5 Steps to Achieving the Perfect Mix (Without Expensive Gear)

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 08:27 AM PDT

When you picture professional producers, mixers, and mastering engineers like Dr. Dre, Bob Ludwig, and Rick Rubin, what are they usually working with? Massive mixing boards? Huge state-of-the-art speakers? Thousand-dollar headphones? Priceless vintage equipment? That sounds about right, doesn’t it?

If we all had access to gear like that, you might think life would be much easier — and you would probably be right — but there are still many ways to achieve a great mix on a budget. If you have a smartphone or a computer, you’re already well on your way to achieving a good mix.

When I first got into production, I knew how to make a quality mix in my studio headphones, but the mix turned sour when people listened on laptop speakers or with earbuds. I blamed the listener for not using good equipment, but it turned out that I was the one to blame. I wasn’t making great mixes for everyone; I was making great mixes for myself.

Keep in mind that most of your fans are listening to your music on cheap sound systems. Like all things in music, it’s important to be sympathetic with your listener. Today, I make sure my mixes sound good everywhere – and it doesn’t cost me a fortune, just patience. So, here are five affordable ways to make sure your mix sounds perfect — for you and your fans.

What is mastering? Here’s what every musician needs to know!

Studio Headphones

A solid pair of studio headphones doesn’t have to break the bank. For example, Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones cost $99 and feature pretty much all you need to get a good mix: 32 dB attenuation of outside sound, frequency response of 8–25,000 Hz, and a warm, clear sound. For $50 more, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones are perfect to get you a professional mix.

Once you’ve got yourself a quality pair of studio headphones, you can get to work on your mix, making sure all of the frequencies, levels, and effects are balanced and clean. Test your mix several times in these headphones. Put it in mono. Turn the volume down. Turn it up loud. Make sure it sounds good, but be aware that this is only the first step. Unless all of your fans have the same pair of headphones as you and exclusively listen to your music with them, you’ve got a few more steps before you can trust your mix to be perfect.

Cheap Earbuds

You might be thinking, “Why would I work on my mix with crappy earbuds?” Well, the truth is that most people listen to music with whatever random pair of earbuds came with their cell phone.

Oftentimes, a pair of earbuds will expose flaws in your mix that you might not have noticed in your studio headphones, such as abrasive frequencies. Take the time to listen to your mix over and over on earbuds, and tweak the mix as needed to make it sound good.

Laptop Speakers

A lot of people like to throw on a playlist on their laptop while they clean, cook, study, work, or kick back with friends, so spend some time with your mix on your laptop speakers.

Make sure everything is present. For example, if you have a wicked bass line that’s mostly below 200 Hz, it might not show up very clearly on your laptop speakers. If the song’s dynamic build or chord changes depend on hearing that bass line clearly, but it’s absent on laptop speakers, that means you have more work to do.

In this particular situation, you could either boost the midrange or introduce a new instrument like a piano to double the bass line changes and make them audible. Just make sure you’re ready for certain frequencies to get tucked under the mix when you switch from headphones to laptop speakers.

Finished your mix? widgets (not necessary!)

Cell Phone Speakers

After making sure your headphone sounds good in your studio headphones, earbuds, and laptop speakers, it’s time to do the phone test.

When friends are showing each other new music, or just hanging around the house, they often will just play the song on their phone speakers. In this case, not only will your music be played through small phone speakers, but it’ll probably also be in mono.

This might sound like a headache for a lot of mixing engineers and producers, but the truth is that this is a great challenge. Remember, if your mix sounds good in mono on cell phone speakers, that means you’ve done a great job!

Rinse and Repeat

After going through these four steps, go back to step one. Some of the changes you make to help your mix sound better on laptop speakers might need some subtle tweaking in your headphones.

If you’d like, you can replace some of these steps with other audio interfaces. For example, if you don’t have a smartphone, use alarm clock speakers or an old boombox. It’s important that you plan for the lowest common denominator. The point is to make sure your mix sounds balanced and perfect through all interfaces your fans might be using.

Views: 12

Attachments:

Visitor Tracker

 free counters

(Posted February 10, 2012)

Badge

Loading…

Latest Activity

Loretta M. Green-Warren and Poze Productions are now friends
7 minutes ago
Profile IconLoretta M. Green-Warren, Keyng, Tommy Martin and 3 more joined Poze Productions/Poze Records Inc..FREE TO JOIN
30 minutes ago
Indie Castle Radio posted a blog post
1 hour ago
Randolph Francis posted a blog post

Speezy Wonder - "MARCH MADNESS"

After a 4 year hiatus, Kansas’ producer Speezy Wonder has released his first self produced mixtape since loosing his eyes due to a gunshot. Laced with auto tune ballads and introspective lyricism, March Madness is A demonstration of the Blind producers versatility and ability to still create vivid music despite the nature of his disability. Release date, March 21, 2019.Check out March Madness on all streaming services and online store! …See More
2 hours ago
Riki Graham favorited Poze Productions's profile
5 hours ago
Beatlenumber09 posted a status
"I have just released a new tune if anyone is interested ,Sex .Rock n Roll ,paracetamol and a small chocolate biscuit"
8 hours ago
Beatlenumber09 posted a status
"If anyone really wants to know ,i have relesased a new tune ,Sex ,rock n roll ,paracetamol and a small chocolate biscuit"
8 hours ago
Tommy Martin shared a profile on Facebook
12 hours ago
The Passion-Precision Project favorited Harmony Synclaire's photo
12 hours ago
David R Moenich posted a photo

001

DrmJ
13 hours ago
Tommy Martin updated their profile
15 hours ago
Tommy Martin favorited Tommy Martin's profile
15 hours ago
LampStand Music posted a photo

Climb

“You can learn from those who have come down from the mountain,but you won’t have the same experience unless you climb yourself.”Richie Norton
18 hours ago
Jon Ngaronoa posted a status
"https://www.reverbnation.com/jonn6/song/30558842-jonn-metal-demon My first solo metal track made with my acoustic.and effects"
18 hours ago
Jon Ngaronoa posted a status
18 hours ago
Jon Ngaronoa posted a status
18 hours ago

X-poze-ing VIP`s Speech

Notes

VIP featured artists

Created by Poze Productions Nov 5, 2017 at 11:36am. Last updated by Poze Productions on Tuesday.

Featured Artists on poze radio

Created by Poze Productions Dec 29, 2018 at 12:22pm. Last updated by Poze Productions Mar 12.

Vano radio

Created by Poze Productions Mar 8, 2019 at 12:16pm. Last updated by Poze Productions Mar 8.

Featured Artists

Created by Poze Productions Sep 18, 2017 at 6:47pm. Last updated by Poze Productions Mar 6.

Next up on poze radio

  • Jesus with you

047  …

Continue

Created by Poze Productions Jul 5, 2018 at 12:21pm. Last updated by Harmony Synclaire Mar 2.

© 2019   Created by Poze Productions.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service