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Jimmi Accardi
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#1
31st January 2013
Old 31st January 2013
  #1
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More about mixing than mastering

This is more about mixing than mastering but I didn't know what forum to put it in so -

These days, who's finding their mixes end up better when mixing with the playback monitors low or loud (relative to room size)? I know that if you mix low, that when you play back at louder volumes... that the bass will be louder so I'm wondering why I hear lately that many choose to mix with the monitors down low.

Anybody?
Jimmi Accardi
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31st January 2013
Old 31st January 2013
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Nobody ???
#3
31st January 2013
Old 31st January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmi Accardi View Post
This is more about mixing than mastering but I didn't know what forum to put it in so -

These days, who's finding their mixes end up better when mixing with the playback monitors low or loud (relative to room size)? I know that if you mix low, that when you play back at louder volumes... that the bass will be louder so I'm wondering why I hear lately that many choose to mix with the monitors down low.

Anybody?
Engineers mix or master at lower levels if possible to avoid fatigue and hearing damage. However, you have to make sure your mix translates well at different levels, and you may need to turn it up to hear finer details. The so-called "optimal" listening level is about 85dB, but each engineer has a personal preference. But always keep in mind that prolonged listening at higher volumes will lead to fatigue and possibly hearing damage.
Jimmi Accardi
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#4
31st January 2013
Old 31st January 2013
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Thanks,
I've done it both ways. I usually end up turning the monitors up rather than down when mixing (but not to 85dB). I turn it up to where I can at least feel the bass. At lower levels I tend to bring the bass up and I'm sorry when I play the mix back in the car. When I DO mix lower though, I listen for the snare drum - that it's not losing it's snap and punch. The bass though (for me anyway is harder to judge at lower monitor volumes). I wouldn't mix with monitors at 85dB for any length of time anyway since I can feel my ears compressing and don't trust what I'm getting. I always switch between nearfields and small cubes also to check for translation. If the bass is getting lost in the small speakers, sometimes a bit off added harmonic distortion helps bring it out.
#5
31st January 2013
Old 31st January 2013
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I use both high & low levels when mixing. Some elements poke out more at lower or higher levels, some masking effects are more audible at specifict levels etc.

But for my personal overall impression of a mix:
The more I have to turn it up in order to "feel" it, the worse the mix usually is...
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Jimmi Accardi
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1st February 2013
Old 1st February 2013
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"The more I have to turn it up in order to "feel" it, the worse the mix usually is... "

Very good point!
#7
1st February 2013
Old 1st February 2013
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Your question is a false dilemma: Should you monitor loudly or quietly?

These aren't the only two options. The correct level will not be too loud nor too quiet, but will be most comfortable.
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#8
1st February 2013
Old 1st February 2013
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If you're turning it down to check how snare transients pop, or how much click your kick has or even whether you can get some tooth from the bass at low level, I think it's worth it to audition a few ways.

1- turn the DAW master fader (or control room if you have/use it) down.
2- use the -12db pad (if your DAW has one, usually the pad is user defineable
3- insert a limiter, but turn it down
4- turn the monitors down

I find that each of these has a different quality/balance at low levels, especially the pad. I get a tremendous amount of perspective by listening to each of these sources in mono and stereo.
Jimmi Accardi
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2nd February 2013
Old 2nd February 2013
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Thanks Smoke.
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