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Anyone using TWO or MORE pairs of studio monitors?

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by godchuanz, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. godchuanz

    godchuanz Active Member

    Hi all,

    I have always wanted to setup a mixing space with two sets of studio monitors so I can listen to working sounds on two pairs as opposed to just one. There would likely be an A/B switch (or perhaps an easily accessible software control) that toggles between the two, such that switching between the pairs is instantaneous. This sounds like a very useful setup to quickly "field-test" the effects of the mixes/edits on other speakers, possibly consumer grade ones as well.

    In an ideal world, if two sets of speakers are set up independently in separate acoustically perfect rooms, there should be little to distinguish between the two pairs other than the inherent speaker sonic characteristic. The problem is this: it's quite widely accepted that the ideal speaker setup is an equilateral triangle formed with listening position. However, if you have a second pair of monitors in the same studio space, it becomes impossible to create two equilateral triangles. One of the two pairs has got to sit a little wider/narrower than the ideal equilateral. Because there has to be some sort of compromise, the positioning changes can react with the room acoustics differently, and cause inaccurate response. Not to mention, there may also be SBIR.

    Anyone out there with a setup comprising two or more pairs of speakers? What speakers/equipment do you use in your set up? How do you set up your studio to solve these problems?

    Thanks for reading, and I'd greatly appreciate your response!
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I use two sets of speakers positioned vertically above one another with the upper pair angled slightly downwards relative to the lower pair. This achieves the same subtended angle for each pair in the horizontal plane at the central position. The lower pair is coupled to a centrally-positioned subwoofer that has an in/out footswitch. I have an SM ProAudio M-Patch2 as the monitor switcher, level control and (when needed) a headphone driver.
     
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    many studios that employ more than one set of monitors use a set of near fields and set of mid fields and then usually a big set of mains in soffits. sometimes there's also a set of small speakers like auartone or mixcubes to replicate what the mix would sound like on a small radio or TV.

    this requires a studio large enough to set the mixing position in the middle of the room to allow the mains to be in an equilateral triangle and the mid fields and mixcubes to be placed correctly within a second smaller equilateral triangle on the meter bridge of a (usually large) console.

    if your room is too small to accommodate this you may want to stay with some near fields and a set of mixcubes.

    Focal has just released the SM9, a monitor that actually switches between a 2 way and 3 way system so you can hear "big speaker" and "small speaker" playback. they arent cheap though
     
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    And I couldn't live without either of these essential tools. Take your pick.

    SPL MTC 2381 or Dangerous Monitor ST.
     
  5. godchuanz

    godchuanz Active Member

    Guys, thanks for the replies.

    Mounting speakers on top of one another sounds interesting, but how do you mount them? Custom speaker stands? Soffit?

    Anyone using software to control multiple speakers? Feels like its technically achievable. Would be interesting to see if anyone is using it.
     
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I used brackets that were intended for mounting TV monitors on a 35mm pole. I couldn't find the exact ones on a quick web search, but these are similar. You might have to put a packing piece between the bracket and the rear face of one of the speaker pairs to get the horizontal positioning correct.

    I've never done software control of speaker switching, but it's possible that some of the MIDI-controlled relays that are available in various forms could be made to work. To avoid any sonic changes, you would need a switch that was non-electronic at the contact level.
     
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Don't you know we are living in an imperfect world? And so some monitoring situations have small compromises to them. All of which we learn by listening. I do a regular re-acclamation/acclamation to known source product prior to virtually every job. It's sort of like stretching exercises before you start to sprint. It doesn't matter what it's supposed to be. Do you think life is also supposed to be fair? So you can't roll with the punches? He can't think on your feet? You can't evaluate the differences you are hearing from professional monitors?

    I've always had 2-3 different pairs of monitors in my control rooms. And the switching system to select which ones I wanted to listen to and if I wanted to turn them all on at the same time. Mono, stereo, DIM, left right reverse and balance. And then it's up to you to decide if you want to pre-match levels between the monitors? And that's done with the other trimmers.

    In my control room, much in the same way as Boswell described, I have a pair of my favorite old JBL's, 4311's mounted slightly above my head and facing down toward me. The other pair of 4312's are sitting directly below them flat on top of the console. Sometimes I listen to the lower pair. Sometimes I use the upper pair. Sometimes I turn them both on. I also have my KRK V6's sitting right next to the 4312's on top of the console. And the pair of the FOSTEX 6301's inside of those or sometimes on top of the JBL's. And my little custom switches I stuck in the pencil trough of my Neve, to switch between my different monitors. And when that's not good enough, I can walk into the next room, the mini, control and lounge brothel room. It's set up with a small but very effective surround sound system comprised of JBL, KRK and B.&O. Speakers fed from a Sony, surround sound amplifier. You know your typical home high-end Sony sound system without their lousy speakers. So the remote truck is fundamentally unique in that I have two control rooms, in a single truck.

