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To make sure the songs still sound OK on crap systems like small radios and computer speakers I've been listening to recordings through my computers speakers, a surprisingly good value €50 Creative Labs set of small speakers + subwoofer (you know, this kind of thing). Although that has been useful, it means I can only listen to the mix after I've mixed it down to my computer (I use a Tascam 2525 mixing desk and midi sequencing a lot).

So I'm looking for a set of extra monitors. They need to be "crap" for a certain value of crap, they must be active, and can't cost more than a couple of hundred dollars and not to big. So yes, another set of creative speakers + subwoofers fits the bill, but maybe somebody has good recommendation for alternatives.

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@Evan: There is no need to be rude just because you don't understand the question. –  Lennart Regebro Feb 27 '11 at 21:02
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I'm struggling trying to answer this in a way that would enhance what you've got already. Because really, you've got a pretty good representation of "everyman's speaker" there with the Creative set you have already.

So I'm going to take a different approach here and, instead of recommending something to buy, I'm going to recommend some techniques I use to test my mix to see if it'll work on other systems (I mix on a KRK Rokit setup and my big mains are JBLs driven by a McIntosh amp).

Test on a clock radio. They are almost the ubiquitous music listening device. We all have them in our rooms. There are a few, guaranteed, in every office space. Your mechanic has one in his office. They are everywhere. And they sound pretty much like poo. I have a line in on my little Sony clock radio. I'll bounce a mix, drop it on my iPhone, and try it out on the clock radio via the line in.

Test you mix without the sub. Most people don't have one. So click off the sub on your Creative setup and see how it sounds. Is there still a reasonable representation of the low end happening when it's just a small speaker setup?

Test your mix in mono. Or rather: move away away from the sweet spot. I like to throw a mix on in a loop and then walk out of the room. Wander around the house. Listen to it like most people listen to music: while they're going about they're day and it's background to their lives. Few people spend the time to sit down in the proper spot, between two nice speakers, and really enjoy all that hard work you spent placing each instrument in to it's own space. Sad, but true.

Test your mix in the car. Music and cars are just kind of like pie and ice cream. It needs to sound good in the car.

Test your mix in headphones. If only to avoid the "Sgt. Pepper's Effect" where you've panned things to extremes and when you listen to them in headphones it becomes a bit like having your head pulled apart by the ears. I test headphones last because I find if I tune for them I'll end up with a mix that's too bass heavy on regular speakers.

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Turning off the sub was a good idea that I haven't done. –  Lennart Regebro Feb 17 '11 at 17:24
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