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How do you guys mix with monitors so close?
Old 11th September 2020
  #1
How do you guys mix with monitors so close?

I usually set up my mix room with the monitors across the room, and me sitting on the opposite wall. I like hearing the room and some bass. But I always see people with their setup with the desk against the wall, with the monitors against the front wall, so I tried it, and I hate it.

My current room is 11 foot square (yeah I know, it's my house, and the rooms are square), and I currently have Genelec M040 and an SVS 12" sub.

I stuck my desk against the monitor stands with the monitors about 50" apart and 50" from my ears. My seat was about 54" from the wall, which is right at the 3/8 into the room as recommended. No sub was hooked up at the time. I cut on a favorite track, and I hated it. I couldn't hear any bass at all. And the monitors were so close they hurt my ears unless I turned them so far down that it was just no fun listening to them.

I mean really, is this how you guys mix? Can't hear hardly any bass, and do you mix super quietly? It would drive me crazy. Even if I hooked up a small sub to go under my desk, I can't see this sounding good at all. My mixes would never translate: I would be putting tons of bass in and my EQ would be so V-shaped because the mids hurt my ears.

I did a measurement from the recommended seat position, and it is attached. You can see the 50 hz bump and then the bass drops off from 60-120 or so. Am I seeing this right on the chart?

Feel free to trash me for this, but am I completely crazy for thinking I need to hear ample bass and some room sound to be able to mix? I mainly make and mix electronic music. My main problem in this room is since it's square, I have a big ass 50 hz bump pretty much everywhere except the middle. I'm thinking just some basic room acoustic treatment and 50 hz correction with some sort of EQ software would work for me. What do you guys think?

Thanks for any feedback you might have on this.

--Todd
Attached Thumbnails
How do you guys mix with monitors so close?-desk-wall.jpg  
Old 11th September 2020
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Well if the room is untreated the frequencies will be all over the place. So in your situation the best spot might be on the opposite wall.

When the room is treated, it's a different story. Then the frequencies will be more even. (If you treat the correct surfaces, with the needed depth) Also, you treat the room to make it sound the best at the sweetspot, wherever that is. So in a treated room, sitting at the back wont make sense. (Unless that is the best spot and treated according to that) You also want to get rid of the room decay. Depending on which model you use, the whole room decay or just the first 20 ms of it. The room heavily interferes with the music and causes ringing at certain frequencies and silence at others. It also add reverb that's not present in the music.

In your situation, treating the room will make it sound more even. My room is 14ft, almost square and I got a really good result (not professional) with some heavy treatment plus added EQ. Your room is smaller than mine so I'm not sure how good it can get, but it's certainly possible to improve it!

Here's a before and after of my room. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5OCOhARWMA This just the back wall treated. It's more treated now. A new video will be made once it's completely finished.
Old 11th September 2020
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
I usually set up my mix room with the monitors across the room, and me sitting on the opposite wall.
Wow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
I did a measurement from the recommended seat position, and it is attached. You can see the 50 hz bump and then the bass drops off from 60-120 or so. Am I seeing this right on the chart?
Yes, no bass and one (several?) big-ass room mode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
Feel free to trash me for this, but am I completely crazy for thinking I need to hear ample bass and some room sound to be able to mix?
Bass yes, "room sound" up for debate -- maybe not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
I'm thinking just some basic room acoustic treatment and 50 hz correction with some sort of EQ software would work for me.
You'll need more than basic to make that room work. The "good" news is that it's a small room so at least the room modes aren't at 40 Hz.

Slap 30 cm or so of Rockwool on all surfaces except the floor and things should be moving. Check acousticmodelling.com and the gas flow resistivity database in here for what materials will do what at a certain depth. Good luck.
Old 11th September 2020
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by ostfisk View Post
Well if the room is untreated the frequencies will be all over the place. So in your situation the best spot might be on the opposite wall.

....

Here's a before and after of my room. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5OCOhARWMA This just the back wall treated. It's more treated now. A new video will be made once it's completely finished.
Hmmm, so maybe my strategy should be treating the room assuming I will use the desk against the wall, and it might correct the bass node properly.

That's a cool video. What a massive treatment on the back wall! I was also surprised at the difference the diffusion made. Great work!
Old 11th September 2020
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by johannburkard View Post
Wow.

