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audio Please check the low end on this?

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by DonnyThompson, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Yesterday, for the first time in quite a few years, I tried mixing with a subwoofer added to my monitoring; I'm still getting used to it, as well as trying to locate the best placement for it in the room...

    I had the volume on the sub as low as it could go for starters; this mix reflects that level.

    If anyone could be gracious enough to chime in, and let me know what they are hearing, low end-wise,
    I'd appreciate it. Obviously, I'm looking for an even, accurate translation to other playback systems.

    ( BTW, while this is me playing/singing, it's not my song... it's a cover of Chicago's Wishin' You Were Here.)
    ©1974 Peter Cetera
    Posted for educational use only, not for distribution or sale

    WISHIN YOU WRE HERE SEPT 27 2015.mp3

     

    Attached Files:

    Smashh, audiokid and Sean G like this.
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Sounds fine in the lows D. I don't hear a ton of sub bass, but a lot is to do w the song arrangement. I'm wondering what the crossover frequency is. Also is it a tad hot at 100 & 300hz? I'm sorta guessing cuz I'm at home. Nothing glaring.
     
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    The performance is outstanding. It's nice to see a song like that delivered gently instead of slammed.

    I've listened on my little JBL bookshelf speakers, earbuds, good headphones - so far. The bass is definitely tight and present, but wasn't overbearing on anything I've listened through yet.
     
  4. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I listened to this through my KRK 5 inch monitors and also AGK 701s', sounds really sweet to my ear.:D
    The bass sits well I think. Overall the mix sounds very well balanced through what I'm listening to it through.
    BTW, great vocals Donny. (y)
     
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Great stuff, Donny. It's a really nice track.

    While playing the track, I tried toggling my sub on and off to see what the differences were on my KRK speaker setup, where I reckon to have the sub pretty well matched to the mains for my room, both for level and crossover frequency. If anything, the low bass on this track is still a little light, but it sounds fine on the mains alone.

    I set my system up this way after several years of taking my supposedly finished mixes to various different mastering houses, only to hear in their rooms that my low bass was often not consistent from one track to the next. I was not hearing this with the loudspeaker configuration without sub that I was using at the time. Most of the MEs I worked with were really helpful in suggesting ways of getting consistent bass, and the main message was that to get consistency, you really do have to shift the air, and that means a sub. The ear is very good at inventing bass that is implied but not really present, but at the final mix and more particularly at the mastering stage, it must be physically there if you want a consistent product.
     
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  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Thanks a bunch guys. My main concern was whether the physical placement of the sub was such so that the low end wouldn't be giving me a "false" sense, or as Bos mentioned, that implied sense.

    I've talked with other engineers who frequently mix with subs and who have determined that placing it in corners is best, but that's not what I did. I placed it pretty much right at my feet under the workstation.

    I'm not sure I'd choose to mix with a sub for everything I do, and I agree with Kyle that this song was probably not the best choice, or that it is indicative of a more active bass track ( It just so happened to be the main thing I was working on at the time).
    But I'm glad to hear that it translated well - at least for the most part - to other/various systems.

    Thanks again guys, I really do appreciate you taking the time. :)
     
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    OMG did we all agree on something? Lol is this the first time in history 5 engineers in a row say "that low end is fine" either we are in the twilight zone, or D is just that good.
     
    Sean G likes this.
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I've found w small subs, like my Cambridge sound works how theater sub, that they actually become directional. An 8-10" speaker still emits frequencies that have a clear directionality to them.

    I tend to put the subs near the speakers for that reason. And I think that's where the notion of the .2 subs came in, one in each corner to avoid the 'semi' directionality of smaller subs.
     
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Nah.. it's definitely a Twilight Zone moment. LOL
     
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  10. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    The bass sounds good here, I'm just a little bothered with a peak around 15k with the back vocal 'wishing you were here'.. and when they say 'change my life' it sounds ok
    You have a bit of noise when in the intro and the break. Also, I would have put less room sound in the drums.. but I know you like them like that ;)

    Nice Job and thanks for sharing Donny !
     
