Sunday, October 29, 2017

Why do you need a BIG Studio Monitors in the small Control Rooms?

Membrane size and excursion limited SPL for LF driver
I'll show you an illustration why I recommend A BIG Monitoring Loudspeakers even for small Control Rooms.

For the beginning loudspeaker woofer size has nothing to do with the size of your room.

When you record an acoustical instrument to have 0dB peaks, your track usually will have a low RMS value, let accept that this value is -23dB. This means that peaks of this track will have 0dB peak values, but -23dB rms value.

So, if we look at your Studio Monitor, and if your standard listening level is 85dB rms, this will cause needs for reproduction of 105dB levels, or 20dB more, without clipping.

Whether it can do that?

A principle of loudspeaker drivers work, is sound generated by air movement caused by loudspeaker membrane excursion.  If membrane goes out of linear movement area (defined by the loudspeaker suspension and motor), then we arrived at a clipping point, because driver cannot reproduce anymore what we have requested. This can happen at low frequencies, and theoretically it can be calculated, so we can analyze it.

At published graph you can see characteristic of maximum possible SPL dependent from membrane size and maximum excursion, for five different MyRoom Acoustics studio monitors, a SM2, SM22, SM2XL, SM3, and SM3XL.

They all have different woofer membrane sizes with related (different!) maximum linear excursions. So, you can see at graphs which are lowest frequencies that can be reproduced without entering the clipping region.

When you record vocals or any sound source which do not have intensive low frequency content, small membrane (7" woofer in our smallest SM2) monitor can reproduce high energy peaks down to 96Hz.

But if you record drum kit or upright bass, you will arrive to the clipping point very easy. So, small loudspeaker monitor are NOT applicable for tracking acoustical instruments with strong LF content.

What people usually do?

- They High Pass "everything" because "there's nothing useful down there"
- Apply compressor right after mic-pre at the recording phase
- Apply limiter at master section during mixing phase.
- Gambling with the low end during both processes, tracking and mix.
- Use headphones.
- Mastering engineers cannot help or do anything reasonable because that.

As I always tell everybody, what you cannot hear, you cannot control!

If your monitors cannot reproduce the dynamics needed for control tracking or mixing raw material, they are unusable, not because their bad or good design, but because their woofer driver size!

So we need a very big monitors NOT only to impress customers ... But yes... That may be fun too! 😁😂😍

NOTE1: for "clipping point" is assumed that loudspeaker driver touches maximum mechanical excursion point.


1. closed-box1.xls from Siegfried Linkwitz website