Making mixes translate - Why it sounds like crap in the car!

Why your mixes never translate.

Making your mixes translate across different playback systems is one of the most trading and difficult aspects of being a music producer.

Sometimes you try and try and try over and over again and no matter what you do the mixes just don't sound good when you go to listen to them in the car or on somebody's home stereo or on a DJs playback system. I know I have been there and so has probably every successful music producer in the game. Allow me to share a little bit of information that may help you get past the frustration and possible embarrassment of bad mixes.

Rule number one don't trust your friends and family!

You're friends and family and even some of your colleagues will never tell you to truth, they will always say wow that sounds great.

Who knows what the psychological reasons are for that but you can bet that it is a fact your close friends and family will never be able to critically listen to anything that you mix,

Even some of your closest colleagues will do the same thing.

This situation gets so bad that sometimes I think that people are trying to sabotage you and your music career.

So never rely on anyone in your immediate circle.

Rule number two, you ain't hearing right.

I know you think that you’ve got a great playback system with your nice nearfield monitors and your Digital audio interface and whatever else that you have but the fact of the matter is you are just not hearing all of the frequencies being played back by your system correctly.

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When you go to a club or you're in the car you are listening to a playback system that reproduces bass with ease and yet here you are in your studio monitors that do not properly reproduce low end.

All the room treatment in the world is not going to help, All the bass traps in the world is not going to help. Even if you have a sub woofer it still won't help.

What will help is a spectrum analyzer and being able to see as well as hear the frequencies.

Also you are going to have to move your speakers around until you find a sweet spot

I suggest using pink noise with a good room measuring microphone and spectrum analyzer to see what frequencies in your room are being accentuated and which ones are being masked.

Bigger Speakers and Multiple playback systems ****

Go to the thrift store or the pawn shop and get some BIIIIG Joints and watch and see what happens.

For me the solution was to buy Cerwin VEGA SL-12 speakers which produces low-end down to 30 Hz.

I use these big these in conjunction with my Yamaha HS 7 nearfield monitors to be able to get a good idea of my low end mids and my highs.

So already were talking about having different playback systems in your studio to be able to listen back and make sure that your mixes are similar right there in your studio.

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Get Special Mixing Headphones

Another good suggestion is to use mix headphones such as the Avantone mixphones as an additional source to check your mixes.

You can't just use any headphone, it must be a headphone with a flat response. These headphones are expensive and cost more money and take getting used to.

A friend of mine who has a successful production company said the mixphones was one of the best purchases he has ever made!!

But Jonathan what about room treatment?

Room treatment with foam and bass traps and diffusers it's all good but it is not a cure all.

You are still going to have to experiment with speaker placement, pink noise and room analysis and mixing techniques.

Even if you do get bigger speakers to reproduce low end better, You will still have to experiment with speaker placement to dial it in just right.

Don't rush it.

At the end of the day the best advice I can give you is not to be in a hurry.

Sometimes it’s good to mix the rhythm section then take a break and come back to everything else later.

When I listen back with fresh ears after a little bit of time, if everything sounds good then I will go onto other things. That is more on the mixing techniques side of things

My strongest advice is to never ever ever give give your music to any industry people until you have checked it over thoroughly on multiple playback systems

Get people you trust to tell you the truth.

Once you give out a wack mixed project people will avoid you like the plague and always consider you to be a scrub and a joke,

it can take years to overcome their perception of you.

If you're going to do this music thing and spend all this money the sooner you get a workflow and protocol that works the better for you.

Happy mixing!


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