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Listening Levels
Old 2nd February 2014
Gear Head
🎧 10 years
Listening Levels

Hi, thank you for sharing with us.

What kind of levels are you monitoring with throughout the record making process, and does working with loud music usually equal a loud control room for you? Have there been times when an artist wanted it LOUD, leading to some records being made on far fields more than nears?

Also, what gear do you like to monitor with?
Old 3rd February 2014
Radiant Being
SylviaMassy's Avatar
🎧 5 years
First thing about mixing: I try to keep the client out of the room if possible until the mix is 98% complete. I want the client make a judgement on the entire landscape instead of having them listen to each individual track as it is placed into the picture.

While sculpting the overall mix structure, I start with the monitors at moderately loud levels. I pop the mix up to the large main monitors for a little while as I shape the lowest frequencies, then bring the mix down to the near-field "one click" setting on the Neve to make sure the vocal levels sit nicely in the track. Finally I like to do a headphone listen to make sure there are no hidden problems with edits, panning or digital artifacts.

I find that louder monitoring will mask unwelcome distortion problems and seduce you into thinking the vocals and cymbals are perfect, when at lower levels you will hear them screaming loud in the mix. Also- louder monitoring will fatigue your ears much sooner, making your next mix more difficult. Lower level "one click" monitoring is essential to find the vocal placement for me. Even checking the mix from an adjoining room is a good test to see if your mix is as tasty as it can be!

Of course when the client is finally allowed in the room, I'll crank up the levels for the first listen. Nothing like a little volume to impress!

I use NHT Pro M100 monitors for the majority of the time while mixing, with Genelec 1035 mains and Yamaha NS10s for near-field detail work. I live in my Beyer-Dynamic DT770 headphones. Love the plushy earfoams. Mmmmm.
Old 4th February 2014
Lives for gear
MJB's Avatar
🎧 5 years
Hi Sylvia, I'm wondering what kind of digital artifacts you were referring to. I've been finding corrupted vocal tracks in some of my older mixes lately, gargles,and stutters.

I think I've figured out that if I used Waves Tune or Logic's Flex pitch, I risk damage.
Old 7th February 2014 | Show parent
Gear Head
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by SylviaMassy ➡️
Even checking the mix from an adjoining room is a good test to see if your mix is as tasty as it can be!
I thought I was the only one doing that
Old 7th February 2014
More cowbell!
natpub's Avatar
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
By NHT Pro M100 do you mean the (now discontinued) MOO's? I looked up M100 and can't find any such thing. Closest I saw was the M-00, which seemed both remarkably inexpensive, and widely used by pros. What's the attraction?
Old 11th February 2014
Lives for gear
Demonslave's Avatar
🎧 10 years

Who doesn't love those plushy foams! Cheers Sylvia! Going to check out those NHTz
Old 13th February 2014
Radiant Being
SylviaMassy's Avatar
🎧 5 years
Listening Levels-neve8038consoleeditnht.jpg

Here is a photo of the Neve 8038 with three sets of monitors. The big Genelecs, the middle NHT M-100s and a pair of KRK Roc-its (which I often exchange with Yamaha NS-10s).

The NHTs are my most-used monitors. Unfortunately discontinued, I've bought up every pair I could find. I think I have 5 pair.

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