If you were to browse any of the popular recording forums, it wouldn’t take you long to find someone complaining about how their mixes don’t translate.

What he’s complaining about is that he records a song, spends hours in his studio mixing it, and then it sounds completely different when he burns a copy to go listen to in his car or stereo.

This is something that has always plagued engineers and will continue to do so for years to come.

The issue? Everybody listens to music on a different set of speakers. And no two sets of speakers sound the same. So a perfectly crafted mix on one pair of speakers could sound really bass-heavy and muddy on another pair.

The Cure

While there is no quick fix for this, the biggest reason mixes don’t translate is inaccurate studio monitors. (When I say studio monitors, I’m referring to speakers specifically designed for “reference monitoring” in a recording environment.)

When you’re mixing a song, you want to hear exactly what’s going on in the music. If you’ve got a cheap set of speakers that do something to the sound to make it sound “better,” you’ll end up with a mix that sounds good…but only on that specific pair of speakers…not anywhere else.

Imagine you’re a really bad vocalist. (Don’t freak out, this is strictly hypothetical.) Now imagine that you have a magical set of speakers that make you sound amazing. Everything you sing through them is just heavenly.

Here’s the catch. These speakers are too big and heavy to take to a gig or studio, so you only sound good at home.

Now you go to sing in a studio or at a gig (or at an American Idol audition), and your real voice comes out. Suddenly you’re all over the news as the world’s worst vocalist. If only your speakers (and your friends) had told you the truth.

Flat is Good

So we’re in a agreement. You don’t want your studio monitors to lie to you. What you want is a pair of monitors that have a flat frequency response, meaning they don’t boost or cut certain frequencies. Flat studio monitors give you a clean slate on which you can build your mixes.

So…which monitors are flat? A lot of the same principles I discussed with microphones applies to studio monitors. You get what you pay for. Cheaper monitors tend to be less flat than more expensive ones.

Microphones and studio monitors are arguably the most important part of your studio. Microphones capture the sound. Studio monitors reproduce it. Yes, you need a good audio interface, but it’s all for naught if your microphones and monitors are garbage.

That being said, you should plan to invest a decent amount of money into your monitors – at least a couple hundred dollars.

There are as many monitor options as there are microphone options, but the main point I want to make is this – Don’t use cheap computer speakers to mix your music.

Rather than dropping $70 on a pair of Logitech computer speakers at Best Buy, go to a place like Sweetwater.com and check out the studio monitors. Any studio monitor would be better than cheap computer speakers. Trust me…I used them on my first album in high school, and as I’ve said before, ’twasn’t good.

How big?

You’ll notice that there are studio monitors of all different shapes and sizes. Generally speaking, the bigger the speaker, the better it is at reproducing low frequencies. A 3-inch monitor isn’t going to have nearly the same bass response as an 8-inch monitor.

The biggest problem area I have when my mixes don’t translate well is how the lows sound. I mixed for a few years on some nice little 5-inch monitors. They sounded great and were fairly accurate. However, due to the fact that they were only 5-inch monitors, I couldn’t hear what was happening in the deep bass of my songs.

I would record something as simple as a guitar-vocal, and it would sound great in my studio. Then I’d play it on a system with bigger speakers and BOOM! There’s a TON of bass on the guitar that I simply couldn’t hear on my smaller monitors at home.

The bass was always there, from the moment I recorded it. I just never knew it because my speakers couldn’t reproduce it.

My Recommendation

If you can afford it, try to get something with a 6-inch to 8-inch woofer on it. I’ve found that these tend to reproduce enough low frequency information to provide reliable, accurate mixes.

Spend at least $300-$500 if you can. $700-$1500 will get you into a really nice set of monitors, but avoid spending less than $200 if you can. You’ll only end up using them for a year at most. Then you’ll sell them for some nicer monitors.

What about headphones?

