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by neil456 View Post
I think anyone that is going to criticize should post a link to their credits first.
How about the other Bob? The one who's mixes on NS10's.

Bob Clearmountain Discography at Discogs
Old 24th December 2010
  #93
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most music is consumed these days in a kind of extreme nearfield environment, mono and nearfield, mobile phones etc.
Old 24th December 2010
  #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireMoon View Post
.. it's akin to watching a band from seated under the vocalist's crotch..
If you mean seeing a Shakira concert from the front row, that doesn't seem so bad...
Old 24th December 2010
  #95
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gsilbers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by barefoot View Post
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)


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.

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.


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)


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.

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.

Well, that may be a bit extreme. I think he makes a better argument that nearfield listening distances are less than optimal.

your points are very interesting. wish to listen (or read) you (and bob katz) two both discuss your difference in opinion or points.
seems like a good thing to follow.

bob katz usually lurks around these forums. so maybe he will chime in.
Old 24th December 2010
  #96
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well I think it's time someone contact bob to ask him to join to this thread :P so we'll all know

maybe he will just say.. uhm.. sorry I said a stupid thing :P

but honestly I think I understood what he means and I agree, so probably I'm stupid has him

BTW my two favorite speakers are auratone and ns10, but I bought a pair of pmc tb2+, placing them a bit distant, compared to what I'm used too. and I think I understood what he means

The more I stay distant to them, the better thy sound the more mid field they sound. More organic, solid, under control.
Old 24th December 2010
  #97
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ARIEL's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
What I have the most difficulty understanding in the nearfield are transients; when I'm primarily hearing direct sound from monitors that are close, something about the transient hasn't had time to bloom and it's not quite in the right proportion. Sliding back to a midfield position gives me a much better sense of how things are actually hitting.

Not sure why that is, but I'm sure there's an explanation.

I do actually prefer mixing in the midfield, but it requires two things: a really tight room (no wonky rt60's), and distortion-free monitoring... because I likes it loud.


Gregory Scott - ubk
I agree with Greg mid fields are a bit farther which is good for me , I have my msp5's about 6 feet away and that is the closest I will have them(I know they are supposed to be near field) . I found over time I kept pushing the speakers farther away . Makes it a lot easier to hear everything frequency wise as well as proper levels . My control room is a good length almost 30 feet . I am thinking of trying to set up a remote for mixing so i can be at the back of the room on the couch I find the farther back the more it reveals how out of wack ones levels can be .
Old 24th December 2010
  #98
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taturana's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhero View Post
Yeah whatever Bob. It's becoming clear that mastering is no longer useful for music.
hehhehheh

Sure, if you say so.... heh now go back to your video game...

Old 24th December 2010
  #99
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megalolz at teh gearhero
Old 24th December 2010
  #100
RTR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman View Post
we agree to disagree sometimes, which is normal
but i really disagree to question the credibility of Mr. Katz
GOOD GOD guys, I did not read anywhere BK's credibility being questioned..the guy simply stated what most GS would if it was someone else....if you only rode a motorcycle 6 times in your life you really should not be telling a person that rides one everyday what one to ride, even if you are a PRO race car driver!
Old 24th December 2010
  #101
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The dman's Avatar
 

Nothing against Bob Katz but who gives a crap what he thinks about this? Is he the end all or something?
Old 24th December 2010
  #102
Gear Head
 

odd debate here guys. Whatever works for monitoring works
Old 25th December 2010
  #103
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman View Post
Interesting question, but i didn´t notice any problem
higher frequency = higher directionality, maybe bacause of this? i really don´t know
i really noticed that i get the big picture much faster and this is just great, i´m really happy and i´m also kind of angry because i was so stupid and did realize this after all these years have passed, but well, better now than never
the most studios i worked at got farfields (westlakes most time) and near fields (K+H, adams, genelcs, dynaudios)
i never (!) was at a studio with midfields, i maybe worked at 20 studios and do this since 10 years or more...
maybe this is insane, but i will build a kind of railroad system for my speakers, with 2 positions, optimal near and mid position, with a motor, no kidding
hate me, but i though EVERYBODY is doing this movement with rollo-chair or on feet. and the servo motor... use a rollo-chair and what do i think you should do. a servo to rotate ~30 degrees the monitors while u're moving back and front. target is on axis for both position. but, actually, listen sometimes off axis is good.
Old 25th December 2010
  #104
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReSeRe View Post
hate me, but i though EVERYBODY is doing this movement with rollo-chair or on feet. and the servo motor... use a rollo-chair and what do i think you should do. a servo to rotate ~30 degrees the monitors while u're moving back and front. target is on axis for both position. but, actually, listen sometimes off axis is good.
the problem with my rolo chair is that my arms are too short to reach the desk
Old 25th December 2010
  #105
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTR View Post
GOOD GOD guys, I did not read anywhere BK's credibility being questioned..the guy simply stated what most GS would if it was someone else....if you only rode a motorcycle 6 times in your life you really should not be telling a person that rides one everyday what one to ride, even if you are a PRO race car driver!
read post 61 for example
Old 25th December 2010
  #106
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Bob Katz FAQs: Nearfield not useful for mixing

