6 problems of mixing tracks
on monitors in a home studio
Often novice sound engineers buy studio monitors at home, they are sure that this will be enough to work on mixing tracks. But life, as always, makes its own adjustments. Today we will talk about the difficulties of using monitors in a home studio.
1️⃣ Room: acoustically untreated room
In home studios, you can often encounter unpleasant buzzing, and a lack of detail. One of the main reasons is the room's lack of proper acoustic treatment. Because of this, resonances and excessive reflections occur, which prevent you from hearing details in the mix.
2️⃣ Room: wrong size and shape
Even if you are ready to do a complex acoustic treatment, it may not completely solve all the problems with sound in your room. The size and shape of the room greatly affect the frequency distribution of resonances and their intensity. It is very difficult to achieve acoustic control in small rooms - strong peaks and dips occur in the frequency range of 120-600 Hz, which is critical for mixing the main instruments and vocals.

The best solution to these problems is to work in a suitable geometry room with full acoustic treatment. Unfortunately, this is very expensive, difficult, and not always possible - the budget of novice sound engineers is limited.

Sometimes it is recommended to work at a low volume as a solution. It helps to reduce the level of interference a little, but objective monitoring quality does not improve, because not only harmful hum becomes quieter, but also low frequencies.
3️⃣ Monitors: lack of volume
Small and inexpensive monitors are often not able to provide the necessary sound pressure level. Increasing the volume greatly increases the amount of distortion, which reduces the detail and objectivity of your monitoring. In such a situation, it is difficult to be confident in the decisions you make during mixing. This is due to the design disadvantages of inexpensive monitors and cheap components.
4️⃣ Monitors: limitations on frequency range and detail
Most models of inexpensive popular monitors are not capable of reproducing low frequencies and you simply will not be able to hear what is happening in this area. Full-range monitors are expensive and cumbersome. In professional studios, they are usually installed in the wall and such monitors are not intended for use at home.

There is only one solution here - to purchase full-range monitors of a higher class or a subwoofer. But if you have a bad room and rattling furniture, you will not be able to take full advantage of expensive monitors.
5️⃣ Lack of monitoring options. Near, middle,
and far-field
In large studios, sound engineers switch between near, middle, and far-field monitors during the mixing process. Each pair of monitors gives a different sound and this allows you to focus on different aspects of the track when mixing. The near field is a dry sharp sound with an emphasis on vocals and medium frequencies, the middle field is a balanced wide sound, and the far field is an emphasis on groove and space.

In home studios, there is often not enough space for several pairs of monitors, and because of this, there is no ability to look at your track from different perspectives.

The use of cubes or even computer speakers as auxiliary systems expands the possibilities, but does not completely replace the classic workflow “near-middle-far field".
6️⃣ Relations with neighbors

Another problem in home studios is sound insulation. Sound can interfere with your family and even neighbors, and household noise will prevent you from working on tracks. This is due to insufficient sound insulation between rooms and apartments.

In this case, the solution is the same as that of problem No. 1 - expensive acoustic treatment of the room with enhanced sound insulation and limiting the volume of monitoring.

Solutions that can really fix the problems of a home studio are most often beyond the budgets and physical capabilities of novice sound engineers, and tips on limiting the volume and using analyzers do not really improve the quality of monitoring and your mixes.

What can you do if your budget is limited and you can't change your room to another one?

dSONIQ solution:

Headphones can be both an addition and an alternative to monitors in a home studio. They have their drawbacks, which we described in the previous article, so we recommend using headphones in combination with the Realphones correction system.

  • You won't have to struggle with your room - in Realphones there is an emulation of a professional studio control room in which you can work at the volume you need.
  • If you use high-quality studio headphones, you will have access to the full frequency range for monitoring with high detail on a moderate budget - the cost of even the most expensive studio headphones is many times lower than the cost of similar monitors in terms of detail with all the associated costs.
  • Realphones includes the emulation of near, middle, and far-field monitors, as well as the club and the car - you will be able to evaluate how your mix will sound in different conditions without leaving your seat.
  • No more problems with the neighbors - you can use closed headphones and work on tracks even in noisy conditions.
Currently, Realphones supports more than 200 models of headphones.
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