I’ll discuss headphones in the next article, but generally-speaking they’re not great for mixing (although it is certainly possible to do). Because they’re so close to your ears, they tend to make the bass sound louder than it actually is. Also, the stereo imaging (how the song sounds from left to right) is very different than with studio monitors. More on that to come.

What I Use

In my home studio, I use M-Audio EX66 monitors. They’re a bit different from your standard monitor in that they have two 6-inch woofers instead of a single woofer. This gives it a very deep, tight response.

Ever since I got these, I noticed that my mixes started sounding much better. I still have to work hard to manipulate the audio to my liking, but a good set of monitors always makes it easier to hear what’s going on in the mix.

M-Audio EX66

M-Audio EX66

What monitors do you use? What questions do you have? Leave a comment!

  • Nash Rich

    I’m a fan of some deep bass, but I learned quickly that it can overpower the rest of the music. My dad got me some monitor headphones because I’m on a budget, and they’re pretty good. You definitely have to learn how to listen to music that’s flatter. I found a lot of little problems when I did that. Thanks for the info, hopefully someday I can upgrade to bigger monitors. http://www.americansound.com

    • I’m with you. I like a lot of bass in my mixes, but it’s hard to get it juuuuust right.

  • umidorland

    I’m using a pair of KRK Rokit 6″. Now I’m wondering, I’ve had the same problem with not being able to hear the bass there was while I was mixing acoustic guitar. Would it be wise for me to give the bass the 2+ dB boost so I can hear it better? Or would that ruin everything?

    • Using the built-in bass boost might be helpful. I would experiment with both versions and compare the results. No real “right or wrong” as long as you end up with good mixes that translate to other systems well.

  • DjWicked

    I have a pair of KRK RP8 G3 in my studio. You can say what you want about the RP8’s, but I love them… they sound tight, nice lf punch. All over good frequency response. I keep mine flat in the therms of range. And all my finished songs sound great. A lot of people are complaining about the “bad” freq responce in the mid range? I feel this is wrong! I use propellerhead balance, with reason 7… and these combined gives me exact the sound I want! 🙂 A whole lot of crisp and clear sound for your money. Recommend this combo to all who use Propellerhead Reason (late ver.).

    • Javie

      Hey! I too have Reason 7and a pair Rokits 5 (G2). What interface were u using before u got Balance?

  • mariehalan

    home studio corner folks, help me choose between the jbl lsr305 vs krk rokit 6 vs yamaha hs7

    the krks are supposed to go as low as 38hz

    although the yamahas are bigger than the jbl (7 vs 5) they both have 43hz as the lowest frequency they can reproduce :O

    • Crankcase08

      Most speakers will go lower, it’s just that they differ with regard to their efficiency at those frequencies. Manufacturers tend to supply frequency responses at differing levels, ie. there is no standard level, which is misleading.

      Although there are plenty of people that praise the JBL LSR305’s, I found them boomy, as well as lacking clarity and detail. The only thing I got from them was an earache and a bad mood.

  • Dr.FillyBlunt

    There is one vital thing you missed here I’m afraid, acoustics. You can have the most accurate monitors around but it doesn’t do you a bit of good if the sound of your room is coloring what’s coming out of them. This is especially a problem the smaller the room gets (bedrooms). At the very least you should put up bass traps in the corners of you room to reduce the bass buildup that tends to be the biggest factor in muddy mixes. Secondly you should consider setting up absorbers to make a RFZ (reflection free zone), where early reflections from the side walls closest to your monitors are contributing majorly to your ears.

    Like I said, it doesn’t make a difference if you use a $200 pair or $2000 pair of monitors, if your room is untreated or treated badly you won’t be getting an accurate picture of what your monitors are telling you.

  • DJ Thrillride

    I use a pair of M-Audio M3-8’s in my studio.. and they are ridiculously amazing.. a 3 way monitor makes for a HUGE sweet spot, but they’re also nearly $400… each.. I also have what i call an “Idea room” (its a small office at home that i use when you get those “i wonder what that would sound like” moments.. and i use a set of M-audio AV 40’s for that.. and honestly for a $120 at guitar center they are simply amazing.. very flat, nice and crisp and for a 4″ woofer, very responsive bass. I would recommend them to anyone on a budget or just getting started.

  • cliftonbpenn

    I don’t know if I was ever told it was a good idea but I see no downside to two monitor systems, so I can *a-b* my sound. I’ve did it on my last studio and the one I’m building now. My “primary” monitoring is through powered Cerwin Vega XD3s – small but clean, and I’m hoping accurate. I’m also installing some new Klipsch passive bookends with 5″ plus woofers being powered by a modest Sherwood receiver. I ‘A-B’ them and run all 4 at once. Does anyone else do this? Is it not a good alternative to running to the car for a different check. Worked good for me in my last (old analog Tascam 88 1/2″ tape job)

    • Absolutely. I use a pair of crappy speakers as my second pair. Gives me instant feedback on what the mix would sound like on a smaller speaker system (or in a car).

  • Mateusz Mazur

    I use NS10m and Adam A7. I like this combination – Yamahas for translation on standard, low quality stereos, Adams for checking the low end information 🙂

  • Tartarus Recods

    mackie mr8 monitors are great.

  • Jerry B.

    I bought a used pair of Event 20/20 Biamp monitors last year and I love ’em! The mixes translate well to my car stereo system which is a definite plus!

    • Heard good things about those 20/20’s.

  • tom H

    Hi, can you help me? i want to buy some studio monitors but i don’t know which to buy. i’m doubting between the new samson resolv SE6 / krk rokit rp6 g2 and m-audio bx8 d2

    Can somebody give me some tips?

  • My KRK rokit 8’s are the best thing iv ever listened to, now when people ask for 2.1 computer set up’s I always try to stear them to monitors

  • Scalino

    Hi Joe,

    I want to prepare my home studio room as best as I can for recording my next album, I got pretty much everything ready in terms of hardware and software, the only things left to be done is the acoustic treatment of the room and the monitor issue (which seems to me a bit related in terms of monitor size / room dimensions).
    Thing is, my first album was done on other soft/hard-ware and mixed with headphones, and that wasn’t fully satisfying. Now, the only pair of monitors I got for now is an old pair of “Infinity 20” that come from a previous home theater set where they were used as surround speakers (but! set on ‘wide range’ on actual 100W channels of my a/v amp, not the ‘small range’ you usually have to use on small surrounds when you got a subwoofer in the chain). So they got a “proper” response range but they are physically big ([sorry for approximations, I’m used to the metric system…] sth like 18/20 inches high, 11/12 inches wide, & 12/13 inches deep) with a 6’/7′ woofer and a tweeter.
    So my first problem is, considering my possibilities for “where to put them”, if I put them in upright position, the tweeters are way up over my head and the boomers at ears’ height so it’s too much “boomy”; and I don’t feel like making them lean towards me because of their weight… 🙂

    So, for now I put them horizontally with the woofers towards the interior of the stereo image and the tweeters towards the exterior of it. My first tests sound rather good, maybe still a bit boomy (now, would you say I broke some universal law of audio engineering by doing that or is it appropriate?).

    Anyway, my first question is: would I make a big mistake by using those rather than buying some proper recent studio monitors (though I won’t be able to invest more than 300/350$), or – granted some proper adapted treatment, they can serve me well doing the job they’re made to do (the flat response), and so I can put my money in other things, like room’s acoustic treatment for example?

    The other thing is, the dimensions of the room are quite “friendly” with me and I get a pretty good natural rendering with no acoustic treatment whatsoever for now (3.5m * 4.2m * 2.4m) with the stereo image directed along the 3.5m distance, and I begin to think that the “boomy” aspect I get is maybe related to the room itself. Is there a simple way to be sure of that, without buying expensive bass traps in order to hear the difference with / without them?

    Thanks!
    Scalino

    • Hi Scalino,

      Every speaker is different. The only person who will know how your speakers were designed to operate would be the manufacturer. I would contact them or read the manual.

