Event Opal vs. adding KRK Rockit 10-3
After the discussions I have been involved in, it occurred to me to ask this question. It's all very well and good to get myself the Dangerous Monitor ST, but, what about my existing speakers. As I mentioned in another thread, I do have 10 year old Mackie Hr824s. These were a step up from NS-10m Yamaha's and a pair of Alesis monitor ones running off some preamp I can't even remember anymore. And they have served me overall, well.
I am actually making a sound proof space now, and I am going to treat it as best I can acoustically also. This leads then to what my choice was going to be. I have also been using a JBL MSC1, very similar way of working as the Event software, except it writes the result into memory of the JBL and along with my IsoAcoustic stands has definitely made a HUGE difference in a much less capable room, still with SOME acoustic treatment, no soundproofing.
Adding to the Mackies initially felt like a good way to go, the KRKs are not very expensive, have great reviews, good midfields for the price. Question is though, would I be better off nixing that idea. Should I retire, or at least stay with the Mackies as a second, and instead just get the Event Opals?. I am a HUGE fan of Peter Freedman and I do have a RODE Mic I got when the NT2 first came out.
I do have budget constraints and things I have to get, the Opals push me over a little along with Chris (audiokid right?) convincing resoundingly to push the Dangerous envelope a little higher :-/. I just really don't want to waste ANY money this time around again, been doing well since the big spend a couple of years ago. Will the Opals really make me look at the Mackies like they lied to me a lot?.
One last thing, like Chris, and I am sure many others, past 14k is a stretch for my poor worn out old ears.
Thanks again gang,
Opals are all I need. In fact, I want a second pair for my lake studio now. They are outstanding. I can mix on them for hours and never tire. They are so lush and accurate. I think they are ideal for those heading towards a mastering level. They aren't cheap but well worth it for me.
I've never compared KRK to them so I can't help. Monitors are like shoes. One man love the fit, other man gets blisters.
Thanks Chris, i did see you use the shoe analogy before :). I am just really skittish about spending my last thousands (for now) on something wrong for my future needs. They have very good reviews, both the Opals, obviously, and the KRK Rockits (very different price market). The Rockits of course are useful as mid-fields, which I don't currently have. I don't want to short change myself on the near-fields though. The choice of the Events is good price wise, better than the Focal Dual 6bes which were my other choice of higher end near-field.
If your room isn't large enough for mid fields, Opals will get it done. But, if you already have your room and sound, what more do you need and what are your goals? You haven't told us much about your musical direction ( commercial or personal, tracking, mixing , mastering) other than I get you are definitely wanting to improve your sound. What are your weak points? Do you think you aren't hearing well enough or do you think better gear or processing will get you closer to your goal?
would it make sense to make such an upgrade before some thought goes into layout and treatment of this room?
I actually have a 500sq foot space that is going to be an open studio. I have a drum isolation setup, vocal isolation setup. The desk is going to be facing into the main area, instead of towards a wall. I do have room for midfields, even bought stands for them already LOL. I have worked a lot of my own material over the years. The only *paid* gigs I did, dumb luck, were Eric Heydock (ex hollies bassist) and his band, a local Punk band in Manchester UK (back in 2000) and lastly a solo songwriter in Australia in 2002. Since my arrival in the USA I have been pretty much the only one recording... not had a lot of luck. And not had a real space that didn't mean allowing people in my house. And wasn't really big enough.
I really have a lot to learn still, and switching all over the place with not being happy first with a shared PC (bad), and then a Mac G5 and iLogica(l) 7.0 meant I lost my way. Basically I have fiddle faddled, done it so very well (I think) and so very badly that I almost gave up. Now that the stars seem to be aligning and I know enough to be dangerous, I want to finally get to work properly. Going to initially freebie to show I can actually record (always do better on others than myself) and go from there, I hope..
My previous house had a reasonable listening spot as I said, after the JBL and IsoAcoustics came along. I want to get back to when I did the Tascam days, just with more control now. Go in with the right levels, come out with the right mix and sound I want.
