Old 06-25-2019, 08:30 AM   #1
Tiggerdyret
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 254
Default Best plan of action with regards to my mixing setup

Iím about to mix my debut album and Iím considering whether or not I need a studio upgrade. So far Iíve only mixed on headphones, but I did notice that I had trouble discerning the low frequencies on my trusty Sennheiser HD540. I know monitors is the better option, but I donít know, if my room would be treated well enough for monitors to make sense. Room specs are linked later in this post. I also only listen to headphones myself, so Iím not sure how confident I am with monitors.

I basically plan on putting about 1500 USD (closer to 1.000 USD, because of different taxations and prices in Denmark) into the album, but that includes everything from copyright fees, marketing and getting the album on streaming services to gear and tools needed. Right now I have about 380 USD that Iím willing to spend on gear, if the upgrade is worth it, but mind you I am piss poor, so every dollar counts, and I know Iím going to put every cent I have into other stages of this release, so 200 USD is probably a better estimate right now considering my budget.

My current setup consists of:

Room specs:

Either a 300cmX300cm room

or

A bigger more unbalanced room: https://imgur.com/a/Pr2VVsu

Interface: RME Babyface Pro

Headphones: Sennheiser HD540 (My main listening device. I know them in and out), Sennheiser HD650 (borrowed), Direct Sound EX29-Plus and some cheap pods.

Acoustic panels: 6 60cmX150cm Rigid Fiberglass absorber Panels made with the guys at http://the-audio-expert.freeforums.n...rd/3/acoustics Ďs specifications. I still have materials for 2-3 more panels, if needed.

Speaker and power amp: I have a decent PA system, which I use for reference from time to time.

Pre-amp: An old sony E80ES, that I also use as headphone amp

System and DAW: Desktop PC running Reaper

As I see it, I have a few options:

- Save the money and mix on headphones and hire a pro to look at the mix in later stages, give notes and maybe rent a studio and so we can have a look at it together. (I have a friend in mind for this, but he is very skilled and very expensive)

- Treat my room as best as possible with the materials Iíve got and buy a cheap pair of portable bluetooth monitors, so I can move them around my apartment and check how they work in different locations.


- Spent some money on analyzer plugins and plugins that fake speakers and whatever is available to alleviate the limitations of my headphones and/or room&monitors. Sonarworks 4 comes to mind.


Edit: Added "absorber" to the panel description.

Edit2: I also want to add that I'm taking a couple months off just to mix, so whatever room I choose will be a dedicated mixing room in that time frome, so it don't have to be pretty and I wouldn't mind having panels or whatever cover up doors or stand in the middle of the room or whatever is needed for a better mixing setup.
Tiggerdyret is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2019, 11:53 AM   #2
prom
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Flux
Posts: 198
Default

Switching between main full range speakers ,headphones and a mono reference monitor like a Behritone C50A could be very useful especially if not in an ideal room.
Basing the bulk of your monitoring duties between one small mono reference and the headphones means you could subject yourself to far less of the inaccuracies and ear fatigue of full range speakers in a partially treated room.Therefor only monitoring with full bass extension in short bursts.
__________________
Edit Signature
prom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2019, 12:27 PM   #3
poetnprophet
Human being with feelings
 
poetnprophet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 851
Default

My advice is: don't change anything...yet. You didnt mention your mixing experience or level of expertise so it's hard to suggest what would be the best bang for your buck. But it does sound like money is tight, and at the end of the day you absolutely cannot half-ass or cheap out on audio quality, whether it's with new software, hardware, or room treatment.

If you're already comfortable and accustomed to the headphones, then get as far as you can mixing on those. One of the most important things is being in an environment that you know and trust. Once you change your setup, you will have to learn that environment all over again and I guarantee that your first mix in the new environment will take you much longer, might even sound worse on your first pass.

With that said, if you feel your mix is missing something and is beyond your capability (whether because of equipment or room or whatever), then yes spend a little money with another engineer. The nice thing about that is, you also get another set of ears and another creative perspective, which you definitely cannot get with other speakers, room treatment, or hardware.
__________________
https://www.kdubbproductions.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpC...2dGA3qUWBKrXQQ
i7 8700k,4.9Ghz,Win10,Reaper 5,Motu 828es,MJE Hulk 990,GAP Pre73/EQ81
poetnprophet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2019, 12:48 PM   #4
Tiggerdyret
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 254
Default

Prom: Yeah, listening on a mono speaker is a good idea.

