Music Player Network
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
#3078769 01/12/21 05:39 PM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
The following is one of my hopefully rare out-of-control rants about something I care passionately about. No specific and personal slight to anyone on MPN is intended; I leave it to each reader to see or not see themselves in this, and to accept or reject my findings. As always, discussion is welcome and encouraged.

Back when I was on the editorial staff of RECORDING, I was responsible for editing a monthly column entitled Readers' Tapes (later Readers' Tracks). It went all the way back to our very first issue, starting with tapes spilling over from the very full inbox at our sister publication MUSIC TECHNOLOGY, and over the years the bombardment of cassettes gradually slowed to a trickle of CDs followed by file downloads... but the various reviewers -- especially 20-plus-year stalwart Marty Peters -- always commented angrily at one specific failing they saw over and over again.

In order to help give real advice on making submissions sound better, Marty needed to know the gear involved. Readers sent in equipment lists ranging from "mic, tape recorder" up to long and detailed breakdowns of pro-level studios (which had no correlation to "I want to listen to this again" tracks, btw). But the one thing that drove Marty absolutely insane, so much so that he called it out multiple times, often every month, and actually had us alter the online submission form to reflect it, was the lack of information about monitoring in a strikingly large proportion of these lists. Marty wrote editorials on it and his gentle remonstrations over the years got more and more frustrated as he realized that whether through ignorance or embarrassment, people didn't want to tell him what they were listening to.

So this is directed at every small-studio guy who ever submitted a song to Readers' Tracks and listed everything down to stompboxes and guitar strings but left out monitors and headphones, and to every small-studio guy who has treated monitors and headphones as an afterthought to be addressed after they get all the cool sexy stuff, to be handled with whatever cash might be left in the kitty... and feel fine working on earbuds if the money's gone:

Spend the damn money and get good monitors and headphones!

Cheaping out on monitoring (and even minimal room acoustics treatment) is the one cost-saving measure that everyone seems to go for and by far the most idiotic. EVERYTHING your ears have to judge comes through those pieces of gear. They're more important than anything else in your studio.

Ignore the idiots telling you that if you don't do it "right" (i.e. spend several thousand dollars on their personal preference for these products) you may as well not bother at all. They are, as I said, idiots -- arrogantly showing off, disseminating damaging half-truths and outright lies, and probably deaf to boot.

Respectfully listen to the folks providing good information, even if it might not be easily applicable to your situation, including stuff like monitor placement, use and tuning of subs, headphone design options, and headphone monitors and speaker distribution gear... and then ignore anything that will stop you from reasonably and quickly taking the first steps toward curing your monitoring ills.

All you really need to know to get started is if a speaker simply won't work in your room because it's too big or too small. Unless you are looking to get the most out of a large and properly treated control room, nearly anything with a woofer from 6.5" to 8" will get you started. I do find 5" to be a trifle small, but they can work fine if you crosscheck on phones with good bass response.

You can put a pair of JBL 305P MkII monitors in your room for $300, for God's sake! Upgrade to 308Ps at $500 and never worry about whether you need a subwoofer. Don't like JBLs? The Kali Audio LP-6 and Samson Resolv SE6 come in at the same cost as the 305Ps with larger woofers, and the Kali Audio LP-8 and Samson Resolv SE8 come in at less than the 8" JBLs. Want a fancy brand like ADAM Audio with folded-ribbon AMT tweeters? T5V $400 for a pair, and T7V for $500 a pair. Come ON, people, you spend more than that on a cheapass knockoff LA-2A clone.

And headphones, my GOD. There are a few good pairs under $100 (the Audio-Technical ATH-M20 comes to mind), but spend $100 to $150 and there are dozens of headphones to choose from: not only no-name brands but some genuine studio classics that pros turn to all the time! The Sony MDR-7506, the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, the AKG K240, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x... with the pandemic, you're not taking your wife and kids out to dinner and a movie, so use that money to buy some decent cans!

And if you have a few bucks to spend, get a passive monitor controller so you have a big-ass volume knob and a mute switch handy. The Mackie Big Knob Passive is under $70.

Pretty much no matter what you pick, that will take you 90% of the distance between nothing but desktop computer speakers, a shitty subwoofer, and earbuds, to the best speakers you'll ever afford that will work in your room. To quote Shia LeBoeuf: JUST... DO IT!

How important is this to me? So important that I will hold my nose, close my eyes, and tell you that if you REALLY don't want to spend money on the most important part of your studio, you can set yourself up with a pair of 5" monitors, closed-back headphones, and a monitor controller from *gag* B*hr*ng*r for $260 out the door. But I consider that a false economy, where an upgrade to a REAL brand costs less than $50 per unit. Spend the damn money!

Fuck your mics, fuck your outboard gear, fuck your DAW, fuck your interface, fuck your software, and absolutely and completely fuck every single one of your instruments including that vintage keyboard you saved for a year to get -- they are all worse than useless if you can't accurately hear what they're doing. Your ears will lie to you without mercy if they are fed bad information. Spend the damn money!

I reject anything anyone says about the quality of their audio, if they're in a studio, no matter how large or small, where they haven't given much or any thought to how they hear things. Fight me if you dare.

End of rant. Discussion welcome.

Last edited by Dr Mike Metlay; 01/12/21 05:51 PM.

Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
1 member likes this: Joe Muscara
Dr. Mike Island
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 804
Likes: 27
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 804
Likes: 27
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Spend the damn money and get good monitors and headphones!

If you can't afford good monitors and the room treatment to make them sound like the designer intended for them to sound, get better headphones. And if you do your monitoring on headphones, spend some time learning how great sounding recordings sound on your headphones, and make your recordings sound like that. The concept of "accuracy" doesn't really apply to headphones since everyone's ear parts are different.

I hate wearing headphones so I haven't followed some of the recent developments in customizing (usually via a DAW plug-in) the frequency response of headphones based on measurements with and on your own personal ears. That sounds like a good idea, however, and those who have tried it seem to be liking the results, both for listening pleasure and making better mixes.

Anyone using a headphone correction system care to comment, please?

Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,690
Likes: 333
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,690
Likes: 333
Somewhere around 2008 or 9 I stumbled into a pair of original USA made Mackie HR824s at a pawn shop for $600. They had a full refund for 7 days policy so I figured I couldn't go wrong.
I still have them, currently stashed in the spare bedroom until the mold remediation is completed. I don't want sheet rock dust on my studio stuffs.

I am used to them but I always wondered why the bass response seemed a bit "off" until I moved my studio desk out into the room. I'd had them a couple of feet back from a wall with a heavy quilt hanging in between but the sound really improved when the backsides were out in the open. They have a bass driver concealed under the metal back panel. I lust for the Dynaudio LYD 48 monitors and someday I'll get a pair. I have a bit of a fetish for 3 way speakers.

Speaking of, I will burn a CD of a mix and play it back on a horrible 3 watt per side Teac thingie that came with a pair of feather lite plastic speakers featuring weefers and twooters but I found a pair of JBL P40 9" 3 way speakers made in Denmark at Starvation Army for $30 and use those. That's one of my translate test "systems" it plays into my untreated kitchen. I'd never mix on it but the 5 inch mid cone tells me things I don't hear as clearly on the Mackies.
Recently I found a single Mackie MR5 speaker at our Habitat for Humanity thrift shop for $6, fully functional and in good condition. My interface has a mono mode, I plan on using that to check out a mix in mono. I like the mids on it better than on the HR824s too.

It's funny that you mention "the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, the AKG K240," - a crazy woman gave me a pair of the Sennies during her bitter divorce, and I found 2 pairs of Austrian made AKG K240 headphones at Goodwill several years ago for $2.50 each. One pair sounds amazing and the other doesn't work, I should probably try to fix them. Very comfortable for long periods. PLUS!!! I had a chance last spring to buy a brand new still in the box set of EX-25 Extreme Isolation headphones stupid cheap. I don't like to try and mix with them, they don't sound right. But they are awesome for tracking vocals, no playback bleeding into the mic.

Today I dropped into our Habitat store again and found a pampered set of Sony SS-H2750 4+" 3 way speakers with all cone drivers for $11 with a 7 day return if needed. They are not studio gear either. I still think they might make a good reference set for comparing translation. This is to say nothing of the horrible little battery powered fold out "stereo" set or the Music Bullet, which is a 1.5" driver driven by insect power that I can plug into my laptop.

It's good to have decent speakers. I treated my room in a hillbilly style but I want to do that properly as well. I just went for dead, a smaller room sounds better dead than it does with flutter echoes.
Maybe now that I have a job again I can get some treatment and make everything sound like it should.

Then, I need to close I-5 to traffic so it won't be so noisy outside, that will help too!!!!! Cheers, Kuru


Tones can't substitute for composition/arrangement but they offer useful suggestions-overt and subliminal. Spices are no substitute for high-quality food, but they do make food taste more interesting.
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Spend the damn money and get good monitors and headphones!

If you can't afford good monitors and the room treatment to make them sound like the designer intended for them to sound, get better headphones. And if you do your monitoring on headphones, spend some time learning how great sounding recordings sound on your headphones, and make your recordings sound like that. The concept of "accuracy" doesn't really apply to headphones since everyone's ear parts are different.

I hate wearing headphones so I haven't followed some of the recent developments in customizing (usually via a DAW plug-in) the frequency response of headphones based on measurements with and on your own personal ears. That sounds like a good idea, however, and those who have tried it seem to be liking the results, both for listening pleasure and making better mixes.

Anyone using a headphone correction system care to comment, please?
All very sound advice, which I use every day for critical mix work. My room is far from ideal, and when I get down deep into details, I can't rely on my current monitoring setup. Changing it will involve a substantial remodel of my studio, one I'm not quiet yet willing to go in on.

The early correction systems were horrible; we sent back one to the maker unreviewed, and they were quite miffed about it. The one that everyone talks about nowadays is Sonarworks. At first I thought it was all voodoo and snake oil, but more and more people have been commenting favorably on what it can do for the listening process. I am now quite intrigued, and may try out the newest version if I get a chance.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,690
Likes: 333
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,690
Likes: 333
OK, I had to come back after reading your response to my small CHEAP studio thread.

You could have the best monitoring system in the universe in an amazing sounding room and if you have either a poor performance or a crappy microphone, all the speakers can tell you is that it all sucked. laugh

I've thought and said often that mics AND speakers are the most important purchases you can make but lately I am thinking that a great room in a great location is probably the best single thing anybody could have for recording.
That's because I don't have that.

I do have respectable (but no more than that) mics and speakers. In the end, none of it matters if you are recording shit. It's still shit even if it sounds less worse due to gear.

Last edited by KuruPrionz; 01/13/21 12:39 AM.

Tones can't substitute for composition/arrangement but they offer useful suggestions-overt and subliminal. Spices are no substitute for high-quality food, but they do make food taste more interesting.
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Kuru, it's good that you realize that those cheap speakers you've been picking up aren't proper monitors, and it's also good that you have a pair of original HR824s ready to go when your room shapes up. I had a pair for a couple of decades and only let them go a few years ago; they did yeoman service, but they were too much for my room. Placement is in fact critical for those, but it's because of room reflections. The rear panel doesn't conceal a bass driver, it conceals a passive radiator, which I have always considered a little bit dubious considering they buried it behind the power amp.

I suppose a single MR5 could do the job of an Auratone if you needed it to. Do you have a monitor switcher that allows you to balance levels for accurate A/B switching?

I'm not going to get into it with you about those thrift-store AKGs. I'm just not. If they make you happy, use them. But I wouldn't.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
OK, I had to come back after reading your response to my small CHEAP studio thread.

You could have the best monitoring system in the universe in an amazing sounding room and if you have either a poor performance or a crappy microphone, all the speakers can tell you is that it all sucked. laugh

Nope, sorry, thanks for playing! That is EXACTLY what you want.

You need to start with being able to hear everything correctly. If your speakers tell you that something sucked and needs to be fixed, that's far better than thinking a performance is passable because you can't hear the problems.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Following up on the above, I was trying to explain this to my wife, who is a quick-minded scientist with no audio background, and she too initially had issues with the idea that one piece of the chain could be so overwhelmingly important.

