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Bob Katz FAQs: Nearfield not useful for mixing Studio Monitors
Old 27th January 2011
  #151
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rhizomeman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
The chasm was perpetrated by mainly by a disrespect for science and engineering and the substitution of magical thinking for logic and reason.

The marketing came later and merely takes advantage of this medieval superstitious mindset. Advertising can't make you stupid. To be moved to purchase these resonators or these pebbles, or the clever little clock you have to already be a fool - no advertising is THAT effective.
WOW! Is that stuff for real!!?? Thanks for laughs But surely that is a minority of the audiophile community - right?
Old 27th January 2011
  #152
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhizomeman View Post
WOW! Is that stuff for real!!?? Thanks for laughs But surely that is a minority of the audiophile community - right?
Well, it's for real in the sense that they will actually take your money if you want to buy one!
Old 27th January 2011
  #153
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhizomeman View Post
WOW! Is that stuff for real!!?? Thanks for laughs But surely that is a minority of the audiophile community - right?
Of course it's a minority. An audiophile will quest for the most balanced and realistic sound within his budget. An audiophile who buys $500 pebbles to improve his $20 000 system has no budget
Old 28th January 2011
  #154
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O.F.F.'s Avatar
 

For marketing BS some audiophiles fall for try this:
BybeeTech - Quantum Purification


Some laughs an insights can be found here:
Bybee Quantum Purifier Measurement and Analysis - diyAudio












Spoiler alert! It's a 25w $0.50 resistor.
Old 20th February 2011
  #155
Gear Maniac
 

How close are you to youre near fields? I've been sitting like 2.5 feet from them but maybe 4 feet would be better? (genelec 8030)
Old 22nd February 2011
  #156
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rashman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fixitinthemix View Post
How close are you to youre near fields? I've been sitting like 2.5 feet from them but maybe 4 feet would be better? (genelec 8030)
Yes. I would say try at least around 5 feet.
Old 3rd June 2011
  #157
Lives for gear
I've found that part where Bob explains very well his thoughts about nearfield

Subwoofers

Near Field Monitoring?
I wouldn't master with near-field monitors, but I will mix with them. Near-field monitoring was devised to reduce the effects of adverse room acoustics, but if your room acoustics are good, then "Mid-field" or "Far-field" will provide a more accurate depth and spatial picture. There must be an obstruction-free path between the monitors and the listener. What is the biggest impediment to good sound reproduction in a recording studio? The console. No matter how you position the monitors, the console's surface reflects sound back to your ears, which causes comb filtering, the same tunnel effect you get if you put your hand in front of your face and talk into it. Or if you wear a wide-brimmed hat, which produces an irregular dip around 2 kHz. It amazes me that some engineers aren't aware of the deterioration caused by a simple hat brim! Similarly, I shudder when I see a professional loudspeaker sitting on a shelf inches back from the edge, which compromises the reproduction. The acoustic compromise of the console can only be minimized, not eliminated, by positioning the loudspeakers and console to increase the ratio of the direct to reflected path. Lou Burroughs' 3 to 1 rule can be applied to acoustic reflections as well as microphones, meaning that the reflected path to the ear should ideally be at least 3 times the distance of the direct path.
Old 17th June 2011
  #158
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u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elan View Post
I've found that part where Bob explains very well his thoughts about nearfield

<snip>

Lou Burroughs' 3 to 1 rule can be applied to acoustic reflections as well as microphones, meaning that the reflected path to the ear should ideally be at least 3 times the distance of the direct path.

No problem, I'll just position my console 3x as far away as my monitors. heh

Now the only question is, do I move my console 24' away, or do I bring my monitors 2' from my head. Decisions, decisions...

Seriously, with the acoustic nightmare that the console clearly represents, I have to conclude that no good sounding records were made during the console era. I know those console-less, PT-only rooms are rockin' my world!

Apologies for the sarcasm, my wisdom tooth is infected and the meds are in effect. But really... the hat brim as acoustic obstruction? Is music really so fragile in this guy's world?


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 17th June 2011
  #159
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Hi UBK

I understand Bob is a bit "hardliner" but I think is important what he says and I found measurements reveal a lot of comb filtering generated by desk or consoles, but I found my way to deal with the problem

I've angled my desk of around 30° and comb filtering disappeared

Also I've played a bit with the distance of the desk from the monitor

Before I had a measurements that looked like a sort of "fish bone" in the middle and highs, now that is disappeared, I've angled the desk till it disappeared

I hope that can be useful for you, I got big improvement
Old 17th June 2011
  #160
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ksandvik's Avatar
 

There might be an ounce of truth in that statement but the thing is that most producers can't afford to build an acoustically perfect environment with high-end monitors. So near-field reference monitors were designed for this market and it works just fine for most productions. I would not expect a let's say dubstep artist to require a perfect acoustic environment for building a track in a day or two for release.
Old 17th June 2011
  #161
I think it comes down to a few thing, some of which were mentioned by Thomas Barefoot on this thread in response to what Bob Katz had written.

