Are monitors a requirement?

rolloman

New member
When I purchased everything for my simple home recording setup I bought a monitor. All I am doing is recording myself playing electric guitar along with backing tracks to put on soundcloud or youtube. I have not used the monitor yet so kinda confused as to why I bought it now. When I playback and listen to my work I use the laptops internal speakers because that is what anyone listening to it on soundcloud or youtube most likely will do and I want to hear how it will sound to them. Am I missing something about the purpose of the monitor. I don't mike it because I have a guitar speaker cabinet for that. Thinking I should sell the monitor but don't want to do something I will regret in the future. Thanks to those who help me to understand this newbie question.
 

Dags

New member
Not everyone will listen to your tunes using built-in laptop speakers, so having a pair of decent monitors will help you get a sense of how the song sounds when played on a stereo or anything other than laptop speakers.
If you take the song you mixed on laptop speakers and play it back through the speaker with a 6" or 8" LF driver where the bass response is much better, you'll probably be hearing something completely different unless you have also checked the mix using a decent pair of reference headphones so you can hear everything clearly.
In fact, if you plug in a pair of headphones to your laptop and listen to the song you mixed using only the built-in laptop speakers you may marvel at how awful the mix sounds :)

Even a pair of Hi Fi speakers will go a long way to helping you get a better balance to your mix compared with laptop speakers.
Though checking the mix on laptop speakers will let you know if you have a really good mix if everything is still audible, especially the bass end of things.

Dags
 

Seafroggys

Well-known member
Yeah if you mix using your laptop speakers, they will only sound good through that one pair of laptop speakers. There will sound awful on any earphone (including cheap earbuds), other computer speakers, and of course anything of half-decent quality (you'd be surprised how many people have external PC speakers for their laptops for playing music, most people I know do).

I have to ask....it sounds like you are talking about a singular monitor. Are you mixing in mono?
 

rolloman

New member
I have to ask....it sounds like you are talking about a singular monitor. Are you mixing in mono?
Had 2 monitors, only 1 now.

My Recording Equipment:
RP355 guitar multi-effect processor
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a 2 in / 2 out USB recording interface
Sennheiser e 609 Super-cardioid mic.
Blackstar HT-1R Studio/Practice Tube Amp
Speaker cab with Celestion G12M Greenback speaker
1 JBL LSR2328P 2 way Powered Studio Monitor
Audacity DAW software
Cubase LE 5 DAW software
Fender Strat electric guitar
Backing track download

I use stereo with my DAW software only when I have 2 sources of input to feed both inputs of my Focusrite 2i2 usb interface. Otherwise mono. When I say I use 2 inputs sometimes to the usb interface I still only am recording the one source my guitar but to both input channels for example 1 from the Miced cabinet along with a direct output from the RP355 for the other input. I test and set the input levels on the usb interface while watching the DAW softwares bargraphs first before recording.

All that being said (sorry) and knowing that I only playback thru the laptops internal spkrs. or headphones on the laptop (by the way the headphones always sound a ton better than the laptops speakers).

What sounds best is when I don't mic anything and don't use my guitar amp but feed both outputs from the Digitech Effects/Amp simulator direct into both inputs of the usb recorder interface.
2nd best would be micing the guitar amps cabinet along with 1 output from the Digitech.
3rd best would be recording mono just the miced cab.
4th best would be the emulated output from the amp which sound horrible.
 
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rolloman

New member
I'm not familiar with it, personally - but it looks like he bought one studio monitor:
Bought 2 but one was used and failed. Luckily I bought the insurance from Guitar Center and got my money back. Your link is to the one I have left, the one I bought new. Looks like I may be taking it off the classifieds forum depending on what everyone thinks here before were done and get anoter mate for it. Or may keep it for sale and buy 2 not so expensive of monitors.
 

Dags

New member
Had 2 monitors but 2nd one was bought used and failed got my money back. Only have the one right now.

Ah - yes. You can use this to check if the mix is mono compatible, but for 'normal' stereo mixing purposes the single monitor won't be really effective.


I use stereo with my DAW software only when I have 2 sources of input to feed both inputs of my Focusrite 2i2 usb interface. Otherwise mono. Which brings up the question If I am only using 1 input to the usb interface can I copy and paste my mono track to make it stereo?

No. It will be the same signal duplicated so it will only make it louder in the mix.


When I say I use 2 inputs sometimes to the usb interface I still only am recording the one source my guitar but to both input channels for example 1 from the Miced cabinet along with a direct output from the RP355 for the other input.

