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What volume should I mix at?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ThirdBird, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    How loud or soft do you guys have your monitors at when you mix? And why?

  2. HemlokSociety

    HemlokSociety Active Member

    Well Third, I had the same problem and I tried to find different resources on the net for the answer...The best I could find was most of the time mix at a volume where if someone is sitting right next to you they can hear you speak to them. For me it was a little hard to get used to because I was used to cranking the monitors, for that was the way I liked to hear music..

    When I turned the monitors down to a more comfy volume and mixed, it forced me to get my mixes sounding slammin low and when I turn them up my mix was that much better, cuz if it rocks low it will rock out loud!

    Really though you should constantly be changing volumes to make sure your mix is translating well at diff volumes, but start lower around 85 db I believe is a good starting point.

  3. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest

    The flattest frequency response for the human ear is around 83db. That's where I mix, 80-85db, then I listen to it down around 75db also to make sure nothing was getting masked and that I can still detect the kick drum.

    The only reason to crank it up any higher is to impress your half-deaf clients.
  4. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member


    83dB is the level at which the human ear typically hears frequencies between 20 and 20k the most uniformly.

    Everyones ears are unique, so find what works for you.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    It's not just level that's important. You really need more than one source of monitors. Back in the day we used to mix on Altec 604E's, with lousy crossovers, a brittle horn, in vented utility cabinets. All in the far field. I knew guys that mixed so loud they blew me out of the control room. But their mixes where fantastic. We've come down a little more to our senses over the years. Something about hearing loss I think they said?? I wouldn't know because I didn't hear them. Either way, I always use 2 to 3 different pairs. With monitors cranked higher during tracking than mixing. You really want to hear that bass drum pedal squeak so you'll know when to take out the WD-40. Don't want to miss that because you're monitoring too low. And remember, if you use passive speakers with outboard amplifiers, you really can't never have too much power. You'll blow speakers with underpowered amplifiers faster than higher power it amplifiers. Why? How? When you overload an amplifier, it produces nasty harmonic distortion. Those upper harmonics heat up the speakers faster since the distortion goes beyond normal frequency response. This is less of an issue with powered monitors which are designed as an intricate whole closed system. But I know plenty of folks with $500,000 control rooms that also had a $40 boombox to also check mixes through. So use anything & everything as your reference sources. Yes, we also used to run out to the car not to just smoke a doobie, brother but to also hear it on the car stereo.

    As Miss Romper Room used to say, as she looked into her magic mirror microphone, "Do be a good Bee. Don't be a Dolby.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  6. eatmyshoes

    eatmyshoes Guest

    Remy is right on. I've mixed in professional setups thinking "Oh man, this mix is amazing!!!" just to pop in to my vehicle cd player 10 minutes later and find out its crap.

  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    I mixed a bunch of choir recordings (lousy quality to begin with) on computer speakers in the middle of a conservatory.

    I listened to them a while ago on HD280s, and they genuinely aren't that bad. Not too bright, not overpowering, bit thin but the tracking was rotten.
    And they sang to a MIDI player backing track >_>.
  8. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    thanks guys! one question.... how do i measure what i am actually listening at?
  9. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    A Radio Shaft SPL meter comes to mind. Sorry, I mean Radio Shack. $30 or something cheapass.
  10. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest

    Here's a fascinating read that might help you. Be sure to read both Part 1 & 2.

    (Dead Link Removed)
  11. BushmasterM4

    BushmasterM4 Active Member

    I use my control room monitors (Behringer Truths), Klipsch 3.1 pc speakers ($150), Altec Lansing 3.1 pc speakers ($69), a pair of Polk Monitor 10's and my Ipod and mini-van system. Yes I know, Behringer, some hate them, but I like them. I really like the Klipsch and Polks. The Polks are ancient like me and they sound so damn good.
  12. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Bob's book is pretty decent, its worth the price. I use my dynaudios for my mains, but I also have an old pair of hitachi stereo speakers I know very well, and a cheap sony boom box. I switch between these set ups during a mix. Usally that works pretty well.

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