  • craig

    Hey! I’m starting to build up my home studio and i would like to know, if a room of dimensions of 3m x 4m x 3m (height) can afford a 6” monitor. Also i want your wisefull opinion on a monitor comparison. Which one do you think is the best choice? The yamaha hs50m or the krk rp6 g2. If i’m correct the yamaha monitors are better than the krk but the krk is mostly on electronic music, which i like.
    the yamaha hs50m: http://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/proaudio/speakers/hs_series/hs50m/
    the krk rp6 g2:
     http://www.zzounds.com/item–KRKRP6G2

    • Not sure…I’m really not a pro at analyzing which rooms match which monitors.
      However, Genelec has a really cool “Speaker Selection Tool” that you can use. It will recommend one of their speakers, of course, but that will give you a good idea of what size makes sense for your room.
      Here’s the link:

      http://www.genelecusa.com/learning-center/speaker-selection/

  • MPD26

    Hi Joe, I’d like to know what’s your thoughts about this 2 monitors:
    http://www.akaipro.com/rpm3
    or
    http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MAudioAV40.html,
    I’m new to home studios and trying to get an average/good sound, nothing too fancy since my budget won’t allow it…
    Good luck on your blog

    • Of those two, I’d go with the M-Audio. They have a 4-inch woofer vs a 3-inch. 3-inch is too small to really reproduce low frequencies well at all. 4 inch isn’t great. I’d go with 5 or bigger. Otherwise, you’d be better off with headphones.

  • Krazeboi10

    I’m planning on buying a Samson MediaOne 5A would mix fine with it

    • If I recall, those are really small. Small speakers don’t reproduce low frequencies very well, and low frequencies tend to be the most difficult parts of a mix to get right.
      I’d go with a speaker with at least a 5″ woofer.

      • Krazeboi10

         they’re 5” woofer

        • In that case, they might be good. Obviously there’s more to it than woofer size, but I’d say that’d be a good place to start.

  • Hey Joe, Nice site man. I’m using the HS80’s along side my trusty Focusrite Saffire Pro 10 and I have never been happier. My mixes are crisp and clear. I mixed a single for my band, its called ‘repeat offender’ by Bad Voodoo and you can view it on YouTube. I’d appreciate any feedback you could offer.

    Kind Regards
    Leeroy.

  • Scott

    I have a Set of Dynaudio BM5’s. In your article you said that 5 inch woofers are not recommended due to lack of bass response. I spent nearly $500 a piece for these and they do sound nice and flat, do you think I should get a Sub-woofer to complete the package?
    Best Regards.

    • I wouldn’t say 5-inch aren’t recommended. Just that you have to be aware of where they’re lacking in the low end.

      Also, the BM5a’s are like 7-inch woofers…so I’d double check which model you have.

      I don’t generally recommend a sub-woofer. Can cause more problems than it helps.

      • Scott

        Yes you are correct, 6.9″ not 5″ my bad. I was measuring the paper part of the cone and not from the edges of the woofer. I am glad not to have to get a sub! I have the Bm5a MkII. Thanks Joe.

        • Nice. You should be able to mix just fine on those.

  • Saso Alauf

    Hey Joe. I just found your site trying to figure out how exactly reverb works. It was about 7PM then…it’s now 4 AM and I’m just about halfway through the tabs of your articles/videos I opened. Not to mention how pretty much each new link gives me 3 links that look interestig.

    Anyway, right now I’m using a headset, It’s fairly ok, but nowhere near good enough (though my voice sounds like crap anyway on the gear I have now, no matter what I do. I only got lucky once so far).

    Here’s my question: I probably missed something, but I have a Marshall G80R CD (guitar amp) that I’m not using, since it’s way too loud for where I live these days (160 Watts – If I put the gain to 3, the windows start to vibrate 🙂 ) It has a pretty clean sound (as an option). It’s not a recording studio monitor, but I would like to get some decent software first.

