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Does it matter if your volume isn't quite even between channels?
Old 15th March 2014
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Does it matter if your volume isn't quite even between channels?

Let's say your right channel ends up being 1 db louder than the left. Does it really matter? It seems only natural that there would be different volumes between the two channels, but I start to worry if it's much over 1 db of difference. At what point should I try to rebalance my mix? Thanks
Old 15th March 2014
  #2
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MASSIVE Master's Avatar
 
Verified Member
🎧 15 years
Quote:
At what point should I try to rebalance my mix?
When it doesn't sound the way you want.

1dB could be anything. A guitar with more heft to one side, an overhead closer to the kick and snare than the other, panned vocals, lower notes on a keyboard...

Assuming your monitors are reasonably calibrated and you're in the sweet spot, I wouldn't worry much about it.
Old 15th March 2014
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Depends what the cause is.. I have worked on a number of mixes with panning events that are very unbalanced on purpose, because it added to the performance..
Old 15th March 2014
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
You have eyes and you have ears, two completely different senses for two completely different things! Lol (I'm sorry for the sarcasm but I'm bored at work) lol

But seriously, don't worry what it "looks like!" If it sounds good, it is good! Now if it actually sounds like something is wrong, then you need to fix it.

Sometimes, it's even helpful to close your eyes or just turn of your computer screen and just focus on listening. At that point you can take mental notes of things that may be wrong.

I hope this helps!!!!! Good luck

P.S. - sorry if I came across as rude with the sarcasm. Not my intention
Old 15th March 2014
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Verified Member
🎧 10 years
Do you mean you have mixed it and then worked out the RMS for each side, or when you print the mix it's not coming out right?
Old 15th March 2014
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I've learned that even if L>R RMS is exact, spectral differences can make it sound *off* a little, esp through headphones. My tolerance is 0.5dB either way, but ears are the final arbiter(or is that arbitor? I don't know - I'm from America - speling is opshenal!) lol


Another thing I noticed, which I've stated before but received little comment, is that most commercial releases(from 1970 or from last year) have had a louder left channel than right - by 1-2dB RMS. Probably just coincidence.
Old 15th March 2014
  #7
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
If the overall mix sounds centred, then don't worry about the numbers. If it doesn't sound centred and you want it to, adjust your mix until it does.
Old 15th March 2014 | Show parent
  #8
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MusicJesus's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man ➑️


Another thing I noticed, which I've stated before but received little comment, is that most commercial releases(from 1970 or from last year) have had a louder left channel than right - by 1-2dB RMS. Probably just coincidence.
This is fascinating if true. Almost all dynamic mixes have differences in the channel RMS - but never noticed or even been looking for this. Sounds like some kind of left-leaning conspiracy.
Old 15th March 2014
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
It's difficult to put a number on some quality like this.
Old 15th March 2014 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks for all of the replies, everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy909 ➑️
You have eyes and you have ears, two completely different senses for two completely different things! Lol (I'm sorry for the sarcasm but I'm bored at work) lol

But seriously, don't worry what it "looks like!" If it sounds good, it is good! Now if it actually sounds like something is wrong, then you need to fix it.

Sometimes, it's even helpful to close your eyes or just turn of your computer screen and just focus on listening. At that point you can take mental notes of things that may be wrong.

I hope this helps!!!!! Good luck

P.S. - sorry if I came across as rude with the sarcasm. Not my intention
Not rude at all; thanks for your input. The tracks sound perfectly fine when I listen to them and I wouldn't even be able to tell there was a difference 9 times out of 10, unless I was looking at the master bus or my audio stats after I export a mixdown.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_caithness ➑️
Do you mean you have mixed it and then worked out the RMS for each side, or when you print the mix it's not coming out right?
No, I can see it in my mix, bumping up one channel hire than another and I can figure out exactly which track is doing it before I even export it for mastering. It was just a question of whether or not I should try to rebalance my tracks to make it almost perfectly even. From what people are saying, it sounds like I shouldn't bother, unless it actually sounds off.
Old 16th March 2014
  #11
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Hippocratic Mastering's Avatar
 
Verified Member
9 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Set up a plugin on your master bus that flips left and right (I use a similar function on my Crookwood console). If the mix sounds balanced both ways you are good. If not, some adjustment may be required.

I'm going to assume that your space is properly treated. Even then, very few people have two ears that are 100% equal. That's fine. Just be aware of it.
Old 16th March 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
It could also be the material was mixed in a poorly asymmetric room, where acoustic nulls were present on one channel, prompting higher volume. Always a good idea to check on headphones.
Old 16th March 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
if it sounds good in stereo and it sounds good in mono, roll with it.
Old 20th March 2014 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man ➑️

Another thing I noticed, which I've stated before but received little comment, is that most commercial releases(from 1970 or from last year) have had a louder left channel than right - by 1-2dB RMS. Probably just coincidence.
Glad to hear (haha) someone else noticed this - I thought I was just a bit mad
Old 20th March 2014 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herc ➑️
Glad to hear (haha) someone else noticed this - I thought I was just a bit mad
On classical disks I have noticed the same thing. Probably because the soloists are usually at the left side of the conductor and listeners expect this balance.

I also have a feeling that right-handed people rather sit slightly turned left than the opposite or straight. So aiming the sound at them slightly from the left makes them more comfortable. Might be totally unintentional from the mixing and mastering engineers, they are mostly right-handed also.
Old 20th March 2014 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrus ➑️
On classical disks I have noticed the same thing. Probably because the soloists are usually at the left side of the conductor and listeners expect this balance.

I also have a feeling that right-handed people rather sit slightly turned left than the opposite or straight. So aiming the sound at them slightly from the left makes them more comfortable. Might be totally unintentional from the mixing and mastering engineers, they are mostly right-handed also.

Not just classical, but anything - metal, rap, bubblegum pop, country. Same tendency for it to RMS just a hair louder on the left. Could you hear it? Honestly not really, unless one was really focused and listening for it on cans.

Just strange, that's all I saying. And it seems to occur less on new material released after 2000. If the difference on modern material is more than 0.2dB left-to-right I'd be surprised.


As far as being right or left handed, had nothing to do with it 40 years ago - they didn't use a mouse to mix or master with back then!
Old 20th March 2014 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herc ➑️
Glad to hear (haha) someone else noticed this - I thought I was just a bit mad

That's why there are people like you and me in this world. To notice what everyone else overlooks.
Old 20th March 2014 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man ➑️
As far as being right or left handed, had nothing to do with it 40 years ago - they didn't use a mouse to mix or master with back then!
I did not mean using the right hand to manipulate the mouse, just that having the right side slightly to the front means better movement clearance for the fighting arm… That comes form the caves before audio recording was even invited. Or any musical instruments for that matter.
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