Mixing question

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by LVC_Jeff, Apr 20, 2006.

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  1. LVC_Jeff

    LVC_Jeff Guest

    Ok, my first substantial question on the boards...

    I recorded my friend singing/playing New York State of Mind. This is into GarageBand through a M Audio MobilePre USB and a crappy MXL mic. When I was mixing it, I EQed each track (vocals and piano, recorded separately) separately, which as I just read in another thread I shouldn't do, I got a sound I liked. All the listening/mixing was done on Sennheiser HD280s, which I'm told are uber-accurate, so I don't have to worry about monitors screwing me up. I exported it into iTunes and took a listen.

    It sounds very bassy. When I EQed the piano, I boosted bass quite a bit and treble slightly. I don't know whether it was the mic itself or mic placement, but a lot of the bass didn't come through.

    So my question is when I EQ stuff (this one for example) should I cut mids instead of boosting bass and treble? Will that aleviate the "bassy" sound when listening in a normal environment? Thanks.
  2. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    This is a question nobody could answer. Was this a real piano that you recorded in a room or electric?

    EQ is done on a "needs" basis meaning don't do it unless you need to. There isn't a preset way to EQ anything. It depends on the room, the source, the mic placement, the mic, and what the whole mix demands.

    Also, mixing with headphones is like swimming with a brick in your shorts. It can be done, but it's a pain to do it effeciently.
  3. JWL

    JWL Active Member

    Feb 12, 2006
    Portland, Maine
    Home Page:
    It sounds to me like what you are experiencing is the "translation" phenomenon. This is when we mix a song, we get a sound we love in our studio, but as soon as we play it on other systems, it doesn't sound right.

    The cause of this phenomenon is inaccurate monitoring, either from poor monitors (or headphones in your case) or bad room acoustics if you are using speakers.

    What it comes down to is that you must become intimately familiar with YOUR monitoring system, so that you know how it sounds like the back of your hand.

    I have the HD280s, and like them for what they do. But I'd NEVER want to mix a song using only those headphones. They isolate extremely well, which for me is useful when I'm placing microphones, but they have kind of a hyped, inaccurate sound to me.

    Since you've already recorded the tracks, it's kinda moot, but in the future I'd recommend spending more time with microphone placement on your piano (or any instrument), so you don't have to do such radical EQing during the mix. Get the sound you want (or as close as possible) using only the mic. Then if you need EQ at mixdown, it won't be as radical. You'll probably end up with better sound if you pay careful attention to mic placement.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    A lot of your problems boil down to the unfamiliarity you have with your headphones and how they compare to mixes you listen to through speakers before you put on your headphones. I always listen to some famous quality CDs just to get my bearings before mixing anything on headphones. It is very difficult to get your bearings through headphones. Headphones should only be utilized when absolutely necessary and for other quality evaluation purposes. Once you learn how the translation goes between a reasonable pair of monitors and your headphones, you will become more cognizant of what you are actually listening to. Effective judgment of low frequencies through headphones is particularly difficult, regardless of whether they are a sealed ear or, open-air variety. You just have to put that CD in your player and listen to those directions through your headphones, over and over again to Carnegie hall.

    I have found my way to Carnegie hall often
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Hope no one thinks this is spam (I have no connection to them at all), but this months EQ magazine (April, 2006) has a LOT of stuff about monitors, mastering, room interaction, etc.

    The issue is titled: "The Mega Monitor Issue". Worth a ready by everyone, even if you're not a fan of the mag. Good stuff in there, indeed.
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I'm going to echo whats already been said in that monitoring ,especially through headphones, is all about the environment you are listening in. I'm not surprised you found the bass to be prevalent on listening back to the tracks due to the nature of the frequency curves built in to even the most 'accurate' phones. Bass frequencies are by nature large waves and need space and energy to reproduce accurately. On your head these frequenies cannot be be duplicated and most phones are tailored to REPRESENT the bass frequencies but NOT to reproduce them with any form of accuracy.

    So the tendancy is to ADD bass to an already adequate bass track.

    IF you must mix on phones due to volume constraints or simply thats all you have, it is best to CUT EQ rather than add. Remember that the phones are seriously compensated for already simply by their physical nature and proximity to your hearing devices.
  7. LVC_Jeff

    LVC_Jeff Guest

    Thanks for the answers guys. I appreciate it.

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