Best Speakers & Atmosphere for Audio Editing?

MadMaverick wrote on 7/20/2015, 5:48 AM
All these years I've done sound editing for my videos using the cheap speakers that came with my computers. My reasoning for doing this was that I figured most people would be viewing my work on a computer, and most people probably use the cheap speakers that come with their computers.

I've been informed by some members of these forums that it's in my best interest to get some reasonable audio speakers. I was told the following, "If instead you use cheap PC speakers that, say, have a mid-range peak, then you will subconsciously adjust the sound on your editing PC to make things more balanced. Trouble is now the sound will be poor on a system with good speakers."

I wasn't even sure what exactly mid-range peak was. So I was told this by another member: "Mid-range peak merely means that the middle range of the frequency spectrum is reproduced louder than the bass and treble ranges. All audio devices have this problem, not a single one has ever yet been produced that doesn't! However, some are much better at avoiding it than others. A typical classic hi-fi system might have a frequency response like 50 to 20K +-1dB, which is very good. The cheap speakers that come with your computer might be 100 to 14K +-6dB with the + part mostly in the middle range. These speakers emphasize the middle vocal area and diminish the highs and lows. If you use these and correct the sound to be pleasing, those who then listen to it on good speakers will end up with a muddy hole in the middle where you've reduced the mid frequencies and will have very loud treble and bass. It would be quite unpleasant for them."

I'm a bit of a newb here, so if anybody cares to elaborate further on what these gentleman said here I'd be grateful.

I was just wondering what kind of speakers I should get for video editing? What do you use? What do you recommend?

Am I correct in assuming that if something sounds good while being played on sophisticated speakers then it's liable to sound better on less sophisticated speakers than if you had edited on cheap speakers to begin with... kinda like a trickle-down effect ?

Also, I've heard that your atmosphere makes a difference when it comes to the editing of your sound. Most editing stations are gonna simply consist of a table in a room. Mine is in my bedroom surrounded by typical furniture. I don't believe most people have elaborate padded rooms to work in, which I suppose would be the most ideal thing... but I've always applied my earlier logic of editing on cheap speakers to this kinda thing... I figured that if you're editing in a bedroom, then it's all good cause that's more than likely where your work will be viewed by people.

I figured I could build a little structure out of foam covered PVC pipe and place it over the work station and myself... but I don't think that'd be very practical lol.

...or maybe that kind of thing is only really helpful when it comes to sound recording. I've heard of people covering things like plastic crates with foam and sticking their microphone in there. I've also heard of people going in closets to record audio.

Do you think this kinda thing is necessary? I guess ultimately this is a "It's up to you" situation, but I was just wondering what you guys think.

Any info or help would be greatly appreciated.


musicvid10 wrote on 7/20/2015, 6:54 AM
Decent powered, shielded studio monitors are half the price they were 20 years ago.
Add some stands and you're in at $350 or less if you're on a budget.
Check the ratings at B&H. They all sound great because the technology is the same.
PixelStuff wrote on 7/20/2015, 7:29 AM
The room atmosphere you are talking about is about the problem that a room will reflect some frequencies more than others causing similar problems to using bad speakers. Rooms with flat walls also tend to bounce clean echos around for longer than wanted.

Here is an article that sums up room acoustics.
JJKizak wrote on 7/20/2015, 8:06 AM
Most of the differences I had between Klipsch 4.1 computer speakers and my 20 grand living room super high fi 7.1 stuff (K-horns, Cornwall center, and surrounds) was low levels of 60 and 120 HZ computer hum and wind noise interferences with dialog. The SPL (80-85 DBM) and spaciousness of the speakers (24feet apart) would make the hum very noticeable. So I always did a lot of back to the drawing board corrections.
wwaag wrote on 7/20/2015, 9:51 AM
Mine is in my bedroom surrounded by typical furniture

Another option, which in some ways might be more practical for you, would be to use a good set of headphones. If your audience uses laptops, tablets, or smartphones, they will most likely be using earbuds. If that's the case, then use of headphones might actually be the preferred way to go.


If I'm not mistaken, these Sony's for $80 have been recommended in previous threads.

AKA the HappyOtter at System 1: Intel i7-8700k with HD 630 graphics plus an Nvidia 1050ti graphics card. System 2: Intel i7-3770k with HD 4000 graphics plus an AMD RX550 graphics card. System 3: Laptop. Dell Inspiron Plus 16. Intel i7-11800H, Intel Graphics. Current cameras include Panasonic FZ2500, GoPro Hero8 and Hero5 Black plus a myriad of smartPhone, pocket cameras, video cameras and film cameras going back to the original Nikon S.