There are significant differences between speakers designed to function as full range, far field speakers and nearfields. As Barefoot mentioned the crossovers, the driver size and spacing and other things all designed to put out sounds that meet together perfectly at a certain distance. These types of design choices don't carry over from far field speaker design into near field usage. For that reason the criticisms that Bob Katz has made make perfect sense. Assuming the room is large enough and sonically neutral (and that's a big assumption) you are not likely to be able to take a pair of speakers that have been designed for far field usage and put them a meter away from your ears and get things to sound natural or useful for critical listening.

Also, there is the power, low frequency extension and dynamic ability of the vast majority of near field designs. Most of them ARE underpowered and lack the headroom to be able to reproduce transient details in a natural and lifelike manner as Bob Katz wrote. Additionally, most of them DO lack the low frequency extension that is necessary to create a realistic sounding playback, exactly as Bob Katz wrote. But as Barefoot pointed out those are not problems that are necessary. They are design challenges that up until relatively recently had not been overcome. There are several ways to skin a cat and Barefoot decided to use his design approach to do it. Event decided to use theirs with the Opal. Several other manufacturers have decided to use their own with 2.1 systems or 3 way systems that have enough power devoted to the individual drivers and drivers that can take all of that power and on and on. So what Bob has written about that is only true in most circumstances, but not all.

Additionally Bob Katz does not address that great mixing can still be made without having the kind of power, transient headroom and low frequency detail that is necessary for lifelike sound reproduction. The mix engineer would simply have to do without. In that scenario people adjust, either by using multiple systems or learning how to approximate the missing information or whatever they do, they adjust. Some people get very good at it. This leads us back to the comment that someone made about how things would be in an ideal world. Of course ideally we'd all have the room dimensions and the budgets to place far field, full range systems in our spaces. But it's just not the case that the world is like that so we deal with what we have and still make do with it. Despite many of the shortcomings.

As far as near field spacing is concerned, it's true that when speakers are placed a meter apart the sound stage becomes altered from what it would be if the performers were in the room with you. In that situation it's a matter of the mix engineer making the mental adjustment from feet of separation to inches of separation. It's just an adjustment that need to be if you're going to work with near fields. But I wouldn't expect someone that is accustomed to using far field monitors to be able to comfortable make that adjustment in a hurry. Which is why it makes sense that someone like that (Bob Katz) makes the criticism he does about that particular issue and it's a fair criticism. He just doesn't offer a solution, even though there IS a solution and it's to literally changer your paradigm when working with near fields.

With regards to near fields being placed on consoles, again Bob is spot on. It's true that many (if not most) near field users place their speakers on the meter bridge or on table tops or whatever. It's also true that this DOES cause resonances and comb filtering. I personally highly disagree with the habit of common placement of near fields. But I also understand that some people won't change how they work and they eventually get used to hearing those distortions that come from that placement and they make do. Again this is an issue that comes down to the engineer deciding to deal with a "problem" as a trade off to working or doing things they want to do. It's not a problem with near fields, because you CAN place them in ways that don't introduce those problems. I do so myself.

So as with almost all audio related opinions about gear there are very few absolutes. The problem with this kind of stuff being discussed on Gearslutz is the problem of co-signers wanting to find an authority to agree with so they look cool or knowledgeable or so they can identify with or whatever. If we let that aspect go we can see that what Bob Katz is saying is an opinion. It's not BS it's just an opinion that depends on the perspective and the values of the person giving that opinion. It also doesn't need to be agreed with in general, nor does it need to be shot down because it conflicts with your personal agenda. It's just his perspective and there are explanations that make what he says perfectly logical, and not crazy or stupid. Just the same though, because he said it doesn't make him absolutely right either.
Old 17th June 2011
  #162
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plugin View Post
He doesn't need to try. He is. He is also very well respected in the industry. He is also known among the audiophile community - a community that we Gearslutz members tend to shun. We can learn a lot from them, and they from us. The chasm was perpetrated by mainly marketing techniques, and marketing techniques want only one thing - your money.
No....He's not..Unless you listen to him....just saying...M
Old 17th June 2011
  #163
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evangelista's Avatar
 

I've read BK's mastering book, and enjoyed it. I don't implement most of what he's written, but it did get me to look at some technical parts of the process differently. That's cool.

Brian Eno could tell me to record everything to wax cylinder, but I probably wouldn't do it.

Ultimately, any professional will settle into work methods that make money efficiently. That's pretty much the end of the story for me.
Old 17th June 2011
  #164
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Tube World's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
I think it comes down to a few thing, some of which were mentioned by Thomas Barefoot on this thread in response to what Bob Katz had written.

