Kali monitors making everything sound too good?

Dabo Fett

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So I have a pair of Kali LP-6's and I love how big and massive my mixes sound in these. However, when I bring them down to my DT880 headphones they end up sounding very bright and middy, meanwhile in my car its nothing but overpowering kick drums. I cant seem to get a consistent mix across all three sources and its starting to give some heart ache because I feel like I'm tweaking things so much its starting to take away from the original music.

Any thoughts on this? Originally I was using the Kali suggested DIP switch settings but recently balanced it back out just to compensate for the car test. I just dont know how I end up with two very different problems depending on the source playing the music
 

ravvydabby

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get yourself a set of shitty computer speakers for A/B comparison while your mixing. beats the hell outta having to bounce something down and go try it somewhere every time. or I guess you have your headphones to check that with. If you want, send me what your working on and ill give it a fresh set of ears to play too. its the same when your smelling candles, they give you coffee beans to smell to re-cleanse that palette ill be the coffee beans, you bring the candles haha
 

tedtan

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If your monitors exaggerate the low end, you’ll mix with too little lows and end up with a thin mix.

I suggest trying Room EQ Wizard to help balance your room and monitors to get a flat sound, adding acoustic treatment, and possibly new monitors, if needed.
 

Drew

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I'm not familiar at all with that particular speaker, but Google suggests they sell for $120 a peice. As such, I wouldn't expect them to be necessarily all THAT flat, and beyond that I suspect you're not working in a room that's an ideal listening environment. They probably ARE causing some translation problems.

How do commercial mixes translate in your car? How do they sound on your headphones? How do they sound on your monitors?

Room treatment is a BIG subject, but at a minimum maybe trying to get your desk into a better listening position (speakers centered, facing down the long axis of the room, 1/3 of the way down the room off the back wall is a good place to start) might help.

Beyond that, though, it's a lot EASIER to mix in a good listening environment with flat speakers... but if you can't, then you can still get great results, it's just going to take a lot of guesswork and trial and error and bouncing between different systems until you get to the point where something's starting to translate well, and then by backing into some of your changes, you can at least get some sense of where the "holes" in your listening are, and where you need to be careful to avoid problems.

Definitely takes time, though.
 

Dabo Fett

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Well the issue is that there doesn’t seem to be a consistent problem. If they sounded to thin in the car and in headphones, I’d get it. But the mixes tend to sound too thick and low endish in the car (most likely in the 50-100hz) area and then still too thin in headphones (but think as in everything under 3-400hz). I think I’m over compensating for my car tests and removing too much low mid while evening out the mix, and I wonder if a sub would help compensate a bit better in the low lows, which would cause my to compensate less
 

Tree

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Sounds to me like you just need to learn your monitors better. There's a bit of a learning curve with this always. Are you directly A/Bing back and forth with your Beyers while mixing?

Back when I had budget monitors I quickly learned that I would constantly ruin mixes if I tried doing the majority of the work on them as they were prone to exciting the "hype" frequencies (as in boost the stuff we perceive as being better when pushed louder). So as a broke 20 y/o I started using my headphones to do my mixing on since I knew I could rely on them to be transparent to my ears. I would always pop them off and check with the monitors to get a different feel for space and whatnot, but it's not a bad idea if you're already familiar/comfortable with your headphones and aren't willing to invest in better monitors. :2c: Plenty of professionals openly work mostly on headphones despite the old adage not to.
 

Drew

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Well the issue is that there doesn’t seem to be a consistent problem. If they sounded to thin in the car and in headphones, I’d get it. But the mixes tend to sound too thick and low endish in the car (most likely in the 50-100hz) area and then still too thin in headphones (but think as in everything under 3-400hz). I think I’m over compensating for my car tests and removing too much low mid while evening out the mix, and I wonder if a sub would help compensate a bit better in the low lows, which would cause my to compensate less
Is that true of other people's mixes as well?