......

for what materials will do what at a certain depth. Good luck.
Yeah, "wow".

So the room is causing that nasty lull in the bass region. I'm going to try treating it as if I were sitting in the correct spot, and see how that works....
Old 12th September 2020
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
Yeah, "wow".

So the room is causing that nasty lull in the bass region. I'm going to try treating it as if I were sitting in the correct spot, and see how that works....
I hate to be the one that says it, but your room will always have some issues no matter what you do if it really is an 11ft square.

And in a square shape room, sitting closer to the front doesn't really help. You really have to sit near the middle of room (44% from front wall) with speakers away from the front and side walls.

If you treat each of the surfaces by 2ft( except for floor) the best you can hope for is what I modeled in pic attached. But that is contingent on you treating every surface by 2ft. That's is not counting if you have windows or doors or any other obstructions on surfaces.

This will give you about a theorertical +/-6db frequency response.
Attached Thumbnails
How do you guys mix with monitors so close?-screen-shot-2020-09-11-7.34.58-pm.jpg  
Old 12th September 2020
  #7
Lives for gear
 
akebrake's Avatar
 

Calculators

Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
...So the room is causing that nasty lull in the bass region.
The nice flat FR shown (occationally) in speaker manuf. spec sheet are measured without reflections from a room. E.g free field/ anechoic (pic 1 Genelec M040)

Resonant reflections (room modes) are room dimension dependent and areas of Hi and Lo SPL are visualized well in hunecke Mode calculator.
Hunecke is only meteric . Tip: REW Room Sim have a very convenient metric/ imperial "translator"
Step through the modal frequencies and watch the lack of bass... Pic 2

Mode numbers are also a convenient way to comunicate about modes!

Non resonant (SBIR) type reflections are position dependent and the frequency will change when you move the speaker or listener.

I’m not aware of any simple SBIR calculator.

As you've got REW measure your empty room diagonally (with the sub) and verify the calculated modal frequencies.

Best
Attached Thumbnails
How do you guys mix with monitors so close?-gen-m-040-spec.jpg   How do you guys mix with monitors so close?-mode-hun-0.0.1.jpg  

Last edited by akebrake; 12th September 2020 at 04:33 PM.. Reason: Link added
Old 12th September 2020
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
I hate to be the one that says it, but your room will always have some issues no matter what you do if it really is an 11ft square.

And in a square shape room, sitting closer to the front doesn't really help. You really have to sit near the middle of room (44% from front wall) with speakers away from the front and side walls.

If you treat each of the surfaces by 2ft( except for floor) the best you can hope for is what I modeled in pic attached. But that is contingent on you treating every surface by 2ft. That's is not counting if you have windows or doors or any other obstructions on surfaces.

This will give you about a theoretical +/-6db frequency response.
Yeah I know square rooms are the worst, but I need to make the best of it. If I sit anywhere in the middle of the room, and the sub is on any side wall, I cannot hear any bass. If I put the sub in the middle of the room, the bass on any side wall is very anemic, and I can't hear the very low bass.

I suppose the best way would be to build false walls or equivalent with the rockwool, on 2 sides of the room, to make the room rectangular. I am looking for a solution that is somewhat less drastic, but will get me to an acceptable place, including in-room treatment and software EQ correction.
Old 12th September 2020
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
If I sit anywhere in the middle of the room, and the sub is on any side wall, I cannot hear any bass.
Without any treatment, that's not surprising.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
I am looking for a solution that is somewhat less drastic, but will get me to an acceptable place, including in-room treatment and software EQ correction.
Get bass traps or suitable materials and start stacking.
Old 13th September 2020
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
Yeah I know square rooms are the worst, but I need to make the best of it. If I sit anywhere in the middle of the room, and the sub is on any side wall, I cannot hear any bass. If I put the sub in the middle of the room, the bass on any side wall is very anemic, and I can't hear the very low bass.

I suppose the best way would be to build false walls or equivalent with the rockwool, on 2 sides of the room, to make the room rectangular. I am looking for a solution that is somewhat less drastic, but will get me to an acceptable place, including in-room treatment and software EQ correction.
I mentioned to sit near the middle of the room, not in the middle.