The analogy I came up with was:

Imagine taking the finest ingredients you can get, preparing them carefully, using the best kitchen tools you can afford, lovingly following a recipe to get the best possible outcome, and then serving them to houseguests on china that's been smeared with dog poop.

Are you going to be upset that they don't seem to care how much care you put into the prep?


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,690
Likes: 333
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,690
Likes: 333
When I was a kid, I REALLY wanted a guitar, any guitar. When I was 9 my parents finally bought me a $15 Sears piece of crap but it was a guitar and it played and for me it was magic.
Then my sister's friend's brother hit his sister over the head with it and broke it.

When I was 13 and "graduated" Jr. High, Mom gave me $40. I took the bus downtown and bought a Harmony archtop at the pawn shop. It was pretty much a piece of crap but I not only learned how to play on it, I learned what a guitar was, how to level the frets, adjust the action and intonation and it led me down a path of music that continues to this day at age 65.

I wish I'd started sooner, but I didn't. I wish somebody gave me a good guitar, but they didn't. I could not afford a nice new guitar but I only cared about how it played. I bought a boogered 59 Strat, a hideous metalflake purple with green woodgrain pickguard 65 Tele and a formerly black 62 Jazzmaster that looked like somebody had painted it with a broom, all for $75 each.

I got them all up and running and became a guitarist.

Fast forward to the age of Covid and I started the affordable studio thread because many are struggling and many need to express their music. With no gigs for now, recording is a way to be heard, to arrange your ideas, to create new music.
And we can all make much better recordings more easily than when I was a kid starting out. My intention was to provide a place for conversation on "growing into it."

Dr Mike, did you suddenly start recording on great equipment? If so, you are truly a rare bird (I would say that anyway, meaning it as a high compliment!).
I started recording multi-track with a Teac Cassette deck, an Akai stereo reel to reel that did "sound with sound", a Tapco 6 channel mixer, an SM58, a guitar, a bass, an amp and a tongue drum I made myself in the wood shop. I'd play and sing a track, record it then play that back and play along, record that back to the cassette. I could get a 4th take in and there would be a loss of fidelity and increase in noise that made it an education but also a profound annoyance (this may be the aspect that makes you adamant about great playback, I get it).

Mike Rivers has called me a "Great Scrounge", I am honored, truly. And it is true, 50 years of scrounging and making do, coming up with ways to get things done. I evolved, got a Teac reel to reel with 4 track heads and re-wired it to work like a 3340 (except the heads would go into screaming feedback if I turned too many of them on). It was better, I became friends with guys who had 8 track reel to reel studios and I got to hang out and/or engineer sometimes.

4 track cassette is a great format, that's where I really learned.

Here's a song I co-wrote, engineered and played lead guitar on, we wrote and tracked everything in about 3-4 hours in Doug's living room. I had a spot in my parents garage where I set up a small studio and mixed this down with effects.
https://metapop.com/opossum-apocalypse/tracks/01-h-ula-boyla-boy/171612

Should I not have moved forward with substandard gear or just given up on recording? Honestly, if I could only have one guitar ever and had a chance to trade it for the best set of monitors in the world, I'd keep the guitar. Cheers, Kuru

I think I'll post this in the affordable forum too, it might spark more interesting conversation. I've certainly enjoyed this one, Dr Mike, please don't misunderstand anything I've said as being of negative intentions. I love this place and the friends I've made here!!


Tones can't substitute for composition/arrangement but they offer useful suggestions-overt and subliminal. Spices are no substitute for high-quality food, but they do make food taste more interesting.
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 6,505
Likes: 177
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 6,505
Likes: 177
This is something that I think seems like common sense, but unless it's articulated, it's not the logical first step for most people. I'm realizing the importance more and more.

I'll have to see if I can find the clip on YouTube, since I originally saw it on Instagram, but mixer Jon Castelli was guesting on a pro audio show and, when asked what's the first thing a producer should sink serious money into, he said monitors all the way (assuming you have a suitable computer for your needs). Like, emphatically so. Obviously you have to treat the room and what not, but he said almost word-for-word what Dr Mike has said.

I do like to buy used gear as well, however. I picked up a pair of Adam F7s for $500 a few years ago, very lightly used by someone who tried to start a YouTube singer-songwriter channel and gave up fairly quickly. They were somewhat overkill for my last space, but I think they'll be pretty good for the new space once I get a little treatment up.

As far as the correction systems, is that what I've heard been termed convolution reverb before? Or is that something else? I was talking to a great local engineer on a session last year who has a fancy pair of Focals and is now mixing almost exclusively on those, aided by the Abbey Road convolution verb. He put in his head measurements and said it really feels like you're in the room. I think Steven Slate just released a similar product.

My phones are original AT M-50s, bought them new a little over ten years ago. Some cable warping, some fabric wear and tear, but still kicking and sounding great. I've used and abused them, I travelled with them a bunch, wore them on the bus for four years of uni, used them on sessions, etc etc. Great cans, I tried several pairs out before buying.


Eric
Website
Rhodes Mk 1 Stage 73; Roland FP-4, Juno-106; Nord Stage 3C; Studiologic Sledge; DSI Mopho KB; Moog Minitaur; Stuff
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 6,441
Likes: 99
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 6,441
Likes: 99
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Fuck your mics, fuck your outboard gear, fuck your DAW, fuck your interface, fuck your software, and absolutely and completely fuck every single one of your instruments including that vintage keyboard you saved for a year to get -- they are all worse than useless if you can't accurately hear what they're doing. Your ears will lie to you without mercy if they are fed bad information. Spend the damn money!

You need to get laid

hider

Good monitoring was a concern from the start of my studio back in 1989. I had a good start with AKG D420 headphones and JBL Control 5 near field monitors. I quickly added the JBL SB-5 subwoofer when I found that the bass on the Control-5s were inadequate. Along the way I found that I have very discriminating ears.

My acid test for mixes is my car radio. If I can get it to sound good on that, I've accomplished my mission. This is easier said than done as I listen critically to the balance of the mix.

