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Improving home studio sound

Discussion in 'AX8 Discussion' started by EricBic, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. EricBic

    EricBic
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    Hi all,

    I need some advice. I've had my AX8 for over a year now and i love the way it sounds when playing with the band at our rehearsal room, going through a mixer and Mackie powered speakers. At home however I've been pretty underwhelmed. Not only does it not sound good but i find it almost impossible to dial in tones that will work well with the band and PA. Would love to hear what setup you guys/gals are using to try to bridge that gap.

    My current setup:

    AX8 -> spdif -> Focusrite 6i6 -> KRK Rokit 5 Monitors / Bose QC15 Headphones

    The Focusrite is connected to a Surface Book laptop.


    Requirements: At home i'm primarily playing through headphones, and occasionally through the monitors. I'd first like to make changes to improve sound through headphones, and then in a few months upgrade my monitors. FRFR monitors would be overkill for my place due to size and noise limitations. Some of the changes I've considered are:

    1) going XLR instead of spdif
    2) getting a different audio interface
    3) upgrading headphones
    4) upgrading monitors

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. DanGuitarMan

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    Upgrading your monitors would be the way to go.
     
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  3. chucma

    chucma
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    Generally speaking, it will sound a lot better with the band because you will be playing it much louder - at home you play it a lot softer and it simply looses a lot of dynamic/headroom. The way around this is to mix at home at the same volume level that you would do when playing with the band, however I know this won't be possible in your case as you have mentioned that is a limitation when playing at home.

    I just wanted to highlight this point before you go and spend thousands on expansive gear at home and then still find you are not fully satisfied with the result. If you have to upgrade then I do think some better home monitors would help, but they will not make it sound as good as it does when playing much louder.
     
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  4. Brian Dixon

    Brian Dixon
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    I agree also if it sounds good at band practice it may simply be a volume issue. Try cranking the headphone volume temporarily to see how that works for you.
     
  5. Smittefar

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    Changing from SPDIF to XLR will not change the sound
    A new interface will not change the sound.

    Your monitors are slightly under powered. You would have been better off with the RP6 or 8's. But then your room acoustics come into play, and that might be terrible (mine was, before I started treating my room). I am not familiar with the Bose headphones, but I suspect they are made for Hi-Fi. I am very happy with my Beyer Dynamic DT990 for creating sounds with my AX8 (both with my old Scarlett interface and my current Roland).

    The trick with both monitors and headphones is, you have to blast them. It just doesn't sound good at real low volumes.
     
  6. fractalz

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    +1 on the DT990
    -100 on “blasting”
     
  7. Eman7422

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    Adam ax7 monitors

    Also, when I want a bit more oomph at low volume, the fx return of a marshall 5210 combo...at low volume I leave the cab ir on....gives a bit more punch and as volume goes up, I can turn off the cab ir.
     
  8. Sonofiam

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    I create my live presets at my desk using a Steinberg UR22 into Behringer Truth B2030A monitors (50Hz-21kHz freq. range) at a volume @ 80dB, measured @ 2.5 feet from monitors. I set OUT 1 on the AX8 at 50% and the preset levels range from -11 to -3. I have had zero issues having the presets translate perfectly live.

    This idea that you have to use "gig level" volume to create live presets or "blast" your monitors/headphones for the AX8 to sound good is simply not true. It may work for some users but is not the rule. The one thing that needs to be kept in mind is you are creating a guitar sound not a guitar tone. It is a mic'd version of a guitar tone but in the end is simply a guitar sound derived from that tone. A big distinction that took me a couple of months to wrap my head around but once I did, the AX8 became an invaluable tool and a lot of fun to use.
     
  9. bo13bo

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    Buy
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    KRK and Bose aren’t known for the highest quality sound and are the weakest link in your signal chain. As others have mentioned it is never going to sound exactly like practice since you aren’t playing at that volume and are using cabs though and some people just can’t get over that more direct sound.
     
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  10. Rayos

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    Just a few days ago I got my new Near Field Monitors. I checked some video reviews between JBL vs Yamaha vs KRK and the first thing I did was forget about the KRK.

    I don't know your headphones, so I can't tell you about that. But I'd recommend you to get some better Monitors.
     
  11. DanGuitarMan

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    I just re-read your initial post, and maybe a set of accurate IEMs might benefit you? I'm not familiar with yours, but I love my Ultimate Ears Reference Remastered.
     
  12. EricBic

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    Thanks for all the tips. @DanGuitarMan i own a pair of shure SE425, but i keep those at the band room and i don't particularly enjoy wearing them for long periods of time, so over the ear headphones would be better for me at home.

    From all the advice i guess my first action will be getting proper headphones (yeah the Bose aren't great and definitely Hi-Fi), thanks for the tip on the DT900s ill check them out. Towards the end of summer when i move i'll checkout the Adams, I've heard/read a lot of good things about them.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  13. Eman7422

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    Beyerdynamic headphones are great
     
  14. m3talmike

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    My opinion is that you will never find the big sound that you have with ax8 at rehearsals or live with nearfield monitors and headsets. The solution you excluded (frfr speaker) is the solution you need.
     
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  15. Geoff

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    as the last post said. i’ll even go further, you will never get the big sound at home unless you have a big big room and play loud. room acoustics play a big deal too. with monitors experiment with placement. you should be able to get a good enough sound to practice with.
     
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  16. Smittefar

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    Some of the excitement definitely comes with volume and getting hithit the chest. I can get what I need from my monitors and to some extent from headphones, but I need to run at much louder volumes than I would ever use for mixing.

    Learning what a good guitar sound sounds like at low volumes is very useful though
     
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  17. smarshallll

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    I think our friend Fletcher Munson is poking his head here. The increase in amplitude of certain wavelengths at gig volume will be percieved by your ears in vastly different context than when you're running studio monitors from an interface. I get it often with clean tones. Important things here: Gain stage properly for your interface. Get that signal up to where it needs to be so you're amplifying from a proper dynamic range. Also, a EQ block after everything that adjusts it to sound good in situ will do wonders, then bypass it when gigging.
     
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  18. #18 artzeal, Jun 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
    artzeal

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    Monitors are important, crucial even: BUT: poor room acoustics can compromise even high end monitors.

    Most of us are stuck with whatever room we're stuck with and don't have the budget to do much: I won't get into the details of room treatment: but there are a few fixes that can dramatically improve a less than optimal space. Locating the monitors off the wall, a stuffed chair doing double duty as a bass trap, heavy curtains, and a few well placed baffles (Owens Corning 703 if possible) to control reflections and resonances. I went the extra step of doing an RTA analysis of my (10' x 11') "studio" and made an EQ compensation curve that I can load into the DAW (or the AX8) to knock down room resonances to more or less neutral. There's only so much that can be done, so no point in going overboard, but any space regularly used for music merits some attention to optimizing its acoustics.
     
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  19. Smittefar

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    Acoustic treatment FTW
    IMG_20180613_182548-1600x1200.jpg

    Before, I also had a sub, but I have much tighter low end with acoustic treatment and no sub
     
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  20. Bman

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    Is that acoustical foam with a sheet covering or a particular product?
     

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