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  • Mixing - Too much bass for the car

    My big frustration is this - I will get a mix in my 'studio' that sounds okay, take it to the home stereo and, while not as 'bright' as a comparison commercial mix, the levels are good, the volume and frequency balance is okay and I can hear all the parts.  Take it to the car, any car, and it fills up with mud.  The bass becomes predominate, and the lower frequencies of the bass at that.  I can't seem to take enough out to clean up the car sound and still retain a reasonable amount of bass on the other systems.  I have high pass filtering at 80Hz at least on all the other tracks besides the kick drum, even higher on cymbals, hand percussion and vocals.  Any hints at what I can focus on would be appreciated.

    If I can't be seen as a role model, I will have to settle for being a warning.
    Blog: www.guitaraccompanist.com

  • #2

    Probably the room you mix in, do you have any room treatment?

    You can't make good decisions if you can't hear problems.

    G-Dub
    www.studiog-fx.com
    15 inch Quad-core i7, Macbook Pro,
    OSX 10.8.2, LPX, Logic 9.1.8, Apollo Duo

    Comment


    • saturn1
      saturn1 commented
      Editing a comment

      gdoubleyou wrote:

      Probably the room you mix in, do you have any room treatment?

      You can't make good decisions if you can't hear problems.


      While certainly not the best room, there is some treatment in the mix room.  I also check on a good set of headphones.  Plus, the home stereo is in a different room and environment and I playback through computer speakers as well as in the car.  The car is the only place that exhibits the problem.  Comparing spectrum analysis between a reference mix and my mix, the results are pretty similar across the spectrum.  I am wondering if anyone has found a particular frequency range that is a likely culprit that I could be looking at attenuating a bit.


  • #3

    Thank you Terry and Phil.  This is very helpful.  I have been poking around the Har-Bal site (appreciate the link) and it looks like it may be the better choice for my next software aquisition.  Their approach certainly makes sense to me.  I also get the point about having someone else do the mastering.  That is my plan.  I am at this point trying to get the mixes to the point that they are ready (read-'good enough') to make professional mastering worth the investment.  I mean, I know it is possible to polish a piece of dirt but is having a polished piece of dirt a viable objective?  I do have an acquaintance, actually he's the son of my business partner, who apprenticed as an ME at MasterDisk and now works out of Engine Room Audio in Manhatten.  He's building a pretty impressive resume, plus he's a good guy.  It may make sense to send him a track or two to do and use the results as you suggest.

    If I can't be seen as a role model, I will have to settle for being a warning.
    Blog: www.guitaraccompanist.com

    Comment


    • MrKnobs
      MrKnobs commented
      Editing a comment

      saturn1 wrote:

      Thank you Terry and Phil.  This is very helpful.  I have been poking around the Har-Bal site (appreciate the link) and it looks like it may be the better choice for my next software aquisition.  Their approach certainly makes sense to me.  I also get the point about having someone else do the mastering.  That is my plan.  I am at this point trying to get the mixes to the point that they are ready (read-'good enough') to make professional mastering worth the investment.  I mean, I know it is possible to polish a piece of dirt but is having a polished piece of dirt a viable objective?  I do have an acquaintance, actually he's the son of my business partner, who apprenticed as an ME at MasterDisk and now works out of Engine Room Audio in Manhatten.  He's building a pretty impressive resume, plus he's a good guy.  It may make sense to send him a track or two to do and use the results as you suggest.




      I might be sounding like a shill for mastering labs at this point but honestly I'm a customer of them, not an owner or employee.


      I think the conventional idea that you record, mix the entire album, then take it to the mastering lab for the first time isn't using that resource to its full potential - especially for people who have a studio at home where an ideal acoustic environment isn't possible or affordable.  Yes, the mastering engineer needs the entire album when the final mastering is to be done so that he can balance the tracks, limit them, make them all sound like they belong to the same album, head and tail them, space them, put on codes, etc. BUT the mastering lab is also VERY useful in earlier stages of the project.


