#1
So I'm working on mastering my mixes, but the problem is that when I play it back on different low/mid-range headphones/speakers, it sounds like shit (a different type of shit each time). My method so far has been to re-eq the track to sound good on the monitors that it sounds like crap on, but of course then it sounds bad on everything else.

Am I just stuck in a habit of using bad eq habits? Or are $500+ studio monitors absolutely necessary?

I mean.. the average listener uses crappy headphones anyway, if I can't get it to sound good on crappy headphones then people would assume that my songs sound awful lol
#2
A balanced mix sounds out well enough on various systems. You can't realistically expect to obtain a balanced mix without proper monitoring. Sure, one could attempt with lower systems, but if you've not worked with monitors extensively in the past, then you would have no idea what to listen for in the first place (and even then, you would be gimped).

Referencing a commercial song on your desktop speakers isn't enough... Will buying a pair of monitors magically make things come together? No, that's chalked up to experience and perseverance. But it's most certainly a start.

Like trying to run a bakery on an easy-bake oven. I think that works lol >.>
From own experience, I'm at a point where I can consistently make mixes I find tolerable, thanks to the frank advice given to me in the past. And maybe not having a life for extensive periods of time.

Anyways, the fact you're trying to EQ your entire mix, in order to make it sound less like shit on any one terrible pair of headphones - I would say is the wrong approach. Rather you shouldn't be having to compromise your entire mix balance for a pair of low-end phones... And you likely wouldn't having the issue if you had a balanced mix in the first place. But I'm just working on assumptions at this point.
Last edited by Night at Nov 24, 2013,
#3
Although I don't doubt the importance of good monitoring, I tend to disagree about the level of make or break importance some people place on them. From what I can tell from your post you're just monitoring on one set of speakers while mixing, then moving to the next AFTER you've finished on the first. When you're working with lower end monitoring (i.e. normal computer speakers, crap earphones, etc.) you need to switch often. I usually have 4 sets of 'monitors' (desktop speakers, laptop inbuilt speakers, earbuds, gaming headphones) that I use and I switch at least once every 15 minutes.
#4
"I mean.. the average listener uses crappy headphones anyway, if I can't get it to sound good on crappy headphones then people would assume that my songs sound awful lol"

EXACTLY. What I would do is, stick with the setup you're most comfortable with (I assume that's desktop speakers). Compare your mix to a reference you like. You can do this just fine without monitors, IF you master a certain skill. That is, hearing the "musicality" of different EQ ranges. Find these by sweeping a 12 db boost across a master EQ. Switch it off, let your ears re-adjust, listen to your reference mix, listen to yours. Chances are, you'll hear some of those ranges ringing in yours that aren't in your reference.

My mixing got infinitesimally better after I attempted to craft a mix that sounded like the Nightwish album "Once." I didn't even know how many unnecessary low mids I had ringing in my mix until I cut them to sound like that album. Obviously, you can't perfectly mimic something. But this is a fantastic lesson in focusing on what the listener will hear, on whatever system they use.
#5
Monitors do make life easier.
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#6
I'll definitely try the reference mix idea!

My issue with expensive monitors is that I can't justify spending so much money on something that doesn't technically change the quality of the actual music, and doesn't change the fact that a good mix on a good monitor might still suck on a crappy monitor.
#7
Upon rereading, I don't think you will particularly benefit from the use of a new set of speaker monitors. If I were you, I would keep at it and learn more on the mixing side of things for now - get your toes wet (or more wet, whatever the case may be)

But for future reference... Yes, quality speaker monitors are not gonna take away from the fact that if a song has a shitty arrangement, even while pumped through decent monitors, it is still gonna be a song with a shitty arrangement. Or that it will affect any inherent sonic quality your final render has after the fact... It's a matter of getting to that point that you need to be considering...

I'm not advocating to NOT reference on other systems or to avoid even having them available to A/B in reference, but they shouldn't be your main tool in the mixing & critical listening process...

Speaker monitors are not particularly made to "Sound good"... they're meant to point out any particular problems in the recording... That's glossing it over quite a bit, but the point still stands. That hi-fi system or pair of ear buds may very well be tweaking the mid-range or presence in your sound, or be unable to faithfully voice some freqs and you find yourself fighting a losing battle when trying to make mix decisions...

The idea of being able to compensate for some of the quirks of a particular set of speakers, simply by working with them and other gear not particularly suited for what you're doing, is fine and all. But realize some are already taxing their patience doing this already by mixing with mid-range studio monitors in untreated rooms, monitor placement, or some other ill-advised situation...

Good luck
#9
^As per usual unofficiallyme2 just posts the most expensive option available.

