Help for Those Doing Their Own Videos

I realize that many here who are doing their own sites are also doing their own videos. And since that’s something I’m an industry expert on I figured I’d share some valuable info for those not well versed in video production. Specifically audio for film/video, and getting a good “mix”.

Traditional thinking is that in order to get an accurate reproduction of the audio space you need to either have at least 3-4 different types of audio monitors so that you can replicate the various forms of devices people would be hearing your video on (Hollywood production studios often spend over $250K just on their audio setups alone) or, at least have a very good “reference monitor”. Those are called “near-field monitors”, designed for accurate stereo imaging and reproduction at low-to-medium volume levels and, with the editor close-in, not at a distance like would be with a typical home-stereo loudspeaker.

Both of those methods work fantastically; I have 2 nearfields that are my weapons of choice, a pair of Kali Audio LP-6’s and, Focal Alpha EVO 50’s. But, for someone on a budget that’s not really an option, so they’re left using the built-in speakers on their iMac (or similar machine) or laptop. Horrible sound reproduction, like listening to audio from a walkie-talkie radio - or worse. So here’s two options to give you a great listening space without breaking the bank.

One is to use high-quality home-stereo equipment for the task. You can easily find very good, class-A type stuff for pennies on the dollar on Craigslist these days.

For example I found this pair of B&W Matrix 2 speakers and a high-current Denon receiver in excellent condition all for less than either pair of monitors listed above. And the side benefit is that if you want to rock-out and really jam all you have to do is crank the volume. (You can’t do that with dedicated production desktop audio monitors, they’re not designed for high-volume levels.) Pics enclosed - including the item for daily motivation. haha

All that’s needed to connect the stereo to any laptop or desktop computer is an 1/8" inch stereo jack to stereo RCA connectors and you’re golden.

The KEY is to pick a high-current, high-quality receiver with a clean power supply and amp section. Some of those brands are: Onkyo, NAD, Carver, Denon, Nakamichi, S.A.E., Adcom, Harman Kardon, and a few others.

Same is true for the speakers, you want to stay away from cheapie meant only to blast as loud as possible. You want something that’s “flat”, has substantial capacitors (you won’t know just by looking,) and is known for accurate reproduction. A short list of the “best” brands: Polk Audio, JBL (just about anything they make is amazing), DCM (their Timeframe series is astoundingly perfect and nowadays totally affordable), Acoustic Research (AR) , Bang & Olufsen (B&O), Harman Kardon, Klipsch and others.

The amazing thing about using HQ stereo equipment for audio mixing is that it actually HELPS get a more accurate mix for what people are actually watching videos on these days - phones, laptops and tablets. I’ve found that using my nearfields are actually TOO perfect, I have to re-mix a few times before I can get a good representation for those smaller devices. Using this stereo setup I can get a good mix nearly every time on the first round of edits. And anything that saves time AND gives a quality result is a huge help.

So what if you don’t even have a budget for the stereo setup but still need a better-than-laptop speaker setup? Here’s the perfect solution, and it’s all of $100 USD the PreSonus ERIS 3.5 desktop near field monitors:

Unlike some of the other “computer” speakers on the market these are made by people who only do professional audio equipment and software, and for the money they sound GREAT. Totally usable in creating a good mix.

Good luck!!


Wow @producerguyaz, thank you heaps for your take on how we can improve the sound quality of our videos… You’re the man! :slight_smile:

I use the Eris Series E5 XT PreSonus Speakers for mixing Audio. I think the pair cost $150. They are powered speakers so I can just plug them into an APOGEE Quartet interface and get a really flat, clean sound that I think is very accurate. I do recommend some short acoustic risers underneath to isolate base from any desk cupboard below.
I was surprised to see that old Denon Amp, which looked strangely familiar and realize it is the same one powering the Klipsch Speakers of my Home Stereo. I never even thought to AB between the two set-ups but I will now. Thanks for posting the picture!
I just noticed the Sennheiser HD 600 headphones. I have those too, they are great for mixing.

