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monitoring-how to tell what's "accurate"

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Krou, Mar 19, 2002.

  1. Krou

    Krou Active Member

    I must say I love these Mackie 824's. When I bought them last summer, I also purchased 42" stands to place them on. A while later, after trying different positions and width apart (including the general 'equilateral triangle w/listener' rule), I came to the conclusion that they were standing too high in relation to my sitting position, I felt I could do better.

    The next move was to just place them on the desk, resting on dense wooden 1'X 1'X 3" platforms. I found this to be a great improvement on obtaing that 'phantom image/sweet spot' I wasen't getting
    with the stands. To make matters even more professional and less 'boomy', I placed them on these new Auralex MoPads, designed to fit under monitors which are resting on desks and bridges. But for some reason, I'm now getting an increased bass response, although subtle, yet noticeable. It leaves me wondering, how do I know what's accurate anymore?
    Sure, I'll reference commercial tracks I'm very familiar with but still can't quite tell if this is how it was meant to be heard and I was missing out prior to this new positioning of the speakers or have I gone a bit too ambitious?

    Another thing I find with these Mackies is if I sit too close to them while tracking or mixing, they fatigue my ears rather quickly, as they project quite heavily, causing a resonance sooner than later.
    Perhaps it's just me or my tempermental room I work in? It definetely sounds more balanced if I pull my chair back another couple of feet and listen, but then I'm out of reach of the keyboard and the screen to view/edit what I'm doing.
    A happy medium is in order!

    Can sitting too close to the monitors cause phasing issues? What I mean is, every so often the right speaker will seem louder than the left, even though they are angled and distanced exactly the same, so logically, no precedence effect should be occuring...I don't know anymore.

    I'm waiting for some of those 2" wedge foam pads to come in so I can place them behind the monitors and the side wall, perhaps that will help some?

    Any comments on this would be greatly appreciated, I'm becoming quite intrigued by this...thanks so much.

    pk
     
  2. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    Even though Mackies are advertised as nearfields, their characteric is that of a midfield monitor. So you should set them up further away(at least 6ft away). So if you sit too close to them, than it will affect how you hear them. They also have EQ switches in the back to compensate for these anomalies. I would say if you want them up close, than roll of the bottomn(i think its 70hz and below, don't quote me on this). If you have enough space behind your console, than give them their 6ft. It will improve both frequency response and imaging. But don't place them too close to the wall, for that will influence the bass response. This is one reason that I am not too crazy about them, too many variables that Mackie chooses to omit.
     
  3. Dave McNair

    Dave McNair Active Member

    Krou,
    Tell us more about the room you are in. Dimensions, surface treatment, where the speakers are positioned, that kind of stuff. If I know more, I might be able to help. One thing I will say, the more rigid the stand that the speakers are on, the better. Any play in the mounting of the monitors will transfer energy that would have gone into air movement into movement of the mounting system.
     
  4. Krou

    Krou Active Member

    Thank you all for the replies...very appreciated.

    Well, it's a high ceiling loft (11'), where my studio area (as that's what it is more than a room) is approx. 10' X 12'.
    Behind my sitting position are large 8' X 8' windows, although I have a thick curtain covering them, which helps a great deal.

    From my chair to this rear window-wall: 6'

    To my right is a bare brick wall that runs 12' long.

    Behind the Mackies (where I'm facing) is a drywall that runs about 8' high. Although the celings are 11', this wall only goes up to 8',
    leaving a 3' space.

    There is a 1' space between the back of the Mackies and the wall behind them.

    There is no wall to my left, as that leads into the living room.

    Also, neither speaker is near a corner, which is great.

    I have recently carpeted the area and as I mentioned earlier, should be getting a 48 pack of Auralex wedges any day now.

    The desk I work on (not the console) is exactly 5' wide. The Mackies are resting on the back inner edges, slightly angled (about 30 dg), on dense wooden platforms and Auralex MoPads. The latter have done a great job at cutting the vibrations out.

    Now, from 'center cone' left to right on the Mackies there is a space of 42".
    I think this is a bit too narrow of a range for proper placement and could be a reason for the weird phasing I occasionally get. It's intermitent but when it happens, I just want to scream.

    I really would love to be able to sit 6 feet away while mixing but I'd have to get in close for every edit/move and sit back again to check.
    The 17" PC monitor is exactly between the speakers, and my synth and controller are right there below the desk.
    As far as ergonomics, this is a very comfortable and everything-within-arm's-reach setup.

