5 Tips To Monitor Better In Your Studio
You can have the best musical ideas and plugins on earth, but it isn’t going to do you any good if you are not mixing effectively because of your studio monitors.
In this guide I’ll talk about the 5 tips you can take to monitor better in your studio towards a better mix.
Tip 1 – Don’t Buy 5 inch Studio Monitors
My first advice to your studio monitors is to only buy monitors with speaker cones of at least 6 inches. A 5 inch monitor speakers may be cheaper and easier to carry around but I can personally tell you that you’ll mix better on 8 inch studio monitors.
The problem with 5 inch speakers is that they are unable to produce lower end frequencies. That means you won’t hear the lower bass end while mixing.
You can’t hear below 45Hz. It’s our human listening limitation.
You might say hey, 45Hz is pretty low and that’s fine. Well I don’t care which speaker company you’re currently looking at, every company would boast about how low their speakers are able to output sound at even if it isn’t true.
The truth is you’ll still lack the low end bass on 5 inch speakers.
Because of that, you’ll tend to mix in more bass when doing mixing. Your mix may sound good on the 5 inch speakers but it’ll just sound too bassy when you play it on systems with bigger speakers.
Always only buy monitors with at least 8 inches speaker cones and your mix will be better. 5 inch monitors can be handy as a 2nd pair of studio monitors to reference your mixes on but if you’re buying your first pair of speakers, raise your budget and go for an 8 inch.
Tip 2 – Place Your Monitors So That The Tweeters Are At Ear Level
Your studio monitor placement is really important. The ‘sweet spot’ for monitoring in front your speakers refers to listening to your speakers in the middle of the axis. This is so you listen to your speakers from left and right equally.
As you sit down on your chair, your ears should be at the same level of the speaker’s tweeters. This gives you an optimal listening position where you’ll be able to hear your mixes accurately. When placed too low, you’ll tend to hear too much bass.
To raise your speakers, it’s good to use speakers stands. Speaker stands also isolate your speakers from having your speakers on your tables. An inexpensive speaker stand that you can buy for your studio is the Samson MS200 speaker stands which really is a simple speaker stand yet quite effective.
Tip 3 – Use The Pomodoro Technique
Even if a mix sounds bad, by listening to a mix too long, your brain will begin to familiarize with it and you’ll be tricked into thinking that the mix is good.
Never mix for more than 45 minutes sitting in front the mixing desk.
That is why producers normally take a few days and sometimes even weeks to finish a mix. They refresh their ears and perception towards their mix by getting off the mixing board and then coming back later.
I used to sit down for hours at one go, producing music. Not only that made my eyes got worse, my mixes weren’t solid at the end of the day as well.
Today, I use the pomodoro technique to help me manage my time when working in the studio. The Pomodoro technique is a technique where you use a timer for about 45 minutes. Once the the timer goes off, take a 5 minutes break. Just stop doing whatever you are doing and take a break. Perhaps take a walk or go drink some water. Then go back and set the timer for another 45 minutes.
This technique of working is said to increase mental agility. However true it is, I know one thing. It definitely help your brain perception on your mixes.
Tip 4 – Never Put A Monitor Speakers Sideways!
Placing your studio monitor sideways may look cool but if they aren’t designed to be placed horizontally, then you might just be monitoring your mixes poorly.
Turning your speakers sideways causes a few problems. First, you’ll be experiencing phasing problems when you move about your studio. A slight shift to the left or right will just throw your optimal listening position down the drain.
Secondly, the wave-guide of your speakers are designed to broaden the sound waves from the speaker cones. Putting the speaker on its side will just cause the sound waves to bounce off your table or speaker stand, giving you poor monitoring. With all the sound waves bouncing, it defeats the purpose of sound treating your room as well.
If you seen pro studios doing it, it’s usually just to get the small near field monitors out of the way for the bigger passive speakers.
Tip 5 – Don’t Buy Into EQ & Room Correction Features
I cringe whenever I see monitor speakers with digital EQ or room corrections.
Many studio monitors have these types of features built into them to help you tune according to your room acoustics.
While this might sound like a good idea for your home studio, which is most probably not very expensively treated. However you must always remember that you can’t cheat your way out in a badly treated room. You can’t cheat physics.
There are no speakers that can give you good monitoring even with the help of digital processing, if your room has uncontrolled acoustics.
Take more time into learning how to treat your studio and pick up some DIY skills into building sound absorption panels and more. Also it usually is more about getting familiar with your speakers then to go out to look for the best monitor speakers you can find. The best home studio monitors are those that you truly understand and know your mixes on.
I’ll leave you to look for the best studio monitors for your home studio. With these tips you should be able to get a grip on which studio monitors to buy.
Having a good set of studio monitors you can trust is most important of all in the studio and will be the determining factor that would make your music or break your music. Which studio monitors are you favourite? Comment below.