    What would the biggest problem of such a “monitor” be?

    P.S.
    sorry about the really long post…thanks!

  • rey rafailes

    i have my bx5a and maudio fastract utra 8r,im using mixcraft. is this good for recording?and my room is only 7×7..i need your advice.thank you!!!

  • Peter

    What about the Yamaha HS50M’s? Good monitors or not?

  • Parker Corey

    In my opinion the need for high priced studio monitors is not a starting out necessity. The heralded engineer of all of Drake’s work produced and mixed all of his acclaimed mixtape “So Far Gone” on a set of AKG K240 cans and a portable iHome clock radio speakers. Does it sound great: yes. Granted now that they have made off a little better he’s upgraded from a clock radio to Genelec’s but still he was able to do without.

    • Talent will always trump equipment. You’re absolutely right. Still, I love having studio monitors (as do most people).

  • equator audio D5 good bang for the buck.

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  • 8″ monitors can create issues too, since they have so much more low end, but you’re right, for dance music you need that low end.

  • Kik

    you think the yamaha HS80m are good? i just heard really bad thinks and really good thinks about them.
    and what about the Adam a7x?

  • Anonymous

    Can I use 201 Bose Speakers as studio monitors?

  • Sorry, never heard ’em.

  • I’ve not heard the Bose speakers, but in general the Bose stuff isn’t made to be ACCURATE, it’s made to SOUND GOOD. You want your monitors to be flat and accurate. Who cares if the speakers make your mix sound good if the mix itself actually DOESN’T sound good, right?

    That said, I’m a firm believer that you can mix on just about anything with enough practice.

  • Yamaha HS80m ! 🙂 I really love ya blogs 🙂

  • Chris McDade

    Hey Joe. Great website. Im seriously thinking about getting the M-Audio EX66 monitors. I was just wondering if I would need any more gear to get them up and running? To be more specific I have an iMac, and wondered if I could just run them from the output of that with a 1/8 to 1/4 stereo splitter? Or do I need some kind of mixer/ board? If you could get back to me that would be great! Thanks in advance!

  • For true pros I highly recommend PCM monitors TB2S-AII , DB1S-AII they sound incredible.

    Another high end monitors to consider are:
    Genelecs and Sonodyne.

  • ray

    Monitors:
    The biggest mistake I ever made was not buying a great set of (monitors)speakers from day 1, a good set of monitors are perhaps the most important part of any studio.

    Affordable (cheap) monitors: KRK Rootkit RP8 G2 ( value/money), Yamaha HS50/HS80 ,Mackie MR5/MR8,M-audio BX5A , alesis,tannoy,behringer

    More expensive ones: Dynaudio B5A MK2, Adam A7, Mackie HR8 24MK2 ,Focal CMS 50, Genelec 8030a,Event ALP/OPAL

    If you buy cheap, you may end up buying again.

  • Hey Joe,

    Even though I bought them many-a year ago – almost a decade in fact – I’ve always been quite happy with my Tannoy Reveal Actives. They’re not superb, but they suffice for my purposes. That being said, I’ve done my share of mixing on lousy monitors. Once, I even mixed “deaf”, without any speakers whatsoever – basically, I had to spend a LOT of time with frequency spectrum analyzers, comparing to some same-genre professional songs with the sort of sound I was looking for. End-result: so-so. Moral of the story: get decent monitors!

  • WayneT

    Howdy Joe!
    I just joined your site after weeks of searching for a good reference point for home recording. A friend of mine has asked me to mix and master her album, and I’ve had a small home studio setup already for a while (PowerMac G5, dual 2.0GHz CPU’s, 8GB RAM, 720GB storage, 23″ Apple HD Cinema display, M-Audio BX5a nearfields, AKG Perception 200 condenser, Lexicon Alpha USB interface and Logic Express 8.) My question is: should this be enough to produce a good final product for her? Will Logic Express 8 have the tools to put the final polish on this project, in your opinion, or do I need something like T-RackS 3 software ($!)? Sorry I’m so long-winded; I have a ton of stuff to ask you in the next few months. Thanks in advance for your attention, and great website…

    • Hi Wayne, You should be able to get a good mix with that equipment. The biggest limitation will probably be how experienced you are. Good luck!!

