Asked Re: Choosing the Right Monitors, I answered

(I note that this response was to a fellow traveler looking for monitors under $200, and whether or not to be concerned about lack of room treatment.)

Aiight, I am not a pro but I am a prolific and long-time experienced recordist (read, “old”), with a fairly extensive but low-cost collection of gear in my bedroom studio (“bedio”).

Glad to meetcha.

So, my $1.280 is to do a little research, and seek out used gear. I rely – have for years – on Tannoy PBM 6.5 II monitors, which can be easily found on the Ebog for under US$200. I recall certain KRK’s, Alesis and even Samson speakers being praised in years past, such that 5 or 10 years later might be extremely good buys. (FWIW, I used Optimus 5’s for a long while, and OK results, with cross-references in the car, the home stereo, etc.) I have a pair of Auratones which, while not “nice” to listen to, sure give me good mixes, and I paid far less than your limit. For that matter, I have a $50 Tivoli that I am confident I could use along with a shite stereo boombox and get presentable ruff mixes of the rock stuff I do.

I wouldn’t be too concerned (place any particular greater emphasis) about low-end reproduction in that cross-referencing can help, low-pass filters can help, etc. You can always add a cheap sub later, if you need to get a rough idear of what’s down there … (Hate subs for mixin’, myself, but they come in handy on certain material, such as EDM and even noise/industrial.) Front vs. back vs. no port is something of a matter of preference as well as a dictator of monitor placement (rear port has to be farther off the wall for accuracy), but ports are basically seemingly essential if you want reasonable low end from small monitors and drivers.

Room treatment? Understand that I am speaking of low-budget approaches, entirely un-sanctioned, and from my own particular [lack of] taste and experience. That said, one of the purposes of near-field monitors, and indeed headphones, is to minimize the effect of the room you are in as you go about trying to blow minds. That’s not to say simple issues, such as trying to be in the center of the room (I’m not) and and least 6-12″ off the walls (I get 6″, ahem) should be ignored. The heavy blanket thing may feel useful, but ultimately gets oppressive, and fucking dusty. I do things like open the closet doors, keep lots of pillows on the bed (It is my “bedio”), use sensible volume levels (I like 82db at the listening position, but start much lower and try at least one mix much higher) to maximize that “near” part of “near-field”, toe the speakers and keep them at proper height while trying to keep reflections minimized re the desk, etc. I do have a cuppla bass traps … And like I said above, I change out speakers, and sometimes use headphones (I like Sony MDR 600’s for their imaging and bass exaggeration), and I often drop into mono for multi-track level-checks, as well.

Finally, ” to be able to accurately hear an honest representation of what I have tracked and be able to make the correct mixing decisions” is as much abut experience – particularly including your non-standard listening environment and gear (by what I mean, you are not moving from one expensive pro studio to the next) as it is the room and the gear itself, which latter two things arguably only make things easier/quicker/more repeatable, but not necessarily better.

Or at least so I tell me.

DISCLAIMER: a pot of coffee and the Sunday morning news shows, as well as a slight hang-over and rapidly building heat and humidity, have gone into the drafting of this novella

I mix with olive juice.

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