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Level changes throughout a compilation mix
Old 8th September 2011
Gear Head

Level changes throughout a compilation mix

I am working on my podcast and having completed the actual mix I went to have a listen in my car. I have focal monitors with no sub in my studio and the mix sounded smooth as far as levels are concerned. There didn't seem to be much variation in the overall volume on my monitors.

When I popped the mix in my car I could totally tell the difference between track to track. Basically, it seemed that certain tracks were better produced than others. Some carried more energy throughout the entire spectrum (but primarily noticed in the low end) while others sounded thin in comparison. Some just seemed louder than others. When I was compiling the mix in Ableton all of the tracks were peaking at the same levels - I did not have a limiter or EQ on the master. I was really careful with my automation and EQing to ensure that the tracks mixed seemlessly and they sound good along those lines.

Is there any way around the differences in volume in the tracks if they are all hitting 0db when set to 0db? Do I need to go back and turn the volume down on the "louder" tracks to compensate even though the metering levels show the same overall volume? The mix is right at 0db now as exported with a few areas into the red when mixing two/three trx but I just wanted to get an idea of the overall sound before fine tuning the transitions. Should I drop it down to -10db or whatever and then export and master it? Would that even help if there are changes in the sound like I mention?

I hope this makes sense.

Old 8th September 2011
Lives for gear
wado1942's Avatar

Yeah, your best bet is to turn down the louder stuff. There may also be some spectral differences that make some tracks SOUND louder & clearer too. You'd want to compensate for that if possible as well.
Old 8th September 2011
Lives for gear
huejahfink's Avatar

Verified Member
Yes definitely turn down the stuff that sounds louder. Don't worry if that brings the peaks lower on some things... peak level is only one aspect of why something might sound loud.
It also sounds like you are just not quite getting enough bass to judge relative bass levels on your studio monitors, where as the bass in your car is a bit hyped and is exaggerating the differences . Perhaps a little trip to the car with a note book would help, and you can make some small EQ / level compensations in line with your observations. Hopefully you can reach a happy medium that way.
Old 8th September 2011
Lives for gear

Peak level has almost nothing to do with how loud something sounds.

Bring the loud stuff down. Do it by ear.
Old 8th September 2011
Lives for gear
Thor's Avatar

Verified Member
Bring the louder stuff down to match the other stuff.

If your car is revealing things your studio monitors are not, check that the car EQ is flat (no smiley), and you might want to have a look at your speaker placement or even room.

Another option, if you can't do anything about the room, is to check on a different set of speakers or even headphones.

Old 9th September 2011
Gear Head

Nothing like consistent feedback

Bummer - was thinking my speaker placement in my room was decent but this is a recurring theme in my productions as well. Lack of accuracy in the low end and overall perceived levels of separate tracks in the mix.

Thanks to all.

If you want to hear some of my work you can through my website


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