If the 880s sound anything like the 770s I've used for, well, a VERY long time, they likely have very deep, but not very "punchy" low end, so you might be leaning into the low end frequencies a bit to compensate. Your car stereo may be augmenting some of those "punchy" low end frequenies, the upper end of the "low end" range, or the lower end of the "low mids," and that might be what you're getting in trouble with when you go from your monitors to your headphones to your car stereo. More likely than not, with a 6.5" driver in a more affordable speaker, in an untreated room, you just don't have the low end reproduction to really hear what's going on in the low end clearly in the first place in your room.

Spending a lot of time listening to the same mix, a good commercial mix in a similar genre to what you're working on, on your monitors, on your headphones, and in your car could help, but if what you're dealing with is just a monitoring chain that makes it difficult to even hear some of these frequencies clearly in your room, then maybe the best thing you can do is just spend a lot of time learning how the low end of a mix should translate on your DT880s, and trusting those over your room.

Also, if you're not mixing against a reference mix, I'd definitely get into the habit of comparing your rough mixes against a volume matched commercial mix - it can help spot problems early on.
 

Drew

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Plenty of professionals openly work mostly on headphones despite the old adage not to.
Biggest issue here is it can be hard to hear phase issues. But, if you're not working with tracks prone to causing phase issues - live drums recorded with multiple mics panned across the stereo spectrum, multiple mics on the same guitar cab or performance, etc - then these become much smaller issues. Not completely gone, but a lot smaller and safer.
 

Tree

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Biggest issue here is it can be hard to hear phase issues. But, if you're not working with tracks prone to causing phase issues - live drums recorded with multiple mics panned across the stereo spectrum, multiple mics on the same guitar cab or performance, etc - then these become much smaller issues. Not completely gone, but a lot smaller and safer.
I’ve never ran into that personally, but I’m also incredibly aware of phase issues and constantly checking even if I don’t think it’s there. Like you I’ve used the DT770s pretty exclusively for the last 12 years, so I basically treat them as an extension of myself. I know exactly how what I hear on them is going to translate onto basically everything.
 

sakeido

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So I have a pair of Kali LP-6's and I love how big and massive my mixes sound in these. However, when I bring them down to my DT880 headphones they end up sounding very bright and middy, meanwhile in my car its nothing but overpowering kick drums. I cant seem to get a consistent mix across all three sources and its starting to give some heart ache because I feel like I'm tweaking things so much its starting to take away from the original music.

Any thoughts on this? Originally I was using the Kali suggested DIP switch settings but recently balanced it back out just to compensate for the car test. I just dont know how I end up with two very different problems depending on the source playing the music
you've gotta accommodate each of your listening devices... Kalis are pretty flat but not a ton of bass extension. They also have a bit of a suckout in the bass below 100hz. Beyer DT880s are insanely bright and don't have much extension at all. I wouldn't recommend even trying to use them as a mix tool without EQing them with Sonarworks. My 880s measured like this.

1653507939585.png

look at the crazy hyped treble. Its 9-12dB above where it should be. Then the bass is down almost 6dB in one channel at 60hz and 9dB at 50hz, roughly. These are enormous differences. Very difficult to compensate for without a lot of experience, and even if you have the experience... you could save yourself a lot of stress by going a different route. If you did want to use Beyers, the DT 770 or 990 are probably a better choice than the 880. Or you could pick up Sonarworks and use the average adjustment curve to try and blend them back to flat. For what it's worth once I got a pair of 770s, I haven't touched my 880s at all.