There are significant differences between speakers designed to function as full range, far field speakers and nearfields. As Barefoot mentioned the crossovers, the driver size and spacing and other things all designed to put out sounds that meet together perfectly at a certain distance. These types of design choices don't carry over from far field speaker design into near field usage. For that reason the criticisms that Bob Katz has made make perfect sense. Assuming the room is large enough and sonically neutral (and that's a big assumption) you are not likely to be able to take a pair of speakers that have been designed for far field usage and put them a meter away from your ears and get things to sound natural or useful for critical listening.

Also, there is the power, low frequency extension and dynamic ability of the vast majority of near field designs. Most of them ARE underpowered and lack the headroom to be able to reproduce transient details in a natural and lifelike manner as Bob Katz wrote. Additionally, most of them DO lack the low frequency extension that is necessary to create a realistic sounding playback, exactly as Bob Katz wrote. But as Barefoot pointed out those are not problems that are necessary. They are design challenges that up until relatively recently had not been overcome. There are several ways to skin a cat and Barefoot decided to use his design approach to do it. Event decided to use theirs with the Opal. Several other manufacturers have decided to use their own with 2.1 systems or 3 way systems that have enough power devoted to the individual drivers and drivers that can take all of that power and on and on. So what Bob has written about that is only true in most circumstances, but not all.

Additionally Bob Katz does not address that great mixing can still be made without having the kind of power, transient headroom and low frequency detail that is necessary for lifelike sound reproduction. The mix engineer would simply have to do without. In that scenario people adjust, either by using multiple systems or learning how to approximate the missing information or whatever they do, they adjust. Some people get very good at it. This leads us back to the comment that someone made about how things would be in an ideal world. Of course ideally we'd all have the room dimensions and the budgets to place far field, full range systems in our spaces. But it's just not the case that the world is like that so we deal with what we have and still make do with it. Despite many of the shortcomings.

As far as near field spacing is concerned, it's true that when speakers are placed a meter apart the sound stage becomes altered from what it would be if the performers were in the room with you. In that situation it's a matter of the mix engineer making the mental adjustment from feet of separation to inches of separation. It's just an adjustment that need to be if you're going to work with near fields. But I wouldn't expect someone that is accustomed to using far field monitors to be able to comfortable make that adjustment in a hurry. Which is why it makes sense that someone like that (Bob Katz) makes the criticism he does about that particular issue and it's a fair criticism. He just doesn't offer a solution, even though there IS a solution and it's to literally changer your paradigm when working with near fields.

With regards to near fields being placed on consoles, again Bob is spot on. It's true that many (if not most) near field users place their speakers on the meter bridge or on table tops or whatever. It's also true that this DOES cause resonances and comb filtering. I personally highly disagree with the habit of common placement of near fields. But I also understand that some people won't change how they work and they eventually get used to hearing those distortions that come from that placement and they make do. Again this is an issue that comes down to the engineer deciding to deal with a "problem" as a trade off to working or doing things they want to do. It's not a problem with near fields, because you CAN place them in ways that don't introduce those problems. I do so myself.

So as with almost all audio related opinions about gear there are very few absolutes. The problem with this kind of stuff being discussed on Gearslutz is the problem of co-signers wanting to find an authority to agree with so they look cool or knowledgeable or so they can identify with or whatever. If we let that aspect go we can see that what Bob Katz is saying is an opinion. It's not BS it's just an opinion that depends on the perspective and the values of the person giving that opinion. It also doesn't need to be agreed with in general, nor does it need to be shot down because it conflicts with your personal agenda. It's just his perspective and there are explanations that make what he says perfectly logical, and not crazy or stupid. Just the same though, because he said it doesn't make him absolutely right either.
I wish you posted this on page 1. I am surprised how much a comment he made caused so much flare up. I also thought he was talking about mastering with nearfields. I would much rather use PMC1's or PMC 2's for mastering (both mid field monitors) than any near field monitor I know.

It is interesting in Mike Senior's book Mixing Secrets for a small studio, he states that engineers usually mix on near fields and mostly use mid fields for playback for clients. I have found this to be true here in Nashville for the most part. True you play them back on the mid fields after you mix on the near's to hear the balance, and to get a different perspective, but generally the near fields I have found are used for mixing.
Old 17th June 2011
  #165
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

sorry for some strange ideas in the posts, but this helps and does the trick with small speakers and a desk..

