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WHY DOES MY MIX SOUND GOOD IN THE STUDIO, BUT BAD EVERYWHERE ELSE?

June 4, 2019

BY CJ JACOBSON

I get asked this question a lot, at least ounce or twice a month. When asked, a few things come to mind:


  • Your experience and skills in mixing
  • Is the room you mix in is acoustically treated and tuned
  • If you are not using at least 8" studio monitors, do you have a sub
  • Is your mix mastered?

These 4 things all play a role in how your mix will sound outside your studio and i'll expand on those 4 topics to explain it a little better.


EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS

This is a bit obvious, but I do not want to leave it out. Mixing is an acquired art. Its like painting a portrait or beautiful landscape. A good song that is mixed well is just like a good painting will have depth, emotion and will move you to another place.


1.) A few things i do when mixing:

  • I always apply 'complimentary EQ techniques' to make each instrument its own frequency filed.
  • I always make the mix sound like its in 3D, just like a painting. to make it 3D, you place each instrument in its own space. for example, Back left, back right, back center, front center, mid center, mid right, mid left, front right, front left and so on. you can achieve this with reverb, mid and side EQ and special panning techniques.
  • Along the way, i check the mix in mono. do not wait until the mix is done to check it in mono.


2.) Having an acoustically tuned and treated room to mix in:

  • If you cannot hear the true sounds of the instrument tracks you are mixing, how can you mix it to what you want it to sound like?
  • This is why you need to have a room that represents the actual sounds you are hearing and then your ears need to be trained to that room.
  • If you mix in a room that that has frequency nulls in certain areas, you will be making your mix sound good in that room, but it will not sound good in other rooms and sound systems because those frequencies with nulls will be over exaggerated everywhere else. Make sense?


3.)  If you are not using at least 8" studio monitors, do you have a sub

  • Studio monitors that are smaller than 8 inches may not go down far enough in the low end frequency spectrum for you to hear the low bass frequencies.
  • Having low frequencies run a muck in your mix will create chaos in your mix. so having a sub so you can hear the low end correctly is a must.


4.) Did you master your mix?

  • An un-mastered mix will have some deficiencies, nulls and an over exuberance of certain frequencies and this can cause your mix to sound not as good on all sound systems.
  • If you want your mix to sound as good as it can on all sound systems, it must be mastered and it must be mastered in a different room that it was mixed in.


Hopefully these tips will help you achieve a great sounding mix everywhere you play it.

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