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Should I listen to music at -15 sound level to judge mixing?
Old 13th March 2018
  #1
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Should I listen to music at -15 sound level to judge mixing?

edit// I'm talking about listening to music normally not in daw or anything lol

Hello, a simple question. I just got Sonarworks reference, and I remember people saying to set your tracks to all -15 to mix with. When I apply the profile in sonarworks, it automatically set the "output" to -15 for me, and it's peaking at around -10... The audio is a bit lower then I'm use to listening, but it got me thinking is it better to listen to your referense songs and mixes when just listening to music, at this level, to get a better understanding of what level your instruments should be when your mixing? I.E. will listening and analyzing at this volume, allow me to more better judge the volume of the instruments in my own mixes? lol
Old 13th March 2018
  #2
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Old 13th March 2018
  #3
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Old 13th March 2018
  #4
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The reason for having your entire mix average that level has nothing to do with loudness.

No matter where your mix is set the loudness should always be the same, calibrated with a DB meter to 83dB.

If you adjust the mix up, you compensate by turning the monitors down.
If you adjust the mix down, you compensate by turning your monitors up.

The reason for having a mix come in at around -16dB RMS is so you have enough headroom there to use your mastering tools.
Its the mastering tools, specifically the brick wall limiter which is used dead last before down sampling and dithering to a stereo file that brings the mix up to commercial loudness levels which allows it to compete with other music you hear.

Everything before that is done at lower dB levels so there is no chance of any kind of peak distortions or excessive analog preamp hiss running too hot.
You simply have to have monitors or headphones which are capable of being able to produce the standard 83dB level and once you get familiar with working at that level you rarely even need to use a dB meter to set it. You'll know just by looking at the DAW's dB meters and where you have your monitor knobs set.

Eventually you'll get to the point where you only need to question what's going on when the monitor knob isn't set where it normally should be.
In my situation, the interface has an output level. I calibrated my monitors to playback at 83dB when that knob is set for 50% and the mix is ideal.
If I have the knob set for something higher to make it sound normal then I likely have low track or buss levels. I'll make sure I set my output for 50% and tweak my track levels up before mixing down and mastering. Otherwise the mixdown is going to be too weak to master properly and I'll wind up boosting the noise floor trying to bring it up to commercial levels.

Likewise, If I had that knob set lower and my tracks were too loud when mixing down, I wont be able to run a limiter without sever peak flattening. I know my audio tools and know where they produce the absolute best results. On my L2 waves limiter I know if I run it with a threshold between -7 ~ -4 I'll have a great master. If I run it above -7 it over amplifies the floor and gets noisy. Below -4 its barely working. -5 or -6 is absolutely ideal and I have thousands of mastered recordings to prove it
Old 13th March 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aoharukano View Post
... is it better to listen to your referense songs and mixes when just listening to music, at this level, to get a better understanding of what level your instruments should be when your mixing?
Yeah, in general I think so.
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