The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Bob Katz FAQs: Nearfield not useful for mixing Studio Monitors
Old 17th December 2010
  #1
Lives for gear
Bob Katz FAQs: Nearfield not useful for mixing

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?
Old 17th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
While I do not personally mix on near fields these days, most of the greatest, or at least the most successful mixers of all time do not seem to support Bob's position.
Old 17th December 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 
mowmow's Avatar
I used to use NS10 all the time for recording and mixing because they were standard. Every studio have them and they are usefull once you get to know them. And if you have to go to different studios everytime, near fields can create relatively same sounds as long as they are used with same amp. This is less confusing than dealing with different sounding rooms with mid-fields or big monitors.

However, I found out NS10s are insensitive. They don't pronouce the sound accurate enough. So I use Adam A5Xs which are much more accurate and sensitive IMHO. And these seems to translate well.

In any case, you need to know the speakers and the room no matter what you are using. What bob says is probablly true. But to use mid-field, I feel that you have to treat room because they will be effected by the room accoustics more so than near field.
Old 17th December 2010
  #4
Gear Head
 

I prefer to work on NS10s because they are unimpressive. Some full range systems I work with make everything sound so good it is sometimes hard to hear the flaws that need to be corrected. NS10s can really be revealing and predictable.
Old 17th December 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 
sventvkg's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
While I do not personally mix on near fields these days, most of the greatest, or at least the most successful mixers of all time do not seem to support Bob's position.
I'd be interested to know what kind of system you do mix on these days man?
Old 17th December 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elan View Post
But I find them very fatiguing and sometimes strange..
they are strange, but in a good way

Nearfield monitoring is indeed a bit strange taking the sound stage, but you can get used to that.
Old 17th December 2010
  #7
Your brain is not "hard-wired" to listen to any playback system other
than what you hear in your natural environment. We learn this ..
it's not innate.

Binaural audio playback systems are completely synthetic. Arguing
where they project their focal center as being more natural or
preferred assumes that listening to a binaural source and synthesizing
the third dimension is inherent and "unlearned"... it's not.

What his critique says to me is that he trained his mind on a mid
to far field monitoring system.

Perhaps it might be easier to train one's mind on mid to far field
monitoring systems, but to say that "nearfields are not particularly
good for anything" is preposterous.

Not every listening environment is ideally suited for mid to long field
monitors. The premise of his critique is that we no longer need near fields
because the constraints of their design inception no longer exist.

I beg to differ.

Further, the fact that wonderful, brilliant mixes and masters are being done
on such systems belabors the point.



jeff
Old 17th December 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Steab's Avatar
Are you serious? Nearfields not useful for mixing?

The article you linked to is named Nearfield Monitors for Mastering.
Old 17th December 2010
  #9
Harmless Wacko
 

And that's what makes the world go round!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steab View Post
Are you serious? Nearfields not useful for mixing?

The article you linked to is named Nearfield Monitors for Mastering.
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.
Old 17th December 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmarkham View Post
Your brain is not "hard-wired" to listen to any playback system other
than what you hear in your natural environment. We learn this ..
it's not innate.

Binaural audio playback systems are completely synthetic. Arguing
where they project their focal center as being more natural or
preferred assumes that listening to a binaural source and synthesizing
the third dimension is inherent and "unlearned"... it's not.

What his critique says to me is that he trained his mind on a mid
to far field monitoring system.

Perhaps it might be easier to train one's mind on mid to far field
monitoring systems, but to say that "nearfields are not particularly
good for anything" is preposterous.

Not every listening environment is ideally suited for mid to long field
monitors. The premise of his critique is that we no longer need near fields
because the constraints of their design inception no longer exist.

I beg to differ.

Further, the fact that wonderful, brilliant mixes and masters are being done
on such systems belabors the point.



jeff

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
Old 17th December 2010
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steab View Post
Are you serious? Nearfields not useful for mixing?

