Why your studio might be making your mixes sound worse (and what to do about it)

IK Multimedia ARC System 3
(Image credit: IK Multimedia)

You spent ages researching monitor speakers and recording products and kitted your studio out with the finest gear you could afford. You set it all up the best you could and followed every bit of advice you were given… yet still your mixes don’t sound like you want them to.

Does that sound familiar to you? If so, it might be because you’ve neglected one crucial element in your studio setup: the sound of the room itself.

In a professional studio, a significant part of the budget is spent on treating rooms to create a clean, reflection-free environment with a flat, uncoloured response. However, in a home environment - your bedroom, living room, study or basement, for example - or even when recording in a hotel room or out in the field, it’s not always possible to modify the room with acoustic treatment.

Unfortunately, though, this is an issue that you can’t ignore, as it becomes crucial when you’re mixing and mastering. You need to ensure that the sound you are hearing from your monitor speakers is clean and an accurate representation of the recorded sound; you don’t want to be making critical decisions on EQ or sound balance if you can’t be sure that what you are hearing is what has been recorded. What’s more, you need to be confident that your final mixes translate well to other environments.

This is where a solution such as IK Multimedia’s ARC System 3 room correction comes in. By measuring your room across a 3D space around the listening position, IK’s proprietary VRM™ (Volumetric Response Modelling) technology creates a 3D snapshot of your room, identifying problematic issues without over-processing the sound.

For example, if the room dimensions cause bass booming at certain frequencies, the software can correct it by reducing those frequencies, thus removing the bass boom.

Similarly, if there are phase issues or unwanted reflections in the room or from the speakers themselves, the software can correct these - and in a way that sounds natural and not artificially processed.

The final correction file is loaded into the ARC 3 plugin, which is inserted into the master or monitoring bus of your DAW. So, any defects in your speakers or your room’s performance are removed, leaving you with a clean audio signal that’s true to the original recording.

In addition, ARC System 3 gives you the ability to modify the correction curves to suit your own tastes or to tailor the sound for different playback environments or perhaps for different music genres.

In a situation where professional room treatment is not possible, or the cost is too prohibitive, ARC System 3 offers a powerful room correction solution that can solve most problems - and all at a pocket-friendly price with astonishingly good results. So, finally, you can trust the sound of your room!

Learn more about ARC System 3 and try out the free demo version on the IK Multimedia website. Check out a selection of product videos, too.

Please also check out the Special deal on ARC System 3 in IK's Happy Holidays Deals.