My monitoring setup

Monitoring for mixing and mastering is quite a challenge when you are mobile.

It’s always good to use multiple sources for monitoring and mixing, so here are the various methods I use, with some details for each:

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT studio headphones (Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT). Because I don’t have the space for proper studio reference speakers these are my main reference for mixing. I use an EQ to give these a flat response for mixing.
  • Apple Mac AirPods Pro. These are certainly not appropriate for use as reference monitors as they emphasise the bass quite a lot, and attenuate the very high end. However:
    • A lot of people listen to music on their ear pods these days, so this does provide a realistic environment.
    • I use a multi-bank equaliser to trim back the AirPod Pro bass boost, which provides a flatter sound for mixing.
  • Bose Portable Speaker. Anyone familiar with Bose will know that their speakers are quite heavily tuned to make the sound pleasant (Bose Portable Speaker). I can compensate a little by EQ’ing when playing to this device. However, it does provide me with a Mono simulation, which is actually quite useful.
  • Bose Frames. These are very cool sunglasses with bluetooth audio built in (Bose Frames). The sound is pretty amazing. They are not really suitable for reference monitoring, but they do provide another easy way for me to hear the mix, in a headphone like setting.
  • Car stereo. Yes, it’s a good test of a poor environment, especially relatively poor car stereo and speakers, plus the ambient and car noise.
  • Apple MacBook Pro. Well, I use Apple Logic as my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) on my MacBook Pro to create and record my music, so now and again I just use the speakers on there. Obviously they are not designed for reference monitoring for mixers, but they do at least give me an idea how the mix sounds for other people using their computer speakers.
  • Apple Mac iPhone 13. Sometimes I just listen on my phone, like when going to sleep. Although this is a long way from a professional monitoring situation, it does provide one more method for giving a different perspective on the mix.

Currently on my wishlist for monitoring are:

  • Beyer Dynamic DT770 Pro headphones. As an alternative to my Audio-Technica reference headphones. The DT770 are industry standard, and semi-open design, so better for long mixing sessions.
  • Mini portable studio monitors. I’m still reading about these, but there are a few pro studio quality bluetooth small portable reference monitors that could be a good solution here.