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Monitor Volume

What volume should you mix at? Loud is good, right? Well, yes and no. The tendency is to crank up the volume since everything sounds better loud. But loud doesn’t offer a true representation of the mix, overcompensating for the high and low frequencies as demonstrated by the Fletcher-Munson curves. High volumes also tend distort the balance of the instruments relative to each other in the mix. Aside from giving a false impression of what’s actually happening, mixing at high volumes can be damaging to your hearing. Recording and mixing is challenging enough without losing your hearing in the process.

Most engineers agree that a monitor volume of between 75 and 85dB SPL offers the truest picture of the mix. Think of it as a conversational volume. At this volume, balance issues are revealed, and your ears can tolerate the rigors of long mix sessions without ear fatigue more easily. Of course, occasional volume boosts may be necessary to check the low frequencies for boominess, but overall, a moderate volume through a good set of speakers will provide the best final results.

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