I'm sure I can say more.. lunch is calling, and I am trying to sell my motocycle at the same time to pay the studio bill LOL.
nicely said. Glad to have added another good member to the community. :)
I'd stay nearfields then, 500 sqft is too small for midfields. Opals are choice then, but I'm not saying you need them.
Josh etc, it time for your fresh opinions as I'm about to cook our new member in yet another direction! hehe. Variety beyond me is looking timely.
Josh Conley, post: 418695, member: 47953 wrote: would it make sense to make such an upgrade before some thought goes into layout and treatment of this room?
I think I did say, it's being soundproofed and treated thankfully this time?. We are using MLV in insulated walls and floor to do soundproofing. I am then doing Placement of acoustic pieces as I need. I do have an App and a hardware solution to check room response to waves. The room is a little odd in that it's got a kitchen area I am leaving in. I do have soundproof panels that are free standing to take care of that side of the room. More or less I have it figured out in that direction. Big chunk of my 20k I started with has gone into just the room. I'll get some pics up as I go I think.
And Chris, don't worry. I am just having a busy time of it at the moment. Only bought this house 6 weeks ago, went on vacation overseas after a week and a half of being here. Now dealing with the rebuild of that apartment etc. :). It's all good. And thanks again to you, and everyone on here for their helpfulness and huge knowledge they are willing to share.
can you guys talk more about those room analysis tools?
do you think its helped?
are they expensive?
what's the software like? can u use any mic?
The Opals come with software and a mic to analyze your room. Its really simple to use. You can buy it separately from Event.
Basically you load the software in, put the mic at your sitting position (where your ears are) and analyze L/R then adjust your EQ's on each Speakers to produce a flat response.
Let's see, a little sidebar to the topic, but definitely a worthwhile topic. Room analysis is somewhat of a dark art I think. I have seen many people talk about it, but it's in use in a couple of ways. Hardware, and software solutions. I am not sure how the Event one works completely yet, I watched the part 1 of their video but got distracted before finishing (Similar to JBL but more sophisticated interface). I do know it allows configuring a lot more on the front panel.
My personal experience so far is the JBL MSC1 $299.00. JBL came up with tech they build into a speaker set for one (LSR series). They give you a small mic and some software, you install, mic at listening position, hook up the MSC1 various ways to your mixer it does various frequencies from your speakers and in the end you save it in the MSC1. http://www.jblpro.com/www/products/recording-broadcast/msc1#.U_iRe_ldV8E This will take you to their page. I found it transparent (with my previous setup) and it does a job well.
The other thing I currently have is auEQ ($2.99) which is an app for mobile devices. What it does is, you hook into your stereo/studio mixer, it plays whatever song you want to listen to. When the song plays, it listens where you are, should be your listening position for mixing, and creates a EQ image of low fequency response, it then can automatically, in the app, change itself to compensate for what is not flat. When it's done you now can hear what it should sound like on the same song. I would then take what it did, and use say a room EQ to compensate permanently.
Another favourite, and personally I don't like the idea of a plugin doing it, is ARC2 from IK Multimedia $299.99. All these are in use by various people I have read. Also, something to note, although I am sure you know, separation of the speaker from say a desk is important, stops sympathetic vibrations with the surface.
Hope that helps, I am not any kind of guru on it, it's just where I got to, and as I previously said, I heard the difference immediately. It's funny how removing lower frequency overload frees up other parts to be heard much more clearly. I am sure I knew it, but hadn't thought about it that much until I saw it in action.
its all good info (y)
one last question, tell me about the pudding please... those of you who have invested $ in room analysis tools
was it worth it?
what benefits are you seeing (hearing, lol)?
Was it worth it?. Yes, for education alone. It does it's job though!. If I was to quantify the result, and keep in mind my room was FAR from ideal. I would say it suddenly helped me really make bass do it's work, tighten the drums more etc. I was in a 12 x 14 square room with 6 acoustic sound proof panels placed strategically. Chris's experience is much more valid and you saw his results, I am sure on the graph, after running the Event version. When you are no longer wading with mud being flung at you, it's easier to hear :).
Graham Cochrane over at recording revolution who used the Arc2, and has a treated room even, got results better than he expected. Again, I'm not a fan of a plugin solution, just my opinion.
