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Why are my mixes sounding so different in the car!!
Old 10th February 2009
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Why are my mixes sounding so different in the car!!

Hey guys, ok so i have been working on some mixes and spent a cool amount of time on them and they were sounding really solid thru my studio monoitors(which are KRK-RP8's) so i decided to bounce them down and see how they sounded in the car....and they sounded really thin and not big or bright at all...is it the compression?, Could i have cut to much on the EQ?, need some help...thanks agian
Old 10th February 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I say this over and over here: get a retail cd of an album (no mp3's) that u like the mixes on it and play it in ur studio as a reference and check back n forth while u r mixing.

u will be suprised what u hear. especially if ur room is not tuned correctly.
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Nut
 
wubbzy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by computa ➑️
I say this over and over here: get a retail cd of an album (no mp3's) that u like the mixes on it and play it in ur studio as a reference and check back n forth while u r mixing.

u will be suprised what u hear. especially if ur room is not tuned correctly.
I couldn't agree with this more. It took me a while before I caught on to such a simple thing to do, but it definitely helps to get you on track (pun intended).
Find a song similar to the one you are doing and use it as a reference.
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by computa ➑️
I say this over and over here: get a retail cd of an album (no mp3's) that u like the mixes on it and play it in ur studio as a reference and check back n forth while u r mixing.

u will be suprised what u hear. especially if ur room is not tuned correctly.
Cool thanks man will do...and hopefully it will do some good,hell it cant hurt me lol
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Addict
 
Wiggum, Ralph's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
+1 for computa advise.

Also try to get an additional set of speakers. They don't have to be expensive. They can actually be consumer speakers. A/B monitoring on different sets of speakers can help alleviate future surprises.
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
James Meeker's Avatar
There are a number of factors potentially involved here:

1.) Contribution of the room's inaccuracies based on its modes and signature.
2.) Speaker contribution, as well as their placement; additionally--number of different monitoring systems and choices to mix from such as subs, NS-10's, Horrortones.
3.) Intelligent treatment of the room for diffusion and absorption.
4.) A ready source of quality, appropriate reference music.
5.) Monitoring volume levels are optimal for offsetting Fletcher-Munson as well as minimizing room/speaker enclosure involvement.
6.) Intelligent placement of the engineer in the room (where you are in the room--hopefully not dead center).
7.) Familiarity with the room in question.
8.) Engineer's inherent sense of what a record sounds like.
9.) Engineer's skill to get from point A (whatcha got) to point B (whatcha want).
10.) Any health or mood issues the engineer had that day.
11.) Engineer takes frequent and meaningful breaks. Also, engineer knows when a mix is done or to throw in the towel for the day.
12.) Absence of mixing enhancing substances: i.e. caffeine, nicotine, junk food, weed, alcohol, cocaine, etc..... (J/K)
13.) Phase and alignment of the planets in the solar system; also, never discount that God may hate that song and curse it (it happens).

My suggestion is to begin taking care of them starting with #1 and work your way down.
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker ➑️
There are a number of factors potentially involved here:

1.) Contribution of the room's inaccuracies based on its modes and signature.
2.) Speaker contribution, as well as their placement.
3.) Treatment of the room for diffusion and absorption.
4.) Monitoring volume levels you mix to may not be optimal.
5.) Placement of the engineer in the room (where you are in the room--hopefully not dead center).
6.) Familiarity with the room in question.
7.) Engineer's inherent sense of what a record sounds like.
8.) Engineer's skill to get from point A (whatcha got) to point B (whatcha want)
9.) Any health or mood issues the engineer had that day.
10.) Phase and alignment of the planets in the solar system. (X factor).

My suggestion is to begin taking care of them starting with #1 and work your way down.
My suggestion would be the same on the condition that the OP is really that serious about mixing music (specificially). Otherwise it wont be worth the time and effort required.
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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bgrotto's Avatar
The two main issues IME are:

1. talent
2. acoustics

In either case, both can be improved with some time and/or some money, but at the end of the day, you either got it, or ya don't.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
aof21's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
1. an acoustically treated room and a better set of monitors will make a world of difference.

2. +1 to the tip about A/B ing with commercially produced stuff that you like.

3. Your source material (sounds) as well as the talent of the performers / producers ultimately also has a huge effect on how things sound. Knowing how to write and arrange well in the first place makes mixing much easier.

