New studio monitors and referencing

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Neil B
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New studio monitors and referencing

Post by Neil B » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:16 am

Hi folks
I recently changed my studio monitors from Spirit Absolute 2's (passive) driven by a hi-fi Denon amp.
I'm now using KRK Rokit 6's (powered).

So, this throws up a problem or 2 and I thought I'd ask the experts a few questions:

With my old speakers, I always left the output response flat - that is, no bass or treble tweaking on the amp.
My new KRK's have LF & HF adjustment dials on the back. These, according to the manuals are to compensate for positioning in rooms (close to the wall or corners etc). At the moment I have left these at zero change.

Now, when I compare the 2 set of monitors they sound very different. I've got both sets of monitors set up such that I can switch between them, but to be honest both sets are not in the perfect triangle sweet spot. They are close enough though to give a realistic comparison.
The new ones have much better separation.
The new ones have a louder top end though (hi-hats, cymbals etc)

As a test, I've imported in Cubase reference tracks by artists such as Armin Van Buuren and others.
I've also imported my own material, tracks that listeners including yourselves have said are a pretty good mix.

So, the big question is - what do I believe? What is right and what is wrong? Do I knock off a bit of top end on the new ones or do I just do new tracks and trust my mixes?
What a can of worms I've opened.

Look forward to any tips and thoughts on the subject.

Neil B

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Marco
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Re: New studio monitors and referencing

Post by Marco » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:10 am

My hint. Listen to your New speakers for 4 Weeks! After that, you will have All your questions answered. Your Studio Monitors sound much different. They face the truth! But they do not Sound nice and beautiful like the hifi does. So first separate the hifi for 4 Weeks, time to forget the hifi Sound, and get used to the studio Monitor sound! After 4 weeks, you will have the only one answer, you will never have expected before!

Noone can explain only you can experience!

Go and find the truth.
Scope 7 user since 2017 and Scope user since 1998. :o

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garyb
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Re: New studio monitors and referencing

Post by garyb » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:46 am

there is no perfect speaker.
the speaker that shows more detail without becoming overly harsh is probably the better choice.

what you need to do is learn the speaks that you are using. do mixes and compare those mixes on many different systems(car, home stereo, boom box, earbuds, etc). you'll find the strengths and weaknesses that way. using this information, mix accordingly. the point of it all is not to hear a perfect mix, but to have a reliable reference, so that you have a good idea about how your mixes will translate into the real world. if the room's acoustics have not been corrected at least a bit, you will always be just poking around in the dark. there's no way that a speaker can give you a reliable, accurate window into what is going on if the room is making a mess out of what you are hearing.

Neil B
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Re: New studio monitors and referencing

Post by Neil B » Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:27 am

Thanks for the rapid replies to you both.
I've always been a big fan of Mike Senior's book "Mixing Secrets for the small studio" and I've done as much as I could to take on board his section on speaker placement and referencing, within the space and financial restrictions of course.
So I appreciate you both effectively saying that the old studio monitors are history and I should get used to the new ones without comparing the 2 pairs. It's just one of those silly questions isn't it that you have a good mix from your old monitors and should you remix or balance your new speakers back to that, or simply move on.
Appreciate your comments and tips.

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valis
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Re: New studio monitors and referencing

Post by valis » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:24 pm

I would hazard a guess and say the krk’s may have a small
Pocket of frequencies around 300-350hz that will be masked by the port (sounds under 200hz will cause noise in this region too, causing you to miss adding the necessary Tom to your drums or extra harmonic to your bass and a bit more low end to a snare). I know this from using KRK’s in the past. They are very peaky in 80-200hz which complements 70-90bpm “urban” beats quite well, but can mask my music (DnB, busy psybient) in the regions mentioned. The highs are probably more “American” voiced and forward but the result of this might be that you actually mix less forward in the end result, so maybe this isn’t a bad thing. Lastly, I have enough systems to compare to here (and a few club/event systems to check material out on) that I’ve learned how things translate too. Stick with the new ones long enough to learn them, then reference on both, in the car, etc...

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kensuguro
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Re: New studio monitors and referencing

Post by kensuguro » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:43 am

I think you just need to spend more time with the new monitors. It takes a very long time for me to learn new monitors.. few weeks to get comfortable, but maybe even a few years to fully integrate. IMHO adjustments are fair game. Some monitors are very, very bright and need to be toned down a bit. (I'm thinking about the notorious Yamaha NS10) Whether through adjusting the speaker or positioning, it takes time to tweak it to the point where the monitor's output is close enough to most playback environments. You don't have to make the monitors sound worse, or less accurate, it just shouldn't be stand out different from everything else. Generally, the monitors are going to have better separation and dynamic response, with regular playback systems sounding muddy and sluggish.. I think that gap will always be there since monitors are mechanically superior to most consumer speakers. But you can make adjustments or even just training your ear to hear the monitors in a particular way.

Most important I think is to listen to the monitors a lot. All sorts of material, so you just learn how it behaves. I wouldn't worry too much about matching your old speakers, unless they behaved exactly how you wanted them to. (ex: they served as the ultimate reference) Any obviously strange behavior, you should just tweak and fix. Usually though, each speaker has a handful of aspects it's very good at telling you about, and other aspects not so much. Once you learn the strengths and weaknesses, you can focus on just the information rich portion.

Neil B
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Re: New studio monitors and referencing

Post by Neil B » Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:40 am

Really appreciate both replies Valis & Ken.
Very interesting observations. I'll take on board all comments & suggestions and see how things go.
Thanks
Neil B

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kensuguro
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Re: New studio monitors and referencing

Post by kensuguro » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:00 am

changing monitors is a challenging and exciting undertaking. Ultimately I think your ears come out smarter than before the transition, so I think it's a meaningful investment. Good luck!

jksuperstar
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Re: New studio monitors and referencing

Post by jksuperstar » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:24 am

I had a Sampson monitor amp that I used for years, and it started to flake out on 1 speaker. So I grabbed a decent HiFi amp I had, and noticed how dull the high end was. So I grabbed a second hifi amp, and noticed the same thing! I repaired the Sampson and used it for a few more years before getting new studio monitors recently. (JBL 305P mkII - decent sound, great for the price).

I did not notice the "dullness" of the HiFi amps in their usual homes, mostly due to not using them in nearfield, the liveliness of their rooms vs my anachoic control room, and the HiFi speakers they we're usually mated with.

It was a good exercise in noticing the details in translating mixes. And made me realize the "translation" monitors that are sold to emulate typical HiFi situations are useless...the amp/room/speakers/headphones/car all come into play together, and isolating one of those components doesn't prove what something might sound like to one of your listeners.

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