The other day I was watching a mixing instructional video by Bob Power, the mixing engineer behind many major records through the years. At one point he asked the audience, “Do you trust your monitors?” Only about a quarter of the audience raised their hand. He shook his head and added, “You have to trust your monitors. That requires room treatment and high-quality gear. If you’re going to spend money, spend money on that because you have to be able to trust your monitors or you’re wasting your time.” True story!
As a music producer, you rely on your studio monitors to hear every detail of your mix accurately. But can you really trust your monitors to give you a reliable representation of your music? In this article, we’ll explore how you can ensure your monitors are trustworthy and share some tips for building trust in your studio’s sound.
What’s the Big Deal?
Studio monitors are designed to be neutral and accurate, but there are many factors that can affect their performance. Room acoustics, placement, and even the type of cables you use can all impact the sound you hear. Additionally, not all studio monitors are created equal, and some may color the sound in a way that can be misleading.
So, can you really trust your studio monitors? The short answer is yes, but with some caveats. While you should always strive to use the best equipment possible, your ability to trust your monitors ultimately comes down to your ability to understand their strengths and weaknesses and how to compensate for them.
How to Ensure Your Monitors Are Reliable
The first step to ensuring your monitors are reliable is to invest in quality equipment. Choose monitors that are known for their accuracy and clarity, and be sure to place them in the optimal position in your studio. I recommend JBL LRS305 on a budget or Yamaha HS7 with the HS8S sub if you have the extra spend. You can also improve the sound of your studio by treating your room acoustics with sound-absorbing materials and calibration software from Sonarworks (don’t bother with the competitors).
Once you have calibrated quality equipment in place, it’s important to learn how to use it effectively. Spend time listening to reference tracks and getting to know the sound of your monitors. Experiment with different placements, and use room correction software to fine-tune the sound. By taking these steps, you’ll be able to trust your monitors to give you an accurate representation of your music.
Tips for Building Trust in Your Studio’s Sound
Building trust in your studio’s sound is a process that takes time and effort, but there are some tips that can help. First, always listen critically to your mixes, and compare your results on multiple playback systems. This will help you identify any issues with your mix and ensure that it translates well across different systems.
Additionally, invest in quality reference headphones and use them to check your mix at different stages of the production process. This will help you catch any issues early on and ensure that your mix translates well across different listening environments. Make sure you calibrate your headphones also.
Finally, trust your ears. While technology can help you achieve an accurate mix, ultimately it’s your ears that will tell you if something sounds right. Take breaks and come back to your mix with fresh ears, and don’t be afraid to make adjustments based on what sounds best to you.
By following these tips, you can develop a trusting relationship with your studio monitors and produce music that sounds great on any system. Remember, your monitors are only one part of the equation, and building trust in your studio’s sound requires a combination of quality equipment, critical listening skills, and a willingness to trust your instincts.