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October 28, 2010

Monitoring The Situation

Almost to a man, everyone who records their own music will tell you that the one part of your signal chain you cannot even consider skimping on is monitoring. Unless you can really hear every nuance in a mix, you cannot hope to get it sounding perfect by anything other than luck. You need to be able to hear when you cut 0.8dB from the mid-range of a guitar, or exactly where the reverb tails of your snare go when you pan them another 12% to the left. If you can’t, why bothering making the changes at all?

So having been without monitors here in Granada for some time, mixing up until now (in the main) on a pair of old BeyerDynamic DT100 headphones, I finally invested in some new monitor speakers – a pair of Adam’s new A7X’s… Thomann delivered them swiftly (as always) and, after moving the studio around to accomodate them and to create a more natural listening position, in they went!

When you first get a new set of monitors, you need to learn them by listening to music that you know well – reference material – so you know what the monitors are telling you – are they hyping the treble, or weak on the bass? After a day or two of enjoying some of your favourite music, you’re ready to start mixing your own stuff.

The first thing I noticed about these monitors is the stereo image is so tight. Anything in mixed right down the middle literally sounds like it’s emanating from my screen, with no sense of separate sound sources being merged from the left and the right. Anything panned from hard left to hard right is perfectly placed at all times and it’s easy to pinpoint a sound in the mix.

Secondly, they’re LOUD! With two amplifiers built-in to them, one at 150W for the 7″ woofer, and another at 75W for the tweeter, I certainly can’t turn them up beyond 50% without some serious steeling beforehand!

And thirdly, bass and treble are both very accurate, with perhaps a little hyping from the ribbon tweeter which I may soon dial down using the controls on the back of each speaker.

In short, they are very accurate, very capable monitors which should help improve my mixes no end. And, believe it or not, in the process of initially testing them out I put together a quick cue! Yes, I actually recorded something! And so, I give you “Supernatural Chase Guitar Mix Cue”:

Well, it’s a start… :-)

October 28, 2010

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