4. Your ears and years and years of experience. It just takes time to learn how to mix well.

5. Mixes are always going to sound not as good in the car, if your stereo system in your car is not good. Again, A/B with commercial stuff in your car and see what's missing. Again, consider your source material and the songwriting... eq and compression can only do so much.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Storyville's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker ➑️
12.) Absence of mixing enhancing substances: i.e. caffeine, nicotine, junk food, weed, alcohol, cocaine, etc..... (J/K)
13.) Phase and alignment of the planets in the solar system; also, never discount that God may hate that song and curse it (it happens).

My suggestion is to begin taking care of them starting with #1 and work your way down.
12. Unlikely. It would sound great in both the room and the car.

13. If the planets are out of phase, just flip the switch on your Earth. (Hint: It's the Leaning Tower of Pisa). If God curses the song, unfortunately, you are going to have to take out any appearance of tri-tones as they are the Devil's interval, and remake the song.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
phillysoulman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Ive actually toyed with the idea of putting in a "car room" in my studio which will actually be the interior of your average car,where a client can preview his mixes in that environment.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman ➑️
Ive actually toyed with the idea of putting in a "car room" in my studio which will actually be the interior of your average car,where a client can preview his mixes in that environment.
Glenn Schick mastering has this kind of setup at their mastering complex:

Scion listening room:
MySpace.com - Glenn Schick Mastering View All Photos - Photo 3 of 70
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor ➑️
that's sick.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
gorillainthemix's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor ➑️
Glenn Schick mastering has this kind of setup at their mastering complex:

Scion listening room:
MySpace.com - Glenn Schick Mastering View All Photos - Photo 3 of 70
rofl, nice!
Did West Coast Customs make that for him ?
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
phillysoulman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor ➑️
Glenn Schick mastering has this kind of setup at their mastering complex:

Scion listening room:
MySpace.com - Glenn Schick Mastering View All Photos - Photo 3 of 70
Cool...I hate Scions.
My room could be called "The Autotune Room of Doom"
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
DivineMusic's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
glenn is one of the best mastering engineers in the industry. i use him all the time for clients.//'
to the OP James Meeker named everything that can be an issue
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I hope you really take this advice I'm about to give you because it changed my sound after YEARS of frustration.

I'm going to assume your room isn't professionally treated and you're not using a 1/3 octave eq to control your monitoring.

so since your mixes are sounding different in the car, the professional CDs should sound different as well.

You need to be hearing the TRUTH! What I mean by the truth is, NO COLOR or at least as little coloration as possible. I'm sure those monitors you're using add color and your car speakers add color. The only way you're going to properly a/b your sound to a pro (mastered) cd is if you can put them on neutral ground.

The cheapest solution I can suggest is to buy a great pear of headphones and then do your a/b. Also get some cheap computer speakers (no subwoofer) and listen to the way your mix comes through. why? those cheap speakers sound like radios and tv speakers. a lot of engineers do this same technique with the studio's studer speakers (reel recorders).

I suggest the Beyerdynamic DT-770 pro headphone, i use them and I promise you, my sound LEAPED after hearing what I'm supposed to be hearing as opposed to the colored sound I've been used to for 20+ years. many people might suggest other headphones but I promise you, I swear by them! Alot of my peers envy my sound now, but they don't know my secret weapon are my headphones.

btw with the headphones you can actually hear the reverb on professional records, I almost **** my pants because I've never heard it b4...

my 2 cents
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
DivineMusic's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i dont suggest headphones what so ever
work on your acoustics and learn to mix. all b/c you have pro tools doesnt mean much
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DivineMusic ➑️
i dont suggest headphones what so ever
work on your acoustics and learn to mix. all b/c you have pro tools doesnt mean much
I wouldn't suggest headphones as a means to mix pro records at all, but if you're doing tracks and demos and you don't want to pay for studio time, and/or can't afford the proper equipment it's a nice way to edit your sounds and get good results.

