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Powered Studio Monitors gain staging

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by burntfrijoles, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    Forgive my ignorance and if I used the term correctly. I’ve never given a thought to setting the volume level on my studio monitors, a pair of Yamaha HS5.
    I have always had them straight at the midpoint of the level control. I control the loudness with my interface. Is this optimal?

    Also, I’ve never adjusted the Room control (500 Hz at 0, -2 or -4 db) or the High Trim (2K at +2, 0 or -2 db). Any guidance, tips, advice, words of wisdom?
     
  2. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's

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    I'd say set them so that the maximum volume on your audio interface is as loud as you want to hear them. If you turn them up higher than that, you'll have avoidable hiss and hum. If you set it below that, you won't be able to hear things the way you want to.

    Far as EQ shaping, set it the way you like, with the caveat that if you are mixing recordings through these, you may compensate the EQ on the recording in such a way that it sounds weird on other systems.
     
  3. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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  4. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's

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    Sounds like you are lacking high end. So turn down the high trim to -2 dB (which isn't much, admittedly). Then you will mix high frequencies 2 dB higher. High frequencies also tend to be directional so make sure your monitoring position gets the beam from the HF driver.
     
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  5. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Its a tuff one to answer EQ wise but level wise I would say a MIN of 75 % of capable output There are many audio circuits that don't even come alive unless we are well past 50%. Plus there is the inherent noise and hum factors to consider.

    The other issue is not all NEAR FIELDS are equal . I have a pair of Fostex PM-1 MK II's. Bi Amp'd. Hi end 45 watts, low end 75 watts. So they claim. 6 + 1/2 woofer. They are leagues different than my previous Maudio Near Fields.

    Sometimes we have to "LEARN " the Near Fields , its a circus balancing act !
     
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  6. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Is your room treated and do you have the monitors set up so you're in that equilateral triangle for nearfield monitoring they're designed for? If so, then search to find out how to calibrate them with pink noise and a level meter (phone app works). I have some pink noise files (somewhere) that I normalized to that -14dB LUFS and get that so the level on each speaker is about 85dB or so with the knob on the interface below noon. Then I can be careful about how loud I monitor at during mixing, and keep it below that. Don't know if that helps or not!
     
  7. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

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    A method:

    1. Download a real time analyzer for your phone and a .WAV of white noise. I have "RTA" and "Spectrum" on my iPhone. Put in your earplugs, play the white noise on a loop, and, one at a time, adjust the speakers so that they have the flattest response.

    2. Put on a mono music source and balance the speakers to create a centered image. Turn yourself around backwards and check to see that it doesn't jump. Check the output level of each speaker as well.

    3. Set the combined monitor levels on the speakers so that a reproducible setting on the interface yields a predictable room level. For instance, in my control room at work, 10 o'clock on the monitor dial (45' off vertical towards the left) yields approximately 75db when the meters show 0db. Play back the white noise at 0db on the meters and set the monitor levels. You can download a db meter for your phone to make the setting or use the db meter on the RTA. This allows you to reliably set your optimum listening level and a level that doesn't damage your ears without pulling out a meter.*

    Flat monitors often don't sound anything like stereo speakers. Flat response is an acquired taste and you need to... acquire it. Do remember that the job of monitors is to influence you to create good mixes, not to sound nice. get used to flat monitors and then "shop" your mixes around to every speaker system you can get your hands on until you can predictably balance your mixes on your monitors and they sound their best on as many other systems as possible.

    Bob

    * Back in tube days, systems were built so that volume controls were to be operated between closed on the left and 12 o'clock. Above 12 o'clock you could expect to enter distortion above their rated level. The venerable Crown amplifiers and many receivers followed this same logic. That was carried forward to the mixing consoles, and because you were controlling the level from the console, the monitor amps could be set higher. Virtually every professional studio I've entered has set themselves up on this principle where the console volume doesn't go above 12 o'clock. It is a funny holdover, but it is an industry standard, if you are interested in industry standards.
     
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  8. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    This may be the most informative comment I have read in recent years ! :)
     
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  9. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks for the responses guys.
    This will be my next project, to try some of these suggestions and test the results at each change.
     
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  10. 63telemaster

    63telemaster Tele-Meister

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    Interesting stuff. Never considered this before but just had a quick and dirty analysis of my levels and frequencies with my JBL LSR305 monitors. Turned out I was monitoring at around 75db, but I've now set that as my standard at 12 O'Clock on my level control which is 50%. JBLs are set around 75% which seems reasonable.

    Not sure about my frequency analyzer results as I seem to be getting the flattest response with the lo trim set to +2db. I always felt that my room (11' x 9') was a little bass heavy but I'll give it a try.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
  11. Marshall Thinline

    Marshall Thinline Tele-Holic

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    For adjusting your volume...this is from the manual...
    I looked it up because I have the same speakers and question.
    9480384B-ABC7-4194-96F3-461B175F023F.png
     
  12. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

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    One of the main points of confusion is that many people don't understand what "nominal input of +4 DB" actually means in step one.
    • +4 DB is Pro Line Level (most pro audiio equipment uses this standard)
    • -10 DB is Consumer Line Level (the everyday CD/DVD player, TV's, budget audio interfaces, cassette decks, etc... etc...)
    The speakers should be set to MATCH the audio interface output type!
    • If the audio interface has +4 Line Output.. then having the speakers set to +4 (12:00) is optimum.
    • If the audio interface has a -10 Line Output.... the input level of the speakers must be increased by 14db for optimum efficiency.
      NOTE: The HS5 speakers have a marking (near or at full) for -10 so that makes it really easy.
    The manual for the audio interface should state how it's output level is set. If it doesn't, check the internet. If you still can't find it, contact the company.
    If you have to guess, err to the side of caution and start with the speakers at the +4 setting... then turn them up (toward -10) if you need more.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
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  13. Biffasmum

    Biffasmum Tele-Meister

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    I know Sonarworks have a software/mic combination to help calibrate your monitoring. I haven’t tried it personally but worth a free evaluation if you’re serious-ish:

    https://www.sonarworks.com/reference
     
  14. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks. that is very helpful. They are indeed +4db

    I erroneously reported I have the HS5 but I actually have the HS50m ...and these are the controls
    Mid Eq -2 db, 0 db, + 2db
    Room Control 0 db, - 2 db, -4 db
    High Trim -2 db, 0, + 2 db
    Low Cut "Flat" 80Hz 100 Hz
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
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