      Do you really want to mix your entire album and THEN find out that you have a huge bass peak at, say, 90 Hz because your room needs more treatment?  Why not mix a couple of songs, then book an hour with the mastering guy to hear them in his precisely tuned room and get his opinions on what you can do better?  He'll have all kinds of advice ranging from EQ to levels to noise on the tracks to phase to balance to placement of the instruments on the soundstage.  You might have to ASK him to give advice on these things as mastering engineers also work with pro studios and producers who aren't really looking for that sort of advice.


      And yeah, mastering guy can fix things like noise between passages or squeaky finger slides on acoustic guitars or messed up low frequency EQ on ALL  your tracks  but at $100/hr is that a good use of their time when you can do it yourself?  What IS a good use of your $100 hour, IMO, is to use that hour to learn from a guy who was first an amazing mix engineer before he ever opened his mastering lab AND in a very revealing acoustic environment / classroom as well.


      Also, this varies from mastering lab to mastering lab but it might not even cost you $100 / hr since many labs have "apprentice" or "assistant engineers" that don't cost as much as the old "golden eared" guy.  They can answer these sort of questions just as well as the boss man, usually, and they're a generally very excited to be working with you, understand where you're at in your recording knowledge, and always very happy to help.  One reason for that is it's tough to be an assistant engineer at a mastering lab and constantly hear customers say they prefer the "name" guy.


      So, open your mind as I did and think, "What can these people, this room, and this process teach me?  How can I bring the mastering lab the best possible mixes that require the least time on correcting things I could have corrected myself so they can do the things they do best?  What's the best way for me to use this amazing resource?"


      Then mix an amazing album and be there to watch that jaded old mastering guy's eyes light up as he polishes it.


      Terry D.


    • Phil O'Keefe
      Phil O'Keefe commented
      Editing a comment

      Sounds like your friend may be a good person to use for the mastering.


       


      Another suggestion? Don't wait until the entire record's finished to connect with him and send him a mix - finish a song, send him that, and see what suggestions he makes. Definitely solicit those suggestions - not all ME's are going to feel comfortable offering them unless you ask - and that information can definitely be valuable to you as you go forward with the rest of the mixes... and if the issues are so bad as to require a remix on the first song, it's only one song - not an album's worth.


  • #4
    And just to reiterate, don't overlook treating your room. Sounds to me like you got some modal problems. They can both boost and cut frequencies. And it's really hard to get an accurate super low-end (80hz and lower) in a small room. So you've probably got a dip down there and can't tell it in the room or most speakers. As they don't go that low very well. But a lot of car speakers these days do and it's showing up there and wreaking havoc. At least that's my guess.

    But to the point of sending a ME a track early on is brilliant. I'll def have to use that sometime. Thanks.
    ∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆ Metric Halo 2882 Expanded +DSP, Event 20/20 bas, Etymotic ER4-PT and HF3, MacBook Pro 15" (early 2011 w/2.2 ghz i7 quad, 8GB Ram, 480 GB SSD), Pro Tools 11, Harrison Mixbus, and Reaper. Godin Progression, Godin LGSP-90 (NAMM ed.), Godin LGX-SA into an 11 Rack controlled by a FCB1010 with an Eureka Prom. A bunch of other stuff lying around.

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    • Zooey
      Zooey commented
      Editing a comment

      The muddy stuff that sounds bad in your car may be higher up than you thought.  200hz is a usual suspect for mud.  You can try scooping some out of the bassier instruments with a gentle curve instead of high-passing. 


    • saturn1
      saturn1 commented
      Editing a comment

      CME wrote:
      And just to reiterate, don't overlook treating your room. Sounds to me like you got some modal problems. They can both boost and cut frequencies. And it's really hard to get an accurate super low-end (80hz and lower) in a small room. So you've probably got a dip down there and can't tell it in the room or most speakers. As they don't go that low very well. But a lot of car speakers these days do and it's showing up there and wreaking havoc. At least that's my guess.

      But to the point of sending a ME a track early on is brilliant. I'll def have to use that sometime. Thanks.

      I'm convinced of the need to treat the room with a bit more diligence (and dollars).  I am hatching a plan...



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