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Old November 20th, 2003, 12:32 PM   #31
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Clay,
yep, same idea for music.


True to what?
Let me relate it to a joke I heard:

A blonde (OK, don't everybody go getting politically correct on me here...I'm blond too!) is watching a video, and reads the notice at the beginning: "This video has been reformatted to fit your screen." She says: "How did they know what size TV screen I have?"

Well, what they did know is that most people have the standard old NTSC 4:3 aspect ratio, and that the widescreen format of the original film will look cut off at the edges. So this reformattiing works well on most TVs.

And what we are trying to do here is create an audio track that will work best when played back on 99.9% of our customers' setups, which is speakers. Whether the crappy little 3 inch speakers on a cheap TV, or a bi-amped array of sound reinforcement speakers on stage, it's speakers.

The difference between all speakers and (almost) all headphones is this: With headphones, the drivers are about 1/2 inch from your ear, and each ear only hears what is fed to it from its respective driver and nothing from the other one. With speakers it is different. Without getting into a lengthy boring engineering treatise about time delay, phase shift, cancellation, room reverberation and all that, let's just say that the sound waves have to travel many feet before reaching your ears. Plus each ear hears a mix of both speakers, and the brain sorts it all out. Psychoacoustics of headphones will not match those of speakers. So we edit and mix true to the most likely soundfield environment our customers will have.

Why is this important? One reason: with the cups so close to your ears and no external acoustical factors to worry about, something may sound crystal clear on the phones but may seem buried in the mix when played back in the real world. And since Job 1 (usually) is to communicate, we want our program material to be intelligible.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 12:57 PM   #32
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<<<-- Originally posted by Mike Butler :
And what we are trying to do here is create an audio track that will work best when played back on 99.9% of our customers' setups, which is speakers. So we edit and mix true to the most likely soundfield environment our customers will have.

So Mike, would it be safe to say that editing in a normal living room with half decent speakers is what we should do and make that sound as best as possible. Or (here I go thinking out loud again) should we edit in a dead room with the most expensive speakers. I would assume that if you make it sound the best possible on the best speakers and amps, etc. it will sound the best possible on the crappiest systems?

"Without getting into a lengthy boring engineering treatise about time delay, phase shift, cancellation, room reverberation and all that, let's just say that the sound waves have to travel many feet before reaching your ears. Plus each ear hears a mix of both speakers, and the brain sorts it all out. Psychoacoustics of headphones will not match those of speakers."

Do you know of elementary reading that I could get into to learn about this statement?

Mike, thanks for indulging my "3 year-old" questioning rampage. I really appreciate the info!

Clay
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Old November 20th, 2003, 04:04 PM   #33
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I guess it's similar to production video monitors. It's about establishing a standard, and I guess with audio mixes big budget movies are mixed with good gear and played at theatres through good gear and that's what people expect. The DVD's are made well and more and more people generally listen to them through a stereo home theatre. If you want to make you're sounds "standard" you need to try and get that sort of thing too. Now we generally can't afford 5k on speakers so we have to do what's best. Get good ones we can afford, test the material on a range of devices once mixed and just live with it ;)

And also we want good reproduction so that we don't miss errors in the mixing. I've been mixing my LadyX episode and I just have Cambridge Soundworks speakers. Everything seemed find until I played them through my Sony 7506's... I then finally heard all the low rumblings, hisses etc that was making it sound shit. Now I'm having to foley a lot of stuff ;)

It also depends on what you're doing too. If you're internet based distribution then you can do with crappy speakers as people are used to it being crappy. If you're wanting to get into festivals, get some good speakers.

From my research, at around the $400-$500 a speaker price range, I've found that the recommendations for *good* speakers came down to Genelec 1029s and JBL4410's. Genelec is powered but the JBL's require an amp. Thing is even those will not reproduce the bass notes amazingly accurately. Fine for dialog, but if you're mixing music it's been heavily suggested to me that you will probably need a sub too. Of course all this information, like I said before is relative to their standard of quality. Maybe you can get way with less.



Just my-not-even-just-a-beginner's 2c

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Old November 20th, 2003, 04:56 PM   #34
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Ah yes Aaron, not missing the errors, that's where a handy headset comes in. Just today I had to edit an audio clip of the Howard Stern show, where the Kuya girl said " fifteen dollars-fifteen thousand dollars." She obviously meant to say 15K, but I wanted it to come out without the blooper. So I razored it right down to the frame while listening on the cans, then verified it through the speakers. Came out fine.

I used to use Cambridges, they were OK for most "business news" stuff, but I have switched to KEFs. Much better for rock & hip-hop, even with the arthritic old amp they are paired with. Would like the Mackie 824s, would settle for Behringer Truths and toss the amp.

Hey, if you have the money for room deadening and expensive speakers, go for it. Or just do the best you can, upgrade as money allows, and meanwhile as they say in auto racing "run what you brung." I am not using the ideal setup (yet), but it is not stopping me from doing my job.

Fact is, if you mix on good speakers, you will be confident of it sounding as good as possible on most systems. There is a risk in trying to optimise for crappy playback speakers, you try compensating for their shortcomings and wind up with over-emphasized bass which strains amplifiers, shrill highs which hurts people's ears, etc. Although it's been said that in the early days of rock-n-roll, recording engineers would try their final mix on a cheap 6x9" car speaker to simulate how it would sound coming out of their target listeners' dashboards. I never did it though.

