So after doing two mixes (Les Breastfeeders and the Charms) on the DynAudio monitors Andy brought by last week, I’ve got some early comments (in bullet form because I’m too lazy for complete sentences today):
- Having a subwoofer in the monitoring system is annoying, bottom line. It’s one more thing to mess with, one more thing to go wrong on you, and one more thing you have to find a home for. This is a pretty nice subwoofer (gain control, high-pass outputs, and a low-pass filter on the input that can be varied from 50-150 Hz with a pot), but I’d still rather just have mains that can push a reasonable amount of low-end.
- On the other hand, having a subwoofer four inches from your crotch while mixing is an oddly enjoyable sensation.
- The first time anyone mixed on them (UV Protection’s outside engineer) I had the subwoofer gain at about 10 o’clock and the bass in the control room was way too high. After fooling around with reference CDs (Gang of Four – Entertainment!) for an hour or so, I concluded that the optimum bass setting was between 8-9 o’clock, roughly. That album doesn’t really have a lot of really low bass though, so we’ll probably want to repeat that experiment sometime with Dalek or the Beastie Boys.
- The low-pass knob on the sub was more problematic. I never quite managed to get it to sound right, but the best setting seemed to be in the 100Hz neighborhood (6 o’clock). This is roughly in keeping with the fact that the mains are set to roll off at 80Hz (they have a high-pass on the input that can be set to 0, 60, or 80), so it’s close to the “sweet spot” where overlap between the sub and mains is minimal but there’s no gap in the sound. The overlap was still enough to muddy the low-end a fair amount during both mixes, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t live with. Given the cost of these things, I think some more experimentation will improve the sound quite a bit.
- The mains are what you’d expect from a high-end set of monitors; highs and mids are very bright, clear, and detailed. There are some settings on the mains for high/low/mid shelves and things like that, but I didn’t even bother; they sound fine out of the box.
Both mixes translated to OTA reasonably well, but I still think I like the Samsons better. Their only major drawback (weak low response) was fairly easy to work around once you understood it, and they were much less of a hassle to work with. As I said though, these things could sound awesome after some tweaking (and better, since they cost quite a bit more than the Samsons), so we’ll see.