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTR

GOOD GOD guys, I did not read anywhere BK's credibility being questioned..the guy simply stated what most GS would if it was someone else....if you only rode a motorcycle 6 times in your life you really should not be telling a person that rides one everyday what one to ride, even if you are a PRO race car driver!
Excellent point. Merry Xmas!
Old 25th December 2010
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman View Post
I used nearfields for years, but i always had one problem: i did hear levels (are vocals loud enough, etc.) better in the kitchen than in front of my desk...


I did a quick mix on my mother's hifi system in her medium large living room and despite very bad acoustics and noisy environment; it was in many ways a better experience than mixing on my NS-10s and Genelec 8030s. The effect of sound breathing through distant and air makes it really easier to get a fuller bigger picture of the music. Also there was no ear fatigue which I've had to learn to work with. I don't monitor loud but the ear fatigue chimes in after a short 30 minutes or so on nearfields.
I can't live without my NFs but I can't do a proper mix on them without listening on the living room hifi system, headphones, my car stereo and as many other environments as possible many times...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer View Post
Can someone explain to me why nearfield monitors should have problems with dynamics? I don't see the point. What is the technical reason for this? "Bad dynamics" but also "exaggerating transients" sounds like a contradiction...


It's actually the air and distance which smoothens the transients in a far field system. This isn't present in a nearfield. The result is ear fatigue and unreal soundscape... Maybe the heavy compression and limiting fashion of today which removes transients and dynamics is a reaction to mixing on nearfields...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman View Post
...maybe this is insane, but i will build a kind of railroad system for my speakers, with 2 positions, optimal near and mid position, with a motor, no kidding


Please post pictures if you did :-) I would like very much to see that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Madestew View Post
I'm getting outstanding results with my akg 240's. All headphones are not created equal. The 240's are flat. I can hear changes at a tenth of a decibel. Not so with nearfields...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Madestew View Post


Really? I have tried that and when monitored on speakers the result was awful :-|I tend to boost too much mid an high mixing on those phones.
Old 25th December 2010
  #108
Gear Nut
 

By coincidence I am listening to the latest Cassandra Wilson Album which is mastered by Bob Katz and the dynamics are breathtaking, very, very different than most of the modern pop/rock/dancefloor music released these days.
Where on my home stereo system most recent recordings sound kind of dull and tiring, this record, like a lot of records produced before the 90s, sounds balanced and lively, even though I sometimes have to move the volume knob, when the kids want to sleep.
That listening experience makes Mr Katzs' opinion comprehensible for me.
Most people would tame those transients on nearfields. So I think UBK is right:
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k
What I have the most difficulty understanding in the nearfield are transients; when I'm primarily hearing direct sound from monitors that are close, something about the transient hasn't had time to bloom and it's not quite in the right proportion. Sliding back to a midfield position gives me a much better sense of how things are actually hitting.

Not sure why that is, but I'm sure there's an explanation.

I do actually prefer mixing in the midfield, but it requires two things: a really tight room (no wonky rt60's), and distortion-free monitoring... because I likes it loud.


Gregory Scott - ubk

Old 26th December 2010
  #109
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman View Post
we agree to disagree sometimes, which is normal
but i really disagree to question the credibility of Mr. Katz
Me too I guess Mr Katz has tons of experience in tracking mixing and mastering.... Sure he just has an opinion...and that is alright but I have respect in front of engineers having more experience as I can have at the time.

One reason why I like GS sometimes experienced eng. slip in and bang.heh
Old 26th December 2010
  #110
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.HOLMES View Post
Me too I guess Mr Katz has tons of experience in tracking mixing and mastering.... Sure he just has an opinion...and that is alright but I have respect in front of engineers having more experience as I can have at the time.

One reason why I like GS sometimes experienced eng. slip in and bang.heh


It´s a pleasure to have such great people around here and i really think there should be more respect sometimes.