This is OK as there will be slight differences between both signals - bass guitar is commonly recorded in this fashion and the signals combined.
The 'clean' DI signal can easily be post-processed with plugin FX to suit the style of song and be used as a double-track to the mic'd signal.

Dags
 

PDP

There once was a note
You already have a fair amount of gear. I would definitely see if you can get another one of those and keep the set. Those are pretty nice monitors at a very fair price. If you plan on ever getting at all serious about mixing you will need them, and those are a nice entry level model. Keep them, set them up and start listening to all your music on them to get used to how they sound.
 

rolloman

New member
You already have a fair amount of gear. I would definitely see if you can get another one of those and keep the set. Those are pretty nice monitors at a very fair price. If you plan on ever getting at all serious about mixing you will need them, and those are a nice entry level model. Keep them, set them up and start listening to all your music on them to get used to how they sound.
Yeah, I think I will remove that one from the classifieds and get another just like it. They really do sound good. That's a great idea to start listening to my music only that way. Then I will start getting to know just when my recording projects sound good or bad. I can see now where only listening with the laptop speakers is not giving me any idea. Especially since the headphones sound so so much better. I had everything backwards. Thanks again to Dags, Seafroggys, TyphoidHippo, and PDP and everyone else. Great forum here.
 

rolloman

New member
In fact, if you plug in a pair of headphones to your laptop and listen to the song you mixed using only the built-in laptop speakers you may marvel at how awful the mix sounds :)

Even a pair of Hi Fi speakers will go a long way to helping you get a better balance to your mix compared with laptop speakers.
Though checking the mix on laptop speakers will let you know if you have a really good mix if everything is still audible, especially the bass end of things.

Dags

You are right on the money there Dags. I can't even hear the bass in the backing track I'm using thru the laptop speakers. Put on my Yamaha Headphones and everything comes alive vs the laptop speakers. I was just wondering about why the bass was like that the other night. Now I know. Laptop speakers are junk and have very little bass frequency response.

So if I'm getting this correct if I get my mixes as good as I can thru a set (not one) monitor Lol, then that will give my audience of listeners on youtube, soundcloud etc. some using external speakers, some headphones, and even just laptops speakers the best sound quality possible.
 

Tadpui

Well-known member
You are right on the money there Dags. I can't even hear the bass in the backing track I'm using thru the laptop speakers. Put on my Yamaha Headphones and everything comes alive vs the laptop speakers. I was just wondering about why the bass was like that the other night. Now I know. Laptop speakers are junk and have very little bass frequency response.

So if I'm getting this correct if I get my mixes as good as I can thru a set (not one) monitor Lol, then that will give my audience of listeners on youtube, soundcloud etc. some using external speakers, some headphones, and even just laptops speakers the best sound quality possible.

The idea behind having an accurate set of monitors and a well-treated room is that your mixes will translate to ANY system more reliably. You can make better-informed decisions while mixing since you're hearing a much more accurate interpretation of your mix. If you hear it more accurately, you can mix it so that it sounds good in a wide variety of other settings.

For instance, if you mix on laptop speakers that have little low-end response, then you'll tend to crank the low frequencies in your mix to compensate. It'll sound balanced to you. Then when somebody listens to it on a system with a good bass response, the low end will be overpowering to them. If you're listening on accurate monitors in a well-treated room, you won't end up making as many of these compensations.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
And when you have everything setup Rollman, invest in a cheap Sound Level Meter, something in the £20/$20 class is good enough but try to get one with a "C" weighting if you can.

So equipped you can "calibrate" your monitors. Essentially this means having known settings so that you always listen and mix at the same Sound Pressure Level and not just as your guts or genitals guide you. Studio peeps monitor at an average of 85dBSPL but that is way too loud for most home studios. The ACTUAL level matters little so long as it is consistent......In any event, when posting songs it is so much more "professional" sounding if they are all at much the same level.

Dave.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
It's dependant on if you are using the word 'monitor' to mean something that simply gives you confidence something is present, or as a word describing a product that let's you monitor quality. I guess most of us could if we wanted mix on a single central monitor, and mix in mono. If, however we tried to pan sources by eye, then as they move let or right, they would get quieter, so we might push them in the mix too much. If you want to record in stereo with decent quality, you need two identical speakers. My apple MacBook has no bass whatsoever, so mixing on that would be silly - you can't even hear hum!
 

rolloman

New member
I'm thankful guy's for the education on what monitoring is. I had no idea of their importance in creating a mix. I have stopped the sale in the classifieds of my monitor and gonna buy another identical one. Very happy camper here. Just wish I still had both monitors bout now. lol
 
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