Sunday, September 4, 2016

Testing our mix on various sources

Hello everyone and welcome to this week's article!
Today we will talk about my routine when finalizing a mix.
The topic is transposition: how do our mix translates on the media that will be used by the majority of the consumers?
Will our mix made with super fancy monitors sounds the same also on some cheap laptop speaker or will it suck?
The answer is reverse engineering.

The rule of thumb is to use the best monitoring device we can, for example the best pair of monitors or the best mixing headphones, because the better they are the, the better they will translate to the other media, but this does not spare us the reverse engineering phase (although if they are good they will make it much more painless).

What do we mean by reverse engineering?
We mean having some critical listening session on a medium quality car stereo, on a private youtube video, on laptop speakers, on mobile phone headphones, and so on.
This because not only every hardware will emphasize some frequency which could potentially screw up our song, but also because software often applies some "post mastering", like some eq or some limiting, that could do even more damage (es. Youtube or iTunes), to the point that there are mastering courses today aimed just to prepare a separate mix for these specific media (which sucks).

Our aim here is, if we don't want to make a different mix for every media, to make a song with a limiting not too extremely pushed (with a ceiling of -1db to -0.2db), that can sound great from every source, so in my case I

1) listen to the song in my car taking notes of what elements of the mix pops out too much (or too little) compared to my studio monitors and I correct it (someone even connects the mixing laptop to the aux in of the car stereo and makes the corrections on the fly).

2) I do the same with cheap pc speakers

3) cheap pc headphones

4) mobile phone headphones.

Eventually I get back to the car stereo, which is my main source of music listening, and if it still sounds good after all the adjustments I upload the song on a private video on Youtube to hear if the processing affects the sound in any way.

If it still sounds good, the song is ready to be published.

Do you have a different mix checking routine? Let us know!

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