- Coneq APEQ-2pro
- APEQ-2pro DIO
class="xf-ul"> that I've never used ( or know which of the two I prefer) with my current system because I need an amp for my Tannoys passive monitors . I'm looking for a good deal on a Bryston 3B in time, then I'll actually try it out for real. I've done the measurement process and its very impressive.
These are a pretty cool design. Check out what its all about here:
"....It's funny how removing lower frequency overload frees up other parts to be heard much more clearly. I am sure I knew it, but hadn't thought about it that much until I saw it in action."
After treating my space with BB absorbers and bass traps, the first thing I noticed was that the imaging in my monitoring became so much more defined, clearly an improvement. I also found that I ended up using less dramatic frequency changes, as opposed to the far more dramatic changes I used to have to make to hear a difference before I treated the room.
It's amazing how things change once you attenuate all those frequencies that bounce around and smear your audio.
It became even better once I dumped Sonar and went with Samplitude.
My point exactly Donny. The way I did was less than perfect, but using that tool, which basically does remove those frequencies for you, did just that. I was happy for $299.00, and no guess work. Now my current room project.. that's a whole new ball game. I use Logic Pro X BTW.
I am not in use of Sonar now, not been for a while, it's good but I am more used to Logic, now, and find it a cleaner workflow, for me. Plus I well and truly prefer a Mac over PC. Other good part, as per Chris's suggestion, I have managed to wrangle my iMac back off the wife.. so I can use it along with a second copy of Logic Pro X without paying a second license, and no other DAW to learn fully in parallel.
I've never used Logic, but yesterday I had a good friend come over to cut some guitar tracks for me, and as he was watching me work in Samplitude Pro X, he commented that it sounded and worked quite similar to Logic.
Having never seriously used Logic myself - other than maybe a time or two at a client's home studio - I can't attest to this. What I can say - because I used both Sonar and PT for years - is that without any doubt at all, Samplitude is on a completely different level than either PT or Sonar...and to me, with my rig and workflow, sonically superior to both.
My friend is a veteran musician and a very good novice engineer ( we came up together in the bad old days of consoles and tape ) and recently, he signed up at Cleveland State for a Pro Tools Certification class - only because a job that he recently got demands it - and he's really bummed out by having to do it. He told me yesterday "This is stupid! I don't even like Pro Tools, and now I have to sit through 3 months of classes to get a certification in a platform that I don't even like enough to use myself ? "
Myself ?... I used to think that all DAW's pretty much sounded alike. And, for quite a while, I was as guilty as anyone of the mindset that processor plugs were the answer to all my mixing problems.
However, after quite a bit of "apples to apples" testing between all three platforms, I found out that this was very much to the contrary. Samplitude simply sounds better than both, and the processor plugs that come resident with the Pro X Suite are all I need... everything is there, and they all sound great. What makes them sound so good is, I believe, because these processors were coded for Samplitude, as opposed to all the third party plug manufacturers, who are trying so hard to be "everything to all platforms", and I've come to the conclusion that this isn't really feasible, because all the popular DAW platforms out there are coded so differently themselves.
I think the only way that their concept would truly work flawlessly, is to design plug collections for each individual platform... "Waves for Sonar", "T-Racks for Cubase", etc., and they're not gonna do that as long as all their plugs will work on all the platforms... and yeah, technically they do work... but it's how well they work - or don't - that tweaks my monkey.
There are those who will call me nuts, who will remain believers that all production platforms sound and operate the same way. And that the answer to great mixing can only be found in an expensive collection of "boutique" plugs.... and that's okay. Let them continue to drink the Avid Kool-Aid. I know there's a difference, and that's all that counts. ;)
I don't know about any of the rest of you? I really despise these self-correcting monitor speakers that are using active equalization. I am 100% totally against that. You either pick out a good pair of speakers that works well in your room? Or ya don't.
