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Author Topic: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?  (Read 7531 times)

Gravity 8058

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Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« on: November 08, 2006, 03:12:22 pm »

I don't think I've ever come across a control room where a SERIOUS attempt was made to optimize the room for both mixing and mastering. I've been at this for years (not a noob), and am aware of the many of the issues surrounding the design of a mix room, and those of a mastering room, but could these both be accounted forin a single room?

If one had the cash, could they build, a control room with say a mixing station facing one wall and a mastering station facing the opposite wall? I'd assume you'd need a rather large room and alot of consideration to dimensions, early reflections......

What would the unique barriers be to such a plan?
What would be the idea dimensions for the pre-construction "shell"?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Gravity 8058

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2006, 02:02:51 pm »

So................... I guess it can't be done.







Sad
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Ethan Winer

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2006, 03:43:49 pm »

I didn't answer yesterday because I don't get the point of your question. Why can't one room be great for mixing and for mastering? What would be different about the design or treatment goals?

--Ethan

Gravity 8058

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2006, 05:03:03 pm »

Ethan Winer wrote on Thu, 09 November 2006 14:43

I didn't answer yesterday because I don't get the point of your question. Why can't one room be great for mixing and for mastering? What would be different about the design or treatment goals?

--Ethan


Thanks Ethan,

I suppose the important detail is the fact that I'd have an analog mixing console, two sets of speakers, and a few racks of outboard on one side of the room (facing a large glass window), and on the other side of the room (facing the opposite direction), a mastering console with a seperate rack of mastering gear, it's own (floorstanding) speakers and a presumably deader wall in behind those speakers.  These "stations" in all likelihood would necessetate two "sweet spots" in the same room???

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jetbase

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2006, 07:45:26 pm »

if it was me & i wanted a single mixing/mastering room, i would just build the best possible mixing room & use it for mastering as well. after all, it terms of acoustics, the goals are pretty much the same, it's just the equipment and operator that differ. you might find that building a "back to back" room would create as many problems as it solves. i think an important point to make is that mastering is best done in a different room to where the mixing took place & by a specialised mastering engineer. that's the ideal anyway. i sometimes master budget stuff in my studio in the same room i've mixed it in, and it turns out fine (for budget stuff), but i do find it next to impossible to do any eq'ing in the mastering process in this instance.
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Gravity 8058

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2006, 08:11:34 pm »

jetbase wrote on Thu, 09 November 2006 18:45

if it was me & i wanted a single mixing/mastering room, i would just build the best possible mixing room & use it for mastering as well. after all, it terms of acoustics, the goals are pretty much the same, it's just the equipment and operator that differ. you might find that building a "back to back" room would create as many problems as it solves. i think an important point to make is that mastering is best done in a different room to where the mixing took place & by a specialised mastering engineer. that's the ideal anyway. i sometimes master budget stuff in my studio in the same room i've mixed it in, and it turns out fine (for budget stuff), but i do find it next to impossible to do any eq'ing in the mastering process in this instance.


Here's the thing, I use TOTALLY different gear for mixing and mastering --different speakers, consoles, DAWS, outboard.  If I stacked it all on one side of the room it would be insane.  I fear you may be right about having the working stations back to back (and therefore the sweet spots back to back) creating a lot of problems.  
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Ethan Winer

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2006, 01:32:30 pm »

Glenn,

> if it was me & i wanted a single mixing/mastering room, i would just build the best possible mixing room & use it for mastering as well. after all, it terms of acoustics, the goals are pretty much the same <

I agree. I wouldn't even use different equipment. I mean, why would you?

> mastering is best done in a different room to where the mixing took place <

Yes, that can be an advantage if the mix room is not great. But then you could just as well mix in the "mastering" room. If I'm missing anything here hopefully someone will point it out.

--Ethan

Ethan Winer

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2006, 01:34:34 pm »

Doug,

> I use TOTALLY different gear for mixing and mastering --different speakers, consoles, DAWS, outboard. <

Why don't you just gather up the best of what you have for each, and sell the rest? I'm not trying to be dense or argumentative, but I don't understand the benefit of having different parallel sets of gear. Other than maybe wanting different loudspeakers to get a second perspective.

--Ethan

crna59

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2006, 11:45:43 pm »

Ethan Winer wrote on Fri, 10 November 2006 12:32

Glenn,

I agree. I wouldn't even use different equipment. I mean, why would you?
Yes, that can be an advantage if the mix room is not great. But then you could just as well mix in the "mastering" room. If I'm missing anything here hopefully someone will point it out.
--Ethan


There is specific equipment for Mixing and Mastering. Pro Tools is a great mixing application. It's not a great mastering application. You can do it.. but you have to do work arounds. Why the hell would you want to master a project with a big ass SSL 9k in front of you smearing all the mids. (AES article).
That's why in Mastering rooms, there is a small console or NO console between you and the speakers.
Also in a Mastering environment you want full range speakers in a far field position. You want room interaction, where as you want no room interaction in a mixing environment. That's why you use near/mid field speakers.
Think of a Mastering environment as a Listening room. You want that big soundstage. You want to be able to close your eyes and believe you're in that concert hall/studio/church... etc.. where the program was recorded. A great article explaining this is here:    http://www.6moons.com/ramef/9.html

Regards,
Bruce
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Gravity 8058

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2006, 12:32:46 am »

Quote:

