Is it wrong to mix using a large PA system?

Mikeitup

New member
I have a basement studio, with a PA system, consisting of two 1500w power amps, two channel EQ, DBX compressor, two Peavey SP5G 15" speakers, and two Yorkville YX15 speakers.

I use a Digi 003 rack plus, into a Mac pro 3,1, with one vocal mic, one mic for a marshall amp/cab, one mic for a Genz Benz amp/cab, a Bass guitar DI, an M-audio Keystation pro, and a Yamaha electric drum set.

Main outs from the 003 go out to the PA. The room is about 18'x18', treated for reflection.

Because my room is in a basement, I can have the volume level basically as loud as I want, with very little feedback, it sounds absolutely phenomenal. I keep the EQ on the PA basically flat, as well as the compressor. Utilizing Waves plugins

Recordings sound as good as the live sound, on multiple sources.

Tell me why I need tiny little monitors...
 
Last edited:

mixsit

Well-known member
You can mix on about any speaker. The diff is the closer to accurate the whole system is, the less aberrations it imposes on the sound, means the less things (things in the sound that aren't 'true' if you will) you have to compensate for. It's these little aberrations in our play back situation (speakers and room) that we have to learn about in order to mix efficiently.
I used JBL 075's atop two Sunn double D-130 guitar cabs initially. Then Klipsch 3-way p/a version of their 'Chorus for quite a while. That was a very audible step up. But that, -not even close- to the 'step up as compared to SPTech Continuums. There are real differences.
 
Last edited:

Mikeitup

New member
You can mix on about any speaker. The diff is the closer to accurate the whole system is, the less aberrations it imposes on the sound, means the less things (things in the sound that aren't 'true' if you will) you have to compensate for. It's these little aberrations in our play back situation (speakers and room) that we have to learn about in order to mix efficiently.

Yes I agree, not having owned, or used quality monitor speakers.... how, when mixing on 5" speakers, regardless of brand, or quality, can you hear/feel bass response? To me, you may as well be mixing with headphones? I suppose having a set of monitors for reference, is probably a good thing, I sort of feel I'm skipping a step in the process, by using a PA system, as this will generally be the medium for playback, in clubs and bars.... Am I completely wrong?
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
Tell me why I need tiny little monitors...

You don't. You need accurate monitors.

PA speakers trade away accuracy for things like output, dispersion and cost. While it's possible to build a very accurate speaker with high output, it's expensive. That's especially true for LF extension. Notice your SP5Gs don't have LF extension much better than little studio monitors. That's because to produce high SPLs at lower frequencies you need more displacement than that driver is capable of.

Listening at high volumes emphasizes the lows and the highs. You'll tend to compensate by mixing with more emphasis on the midrange.
 

mixsit

Well-known member
You don't. You need accurate monitors.

PA speakers trade away accuracy for things like output, dispersion and cost. While it's possible to build a very accurate speaker with high output, it's expensive. That's especially true for LF extension. Notice your SP5Gs don't have LF extension much better than little studio monitors. That's because to produce high SPLs at lower frequencies you need more displacement than that driver is capable of.

Listening at high volumes emphasizes the lows and the highs. You'll tend to compensate by mixing with more emphasis on the midrange.
Exactly. And to answer the new question re; 'bass on little speakers'- they can be (and the JBL's probably are) plenty accurate enough and can reproduce -down 40 to 60 or so -- and FWIW, that's just about as far as your pa cabs go too!
The diff is when you trade low extension in a given smaller driver/box size... the usable volume is less.
So yes, you'd want to be closer to the smaller speaker and operating at a lower level.
But you still hear the low end just fine.
When you want to feel the low end, yeah use a big enough speaker.
But you can make most all the judgements you need to make about the low end at moderate volumes just fine.
 

RFR

Well-known member
With the OP's method it may sound great in the room, but.....will it translate to the real world?
That is the question.
 

