I had a few bucks saved up for monitoring bits, and have wanted to try one of these for a while, so I picked up a Focusrite VRM box:
So far it's nothing spectacular, to be honest. The "presets" seem to all have a ton of unnatural sounding reverb on them. The Professional Studio setup is (after 20 minutes or so screwing with it) the most useful, and for $99 it's worth it even if I don't use the bedroom/living room settings.
I haven't really looked into how it's supposed to be doing it's modeling yet, but even on the living room setting there is way, way too much reverb - when I'm in the living room cranking up some Maiden, it doesn't sound like I'm in an empty basketball arena. The VRM does seem to think so, however.
That aside, I also finally got some half decent mixing headphones, the Beyerdynamic DT 770:
[VIDEO]http://www.amazon.com/Beyerdynamic-770-PRO-250-ohms/dp/B0006NL5SM]Amazon.com: Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, 250 ohms: Electronics[/VIDEO]
These I like a ton. They're very comfortable, sound great and are extremely light. Good stuff.
Aaaaand since I have been kicking around the idea of a set of reference monitors for a while now, I sought out (and found) the most blah sounding commercial grade "monitors" on the planet. Behold, the Alesis Elevate 3!
Rather than run an A/B switch, and because I have zero extra room on my desk these days, I opted to use my Macbook Air and this nifty little table on the side of my studio as a handy way to reference mixes. I can bounce my stuff down to WAV in Reaper, and the folder I export to is mounted up on the Macbook, so as soon as I mix it down I can play it on the HS80Ms and then just swivel my chair around to hear it on a less-than-good setup.
It does seem a little on the Crooks side to be using a ~$1400 Air to drive a set of $99 monitors, but the comedy value is worth it.
Beyer DT770: Awesome
Alesis Elevate 3: Sounds like a cheap car stereo
Those are the exact headphones I have, and I love them.