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BushmasterM4
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25th March 2009
Old 25th March 2009
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Playback Eq and mixing

When I choose a eq setting on a stereo system, while listening to most commercial music, I always choose what many call the smiley face setting. Similar to this

Now my actual setting may be a little different depending on the speakers of the system. But the general shape is that. That is what sounds pleasing to me. Now I know many others will have a different setting they preferr and of course music style comes into play. But here is the question. Do you mix a song aiming to get that favorite EQ curve sound. I do and when I play my stuff in a stereo system or mp3 player I always have to set the eq or the treble,mid and bass to flat to get that sound I like. I mix stuff with that curve in mind. Does everyone else do the same ? Funny how most commercial stuff I have to use the smiley eq setting and on my mixes a flat setting will get the same effect. Does that make sense ?
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25th March 2009
Old 25th March 2009
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You've probably identified a problem in your monitoring environment that is pushing you to use this EQ. Your mixes need to work out in the real world next to all of the mixes you like with your EQ setting. IOW, you need to adjust your monitoring so that your mixes work with the same reproduction systems as other mixes.


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BushmasterM4
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25th March 2009
Old 25th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
You've probably identified a problem in your monitoring environment that is pushing you to use this EQ. Your mixes need to work out in the real world next to all of the mixes you like with your EQ setting. IOW, you need to adjust your monitoring so that your mixes work with the same reproduction systems as other mixes.


GR
My mixes do sound roughly the same on all the systems I play them on. There will always be a little variance. Im not talking environment. Im just saying for example. Take 10 engineers. Put them in the same room. Let them mix the same tune on the same equipment. Then run a analyzer on the mix to see what each mixes eq looked like. Would the eq's look the same ? I dont think so. I bet each engineer has an eq curve he finds pleasing. Maybe Im not explaining properly what Im thinking
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26th March 2009
Old 26th March 2009
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I would say in any given stereo...pop in your favorite mixes from industry releases...EQ the stereo so they sound there best, untainted and normal to you as you know them. Then pop your mixes in...if your stuff sounds good then you're on your way

I know this doesn't really address what you were talking about with EQ prefernces but this what i do to check out my stuff......

as somebody said earlier this week, very cool comment - the top mixers and mastering guys already have "the right EQ curve etc" already instilled in their heads and work the music till it fits what they already know is right!
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26th March 2009
Old 26th March 2009
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My monitors aren't super great but they whole system is basically flat from 25Hz to 18KHz with some notches in the mid-lows from my room. I mix stuff to sound good on that system and cross check it on headphones in both mono and stereo. I never assume anybody is going to use EQ on playback. I never assume anything about their equipment or settings because it varies so much from one to the next. If you design your mix to sound good on one crap system, it'll sound like crap on good systems. The most important way to get a good mix that will sound essentially the same on most systems is to use a monitoring system/calibration that yields the flattest and most accurate representation as possible. It's important to make sure the levels are set well also or else it'll force you to use "loudness" EQ like you've chosen in your example. I used to monitor at a pretty low level and all the mixes I made back then are way too crispy. Now that I'm using a properly calibrated monitor system, my mixes are pretty natural.
BushmasterM4
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26th March 2009
Old 26th March 2009
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I guess Im questioning why my stuff sounds good to me on most systems with the eq set flat. But to get that same sound (that I like) with commercial stuff I use the smiley eq. Most of the time.
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26th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BushmasterM4 View Post
I guess Im questioning why my stuff sounds good to me on most systems with the eq set flat. But to get that same sound (that I like) with commercial stuff I use the smiley eq. Most of the time.


gotcha...yeah...i've thought about this too.....so you're pulling mids in your masters possibly more than standard....or bumping lows and highs and leaving mids as they are....

well, but not every stereo is gonna have 3 + band EQ to smiley face with and not all listeneres will do a smiley face....food for thought!
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26th March 2009
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You may not be monitoring loud enough as I was mentioning in my previous post. If your monitor level is set too low, you will feel the urge to bump up the extreme high and low ends.
BushmasterM4
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26th March 2009
Old 26th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wado1942 View Post
You may not be monitoring loud enough as I was mentioning in my previous post. If your monitor level is set too low, you will feel the urge to bump up the extreme high and low ends.
Actually using Bob Katz recommended levels. Which I find is a pretty good level. From what others say, if your mix sounds great on other systems with the eq flat, then Im doing fine. I guess I just like to feel and hear the bass guitar and kick and alot of commercial stuff today is just all mids and no low end. Rap music of course is not included A lot of low end in it.
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28th March 2009
Old 28th March 2009
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Most/All of my friends have super-mega-happy-extra awesome bass setting set to 'on'- on all of their domestic listening setups.

I'm not pro by any means- but I don't recommend smiley face mixing at all (unless its for your own enjoyment on your own speakers in which cae go for it!) .

For one- if it goes to radio its probably going to get smiley face hammered anyway- and also if it goes to someones home setup the same thing will probably happen.

When I'm mixing I try hard to get a a good level of bass energy but more importantly a really defined bass sound (I really stuggle with this)- but I try to wade through the mud and sort it all out and make it clear. I don't boost it at all. Every commercial music playing device ever made has that option and its usually on.

