Monitoring, Ear training

Hi, Michael. I very respect your contribution to the development of the music industry and interest your mixing techniques.
What exactly need to listen to and do into the mix when you using small monitors, for example Auratone? For what purposes should they be used? Do you use headphones or monitors in the car to check the mix? If it so, what exactly you listent to?
What advices can you give to ears training?
Regards, Vlad.


When you’re sitting in a restaurant or in a car and a song is playing, what do you hear at a low level? You hear the essence of the song. You can easily hear the melody, vocal and some other element that is the essence of that song and you recognize it. By monitoring at a low volume or on a small speaker, it’s easy to tell if your mix is too busy, meaning there are too many parts coming at you at once, or if the focus is on the wrong part. On a small speaker at a low volume you might notice that the vocal is getting lost in the chorus or the solo is being blurred by a support instrument.

For many years I’ve had a Sony boombox that was given to me in Japan. That’s been my reference. I have friends that use little computer speakers, auratones, cars, transponders, Iphones. As long as you find a second source of monitoring that you can trust, it doesn’t really matter what it is.

I put together a travel rig so that I can go anywhere and mix but obviously there’s no room for my ATC 25s. I use Audeze MM500’s , Manny’s designed headphones. And for mixing music, these are perfect! What I hear on those headphones are accurate on big and small speakers.


Thank you for answer. And what can you advise for ear training? Maybe some exercises?

there is no substitute for experience. it’s not the ear you are training, its the mind. Log in the hours of mixing, it’ll come naturally.


Thank you for answers.