Happy X-Mas!
Old 26th December 2010
  #111
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rashman View Post
Please post pictures if you did :-) I would like very much to see that.
i thought about this again and again, it´s not easy, i have to admit that this idea was kind of euphoric in first place :-)
i did build mass-spring-mass system undernath the speaker stands (which is great), but it´s very heavy, maybe 80 pounds under each speaker... goal is to get the resonance down to 17Hz and stop the transmission to the floor (i really think it´s cool for everybody here to do it, it´s cheap and very very effective - focused bass range is the result, works for guitar/bass amps too)
ok, it´s difficult to move all this mass
instead of this i´ll build a second m-s-m system at nearflid position and move the speakers with my hands... not really cool, but it will work
i know this may appear strange, but after all this struggles i really think that this is the way
it´s just my personal preference, of course, but the midfield thing did change my life (!!!), i´m totally serious
i can now take my mixes everywhere and they translate on all systems, which never worked before for me with nearfields
i´m sure that nearfields work for many people here and it´s great, but for me the world changed since i did this some month ago
happy xmas!
Old 29th December 2010
  #112
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman View Post
i thought about this again and again, it´s not easy, i have to admit that this idea was kind of euphoric in first place :-)
i did build mass-spring-mass system undernath the speaker stands (which is great), but it´s very heavy, maybe 80 pounds under each speaker... goal is to get the resonance down to 17Hz and stop the transmission to the floor (i really think it´s cool for everybody here to do it, it´s cheap and very very effective - focused bass range is the result, works for guitar/bass amps too)
ok, it´s difficult to move all this mass
instead of this i´ll build a second m-s-m system at nearflid position and move the speakers with my hands... not really cool, but it will work
i know this may appear strange, but after all this struggles i really think that this is the way
it´s just my personal preference, of course, but the midfield thing did change my life (!!!), i´m totally serious
i can now take my mixes everywhere and they translate on all systems, which never worked before for me with nearfields
i´m sure that nearfields work for many people here and it´s great, but for me the world changed since i did this some month ago
happy xmas!
pictures, photos, pictures!

once again i don't dare to disagree with Mr. Katz, but the explanation of Mr. Barefoot (post #45)make a lot of sense IMO. (which is not against Katz's statement, but draw the right line)
Old 2nd January 2011
  #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Where's Harvey Gerst? I've been in his studio and those are some big ass speakers in the wall there. You can definitely feel the music when he's mixing. heh
Studio A has a custom wall mounted JBL main system in two 8 cubic foot cabinets, designed by Ed May (Chief Engineer at JBL), some NS10's, and a pair of Avantones.

Studio B has a pair of JBL 4312's, wall mounted, with a JBL sub, and a pair of small JBL's as nearfields (also with a sub).

Empire Sound (Alex's SSL mix room) has a similar system to the Studio A main system - a custom JBL system with two 12" JBL woofers, a JBL 5" mid-range, and a small JBL tweeter per side in 8 cubic foot cabinets.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReSeRe View Post
pictures, photos, pictures!

once again i don't dare to disagree with Mr. Katz, but the explanation of Mr. Barefoot (post #45)make a lot of sense IMO. (which is not against Katz's statement, but draw the right line)
thanks
i´ll do
the rubber supply is closed ´till 3rd of january
tomorrow i´ll order a second setup
well, i hope it´ll work like i hope
i´ll keep posting
Old 3rd January 2011
  #115
Gear Head
 

obv if you can afford mains then thats great and better than nearfields but the honest point is that the vast majority cannot.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #116
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i dont care who said this...its ridiculous
Old 3rd January 2011
  #117
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I think what Mr. Katz is observing are some shortcomings with nearfield monitoring. Sound traveling through a body of air in a real space, as with more distant monitoring (and live acoustic music) has many functions (effects) applied: Amplitude domain (compression), frequency domain (tonal balance changes), and time domain (ambiance or reverberation). If one wishes for ones recordings to sound natural played back in a normal room, then nearfields and headphones will not give accurate information. That many can create good recordings using nearfields is more a testimony to their ability to imagine how something will sound in other settings, than that they are getting accurate information from their monitors. Also, a sound source being near consoles, tables, and desks plays havoc with acoustics, and often creates more problems than are solved by using nearfields to reduce the influence of the room.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #118
It strikes me that these are musings of a professional engineer that works at high end studios and can afford such luxuries, for the sake of others who are in a similar situation and who want to move out of their own comfort zone and improve.

I suspect the majority of responders who are upset by what he's saying are perhaps not really his target audience anyway, they couldn't do this if they wanted to. It's a hi-fi discussion. I'm sure that everyone would love to be able to experiment with this stuff, but the practical fact is that most people just don't have that much space, time or money, and those that do and would perhaps benefit the most perhaps can't afford to take that risk.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #119
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Mixerman's Avatar
 

Quote:


One day, Bob Katz and I will agree about something. That day is not today. Some of my best mixes have been done on nearfields, and nearfields only.

Enjoy,

Mixerman
Old 3rd January 2011
  #120
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelMeyer003 View Post
obv if you can afford mains then thats great and better than nearfields but the honest point is that the vast majority cannot.
Actually the point is that most people don't have an adequate room for big mains. Wish I did. Midfields are a different story.
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