Clay, try Jay Rose's book, available on Amazon & half.com

BTW, there is no such thing as a stupid question, just stupid mistakes from failing to ask questions.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 05:36 PM   #35
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Which of his books would be best for beginning and learning?

Producing Great sound for DV
or
Audio Postproduction for DV

I read some (unhelpful) reviews and wanted a little bit more info. Thanks.

Clay
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Old November 20th, 2003, 05:51 PM   #36
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Producing Great sound for DV would be the first. Make sure you buy the second edition. Jay covers monitoring sound both on production and editing.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 05:52 PM   #37
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Clay, on www.dplay.com the author himself describes the two books. The one about postproduction is more likely to have answers for you about what's going on in this thread, but you may want them both. Speaking as a digital editor, I'd much rather work with clean audio to start with than to have to fix field production blunders (lord knows I have had to fix plenty of my own).

He also suggests that you click on amazon directly from his site so he can get a better commission.

I say why not let him get the xtra pay, cuz he has contributed significant knowledge to the digital video/audio community.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 06:03 PM   #38
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Clay
Go over to www.dv.com and sign up. Jay moderates the Audio forum. He's a very patient man and answers pretty well all of the posted questions. It's a very well behaved forum unlike the bunch of clowns next door on the DV.Com Camera Forum (I'm one of the clowns along with Frank from the Panny Forum here)

My whole point on the open cans was i don't have the space for monitors (although I have a very good preamp, amp and studio monitors) so I was going to compromise. I'm a slut for more toys anyway :)) It well could be a waste of money but we'll see.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 06:42 PM   #39
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Slut for more toys!!!! LOL!!

I think my wife would describe me as that! (never mind all the A/V stuff, at least I get paid to use them, how about the Harley and the backhoe!)

I totally relate to the space problem, I'd bring in my treasured JBL 4311B's from home but it's already crammed to the max here. :-) Barely room for the Mac keyboard and mouse, and when capturing DV I have to lay the cam on top of my flatbed scanner or on my analog edit controller. Got dubbing decks piled eight VTRs high and got more equipment under the desk.

I'm thinking about flying my speaks from the ceiling just to get'em off my desk, what the heck, I've done it with giant EAW's for corporate meetings (of course, with a sound contractor, using chain motors to hoist them up to the trusses).

I just signed up on dv.com the other day, maybe we'll meet up over there.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 07:44 PM   #40
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Well this thread has sort of drifted towards headphones. However... I'm also looking for some studio monitors. I've almost settled on a pair of Event Studio Precision 6 Active Monitors. I was really impressed by how large of a sweet spot these had and how incredible they sounded very close.

I've been able to find a place to get a pair for $899. What other active monitors in this price range (or lower) should I look at?
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Old November 21st, 2003, 10:54 AM   #41
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The Mackie HR824 have an impressive reputation, street price around $700/pr.

Even lower price are the Behringer Truth B2031, which some people are fond of for about $400 per pair.

The big challenge is doing demo listening. I am very reluctant to buy speakers without comparing them side-by-side (comes from my old audio sales days).
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Old November 21st, 2003, 11:35 AM   #42
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Guys,

Thanks for all of the advice. I will get over to dv.com and hopefully talk more at lenght with Jay Rose and get his insights.

Bryan, me too! I think I have decided to not decide and just go ahead and get both, as it sounds like both are needed and justified by their own functionality to specific applications.

I have an old set of Panasonic flat square speakers hanging on the wall, but not being used and are hooked to an old amp. I think I will move that stuff down to the editing system and hook it up and check it out. I have the ol' G5 hooked up to the home surround system right now (not through the deck, but through the computer)...it really doesn't work all that well for editing, just for hearing (iTunes, CD's, DVD's, etc.). I'm gonna switch that through the deck.

What about sheilding? How far should the speakers be from the monitor? And, I understand that the speakers should be ear level? Space is now becoming an issue! Time for a bigger place!
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Old November 21st, 2003, 12:00 PM   #43
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Clay,

Shielded cables are not needed for speakers. If you are talking about magnetic shielding to prevent monitor image being distorted by the speaker magnets, that depends. My KEFs are each not more than 2 feet away from the monitor and I've suffered no weird effects so far. Ear level is good. When you get some money set aside for speakers, go listen to a few. Enjoy.
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Old November 21st, 2003, 12:09 PM   #44
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Mike,

Thanks for all the help!

Yeah, I was talking about the speaker magnets. I'll try that to start. I have had some weird stuff happen (long time ago) when I didn't know that the speakers could affect monitors. Thanks again...

Clay...
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Old November 21st, 2003, 02:06 PM   #45
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Clay, do a search on the forums at DV.com as I've been asking the same questions about which speakers to get. The JBL and Genelec's were the two that it came down to for me, as suggested by the two resident guru's Jay Rose and Jerry R. Sure that's their own opinions but I tend to trust those guys.

Regarding the Mackies, Jay was concerned due to the very impressive Frequency Response of those speakers. He also was wary due to the fact that Mackie listed no total distortion figure. His concern was that to get that frequency response they might have been overpowering some componenets (transducers?). With genelec's and jbls' you ge all the info apparently and he likes that.

Good luck with your purchase!
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