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Old January 8th, 2007, 01:56 PM   #1
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Do I really need Nearfields?

On my current edit suite setup I'm forced to put my BX8a's on my desk, which obviously takes up a lot of room and is becoming an issue. Unfortunately I don't have the option to put them on stands behind the desk or even wall mount them, so it's either I put up with them cramping my current setup or use just headphones.

I have a new set of HD600 Sennheiser 'phones which sound great and to my ear are fairly accurate and flat. Can I use just 'phones to create a decent audio mix for my project/s or do I still need near-field monitors to achieve a good balance? Other than having something on my head for hours what exactly is using near-field monitors doing that 'phones can't?
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Old January 8th, 2007, 02:23 PM   #2
 
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IMHO, earphones can be misleading. i built some stands that sit on my editting desk. they raise the speakers up off the desk about 8 inches and leave room underneath for whatever.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 03:21 PM   #3
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I don't think the issues w/mixing using headphones is as much their accuracy as it is they produce a very different stereo image than monitors do. There is much more "mixing" of the audio going on when you are listening to a pair of speakers than when you are listening to phones where the left channel only goes in the left ear and the right channel only goes in the right ear.



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Old January 8th, 2007, 05:02 PM   #4
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Not to mention audio fatigue that is caused by extended use of earphones that you don't get using speakers (unless they're over driven).
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Old January 8th, 2007, 05:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
On my current edit suite setup I'm forced to put my BX8a's on my desk, which obviously takes up a lot of room and is becoming an issue. Unfortunately I don't have the option to put them on stands behind the desk or even wall mount them, so it's either I put up with them cramping my current setup or use just headphones.

I have a new set of HD600 Sennheiser 'phones which sound great and to my ear are fairly accurate and flat. Can I use just 'phones to create a decent audio mix for my project/s or do I still need near-field monitors to achieve a good balance? Other than having something on my head for hours what exactly is using near-field monitors doing that 'phones can't?
If every person listening to your video is wearing headphones, go ahead.
Otherwise, tough it out, stop trying to deny that audio is part of the program and deal with placing your audio monitors in the right spot.

I'm NOT trying to be unduly harsh. It's just that a lot of folks who have discoverd that audio is important to their video try NOT to deal with the simple laws of physics. In doing so, they screw up their own sound and lose customers.

You need a fairly unobstructed area in which to put two monitors. (That means if you are using two or three CRT or flat panel monitors, you have to move them to make room for the audio monitors.)

You should create a triangle with your head and the two monitors. The legs of the triangle between your head and the monitors should be SLIGHTLY longer than the distance between the monitors. The monitors should be angled in slightly and the tweeters should be pointed right at your ears.

You need monitors that have enough frequency response to let you hear the good stuff and the bad stuff. The bad stuff is hiss, distortion and low frequency hums, buzzes and wind noise.

If you choose smaller monitors that don't have much low end response, you MUST have a subwoofer so you can hear the low end.

Any questions?

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Old January 8th, 2007, 05:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford
If every person listening to your video is wearing headphones, go ahead.
Otherwise, tough it out, stop trying to deny that audio is part of the program and deal with placing your audio monitors in the right spot.

I'm NOT trying to be unduly harsh. It's just that a lot of folks who have discoverd that audio is important to their video try NOT to deal with the simple laws of physics. In doing so, they screw up their own sound and lose customers...
I'm on board with all the above; audio is tantamount my productions which is why I always pay extra attention to soundtracks and pay for the best music I can afford for any project.

I've currently got the monitors in the best of all places, in the triangle/tweeters at ear level and plenty of base reinforcement. It's just that they take up room on the desk that's needed for other equipment.

At this point my only alternative is to physically re-arrange the edit suite so that the monitors can be placed in an optimal place without being blocked by video monitors or sacrificing the stereo imaging.

Many thanks, Ty!
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Old January 8th, 2007, 05:47 PM   #7
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Very cool. You are on the right track. Repositioning is a pain sometimes, but getting it right makes a scarily big difference.

I have de-spooked a lot of audio and video studios. A lot of the problems are created when people don't want to move things.

(Sometimes they don't know what to move where.)