CJB wrote on 7/20/2015, 9:59 AM
Earphones are really only good for identifying frequency content and are very poor at spatial imaging. There are some VST plugins you can get for audio that can ad imaging to a headphone set, but it is a crutch. Better to get some studio monitors and treat your room a little (do not invest in foam but rather fiberglass panels). Mackie makes some excellent monitors for the price and a 6" or 8" inch set is plenty good. 5.1 mixing is another story completely.
larry-peter wrote on 7/20/2015, 10:23 AM
As musicvid10 says, there are a lot of affordable, good choices out there. And after you get a good set, and get used to their strengths and weaknesses, your mixes will improve.

If you're not in a well-tuned, quiet studio environment, stick with near-field monitors and set them up as recommended. Also, I think if you're in a budget mixing environment, the more variety of speakers you have, the better. Even though I have a nice environment, I use 10" Events, 5" KRKs, a set of average computer speakers and a 6X9 in an open-back plywood box. Interestingly (makes me wonder about overkill) mixes that sound good on my worst speakers always sound good on my best. Also, use headphones to check for hiss and problem hi and low freqs you may miss.
musicvid10 wrote on 7/20/2015, 11:13 AM
Differences in speaker models and reasonable working environments are eclipsed by the editor's ability to perceive and mentally estimate relative frequencies.
Usually the people who say they can do this are the ones who don't have a clue.
It takes years of practice and even the best audio editors' ears are easily fooled on a bad day.

You can either hear the tonal shape or you can't, pretty much.
Being skilled enough to be able to approach the acoustics of a reference recording is essential.
Expensive monitors don't change that, unfortunately.

VidMus wrote on 7/20/2015, 2:12 PM
My hearing is way too poor to worry about what speakers I use. So I have to depend on visuals such as the real-time audio analyzer I have set at 1 24th octave to see what the audio is.

At least I can see how much mid-range vs. other frequencies there are. There is a lot more to what I do than what I want to try to explain here.

The important thing is, in spite of my very poor hearing, I found something that works for me.

Find something that works for you.

Geoff_Wood wrote on 7/20/2015, 10:40 PM
Surely 'room problems' are the least of the OP's challenges.

OP - read my reply in the appropriate other forum you posted into.

Rich Parry wrote on 7/21/2015, 2:33 AM
I am an amateur; but most of my equipment is pretty high end; I take great care in producing the best audio and video I can. But at the end of the day, most of my family and friends use their cell phone to view my stuff, so all my high end stuff goes to waste. The only satisfaction I get is knowing I am producing my best work and I can see and hear the difference.

If you are a professional, I would think it mandatory you get a good audio system. One can make a good argument that audio can be more important than the video.

my 2 cents,
Geoff_Wood wrote on 7/21/2015, 3:33 AM
[i] So I was told this by another member: "Mid-range peak merely means that the middle range of the frequency spectrum is reproduced louder than the bass and treble ranges. All audio devices have this problem, not a single one has ever yet been produced that doesn't !" [/]

Which suggests that the person is an idiot.

Chienworks wrote on 7/21/2015, 7:58 AM
Geoff, how so? It's completely true. All audio devices have frequency response variations. It's merely a degree of spending more money to get devices with less variation and a flatter response.
rraud wrote on 7/21/2015, 8:13 AM
Depends on your budget, Find some in your price range and go a retailer to audition them. Somewhat like headphones, it's a preference thing. Most pros have multiple sets or monitors, from large to a cheap mono TV speaker. The trick is, to make sound good on all.

PS, you don't need to post on both forums
musicvid10 wrote on 7/21/2015, 8:46 AM
As I said , studio monitor technology settled in some time ago. Sound response and accuracy are not a function of expensive components or high list price . It's quite the opposite in some cases. The recognized brands are all good.

rraud is quite correct that one needs to operate within a budget and begin to learn to use your monitors, since we're not mixing our music to entertain dogs.
Byron K wrote on 7/21/2015, 1:12 PM
Excellent information from forum members here.
Posted by: MadMaverick, Date:7/20/2015 12:48:01 AM
I was just wondering what kind of speakers I should get for video editing? What do you use? What do you recommend?
My audio rig consists of a pair of Mackie 824 monitors, Mackie 802VLZ and 1624VLZ mixers, running into Steinberg UR44.

The advantage of mixing audio on a pair of reference monitors is, it will help produce a well balanced mix rather than a mix specifically for a particular speaker type.