I'm not saying that active equalization of any sort on speakers isn't necessary. I'm only saying that well-designed speakers, in a control room, of varying acoustic designs or non-designs, shouldn't have active equalization on them. Only for PA system speakers is this actually necessary. Because if you have to put active equalization on your speakers? It's a gimmick. Come on. A marketing ploy. It's BS. So that would mean older high quality monitors like Meyer HD-1's would be no good to use anymore because they don't have any active circuitry to automatically equalize themselves with. Or other manufacturers of high quality, compact, self powered monitors. These companies come up with this stuff like Detroit puts on new taillight designs and grills on cars to make them better than the previous year's model. Which is BS bunk. They're great for amateur however that think they're cool because they all automatically compensate for lousy room acoustics and listening conditions. Which is fake BS. Of course that's the way a lot of these manufacturers stay in business. They would rather give you gobbledygook BS then produce a better product. Which is the insincere way to better greed profits. Since it's all about marketing. And everyone seems to forget that here?
Newer more improved better thingies can be the point of diminishing returns. Dammit, I would still rather use an old pair of JBL 4310/11 or 12's and a Crown DC 300 A version 2 than most anything else. They were good enough to have mixed Michael Jackson's Thriller on. Oh but they're not good enough in 2014, right? Bull! So why are you constantly wasting your money flipping from one monitor to another? If ya don't like the sound of what ya purchased? Why did you buy them in the first place? It's like marriage. On a bad day do you just get divorced and take another wife? No. You evaluate the situation and make changes to what you're doing not what you're listening to. Because it's up to you not your speakers.
So how do you know when you have the right speakers in your room? When you listen to the top hits, by the top engineers that recorded and mixed their stuff with JBL 4311's. If those worked for recordings to go Platinum? Why can't you make good recordings? Answer? It ain't your speakers. It's you and only you.
What I preach is technique. And mostly, only technique. That's the mark of a true professional. Everything else is like little kids that want more Lego pieces. Blue ones and yellow ones, gray ones and purple ones instead of just the old-fashioned red and white ones. And where it doesn't matter what color they are, they all fit together the same way. The only problem would be if they didn't fit together. People are so confused by marketing today. They can't get anything to fit together. We didn't have these millions of choices 40 years ago. We had two or three choices. And that was it. And that made hits. Because of the people that make the hits not the equipment.
Is this a company's equipment forum or is this a recording forum? It's a recording forum. It says so right in the name. It's not Equipment.org it's Recording.org. It's about recording. For others it's about the equipment. And so if you can afford the best of the best equipment were cost is no object? Likely you can make a good sounding recording without ever really knowing what you're doing or how you're doing it? But if your equipment isn't the best in the world? You might have to work at it a little harder? And I know that work is a four letter word so... you decide.
You take a pair of speakers. Virtually any speakers. And put some really great sounding recordings made by great engineers, great producers and great musical artists and listen to what it sounds like. Then take that same recording and put it to almost any other speakers. Will it sound bad? No it will not. The recording and mix integrity will still remain. You'll hear the technique. And you'll hear what the equipment is not delivering. But the quality still comes through on the cheapest crap speakers. Because it's the musicians and the engineer. That's what good engineers do. They make their mix sound good, coming out of anything. And that takes... well... some talent. Kind of like not letting your little brother take out your appendix for ya. But at least letting a veterinarian to it? When ya can't get to a people doctor to save your life. Or, just getting drunk up enough to do it yourself, before you die, lost on a tropical island in the middle of an ocean. Where your only neighbors have sticks and bones piercing their septums and are running around in loin cloths made from hemp. They might think that drinking their magic potion will cure all ills? And sometimes it might? If you can survive it long enough? Otherwise you are taken away by the spirit of the ground and they all have a party over ya.
Luca Chaka Chaka Chaka Luca Luca Chaka Chaka. Drink this.
Mx. Remy Ann David
Wow... look at all the pretty colors... barf.
RemyRAD, post: 418848, member: 26269 wrote: I don't know about any of the rest of you? I really despise these self-correcting monitor speakers that are using active equalization. I am 100% totally against that. You either pick out a good pair of speakers that works well in your room? Or ya don't.
I'm not convinced either but I've never heard these babies to know as much as you do about all this so I remain open minded. What was the last equalization tool you used like this?
This technology ( the two boxes I have here) aren't a cheap product, they are a few thousand. I also don't think this is something to dismiss from past experience either. Everything is going digital.
