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#268768 - 11/17/14 08:30 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass?
Paul Haynes Offline
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Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 343
Loc: United Kingdom
I own KRK VXT6 monitors. They are both a arms length away from me. Great speakers but the bass is some what lacking and I've been thinking of buying the KRK 10s subwoofer. My room is not treated at all and I sit in the corner of the room. I'm familiar with subs. I have one in my living room (in the corner) and one under my desk with my HiFi system that I use for my computer speakers. Great sound for listening to music. The reason I would like one is because I like a good solid bass in my mix. Previously mixed songs has been hard to get the right level of bass, either too much or too little.

So just interested to hear from others who have an opinion.

Paul



Edited by PaulH (11/17/14 10:31 AM)
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#268777 - 11/17/14 09:54 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Matt Finley Offline
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Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 16826
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
I don't know if my opinion is a 'valid' opinion, but here goes.

I used to use almost exactly the setup you describe: KRK 6" monitors and a KRK 10" subwoofer, all in an untreated small bedroom. Yes, the subwoofer helped me mix, absolutely. I have since gone to Mackie monitors and an Adam sub, but the conditions are similar.

By this I am not saying you cannot mix correctly without one, but I do think it helps greatly. Without a sub, you need to test mixes on more systems to hear what sort of info is going on in the lowest range. Mixes done on headphones or on monitors without a sub often can have too much bass.

My subwoofer was always set to reproduce only the lowest frequencies it could, and set at a rather low volume. I just wanted a presence, basically to know if there was low frequency sound or not.

One neat thing: the sub does not have to be in the middle. It should be if you can, but as bass is mostly non-directional, you can put one off to one side without a problem, as I had to do in my small room. More important is that the sub is roughly the same distance from you as the other monitors.

As an aside, after maybe seven years, the KRK sub developed a bad capacitor and started spitting out thunder-like noise at random. I made good use of this fact at Halloween last year, cranking up the slightly defective subwoofer in the closed garage. It really sounded like thunder in there! Good addition to the ambiance.

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#268849 - 11/18/14 04:45 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5415
Yes and no.... or in other words... it depends...

Yes, adding a sub will be "ear candy" for the mix you hear in your studio. I too love the punch the sub brings to the game.

For reference.... I mix on the Mackie MR-5 speakers with 5" cones and tweets......and have a Polk audio sub with 10" cone and somewhere around 100W.

The critical thing in either using a sub or not using a sub is to have your system balanced and YOU need to understand it's strengths and weaknesses in either or BOTH configurations.

People with small cones and no sub tend to mix bass heavy muddy sounding mixes, whereas people with subs can easily mix bass lite mixes.

It all comes down to knowing the system. It depends greatly too on the style/genre of music you mix. Some genre's of music.... hip hop, rap, electronica, for example have really low frequencies....and the small cones simply can not reproduce them accurately. You can't mix accurately what you can't even hear.

If you are planning to invest in, or have just purchased a sub for the small studio, you need to have it set up and balanced properly. Part of that relies on an unbiased judgement call from listening to prerecorded material through the speaker. Does it sound right? Too much or not enough bass or just right?

Another thing I recommend highly is a program called ARC. Automatic Room Correction software. It's super critical for ARC to work correctly, it needs to be set up and calibrated properly. Once that's done, the room acoustic's quirks are taken mostly out of the picture. Sound waves, and especially the bass frequencies can really be a problem. ARC isn't the cure to a bad room with out doing treatment, but it can certainly help in mixing to a fair degree. It adjusts the sound going to the speakers for your "sweet spot" so that it reflects the truth in the mix.

It has taken me quite some time to get my sub properly balanced and the entire system calibrated to where my mixes are reflecting what I'm hearing in my studio, when others play that mix on something other than my speakers. And yes.....I always mix with the sub on. I have it plugged into a power strip with a handy on/off switch so it is possible, if I want to check the mix for bass, I can shut it off quickly and turn it back on the same way.

My room, BTW has carpet on the floor, acoustic tile ceiling, and furniture in it so it actually sounds halfway decent even though it's not treated.