  • Sajjad Akram

    I am using Cubase 5 for my mix and when I used to export my mix them some of frequency’s are lost what should I do to prevent these loses. After getting out of Cubase 5 what should I do for re-mastering or enhancing the mix.

    • I’m sorry. I don’t really understand the problem or what exactly you’re asking. It sounds like a Cubase flaw.

  • Sajjad Akram

    Dear Joe
    Thanks for such a nice and informative site. Dear I am using Genelec 1029 and 1031 monitors for my mixing but one problem I am facing is that when I go out to listen my mix on some different set of speakers or in my car then hight seems to be little over please advice me some thing also give me some tips on re-mastering.

    • Sajjad, you’re not facing anything unique. Every other engineer has faced the same issues. You need to make sure you have sufficient acoustic treatment in your room. Otherwise, you simply need to practice your craft, learn how to make your mixes translate to other systems. Have fun!!

  • tobybaxley

    Joe – I just found your blog today and I'm sure I will spend way too much time catching up. I am a home recording artist/songwriter. here in East Texas. I lived in Nashville for a while before we moved back to TX to take care of some family obligations.

    I really enjoy what I've read so far and am looking forward to reading more. I recently upgraded my studio monitors from a set of Bose Companion3 speakers to Alesis M1 Active 520 monitors. The difference is quite dramatic. I thought the Bose speakers sounded fine until I fired up these monitors. So much more depth and clarity to the sound. I can hear subtleties that I have not heard before.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.

    • Thanks Toby! And congrats on the new monitors!

  • Namin

    How would you compare the EX66 to Dynaudios BM6mk2 or BM5 or the AIR series (they have digital outs)? I mean can you really mix on them? I have read the reviews on practically every magazine out there about the EX66 . But as from your site, I did go to the sweetwater website and checked it out but under the review section, one of their sales engineers says he wouldnt recommend it for mixing or mastering? Its still on their website. Is that so? Why would he say so? I mean when Paul White on Sound on Sound and Recording magazine says that these boxes can indeed help your mixes transfer well on other systems.

    Now the prices of EX66 has come down. Do you think is it because of the inherent noise? I know you did mention it isnt bothersome. I have been using the BX5a for almost 3 years now and those ones do have that slight noise when its ‘on” but nothing so distracting when the music plays. I would love to have your comments as I intend to upgrade to the EX66 unless you have a better product to recommend. Dynaudio are way too expensive for me at the moment. Do you think the price difference between the EX66 and the expensive ones really really justify the sound that much?

    Thanks once again. Kudos to your beautiful site. I would love to listen to your mixes.

    • Hi Namin. I couldn’t give you a good direct comparison to the Dynaudios, but the EX66 would be a NICE upgrade from the BX5’s.

      I disagree that these would not be good for mixing and mastering. I just mastered an album on them, and they worked just fine. They have nice, accurate mids, and plenty of bottom end without being overly hyped.

      With the price-drop, I would imagine M-Audio is discontinuing them at some point? Not sure.

      And no, the noise from these doesn’t affect the mixing process, it’s just mildly annoying when your just sitting there not listening to music. 🙂

      Hope this helps. I’m glad you like the site!

    • On the 1 studios

      the Dynaudios bm5a are a huge step up from the ex66 in my opinion I went from a pair a KRK' s to the ex66's to now i'm settled in on my dyna's Vocalists hate them because theirs no hiding from the dyna's I would say the tightness and the ability to hear every small detail is the main thing. I found more rattles and buzzing going on in my studio that i now can hear and fix (loose wall outlet)

  • Chris

    Thanks Joe. Really appreciate the response.

    Cheers!