The article you linked to is named Nearfield Monitors for Mastering.
well man the title needs to grab attention, but that's a sentence Bob wrote in that article and was the sentence I wanted to discuss
Old 17th December 2010
  #12
Was that Genelec paid article?
Old 17th December 2010
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

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.
The closer the speakers are, the more midrange i get. If i listen to guitar music the rhythem guitars are louder than anywhere else for example.
I did move the speakers back and front untill i found the place where the sound is like on most other audio systems i know. They are actually placed 2 feet behind the desk (P11a). I don´t have the level problem anymore. I can mix much faster now and the results are better. I don´t have much suprise now when i switch to headphones,ghettoblaster, car hifi or test it on a PA. I´m very satisfied about this decission. Maybe you could try it, it´s not much work and it really changed the game for me.
Peace
Old 17th December 2010
  #14
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman View Post
They are actually placed 2 feet behind the desk (P11a). I don´t have the level problem anymore.
you also have less highs... and more spread in the room
Old 17th December 2010
  #15
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
... most of the greatest, or at least the most successful mixers of all time do not seem to support Bob's position.
Exactly.

Katz's opinion is just one opinion - and it's an opinion on a subject that isn't even very controversial.
Old 17th December 2010
  #16
Gear Addict
 
StratSvante's Avatar
 

In my very very short career of mixing, not a career cause I'm a student but anyhow, I've noticed that i can hear flaws on the nearfields alot better and to get the general balance och stereo image is easier on the smaller ones. Mixing with the mains just makes me sit there and go aah yees it sounds good, then you listen to the small ones and realize you were totally wrong

I guess it's a question of getting used to it but I'd still think I'd prefer using the non flattering monitors.
Old 17th December 2010
  #17
Gear Addict
 

I only disagree because I can't afford midfields or farfields. Plus I don't have the space.
Old 17th December 2010
  #18
One of the things he says here is you cannot hear the relationship of the music properly with just near fields. Also putting them on the desk create problems. I cannot imagine anyone disagreeing with these statements.

People who home/project studios many times don't have rooms big enough for near and mid fields, so they stick to near fields. If you can only have one pair of monitors, having ones the size of Focal Twins, Barefoots, or 3 way Adams sort of give you a near/mid field type of speakers. If you only had Dyn Audio BM5a's, Tannoy Reveals, or Adam A7X's in your studio, I would agree with Bob 100%.

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. Then to be able to say they did not help you obtain a better mix compared to just using your near fields. One would also take into account your studio has good bass traps and acoustic panels on the walls, and ceiling.
Old 17th December 2010
  #19
I get very good translation with our Solo 6BE's in near field, sitting on the console - decoupled with Recoils. Probably because our room sounds fantastic. But, no disrespect to anyone - I can't mix on the 813's to save my life. I am of the opinion that one needs near, mid, far, broken and not broken speakers to do the job. And, yes, your speakers are only as good as the room you put them in.
Old 17th December 2010
  #20
Lives for gear
 
RonT's Avatar
 

Come on.....this is complete BS! I must have been doing it wrong for the last 18 years and everybody else that has great mixes on Nearfields! I respect BK on alot of things but this is utter BS just like $8000 converters.

Treat your room, learn the trade, learn your monitors and make great mixes. Simple, just takes time and practice.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion though.
Old 17th December 2010
  #21
Lives for gear
 
noiseflaw's Avatar
 

This is an 'outrage' perpetrated to ruin everyone's happy world!, quite frankly it's upsetting and hurtful. Redrawing my life map is stressful and therapy costs a lot of money these days. Next Mr Katz will tell everybody that Father Christmas is not real...

I mix on Nearfield's, a Sony Boombox (saves my butt all the time) and Apple iPod earphones - worx for me.

tutt
Old 17th December 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
 
kennybro's Avatar
Highest respect for Bob Katz... but humans learn. Every single monitoring system (speakers + environment) on the planet offers anomalies that one must accommodate. Successful adaption is what endears an artist to one particular system or another. All high quality systems work well, in the right hands.
Old 17th December 2010
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elan View Post
you also have less highs... and more spread in the room
yes, the highs are a little less, but the main advantage are the mids for me
if i sit closer to the speakers, i can hear frequency problems better
i think i´ll get a mono auratone in the middle on the desk and use the adams for the general mix + headphones for cleaning tracks / noise issues and so on...
i´m really very happy that i tried it (the moving of the speakers) and it really improved my sitution. my room is treated, but the distance really did it.
before i placed my speakers like it was recommanded in the books, but i dont think that this theory is the best for me anymore.
the coolest thing is that it is for free. just move your chair for- and backwards, close your eyes and listen to some tracks you know well, the difference 1 feet can make is huge imo
peace
Old 17th December 2010
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Tube World's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonT View Post
Come on.....this is complete BS! I must have been doing it wrong for the last 18 years and everybody else that has great mixes on Nearfields! I respect BK on alot of things but this is utter BS just like $8000 converters.