MY STUDIO : this is an older picture.... but the monitors and sub are still in the same place. Monitors on the desk...right and left... the left on is partially hidden by the music stand.... and the sub is on the floor to the right, under the guitar amp and the power amp..... front firing.



So... no, technically you do not NEED a sub to mix better bass..... however, it sure sounds good.....


Edited by Guitarhacker (11/18/14 04:52 AM)
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#268851 - 11/18/14 05:19 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
90 dB Offline
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Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 4534
Loc: Florida
Paul,

Get the sub. You know you want to. It will help your bottom end, if not your bottom line. grin


Your VXT6 goes down to 49 Hz. (per the specs, which can be liberal)

The KRK10s goes down to 34 Hz. You will notice more definition in your kick and bass guitars. If you look at this chart, you will see what freqs you are missing with just the near fields. Bear in mind that although the specs state 34 Hz, the actual signal at that frequency could be down -10 dB or more.


http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm




Regards,

Bob
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#268854 - 11/18/14 07:32 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Dan45 Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 117
Loc: Upstate NY
OK I'll bite! Where is a good place for the budget conscious musician to shop for such an item? I've been using backing tracks in Church and they definitely sound bassy. It's refreshing after so long with no bass, but it will get old eventually.
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#268859 - 11/18/14 08:36 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Dan45]
Paul Haynes Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 343
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: Dan45
OK I'll bite! Where is a good place for the budget conscious musician to shop for such an item?


Budget and good sound do not mix at all.
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#268860 - 11/18/14 08:37 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Paul Haynes Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 343
Loc: United Kingdom
Thank you all for your replies. They have been really helpful. Think I will get the KRK 10s after all. Bit nervous cause it's expensive for me considering this is only a part part part time hobby. But I like good sound.

Or......................... should I save my money and get the BIAB 2015 instead? laugh


Edited by PaulH (11/18/14 08:40 AM)
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#268864 - 11/18/14 09:27 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
Matt Finley Offline
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Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 16826
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Just to be clear, since KRK makes a 10" 'regular' monitor size, you want to buy one KRK model 10S where the capital S is for subwoofer. This is also by way of answering Dan45, since this unit sells for $400 retail at all the regular places.

But regardless, update BIAB for sure!
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#269144 - 11/20/14 11:20 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
critter Offline
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Registered: 02/09/10
Posts: 622
Loc: Wisconsin
I also have the VXT6 and with the switches on the rear I have them sounding excellent. It took time but all is well with the setup with no sub. I also check with my video setup in the living room and then the car, all comes out fine. The monitors are great, isolation was a problem at first but got that squared away and then worked with the switches in the rear, all is good. I have two subs in the living room surround setup, but that's for the movies etc.
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#269309 - 11/21/14 09:13 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
rockstar_not Offline
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Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7256
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Paul,

Whether you do or do not purchase a subwoofer, a question to ask is:

How do recordings that you like sound on your current monitoring system? Do they also sound too bass heavy or bass-light?

Until you answer that question, the matter of purchase of a subwoofer should be delayed in my opinion.

If your reference recordings sound fine, and they also sound enjoyable to your ear on your home hi-fi system, whilst your own recordings may sound fine on your monitoring system, but seem too bass heavy or bass weak on your hi-fi with a sub, then you can begin the process of purchase of a subwoofer and the effort that goes along with it to properly cross-over content being fed to it vs. your KRKs.

Mixing while sitting in a corner is not normally recommended - that's where you will have the most low frequency room modes interacting. You MIGHT make the situation worse by adding a subwoofer. In most home studios (read: smaller spaces, bedrooms, even closets, etc.), the room cavity modes normally play a very large role interacting with your mixing location.

It's also really difficult to make the room mode interaction 'go away'. In other words, room acoustics play a large role here that should not be ignored in your decision.

You might consider forgoing a new subwoofer and using a local thrift shop purchase for it. You likely can nearly knock a zero off of the price. See if you can tune the cross-over frequency such that you make your reference recording sound properly balanced. Then proceed to your own mixing activities.