  • Chris

    Joe – those EX66s are a great deal right now – less than $600 for the pair – but there are a few reports of noise generated from them. Have you had any issues since this article was written?

    • Hey Chris. They do have a bit of noise just from being “on,” but it’s never really bothered me. You obviously can’t hear it while music is playing, so I don’t care if they’re a bit noisy when muted.

  • Bluesman

    I use a pair PMC TB2SAs (an industry standard) and a pair of Yamaha HS80s, (despite the advert’s claims they (HS80s) are like NS10s they are not, NS10s were so awful if you got your mix to sound good on them, the mix would sound good on anything, whereas the HS series give a pretty flat response and don’t lead to unwanted “surpises” or ear fatigue after a short while )

    I’d suggest that a lot of cheap “studio monitors” are nothing more than re-badged cheap hifi/computer speakers and are absolutely useless for the purpose.

    If you can afford them get PMCs 😉

    • I’ve not heard much about PMCs. I’ll have to check ’em out sometime. Thanks!

  • Darrin

    Ive been using Yamaha NS10s with a Phase Linear model 400a reference amp…then testing with some other sets of high end speakers…but when it sounds great in the car I know things are perfect.

    I havent had the Yamahas fail me ever…but alot of guys dont really like them.

  • Shawn

    I’m using the Samsom Media One 5a monitors. In general, they get the job done, but i wish the Mid Highs and Highs were a little more crisp. Was looking into getting the KRK Rokit monitors. Any experience with those?

    • I’ve heard good things about the KRK’s, but I’ve not used them. I’m a little more partial to the newer JBL LSR2325’s. Great speakers.

    • I have a pair of the KRK Rokit 6 monitors, and I can attest that the sound is amazing for the price. They are clear and powerful, and for the budget I would highly recommend them :).

  • Nice site joe. I think a site like this is needed in the music world. I have 2 behringer 8 monitors and 2 advent 8 monitors. I have my mac running through the mbox and the outputs of the mbox are hooked to my board so that I can run all four monitors. I was wondering if it is bad to mix with four big monitors rather than 2? And if it was bad to run the monitors through the board? The board is a non amped mackie 14 chanel mixer.

    • Hey Rick. It’s always nice to have multiple pairs of monitors on which you can check your mixes. However, it’s not a good idea to mix with all four on at once. Use them one pair at a time. When all four are on, you’ll get what’s called “comb filtering.” This is basically when a lot of frequencies get notched out because of the time delay between the speakers and your ears. The sound from each speaker hits your ears at a slightly different time, causing phasing. The result? Your speakers will sound thin, and your mixes won’t sound all that great either.

      Try this. Play audio through all four speakers, sit in front of them and move your head from side to side. You’ll notice that the sound is drastically different in each spot. Now turn of one pair, things should tighten up quite a bit.

      • Thanks. That helps alot. I am a music producer, so should I be making beats using just one set of monitors instead of using all four and rotate between the two sets?

        • Yep. You really never want more than two speakers playing at once. Have one pair be your primary, go-to pair. Learn to mix on those, and use the other pair as a reference to check your mixes.

  • Michael Curtis

    Hi Joe. Nice move on the new site. Two questions. I’m doing voiceovers in my studio and not in love with my monitors. I have AudioEngine 5 computer speakers and a set of Yamaha 5 inch powered monitors. They are quite different and as I said, I’m not in love with either. Also, is there an interface/monitor controller that would link my Mac (has the 1/8″ mini phone jack only as a speaker out) into either set without using the 1/8″ out? I run the AE5 monitors via the 1/8″ and sound is not great, I can run through my M-Box to get to the Yamahas. Suggestions? Thanks and good luck with the new site. Mike

    • Hey Mike. The converters on the Mbox are going to be much better than the 1/8″ jack on your computer, so I would run everything off of that. Something like the PreSonus Monitor Station would allow you to take the Mbox outputs and route those to up to three different pairs of monitors.

      Which Yamaha monitors do you have? The HS50M’s?