BUT dont trash your computer monitors, it is recommended to play back mixes over as many types of speakers that your clients/audience will be playing on. (:

As far as what to get, as others mentioned get the best you can afford. I bought my Mackies used many years ago so consider it an investment.

My methodology for recording audio is to rough mix thru my Sony 7506 headphones first (to keep from disturbing the neighbors because I do most of my A / V work at night), then EQ and balance thru the Mackie 824, play back thru a pair of Bose Roommates, Bose 802 Series 2 monitors, ADS car audio system w/ 12" sub woofer, gaming headphones, small boombox and computer monitors, then final EQ and balancing thru the Mackie 824.

Disclaimer: There are many headphones better suited for audio mixing than the Sony 7506 but I've come to enjoy the slight brightness and clarity and compensate for it in the mix.

Btw, Reference monitors are not designed to make audio "sound better". You may notice (at least I have) that some material played back thru reference monitors may sound a little dull, lack some punch or enhance certain audio frequencies, but sound great when played back thru regular speakers. That's what reference monitors are supposed to do, which is provide you w/ a flat uncolored representation of the audio. (;
Rob Franks wrote on 7/21/2015, 3:16 PM
Don't dump the money into the speakers. You can have the best speakers in the world and the will sound like rubbish if not correctly Q'ed

Get yourself a good quality home audio video receiver and connect your sound card's output to it. Most high end AVR's have systems which automatically sets up your stereo (or 5.1, 7.1, 9.1) sound, balance, frequency response... etc to the room. You simply plug in a mic to the receiver and set that mic in the place where you normally sit, then hit the setup button. The receiver then runs a series of sound tests on each speaker and sets them up automatically for the best flat response across the board. The end result is great sound from even a cheap set of speakers that is tailored to your listening space
musicvid10 wrote on 7/21/2015, 4:21 PM
I just flat out love Mackie powered speakers, whether the little studio monitors or the big bad boys.

Geoff_Wood wrote on 7/21/2015, 4:34 PM
These days most (of course apart from speakers and microphones) can have a response flatter than aural perception, or listening environments, across pretty much the whole audio range, with little design effort at all.

"All audio devices ....." is a sweeping and ridiculous comment, especially when bandying about figures like 6dB variation from flat..

Chienworks wrote on 7/21/2015, 4:46 PM
Technically it is true though, and that was the point. The rest of the comment that you didn't bother quoting goes on to explain that.
musicvid10 wrote on 7/22/2015, 7:45 PM
The rest of Kelly's quote:

". . . It's merely a degree of spending more money to get devices with less variation and a flatter response."

And here's my response:
I don't agree that accuracy and flat response are a function of MSRP. Indeed, some monitors in the $250-$300 range outspec and outperform audiophile reference monitors costing many times more. But if you're going to get the priciest speakers, be sure and get those outlandish monster cables, too.
ushere wrote on 7/22/2015, 8:25 PM
those outlandish monster cables

unfortunately if you do you might not have enough money left for even a pair of fisher price speakers....
JJKizak wrote on 7/23/2015, 6:09 AM
I think those cables increase performance by .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% but I don't believe it.
Chienworks wrote on 7/23/2015, 7:27 AM
The hi-fi store near me sells generic 12 gauge OFC fine weave superflex speaker cable for 21 cents per foot, or probably about 1/8 of what Monster charges for their 'bargain' cable. At that rate i figured it was worth it to get 20 feet for my main stereo system. Honestly i couldn't really tell the difference over the 16 gauge hardware store lamp cable i had been using before, but a tiny little bit of my psyche is happy to feel smug about it. The shopkeeper says he mostly uses it for 400 watt subwoofer car installations, and mostly because those customers demand it.
musicvid10 wrote on 7/23/2015, 11:10 AM
Insertion losses per 100ft. Copper with 4, 8, 16 ohm nominal speaker impedance:
For 10 foot run, losses are only 1/10, or .011 dB for 10 ga.

For reference, a .5 dB difference is indistinguishable to most ears.
Personally, I wouldn't run 100 ft. Of #16.

10 AWG: 4 Ohm = .44 dB, 8 Ohm = .22 dB, 16 Ohm = .11 dB
12 AWG: 4 Ohm = .69 dB, 8 Ohm = .35 dB, 16 Ohm = .18 dB
14 AWG: 4 Ohm = 1.07 dB, 8 Ohm = .55 dB, 16 Ohm = .28 dB
16 AWG: 4 Ohm = 1.65 dB, 8 Ohm = .86 dB, 16 Ohm = .44 dB
18 AWG: 4 Ohm = 2.49 dB, 8 Ohm = 1.33 dB, 16 Ohm = .69 dB