  11. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I remember that song. The LF is fine. The lead vocal sounds buried to me, and I'm notorious for burying vocals. There's also something slightly odd about the lead vocal tone, like I'm hearing the room.
     
  12. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Except physics shows that smaller sources have dispersion patterns that are less directional. Any source sufficiently small relative to a given frequency will have an omnidirectional dispersion pattern. Even my Celestion SR-2 cabinets, approximately 30" on each side, are essentially omni up to 100Hz at least.

    Of course localization is a different thing. The smaller the source the easier it is to locate. But human hearing is mostly unable to locate the direction of low frequency sources regardless of size. If you can hear where your sub is it must be reproducing frequencies above 80Hz, maybe above 200Hz. I suspect your crossover frequency is too high.
     
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Well even with the crossover 50-80 there was still a sense of directionality. As if the lows from the kick and synth bass was coming from the side the sub was on.

    You figure an 8" woofer a 1'x1' box, and maybe 200w of power. I think the cabinet and speaker don't reporduc ether sub lows very efficiently. The cabinet honks at the upper harmonics 200hz+, and there's insufficient power to fill the room with the omnidirectional frequencies. I think this is playing into more than the actual dispersion pattern. I don't think there's enough effencicy between the amp and speaker to push the sub lows to the listening position. I have no doubts that something with a lower resonant frequency would sound less directional. This generally means s larger driver and bigger cab. Even with the same wattage, the bigger box and speaker may not sound louder, but would push lower frequencies naturally making less directional. This is all room dependent, and there is certainly cases where a smaller driver would add more useable bass than a larger speaker, in a small room, due to modal excitations Ect.

    At least that's how I see it, I might not be completely correct in my thinking .
     
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I'm sure you are. The lead vocal is just a scratch... and truthfully there won't be another take at it, because the intent of this track is so that I can add it to my live solo act, so I'll be singing and playing guitar over it live. The song isn't "mixed" mixed. I just wanted to check the low end, as I'm planning on adding an active sub to my gig PA. It was all just an experiment to see if I was able to mix with a sub after not having done it for a few years. :)
     
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  15. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Well, that's reaffirming in a couple of ways, of your standards and my ability to hear things like that.
     
  16. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    That little sub could be resonating at a higher frequency. It might be fun to run some sweeps.
     
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  17. simman

    simman Active Member

    Really nice mix! Lows sound fine to me.
     
  18. TomLewis

    TomLewis Active Member

    I've heard of a technique for this from folks who install home theatre systems. I haven't tried it yet but it makes sense from a physics standpoint.

    Play a 80 Hz tone through your system at ~ 83 dB measured at your seated position (with the sub not connected, bass management off to get it through your speakers). Then use a sound level meter (an app should work) and walk around the room perimeter holding the meter/phone at sub speaker level. Readings will vary in level a few dB as you move the meter from place to place due to reinforcement nodes, by virtue of constructive/destructive interference from any standing waves.

    Find the place where the level reading is the lowest, and that is where to place the sub, because it will provide the least SW reinforcement, which is what you are trying to avoid in sub placement (you want different freqs to have minimal reinforcement so they are as much the same level compared to each other as possible). That point is where destructive interference dampens the resonance of parallel walls in the room the most, and the sub will "ring" least when positioned at that point, giving the truest response.

    If you have a second sub, place that at the point where the reinforcement level (SPL) reads the highest (not sure why that part makes any sense). If you use a higher cutoff, a higher tone value might work better. My own take on this is that for a second sub you might want to try a lower frequency and place the second sub there instead, as that might even out the levels since different freqs might have nodes in different physical places.

    I can't vouch for it, but it seems like something to try. Probably a little experimentation would be good, but this might be a good jumping off point to get started.

    I have a little powered 10-incher that I have been letting collect dust, and I have been considering adding it into my monitoring system, so I would be interested to see how things play out for you.
     