As for the top end- mostly the same thing. If your listening on your own nice setup then sweet go for it- otherwise- all that nice air you might add above 15k is going to get the axe come mp3 or radio time.

Just my thoughts right now. I'm still learning and trying to keep my head above water! I hope this helps
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28th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BushmasterM4 View Post
I guess Im questioning why my stuff sounds good to me on most systems with the eq set flat. But to get that same sound (that I like) with commercial stuff I use the smiley eq. Most of the time.
If your mixes sound different than commercial stuff then you have a translation problem. You need to conform to the standards of the marketplace.

Your argument is similar to the Nakamichi tape deck argument. Nakamichi made heads that conformed to the letter of the technical standard. Unfortunately no one else did. As a result, their machines sounded slightly wrong when compared to all of the other machines in the world. It was technically correct but completely missed the practical reality of the situation.

Your mixes run the risk of this problem. They will be technically correct by your own standard but not quite right in the ears of the general listener.

That brings us back to your monitoring system. Your system needs to produce mixes that DO need that smiley face curve on other systems just like the other commercial stuff does. They they will translate properly.


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28th March 2009
Old 28th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
Your system needs to produce mixes that DO need that smiley face curve on other systems just like the other commercial stuff does.R
On the one hand that advice seems to make sense, on the other hand it seems totally ridiculous. To quote my father: Would you jump off a bridge just because everyone else was doing so? To paraphrase him: Would you smash your masters just because everyone else was doing so? Would you mix and master for the smiley face just because everyone else was doing so?

I see some parallels between mixing for the smiley face and mastering for the loudness war. In a few years will we have as many threads about the smiley face as we now do about the loudness war? I've always thought of the EQ on stereo as a tool for repairing a deficient record, with flat as the default. Is the smiley face now becoming the default? If so, how soon will it be until manufacturers follow suit by making stereo amplifiers with the neutral position of the EQ yielding the smiley face?

John Link
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28th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlink View Post
On the one hand that advice seems to make sense, on the other hand it seems totally ridiculous. To quote my father: Would you jump off a bridge just because everyone else was doing so?
As it is, commercially released CDs need a smiley face EQ for him to be happy with them. His mixes do not need the smiley face EQ on playback for him to be happy with them. What that means is that he has already added the smiley face shape to his mixes, which is exactly what you are recommending against in your reply, and I agree with you.

What he SHOULD do is NOT add the effect of the smiley face EQ in his mix. Then his mixes will match the other mixes he likes, both WITH and WITHOUT any post mix EQ. He may still prefer them with the smiley face EQ on playback, just like he prefers that EQ on commercial stuff, but they will translate much better if he conforms to a more standardized spectral curve in his mix process.


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28th March 2009
Old 28th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
As it is, commercially released CDs need a smiley face EQ for him to be happy with them. His mixes do not need the smiley face EQ on playback for him to be happy with them. What that means is that he has already added the smiley face shape to his mixes,
Your reasoning seems to be based on the assumption that playback is always with a smiley face EQ. If one assumes instead that playback will be with a flat EQ, then it would follow that everyone else has applied an inverted smiley face EQ (i.e., a frowny face EQ) to their mixes which must be repaired by applying the smiley face EQ on playback.

Quote:
which is exactly what you are recommending against in your reply, and I agree with you.
I don't think we agree. I recommend making mixes that sound right when played with flat EQ, while you seem to recommend making mixes that sound right played back with smiley face EQ.

Quote:
What he SHOULD do is NOT add the effect of the smiley face EQ in his mix. Then his mixes will match the other mixes he likes, both WITH and WITHOUT any post mix EQ. He may still prefer them with the smiley face EQ on playback, just like he prefers that EQ on commercial stuff, but they will translate much better if he conforms to a more standardized spectral curve in his mix process.
It seems to me that you are advocating jumping off the bridge because everyone else is doing so. But maybe I'm mistaken about that, since you did say the following in your first post:

Quote:
You've probably identified a problem in your monitoring environment that is pushing you to use this EQ.
If your guess is correct, then I agree that he ought to make mixes that sound right with the smiley face.

John Link
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28th March 2009
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John, have you not read the initial poster's comments? I think we agree completely.


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28th March 2009
Old 28th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
John, have you not read the initial poster's comments? I think we agree completely.


GR
I have read the initial poster's comments, and, as you can see from my revised last post, your first response to them. I now agree that we agree!

John Link
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28th March 2009
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Cool! Thanks John,


GR
BushmasterM4
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28th March 2009
Old 28th March 2009
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Well guys, there are commercial mixes in which I do not have to eq with the smiley . They sound great flat, like mine. For example, Most Steely Dan albums. Newer Scorpion albums (yes they still make killer stuff), Metallica's Black Album sounds great with a flat eq. Joe Satriani (The Extremist and newer). and of course ACDC Back in Black. And there are others. So am I mixing wrong. I dont think so. I guess there is no right answere. Maybe I need to aquire more of Bob Katz "honor roll" cd's and experience more great mixes. I rescently pick up a new amp and recorded this little musical piece to see how it sounded. This is typical to how I like my kick and bass to come through. Listen to it and tell me how it sounds on your monitors and or upper end equipment. Player link or download below. Start Player[/quote]
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