I've moved twelve times between then and now (long story, involves a divorce). Most places were good acoustics, some not very good. I built a "Soundcheck CD" for tuning my PA that had various artists and various genres with key elements that I listen for. I found it was valuable for sizing up the studio room before I started a mix. I've done a few band mixes and achieved very good results. Most home recording artists focus on a specific instrument (usually themselves) whereas I learned to focus on the band/song as a whole. When someone says it sounds great on their stereo AND laptop speakers AND their mobile that is a huge compliment.

I just moved a few months ago and when I played the CD over my JBLs I discovered that there was no low end at the listening perspective of the mixer due to the construction of the room and the placement of my mixer.

And I volunteered to mix the band demo before I discovered this. Uh Oh.

Since I can't use the speakers (no way to change the gear arrangement) I had to resort to headphones. By now I had a set of the HD280 Pro in addition to the AKG. Also a set of Koss headphones I bought from RS. Well none of them are ideal for monitoring. The HD 280 were good for getting pumping bass in a mix but I discovered the hard way that they hide fatiguing mid frequencies when played back in the car radio. Throw on the Koss and yup there they are. Since this is a live recording there was a lot of mic bleed causing the excessive mids. This is southern rock, which should tell you a lot. It was a real witch hunt requiring some gating here some EQ there some change in reverb algorithms there. I learned that there is no "one size fits all" tool box for mixing! After taming the sneaky problem I could finally proceed with getting good mixes. Fortunately the drummer knew how to tune his kit and the guitar players had good sounding amps, so the raw source sounds were good.

So which headphone was best for mixing? Definitely the AKG D240; although they won't pump bass they were best for balancing the mix without hiding anything like the HD280s did. I also had to be careful of ear fatigue so I limited the hours wearing the headphones.

The HARDEST thing about balancing was vocals with drums/bass without the guitars/keys drowning them out. I swear by the Bob Katz adage: it's not how loud you make it, it's how you make it loud.

I much prefer the JBLs but I didn't have that option. But none of my headphones match the clarity and integrity of the JBLs.

Moral of the story: if mixing with headphones, ALWAYS do a sanity check with multiple brands and your "acid test" device. I have excellent outboard processors (look no gear list!) but they made no difference with inadequate monitoring.

This is not my final dwelling. I am currently job hunting; I am ready to relocate ONE LAST TIME, and when I land a job I am buying the house to retire in. Whether I buy or build, it will definitely have studio space with really good acoustics.

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 804
Likes: 27
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 804
Likes: 27
Originally Posted by MAJUSCULE
As far as the correction systems, is that what I've heard been termed convolution reverb before? Or is that something else?

It's something else. Convolution reverb is a mathematical process that derives the reverberant behavior of a space based on a complex sample to provide what's known as the "impulse response." As an example, you can record the sound of a gun shot, a balloon popping, a blast of noise, or even a tone sweep. Apply the convolution algorithm to it and you end up with a processor (could be hardware but these days is nearly always software) that simulates the acoustic response of the space for any sound that occurs in it. Some people thing this is the best way to "build" a reverb simulator, others find it to be rather sterile. But that's acoustics for you.

Room correction is a process where the sound produced by loudspeakers is measured at one or many points in the room, and, at minimum, a frequency response curve is created which, when applied to what's going into the speakers, attempts to cancel out the frequency response irregularities created by reflections in the room cancelling certain frequencies. This is sort of an automated process for setting up a graphic equalizer to reduce peaks and boost dips in frequency response. Newer systems don't simply apply equalization, but take phase (and time) response into the correction algorithm for better accuracy.

It's not perfect, but it can do very well to improve the accuracy of the room + speaker system at a single listening position, or somewhat less accuracy (since it's taking an average) over a modest sized listening area.

Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,690
Likes: 333
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,690
Likes: 333
Real MC is doing what I aspire to do and am now reasonably equipped to do.
Checking the mix on speakers that other people are likely to listen to and seeing if the mix translates.

I've been to too many deck parties where the music is a small JBL Bluetooth widget with a pair of 3.5" drivers being fed tunes from a phone. A wide variety of music, and most of it translates well on a system like that - meaning it comes across as uncluttered and the vocals can be heard clearly. There isn't any bass response to speak of but the bass and kick can be heard.

If we can't eliminate all the variables and have "perfect" sound to mix with - and we can't - then one option is to add more variables and see how things hold up.

There are lots of options when purchasing monitors and an endless set of variables leading to making a choice. One spec I don't seem to see on the spec sheets (yes, I look at those!) is for Intermodulation Distortion.
I haven't done a deep dive on measuring transient response but I don't recall ever seeing it listed on a spec sheet and it does vary. I can hear it even if nobody wants to reveal it.

An 8" 2 way speaker like the Mackie HR824 with a crossover at 2000 hz is almost certain to have a measurable level of IMD and will also tend to be "slow" in terms of transients in the higher frequencies when compared side by side to a Mackie MR5 (I have both). I ran them both in mono, just one speaker, for a comparison listen.

2 things stood out. The MR5 does not offer nearly the same level of low frequency information, it would be tough to rely on it for mixing the kick and bass so the bottom is fat but they are out of each other's way.
The MR5 does have a more open, "lively" sound in the mids and upper mids. It makes me happy to have another option for tweaking the mids, they are paramount for a clear, clean mix.

I can only guess, I don't have sophisticated testing equipment or a "perfect room" for testing. Physics suggests that the mass of an 8" cone will affect the response time compared to the mass of a 5" cone. There are other factors, you may need a stiffer surround/spider on one or the other, as to which one I have no idea. To my ear, it is more difficult to get an 8" speaker to reproduce a transient-accurate 1500 hz than it is for a 5" speaker to reproduce a transient-accurate 1500 hz. I have zero data to back up my assertion. And I will admit that I am unable to identify intermodulation distortion as such by ear although I may well hear it. When your woofer is moving back and forth at 40 hz and also reproducing 1500hz while it is moving back and forth more slowly, that simply cannot be "accurate."

Without spending umpty bajillion $$$ that I simply do not have, I need other strategies. I will agree that the mid-range studio monitors we have available to us now are MUCH better than the cheaper ones and infinitely more accurate than home stereo speakers, that's a given. I do think they are worth the money and then some and I do think they are a top priority for a home studio. My next pair will be 3 way speakers so the woofer can be crossed over lower and the mids can be more clear and "fast."