Regards,

Ty
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Old January 11th, 2007, 04:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
On my current edit suite setup I'm forced to put my BX8a's on my desk, which obviously takes up a lot of room and is becoming an issue. Unfortunately I don't have the option to put them on stands behind the desk or even wall mount them, so it's either I put up with them cramping my current setup or use just headphones.

I have a new set of HD600 Sennheiser 'phones which sound great and to my ear are fairly accurate and flat. Can I use just 'phones to create a decent audio mix for my project/s or do I still need near-field monitors to achieve a good balance? Other than having something on my head for hours what exactly is using near-field monitors doing that 'phones can't?
I will edit on headphones ONLY. But mixing? Forget it.

Listen to your favorite TV show. Then take your headphones and listen to it. Do they sound anything alike? Headphones completely negate the one thing that affects the audio more than anything else: the room.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 06:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford
Repositioning is a pain sometimes, but getting it right makes a scarily big difference.
After moving things around (less effort than originally thought) I actually ended up with a much better sound environment. Before I was getting what I'd consider good stereo imaging, now it's even better with a highly defined "sweet spot" in the middle where "audio center" is clearly more defined than before. I can't discern this same sense of "center" on headphones.

One of these days I'll take this same setup and determine if I can get this same sense of presence - and good imaging - from my B&W 601's instead of nearfields. Nothing like experimentation.

Thanks again for the help, Ty.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 06:34 PM   #10
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You're welcome!

Hmm, can't find center with headphones.

That worries me a bit. What do you have them plugged into?

I was going to add that having a mono button that puts all of your audio is very helpful. It helps you balance you power amps. It lets you know if your audio has phase problems. It should put the audio right between your ears in your headphones.

I wonder if you have a polarity swap somewhere in the audio chain. That would make the center hard to find.

Regards,

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Old January 11th, 2007, 11:49 PM   #11
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I mis-spoke; it's not that I can't find center with the headphones it just that the illusion of "audio center" seems more pronounced now with the nearfields in their new location.

On this new setup I'm hearing details, nuances in the music that I hadn't noticed before and that the distinction between left and right channel is much more pronounced now. For example, in a particular track I always noticed the brass section was mostly on the right and strings and woodwinds were mostly on the left. Now, this separation is more evident along with a more pronounced "center" area where other instruments live. It's almost as if I'm really surrounded by the music in a way I wasn't before. Hard to describe an audio experience in text.

I've used a couple tools to make sure the output from the monitors is the same and as flat as possible; I have a Telarc disc with a test section to identify Left, left-center, center, right-center and right channel plus sine and square wave sections at various db levels that are used in conjunction with an SPL and waveform meter. TechToolPro also has an Audio Lab section where you can output a test tone in various frequencies from about 30hz to 30khz for the same purposes.

Now I'm curious if I place the B&W's in the same location what kind of coloration they will give the same to the same tracks I'm using to test this setup - will it sound better, worse or just different?

I'm certainly no audio expert but I'm having a blast playing with this stuff.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 07:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
...
Now I'm curious if I place the B&W's in the same location what kind of coloration they will give the same to the same tracks I'm using to test this setup - will it sound better, worse or just different?

....
I can't answer anything about the B&W's but as you experiment, keep in mind that the job of a monitor is not to sound 'good,' it's to be accurate, predictable, and consistent. If the mix is good, it should sound good. If the mix is bad, it should sound like c**p. You use monitors so you can accurately evaluate your work, judging the quality of the your output files and how they'll translate to the systems your audience will hear them on - they should always tell you the truth about how well you've done your job.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 08:32 AM   #13
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It's been my experience that great sounding monitors don't really hide a bad mix or bad elements of a mix, they just let you hear them more exquisitely.

Your mileage may vary.

Bob, even the humble EV Sentry 100 monitors I use as near field at one workstation have made some fairly discerning folks comment that they hear more in a recording than they had heard in other monitors.

I think part of that is placement and part of it is that they are in a situation in which they are expected to really put their face in a mix. Dunno , maybe the reason I like those monitors is that they are something special.

I use an old pair of JBL L100 in mid field for the other.

It's very cool that you have "found the fun" in audio.

Regards,

Ty
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