Recording - January 2013 - 36

The last link in the recording/mixing chain is often overlooked or glossed over, but, needless to say, it’s one of the most important aspects of all—monitoring! After all, if you can’t trust what you’re hearing... This article will take a look at that final link— speakers and headphones—and a couple of key considerations that come into play when setting up your studio’s monitoring. A discussion of monitoring could easily descend into a morass of technical detail about transducers, drivers, crossovers, enclosures, etc, and choosing and setting up monitor speakers gets into a lot of specs—size, power handling, SPL capability—all of which will involve balancing many factors, not the least of which can be cost. Ultimately, the choice of one brand of monitor speaker over another often comes down to a subjective preference for tonal balance, just as much as it’s based on the other, more objective technical considerations. But for this piece, I’ll approach the topic from the standpoint of the recordist who’s setting up a studio/control room, and needs to make choices about his/her monitoring setup in the context of the studio environment. (This piece can supplement what you’re learning from Eric Ferguson’s ongoing discussion of monitors in “Recording Fundamentals” that began last issue and continues this month and in future issues.)
36
RECORDING January 2013

Take your positions Most decisions during a recording session, and even more critically, a mix session, are based on the sound from the control room monitors—I’ll focus on mixing mainly, since this is where the monitors’ performance is most critical. Naturally, studio monitors don’t exist in a vacuum (figuratively speaking!), they interact with the room itself to provide the sound field on which all those creative choices are based. At the high end ($$$) of the spectrum, rooms are tuned and monitors are voiced with the aid of computer-based test rigs, but even smaller project or personal studios need to address some of the fundamental considerations of room geometry when setting up the monitoring system. Room modes (standing waves) are calculated, problematic reflections are identified, and treatments are applied which range from surface absorption for control of ambience to behind-the-wall cavities for the control of low frequency irregularities. (Recording has covered these topics thoroughly in previous articles—see the Resources section at recordingmag.com.) One of the key aspects of this monitoring shake-out is properly integrating the studio monitors with the room, and one of the main aspects of this is speaker placement. The listening experience in a studio can vary significantly based on the position of the studio monitors relative to the listener/

mixer’s position, referred to as the sweet spot, the ideal location in the room for making decisions based on the sound from those speakers. Options for speaker placement are typically categorized by distance from the sweet spot, often using these designations: far-field, mid-field, and near-field. In days of old, the primary set of speakers in a control room was usually a large, fullrange pair, mounted within the front wall, to the sides of, and/or above, the control room window. The wall was built out, forming a soffit, and these soffit-mounted speakers offered both high SPLs and deep bass, through large woofers (15") coupled with high-frequency horns (and sometime mid-frequency horns) and high-power amps. But soffit-mounting designs, while helping to enhance low end as well as control reflections, place these behemoths at some distance from the console sweet spot, sometimes called a far-field placement, which means significant interaction with inevitable room effects at the listening position, and so demand a considerable degree of (costly) room treatment to insure a listening environment that can be trusted. Get close Larger studios still offer soffit-mounted farfield monitors, but over the years a trend toward smaller speakers has taken over, speakers that are somewhat more neutral-


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - January 2013

Recording - January 2013
Fade In.
Table of Contents
Talkback.
2012 AES Convention Report.
Universal Audio Apollo.
ADAM Audio F5 and F7 Monitors.
Earthworks ZDT 1022 Mic Preamp.
Trident HG3 Close Field Monitoring System.
AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition Headphones.
Grace Design m903 Reference Headphone Amplifier.
Monitors & Monitoring.
Lauten Atlantis FC-387 Condenser Microphone.
Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 13: Monitors Part 2.
PreSonus BlueTube DP V2.
Getting Into Your Head.
Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones.
Readers’ Tapes.
iOS Music Tools: Last-Minute Audio Gifts!
Sennheiser HD800 Headphones.
Advertiser Index.
2012 Annual Index.
Fade Out.
Recording - January 2013 - Recording - January 2013
Recording - January 2013 - Cover2
Recording - January 2013 - 1
Recording - January 2013 - 2
Recording - January 2013 - 3
Recording - January 2013 - Fade In.
Recording - January 2013 - 5
Recording - January 2013 - Table of Contents
Recording - January 2013 - 7
Recording - January 2013 - Talkback.
Recording - January 2013 - 9
Recording - January 2013 - 2012 AES Convention Report.
Recording - January 2013 - 11
Recording - January 2013 - 12
Recording - January 2013 - 13
Recording - January 2013 - 14
Recording - January 2013 - 15
Recording - January 2013 - 16
Recording - January 2013 - 17
Recording - January 2013 - 18
Recording - January 2013 - 19
Recording - January 2013 - Universal Audio Apollo.
Recording - January 2013 - 21
Recording - January 2013 - 22
Recording - January 2013 - 23
Recording - January 2013 - ADAM Audio F5 and F7 Monitors.
Recording - January 2013 - 25
Recording - January 2013 - Earthworks ZDT 1022 Mic Preamp.
Recording - January 2013 - 27
Recording - January 2013 - Trident HG3 Close Field Monitoring System.
Recording - January 2013 - 29
Recording - January 2013 - AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition Headphones.
Recording - January 2013 - 31
Recording - January 2013 - 32
Recording - January 2013 - 33
Recording - January 2013 - Grace Design m903 Reference Headphone Amplifier.
Recording - January 2013 - 35
Recording - January 2013 - Monitors & Monitoring.
Recording - January 2013 - 37
Recording - January 2013 - 38
Recording - January 2013 - 39
Recording - January 2013 - Lauten Atlantis FC-387 Condenser Microphone.
Recording - January 2013 - 41
Recording - January 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 13: Monitors Part 2.
Recording - January 2013 - 43
Recording - January 2013 - PreSonus BlueTube DP V2.
Recording - January 2013 - 45
Recording - January 2013 - Getting Into Your Head.
Recording - January 2013 - 47
Recording - January 2013 - 48
Recording - January 2013 - 49
Recording - January 2013 - Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones.
Recording - January 2013 - 51
Recording - January 2013 - 52
Recording - January 2013 - 53
Recording - January 2013 - 54
Recording - January 2013 - 55
Recording - January 2013 - Readers’ Tapes.
Recording - January 2013 - 57
Recording - January 2013 - iOS Music Tools: Last-Minute Audio Gifts!
Recording - January 2013 - 59
Recording - January 2013 - 60
Recording - January 2013 - 61
Recording - January 2013 - Sennheiser HD800 Headphones.
Recording - January 2013 - Advertiser Index.
Recording - January 2013 - 64
Recording - January 2013 - 65
Recording - January 2013 - 66
Recording - January 2013 - 67
Recording - January 2013 - 68
Recording - January 2013 - 69
Recording - January 2013 - 2012 Annual Index.
Recording - January 2013 - 71
Recording - January 2013 - Fade Out.
Recording - January 2013 - Cover3
Recording - January 2013 - Cover4
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