Also for your situation 1 subwoofer is not enough. You need at least 3 of them, plus digital management, minimum phase EQ and 50-60% treatment( look at picture attached).
Attached Thumbnails
How do you guys mix with monitors so close?-screen-shot-2020-09-12-9.40.04-pm.jpg  
Old 15th September 2020
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
I mentioned to sit near the middle of the room, not in the middle.

Also for your situation 1 subwoofer is not enough. You need at least 3 of them, plus digital management, minimum phase EQ and 50-60% treatment( look at picture attached).
What software can manage 3 subs?

What's the third sub on the back wall do?

50% treatment, meaning all bass traps, or any treatment?
Old 15th September 2020
  #12
My question is why add more subs just to have to add more bass traps? If bass traps are to trap the low end, long wave, bass frequencies. Then why, do they need more sub woofers in the room to begin with. If they are just going to have to install more bass absorbers (trapping) to kill the standing bass waves injected into the room by using single or multiple subwoofers? It would seem that the owner of the room would have to be very specific in what bass frequencies are being absorbed compared to whats reproduced by sub woofers. What are the mathematical formulas for finding such specific frequencies, or to know how to design bass absorbers to combat this effect?

Last edited by coreyspencer; 15th September 2020 at 05:41 AM.. Reason: I spelled mathematical wrong.
Old 15th September 2020
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
What software can manage 3 subs?
https://www.minidsp.com/products/min...inidsp-4x10-hd


Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
What's the third sub on the back wall do?
Front wall subs strategically placed help stimulate the side modes so they don't cancel when sitting in the middle of room.

Backwall subs helps in dealing with the 1-0-0 mode when sitting near middle of room.



Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
50% treatment, meaning all bass traps, or any treatment?
No 50-60%(probably more) treatment on all surfaces absorbing everything top to bottom. Basically an anechoic response. If its too dry, you can add things on top of treatment after.

Treating a square room( which is always not recommended) is not an easy task, so the approach has to be more drastic.
Old 15th September 2020
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by coreyspencer View Post
My question is why add more subs just to have to add more bass traps? If bass traps are to trap the low end, long wave, bass frequencies. Then why, do they need more sub woofers in the room to begin with. If they are just going to have to install more bass absorbers (trapping) to kill the standing bass waves injected into the room by using single or multiple subwoofers? It would seem that the owner of the room would have to be very specific in what bass frequencies are being absorbed compared to whats reproduced by sub woofers. What are the mathmatical formulas for finding such specific frequencies, or to know how to design bass absorbers to combat this effect?
Read this paper if you have time:
https://www.semanticscholar.org/pape...976a1a72e?p2df

Its one way of dealing with bass issues in small rooms and it can work in getting a flat frequency response in the low end. Only issue is you need enough space to be able to setup 4 subwoofers properly.

And you still need treatment, because frequency response is just one small aspect in treating a space. Time is the other and you will still have resonances that need to be controlled in room.
Old 15th September 2020
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
https://www.minidsp.com/products/min...inidsp-4x10-hd

Front wall subs strategically placed help stimulate the side modes so they don't cancel when sitting in the middle of room.

Backwall subs helps in dealing with the 1-0-0 mode when sitting near middle of room.

No 50-60%(probably more) treatment on all surfaces absorbing everything top to bottom. Basically an anechoic response. If its too dry, you can add things on top of treatment after.

Treating a square room( which is always not recommended) is not an easy task, so the approach has to be more drastic.
Besides, the miniDSP, would something like the Genelec SAM be able to coordinate 3 subs like that? I was thinking of investing in such a setup, since I like my M040s.

I assume the room treatment would be something like the GIK monster traps..?
Old 15th September 2020
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
Besides, the miniDSP, would something like the Genelec SAM be able to coordinate 3 subs like that? I was thinking of investing in such a setup, since I like my M040s.

I assume the room treatment would be something like the GIK monster traps..?
No, you need something more extensive. The Mini DSP 4 x 10 is great because it can work with REW and your measurements.

You need something bigger then GIK Traps.

You really need to do the entire walls and ceiling surface. Build or have someone build a frame out 2ft deep for all the surfaces. Fill in the surfaces with 2 ft of fluffy fiber and cover with fabric.
Old 15th September 2020
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
No, you need something more extensive. The Mini DSP 4 x 10 is great because it can work with REW and your measurements.

You need something bigger then GIK Traps.