Massive Master

www.massivemastering.com
I was going to throw some sort of "Do you even PA bro?" comment in, as I think we need to rename "fairly large PA" to "very small coffee-shop / acoustic club sized PA" --

That all out of the way --

There are "PA systems" and there are (with eyes opened wider and a stern look on the face, head tilted slightly up and to the left "PA systems" -- This is the former and not, for instance, a dozen Meyer MTS4's stacked 2x3 per side (which would be a "medium-ish" PA, but I digress) which would be built for reasonably "accurate and consistent" sound quality assuming the space was up to the task.

Sidenote -- Had to do a blind direct-to-mix recording (headphones, in-room) and was given literally about 10 seconds to check that mix on the live rig (a small system consisting of around 16kW of powered Meyer cabinets in a ~500 seat space with a 3k sq ft stage). I wouldn't have wanted to make critical judgments... But made a few adjustments (hat was too hot, bass was too quiet).

In a square room, probably concrete walls, probably foam on the walls ("treated for reflection" very rarely ever means "lots and lots of broadband trapping" although that's precisely what would be necessary to turn an 18' square into something workable), the last thing you're going to want are speakers that add to the confusion.

You will only ever hear as accurately and consistently as your monitoring system allows you to. Your monitoring chain will only ever be as accurate and consistent as the space allows them to.
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
Yeah, I forgot to mention the problematic dimensions. Dimension + speed (of sound) = wavelength = frequency (don't take this literally, it's illustrative). Repeating a dimension means increasing the resonance at the frequency represented by that dimension.

Also, don't use both sets of speakers at the same time. More isn't always better and this is definitely an example.
 

Mikeitup

New member
I was going to throw some sort of "Do you even PA bro?" comment in, as I think we need to rename "fairly large PA" to "very small coffee-shop / acoustic club sized PA" --

Ok, yes, small club size PA, and no, I don't really "PA" LOL... I just wanted a really loud sound system, and it is... for what I need it for, parties, weddings, etc...

I agree the space is very important, eventually, I will have a larger space that I can transform into just what you said, traps, treatment, etc...

I've only been mixing/recording for a few years, still learning... also, not ever using quality monitors, I guess I just wanted some opinions/thoughts. Thanks for yours!
 

Mikeitup

New member
I was going to throw some sort of "Do you even PA bro?" comment in, as I think we need to rename "fairly large PA" to "very small coffee-shop / acoustic club sized PA" --

That all out of the way --

There are "PA systems" and there are (with eyes opened wider and a stern look on the face, head tilted slightly up and to the left "PA systems" -- This is the former and not, for instance, a dozen Meyer MTS4's stacked 2x3 per side (which would be a "medium-ish" PA, but I digress) which would be built for reasonably "accurate and consistent" sound quality assuming the space was up to the task.

Sidenote -- Had to do a blind direct-to-mix recording (headphones, in-room) and was given literally about 10 seconds to check that mix on the live rig (a small system consisting of around 16kW of powered Meyer cabinets in a ~500 seat space with a 3k sq ft stage). I wouldn't have wanted to make critical judgments... But made a few adjustments (hat was too hot, bass was too quiet).

In a square room, probably concrete walls, probably foam on the walls ("treated for reflection" very rarely ever means "lots and lots of broadband trapping" although that's precisely what would be necessary to turn an 18' square into something workable), the last thing you're going to want are speakers that add to the confusion.

You will only ever hear as accurately and consistently as your monitoring system allows you to. Your monitoring chain will only ever be as accurate and consistent as the space allows them to.


Ok, yes, small club size PA, and no, I don't really "PA" LOL... I just wanted a really loud sound system, and it is... for what I need it for, parties, weddings, etc...

I agree the space is very important, eventually, I will have a larger space that I can transform into just what you said, traps, treatment, etc...

I've only been mixing/recording for a few years, still learning... also, not ever using quality monitors, I guess I just wanted some opinions/thoughts. Thanks for yours!
 

Mikeitup

New member
With the OP's method it may sound great in the room, but.....will it translate to the real world?
That is the question.

I've only just begun my journey in to the world of recording, the few small short recordings I have done, to me, sound pretty dam good, as far as playing them on other mediums, home stereos, car stereos, phones etc... I don't want to say I have an untrained ears, being a musician for 20 plus years.

I have a lot to learn...
 