I mean when OP implies that he isn't at the point in his mixing where he's even shelled out for monitors, I doubt he'd be in a position where he wants to spend upwards of $100 on an EQ!
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Last edited by ChemicalFire at Nov 25, 2013,
#10
I didn't tell him to buy it you mother ****er. I mentioned it because he may go research why that EQ is good for cutting and not boosting.
A mix that's too bright is free as well.
#11
Mentioning it is implying that you're recommending he buys it.

And calling one of the more respected members of the Recordings forum a mother****er isn't exactly a good way to make friends around here.
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#12
Quote by GaryBillington

And calling one of the more respected members of the Recordings forum a mother****er isn't exactly a good way to make friends around here.




But more on topic, really at the early stages it doesn't matter what EQ you use... you just have to make sure you're actually using it! It's VERY hard to fix mixing issues at a mastering stage, so as a general rule, if you're not happy with the mix, you CAN'T FIX IT IN POST.

Work on listening to the frequencies you're working with, if it helps you can look at those charts that show you the key frequencies.
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#13
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#14
My mixes usually seem to sound better on shitty earbuds

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#15
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I didn't tell him to buy it you mother ****er.



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#16
I would be *very* hesitant for blaming the EQ that you are using and lean towards a combination of not having a properly treated room and not having proper monitors. One without the other gets you less than half-way home. With neither, mixing something that will translate effectively from one system to another is like bashing your head against the wall.

It's kinda like the photographer taking a photo in a room with crappy lighting while wearing sunglasses and wondering why the heck his pictures don't turn out.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

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#17
Quote by axemanchris
I would be *very* hesitant for blaming the EQ that you are using and lean towards a combination of not having a properly treated room and not having proper monitors. One without the other gets you less than half-way home. With neither, mixing something that will translate effectively from one system to another is like bashing your head against the wall.

It's kinda like the photographer taking a photo in a room with crappy lighting while wearing sunglasses and wondering why the heck his pictures don't turn out.

CT


Exactly. That's why I recommended substantial use of reference mixes. If he can match his pro reference in a room with bad treatment and poor monitors, it'll still be matched elsewhere. Of course, this is only necessary assuming DIY room treatment is out of the question, OP. Got any blankets lying around?
#18
I treated my room with DIY panels for less than $200.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#19
Different speakers highlight different problems with your mix. Use as many as possible. Ideally you want a decent room with relatively flat speakers to mix on, but realistically this is often unobtainable in many situations. Perhaps a set of decent headphones would be better to mix on in your situation.

EDIT EQing the whole track is difficult. EQs mostly change the phase which changes the timbre. You could try using a linear phase EQ (Logic has one bundled). But really your mixes should work on every system before you get to the mastering stage.

For mastering, most of the industry seems to say that you need even better rooms/monitors than for mixing. I tend to believe them. But, if your mix doesn't sound good before the master then work harder at getting it right! Mastering is all about adding the final tiny touches to prepare the track for consumers. Get it right in the mix first!
Last edited by tim_mop at Nov 28, 2013,
#20
This will probably receive alot of hate but I have read more than one professional producer talk down the importance of monitors. There are some that even say they only use them to get a band excited on playback but mix on much cheaper sets and at lower volumes so.......
#21
Quote by sidereal9
This will probably receive alot of hate but I have read more than one professional producer talk down the importance of monitors. There are some that even say they only use them to get a band excited on playback but mix on much cheaper sets and at lower volumes so.......


This is an old thread..

Anyways, what do you want to hear?

Some people love Justin Bieber while another person hates him.

One likes Burger king, one likes Mcdonalds.

One likes guitar tone of "insert guitarist" another hates it.

I will stop there, but I hope u see the point. There is nothing in this world that everyone agrees on and there never will be..

So to come back to that, what answer do you think you would get by posting this really? I like to clarify I don't want to bring down what u said, but what do u hope to achieve as answer?

The best thing on a forum is not to get a yes or no answer, but to get a "why yes" and "why no" answer, both which I feel are adequately brought up in this thread.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at May 10, 2014,
#22
Quote by sidereal9
This will probably receive alot of hate but I have read more than one professional producer talk down the importance of monitors. There are some that even say they only use them to get a band excited on playback but mix on much cheaper sets and at lower volumes so.......

Yeah necrothread much.

Also I think you're mixing up monitors (smallish speakers at ear level, not particularly loud), with mains (larger speakers, louder). I've seen many a mixing engineer say that about mains, but I've never once read a respectable one say that about monitors.

That said I think if you are willing to constantly switch between enough different playback devices while mixing then you can get away without monitors, or even particularly great headphones.