Poet: You are right experience matters a lot. Sorry for not clarifying. I have a fair bit of experience given my current setup. I've recorded, written, mixed and produced for about 6 years and played music for most of my life. For the last 3 years I've spent about 5x5 hours a week writing and producing the album I'm about to mix and have spent a fair bit on sound design and even gone through Syntorial, which is an ear training software for synths. Over the years I've probably recorded, produced and mixed 30 songs or so. As an engineer I've come to the point where I can fairly consistently guess frequencies boosted at 6db (I'm using Train Your Ears for frequency recognition), when given a few options. When I play my mixes for friends and family they tend to say it sounds professional, but I know that my mixing is still far off from the music I compare myself to. It is hard to gauge precisely how far I am since I'm self taught and have been learning most of what I know from youtube, this forum and groove3.com.

But I'm glad to hear the cheapest option is probably the best one too

Last edited by Tiggerdyret; 06-26-2019 at 12:16 AM.
Tiggerdyret is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2019, 12:55 PM   #5
BenK-msx
Human being with feelings
 
BenK-msx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Whales, UK
Posts: 5,540
Default

10 - Practice the musical aspects.
Much more than you ever considered (tho you seem to have put the hours in, but practice for the scrutiny of a high quality recording is a slightly different beast)

20 - Get to know & trust the gear you do have. Treatment is a good focus as it helps both recording sound and mix decisions.

GoTo 10

Good luck tho.

Just went through the process with new space and gear going out of my comfort zone into 'nowhere to hide' acoustic realms, and despite alot of practice and prep turned out I wasn't really ready when I started, needed more as the detail you go into to yield e.g a vocal that can withstand millions of listens on headphones and be on point is not normal!

Last edited by BenK-msx; 06-25-2019 at 01:02 PM.
BenK-msx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2019, 11:43 PM   #6
Tiggerdyret
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 254
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenK-msx View Post
10 - Practice the musical aspects.
Much more than you ever considered (tho you seem to have put the hours in, but practice for the scrutiny of a high quality recording is a slightly different beast)

20 - Get to know & trust the gear you do have. Treatment is a good focus as it helps both recording sound and mix decisions.

GoTo 10

Good luck tho.

Just went through the process with new space and gear going out of my comfort zone into 'nowhere to hide' acoustic realms, and despite alot of practice and prep turned out I wasn't really ready when I started, needed more as the detail you go into to yield e.g a vocal that can withstand millions of listens on headphones and be on point is not normal!
Yeah, amen to that.

I think I'll stick to my cans for now as my focus is on getting the album ready, but I'd probably need to invest in a better space down the line, but it sounds like it is not the time for me to do so right now both in terms of money, focus and time.

Even though I am a Hi-fi nerd myself I don't really care that much about how my music plays on a stereo. Even considering people who care about good sound quality, how many actually listen intently on stereos and not just as background volume? Not a lot. I'm okay with a couple of engineers frowning at my work I'd just by happy if they were listening to it in the first place

I'll just keep mixing on my headphones and stick to the original plan of spending my budget on an engineer to help me out and teach me a few tricks along the way, when my mix is mostly done.

Last edited by Tiggerdyret; 06-26-2019 at 01:28 AM.
Tiggerdyret is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2019, 01:47 AM   #7
westie07
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 36
Default

I should be the last to offer any advice, as I suck at this stuff, but have you considered "reference" tracks by well known artists that have a similar taste in music?

As you are already familiar with your headphones you can try and get a similar sound/groove as them, and that way you should at least be in the ball park. Save money on room treatment and expensive monitors, at least in the short term.
westie07 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2019, 06:01 AM   #8
BenK-msx
Human being with feelings
 
BenK-msx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Whales, UK
Posts: 5,540
Default

I'd probably mention that any engineer you use late on is mostly going to be doing things in the realm of taste tweaks or colour things that are neither wrong or right - if you want that 3rd eye option tho, great.

I liken it to downloading multitracks for practice, handy but all the hard work of making everything sound Natural (via Recording technique or mix fixes) and without issues and weird frequencies poking out has been done, so what you practice is the fun and frankly easier stuff like smashing a room mic or creating a thick wide snare or making it all sound 70's etc.
BenK-msx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2019, 09:57 AM   #9
serr
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 8,028
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiggerdyret View Post
Iím about to mix my debut album and Iím considering whether or not I need a studio upgrade. So far Iíve only mixed on headphones, but I did notice that I had trouble discerning the low frequencies on my trusty Sennheiser HD540. I know monitors is the better option, but I donít know, if my room would be treated well enough for monitors to make sense. Room specs are linked later in this post. I also only listen to headphones myself, so Iím not sure how confident I am with monitors.