Mikeitup

New member
Yeah, I forgot to mention the problematic dimensions. Dimension + speed (of sound) = wavelength = frequency (don't take this literally, it's illustrative). Repeating a dimension means increasing the resonance at the frequency represented by that dimension.

Also, don't use both sets of speakers at the same time. More isn't always better and this is definitely an example.


Hmm, I'll try just using one set of speakers.
 

Farview

Well-known member
The reason you don't want to use more than one set at a time is because they can't occupy the same space.

If you have the two tweeters, for example, a foot apart from each other, the sound from one is going to hit your ear 1ms later than the other. That will cause comb filtering. Now, with the type 9f pa speakers you are talking about, I'd be surprised if the speakers can be within two feet of each other on each side. AND you're sitting in a square room.

Between the comb filtering caused by the time anomolies, the different frequency response of the two different types of speakers and the square room, using only one set at a time will clear up at least one of the problems.
 

Atkron205

Member
You don't. You need accurate monitors.

PA speakers trade away accuracy for things like output, dispersion and cost. While it's possible to build a very accurate speaker with high output, it's expensive. That's especially true for LF extension. Notice your SP5Gs don't have LF extension much better than little studio monitors. That's because to produce high SPLs at lower frequencies you need more displacement than that driver is capable of.

Listening at high volumes emphasizes the lows and the highs. You'll tend to compensate by mixing with more emphasis on the midrange.

Also about every brand of speaker has a freq they dont like, such as EAW hates 800 and 1K, studio monitors are designed to be a flat response, so what you are hearing from the speaker is accurate, but the room also has a effect on what you are hearing.
 

jkuehlin

New member
I have a basement studio, with a PA system, consisting of two 1500w power amps, two channel EQ, DBX compressor, two Peavey SP5G 15" speakers, and two Yorkville YX15 speakers.
You have a PA rig in your basement. Not a basement studio. Sorry man. Call it what it is.
Recordings sound as good as the live sound, on multiple sources.

Tell me why I need tiny little monitors...

You can not make informed mixing decisions on Peavey FOH (that stands for front of house) speakers. It does not matter what you put in your computer, you can not mix what you can not accurately hear. You're trying to use the wrong set of tools for that job.

If you CAN hear the difference between a reference monitor and a consumer level PA cab, you just answered your own question.
If you can NOT hear the difference between the two, then there's little any of us can do to help you.
If you have not tried a set of studio monitors, go to Guitar Center and buy them...you can always return them.

If you want to achieve a quality mixing environment at the volume levels of a PA in a very large control room you need, you need Midfields. Not near fields. They will easily cost you $20,000 (but they are a lot of fun if you can afford them). It is not uncommon for a studio to spend upwards of $100,000 on a mid-field buildout.

If you are wanting anyone to say 'yeah man! You can do it!', then you're looking for advice from people who don't know enough to help you in the first place. Anyone who believes this can be done is badly mistaken.

I'm not trying to discourage you from recording in general. Honestly, even though its not the answer you probably wanted, its the honest truth. No one is doing you any good by encouraging someone else to mix in an ass backwards environment. ...Go for the little reference monitors man....they'll change your world.
 
Last edited:

jkuehlin

New member
You can mix on about any speaker.
What??? Unless I misunderstand this comment, it is simply incorrect. You could ~attempt~ to mix an any speaker, but sure has hell shouldn't expect a meaningful or remotely consistent result from 'any speaker'.
The diff is the closer to accurate the whole system is, the less aberrations it imposes on the sound, means the less things (things in the sound that aren't 'true' if you will) you have to compensate for. It's these little aberrations in our play back situation (speakers and room) that we have to learn about in order to mix efficiently.

There is no way to 'compensate' for using PA speakers in a studio. You can't compensate for a speaker that completely lacks the detail you need to make informed decisions about well...everything in the mixing process. Yorkville and Peavey FOH speakers are a terrible choice for a control room. This is not what they were designed to do, nor are they capable of doing this under any circumstances. It does not matter what you do to your room, how you change your technique, or accommodate the signal chain. A Yorkville speaker is flat out unusable as a reference monitor.
 

mixsit

Well-known member
What??? Unless I misunderstand this comment, it is simply incorrect. You could ~attempt~ to mix an any speaker, but sure has hell shouldn't expect a meaningful or remotely consistent result from 'any speaker'.