I also remember when the de facto home studio speaker of choice was a pair of JBL L100 "bookshelf" speakers. They are nice speakers but like all "hi-fi" speakers the tone is tailored to make music sound deceptively "better."
That is where some of us probably get into trouble, mixing on speakers that make music "sound good" rather than speakers that are more "honest,"


Tones can't substitute for composition/arrangement but they offer useful suggestions-overt and subliminal. Spices are no substitute for high-quality food, but they do make food taste more interesting.
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 1,769
Likes: 53
Platinum Member
Offline
Platinum Member
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 1,769
Likes: 53
So, checking to see if I am in the right neighborhood, or if it's time to frustrate my wife with Yet Another Music Purchase....

My monitoring rig comprises
  • a B*hr*ng*r XR-18 which multi-tasks as a keyboard preamp, A-D computer interface, MIDI computer interface, and D-A output for my Windows PC.
  • A pair of Alto TX-8 powered two-way speakers, neither one close to any wall
  • I've used a real-time analyzer (located approximately where my head goes when mixing) and the XR18's GEQ to flatten the response of the TX-8s as much as possible.
  • Oh, and yes, my headphones are crap. Though I do have a decent pair of Westone IEMs to get me through....


So is this close enough for semi-serious amateur work? Should I walk proudly, look about furtively, or just hang my head in shame?

(I know I should hang my head in shame for a badly constructed list, but let's let that one slide for now, okay?)


-Tom Williams
<First name><At>AirNetworking<dot>com
PC361, PX-5S, AX-Edge
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,690
Likes: 333
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,690
Likes: 333
https://www.altoprofessional.com/documents/overviews/tx8_overview.pdf

Down in the middle of page 2 there is a frequency response graph.
The low frequencies start dropping off around 100hz and the entire plot is not exactly flat.
There is zero information regarding how the speaker was tested to create the chart.

https://behringerwiki.musictribe.com/index.php?title=9.1_X18/XR18_Specifications

Behringer is spec'ing this as nearly flat from 10hz-22khz. While that sounds impressive and may be somewhat true, I didn't see much about equalization, what the options are there.
We also don't know what your low frequency cutoff is now based on your equalization. Bear in mind the lowest note on a guitar is around 80hz, the lowest one on a standard 4 string bass is around 40hz and on a 5 string with low B is is around 30hz. Some synths and electronic/software drums go even lower than that.

Without hearing them I would say your biggest issue is going to be hearing low frequencies accurately enough to mix them, followed by anomalies in the crossover region (common with horn loaded tweeters).

This is a portable PA system for live performance and it probably sounds really good that way.
I will say that I've tried to mix on lesser gear than what you are using.
I won't say that I trusted what I was hearing and I don't think you should trust this system to mix with either.
We EQ the bass in our live performance gear and mostly get away with it. The last thing you need mixing low frequencies for a recording is the bumps, dips and curves that most EQ systems typically inflict on the sound.

A good pair of closed ear headphones would give you another reference, it would be better than not having them
A good quality set of studio monitors would be much better than headphones.

None of the interfaces I've used to record have had equalizers, I don't think you can trust playback EQ with confidence.
I don't know if your wife will kill you or not.
I don't know if you might be happier dead than trying to mix your music without better gear.

It sounds like those are your challenges at the moment. Good luck!!!!


Tones can't substitute for composition/arrangement but they offer useful suggestions-overt and subliminal. Spices are no substitute for high-quality food, but they do make food taste more interesting.
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 804
Likes: 27
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 804
Likes: 27
Using an equalizer to flatten frequency response in a room is rarely a good idea, at least until you know what's happening to the sound in the room. What might be of some value is to use the equalizer to flatten out the response of the speakers without the room affecting the frequency response at your listening position. Best thing to do is take them outdoors to measure their frequency response. If you start out by making the speakers as good as you can, then you can start measuring your room.

I'm not familiar with those speakers, but you might be surprised that they're better than you thought, or at least better in the free field than they are in the room. But if they have some serious peaks and dips, trying to straighten them out might cause more damage than what it fixes.

I recommend the program Room EQ Wizard for checking the speakers and the room. You'll need an omni mic with reasonably flat frequency response, but most all of them are, and you can get a "measurement mic" for under $50 or so.

Dayton Audio Measurement Microphone - Well I guess it's gone up since I last looked, about $70 from Amazon

Room EQ Wizard - Still free

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 10,434
Likes: 213
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 10,434
Likes: 213
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Fuck your mics, fuck your outboard gear, fuck your DAW, fuck your interface, fuck your software, and absolutely and completely fuck every single one of your instruments including that vintage keyboard you saved for a year to get -- they are all worse than useless if you can't accurately hear what they're doing. Your ears will lie to you without mercy if they are fed bad information. Spend the damn money!

Signature worthy.


nopity
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 1,769
Likes: 53
Platinum Member
Offline
Platinum Member
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 1,769
Likes: 53
Did j'all get past the gear list?
Quote
I've used a real-time analyzer (located approximately where my head goes when mixing) and the XR18's GEQ to flatten the response of the TX-8s as much as possible.
Of course, if I move my head 3 cm to the right or left, all bets are off.
I trust the Alto TX-8s + XR18 GEQ down to about 150 Hz. When it's time to go into woofer territory, I switch on a QSC amp and a B52 18" subwoofer, again, EQ'd with an RTA at approximate head position.
Obviously, phasing and resonance humps are not going to be my friend.

Anyway, thanks for the additional thoughts folks. It reinforces my perceived need for a good pair of headphones in the near future.

Now I think I'll toddle over to the low-cost Studio thread, where I'll feel less threatened, even though KP is there as well.

wave

Last edited by Tom Williams; 01/16/21 04:59 AM.