  19. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Hi Tom - and welcome to RO. :)

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'd like to have Brien Holcomb ( @Brien Holcombe ) or Kyle ( @kmetal ) weigh in on this; Brian is RO's resident acoustics guru, and Kyle is also really knowledgeable on the subject, as well as being a working audio engineer, and having recently built his own home theater.

    Understand, I'm not saying unequivocally that this method won't work; I just don't know, because I don't have the experience in acoustics that others here on RO do.

    The one thing that does come to mind as a possible fly in the ointment of that method, is, what if the null point in a given space just so happens to be somewhere in mid air? Or close to the ceiling? Or, smack dab in the middle of the room? Yeah, it's "doable", if you don't mind having your clients tripping over it all the time. :LOL: LOL

    I may give this method a shot at some point; depending on what Brien and Kyle have to say, ( I really trust these guys ); but for now, I've gone back to mixing without a sub since my initial post. It was really just more of an experiment than anything else, just to find out what would happen if I did incorporate a sub into the monitoring.

    I still feel most comfortable in mixing without one, I guess I'm just more comfortable doing so... and maybe the word to use instead is "confident".

    I've been mixing through these same nearfields ( and same power amp) for so long now, that I feel I have the highest amount of accurate control of the lows without using an added sub. Also, the room I'm mixing in has been acoustically treated based on these monitors - meaning that I ran my measurement tests using them - and while it was kinda neat to hear that added "reinforcement" on the low end, I was never really confident with the accuracy of the sound I was hearing.

    To be totally honest, I think I just kinda stumbled into "luck" when I mixed and posted that audio sample above. For whatever reason - on that particular song, and on that particular mix, the low end seemed to translate well - at least according to my colleagues here on RO, and their comments saying that the low end sounded good on their systems. But that doesn't mean I felt confident that it would sound that way when I initially posted it. I was actually expecting comments to the contrary, suggesting that it sounded, well... bad. LOL

    I just got lucky. That's all. It had nothing to do with my skill as a mixer in this case; because I really didn't know how it would sound to others... and that's why I posted the sample.

    I suppose that if I were to start mixing with a sub on a regular basis, that eventually I might get acclimated to it, and maybe I could find a common ground that would always translate well to systems outside of my room; but then again, I'm not confident of the quality of the sub I have, either. It's just a small Altec consumer-grade model, (I think it came included in a computer package I bought years ago) so the actual quality of the sub - or more likely the lack thereof - is a valid concern, and that also plays into my hesitancy in using it on a regular basis.

    I do periodically check finished mixes through this Altec system in my living room ( which also came with two speakers that resemble Auratones, but which are nowhere near the same accuracy, either) to hear my mixes through a "common" playback scenario. So occasionally, I find this system useful as a way to check mixes for car audio translation, or for consumer-grade computer audio translation, and it often seems to be pretty close, depending of course on the particular car and its audio system. LOL. But as far as mixing through it, I'm not at all confident. ;)

    FWIW

    -d.
     
  20. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    You hit the nail on the head of my main concern, Bos.

    When mixing through my normal monitoring configuration - meaning just the nearfields - I've never had an M.E. tell me that my lows were way too hot or way too shy across the board.

    I've often wondered how many pro engineers mix with a sub. Perhaps I'll post a poll, at least to find out what RO engineers prefer. I have no idea if the "big boys" do so or not... cats like Andrew Scheps, Bob Clearmountain, CLA ... along with finding out what well-known and respected high level M.E.'s do as well - Bob Katz, Greg Calbi, Ian Sheppard, etc., and even with well-respected mid-level M.E.'s like Cass Anawaty, Tom Bethel, etc.

    Which is why I guess my preference is - at least as of this writing - to let the M.E. handle it. They can monitor through a sub ( if they choose), and through their gear, in their acoustically balanced space, decide what to do with the low end.
    I trust a skilled M.E. a lot more than I trust myself to handle that frequency range.

    I believe that there are just far too many variables involved in using a sub in my mixing space. I'd rather have those sub frequencies controlled by someone who has a quality monitoring rig, who has a great sounding room, and who has the ears and the know-how to properly adjust those ultra low frequencies. ;)
     

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