Originally posted by reddb: how can u tell when your mix is good enough and ready to send out to be mastered when each system you play your recording on it sounds different not enough high, too much highs etc. etc
Take it to a mastering engineer and have him/her listen to it. Most times they will not charge you for a short listening session if you agree to do your mastering with them. They may have some very good suggestions and or ways to make it sound better BEFORE you bring it in for the mastering.
Even the best of mixes and/ or mastering will sound slightly different on different systems. There is no such thing as a universal mix/mastering "sound" that will sound equally good on all systems that it is played on.
Generally, if your mixes are sounding completely different on different systems, you have to much information on the fringes. The fundamental sounds of certain things are lying out of range of most systems. for example, the bass and kick's main energy is below 80hz or so and the high end like Hi hats and cymbols and lots of vocal air is above 12khz. This is generally the cause of monitors in the mixing stage. What i've found is that when using monitors that have a hard time reproducing freqs on these fringes, engineers tend to eq from the top or bottom. For example, they set their high end eq lets say on the vocal at around 18khz to give it some air. they start cranking until they hear the effect, but the monitors aren't giving you a real picture up there so by the time you hear this, you've got way to much. when you then play this mix on another system that can reproduce this, well you get the picture. Same goes for the other way. Monitors that have a smiley face curve to them will give you a false sense of air and depth. The way around this is to work inside of these fringes. your mixes will translate better and when it goes to mastering, the ME can deal with content outside of these fringes. Like Thomas said, there is no such thing as a universal translation but in general the mix should just sound like it's coming out of smaller or larger speakers, not change completely.