I would NEVER suggest using headphones only to do a full mix, but I'm going to assume no one would be that ignorant to do that anyway.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Exmun's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker ➑️
There are a number of factors potentially involved here:

1.) Contribution of the room's inaccuracies based on its modes and signature.
2.) Speaker contribution, as well as their placement; additionally--number of different monitoring systems and choices to mix from such as subs, NS-10's, Horrortones.
3.) Intelligent treatment of the room for diffusion and absorption.
4.) A ready source of quality, appropriate reference music.
5.) Monitoring volume levels are optimal for offsetting Fletcher-Munson as well as minimizing room/speaker enclosure involvement.
6.) Intelligent placement of the engineer in the room (where you are in the room--hopefully not dead center).
7.) Familiarity with the room in question.
8.) Engineer's inherent sense of what a record sounds like.
9.) Engineer's skill to get from point A (whatcha got) to point B (whatcha want).
10.) Any health or mood issues the engineer had that day.
11.) Engineer takes frequent and meaningful breaks. Also, engineer knows when a mix is done or to throw in the towel for the day.
12.) Absence of mixing enhancing substances: i.e. caffeine, nicotine, junk food, weed, alcohol, cocaine, etc..... (J/K)
13.) Phase and alignment of the planets in the solar system; also, never discount that God may hate that song and curse it (it happens).

My suggestion is to begin taking care of them starting with #1 and work your way down.
thumbsup Add to this list the quality of the gear.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I remember those days of going to car to hear a mix and just being bummed out..lol. But I have seen huge producers have the same thing happen to them. So you have to just do what Computa said and use reference tracks. In fact, before I mix I play them for a bit to get my ears hearing right.

Really listen to the kick drum, and pick songs that fit your style. I personally use an Alchemist record because there is no vocals on it, and I love his beats.

Honestly, you can learn how to mix just by listening...where is the bass sitting? Is it more subby? or more in the 100hz area? I think a lot of new mixers put the kick and the bass in the same area and it sucks the whole mix out. So what I do is listen to one element of the reference track and switch back to mine real fast..keeping in mind that track has been mastered. This is how I know my bass and kick are not too loud.

Also...maybe the biggest thing...Headroom..make sure your mix is not close to peaking out on the 2 buss. If it is, go back and reset your levels. My mixes usually peak at around -2 or so. If you even have to think about your 2buss clipping, go back and reset those levels.

I don't use a limiter or compressor or anything on my 2 buss. Less is more when it comes to mixing beats.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Franco's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Listening to "professional CDs" in your monitors as a guide for your mixes?

BAD IDEA in my opinion!

What that suggests is for you to mix and master your track on your nearfields. What may help you is if you heard any track you're really familiar with BEFORE it was mastered, through your nearfields, and even then that wouldn't really fix all your problems because of the many issues others have already described above when it comes to monitoring (position, acoustics, etc.)

What you should do is work on a mix that sounds good to you, you know, well-balanced. Don't try to go for the "mastered sound", remember, the best stuff out there has first been MIXED and then MASTERED, most likely by two different people, over different systems and toolsets.

What I would recommend you do is take a mix you think sounds great in your mix environment and have it mastered (attend the session). You can learn a lot about what lacks in your mix environment by having a mastering engineer pinpoint problems for you, for example, he or she might say "Your mix is REAAAALLY bright around 9k, you probably have a dip there in your setup because it sounds like you're overcompensating around those frequencies". Definitely beats trying to "match" a pro mixed/mastered track on your nearfields as far as I know.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
????

How many great records do you have that released an unmastered version? I don't have 1. It's not that hard to use a mastered track as a reference. Every studio I have ever been to has done that. It's just how it is. You turn the volume of that track down and listen for sound characteristics..its not like you try and match the tracks..you are just REFERENCING.

There is no way I would say you should try and match a mastered track. I guess I was not clear, and others were not either. We are simply listening to characteristics of the mix to help balance our own.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Franco's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab ➑️
How many great records do you have that released an unmastered version? I don't have 1.
Well, I don't reference material this way, but if I were to want to take a stab at referencing something that sounded great, I would probably use something Eric Sermon did back in the 90s, probably something off Insomnia, which is a real dope-sounding record, even on CD (not maximized to f-ing death like most releases today).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab ➑️
It's not that hard to use a mastered track as a reference. Every studio I have ever been to has done that. It's just how it is. You turn the volume of that track down and listen for sound characteristics..its not like you try and match the tracks..you are just REFERENCING.
I hear you man, but I was just talking about the common sense of NOT using something that's already mastered to try to match, for example, someone without much experience might do this and go "how come my mixes don't sound as loud?" Then he might come back here and someone might say "Oh, you need an L2" and next thing you know, he's mastering his mixes on his nearfield monitors and wondering why they don't sound great, that was all.

