In addition to the new microphones and audio interface I received over the winter break, I also got a pair of the JBL 305p MkII studio monitors. Previously, I just did all of my mixing on either my laptop’s speakers or my Sony WX-1000XM3s which are both not really ideal. Although I still don’t have a lot of mixing experience, I will be writing about what it’s been like using the JBLs.
First, pretty much all audio that comes through is really crisp and doesn’t have any noticable muffling or distortion. I guess this is something standard with any decent pair of monitors, but compared to laptop speakers it is a huge change. Especially on the lower end of the frequency spectrum, things are actually audible instead of either being really quiet or distorted.
Another nice thing about having the JBLs is that the stereo imaging is wider compared to just using headphones. Even though my desk isn’t that big, I have the monitors spaced out so that as long as I’m sitting in the right spot, I’ll be able to have more detail in terms of where sounds are coming from. I usually have a hard time noticing how I’m panning things using the laptop speakers. Even if I have two tracks panned hard left and right. With the Sonys, there’s a lot more separation, but not as much compared to the monitors.
Of course, the main reason why I got the monitors was to be able to hear all frequencies at the same volume as they’re meant to be. Often times when using the laptop speakers the low end never really came through, and with the Sonys, the low end was often boosted and probably some other specific frequencies as well. However, the monitors play things back really accurately, and it’s much easier to tell when certain things are too quiet or too loud.
One thing that bothers me a bit about the monitors though is the hissing that they produce whenever they’re on. If you start playing something you can’t hear it, but it always comes back once there’s nothing going on. It’s not too noticeable at first, but once you hear it, it’s hard to tune it out. So usually, I’ll just reach over the back and turn them off when I’m done using them for the day.
Overall, the JBL monitors are a lot better to mix on compared to the laptop speakers and headphones that I was using before. Even just using them to listen to music sounds really good. The only thing that I’d really complain about is the hissing, but even then, I still really like them.