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audio How low can you hear?

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by audiokid, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    After a few ( for the lack of a better term) Track Talk sessions, which are Pre Mixing Contest Trials, the single most important issue I've discovered is consistency between everyone's monitoring systems. I've noticed the majority appreciate mixes that are excessively heavy in bass.

    Why is this and is my assessment accurate?
    Does this even concern you?

    How low can you hear this wave generated clip printed from what I believe to be the worlds best recording and mastering DAW system, Sequoia 12.thumb

    ( NOTE: this is not a test on HD quality). I'm primarily interested in how smoothly you hear the subs, and for your interests make note all the way up to 20k? Where does it get the loudest? Are the subs really quiet and/or are they the same energy quite a ways up into the low mids?

    Test your monitors and your room for standing waves. As soon as this clip starts playing you should be hearing, and feeling the subs. They go quite smoothly, in a pulse from 39hz all the way up. How smooth is your system? Do you hear hot spots in your room?

    (Expired Link Removed)
     
  2. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    I heard ups and downs in the bass. Mid was smooth on mine. Treble was "comby" but only a little.


    And hey, I could hear clearly all the way to the very last sound on the clip! Was that 20KHZ?

    -Johntodd
     
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Goes up to 20k.

    Import the file and look at the wave. Look at listen to the DB energy it takes to push all the freq at -18

    spectroscope.jpg

    It looks like this:

    spectroscope-wave.jpg
     
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    So when we are smashing a file, look what we are removing.

    smashed.jpg


    notsmashed.jpg

    More smash, more mud and less interesting. There is a balance between how much and too much. When we want volume, the more low end you have in a mix, the more energy you need to consume so the key is to use your low energy wisely.

    thus, have a great monitoring system that you can hear all this every step of the game. The very first track you lay down, you need to be aware of the space it is consuming and how it will all fit into the big picture.
     
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    The less bass you hear in your system, the more you dislike the upper freq. If you have rich low end, you tend to appreciate and pay attention to detail, which are the transients. ( converters start to become important)

    When you hear the detail, you also hear the tuning and performance better, and will perform better and mix better and have louder and clearer mixes that sound great on all systems, not just yours... :confused:
     
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    If you are singing doubles, and you aren't hearing the detail, your compiled vocal tracks will be phasy and very hard to mix and produce harmonically rich and dynamic music. They will be going in and out of nulls / all sorts of cancellation things. When you are adding more and more content like this, it becomes a mass wall of phasy mud. Thus, impossible to master on a professional level.

    Before I even begin to mix anything, I remove the mud, wooly crap that doesn't need to be there. But if a sound lacks all the other sheen, all you are left with is middy honk so then what do we do? Start adding highs and pushing up the wall. You can see how complicated this all becomes but if you are missing these fundamentals, your a doomed to be stuck in the home recording circle.

    When I listen to a mix, I need to hear these colours.

    It gets even more complicated. If you have mud and then add reverb, you are now adding a bucket of water into all the beautiful colours that are nicely laid out on the pallet. Its all starts to turn the picture into grey. So then what do most unaware do, ride the faders, add compression, plug-ins and automation.

    And it gets even worse... we still haven't began to space everything out or master it.

    are you following?
     
  7. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I listened to this on both my KRK with a sub and ATH-M50 headphones.
    The consistent energy is obviously the big problem.
    Without a tuned room and excellent speakers the sweep will be all over the place.

    I could hear everything from start to finish, I've tested my hearing and I'm probably not hearing the 16-20khz but I did seem to hear that tinnitus ring up there! It got loud. I'm still hearing it in my head...LOL
    The levels changed and got much louder the further up it went.

    This is the whole issue with trying to mix properly. It can't be done accurately!
    Without the proper equipment it's a waste of time. You can get close but no cigar!
    "Mastering" well that's just a fool's game without a proper setup!
     
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    But its not impossible to record and mix music that is done well enough for a mastering engineer and a commercial release. The key is knowing your system, sticking close to the fundamentals that keep you in the harmonically rich zone to get the best out of your system.

    But if you are blindly mixing music and not keeping an ear open for the mud, then you are in trouble and will never get past go.
     
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    The levels do get louder as they go up. The point is, how smooth do they go up, do you hear hot spots and do you see how much energy it takes to reach the same level we are comfortable with.
    We all love bass but there is a price to pay in more ways than one. Its costs money to hear it well and it costs space to produce it musicially both in your room and in a mix. It takes up a lot of energy.
     
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Would it be awesome if some mastering guru jumped in here at this point.
     
  11. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Is this why Iron Maiden and similar heavy bands mix there bass down? So the music can be played back louder?
     
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    absolutely
     
  13. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Yeah I'm with you on that totally...I'm sure it can be done to some degree.
    One thing I came away with on John's tracks was the number of tracks being a problem!
    I went back and took out everything but one mono track for each instrument and clarity was the result!
    But again that's just the difference between professional recording and consumer recording.

    One is a commercial business the other is for fun and games...and I think that just needs to be clarified.

    Maybe mix off tests should be broken down into "classes" created on the level of euipment used rather than comapring apples and oranges. It might be more of a level playing field.

    Comparing sweeps of my space to yours or my mix to yours isn't really fair is it?
    This could be part of the problem with peoples feelings being bruised and not wanting to participate.
    I might only "learn" your setup is better than mine...
     
  14. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    And what I was saving for last,

    I'm pretty certain I could get to 90% of the clarity ITB, if not more. The difference "I think I get", did not even come into play with my hybrid gear. I hardly used it. most of my energy was spent on tuning this song up for mastering. ( removing all the wool and phase issues).
     
  15. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    It went pretty smooth for me. My room is not awesome but I have some treatment up. My monitors are ok and my hearing is good. I just had it tested 6 months ago. Where I think there is a huge problem for me is my interface. The conversion is not good both ways. I keep telling myself that it's not that important but I know that it is. Need to make that investment soon.
     
  16. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    OK I guess I misunderstood.
    Yes it was smooth no hot spots at all.
     

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