    Oh and my monitor switching is not through any kind of active switching such as FET's or other digital chip thingies. Can you say RELAY? So straight wire from the monitor output transformer. Though I actually ran into a strange problem? The first set of KRK monitors, were passive. So I was able to keep the same monitoring polarity scheme I've always used. I could not do so with the V-6's nor a pair of RP 5's and V-88's. And this is my argument for phase versus polarity. A flip of the phase at the input to the amplifier does not result in proper polarity. Those little FOSTEX' didn't present me with the same problem. So I've actually considered screwing around with my V6's? Flipping polarity on all four speakers. So you do find manufacturers to tailor their speakers to be quite different from their competitors by the simple concept of different polarity. It's like when the bass drum is hit, which direction does the woofer move? Some speakers just suck. Sometimes it's the amplifier that sucks. And I mean this in a literal sense. It's one of the simplest fixes of control rooms I'm best known for. It's embarrassing. When your control room speakers don't sound right, flip polarity not phase. And realize you will void your warranty on any powered monitor you do that to. Good monitoring is only good monitoring if it sounds good to you. Not if somebody puts a little microphone thingy up with their test thingy plugged into their computer interface thingy and telling you something sounds better that doesn't.

    I only know it sounds good. And I certainly know what sounds bad.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  8. BushmasterM4

    BushmasterM4 Active Member

    3 sets and a sub
     
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    2 sets. Both with a sub. Genelecs and Tannoys.
     
  10. bishopdante

    bishopdante Guest

    The typical setup in most of the studios I've worked in is one set of big monitors built into the walls (Quested are the mutts nuts), a dirty set of nearfields (typically NS10s) up close, a clean pair of nearfields a bit wider apart (Genelec, M&K, Dynaudio, PMC), and often something really low quality like a mono auratone or a semi-broken ghetto blaster in the middle.

    TBH the "sweet spot" is quite large in a decent room, and if you're working on a mixing desk you'll rarely be sitting right in the middle anyway.
     
  11. rocksure

    rocksure Active Member

    I'd love to see some pictures of your setup. Any chance you could post some?

    My setup is pretty simple..and imperfect. A pair of Event 20/20's setup in the equalateral triangle position, a pair of old 3-way Kenwood speakers, and a single small mono speaker ( Boss MA-12). ONly the Event's are setup in the perfect position, but I find it all still works ok for me. I can't switch instantaneously though. I have to repatch 2 cables in a patch bay to change pairs. I also check important mixes on a pair of Tannoy monitior golds in another studio.
     
  12. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    I have 3 pair switched through my focusrite 2802.
     
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I always love to show off my rig. Every now and then I used to purchase something new. Haven't really made any upgrades to it in the past few years other than computers.

    You might also want to run Microsoft Internet Explore 6 or newer or Google Chrome to hear each one of the cuts on each one of the five pages. All of which except cut number two was live for broadcast. Cut number two wasn't live for broadcast per se but it was recorded on the front lawn of NBC-TV, DC for a facility wide barbecue party. Which I rolled 8 tracks on, in addition to doing the PA. Remixed from the control room later in my truck through, at the time, my Sphere Eclipse C. It was tracked on my two API 3124's which I actually had feeding the Yamaha PM 700 PA mixer. Not often you hear API preamps in a PA system LOL. So please enjoy. And if ya have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me a line through the site. I'm always happy to respond. Ya can also leave a phone message and the best time for me to return your call 24/7. Though I'm not much of a morning person unless I'm still awake from the night before LOL. It's great when ya have insomnia. You get to devote a lot of time to Recording.org and ya get to be catching up on your television viewing and/or streaming movies off the Internet. Postproduction and all sorts of things get accomplished. And you are rarely disturbed by automated telephone sales solicitations and other such nonsense. And no disruption during those spicy movies if you know what I mean. So it's great to be awake when all the rest are wasting their lives sleeping. Look at all the television reruns and infomercials they are missing. Life is short and we'll be right back after these important messages.

    Tune in next week when Alice finds her shoe but loses her tampons. Nine Eastern eight Central.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    We're back. And here on the show with us is Home who is going to play a few tunes for you right now. So take it away... please.

    Let's give those kids a big hand.
     
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    That looks like a nice compact system Paul.
     
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Remy

    that is the coolest rig going.
     
