Recommendations on Loudspeakers for Mastering, Mixing, Reference and Tracking

    • March 28, 2023 at 12:25 pm #5595
      Nicolas Payet

        Hi! Bob and Bob 🙂

        Can you give us some models speakers for Mastering, Mixing, Reference and tracking, please? Do you think ATC speakers are more for mixing or mastering?

      • March 28, 2023 at 4:23 pm #5597
        Bob Katz

          Dear Nic: Hi from this Bob. Please keep in mind that to a great extent, brand and model preferences are personal opinion. We can be as objective as possible, but ultimately we choose by our ears. And your ears are not my ears.

          One of my clients doing mixing, is using an ATC pair for mixing. I had him install a Lake processor to reduce a high frequency peak in that model. It’s been years so I don’t even remember the model number. I know a number of high end mastering engineers who swear by certain ATC models for mastering. I am not familiar with which models they’ve chosen, sorry to say. What I’ve heard has been nice, but not my cup of tea.

          I have a pair of Kii 3/BXT in Studio B for mixing. They are superb, among the finest quality speakers on earth. Bob O. says that extremely flat monitors could produce deceptively good mixes, but so far in two+ years of mixing we haven’t had a client say that some instrument is too low in the mix. They are the only speakers in the mix room… I don’t switch to “alternative mixing speakers”. I do have a pair of Audeze LCD-4Z (or 4M, I forget) headphones in there, and sometimes use them as a headphone reference. The Kii 3/BXT would make excellent mastering speakers in a not too large room. I highly recommend them and would be thrilled with them without question in my mastering room, Studio A. Just not able to play them quite as loud as my Dynaudios, which is the only possible consideration about the Kiis.

          In Studio A I have a pair of Dynaudio M5P, mastering monitors. They are over 8 feet tall, go down to 27 Hz -3 dB by themselves. Most people would consider that more than adequate, but I have supplemented them with a pair of JL Fathom F112 subwoofers that extend the response to 17 Hz flat and 15 Hz -3 dB. I discovered after purchase that the Dynaudios are a hair bright at the top (which seems to be a tendency these days 🙁 — but it wasn’t a problem since I perform linear phase correction with Acourate Convolver for the best correction although with considerable latency, and with the Grace M908 Monitor controller for zero latency.

          Can you get away without correction? Yes, I remember the classic Dunlavy speakers sounding superb without any correction. But not every room is perfect and a little tweak doesn’t hurt. I treat mastering with great responsibility so if I hear a nit and I can measure an anomaly that corresponds with the nit — I try to fix the nit :-). It keeps me confident in what I’m putting out.

          Can any loudspeaker/room issue be made better with digital correction? With the right software/hardware, yes. Both Acourate and the Grace have extremely versatile and high resolution EQ available.

          Hope this helps.

        • March 30, 2023 at 10:36 pm #5634
          Tom Powers

            So in a side question that goes along with this discussion….

            REW is a great measurement tool, but what is the consensus on the software room correction software such as Sonarworks, Accurate or Audiolense? Personally I’ve tried and use the Sonarworks to dial in the small adjustments the room needed after treatment. I’ve found that if there’s a -6db or greater dip in the graph , that Sonarworks cant really deal with that…which for obvious reasons of that being a wicked cancelation and should be addressed in the room. But, if you vary +/- 3dB…then SW does pretty well in adjusting the rest of the way.

            So given that one has treated the room against the measurements taken, to get as flat as possible, and then using the software to get the “rest of the way”… what pitfalls are there in such an approach?  And to build upon that…what advantages, if any,  do the hardware correctors like the Trinnov bring to the table?

            All insight is appreciated.

            • April 1, 2023 at 4:30 pm #5665
              Bob Katz

                Concensus on room correction products? There is none. There are fervent fans in each camp. I have found that some of the products you mention tend to over correct. Trinnov does not seem to overcorrect but I don’t think it is as transparent as my personal preference, which  is Acourate and Acourate Convolver by Audio Vero. (using the same D/A converters). Acourate does not over correct and it does an amazingly pure and transparent sounding job. Am I a fervent fan? Yes, you can call me that.

                You ask, “what are the pitfalls”? Using the wrong product and thinking you are doing it right. Or using the right product and doing it wrong. I’ve used REW with psychoacoustic smoothing and the best digital equalizer to correct what it does. But REW requires knowledge, understanding of all of its measurements, including waterfall. “Room Correction” is not just about frequency response. If you want to have a room/loudspeaker corrected, have a knowledgeable, experienced, and trained acoustician perform the job. Yes, you start with the room first. As my friend Uli Brueggemann (developer of Acourate) likes to say, “A bathroom with correction is still a bathroom.”

                I think if this topic starts to meander as a moderator, I might move all the room correction discussions into a new topic to keep the threads straight. Let’s see how it goes.

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