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What has the biggest value in your studio?

What has the biggest value in your studio? Your ears, monitors, and your room are your real tools. Not the plugins or hardware... These only help the real tools to work properly. While many of us focus (or get even obsessed...) with chasing new flashy plugins or buying more and more sophisticated and expensive gear, often forget or neglect aspects that have the biggest impact and biggest value in the music studio. Ears, monitors, and the room itself. We often hear ' Your entire mixing/mastering setup is as good as its weakest link'. In many cases it`s the monitoring environment. Although it`s not the most exciting and sexy thing, we should always focus on that first. Getting new gear and collecting new plugins believing that they will elevate our mixes to the next level sounds like fun but in reality it has much less of an impact than getting the monitoring environment right. Your studio could be lying to you...

Room modes cause a null at your listening position, so effectively the room is EQ-ing around that frequency to make it a bit quieter, so that means you make it louder to get it to sound right to you. The top end has the same sort of problems too - speakers not reproducing the frequencies well and flutter echoes in the room masking things.

If you’re not getting an accurate representation of the frequency response coming out of your speakers from the listening position, you’re not going to make the right decisions when mixing. A track may seem like it has too much in the low-mids, so you cut and cut and cut but you just can’t seem to get rid of that build-up at 200Hz or something. It's hard to pin it down to one thing without actually hearing the mixes vs. masters and not knowing your room etc., but I think monitoring and room treatment would be the first things to get right. If you can't hear it, you can't fix it. Even in a less than ideal room but with some basic treatment killing some room modes, you can get a long way with just spending a lot of time listening to really high quality commercial masters so you get used to the sound of the room. It can really help to be very careful about what level you are listening to things at too, because even a small change in volume can affect how we perceive the frequency balance. Before you get any new toys make sure your playground is right. Before you get any new toys either analogue or plugins (yes, it also applies to plugins) make sure your room is right. Cover at least the basics when it comes to acoustic treatment, it should be your priority first. Your entire mixing/mastering setup is as good as its weakest link. Even the fanciest gear will be good for nothing when your monitoring environment is not right. And sometimes even basic room treatment makes a huge difference killing some room modes. Same applies when your ears are not trained well enough. All the plugins and gear are only the tools, and even the best tools are good for nothing when you don't know how to use them. The other thing worth mentioning is your ears and how 'experienced' they are. The more you mix and the more experienced you're getting the more you realize that throwing millions of complex techniques into the mix or using plenty of flashy plugins is just pure bullshit. You develop your taste and train your ears. 'Less is more' becomes your technique. These days I think that people focus too much on thousands of superb and complex mixing techniques seen on YouTube and new flashing plugins rather than focusing on what's the most important... Art and the song itself. The message and emotions it carries and how to emphasise them. Just to show you that your ears and talent have the biggest value in your studio take a look at this.... You can have the most modern DAW and dozens of new flashy plugins but still the best mixed and best sounding album in music history is Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'. Mixed nearly 40 years ago, on a pair of Auratone 5c speakers. It shows that nothing beats talent and good ears. So... focus on the most important things first... Your ears, monitors, and your room are your real tools. Make them work... Happy mixing! Lucas/LUMIC Studio


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Rad-Z
Rad-Z
Apr 16, 2022

Agreed...Right now I am using Garage Band on my mixes...but yes nothing beats good hearing and talent...

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lumicstudiomix
lumicstudiomix
Apr 16, 2022
Replying to

Talent and experience come first, then the monitoring environment. If you have these three things right then the sky is a limit (even using stock plugins ...)

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