You really need to do the entire walls and ceiling surface. Build or have someone build a frame out 2ft deep for all the surfaces. Fill in the surfaces with 2 ft of fluffy fiber and cover with fabric.
That would make the room 7 feet across. I might as well use a closet. My desk wouldn't even fit!

I do this as a hobby, I just need it sounding better. That 50 hz bump is horrid. I just need reasonable improvement.
Old 15th September 2020
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
That would make the room 7 feet across. I might as well use a closet. My desk wouldn't even fit!


I do this as a hobby, I just need it sounding better. That 50 hz bump is horrid. I just need reasonable improvement.
Sorry, but it is what it is. You are in a square that is small and with that you can't escape physics. You can use a minimum phase EQ tuned to 50 hz to bring down the bump, but it will do nothing about the huge W shaped nulls after.

Hobby or not, your room problems are always there. There aren't many band aids or solutions that can be recommended. There are no free lunches.

Is another space at all an option? One that isn't a square or smallish?

If you don't think you want to invest into the thorough treatment or go with the multi subwoofer + DSP management solution, then just setup near the center room and just go with what you have. When you need to check mixes, just step out of room and listen on different speakers and get a feel for whats missing and work that way.
Old 15th September 2020
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by coreyspencer View Post
My question is why add more subs just to have to add more bass traps? If bass traps are to trap the low end, long wave, bass frequencies. Then why, do they need more sub woofers in the room to begin with. If they are just going to have to install more bass absorbers (trapping) to kill the standing bass waves injected into the room by using single or multiple subwoofers? It would seem that the owner of the room would have to be very specific in what bass frequencies are being absorbed compared to whats reproduced by sub woofers. What are the mathematical formulas for finding such specific frequencies, or to know how to design bass absorbers to combat this effect?
I don’t know about everyone else, but I feel it’s a bit beyond a GS post to teach everything there is to know about acoustics!

I did a degree only partially (1/3) in acoustics and we only really scratched the surface; so maybe a year’s course would work?

You could start with “Fundsmentals of Acoustics” by Kinsler and Frey...there’s also Phillip Newell’s book on designing home studios.

The short answers are you can’t generally fit enough bass trapping in a small room to even out the response (you run out of room first - to make a great sounding small room, start off with a large room!), square rooms will never sound great, and you can’t fix a time domain problem in the frequency domain (ie you can’t eq out a room mode).

As has been explained, bass traps trap bass reflections, not bass itself - they prevent standing waves which are what makes the bass end in a bad room so hard to judge - it’s not just a matter of “mix bass heavy” cos then you move your head half a metre and the sound is completely different.
Old 15th September 2020
  #20
Im more or less interested in this specific case.

It seems like you are giving out specific numbers on how much of the room they should treat how thick abd of what the treatment material should be. How many subwoofers they need. I just want to know how and where youre getting these numbers from. I figured you would have the formulas on hand to get the specific answers you gave. Im a curious soul is all.
Old 15th September 2020
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
Besides, the miniDSP, would something like the Genelec SAM be able to coordinate 3 subs like that?
Probably, yes. Genelec's subwoofer integration is probably the best you can get ATM.
Old 15th September 2020
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by johannburkard View Post
Probably, yes. Genelec's subwoofer integration is probably the best you can get ATM.
Right on, OK.
Old 16th September 2020
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
Sorry, but it is what it is. You are in a square that is small and with that you can't escape physics. You can use a minimum phase EQ tuned to 50 hz to bring down the bump, but it will do nothing about the huge W shaped nulls after.

Hobby or not, your room problems are always there. There aren't many band aids or solutions that can be recommended. There are no free lunches.

Is another space at all an option? One that isn't a square or smallish?

If you don't think you want to invest into the thorough treatment or go with the multi subwoofer + DSP management solution, then just setup near the center room and just go with what you have. When you need to check mixes, just step out of room and listen on different speakers and get a feel for whats missing and work that way.
All the bedrooms are square. The only space that's rectangular is a living area. I attached a sketch with some measurements. The space is basically 15 x 18 feet, but it has a hallway and open areas adjoining it. I moved my speakers to the space on the map and did some measurements from where I estimate a seat would be, and I think the measurements were better. At least the 50 hz bump was gone, but there was a crazy 100 hz dip. I think that was from the sub position, which was just to the right of the speakers, but not in the corner. Treatment in this room might be weird though, since there are only really 3 corners, and there's so much open space. Thoughts?

