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A/B Tracks

In Mix's May 2009 issue, we asked readers to tell us how they listen and A/B their tracks to get the most translatable recordings.

How do you listen and A/B your tracks to get the most translatable recordings?

I mix primarily on a pair of JBL LSR4326Ps. The fact that they have the built-in RMC (Room Mode Correction) function serves to help even out some bumps in my otherwise pretty well-tuned project studio. While I use the JBLs as the primary monitors for mixing, I have several other speakers connected for making comparisons.

I track most often using a pair of Mackie HR624s, and I also use them as another mixdown reference. I’ll engage a subwoofer sparingly to see what’s going on with the low end. From there it gets interesting.

I flip my mixdown monitoring around once I get things pretty solid on the JBLs and Mackies and start checking the mix on a pair of older JBL Control One speakers. I also spend some time listening through a pair of Bose satellite speakers (the little ones where the top section can swivel for dispersion). I really like the Bose speakers because they give me a more accurate idea of the sound coming through an average television. As I do a lot of music for TV background material, having the small speakers helps me ensure that the critical elements can be heard in my mixes. I occasionally check on a pair of Yamaha tower home-stereo speakers to get a picture of how the sound will be through the home-stereo environment. Finally, I kick up the mixdown through a small P.A. system comprising two speakers, each with a 15-inch driver and piezo tweeter element.

It sounds like a lot but I can access all monitors with the flip of a switch or two, and since I began using this combination I’ve had much greater success in mixes that translate into the world. There may be easier ways to accomplish all of this, but I’ve found that each of the main speakers (the JBL, Mackie and Bose speakers) have their own elements that make them well-suited to hearing what I need to get a good, balanced mix.

John (JD) Stefan

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