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Author Topic: Monitor Levels  (Read 4897 times)

Thomas W. Bethel

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Monitor Levels
« on: March 16, 2011, 04:22:26 pm »

We are monitoring on ALON IVs with a Bryston 4B ST amplifier and a Bench Mark DAC 1 for digital to analog conversion.

The ALON IV's are no longer made and the individual drivers are unobtainium for all practical purposes.

Lately we have been having some Hip Hop clients that want monitor levels that are really dangerous to our hearing and to the long life of the Alon's drivers.

We normally monitor at at maximum of 83 dBSPL and the room is loud but comfortable. The hip hop clients don't seem to be comfortable unless the the speakers are really really loud. I know it is our equipment and we have control of it but how do others handle requests for excessive speaker levels or is this not a problem with speakers most of you use??? Thanks in advance!
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

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Celebrating 23 years in business in 2018

lowland

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2011, 05:39:32 pm »

That's an interesting one, Tom. I must confess I've never had a request to really crank things on an attended session, and even though my PMCs will go astonishingly loud for the size of box I'd be very reluctant to do so. Maybe that will change with my new room, which is quite a bit bigger than I've previously had.

Do you have a client lounge where you could have an auxiliary loud system? At least then you wouldn't have to put up with the volume. Otherwise about the only advice I can think of is 'don't do hip hop sessions'.

On a different tack, how did you originally measure and set your 83dB? I'm thinking of investing in a sound level meter: I monitor at moderate levels which are probably in that region and have a marked volume control, but it would be good to measure and confirm.
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Nigel Palmer
Lowland Masters
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011, 06:00:23 pm »

That's an interesting one, Tom. I must confess I've never had a request to really crank things on an attended session, and even though my PMCs will go astonishingly loud for the size of box I'd be very reluctant to do so. Maybe that will change with my new room, which is quite a bit bigger than I've previously had.

Do you have a client lounge where you could have an auxiliary loud system? At least then you wouldn't have to put up with the volume. Otherwise about the only other advice I can think of is 'don't do hip hop sessions'.

On a different tack, how did you originally measure and set your 83dB? I'm thinking of investing in a sound level meter: I monitor at moderate levels which are probably in that region and have a marked volume control, but it would be good to measure and confirm.

No client lounge but a GREAT idea.

We purchased an SPL meter a couple of years ago and calibrated it with our General Radio microphone calibrator.

The meter we are using is made by American Recorder and is model # SPL-8800 and is available here http://www.keyfax.com/index.php/spl-8800-soundlevel-meter.html I also have used this one which is also very good Nady DSM-1 Digital SPL Sound Level Meter which is the same meter with a different name on it. This one is also GREAT but needs some TLC to make it work http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/spl-meter_e.html and is made by Radio Shack.

Best of luck!
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness.

Celebrating 23 years in business in 2018

Tim Boyce

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2011, 06:01:38 pm »

83 is very comfortable.... but definatly not what a club will sound like. ..

If you're doing a lot of music destined to me mixed, remixed, clubbed, dubbed, and danced you might want to consider installing an additional system to mimic that.

(turbosound anyone?)


get a clean pair of powered monitors, and let them crank it up! (dynaudios, event 20's ..) something you won't cry about if they blow up.

If you think that might open a can of worms ..(hey! it sounded great on your big monitors, why does it change on these tiny ones??) ..

introduce them into another room .. get a theatre/club style system in the lounge .. and use that as a client listening zone if they want to blast it. That gives you the benefit of being able to work in your studio  (writing recalls, session clean-up, final check verification, whatever) .. while they are giving a final listen down in your media lounge.


If you have LOTS of these clients . . . .   think outside the box. .

   start a partnership with the closest club/venue/bar, and feed eachother clients. They can pop down into the pub below to blast out in a real club setting, AND get some libations after a long session ;-)   ... just make sure you get a kickback on their bar tab. (oh yea, and they pay you first)...

jdg

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2011, 06:44:35 pm »

had a client here the other week, asked how loud i monitored.. said i dunno, pulled out the ratshack meter and it said 74.

he said "cool lets crank it"
i said "no thanks"

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John McCaig
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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2011, 07:24:41 pm »

In that situation I say "for me to do my best work I have to keep it at this volume. If you need to monitor louder you can check it out after I'm done." Then I'll go to the back of the room or step out.

I was in the same speaker situation as you last year. The speakers I was using weren't made anymore and the drivers were unbranded. I was terrified I'd blow a driver and be forced to scramble for a new setup. I concluded it was time to get new speakers.
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Paul Gold
Salt Mastering

Waltz Mastering

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2011, 07:47:30 pm »

Someday,  I will buy a meter..

Jerry Tubb

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2011, 10:24:07 pm »

I find that the louder the client wants me to master the mixes, the quieter I like to monitor.

Prevents ear fatigue.

Had a loud EP to do today, don't think we ever cranked it over 82dB SPL.

Except for a couple of low end bump checks.

But I never actually checked the meter.

JT
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Terra Nova Mastering
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KAyo

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2011, 12:33:42 am »

Since having read Bob Katz's book years ago, and having calibrated and dots jotted on the volume knob; it feels very comfortable at 83dB. Many a times even lower, sometimes so low, that people do wonder why!? But, I do reap the benefits of low level workings, for sure.. even while mixing.

In-fact, continuous high levels, while working is a turn off. For enjoyment purposes; no volume reservations at all.

This is th one I bought @ Dick Smiths:

Ciao'
KAyo
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SafeandSoundMastering

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2011, 10:25:41 am »

Im work most comfortably at about 75dB SPL and comfort is quite important IMO.
Sure a little louder is probably a little flatter to the ear but as long as you are happy with
your monitoring and acoustics I find it acceptable, I find 83dB SPL or thereabouts a little to fatiguing for my own ears across a day.
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Barry Gardner
SafeandSound Mastering UK based online mastering studio.

bblackwood

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2011, 11:25:33 am »

I monitor kinda up and down all day, but most of the time seems to be around 78dBSPL when I grab the meter (rarely anymore).
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Brad Blackwood
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lowland

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2011, 12:04:55 pm »

I bought this -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mercury-600-652UK-Lightweight-Professional-Digital/dp/B000LNJ0IO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1301068701&sr=8-3

- I thought it worth a punt at 50 to get me started, and the first customer review seemed in the right ballpark.

Excuse my ignorance but... most appropriate weighting and speed settings, anybody?
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Nigel Palmer
Lowland Masters
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Technologyworks

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2011, 02:28:56 pm »

That looks identical to the one I have here, though with a different brand/logo

Anyhow, I use slow mode and C weighted.

I don't look at it that much, but when I do I'm always at round about 80.
I tend to have my Avocet controller always set to the same level, unless I'm doing a really loud project. I don't really change the monitor level at all when I'm working. I find keeping the monitor level the same helps me be consistent through an album session.

Peter
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Peter Beckmann
Technologyworks Mastering
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ggidluck

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2011, 04:32:39 pm »

Since I am in a smaller room 79 decibels seems about what 83 used sound like in a bigger room. Now usually I listen at or about 79 when I need to judge the eq balance. If just editing I tend to turn down the level a bit.

Radio Shack digital meter here. And for fun the iPhone RTA lite.
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SafeandSoundMastering

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Re: Monitor Levels
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2011, 08:01:33 pm »

I have the Radio Shack moving coil meter, seeem ok, probably notn the most accurate in the world but does the job, I rarely use it to be honest, but yes a big heavy blast of 85/90dB SPL or so to check the bottom end balances between tracks is always fun it has to be said.
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Barry Gardner
SafeandSound Mastering UK based online mastering studio.
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