Treat your room, learn the trade, learn your monitors and make great mixes. Simple, just takes time and practice.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion though.
I am sure your mxies come out quite well. But if you had some mid fields to work with them, I think your mixes would have been even better.
Old 17th December 2010
  #25
Lives for gear
 
loopy's Avatar
 

I find my brain adapts rather quickly to whatever of my 3 monitors I am listening to. About 30 seconds and in casual listening I am happy. Switching back to my primary monitors, I instantly hear the difference, but while I was listening to my B and C monitors, after the initial difference in sound, my brain adjusts.

Maybe that's just me?

One other thing that I don't really understand is how/why people have their near fields so close to the listening position?

(I know, I know, they are called "near field for a reasonheh )


However, I see pictures of peoples studios and the monitors are literally an arms length or two away?

I find most of the monitors I have tried sound awful like that and need to be at least a 6 feet or so away in order to have any room to breath. I'm speaking mainly of gear like ASP8, JBL LSR, Dynaudio BMx, Tannoy etc.
Not the really small type monitors.

When placed too close, they sound terrible to me?

Just my 2 cents.
Old 17th December 2010
  #26
Lives for gear
 
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sventvkg View Post
I'd be interested to know what kind of system you do mix on these days man?
Event 20/20bas monitors on stands about 18 inches behind the console (and a pair of old computer speakers).
Old 17th December 2010
  #27
Lives for gear
 
RonT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tube World View Post
I am sure your mxies come out quite well. But if you had some mid fields to work with them, I think your mixes would have been even better.
Maybe, Maybe not.....too late to re-learn things now. heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
Event 20/20bas monitors on stands about 18 inches behind the console (and a pair of old computer speakers).
I mixed with 20/20bas for over 10 years. Still have them but the tweeters are gone bye-bye. Can't find replacement tweeters to save my life. Should just get another pair used just for the tweeters.
Old 17th December 2010
  #28
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 read Katz's post and I can see much of his reasoning. In a perfect world, everything would be, you know, perfect. We'd all have super-extended, super flat speakers, we'd all have great live rooms, we'd all have acoustically perfect, roomy CRs. (And every drummer who came in would have his own drum key and know how to use it.)

I've always tried to avoid reflections between me and the NFMs I use (NS10 and Event 20/20bas -- although the events would pin you to the back wall if you turned them up in NF position). I understand the diffraction issues -- but that issue, is, indeed, two-edged, particularly in a small CR.

He's got some solid points but it's not going to change my life -- unless Bob wants to get into his dungarees and come on down and help me knock out some walls...
Old 17th December 2010
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
Event 20/20bas monitors on stands about 18 inches behind the console (and a pair of old computer speakers).
That's fairly similar to my set up although my console is to the side and I don't, you know, mix on it. But all my cue and mix monitoring goes through it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonT View Post
Maybe, Maybe not.....too late to re-learn things now. heh

I mixed with 20/20bas for over 10 years. Still have them but the tweeters are gone bye-bye. Can't find replacement tweeters to save my life. Should just get another pair used just for the tweeters.
That last is not something I wanted to hear. That said, my trims are down all the way and even then I've almost never got the CR send on the board much above the (uncalibrated) halfway point on the CR master volume.
Old 17th December 2010
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Bob is a knowledgeable, dedicated and passionate mastering engineer.

The uncouth world of tracking and mixing is far less controlled and precise than he would like.

I wouldn't sweat it too much.

Cheers,

Otto
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
puremastering / Mastering forum
29
badhorsie777 / Mastering forum
66
dangeorge6 / So much gear, so little time
62

Forum Jump
Forum Jump