Sorry about the image rotation, iPhones like to rotate pics and not inform Windows 10, and then you don't know it until you upload it to a forum or something.
Attached Thumbnails
How do you guys mix with monitors so close?-img_4486.jpg  
Old 16th September 2020
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
All the bedrooms are square. The only space that's rectangular is a living area. I attached a sketch with some measurements. The space is basically 15 x 18 feet, but it has a hallway and open areas adjoining it. I moved my speakers to the space on the map and did some measurements from where I estimate a seat would be, and I think the measurements were better. At least the 50 hz bump was gone, but there was a crazy 100 hz dip. I think that was from the sub position, which was just to the right of the speakers, but not in the corner. Treatment in this room might be weird though, since there are only really 3 corners, and there's so much open space. Thoughts?

Sorry about the image rotation, iPhones like to rotate pics and not inform Windows 10, and then you don't know it until you upload it to a forum or something.
Flip the setup around. Then measure one speaker at a time.

The 100hz dip could be the floor bounce. With one side open the low end on each side will be different.

Can you post the MDAT after you measure?
Old 17th September 2020
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
Yeah I know square rooms are the worst, but I need to make the best of it. If I sit anywhere in the middle of the room, and the sub is on any side wall, I cannot hear any bass. If I put the sub in the middle of the room, the bass on any side wall is very anemic, and I can't hear the very low bass.

I suppose the best way would be to build false walls or equivalent with the rockwool, on 2 sides of the room, to make the room rectangular. I am looking for a solution that is somewhat less drastic, but will get me to an acceptable place, including in-room treatment and software EQ correction.
If you made the new walls two feet deep, you be following one of the recommendations made earlier, especially if the walls were made out of an absorbent material.
Old 17th September 2020
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
That would make the room 7 feet across. I might as well use a closet. My desk wouldn't even fit!

I do this as a hobby, I just need it sounding better. That 50 hz bump is horrid. I just need reasonable improvement.
It's an issue of physics that nothing can get around.

Porous absorption can be compressed slightly and still retain its absorption characteristics. You might be able to get away with two feet compressed into a foot and a half.

You'd probably be pretty happy with the results of 24 inches of absorption everywhere.

I've got 12 inches on every surface and I'd love having even more.
Old 17th September 2020
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
Flip the setup around. Then measure one speaker at a time.

The 100hz dip could be the floor bounce. With one side open the low end on each side will be different.

Can you post the MDAT after you measure?
Hi, I took some measurements in a new room that isn't square. I attached the results and a diagram of the room. I took separate measurements from the one position of L, R, L and R, and L R and sub. It looks like a mess, but I can hear some bass at that sitting position, and don't hear massive room bass.

Oh, ignore the low end mess on the L, R and L+R, that's my air conditioner. It was off for the sub L R measurement.
Attached Thumbnails
How do you guys mix with monitors so close?-living-room-crap.jpg   How do you guys mix with monitors so close?-living-room-position.jpg  
Old 17th September 2020
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
Porous absorption can be compressed slightly and still retain its absorption characteristics. You might be able to get away with two feet compressed into a foot and a half.
Actually that's something you don't want to do and compressing it does very much change its characteristics in a bad way.

Here is one study where they compare both:
http://www.ica2016.org.ar/ica2016pro...A2016-0490.pdf

What happens is the flow resistivity changes and if you've chosen something for its particular flow resistivity, then its counter productive to compress it.

The quote from the study says:
"In fact, as the samples were compressed, the absorption coefficient decreased especially at low frequency".

Part of the challenge in using porous absorption for treament is being able to install it in a way so it doesn't sag, change shape or get compressed over time. Also if you have other people in your studio, more often then not the threat of them knocking into it or pressing it is always there.

Its also why some forms( semi rigid for example) became popular for studio treatment.
Old 17th September 2020
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatFox View Post
Hi, I took some measurements in a new room that isn't square.
You may get more symmetry by sitting to the right (at the window?).
Old 17th September 2020
  #30
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by johannburkard View Post
You may get more symmetry by sitting to the right (at the window?).
I've gotten pretty okay guerilla-mixing results in a couple of temp office spaces by turning one corner into a giant triangular floor-to-ceiling trap and facing the mix position into it. With absorption on every other possible surface, of course.
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