-Tom Williams
<First name><At>AirNetworking<dot>com
PC361, PX-5S, AX-Edge
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 10,434
Likes: 213
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 10,434
Likes: 213
Originally Posted by Tom Williams
Now I think I'll toddle over to the low-cost Studio thread, where I'll feel less threatened, even though KP is there as well.

wave

find a thread where he isn't ...


nopity
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
When I was a kid, I REALLY wanted a guitar, any guitar. When I was 9 my parents finally bought me a $15 Sears piece of crap but it was a guitar and it played and for me it was magic.
Then my sister's friend's brother hit his sister over the head with it and broke it.

When I was 13 and "graduated" Jr. High, Mom gave me $40. I took the bus downtown and bought a Harmony archtop at the pawn shop. It was pretty much a piece of crap but I not only learned how to play on it, I learned what a guitar was, how to level the frets, adjust the action and intonation and it led me down a path of music that continues to this day at age 65.

I wish I'd started sooner, but I didn't. I wish somebody gave me a good guitar, but they didn't. I could not afford a nice new guitar but I only cared about how it played. I bought a boogered 59 Strat, a hideous metalflake purple with green woodgrain pickguard 65 Tele and a formerly black 62 Jazzmaster that looked like somebody had painted it with a broom, all for $75 each.

I got them all up and running and became a guitarist.

Fast forward to the age of Covid and I started the affordable studio thread because many are struggling and many need to express their music. With no gigs for now, recording is a way to be heard, to arrange your ideas, to create new music.
And we can all make much better recordings more easily than when I was a kid starting out. My intention was to provide a place for conversation on "growing into it."

Dr Mike, did you suddenly start recording on great equipment? If so, you are truly a rare bird (I would say that anyway, meaning it as a high compliment!).
I started recording multi-track with a Teac Cassette deck, an Akai stereo reel to reel that did "sound with sound", a Tapco 6 channel mixer, an SM58, a guitar, a bass, an amp and a tongue drum I made myself in the wood shop. I'd play and sing a track, record it then play that back and play along, record that back to the cassette. I could get a 4th take in and there would be a loss of fidelity and increase in noise that made it an education but also a profound annoyance (this may be the aspect that makes you adamant about great playback, I get it).

Mike Rivers has called me a "Great Scrounge", I am honored, truly. And it is true, 50 years of scrounging and making do, coming up with ways to get things done. I evolved, got a Teac reel to reel with 4 track heads and re-wired it to work like a 3340 (except the heads would go into screaming feedback if I turned too many of them on). It was better, I became friends with guys who had 8 track reel to reel studios and I got to hang out and/or engineer sometimes.

4 track cassette is a great format, that's where I really learned.

Here's a song I co-wrote, engineered and played lead guitar on, we wrote and tracked everything in about 3-4 hours in Doug's living room. I had a spot in my parents garage where I set up a small studio and mixed this down with effects.
https://metapop.com/opossum-apocalypse/tracks/01-h-ula-boyla-boy/171612

Should I not have moved forward with substandard gear or just given up on recording? Honestly, if I could only have one guitar ever and had a chance to trade it for the best set of monitors in the world, I'd keep the guitar. Cheers, Kuru

I think I'll post this in the affordable forum too, it might spark more interesting conversation. I've certainly enjoyed this one, Dr Mike, please don't misunderstand anything I've said as being of negative intentions. I love this place and the friends I've made here!!

No misunderstanding and no bad feelings at all, Kuru. I answered this on your affordable forum first, and here's a paste of what I said there:

Thanks for the kind words, Kuru, but you're still skating around my main point.

The fact is, you always knew that because of your love of guitars, you WOULD have more than one, no matter what. So that "if I had to choose" is irrelevant, as is your "best set of monitors in the world" caveat and most especially the idea that I might be saying you should have given up since you didn't start with the best possible gear.

I did get my start in professional academic studios, but when I was at home, I used a Fostex 4-track cassette recorder to great effect for many years. At first, I didn't understand why my music always sounded muddy and indistinct no matter how careful I was in the recording process. Part of that was the medium, but the other part is that I was listening on home stereo speakers and home listening headphones and had no idea what I was hearing. It took me YEARS to finally get my GAS under control enough to stop buying new synths (my studio was full of them) and actually invest in my very first set of affordable passive monitors, a power amp, and some good headphones. It was night and day, and I never looked back. Did it stop me getting started? Of course not. Did I move on as soon as I understood the importance of monitoring? Not soon enough.

My argument here is that there is no reason to not get proper monitoring once you understand its importance, and that (as I said before) 90% of the improvement you'll ever get in whatever tiny room you're in will be with your very first purchase of proper monitors and phones... or, at a stretch, 80% on the first round and up to 95% after some years of experience when you have learned how to take the next steps, which can and should include basic room treatment.

There is no need to defend where you started or where you were. I'm talking about where you, and many other small-studio recording musicians, are at this moment, and where you should be eventually.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Fuck your mics, fuck your outboard gear, fuck your DAW, fuck your interface, fuck your software, and absolutely and completely fuck every single one of your instruments including that vintage keyboard you saved for a year to get -- they are all worse than useless if you can't accurately hear what they're doing. Your ears will lie to you without mercy if they are fed bad information. Spend the damn money!

You need to get laid

hider
Actually I'm sorted very nicely, thanks. grin

You make excellent points that go beyond my initial statement in a very constructive and informative way. Many thanks!


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Originally Posted by Tom Williams
Did j'all get past the gear list?
Quote
I've used a real-time analyzer (located approximately where my head goes when mixing) and the XR18's GEQ to flatten the response of the TX-8s as much as possible.
Of course, if I move my head 3 cm to the right or left, all bets are off.
I trust the Alto TX-8s + XR18 GEQ down to about 150 Hz. When it's time to go into woofer territory, I switch on a QSC amp and a B52 18" subwoofer, again, EQ'd with an RTA at approximate head position.
Obviously, phasing and resonance humps are not going to be my friend.

Anyway, thanks for the additional thoughts folks. It reinforces my perceived need for a good pair of headphones in the near future.

Now I think I'll toddle over to the low-cost Studio thread, where I'll feel less threatened, even though KP is there as well.

wave
Never feel threatened in ANY of my forums, Tom. Ever. If someone gives you genuine grief rather than trying to help you, ping me in DM immediately. I'll settle their hash. And that includes, and especially applies to, me.

