One of my VIP members asked this:
What do you think of the IK Multimedia ARC room correction plugin for mixing, because frankly my mixes are horrible…a better definition would be extreme mud.
Things like ARC seem like really good ideas, and they can perhaps be a little helpful, but only if your room is already properly treated.
I did a class on acoustic treatment a while back with my acoustician friend Gavin Haverstick, and that question came up several times.
(If you’re unfamiliar with ARC, it’s a plugin that uses a microphone to measure the frequency response of your room. Then the plugin EQ’s your speakers to give you a flatter, more accurate response.)
Gavin actually TESTED a system like ARC, and all he found from his measurements was that the signal had the exact same frequency curve, but it was just 3 dB louder.
Louder sounds better, y’know?
So…I’d say focus on the room itself. Make sure it’s not the wrong dimensions. If it is, think about switching rooms. Otherwise, some more bass traps and absorption might be the ticket.
Aside from acoustic treatment, the biggest thing you can do is simply learn more and more how to mix on your system.
Every room has problems.
Every room lies to you.
“Fix” the room as best you can, but ultimately you need to train yourself to mix IN the room.
That class I mentioned above? Yeah, all the recordings are available for purchase. (Nifty, right?)
Before you drop a lot of money on acoustic treatment or room correction systems, make sure you actually understand what’s going on in your room.
It’s all waiting for you here: