Monitor newbie question

Get that song on tape! Errr... disk?
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Trout
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Monitor newbie question

Post by Trout » Sat Apr 23, 2022 9:50 am

I have been recording with an apogee jam into garageband and using only headphones for some years now. But as I want to distribute my music on other platforms I'm now looking into an upgrade. I'm getting a Focusrite, a new microphone and monitors. But because of space, I can't have them on the desk at all times ( my wife works from home) so I was thinking... Can I go on recording using headphones and when I have a few songs recorded ( and time, as in her doing something else) take out the monitors and mix? Or do you use the monitors all through recording?
#sitdownrock found at https://soundcloud.com/oldguywithaview

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Re: Monitor newbie question

Post by øøøøøøø » Sat Apr 23, 2022 11:30 am

You can do whatever works for you. There's absolutely no reason you can't monitor in headphones for tracking purposes.

There are even some people who manage to mix on headphones, but I'm not one of them (and I still don't think it's wise to rely on headphones alone for monitoring in a mix application).

The bigger issue might be that speakers-in-a-room is a considerably more-complex system with far more variables than headphones-on-a-head, and is much more difficult to get right.

Obviously truly good monitors can be quite expensive, but also, if you're sharing a workspace with someone doing non-music work, the factors besides the speakers might have to be compromised as well. These factors include placement, height, listening position, room orientation, other stuff in the room, room treatment, etc.

These factors are as important as the monitors themselves, and can be tricky and time-consuming to get close-to-right (getting them very right will cost a lot of time and money indeed--well beyond the scope of anyone doing home recording).

So do be cognizant of the possibility that a set of inexpensive monitors positioned sub-optimally in a sub-optimal space might not lead to a major upgrade in the quality of your work. It could just end up confusing you further, at least until you've spent a lot of time listening and learning the peculiarities of your space*.

(*my first "home studio" was little more than a set of old KRK V6s on a desk in an untreated room. I eventually learned that if I walked to this one spot near the door and squatted down a bit, I could really hear what the low end was doing. I shake my head now at the idea that I ever tried to work under those conditions...)

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Re: Monitor newbie question

Post by Trout » Sun May 08, 2022 7:20 am

Thank you that's some good advice. I don't want to fall down a rabbit hole but I think I will get a pair of monitors and and a Focusrite and see how that works for me.
#sitdownrock found at https://soundcloud.com/oldguywithaview

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Re: Monitor newbie question

Post by marqueemoon » Sun May 08, 2022 8:58 am

I do a lot of work on headphones, and I’ve found I can usually get things in the ballpark that way,

For me if I use only headphones mixes end up a little light in the bass, a little too dry, and have panning that’s too conservative. Often some things end up more compressed than they should be as well, especially vocals.

Of course headphones are a very common way people listen to music, so it’s important that mixes work on them too. I usually find once I have the above stuff and overall mix well dialed in on speakers that it still passes the headphone test.

As long as have headphones that are reasonably accurate and haven’t done anything extreme while tracking you should be able to revisit everything with monitors.

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Re: Monitor newbie question

Post by mcatano » Fri May 13, 2022 5:01 am

An alternative to packing up your monitors between sessions might be to get something decent sounding with a (very) small footprint. I've been using the ik iLoud micros for about 4 years now for my day job and they've been great. Extremely well-reviewed speakers, powered, portable, generally speaking I've been really happy with the purchase.

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