Your car, who knows. The Car Test is famous because cars are leaky enclosures that don't bounce around bass frequencies like a house does - basically in your room, you are going to be getting cancelations at some frequencies and boosts at others, and they're going to be huge - we're talking straight up nulls, where the sound is perceptually reduced to literally 0, to -10dB cancelations, to +10dB boosts, whatever. Where your car is (usually) going to be quite a bit more flat. When I run Dirac to try and get it to flat, this is what it's doing to the signal... and it's worth noting this is a pretty heavily treated room and I'm using a subwoofer, which helps smooth out the bass a bit:

1653508155282.png

Those are EQ filters applying +12dB here, -15dB there, etc. and it still isn't enough to get it to flat, although it's pretty close... you can see at 95hz here, that shape is actually a null. That is (if I remember right) the bounce off my ceiling. No amount of boost will ever get rid of it, and only moving my listening position will fix it - notice that there isn't a corresponding boost there in the Dirac chart. The software knows that frequency is a lost cause.

1653508269520.png

In your case your "room EQ curve" - basically, what the size and shape of your room are doing to the frequency response of your Kalis - probably has some giant suckouts that would correspond to the frequencies you are finding very boomy on your car test. You are mixing into (hypothetically) a -20dB null and boosting your stuff like crazy, or maybe not doing cuts where they're needed, because your room is distorting your perception so much.

If you are serious about mixing probably the cheapest investment you could make to improve your sound is a $100 UMIK from MiniDSP and a few tutorials for doing room measurements in REW, then you can try and find some ways to EQ your Kalis to try and get more of a flat response at your listening position. I would only use your 880s to make sure your mix sounds good on them - if you mixed too bright on the Kalis, it'll be unbearable on the Beyers.

If you don't want to spend any money do a song that's just a simple synth playing sine waves, going up chromatically starting at C0. Using your Kalis, do an EQ curve to try and make all the notes sound roughly the same volume. Then go to your car, play it back and write down the notes that are sticking out to you. This is going to a bootleg way of seeing which frequencies are being nulled in your room (they'll be too loud in the car) or are being boosted (they'll be too quiet in the car). This will help teach you what your room is doing so you can make better decisions on your mixes... although imo just buying the UMIK and using REW is a lot easier
 

eaeolian

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I'm not familiar at all with that particular speaker, but Google suggests they sell for $120 a peice. As such, I wouldn't expect them to be necessarily all THAT flat, and beyond that I suspect you're not working in a room that's an ideal listening environment. They probably ARE causing some translation problems.

How do commercial mixes translate in your car? How do they sound on your headphones? How do they sound on your monitors?

Room treatment is a BIG subject, but at a minimum maybe trying to get your desk into a better listening position (speakers centered, facing down the long axis of the room, 1/3 of the way down the room off the back wall is a good place to start) might help.

Beyond that, though, it's a lot EASIER to mix in a good listening environment with flat speakers... but if you can't, then you can still get great results, it's just going to take a lot of guesswork and trial and error and bouncing between different systems until you get to the point where something's starting to translate well, and then by backing into some of your changes, you can at least get some sense of where the "holes" in your listening are, and where you need to be careful to avoid problems.

Definitely takes time, though.
I have a set of them, and mine are pretty flat. They do have adjustable EQ that you want to make sure is correct, but I stopped using my HS50s after I got the LP6s. They aren't bass exaggerated AT ALL on my desk.
 
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I have the Kali LP8s and what I can tell you is that you need to learn your monitors. The EQ does seem very flat and you need to listen for bass and how it sounds in your monitors. It took me a minute, because in my monitors it sounded fine and then in other places it was bass-palooza. I learned to listen to the woofing and tell tale signs that I have too much bass in my mix. I have my monitors on stands and I bumped up all the little notches in the back and I found that helps. It makes everything a little louder and I can focus on certain frequencies easier.
Personally I'd like a little bass exaggeration because for that I do, I want to hear just how obnoxious the bass can get. I'm considering a sub but I have yet to actually do it. Honestly I think a sub would eliminate all the problems.
 

MrWulf

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The Kali is pretty good. You really need to learn it. Its not the most revealing monitor but for balancing and soundstage it is quite decent.
 

MrWulf

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Also, in term of car test, it is unforgiving due to mid scoop, extended high and sub nature of a car audio system. So in a car test its more of testing how well the low end, sub, instrument separation and the mid range hold up in such situations.
 


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