Guide to Mixing and Mastering with IEMs

Guide to Mixing and Mastering with IEMs
Learn how in-ears can help you consistently dial in professional sounding mixes in any setting with tips from award-winning re-recording mixer Frank Morrone.



We recently sat down with award-winning re-recording mixer Frank Morrone for NAMM’s Believe In Music Week to chat about how mixing and mastering with in-ear monitors can help improve your performance. Morrone has worked extensively in both film and television, earning multiple awards and nominations for best sound mixing for projects such as Lost, The Kennedys and When We Were Kings. In this blog, we’ll share some of the highlights from our conversation, including why Morrone brings his UE IEMs to every session.





Professional Sound Quality


According to Morrone, “A really accurate monitoring system is one of the most important things for any mixer.” You need to be able to hear every detail of your mix, whether you’re working on music, dialogue or sound effects.


Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors deliver clear, detailed sound across the entire frequency spectrum by utilizing multiple balanced armature drivers. Each driver is fine-tuned to a different frequency range to create a neutral, balanced frequency response, unlike the common dynamic drivers found in most popular headphones and earphones.


All of our in-ear monitors offer pristine sound quality, but our UE Reference Remastered earphones were custom-designed by world-renowned studio engineers at Capitol Records to deliver a flat frequency response so you can hear any instrument as it truly sounds. Perfect for studio creators, mixers, producers and more, Reference Remastered earphones are the gold standard in sonic excellence.

“The Reference Remastered in-ear monitors are especially helpful when I’m replacing dialogue lines with ADR. It’s really important that the mix translates, and Ultimate Ears does that. I get absolutely no surprises. The balance is always great.


“I also mix a lot of music at home, and Ultimate Ears is great for that as well. I can listen to a mix on my mains, bring it to the Auratones—even bounce an MP3 and listen to it in my car through a Bluetooth connection, and it always translates.


“If you can get your mix right on the Reference Remastered in-ear monitors, it will translate to any system. They’re very accurate throughout the entire frequency spectrum—all the way across. They don’t hype the bottom or the top.”



UE reference remastered  


Superior Isolation


Modern mixers require more than just great sound—they also need a quiet space to work in, and that’s not always possible. Whether you’re working in a home studio and sharing space with family or roommates or are on a busy sound stage with a full team of people, you need isolation to get the job done.


Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors protect your hearing in noisy environments using cutting-edge sound isolation technology. With -26 dB of gain reduction, our in-ear monitors block out noise in any setting. 


In-ears can be especially helpful for those mixing in small, untreated rooms. Traditional studio monitors create sound that bounces off of your walls—even those that have some sound treatment—which can color and distort the sound.  With UE IEMs, the drivers are so close to your eardrums that they never get loud enough to reflect off of your walls, making it easier to make critical mix decisions without being tricked by your room. 


Plus, since you’re monitoring at lower volumes, you’re able to mix comfortably for longer periods of time without suffering from ear fatigue. And of course, mixing with in-ears means you can work at any time of day without disturbing your neighbors—or in Morrone’s case, your studio partner!


“When we’re in the studio, the only way to get things done in time is for my mixing partner and I to work on different sections of the mix simultaneously. I’ll work on dialogue and music for the next scene while he’s doing sound effects on the speakers—everything from tires squealing to gunshots. 


“We typically monitor at sound levels between 82 and 95 dB SPL on the monitors, so I need something that I can still hear what I’m doing. The Reference Remastered in-ear monitors are fantastic for two reasons: they totally isolate me from the sound blasting out of the speakers, and I can still hear every detail in the mix. 


“I need something that’s referenced so there won’t be any surprises when I listen back on the main monitors. The Reference Remastered in-ear monitors are perfect for that because I’m doing a lot of crucial mixing in them. Between dialogue, music, ADR and groups—those balances are really delicate.”



Unparalleled Detail


In addition to protecting your ears, our superior isolation also makes it easier to hear critical details in your mixes. Whether you’re trying to find the perfect mic placement or get the decay of a reverb tail just right, IEMs are an invaluable tool for zooming in on your mix.


And since UE Reference Remastered in-ear monitors feature a perfectly balanced mix of lows, mids and highs, you can rest assured that they’ll translate seamlessly to any system—from your car stereo to the silver screen.


“For me, in-ear monitors provide an intimacy with the sound that you just don’t get with near field monitors because of the space around you. Physics come in to play and change the sound depending on how far apart they are and your left and right separation. 


“A lot of times, when I’m listening on monitors, I’ll hear a low-end rumble in the background from a truck going by or something—especially if I have a mic open and I'm doing an overdub. One drawback is that you can’t record while using nearfield monitors, which I can while using in-ears.


Whether I’m working on dialogue for a film in Dolby Atmos or mixing music in stereo, I get an idea of what the balance is going to be by listening on in-ears. Then, when I listen back on the main monitors, I make decisions about where I’ll place each instrument. The in-ears give me a really good starting point for balance.”


Want to learn more about mixing and mastering with in-ear monitors? Check out our full conversation with Frank Morrone for more tips and tricks on dialing in a perfect mix.

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