Creating Versatile Mixes – The Advantages to Multiple Monitors

How many times have you mixed your track to perfection in your studio. Then, once you take it out into your car (expecting to love your work), you immediately hear that the vocal is just way to soft – or that you can’t even hear the bass guitar because the kick drum is overpowering.

Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. But once you’ve been there, you probably don’t want to go back.

So here’s how you can create versatile mixes and masters that sound good on just about any system.

Use multiple monitors.

It’s that simple.

You see, there are a lot of advantages to listening and mixing on different monitors, which is why commercial studios generally have more than one set of them.

One advantage is that you’re getting to hear what your mix sounds like through two completely different sounding systems. (duh).

Another advantage is that you’re able to listen for different things (vocal level, bass, etc.) on different monitors that accentuate those parts of your mix. (double duh).

But here’s the advantage that we often times forget about: being able to instantly compare what your mix sounds like in different places and being able to strike a balance between the two extremes.

No mix is going to sound exactly the same on two different sets of speakers. But in order to make it sound good on all systems, you’re going to have to strike a balance between the different options. And this is very hard and much more time consuming if you’re having to run around your house, into your car, and even putting it on your phone or iPod.

So needless to say, two sets of monitors can do you really good when it comes to creating versatile mixes.

But don’t think that just because you want to use multiple monitors that you are going to have to dump another $400-$1000 on a second pair of hi-fi active studio monitors. Here are some simple ways to add some real diversity to your monitoring selection:

Use Apple earbuds! So many people listen to all of their music on these. Which is sad, but that’s another day’s topic…

Treat your studio headphones as another monitoring option.

Use a consumer speaker product (I like to use my iHome) as a second monitor. This is a great way to hear what it sounds like in all these different places.

Use anything else that makes sound that you can plug into – it will greatly impact your mixing!

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