There is no way to 'compensate' for using PA speakers in a studio. You can't compensate for a speaker that completely lacks the detail you need to make informed decisions about well...everything in the mixing process. Yorkville and Peavey FOH speakers are a terrible choice for a control room. This is not what they were designed to do, nor are they capable of doing this under any circumstances. It does not matter what you do to your room, how you change your technique, or accommodate the signal chain. A Yorkville speaker is flat out unusable as a reference monitor.

..Recordings sound as good as the live sound, on multiple sources. ..
He has, I have.
First of all no one has suggested one not buy good speakers.. nor would we want to gloss over having a great room and the rest of it.
He asked "Tell me why I need [tiny little] monitors". Several of us have answered why.

Look it's all a matter of degrees here. Typically a lot of us start with what we have and can get, and build form there.
Granted I'm sure I could compensate for what ever a lot better now than thirty years ago, that comes too.
 

MISteve

New member
Headphones

I have a basement studio, with a PA system, consisting of two 1500w power amps, two channel EQ, DBX compressor, two Peavey SP5G 15" speakers, and two Yorkville YX15 speakers.

I use a Digi 003 rack plus, into a Mac pro 3,1, with one vocal mic, one mic for a marshall amp/cab, one mic for a Genz Benz amp/cab, a Bass guitar DI, an M-audio Keystation pro, and a Yamaha electric drum set.

Main outs from the 003 go out to the PA. The room is about 18'x18', treated for reflection.

Because my room is in a basement, I can have the volume level basically as loud as I want, with very little feedback, it sounds absolutely phenomenal. I keep the EQ on the PA basically flat, as well as the compressor. Utilizing Waves plugins

Recordings sound as good as the live sound, on multiple sources.

Tell me why I need tiny little monitors...

Can you try a good set of headphones? If the phones sound way different than your P.A. speakers, you need to make some changes to the way you monitor your sound.
 

Bobbsy

Boring Old Git
x18', treated for reflection.

Because my room is in a basement, I can have the volume level basically as loud as I want, with very little feedback, it sounds absolutely phenomenal. I keep the EQ on the PA basically flat, as well as the compressor. Utilizing Waves plugins

Let me throw in another spanner based on the sentence above.

The frequency response of your ears changes as the volume of the audio you're mixing changes. Therefore, what might sound great blasting into your ears at 120dB(SPL) in your basement will sound very different listened to more quietly in different locations.

Add into this the fact that, in the short term, high listening levels can lead to ear fatigue very quickly...and to permanent hearing damage in the longer term...this is another reason not to listen to PA speakers 3 feet away when they're meant to be heard by an audience 30 or 50 feet away.

Edited to add an aside....

From time to time I'm privileged to mix on a REALLY big PA system (Midas Pro6 56 channel desk), d&b audiotechnic Ti line array and subs, etc. I once added it up and it's around a quarter of a million watts of power and can go astronomically loud (though we're limited to 105dB(SPL) by local ordinances. I sometimes use stuff I've mixed at home to check the system and train my ears--and it sounds remarkable good on the grown up PA. I strongly suspect it wouldn't work the other way around though.
 
Last edited:

RFR

Well-known member
From my perspective one shouldn't mix any louder than television volume in a one bedroom apt. You know the kind, the apt complexes with paper thin walls with no insulation.
At that volume, you'll get less ear fatigue, less room interaction, and less bass and top end boosting.

Remember the 70s stereo receivers? The good ones always had a loudness button. This boosted the bottom and top end so it was more like the experience of listening loud, yet at a lower volume.

In closing, if you're mixing loud, you're fooling yourself. That CLA dude says he mixes at a volume where he can still hear his typing on a keyboard. That's pretty damn quiet.
:D

Other than that, I don't know of any PA speakers that are affordable to the masses that would be worth a shit for mixing. Besides any high end PA speakers are too big, and wouldnt be worth a shit for mixing either.

Edit: Is this just a troll thread, designed to get our reactions to the original post?
:D
 
Top