Possibly stupid but very serious question about mixing/mastering.

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by Patrick B., May 2, 2012.

  1. Patrick B.

    Patrick B. Active Member

    So I am at my wits end about where a mix ends and the mastering process begins. What I would really like to know is, are there certain rules of thumb (i.e. Bass frequencies should not be any lower that 20hz) when creating a mix? Or is it that when creating a mix, one is not concerned with how certain aspects of the mix would sound on a normal soundsystem?

    Basically what I want to know is, can I make a mix sound as ****ing cool as possible through my monitors and let whoever is mastering the track make it universal. OR do I need to mix within certain parameters?

  2. Laurend

    Laurend Active Member

    What is a "normal soundsystem" ?
    What's your monitoring system ?
    Don't expect any fine mastering, if your monitoring (speakers + acoustics) is just correct for mixing. If you use the same system, you won't be able to correct at the mastering stage what you have missed at the mixing stage.
  3. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    You do what serves the mix at every stage of production.

    This is why it's generally a reasonable idea not to master your own mixes - You already did that during the mix (and as mentioned, any weaknesses or shortfalls are going to be multiplied -- not minimized -- if done on the same system in the same room by the same engineer.

    But that's off course -- You do what serves the mix - period. You should have some sort of idea of what the mix needs before you even press the "RECORD" button for the first time -- That's when you start doing what serves the mix. If you're going to have rumbly 20Hz stuff going on at the core, that should be tackled at the core. If it got past you at that point, it should be handled during the early phases of the mix.
  4. Patrick B.

    Patrick B. Active Member

    Well by normal, I meant standard, or any combination of speakers used for entertainment and not studio monitors. I am running a pair of rocket powered 8 inch speakers.

    The problem is that my mixes sound absolutely fabulous on my monitors, but when I play the same mix on a variety of non studio speakers the mix sounds drastically different. So I guess what I am asking, is when should that be taken care of? Is it taken care of by me? Should I compromise the quality of the mix make a more universal final product?

    Thanks alot.
  5. Laurend

    Laurend Active Member

    Do you mean RocKit?
    How do commercial CDs translate on your monitor system?
    How your "fabulous mixes" compare with?
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Do you have an example of your mix online? We should be able to help you out a lot just by hearing it.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I don't know any engineer that mixes utilizing a single pair of monitors. I don't know many engineers that evaluate their mixes in a single acoustic environment.

    Generally I come up with a mix that I like on a myriad of different playback systems. Different amplifiers, different monitors, headphones, car stereos, boom boxes the whole 9 yards. And then it goes to mastering. And sometimes I master my own stuff. Frequently I master my own stuff. And then it gets played back again on all that other stuff. The earth wasn't created in seven days. It didn't start 2000 years ago. Your mix might take longer than one hour.

    I tweak my mixes so that the sonic character is realized on virtually any playback system. If I find that certain things are definitely out of place on certain systems, I might go back and tweak something differently? Spectral responses of different systems will of course be heard. But if your mix can translate from 3 inch speakers on a TV set to a high quality monitor system, common playback systems, car stereos, you're in the ballpark.

    Strike two, three balls.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. bouldersound

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

    I know my mix is right when I play it on a bunch of different systems and I hear what is wrong with each system rather than what is wrong with the mix.
  9. Laarsø

    Laarsø Active Member

    As for the first part of the OQ, you should make the mix sound as good as possible. Don't worry about rules. Only use rules of thumb. Premastering should be able to shoe-horn a good-sounding mix into any commercial carrier preformat. (Yes, masters are not needed for CD-R duplicates or download clones - only for replicates.)

    I wonder if, by "Rocket," you mean, "Rokit..." Here's the Rokit I am referring to: ROKIT 8 Studio Monitors Speaker KRK SYSTEMS

    If this is the speaker, you can do better. I recommend using your favorite listening speaker for the mixing. I love my Klipsch KG-4 pair, using a Hafler P3000 TransNova amplifier. It's not top of the line, by any means, and the speakers are medium-end 80's consumer (living room) speakers. But they sound great. Why? See next answer, below...

    Bob Ohlsson, famous for mastering at Motown and also Georgetown (hehe), has possibly answered this part, elsewhere. He has said that a mix done in a room that has acoustical "issues" can be so idiosyncratic in balance (due to the room used for hearing while mixing) that the mix not only sounds wrong elsewhere, but that it _also_ can not be fixed in premastering - even if the premastering studio has excellent acoustics and the clerk knows what s/he is (not) supposed to be doing.

    Back to the first part, sort of, no speakers will work in a bad sounding room. Most speakers will work somewhat well in a very good-sounding (behaving) room. Acoustics is the biggest burden for making mixes that will translate and that can successfully be premastered (further)....

    I recommend, therefore, that you take the speakers you like and try mixing something in a different control room that has better acoustics. Find a buddy with a studio or even one who has an amazing man cave with tall ceilings and little furniture. Then make your mix, there, sound as good as possible. Then take the mix to your car or somewhere else (a third place) and see if it translates better than the mixes you've worked on in the first location. If the results are noticeably improved having used the same Ro(c)kt speakers as before but using them in the second location control room, then you will have confirmed (as I suspect) that your first control room's acoustic interference (reflections, standing-waves, spirits?) is to blame and not the speakers.

    Enjoy Music (-Greg Calbi)

    Good luck,
    Let us know what you conclude...


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