The reason I suggested the ERIS 3.5’s is because they don’t require a USB audio interface, just the old-school analog dual-RCA to 1/8" inch stereo jack into the headphone output and you can get “good enough” quality for a decent mix. That’s for those who can’t afford the cost of monitors/audio interface, etc.

I chose the Denon because it has amp-section jumpers in back, so I plan to connect an NAD power-amp and the Denon will become the pre-amp.

You can go nuts these days with high-quality stereo stuff since the best-of-the-best is so affordable used. Who knows, I might go all the way and get that Onkyo M-504 power amp with the massive VU meters… fun stuff.

@producerguyaz thanks for the info. I edit my videos with FCPX on a Macbook Pro connected with mini jack to Yamaha HS8, active speakers. Great sound with lots of details.

For those that don’t know, the HS8’s are another “nearfield” type of self-powered monitor requiring some type of audio interface to connect them. And they’re not cheap, about $800 per pair after tax/shipping.

They sound great but aren’t the point of this post, which is for those who can’t afford a traditional “editors” sound setup and need better-than-laptop speakers - but on a budget.

Like I say, the HQ stereo option is totally viable these days for a fraction of nearfield monitors cost or, the ERIS 3.5’s for $100 bucks.

But yes, when someone can afford precise nearfields (or even if they need them, which is becoming more of a question mark these days) the Yamaha’s are a great choice for the sub-$1,500 a-pair market.

Thanks @producerguyaz for the comments. Perceived audio quality is very personal. The budget you want to spend too. Have a niice day!

Nice! I just tried plugging those Sennheiser headphones right into the headphone jack on my iMac. Wow Loud. I didn’t think that jack would be strong enough to power those headphones but I got blasted! I wasn’t in iTunes so I couldn’t figure out how to lower the volume, but nice to know that headphone jack had some power to it.
What software do you produce your Videos in?
Also, are you running a PA with your amps? otherwise why not just use plug-ins for the Audio in your Videos?

You can change the volume using the same controls for the iMac speakers; they control whatever the primary audio-out is. if they don’t respond make sure you have the headphone jack selected as your output device in System Prefs.

I cut everything in Davinci Resolve Studio.

Don’t know what you mean here:
“Also, are you running a PA with your amps? otherwise why not just use plug-ins for the Audio in your Videos?”

What are you referring to with “PA”. And what plug-ins are you referring to? Audio plug-ins are for editing/mixing, not monitoring.

I did change the output device to headphones but wasn’t playing the track through iTunes, just had the iTunes window open, so changing the volume in iTunes (of course) did nothing. I didn’t even try using the keyboard volume controls, just turned it off because it was so loud.
PA = Public Address, as in for live performance, or I guess you AB your mix on really big Studio Monitors that need more power.
In my case, I am only creating digital Video MP4, .mov etc. for my Audio tracks. I use plug-ins to mix & Master my audio into the proper volume final Wav file.
I am not sure which video editing software I want to invest time in learning. I have used iMovie and Keynote, might try working right inside Pro Tools but haven’t really explored that.

You’re getting your hardware-purposes confused:

“PA” systems and plug-ins such as you described are not used for editing. That environment is what a DJ would use for a live performance, for example.

Editors - regardless if it’s for film or strictly audio - don’t use high-powered output speakers for monitoring, it would be overwhelmingly loud and defeat the purpose of having an accurate mix. Not to mention create ear-fatigue nearly immediately.

The only exception is when we have to mix for what’s called, “LFE” (low-frequency excursions), such as in feature films when there’s an explosion, crash or other special-effect that has to be mixed properly. In that case a sub-woofer or sub-array is used to produce all that ultra-low frequency stuff (usually down to 10hz - the bone-rattling stuff) but still at very low volume levels.

There’s tons of info about how film and music editors create their listening space on YouTube. Check out the ones from Capitol Records; their setup is extremely unique.

Wala!!! :wave: :wave: :wave: :wave:
Muchas gracias por tomarte todo este tiempo!
Algo aprenderé!

Grazie, Bella!! Thanks for the kind words.