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#269354 - 11/22/14 02:29 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
90 dB Offline
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Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 4534
Loc: Florida
"You might consider forgoing a new subwoofer and using a local thrift shop purchase for it. You likely can nearly knock a zero off of the price."




True indeed.

If you visit some garage sales (or rather "boot" sales over your way), you can pick up a decent home theater sub for cheap. I have an Infinity with an 8" driver I bought for $10, and it's excellent.

Try down the market square. Look for this guy. He'll sort you out. grin


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#269625 - 11/22/14 02:59 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: Paul Haynes]
rockstar_not Offline
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Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7256
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Every time you post that pic, it makes me laugh!

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#269782 - 11/23/14 02:32 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: rockstar_not]
90 dB Offline
Veteran

Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 4534
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: rockstar_not
Every time you post that pic, it makes me laugh!




That's our Del Boy.

"He who dares - wins!" grin
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#270072 - 11/24/14 04:23 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: rockstar_not]
Paul Haynes Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 343
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: rockstar_not
Paul,

Whether you do or do not purchase a subwoofer, a question to ask is:

How do recordings that you like sound on your current monitoring system? Do they also sound too bass heavy or bass-light?

Until you answer that question, the matter of purchase of a subwoofer should be delayed in my opinion.

If your reference recordings sound fine, and they also sound enjoyable to your ear on your home hi-fi system, whilst your own recordings may sound fine on your monitoring system, but seem too bass heavy or bass weak on your hi-fi with a sub, then you can begin the process of purchase of a subwoofer and the effort that goes along with it to properly cross-over content being fed to it vs. your KRKs.

Mixing while sitting in a corner is not normally recommended - that's where you will have the most low frequency room modes interacting. You MIGHT make the situation worse by adding a subwoofer. In most home studios (read: smaller spaces, bedrooms, even closets, etc.), the room cavity modes normally play a very large role interacting with your mixing location.

It's also really difficult to make the room mode interaction 'go away'. In other words, room acoustics play a large role here that should not be ignored in your decision.

You might consider forgoing a new subwoofer and using a local thrift shop purchase for it. You likely can nearly knock a zero off of the price. See if you can tune the cross-over frequency such that you make your reference recording sound properly balanced. Then proceed to your own mixing activities.


Hi rackstar_not

If you've ever listened to my tracks they've all been made in the corner of my room. Most were mixed with headphones and my stereo HiFi + sub.

Now that I'm using KRK VXT6's they are crystal clear but do lack bass because there's no sub. I can hear bass but it's not the speakers strength I don't think. I can see the downfall of a Sub = too much bass and mixes become bass light. Of course my mixing is always trial n error until I've tried enough times.

I can switch over to my HiFi + Sub anytime I want to mix with but I like the neutral sound of the KRK's to mix with instead. The idea was simply to add bass weight to my KRK sound to hear full depth of bass and to also enjoy listening more.

But with all that said, I do very little recording/mixing and I still use headphone a lot (sennheiser HD 280). I don't have the luxury of playing my songs over and over and over again through speakers cause my family get fed up with the songs then it loses impact when the song is finished.

Here's a song I heard to other day. I love it. It's jewish missianic praise and at 2min of the song playing (after a slow start) the full band and bass kicks in. THIS is the level of bass I like to have on my tracks but I am some what limited because most BIAB Real Tracks are bass light I think. Anyway take a listen...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QigSlkeDdMI
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#270073 - 11/24/14 04:26 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: Do I Need a Subwoofer To Mix Better Bass? [Re: 90 dB]
Paul Haynes Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 343
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: 90 dB
"You might consider forgoing a new subwoofer and using a local thrift shop purchase for it. You likely can nearly knock a zero off of the price."




True indeed.

If you visit some garage sales (or rather "boot" sales over your way), you can pick up a decent home theater sub for cheap. I have an Infinity with an 8" driver I bought for $10, and it's excellent.

Try down the market square. Look for this guy. He'll sort you out. grin





FUNNY!!

Great to see you Americans appreciate our British sense of humour! laugh


Edited by PaulH (11/24/14 04:27 AM)
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