1. high stands with angle above 15 degrees / tweeters to ear....reflections won´t reach you
2. solid stands..."stopping" low frequency transmission
3. mass system beneath the speaker stands..like 2. , really stopping it
4. find the perfect distance, find a place where you can listen to the overall image with controll over the desk and some inches more to the speakrs it´s more analytical..well this step helped me so much.... i´ve been to some studios and i´ve seen this not done correct, well i struggled with this a lot of time... like i can hear it "better in the kitchen" and so on
its all about placement
we all got some records we know so many years and like
the position we are at should tell us waht we already know, not a situation we are forced to interpret while mixing
to close..the sides jump out...to far..they disappear


if this is set up good, the overall balance is setup quickly


than there is the low end question
well, some studios i´ve been have this problem, standing waves and no clue about it, strange but true
ok, if you´re not sure, try headphones an get known to the response, it really helps

i really hope this helps somebody, it did help me a lot
Old 18th June 2011
  #166
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

'Opinion'

While it's true that almost everything everywhere is, by and large, an opinion, this is what the man said:

"Mixes and masters made on nearfields will have a great deal of trouble translating to other systems."

The thing is, this opinion purports to state a fact, which is fine except for one very small issue: it is completely erroneous, it does not square with (dare I say) the vast majority of experiences out there.

Someone says cinnamon is yucky, how can I tell them they're wrong? I can't, I can only tell them how much I enjoy it.

Someone says it is always difficult to get cinnamon to taste good in any recipe, and meanwhile tens of thousands of people are making fine tasting cinnamon treats all day long and tens of millions of people are enjoying them, we got a basic failure to grasp reality.

If the someone making such a sweeping claim is prominent, respected, and known for generally educating people in constructive and accurate ways, the kind of reaction you got in this thread is predictable and, imho, understandable.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 18th June 2011
  #167
Gear Nut
 

Alot of proper mixing takes psychoacoustics into account.....what the ears and brain perceive at different volume levels and distances from the sound source. Nearfield, i've found, is pretty deceptive, just because it's the laws of physics--high frequency soundwaves are short compared to bass frequencies, and therefore, the bass frequencies need more distance to evaluate them correctly. It's the same reason that headphone mixing is often deceptive--there's proximity effects. I usually stand back 5 feet or more, and sometimes monitor songs (after i've set up the levels to where I otherwise think that they should be) and listen outside of the listening/ monitoring room. I get a better idea of how it sounds when it's interacting with a listening room, too. Another thing that I do, is that i'll take the mixes into my car, and then will also listen to them outside of the car (which has your standard modern stock factory setup in it that most people will have) when the music is loud.....sometimes the vocals are way louder, sometimes what I thought wasn't a boomy enough kick drum on the actual studio monitors turns out to really be overdriving the car stereo's speaker cones so much that it infringes on the impact of the other instruments in the mix, etc.

I've usually found vocals to be somewhat lower on every recording that I know well, so I can't really evaluate vocals on that system, but I do get a good idea of what's actually too loud with the other instruments, because the levels of the instruments are usually pretty spot on to other systems, and with the ambient noise that you get in a vehicle, it's a good indicator of what might get lost in a mix--what's otherwise too subtle (strings on the second chorus, etc) may need to be brought up. Certain instruments do get louder as the volume knob is turned up, simply because the ear latches onto those frequencies first......like how some guitar amps have treble boosts that only work until a certain volume (my old Traynor amp does this), to compensate for the perceived lack of volume (treble) at lower volume levels.

I'll usually try to arrive at the best compromise after listening to mixes in all of those conditions, making notes about what sounds louder, etc. I've rarely went back and had issues with mixes. I simply don't trust any one monitoring scenario, nor do I truly trust any one particular monitor.
Old 21st June 2011
  #168
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

I feel compelled to add that I greatly prefer mixing in the mid-field, and that's how my room is set up: I'm 8' or so from my monitors.

Part of this is my monitors themselves, JBL's with a big bottom that needs some room to bloom, and they also 'speak' really well when cranked. And there's nothing I hate more than being close to speakers that are loud.

But part of it is simply how it sounds and feels to listen to music at a distance rather than close up. I understand it better, especially transients, they way they hit after they've moved across a room makes more sense to my brain.

I could certainly mix closer in if I had to, and it'd translate. I'd just have to work harder and rely on other ref systems more.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 18th July 2011
  #169
Gear Maniac
 
rashman's Avatar
 

I used to get as close as about 3’ to 4’ to my nearfields (Genelec 8030s and NS10s) to achieve the standard equilateral triangle for standard stereo imaging in my very small room. Hassling a lot with translating issues, I found out that I couldn’t really feel the depth well, and that caused many misjudgments in balancing and EQing. I ended up sacrificing image and get away from speakers to at least 6’ or more. I check the balance with headphones and my mixes translate much better. So I’m pretty much convinced through practice, that too close a distance can deform sound. And that resolving this issue is prior to avoiding room response problems, at least to a greater degree than we may think.
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