Oh and I would also suggest, for those of you who pay for studio time and go into a studio where the "engineer" says "let's play one of your favorite CDs on these NS-10s and see what sound you're going for!" - I'd run out of the spot immediately. If you're going to pay someone to mix your joints, they should already KNOW what needs to be done, typically off the strength of the material; it usually speaks for itself and tells what needs to be done.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Franco's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
...and also, don't rule out cans to help you mix, I know it's not the coolest thing to say here on Gearslutz, but please believe, a lot of pros use them in addition to their monitors.

They are getting a fair amount of press, so I wouldn't be surprised if the general population starts to open up to the idea of realizing they are also tools for the job, but then again, I'm sure a lot of you "leaders not followers" already know this and know what time it is when it comes to using cans to help you out when making mix decisions!
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Well anyone who does not have enough experience to figure out that their mix will not be as loud as a mastered CD needs to hire a professional and learn from them like I did and probably everyone else on this board did too.

Honestly, a lot of people starting out should just worry about making their music better and not worry so much about mixing. Mixing is really fun and all, but if you dive in too deep, too fast, you fail as a beatmaker because you will get overwhelmed trying to do too much.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
believe it or not professional songs, don't sound that different in the mix. Not when working with professional producers. I have demos that I swear when the song was mixed we were thinking, did they do anything?

I got a couple demos on DAT and CD of pro songs that were release b4 they were mixed, I don't know if anyone could use them but maybe i should post a couple
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
phillysoulman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franco ➑️
Listening to "professional CDs" in your monitors as a guide for your mixes?

BAD IDEA in my opinion!

What that suggests is for you to mix and master your track on your nearfields. What may help you is if you heard any track you're really familiar with BEFORE it was mastered, through your nearfields, and even then that wouldn't really fix all your problems because of the many issues others have already described above when it comes to monitoring (position, acoustics, etc.)

What you should do is work on a mix that sounds good to you, you know, well-balanced. Don't try to go for the "mastered sound", remember, the best stuff out there has first been MIXED and then MASTERED, most likely by two different people, over different systems and toolsets.

What I would recommend you do is take a mix you think sounds great in your mix environment and have it mastered (attend the session). You can learn a lot about what lacks in your mix environment by having a mastering engineer pinpoint problems for you, for example, he or she might say "Your mix is REAAAALLY bright around 9k, you probably have a dip there in your setup because it sounds like you're overcompensating around those frequencies". Definitely beats trying to "match" a pro mixed/mastered track on your nearfields as far as I know.
BAD advice,homes.
Old 13th February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Franco's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MicB ➑️
believe it or not professional songs, don't sound that different in the mix. Not when working with professional producers. I have demos that I swear when the song was mixed we were thinking, did they do anything?

I got a couple demos on DAT and CD of pro songs that were release b4 they were mixed, I don't know if anyone could use them but maybe i should post a couple
Oh man, this is a HUGE area of speculation though! For starters, a lot of pro mixers are using things like limiters these days. Let's assume for a second that we're talking about a great mix done by (blank), great engineer, and he has already slammed the mix a little bit with a bus compressor and limiter, what can the masterer do at that point? Let's look at a more "traditional" way of mixing, where the mixer may leave off a limiter, and the mix has an average level of about -12, and THEN the mastering guy or gal gets it and the desire from the artist/producer/label is to raise the average to something smaller, like -7 or so, will there be a difference then?

There are things that I remember hearing back in the 90s that sound like they were just properly mixed and then mastered (mastered meaning transfered to the final medium) and not slammed with a limiter (uh, the original Illmatic versus the remastered version anyone?)

Do a pair of KRKs (or "budget" monitors) accurately give you a flat frequency response across the freq spectrum (20Hz - 20,000Hz)? If not, how can you make a decision that what you're hearing on these monitors will translate well over other systems?
Old 13th February 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
well thats why my suggestion is to start using some good headphones, because I wouldn't trust those monitors.

People wanna hate on headphones, but I swear by it. No I wouldnt compare it to a mix done on a ssl k series with a bunch of outboard gear, BUT I'd rather use my $300 headphones than some $300-400 monitors anyday.
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