There are some serious monitor companies heading this direction. From my understanding, these will only excel your listening environment. I would still use my current (awesome) monitoring system and have this as a 3 monitoring option. Nearfields, Midfield and these. How could you ever go wrong ;)
While the world goes digital, there are those still playing violins, oboes, French horns, clarinets, et al.. They're not going digital. Not everyone is going digital. Digital has its place for sure. Not across the board it doesn't.
While I am not a fan of active equalization on control room monitors. I am a fan of time alignment. And if they are timing the signals to the tweeters, midrange drivers and woofers, differently? Maybe that is good? Compensating for some of the timing errors that might be had through old-fashioned passive crossover networks? But active equalization? No. I won't have it. Not in my control room. Not in someone else's control room. I'm not into Gimmicks R Us. What might sound good initially? I find doesn't sound good after 8-10 hours of mixing and monitoring later. It's so easy to baffle one within the first two minutes. But we're talking long-term staying power without ear fatigue. Any monitor properly designed in the first place just needs to be matched to the monitoring environment of the room that they will be in. You don't fix them after the mix i.e., with active equalization. So just because companies are putting this stuff out, this drivel out, doesn't mean you Line up, for the next iPhone. Can you spell lemmings?
LEMMMMMMMMMINGS Five will get you 10.
Mx. Remy Ann David
Again, I'm not saying ya or nay , I've not used it with this system, But, I see these as another reference with other speakers (including a soundblaster that I love too) But I'm one of those lucky guys that has a Dangerous Monitor ST lol. So if you actually had that, you would love all the options you can get.
FYI, you aren't remotely understanding this at all. This is serious shit here. Process would be ideal for a 3 monitor sections controller all independent, but can be switched via the ST relay.
Something like this can be added as another reference. You equalize your monitors based on you sitting location. These would be critically , surgically perfect. This I have already experienced.
So, upon being convinced you are that inclined to trust them, we can use this, as you do with near, mid and full size, as one more option in a Control Room :) . Again, how could that be bad.
Remy, when was the last time you actually heard anything like this? And what was it that you did try and when was that?
FYI, I received these from Latvia lol. I might be one of only a handful of people in North America who actually has something like this ;) yet you close the door on so much we talk about. It blows my mind how you don't even ask a question much of the time.
anyway, I'm not trying to convince you or anyone, these aren't cheap and easy to be had anyway. I'm just sharing a gem in the forest , having fun with you while I wait for a mix to upload.
Because I have heard and worked in enough control rooms that had 1/3 octave EQ's in the monitor system loop. And nothing ever sounded right to me by those acoustical engineers that tested the system and installed those. If I can't remove them? I switched them out instead. Chris I've been doing this for over 40 years. Everything we have is just a newer variation on an older theme. So if it works for ya? And ya like it? That's all that really matters. Not whether some specifications tell ya it's better.
These self analyzing, regulated speakers, I wouldn't say that they don't sound good. I will just say, I can't relate to their sound. I don't want clinically technically accurate stuff. While it all sounds good. It doesn't all sound good on everything or for everything. Whereas, to me, the older classic stuff, just seems to sound great on everything. In fact, when I'm recording or mixing on my Neve, a single input channel sends the audio through an average of 10-12 transformers. So why does that sound good? It seems like that might be seven, eight, or nine unnecessary transformers? But they are oh so necessary, for the sound.
It's not that I don't get it. I just don't want it. Fine for others. Not fine for everyone. No matter how much you'd like it to be. Rupert doesn't like A/B outputs. So then why the heck does my Neve console have that? He designed that. Back in the early 1970s, when he said, he really didn't know what he was doing with transistors. So I guess my console was a tactical blunder that Rupert Neve made? Or does this also make API, not worthy of professionals because it's not pure Class A? I guess, according to Rupert, it's substandard. So then, why does anyone here recommend API, to anyone? It's not worthy of professional use. But then maybe Rupert doesn't know what he's talking about either and doesn't design things worth a damn?