  17. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    You know I am battling with the decision to shut it down and sell it all off. There just is no work for this facility in this mid-Atlantic Void. And while I am leaning on the decision to do so, Dave Grohl is coming out with this Studio City movie. And it appears a good chunk of this is around a centerpiece, all discrete old Neve console? This one could be one huge commercial for me thanks to Dave Grohl? I could hardly sell my PYE, PDM limiters when I got them in the early 1980s. And I had like eight that I got from Philips, when I went up to New Jersey for parts to my Phillips 12 x 4 console. And I got them very cheap. Bought what they had left. Couldn't sell them for love nor money. Then that article came out about Cyndi Lauper and Lou Albano that one of these PYE's were used on her vocal. Then they sold like hotcakes for top dollar.

    So I'm hoping this movie which will probably be seen by a lot of working and hopeful musicians might bring a bit of a resurgence to my business? I have one of the best damned 1970s early 1980s control rooms in the country. And it's on six tires. And I don't charge a lot. Perfect for tracking bands and handing them a hard drive. Kind of like Guitarfreak and his re-amping venture. I certainly don't need to mix everything that I record. In fact I encourage them to invite their engineer to mix the live stereo reference mix during tracking sessions. Some have most don't. Some just want to sit there with me to learn. And then I get another eager and anxious assistant to call on for future jobs. And that has worked well through the years until the recent few. Now nothing.

    I've also had that thought of just turning it into that incredible studio like karaoke experience for folks down at the beach/beaches? But everything requires a certain amount of startup investment every time you do something such as that. I've got plenty of digital multi-tracks of very popular bands on the charts from the 1990s but that does not make for a full karaoke library of any sort. And it wouldn't matter how intermittent the console grows as long as I have a single working input out of 36 LOL. And then it only has to look the part since I do all the rest. But that is something of a senseless waste for such elegant stuff. So I just put a cheap digital something in and keep a few API's. Keep one 1176 and a DBX 166. Still a great system for voiceovers and overdubs and fun with karaoke and the band. And I'll still be in the air conditioning on those hot summer days at the beach. Also thinking about setting up some powered outdoor JBL EON's and hanging a nice large flat-panel on the side of the truck? Then everybody outside could see and hear the vocal recording session going on inside. I'll have a couple of cameras mounted and a switcher. And it would be a new experience I think a lot of people would take advantage of down at the beach especially if they could walk away with a DVD of what they just did? Everybody wants to be Michael Jackson or Beyoncé in the studio, don't they? And have themselves on video behind one of THOSE microphones in front of one of THOSE consoles with THOSE reverbs on their voice. Other recording studios are just turning their places into schools. I don't have that option. So its block booked leased control room and/or Ultimate Karaoke Experience. Or out of business as I am today? And early retirement. Which for a fun loving hippie like myself is a very attractive thought at 57. I don't have any responsibilities. Well until the money runs out which it already has. So I can go back to doing television news which I really don't consider to be an option for me anymore. I'm burned out from that. 20 years was enough. I don't need bad news. I need good recordable music. Or the beach and endless Summer. And I can teach at the community college level in the states that allow for that. Virginia doesn't. And I believe Maryland and DC doesn't either. Nashville, same thing in Tennessee. Not sure about Florida? And really don't care.

    Of course doing television news not in a major market area, especially DC on the network level, isn't quite as intensive and where I won't make much more than minimum wage. Which seems to be the going rate except for the cities that are the major news meccas i.e. networks. I mean for gods sake that's what K00STER McAllister, from Record Plant Remote (the owner) is doing over at ABC's Good Morning America and that's putting lav mics on talking heads at 6 AM. Good union scale dollars but then you still have to live around the NYC area. And where I think that tending bar might be a lot more enjoyable? And I could sleep late. And I get to mix to my hearts content. Just a lot more high frequency transients from all of those clinking glasses.

    Do you want a Manhattan? Or, a Blue Hawaiian in South Florida?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  18. rocksure

    rocksure Active Member

    Nice looking setup..though some larger pictures would be cool to see. Hope you manage to get some more work for it and you. It's tough times to be in this industry. I'm really asking myself at the moment why am I in this business, and if there's any sort of future for it too. Oh yeah I love doing it......but loving doing it doesn't pay the bills when there's too much down time!!
     
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    The more the better for me too. I'll be at 6 pairs in the next month but I have my fav. I even use my TV ( HD monitor) just to check. I'm most excited about some 3.5 I've ordered from Audix. Mixing quiet on small monitors is kind of fun and works well for me. My studio is too small for big ones to be accurate anyway, so, big are just for fun.
    Everything goes through one DA and I love the Dangerous Monitor ST. Highly recommend something like that.
     
  20. rocksure

    rocksure Active Member

    Crikey That's a lot of pairs of monitors to get lost in!!
     

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