CONFESSION: i've been recording music at home for a long time, and i have yet to invest in a pair of powered studio monitors. They always seemed way too expensive, & i could use computer speakers or the AUX on the home stereo, whatever i could get to work. Recorded a lot of good music this way, burned a lot of CDs heard & enjoyed by a lot of people. No problems... but recently i got a job working for a major distributor of musical instruments, gear & equipment, and i get a discount. so i'm contemplating monitors.
And here's the question: can studio monitors & a mixer work for small scale performances? house party etc.? Or is a small P.A. system a better bet for this type of thing?
Before you answer, let me save you a little time & tell you what i DO know, which is:
Most stereo systems, home & car, are designed to accentuate certain frequencies in the mix to please listeners. They "color" or "sweeten" the sound to give people what they want. If a producer wants a seriously professional mix, he needs to use studio monitors that give a clear, accurate sound, and be "Flat" in terms of all frequencies equally represented (i think). So a mix that sounds great on one set of monitors might sound like poop on another set of monitors or another stereo system.
i also know that room dynamics play a big part in the mixing process, which is why rooms are treated with bass traps and what not. Any sound bouncing around the room will affect how you hear the mix, & it won't be accurate in the end.
all that being said (& apologies for the book length of this), as a home recordist (no DAW, all hardware) using a combination of headphones and conventional computer speakers (with separate sub); i'm always burning CDs to test them in various players & speaker set ups, car stereos, boom box, whatever. Experimenting, trial & error, til you get something sounding good enough to let people have copies. The overall loudness was always a problem area, compared to pro CDs, but i've gotten better with that. Of course i found fresh flaws in every listen, but the mix was always clear, not muddy, and the average listener always found it to sound pretty professional, and the CDs are quite popular.
i should note that the style of music isn't complicated to mix, really. Basement beats indie-hop, basically. No bass amps, guitar amps, live drum kits all pushing air & fighting for frequency space to worry about. the DIY ethos has always served me well, should i leave it behind? Above all, i always submit to the K.I.S.S. rule, first law of minimalism (keep it simple, stupid.)
any pointers? admonitions? stern scoldings?