Listening to mix on multiple sources

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Listening to mix on multiple sources

Postby sequentialsoftshock » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:20 pm

So, I have heard from several people that listening to a mix on as many possible devices is a good thing, whereas a few others have stated if you are listening to something that is true, that is all you need. What is your opinion ? I'm kind of in the middle here because I think if you are only listening on really good quality (I'm not talking Adams, I'm talking custom made monitors for a particular studio) monitors, your EQing may not work well for iPod headphones or a car stereo etc. Thoughts ?
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Re: Listening to mix on multiple sources

Postby natrixgli » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:17 pm

sequentialsoftshock wrote:So, I have heard from several people that listening to a mix on as many possible devices is a good thing, whereas a few others have stated if you are listening to something that is true, that is all you need. What is your opinion ? I'm kind of in the middle here because I think if you are only listening on really good quality (I'm not talking Adams, I'm talking custom made monitors for a particular studio) monitors, your EQing may not work well for iPod headphones or a car stereo etc. Thoughts ?


If you have a well designed acoustically treated "neutral" space with good near field monitors you can usually count on that to produce mixes. But you have to know your setup and space well which means listening to a lot of your favorites on it 'till you get a feel for it's particular character.

However for most of us amateurs working in non-ideal spaces with whatever decent monitors we can afford (a pair of Tannoy Reveal 501a NFMs for me in a dining room) you have to do a lot more leg work particularly for mastering. That means listening to mixes on several sources then trying to average out the differences so that it doesn't sound especially good or bad on one thing vs another.

For serious projects, I always pay for professional mastering. It's affordable and gets you a good product that will translate well to many different environments. Plus you usually get some extras (like a cue sheet, for example).

If I'm forced to master myself (which I'm fully aware I suck at) I will usually start on my monitors, then check the low end on headphones, in my car, etc. I also have a crappy mono speaker hooked up that I can listen to what my mix sounds like on shit systems, all the while trying to reconcile all the differences.

So yeah, I think having an ideal environment basically gets you good quality with less effort. Using multiple sources to check mixes seems like something born out of necessity for the majority of us amateurs trying to make decent mixes in bedrooms. (or dining rooms)
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Re: Listening to mix on multiple sources

Postby garranimal » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:49 am

For me the idea behind doing all this is:
1) to gain objectivity about the mix. Maybe I've been working a few hours in mixing/mastering, and that objectivity tends to fade away.
2) searching for frequencies that lead to ear fatigue, especially in the car.
3) loss of any parts, or parts that are far too prominent.
4) ensuring the mix is pleasing to the ear on every platform.

These are my own personal values, some may argue in this attention-deficit-age that it is okay to sacrifice pleasing mixes in favor of turbo-charged, attention-grabbing screeching. But I digress....

I mix on KRKs and have gotten to know them pretty well. I'll listen to the mix on anything that helps me suss out any rampant frequencies:
- Laptop speakers
- iPod
- Car Stereo
- DVD/Blueray playing thru a TV set.

I'll listen in these various ways on a different day than I mixed. I'll listen mono, reversed L/R, and at very quiet volumes too. Let's not forget about the Baxandall Curve and the perceived loudness of various frequencies at different volumes. I even go in a different room with the door closed and see what that sounds like.
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Re: Listening to mix on multiple sources

Postby Stafftunes » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:47 am

I would definately listen on as many different setups as possible. Even when mixing in a perfect neutral studio on decent monitors I've always tested the track or game (my job) out on every single speaker to hand - monitors, old pc speakers, flatscreen tv, 5.1 system... and in the case of my own music, I also burn a cd, take it out to the car, around friend's houses etc.

Ultimately if you do have a decent monitor set up and/or A-B your mix a lot (check against released music etc of the same variety) you should end up sounding fine on any set up, where reasonable. A-B-ing takes a bit of practice, but it's good fun too.

More recently started testing stuff out in mono as well, see what it sounds like on phone speakers as so many people listening to tunes on their phones in mono.
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Re: Listening to mix on multiple sources

Postby garranimal » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:53 pm

Stafftunes wrote:More recently started testing stuff out in mono as well, see what it sounds like on phone speakers as so many people listening to tunes on their phones in mono.

Yep mono is good to see if there are any frequency cancellations, especially bass frequencies. It makes it real evident when one of the parts drop out. It's not common but it can happen. Many clubs are mono, especially sub-woofer setups in cars, to maximize bass clarity.
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Re: Listening to mix on multiple sources

Postby tekkentool » Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:25 am

I think a monitoring situation you're comfortable with and REFERENCE TRACKS are more important.

A lot of the time if you do the whole "listen on my car, my boat, my iPod, my alarm clock" shit you lose your shit because "ooh this frequency sounds weird here" when really that's always gonna be weird and if you listen to a reference track on the same hardware you realise that it doesn't always need to be tamed.
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Re: Listening to mix on multiple sources

Postby clubbedtodeath » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:30 pm

It's a good catchall, and worthwhile exercise to do at least once. But pointless unless you have a reference sound system that's fairly neutral, or at least one whose quirks you're well acquainted with.
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