 There is specific equipment for Mixing and Mastering. Pro Tools is a great mixing application. It's not a great mastering application. You can do it.. but you have to do work arounds. Why the hell would you want to master a project with a big ass SSL 9k in front of you smearing all the mids. (AES article).
That's why in Mastering rooms, there is a small console or NO console between you and the speakers.
Also in a Mastering environment you want full range speakers in a far field position. You want room interaction, where as you want no room interaction in a mixing environment. That's why you use near/mid field speakers.
Think of a Mastering environment as a Listening room. You want that big soundstage. You want to be able to close your eyes and believe you're in that concert hall/studio/church... etc.. where the program was recorded. A great article explaining this is here:    http://www.6moons.com/ramef/9.html

Regards,
Bruce


Thanks Bruce,

You described perfectly the issues I'm contending with.  I realize that most would just build two studios, but I cant help but wonder if Fran has addressed this sort of a situation before.............???????
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Ethan Winer

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2006, 11:47:20 am »

Bruce,

> Pro Tools is a great mixing application. It's not a great mastering application. <

Agreed. I use Sonar as my DAW, but when I'm ready to mangle the final Wave file I use Sound Forge which is more appropriate. But I run both programs on the same computer through the same amp and speakers! Which was my original point.

> Why the hell would you want to master a project with a big ass SSL 9k in front of you smearing all the mids. <

Agreed there too. That sort of studio also needs to be large enough to accommodate playback for the band and producer and everyone's girlfriend. I was thinking more along the lines of a home-sized setup with only a computer on a small work table.

> Think of a Mastering environment as a Listening room. You want that big soundstage. You want to be able to close your eyes and believe you're in that concert hall/studio/church... etc.. <

Not sure I agree with that. If you close your eyes in a good room having no early reflections, I don't know how you could tell if the speakers were large or small or even near or far. For example, when I listen to two-channel material in my well-treated living room, instruments panned to the center sound centered. So by extension you can't even tell where the speakers are located. Also, when all first reflections are absorbed the stereo spread sounds noticeably wider than the speaker placement would imply. In a good room you really can have the sensation of "being there" regardless of the speakers and their placement.

--Ethan

Mike Troolines

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2006, 12:21:53 pm »

Ok,
Here's how I would do it. Design the best mastering room you can with the window in the front of the room. Have thick curtians you can pull infront of them when mastering. Set up your mixing setup as you normally would but have the board on wheels. Between the board and the front wall have your mastering setup on a desk with wheels. Then switch the two when you want to master.
You could leave all your mixing setup connected when pushing it back against the wall.The only thing you would have to connect in the change is the mastering speakers and the power to your mastering setup.
Regards,
Mike

franman

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2006, 12:40:51 am »

Man.. sorry I was out of town for a few days and missed this one....

This is the classis Critical Listening ROom that you need, I think... As far as where to put the big console, why do you need it if you use PT??? Let me read through the entire thread a little better and I'll see if I can make some valid suggestions... Great question!!
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Ethan Winer

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2006, 12:18:11 pm »

Mike,

> have the board on wheels <

Very cool idea! I have something like that in my living room home theater. My home studio is 2-channel only, but I also mix surround music occasionally. So I bought a Dell laptop with 5.1 sound card, and put it on a low rolling cart with a long snake cable. Most of the time it's out of the way in the front of the living room, then for mixing I wheel it over to the couch.

--Ethan

franman

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Re: Mixing/ Mastering room -- can it be done?
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2006, 09:53:00 pm »

IMHO what Doug asks for is a bit of a contradiction by definitions UNLESS we can agree that a Critical Listening Room is a Critical Listening Room. We try to design ALL of our control rooms, mastering rooms, production rooms, etc. (listening rooms) as Critical Listening rooms. We also try to optimize the "main" monitor situation for each design, be that a $60K pair of Free standing mastering monitors, or a pair of un-listenable compressions driver 2-way double 15" in-wall mains...

The basic acoustic approach IS absolutely the same for both types of environments. The client has to decide what is the best scenario for their setup. ie: in-wall vs: free-standing monitors, console vs: small computer setup.

I understand the "issues" with a large format mixing room vs: a minimal equipment mastering setup, BUT as we approach the ideal synergistic "comprimise", can't we hope that clients can find one setup that just works??

We also design loudspeakers and we don't feel that there is any difference between a mastering environment and a mixing environment with regards to monitoring.. You can have it free-standing or in-wall, but what you want is accurate, low distortion, high output monitors that can handle either assignment. This is how we look at Griffin monitor installations... EVERY ONE is a Critical Listening Environment and we would hope that at least with regards to the monitoring that a talented mixer would be very comfortable mixing and an experienced mastering engineer would be equally comfortable monitoring his work... (of course some blind folds may be required to get past pre-conceptions).

The specific scenario originally proposed concerning a room with "two ends" is riddled with difficulties at first glance... How to deal with a large window at the front of the mixing position and rear of the mastering position. How to work out good geometry and proportions for two "sweet spots", how to handle RFZ and diffusions requirements for both listening positions..... But, it's really not that much more difficult than properly and completely considering a proper 5.1 setup. We always try and treat the surrounds as equals instead of orphaned step children in our surround rooms. This can be difficult and possibly impossible in some site line scenarios.... Look, anything is possible... I would think a rather large room would be a good starting point. Possible a "false" rear wall could be installed a  divider between the two positions and offer diffusion for both sides? there could be many other approaches.

Actually, it sounds like a really interesting and unique project. Doug, if you're serious about this, I would be happy to talk to you about it.. It wouldn't be cheap, but neither is the equipment requirements for such an installation, so.....

Anyway, that's the way I see it.... good monitoring is good monitoring and a good room is a good room... what you put in it, basically just messes things up and it's our job (as designers) to minimize the acoustic clutter caused by the gear, and give the user the ergonomics they're looking for. This type of project is no different...just bigger and more involved...

Sounds like fun!! when do we start??
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