mixing with an SPL meter?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by rasputin7095, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. rasputin7095

    rasputin7095 Guest

    What's a good level for mixing that will not hurt my ears, but will not cause me to make the bass too loud? I'm making bass-heavy electronic music, but I want it to sound nice and crisp in the mid-highs.
  2. dustbro

    dustbro Guest

    According to the Fletcher Munsen equal loudness contours, our ears hear the best around 84dB. At that volume, we can hear the whole frequency spectrum accurately.
  3. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    Yep about 85 db is right but...
    That will give you the most linear mix but not necessarily a good mix.

    I think that it's important to listen to your mix at varied levels, especially extremely low. I mean so low that you can barely hear it. I find there is great information to be had this way. This is a good way to hear if something is WAY too loud in the mix.

    Another way that I monitor is by stepping out of the control room and listening down the hall a ways. It just tells me another story.

    I think the hardest thing in recording is to make a mix "portable". Meaning, that it will sound relatively good on all systems.

    Hope this helps,

  4. rasputin7095

    rasputin7095 Guest

    Thanks for the info; still a bit unclear though:

    I have 2 pairs of monitors and headphones. In pro tools, I put pink noise at -3 dB and adjusted the master fader until the SPL meter was at 85dB. Then I did the same using the other monitors, and adjusted the gain on the monitors, not touching the master fader. So now both pairs play back the pink noise at 85dB.

    Is this the right way of doing it, or should every song I listen to (mastered/unmastered) be at 85dB? With pink noise at 85dB, mastered songs from CD show about a 90dB on the SPL meter. Is this right?
  5. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    Don't worry about the pink noise - What you're listening to should be around 85dB. Just measure it once in a while.

    After a few sessions, you'll never have to measure it again.
  6. djui5

    djui5 Guest

    Yeah..not every cd is the same volume level...

    There's been arguments about this lately..

    How loud should it be....

    Anyway....like John said...you need to measure while listening to music...not pink noise...
  7. beachhunt

    beachhunt Guest

    getting more accustomed to your monitors might help solve the problem, too... since the monitors you mix on are probably not what the majority of end consumers will listen on, you shouldn't worry about upping the bass until it shakes the foundation via your monitors. instead, listen extensively to similar artists and songs on your monitors until you know what level the bass/mids/highs -really- are in those cases, before they're pumped into consumer speakers and/or car stereos with the bass knobs turned up =) then you will have a good comparison, since you probably already know what those songs sound like with the bass bumpin. eventually, you'll know exactly what -your- mixes will need to sound like so that they won't be too boomy afterward.

    i also especially agree with LDA about listening "to your mix at varied levels, especially extremely low." the ear is more sensitive to mids at low levels than to bass/high frequencies, so if you turn the volume way down and the bass is still prominent, then it is very likely it will be too boomy in the final mix.

  8. Sork

    Sork Active Member

    Oct 26, 2004
    Home Page:
    How do you measure the level? do you need a microphone or what?
  9. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    Radio Shack has a (surprisingly well-calibrated) meter with a digital readout for $50 or so.

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