Mixing for your target audience - First principles

Discussion in 'Mixing' started by jmm22, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Mixing for your target audience

    I read somewhere recently that it is good to listen to the mix at various levels, so as to provide a balanced mix that sounds good at low, medium, and high levels.

    However, it seems to me that certain kinds of music will be listened to almost exclusively at one level or another, e.g., hard rock at high levels and elevator music at low levels.

    Does it not make more sense to optimize the sound for a given song by mixing at the level it will be most often listened to, if it happens to fall heavily in a specific genre where the most probable listening level is well known?
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Pacific NW
    Define "well known" and tell me how this will be determined.......
  3. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Well known means that the vast majority of people would know the particular concept or idea. It is determined by the degree of consensus. That those who listen to the hardest of music do so at loud levels is well known to everyone, and thus sufficiently determined, at least at one end of the sonic spectrum, so I am mildly perplexed by your question. :smile: That elevator music is listened to at low levels is also well known. Now you could make an argument that some older people who are hard of hearing might listen to very mellow music at loud levels, but that would be a special case.

    My question pertains to the listening levels used during mixing, and whether the plan changes depending on the kind of music. It is a valid question.
  4. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Munich / Germany
    Home Page:
    It makes sense to mix and master songs and music to sound as good as possible.
    It would make me a verrryy angry man if the rock I want to listen to would only sound good when I crank my amps up at 2 am.
    And, I don't care how the elevator music sounds that comes out of those cheap speaker cans as long as it is very low volume, best at -200 dB.
    I also would be truly pissed off if anybody came up with a classic Symphony that has been tweaked to suit elder people with hearing loss at tragic frequency ranges...

    I guess, this is not feasible...

    Ahh, listening levels...
    Just don't overdo it... safe your hearing and don't cheat yourself when going into the Fletcher-Munson...
    I mix at normal listening levels and occasionally go higher to check and wake up the old ears for a minute, as well as to check on unwanted artefacts, fades and stuff.
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Pacific NW
    See what I mean.

    Yes, you should listen to a mix at several different levels to obtain balance. There COULD be stylistic differences in... emphasis with EQ settings, compression usage, effects use....output levels before mastering are important but more for the mechanical part of level matching than any musical stylings....

    In the OLDE days, we couldnt send a mix with a LOT of bass to mastering without them cutting the crap out of it simply because the needle tended to jump out of the grooves with too much bass in a track.....

    Now. THESE days what do you think is the MAJOR playback medium being used?

    I will tell you its not rockers with 1000watt stereos taking away peoples personal privacy in the neighborhood.....Its NOT classical affictionados with $40,000 stereo systems....And it most CERTAINLY isnt elevators.
  6. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    O.K. thanks for the responses. Are you hinting that the major playback vehicle is the ubiquitous ipod? I have to admit that I do not own one, and likely never will. Why just the names alone make me cringe. ipods and earbuds make me think the progenitor of these terms was a closet farmer.

    And of course I take some liberty with the term elevator music. To me, "elevator music" is any music that could induce a somnambulistic trance in even the most caffeine loaded of us. I hear elevator music all the time, even though I do not find myself in too many actual elevators these days.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Pacific NW
    Thats right. Pods it is. While you may not own one....neither do I...Most of the listening public has one. A bunch use it as a player on the home entertainment center, a lot plug em into the car stereo....all newer cars have this jack....so not all usage is with an earbud.

    Notice I said 'listening public'....these are the people interested enough in music as a whole to take it with them wherever they go. Less than half of them actually buy whole CD's anymore. Another death blow to this structure of the business that is currently in such flux.....

    So you're probably going to have to have mixes that translate clearly on earbuds, boomboxes, and car stereos as your majority listeners' medium.

    This means clear and defined mixes with large amounts of full range equalization, dryer verbs, and firm bass. When its reduced to MP3 you dont want to lose the real meat and potatoes...

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