New studio monitors and referencing

Hi folks
I recently changed my studio monitors from Spirit Absolute 2’s (passive) driven by a hi-fi Denon amp.
I’m now using KRK Rokit 6’s (powered).

So, this throws up a problem or 2 and I thought I’d ask the experts a few questions:

With my old speakers, I always left the output response flat - that is, no bass or treble tweaking on the amp. Always do the mixing in Cubase.
My new KRK’s have LF & HF adjustment dials on the back. These, according to the manuals are to compensate for positioning in rooms (close to the wall or corners etc). At the moment I have left these at zero change, again preferring to get the sound right within Cubase

Now, when I compare the 2 set of monitors they sound very different. I’ve got both sets of monitors set up such that I can switch between them, but to be honest both sets are not in the perfect triangle sweet spot. They are close enough though to give a realistic comparison.
The new ones have much better separation.
The new ones have a louder top end though (hi-hats, cymbals etc)

As a test, I’ve imported into Cubase reference tracks by artists such as Armin Van Buuren and others.
I’ve also imported my own material, tracks that listeners including yourselves have said are a pretty good mix.

So, the big question is - what do I believe? What is right and what is wrong? Do I knock off a bit of top end on the new ones or do I just do new tracks and trust my mixes?
What a can of worms I’ve opened.

Look forward to any tips and thoughts on the subject.

Neil B

The better your monitors (read more $$$£££€€€) the more accurate you can expect them to be.

BUT however accurate they are, your room is not a perfect acoustic space. Different monitors interact with the same room in different ways. Therefore what you hear will never be objectively totally accurate.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that your brain is very good at making allowances for inaccurate monitoring, but here’s the thing, you have to train it.

I would suggest that comparing the sound of your mixes through different monitors is pointless, once you have decided which you want to use, stick with them.

You can train your ears and brain by listening to lots of commercial music - specially music you know sounds good in different situations - in the car, headphones, whatever - played through your monitors, and compare how your mixes sound.

Be careful to compare at the same LOUDNESS. A good way to do this is to have several commercial tracks, and some of your own mixes, on adjacent tracks in Cubase. Mute them all and check and adjust the loudness of each using the loudness tools in the control room meter. Then you can solo each track in turn to compare with your tracks. You will soon learn what’s good and bad about your mixes.

Hope this helps.

Good tips and thanks for the reply David. I guess I just need some time with them and forget the old speakers. They’ll probably just confuse the issue.

Neil B

The thing with speakers is always: a propperly balanced spectrum. Most modern small monitors will have a bit to much treble, and not enough bass on the other side of the spectrum to sound balanced. Adding a subwoofer to extend the bass or rolling of some treble can help a lot.
Personaly I would trust the spectrum of your old monitors more, as they sound more “properly balanced” to me. (I know both sets you use), your new ones sound “hyped in the treble” to me. But the advantage of this is you will hear more detail.
So the trebleboost on your new speakers gives you the “more separation” or “better sound” idea, but if you mix on them you will probably get “dull results” outside in the beginning.

My advice: keep your old monotors at their proven position for the final tonal balance in the beginning, and use the new ones for second opinion and/or more detailed insight. As you slowly get used to the new ones and find they work better for you (as in outside your studio results) you could always switch. Also using reference tracks will help a lot. And taking breaks while mixing.

Useful post jb and I thank you.
The question is then, do I (having used reference tracks etc) adjust the HF & LF’s on the new monitors, to get closer to the Spirit 2’s, or leave them at “flat” and train my ears within Cubase? Because it may well be that my Spirits are sounding “10 years old” now (and the Denon amp 20 years old).

Be interesting to keep this thread going a bit for other users.
BTW - I’m a big fan of Mike Senior’s “Mixing Secrets for the small studio” book and I’ve done all I can (within limited space and budget) to follow his advice. But if I move my KRK’s further from the wall, I end up in another wrong position for the room size. It’s all about balancing with the HF/LF, room and Cubase.
Grateful for your contribution.
Neil B

I think you have to look into using something like sonarworks to correct the response of whatever monitors you’re using. When you read about it, it seems like a magic bullet to cure monitor inconsistency, but thinking it through, you can see that the correction applies only to the exact position where you placed the mic when calibrating. It could be that moving your head slightly out of that position throws the correction off. To make it more robust, you’d need to do a little room treatment, especially bass traps.

Another vote for sonar works
For less than perfect rooms near field small monitors are designed for a narrow sweet spot anyway.

The Sonar software measures at about 40 points not one.

Its very very good IMO
I never leave home without it.


Thanks. I hadn’t heard of SonarWorks and I’ve had a look at the website. Interesting
May give that a go in the future when money allows (as always).