I've been known to say :
"In 2020, there is no reason for crappy room acoustics"
...a few times now and I completely stand by it. There is no reason!
Very briefly, with Sonarworks Reference, you can take a measurement of your listening position and let Reference correct the sound for that position with an OS-systemwide EQ or an EQ plugin. It will apply equalization to counter the specific attributes of your room acoustics at your working spot. As a consequence it will help you make better decisions in your listening environment. For transparency, I have no(!) affiliation(!) with Sonarworks but let me say that I use their software Reference in some of my work places and I absolutely love it. If you want to do yourself a favor, make production, mixing or mastering decisions without the typical impact of "bedroom acoustics", get your hands on Sonarworks Reference.
But that's not actually what this article is about. Sonarworks also provide free ebooks, which let you learn the basics about good studio setup and how digital audio behaves (as opposed to analog audio). They also cover everything EQ-related and how you can mix more confidently. That's what I want to share with you.
I want introduce them to you in their own words but in a slighty different order, starting with...
"Building your first studio may seem like a daunting task, and you will also find building third, fourth and fifth studio equally daunting. Backed by years of experience in studios around the globe and thousands of measurements, we know what's important to get the sound you need.
Your studio will be your evolving workspace and have no fear – you can make it work by beginning with this eBook."
Placing and setting up monitors
Killing first reflections
Picking your perfect monitors or headphones
Master the Sonarworks settings, to bring your monitors closer to sounding like the ones owned by the pros. Learn to hear compression and understand its nuances, and which knobs to adjust to get each instrument to sit perfectly in the mix. Create ambience and depth with reverb, and know exactly what kind to apply, where to apply it, and how much to use. Working magic with delay, driving the song forward without adding clutter or mud. 5 ways to de-harsh your mix, and make it sound smooth and clean without becoming abrasive. The differences between online and offline bouncing, printing to a track, and exporting a mix, and the risks and benefits of each.
Learn about the different types of equalizers and master the most valuable tool in the audio engineer’s arsenal. Give your tracks unique color and dimension by exploring the magic of passive EQ and its deceptively simple design. Demystify the nuances of linear phase EQ, by learning when to reach for it and when to stay away. Understand why low end will make or break your mix, and how to take control of it so your mix translates well to any environment. EQ your drums for them to kick down the door and sit perfectly in the mix every single time.
Learn how to record the highest quality digital audio in your DAW, so your music can sound its absolute best. Discover the perfect bit depth and sample rate for your specific genre, so you can feel confident you've chosen the right settings for your music. Minimize unnecessary strain on your computer, so you can put an end to sluggish sessions and frustrating DAW crashes. Learn how to easily optimize your recordings to sound better on Apple Music and iTunes. Discover a powerful backup strategy that will ensure you never lose another song due to a computer crash or hard drive failure.
Until next time.
Author: Robert Hundt // Date: February 21th, 2020