I basically plan on putting about 1500 USD (closer to 1.000 USD, because of different taxations and prices in Denmark) into the album, but that includes everything from copyright fees, marketing and getting the album on streaming services to gear and tools needed. Right now I have about 380 USD that Iím willing to spend on gear, if the upgrade is worth it, but mind you I am piss poor, so every dollar counts, and I know Iím going to put every cent I have into other stages of this release, so 200 USD is probably a better estimate right now considering my budget.

My current setup consists of:

Room specs:

Either a 300cmX300cm room

or

A bigger more unbalanced room: https://imgur.com/a/Pr2VVsu

Interface: RME Babyface Pro

Headphones: Sennheiser HD540 (My main listening device. I know them in and out), Sennheiser HD650 (borrowed), Direct Sound EX29-Plus and some cheap pods.

Acoustic panels: 6 60cmX150cm Rigid Fiberglass absorber Panels made with the guys at http://the-audio-expert.freeforums.n...rd/3/acoustics Ďs specifications. I still have materials for 2-3 more panels, if needed.

Speaker and power amp: I have a decent PA system, which I use for reference from time to time.

Pre-amp: An old sony E80ES, that I also use as headphone amp

System and DAW: Desktop PC running Reaper

As I see it, I have a few options:

- Save the money and mix on headphones and hire a pro to look at the mix in later stages, give notes and maybe rent a studio and so we can have a look at it together. (I have a friend in mind for this, but he is very skilled and very expensive)

- Treat my room as best as possible with the materials Iíve got and buy a cheap pair of portable bluetooth monitors, so I can move them around my apartment and check how they work in different locations.


- Spent some money on analyzer plugins and plugins that fake speakers and whatever is available to alleviate the limitations of my headphones and/or room&monitors. Sonarworks 4 comes to mind.


Edit: Added "absorber" to the panel description.

Edit2: I also want to add that I'm taking a couple months off just to mix, so whatever room I choose will be a dedicated mixing room in that time frome, so it don't have to be pretty and I wouldn't mind having panels or whatever cover up doors or stand in the middle of the room or whatever is needed for a better mixing setup.
Huh. It actually sounds like you've thought this through pretty well for someone in a more 'entry level' position.

None of the classic mistakes. (eg. budgeting only 3 hours to mix, spending $1000 on some plugin) And you're even considering doing the final mixing with a pro which is literally the most bang for the buck you probably can get. (The classic mistake there is doing a lo-grade mix and then trying to pay a mastering engineer to fix it after the damage has been done and it isn't really possible to fix.)

Speakers can get pricey of course...

Are you anywhere where you might be able to scavenge for speakers?
Pawn shops? People still buy speakers and receivers they can't afford and pawn them.
Watch Craigslist?
Snipe something on Ebay?

You might not get the perfect candidate for yourself that you'd shop for specifically if you had a budget but you might find some good bang for the buck and be that much more set up with your wallet none the wiser.

FYI A pair of powered 2 way speakers with 6" woofers (like KRK) go for around $300 a pair new. I think that's about as cheap as it gets ordering new and a 6" 2 way is the minimum for getting away with nearly full range. Smaller would need a sub no matter what.

You already have a PA amp?

You could scare up some passive speakers and give your PA a side job powering them in your studio. My Crown amps for my small PA have a side gig powering my surround array in the studio.
serr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2019, 11:07 AM   #10
Tiggerdyret
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 254
Default

@Serr
I'm probably closer to intermediate than entry-level, but thanks, man, I appreciate the compliment
I have a PA-AMP and the speakers are passive. Right now I just use one speaker in mono, which actually have been working pretty good so far. I also know these speakers fairly well. I could probably get something used, but I've had a lot of people recommend me I stay with my headphones and save for a pro engineer to have a look at the mix instead.
It's probably smarter to see how a feel after releasing the album to see if I want to invest some serious money in a studio treatment and speaker

@BenK
I'll probably just have him work on one song and see if it's worth for the full album.


I am considering buying a pair of used hd650 or similar and send them in for calibration at Sonarworks and use their software, so I can start transitioning from my current headphones to a more balanced environment. I'd probably also be good to know what flat feels like before I start expanding my studio. What do you guys think? Is that a good idea?
Tiggerdyret is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2019, 11:39 AM   #11
serr
Human being with feelings
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 8,028
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiggerdyret View Post
@Serr
I'm probably closer to intermediate than entry-level, but thanks, man, I appreciate the compliment
Ah, that explains it.
serr is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:23 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.