I assume you're hoping to use the TX-8 speakers for a live setup rather than a studio? They look like a pretty good value for coffee house or slightly larger gigs. For a studio, $400 a pair will get you into a lot of much better speakers. Forgive me if I don't understand your stated application very well.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Originally Posted by Doerfler
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Fuck your mics, fuck your outboard gear, fuck your DAW, fuck your interface, fuck your software, and absolutely and completely fuck every single one of your instruments including that vintage keyboard you saved for a year to get -- they are all worse than useless if you can't accurately hear what they're doing. Your ears will lie to you without mercy if they are fed bad information. Spend the damn money!

Signature worthy.
Um, thanks?

hider

If nothing else, hopefully it will attract some attention of KC folks who want to know where it came from. Heh.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 621
Likes: 44
N
Gold Member
Online Content
Gold Member
N
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 621
Likes: 44
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Spend the damn money and get good monitors and headphones!

Cheaping out on monitoring (and even minimal room acoustics treatment) is the one cost-saving measure that everyone seems to go for and by far the most idiotic. EVERYTHING your ears have to judge comes through those pieces of gear. They're more important than anything else in your studio.

.
This and do the treatment. At this point you can make it or buy it. I've done both. And the fact that your local Home Depot doesn't carry the Owens Corning 703 or Rockwool is not an excuse. They can order it at the contractor desk and it comes in like a week. It is trivial to get it. If you don't want to build - go to GIK Acoustics and just order what you need. It is entirely worth it. For the cost of a keyboard, your room will sound good for EVERYTHING you do in it. Get the Behringer measurement mic and a free copy of Room EQ Wizard and you can know exactly what you need to treat and then position your speakers optimally. This costs less than $100.

I started with the Mackie HR824's that Kuru has. They are excellent speakers - and at the time were unbeatable until well more than 2x their cost. Their frequency response is admirably flat and correctly set up and with treatment they are extremely capable. I now sit in front of Genelec 8351a's, which are some of the finest monitors available. Their measurements are exquisite, and they sound wonderful. I did not buy them until I had the room treatment fully dialed in on the Mackie's. The Genelec's play a little lower, but other than that the frequency response at the mix position is largely identical. It should be - its the same room and the room determines how the speakers sound far more than anything inside the cabinets.

That said, the Genelecs image substantially better, offering much better discrimination for what is happening in the mix. The sense of spaciousness and depth is greatly enhanced due to the coherent wavefronts coming off the coaxial drivers. They are better in every way than the HR824's, but that isn't the point (or Dr. Metlay's). The HR824's, properly set up and with modest attention to acoustics are completely capable of professional work. And they are NOT expensive.

I would not chose to work behind 5" drivers without a sub. But good 8" options are readily available.

You can see actual results from my room HERE.

I do not understand loving music and then not having good sound. Live, in the studio, or anywhere. Isn't the whole point to have things sound good?

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Spend the damn money and get good monitors and headphones!

Cheaping out on monitoring (and even minimal room acoustics treatment) is the one cost-saving measure that everyone seems to go for and by far the most idiotic. EVERYTHING your ears have to judge comes through those pieces of gear. They're more important than anything else in your studio.

.
This and do the treatment. At this point you can make it or buy it. I've done both. And the fact that your local Home Depot doesn't carry the Owens Corning 703 or Rockwool is not an excuse. They can order it at the contractor desk and it comes in like a week. It is trivial to get it. If you don't want to build - go to GIK Acoustics and just order what you need. It is entirely worth it. For the cost of a keyboard, your room will sound good for EVERYTHING you do in it. Get the Behringer measurement mic and a free copy of Room EQ Wizard and you can know exactly what you need to treat and then position your speakers optimally. This costs less than $100.

I started with the Mackie HR824's that Kuru has. They are excellent speakers - and at the time were unbeatable until well more than 2x their cost. Their frequency response is admirably flat and correctly set up and with treatment they are extremely capable. I now sit in front of Genelec 8351a's, which are some of the finest monitors available. Their measurements are exquisite, and they sound wonderful. I did not buy them until I had the room treatment fully dialed in on the Mackie's. The Genelec's play a little lower, but other than that the frequency response at the mix position is largely identical. It should be - its the same room and the room determines how the speakers sound far more than anything inside the cabinets.

That said, the Genelecs image substantially better, offering much better discrimination for what is happening in the mix. The sense of spaciousness and depth is greatly enhanced due to the coherent wavefronts coming off the coaxial drivers. They are better in every way than the HR824's, but that isn't the point (or Dr. Metlay's). The HR824's, properly set up and with modest attention to acoustics are completely capable of professional work. And they are NOT expensive.

I would not chose to work behind 5" drivers without a sub. But good 8" options are readily available.

You can see actual results from my room HERE.

I do not understand loving music and then not having good sound. Live, in the studio, or anywhere. Isn't the whole point to have things sound good?
Thanks, Nathanael. Much appreciated. All good advice with good names cited: I am a big fan of GIK, they're good people and make great products, including some effective "move it aside when not needed" solutions.

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but I lived with a pair of original HR824s myself for over 15 years and eventually sold them to a good home when I downsized my studio to the point where they were too much monitor for me. I am considering getting a new set of monitors from this affordable and great-sounding generation to replace or supplement my too-small ADAM A5s; I most likely will go with something that has an 8" woofer, but many years of experience with great speakers (a perk of being a gear reviewer) has left me with too many "favorite" speaker and tweeter design options, particularly AMT tweeters (hey Mike Rivers, did anyone come up with a better name for these than the inaccurate "folded ribbon" that wasn't a brand name?) and coaxial designs.

And before you ask, yes, there is one speaker on the market that has both, and it works about as well as you'd expect from a floor wax that's also a dessert topping. sick

Along with that, my room is in desperate need of renewed and better-thought-out acoustical treatment; I set it up almost 25 years ago and we have come a long way since then in terms of affordable vs. bespoke solutions. (A long way. wah )


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 621
Likes: 44
N
Gold Member
Online Content
Gold Member
N
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 621
Likes: 44
I used the HR824's for almost 15 years myself. They were what I could afford. And I knew they weren't holding me back. So I spent elsewhere. I knew that until I had good treatment, that spending more on speakers wouldn't make sense. So I bought a proper music production desk and treatment before I spent on the really nice monitors. I think an observation that I would make is that in the beginning we tend to prioritize gear over infrastructure and ergonomics. The closer one gets to trying to do professional quality work, the more that inverts to where infrastructure and ergonomics are equal or more important than any particular piece of gear. When the gear, the infra and the ergonomics are all nice? That is the kind of musical luxury that we all appreciate!