Really I'm not trying to pull your strings Chris. I've learned from the best and I'm one of the best. Bob Clearmountain doesn't want to part with his mushy sounding, FET and VCA laden console. It gets the sound that he gets paid the big bucks for doing. But it is truly substandard, technically. Is he out of his mind? In fact Bob does not even like some of the new products made by Apogee that is owned by his wife. Not the products. The whole damned company LOL. He likes some of the earlier older stuff that they don't make anymore at Apogee. He doesn't want to use the newer stuff by Apogee, that his wife owns. Why? It's better. It even says so on the specifications. But we don't do this as a hobby. For other folks, it's the total opposite. It's like Apple iPhone's. It didn't matter if you already had the iPhone 5. You had to have the iPhone 5 S. Well WTF with that? Well, you wouldn't have the coolest release iPhone. And we couldn't have that now could we? Life wouldn't be worth living. You would also be deemed a complete and total failure in life if you didn't have the latest iPhone. So it's a contest for some. A profession for others. I'm the professional and you're the website guy. There is no reason for me to change or to embrace new stuff for just being new stuff. It would be important if that new stuff could fundamentally improve my career? It won't. It can't. It's inanimate equipment. That whatever is out today is already obsolete as the new products are being designed to replace it. Which would make nothing that we have currently worthy of professional use based on that premise alone. But that's not true. Maybe a half truth? But that's like a little white lie. Which still means you're a full-blown liar. Not you that it is. Just a figurative of speech. Not pertaining to you.
In fact with every new release of everything, I hear more clarity, I hear more high-end, I hear more definition. I'm hearing too much. I'm not hearing the sounds I like to hear. The friendly fat round sounds, I can't get out of my badly damaged brain. Which could just be my flaw? I'm not saying it isn't. It might likely be? But that doesn't change anything. If you're getting the sound that you want? There's no reason to change or step up to anything. Sure, it's fun to play with and discover how the new stuff stacks up. Someone's got to do it. I nominate you. Fancy that... you nominated yourself. And you are THE MAN when it comes to investigating, testing and listening to all the new stuff that the 21st-century has to offer. Someone's got to do it. You've been very thorough in checking out the new stuff and all that it has to offer. I've always read what you've had to say as I also rely on your reviews and recommendations. Even though I choose not to follow them myself. But if I did decide to go that route? I would definitely rely upon your recommendations. You Canadian dudes are very thorough and in-depth, with all that you do. So I look to you as a professional colleague not a professional hobbyist. I don't believe you are a professional hobbyist even though you might be one? I mean you've done Pro audio work for money, for others. Haven't ya? I think you have? And that would certainly indicate you are in fact a professional even though you said you don't consider yourself a professional, in the past. If I read that correctly? Perhaps I'm wrong?
I forget? What were we talking about LOL?
Mx. Remy Ann David
Glad to see this topic stayed on topic?, j/k. I am a fan of a lot of old stuff, at least I think I am, never really got to use any of it, but heard it lots of times. Newer things are not a bad thing, they are just newer. Things like sealed pots etc that don't break as easy, UPS devices, etc etc. The trend for speaker modeling and room analysis is here to stay and does make a notable difference in less than ideal situations. Exactly what that tech is designed for. Sure we can find ways to compensate, and when you had no choice, it's what you did, right?. But that's the point isn't it, you had no choice, now you do.
Don't get me wrong, I have definitely suffered GAS too. The reason I am asking stuff now, is to get ideas of people who have done the walk, and can therefor help get me where I want to go, without wasting time and money. So far, I am happy I hopped in here, and gave myself a beating even for some of it :). And maybe what little I do know after 30 years of dabbling, might also help someone else one day... maybe?.
Thanks & Cheers,
"So, upon being convinced you are that inclined to trust them, we can use this, as you do with near, mid and full size, as one more option in a Control Room :) . Again, how could that be bad..."
As far as I can discern, it can't be "bad". I'm not seeing a downside to this, unless there's a quotient missing that I'm unaware of, (and I will gladly be open to consideration of such, if it is brought to light and is relevant to the equation).
It's simple, really... anytime you can gain greater accuracy in your referencing chain, or in your referencing environment... You should. And, it's not always a cheap expenditure to do so.
