Bag End – Take 2

Just had my first real stab at mixing on the Bag End system last night (Shore Leave on Pipeline). My impressions aren’t really too much different from Ramsey’s, but I’ll reiterate them for posterity here:

– Mains are unbelievably clear blah blah blah. They’re $1K apiece; you apparently get what you pay for. They’re about comparable in clarity to the Dynaudio mains (Ramsey likes these better, I like the Dynaudios; I think it’s really just a matter of personal taste). Interestingly, the imaging on the Bag Ends is much more noticeable than on any other monitoring system I’ve used; you really get a sense of the room whatever you’re listening to was recorded in, which applied to the reference CDs I was playing with as well as the actual live recording. I’m assuming the concentric-cone design of the mains has something to do with that (no phase difference between the highs and lows when they reach your ear), but I’m not enough of an acoustician to prove it.

– The subwoofer is godlike. It rolls off somewhere way below my low-frequency hearing threshold and exhibits detail in the sub-200Hz regime that I didn’t even know was possible. While there are some unfortunate side effects to such a complete low-end response (the sub actually managed to hit the resonant frequency of a few metal objects in the room and cause them to vibrate and rattle annoyingly), it adds a whole new degree of freedom to mixing.

– My ear for matching a mains/sub combo still isn’t very good. I kept the sub where Ramsey had it during the last mix and dropped the mains about a notch on the Gemini power amplifier driving them and the translation is a little bit off; my recording sounds just a touch too bassy in my Sennheiser HD270 headphones (which are kind of crap on the low end, so it might be even worse on a decent stereo). Unfortunately, the digital nature of the amplifier controls is a limiting factor here; the notch above where I had it seems to give a weak bass in the final recording, while my settings result in a hyped bass. The sub has a volume knob that we haven’t really played with though, so maybe we can find a happy medium.

– We had a near-disaster during soundcheck when the right monitor started making weird hissing/clipping noises and generally acting like it was blown. It turned out to just be a bad speaker cable, fortunately; we should probably at least use better extension cords to tie it to the amp if we’re not going to buy a spool of actual speaker wire.

I’ll probably spend some more time trying to match the sub and mains with reference CDs before my next mix (something garage-y for Gorilla Got Me next thursday) and hopefully get a better sense for these things after I’ve done at least two on them.

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