    Hmmm...I'm looking around trying to assess the possible workarounds but it's rather limiting within this confined area.

    -should the speakers be further apart from each other? They're at about 3.5' right now, I sit in the middle at about 4' away from each one.
    A straight line from my ears to the Mackie would zone in exactly between woofer and tweeter (where the model number HR824 is).

    -how important is it not to touch the eq settings on the back and leave them flat? I once did that (cut the highs a little) and an engineer friend of mine nearly went into convulsions when I told him, while suggesting never to do so.
    I just figured they designed the switches for a reason, so why not.

    -How much will the Auralex foam pads help? Also, where should I place them, ideally? I have a general idea of how it should be done but specifics could be great advice from experienced users. Between the spaeakers only, between and behind each Mackie as well? 2 rows of 6, 3 rows of 8? Space betwwen the wedges or no? Stuff like that.

    Again, I wish to thank you all for helping me out.
     
  5. ironsheik

    ironsheik Guest

    Hey Krou,
    I live in Brooklyn with a very similar setup to you actually, only my "room" is 8' x 10'. I noticed similar problems with my Event PS8s which are quite different than your Mackies. I notice that often times I seem to be hearing more out of the right channel and I think it has to do with there being a wall to my right, and none on my left (there's my kitchen.) I'm not sure exactly how to fix something like this. Any ideas? I can throw up some broadband absorbers but not sure if that's enough. I plan on putting up a large diffuser behind me as well.

    As to messing with any EQ on monitors, go ahead! These are *reference* monitors so do whatever you need to do in order to get them sounding as best you can to your ears. They're going to sound different in different rooms as well. That's the purpose...
     
  6. Krou

    Krou Active Member

    wow...that's exactly what I'm faced with, a den/kitchen to my left. I never thought about the right wall being a factor in this case, but it makes sense.
    Funny thing is, there is still a good 4' distance between the right speaker and the right wall (creates a big negative space in my room), and I never realised how the reflections can carry such a distance!
    The frustrations I deal with are slowly turning into fascinations as I learn more about acoustics, very cool stuff....

    My Auralex wedges came in today, but I'm waiting to hear (hopefully soon) from experienced 'foam pad' users, as to where to place them for best audible improvement.

    Thanks for the replies once again.

    pk
     
  7. RobinH

    RobinH Guest

    This is very interesting . I have the Mackies , and a set up that closely mimics yours in terms of distance from the monitors. I would be inclined to agree with the 6' comment. I am also beginning to think that a bass roll off may be advisable. There is a definate lack of clarity in the mids , maybee brought on by the over emphasized bass.
     
  8. Dave McNair

    Dave McNair Active Member

    Ok, that sheds a bit of light on things. Without being there my comments can't be super accurate, but with the disclaimer, here I go.
    I see a couple of problems and maybe some solutions. Part of the "phasing" issue is because there may not be the right absorbtion and the opposite, diffusion on the appropriate walls. The ideal situation is where the immediate listening area is dead(absorbtive) and the area starting at the listening position and behind, is diffuse(live, but in an even, no slapback echo, kind of way). What you currently have is a live area where the sound originates and a dead area to the side( the opening) and the back( the curtain over the window). I would either reverse the setup or take the curtain down and additionally deaden the area around the speakers. Don't forget to put some dampaning on the ceiling over the mix position. Also, the speakers may be a bit close to the wall behind, I'd move your setup out about a foot or two. Also definately experiment with the Mackie settings. I have Mackies also, and from experience, I'd set the rolloff(A,B,C) to B or C and set the low cutoff to the middle position( 47hz I think?) I also usually take the tweeter down a notch. If you really want to get fancy, get some of those cityscape shaped milded fiberglass things and put on the wall behind you. Hope this helps. Just remember, moving the speakers even a foot in any direction will have a big effect on their sound.
     
  9. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    If there is any way to create a symetrical listening position you should do it. Would it help to move your setup 90 degrees to be parallel to what is now your side wall? Left and right side walls should be the same distance away from the left and right monitors respectively. Ceiling should be same height over each monitor. Also wall treatments should be symmetrical as well. Otherwise - who knows what you're really hearing!

    On the otherhand, it is equally important for the distances from monitor to side wall, monitor to back wall, monitor to floor, and monitor to ceiling to all be different. This helps to minimize nodes and nulls. (But whatever those distances are, they should be duplicated on each side).
     

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