Anything worth having and using is hardly ever inexpensive. Understand that to be serious in this craft, you must understand that it's not - and never has been - easy on the bank account if you want to do it right.
As Recording Engineers, we are on the never-ending quest for stellar tone. This involves high quality mics, preamps, environments that are sonically pleasing and finally - in today's digital world - good converters.
As Mixing Engineers, above all the gear we own, honesty in what we hear is paramount. If we don't start with sonic truth, then everything else we do is nothing other than corrupting the audio even further.
If we aren't hearing sonic integrity to begin with, nothing else we do will matter. The quality of our monitoring chain and its accuracy, is crucial.
Accordingly - and at least as far as I can see (hear) in terms of mixing, that chain can/may/should include:
1. An acoustically honest environment.
2. Output of an accurate signal from DAW
3. Input of this signal into:
A. Directly to another separate DAW or...
B. External console /summing device - or other OB processing device(s), if pertinent.
C. output of either to an accurate monitoring chain (post )...
monitoring chain - can/may/should - include:
- To hi quality Active Room EQ (if used)
- To hi quality Speaker Switching Device ( if more than one pair of monitors are in use - and - not just any old switch, either, this signal must maintain integrity through the switch point)
- To hi quality Power Amp ( if using passive monitors, this should be a good power amp, nothing cheap that will alter sonics through funky slew rates or cheap electronics) or ...
- To hi quality Passive or Active Monitors, which are highly accurate in reproduction ( this parenthesis is for any potential noobs who might be reading... "Active" monitors have power amps integrated into the monitors, where "Passive" monitors require an external power amp.)
Encompassing this entire chain is #1, an acoustically accurate environment in which you are mixing. This could be a space that has been constructed as such, or, that has been "tuned" - as best as possible - using sonic measurements, and then selecting the correct form of treatment....various traps, absorbers and diffusers ( and a sufficient level of acoustical knowledge, understanding what issues may exist and in what these various forms of treatments do ) - so that you can be mixing in as accurate listening/mixing environment as possible, that will allow honest translation to the person mixing, and thus, to other mediums of playback, or in other environments of playback.
Once again, the entire chain only being as good as its weakest link.
Yup... belaboring the obvious once again...
When I mix using my Dangerous Master (to die for btw), I have 3 EQ's on it. I could settle for one EQ and call it a day but like most mastering engineers who develop a keen ear, we start learning that there are EQ's that have special qualities that become idea for specific tasks. So, I use one for filtering , one for top and bottom end , and another for mids. I bought them knowing why I needed them.
Same for monitoring, I have Avatone's, when, paired with the MEQ-5 's , its the bomb. Again, everything has its sweet spot, if you find it, one mans junk becomes another mans jewel. Who know, maybe these might be the bomb for the very top end of a mix, paired with this filters of a BAX or the incredible sweetness you get from the NSQE-4 . Or, maybe its another useless product...
If you get value out of it, whether it's only in certain scenario's, or even just in small increments, it's not "useless", Chris.
And, it doesn't matter if it works for anyone else or not. If it works for you, then that's all that counts. If you feel something betters your sound, your workflow, or your efficiency, then so be it.
None of us here have the exact same setups, and we all have out little extra things that we like using, either out of habit, or because these tings do make a difference to us, and we use them because what they do works for us as individuals. It doesn't matter whether what works for me matters to you or vice versa. If something helps us to do our jobs better, then as far as I'm concerned, that's all that counts.
I think we are all experienced enough to know the difference between the "obvious", to the "esoteric and subtle-yet still there" differences we hear when we use the gear we like, as opposed to the "all show and no go" products out there that don't make a damn bit of difference whatsoever...
These include things like mahogany volume knobs on an electric guitar to " increase sustain", or certain plug-ins made to appear as exact replicas of vintage comps and limiters (as if the graphics have anything to do with the actual sound, right?) to the end all-be all galactically stupid "anti-negative ionic flux remover" for use on vinyl LP's - which insures that "the record you are about to play sounds at its optimum"... Jeez.. even just the name alone screams SCAM!
Use what you like, for whatever reasons matter to you, because those are the only reasons that matter, anyway. ;)