I do know that every time I've spent on ergonomics, acoustics, monitoring, stands and other infrastructure I've always said, "I should have done this ages ago". It makes such a difference in actual productivity. If the goal is exploration and fun, then whatever goes is fine. But if trying to actually get stuff done, my experience is that workflow, studio organization, and such matter a lot. I'm about to move my drum set 2' so that I can put often used keyboards closer to me.... my studio is constantly shifting in small ways to try to find that optimization and get it better. But this fine stuff is only possible because the actual core of monitoring, conversion, furniture is stable and long term useful.

Oh, and the Mackie's? They are now the living room home entertainment speakers.... They soldier on.

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 804
Likes: 27
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 804
Likes: 27
Quote
AMT tweeters (hey Mike Rivers, did anyone come up with a better name for these than the inaccurate "folded ribbon" that wasn't a brand name?)

I think they call them "tweeters."

There are too many specialized names and acronyms in this business that we don't need. When someone came up with LDC (Large Diaphragm Condenser [microphone is supposedly understood]), there had to be an SDC, but they never came up with an acronym for a mic with a small diaphragm in a large case, though sometimes I've seen "medium diaphragm" in text.

And then there was the disk drive interface data format. We used to have ATA, and when SATA came along, ATA by itself faded into the sunset and PATA was coined. SLR and DSLR (couldn't you tell the difference without the D?) "Bus compressor" (what bus?) and just plain "compressor" (who says you can't put a mix through it?).

Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,690
Likes: 333
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,690
Likes: 333
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Quote
AMT tweeters (hey Mike Rivers, did anyone come up with a better name for these than the inaccurate "folded ribbon" that wasn't a brand name?)

I think they call them "tweeters."

There are too many specialized names and acronyms in this business that we don't need. When someone came up with LDC (Large Diaphragm Condenser [microphone is supposedly understood]), there had to be an SDC, but they never came up with an acronym for a mic with a small diaphragm in a large case, though sometimes I've seen "medium diaphragm" in text.

And then there was the disk drive interface data format. We used to have ATA, and when SATA came along, ATA by itself faded into the sunset and PATA was coined. SLR and DSLR (couldn't you tell the difference without the D?) "Bus compressor" (what bus?) and just plain "compressor" (who says you can't put a mix through it?).


Or "vocal mic", "drum mic". Never record any vocals with a mic that is not a vocal mic and never record any drums with a mic that is not a drum mic. Also, only use a Sennheiser MD421 for tom toms, ignore the fact that it can sound great on guitar amps or vocals, it is not stereotyped for those uses. You can use an SM57 for anything though, everybody else does, including pounding nails.

I could go on...


Tones can't substitute for composition/arrangement but they offer useful suggestions-overt and subliminal. Spices are no substitute for high-quality food, but they do make food taste more interesting.
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 974
Likes: 98
Quote
I think they call them "tweeters."

Seriously?

I'm not talking about different applications for the same technology, I'm talking about different technologies for the same application.

If someone asked about what you would call an AEA or Royer mic with those weird whatchamacallits in them, would you say "I call them 'mics' and I think terms like 'dynamic' and 'condenser'' and 'ribbon' unnecessarily pigeonhole them"?

An AMT tweeter doesn't sound like a soft dome tweeter or a beryllium diaphragm tweeter, and it uses its own technology: an accordionlike-but-not-creased strip of mylar that works much like a human larynx. There are ribbon tweeters that are actually ribbon transducers that work in basically the reverse "direction" of a ribbon mic (like a loudspeaker is a dynamic mic in reverse), so you shouldn't call an AMT a "folded ribbon" because it's neither. But AMT is a trademark and I don't want to Xerox or Kleenex the term. So I was wondering if there was a good general term that wasn't a trademark.

FFS.

Last edited by Dr Mike Metlay; 01/20/21 10:56 PM.

Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 804
Likes: 27
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 804
Likes: 27
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Quote
I think they call them "tweeters."

Seriously?

I'm not talking about different applications for the same technology, I'm talking about different technologies for the same application.

If someone asked about what you would call an AEA or Royer mic with those weird whatchamacallits in them, would you say "I call them 'mics' and I think terms like 'dynamic' and 'condenser'' and 'ribbon' unnecessarily pigeonhole them"?

It all depends on who's asking, and why. A ribbon mic is a special case of a dynamic mic. Both a dynamic mic and a crystal mic are voltage generators. The capsule of a condenser mic can produce a voltage output by the varying proximity of the diaphragm to the charged back plate (regardless of whether the charge comes from a power supply or a permanently charged electret) OR it can frequency-modulate an RF generator and detect the modulation.

Quote
An AMT tweeter doesn't sound like a soft dome tweeter or a beryllium diaphragm tweeter, and it uses its own technology: an accordionlike-but-not-creased strip of mylar that works much like a human larynx. There are ribbon tweeters that are actually ribbon transducers that work in basically the reverse "direction" of a ribbon mic (like a loudspeaker is a dynamic mic in reverse), so you shouldn't call an AMT a "folded ribbon" because it's neither. But AMT is a trademark and I don't want to Xerox or Kleenex the term. So I was wondering if there was a good general term that wasn't a trademark.

Agreed on both counts. I think it's fair to describe the element of an AMT by its physical description to someone who's genuinely interested in how it works. Is there really such a tweeter that's built like a ribbon mic? I don't think I've ever seen one, or maybe I have and didn't see it as any different than Oskar Heil's design. By the way, is AMT a trademark or ESS, or of Heil, or someone else? Interesting that it's Air Motion Transformer rather than transducer. "Transformer" has a totally different connotation.

Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Dr Mike Metlay 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5