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Clients reviewing mixes on a MacPro Laptop
Old 28th January 2020
  #1
Clients reviewing mixes on a MacPro Laptop

I recently purchased a MacBookPro 2019 i9 computer. While it’s way faster than my 2012 MacBookPro, the built in speakers sound twisted. I was reviewing a mix for the first time via my laptop before sending it out for client approval and it sounds like Apple is playing games with the dynamics and EQ on this model. It sounds compressed but not in a linear fashion. The sound that comes to mind is dolbyA stretched but not quite that extreme. Upper bass is a combination of laptop resonances or a Waves MacBass plug-in.

If my laptop representative of other late model MacBookPros, and your clients are judging mixes on these, OMG. Bad enough on a laptop. But through a custom Apple compressor to make their crappy speakers pop is ridiculous.

Anyone else’s hearing what I am or did I just get a defective laptop?

MacBookPro 15 inch 2019
2.4ghz i9
Old 28th January 2020
  #2
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minister's Avatar
I just tweaked a mix for a TV Special because the Producer said, "It sounds perfect on my laptop, but not anywhere else.".................. (and his high hearing is gone). Guess I have the opposite problem.
Old 28th January 2020
  #3
Lives for gear
I got bit a couple of times, sending material for clients to review at their desks, by the "enhancements" that default on in some software, Mac and Windows. Compression, overlaping, boosted highs. I had to talk them through turning it off.

But they were listening on desktops with "external" (gaming?) speakers. The tiny ones in laptops used to be adequate only for voice. These days, many of them have DSP to add artificial harmonics, hence the MaxxBass you're noticing... which probably brings its own set of damages to your mix.
Old 28th January 2020
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by piratepost View Post
If my laptop representative of other late model MacBookPros, and your clients are judging mixes on these, OMG.
Not sure if that's better or worse than earbuds. Or one earbud.
Old 30th January 2020
  #5
Lives for gear
...better than when client insists on playing over their cellphone.

Even though I've got a good phone patch on this end, things fall apart when they pass through the cell system's vocoder. I now refuse to play anything other than clean dx on a cell -- no music or sfx -- and that only if they're listening for an edit rather than processing.
Old 30th January 2020
  #6
Gear Nut
 

I watched a film on this model laptop (it's not mine but a friend's) and noticed some voodoo in the audio for sure.
Old 31st January 2020
  #7
Old 31st January 2020
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by piratepost View Post
He's a good musician but he doesn't know the **** what he's talking about with regards to digital audio.

FWIW, I have a 2018 MacBookPro and think it sounds great for what it is.

And IMHO if a mix doesn't work on these the mix doesn't work, period.

It's not only the execs listening on these speakers, it's also a good deal of the public. Including f.e. my 'better half' who often for watching her movies cannot be bothered to switch from her Macbook speakers to our nice set of B&W802(!) powered by Hypex nCores that are connected via AirPlay for minimum hassle.
Like it or not, that is the reality we have to deal with.

I'll never forget what Andy Wallace once told me what his job is:
A song he's mixed still has to rock and sound exciting on a boombox that is blaring into the sand because someone kicked it over while playing beach volleyball.

And (as always with more or less everything he's doing and saying) IMO he's spot on.
Old 31st January 2020
  #9
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NReichman's Avatar
 

Yep the sound is hyped, but it's also the best sound I've ever heard on a laptop. It has a surprisingly wide soundstage (for a slab of metal and plastic 15" wide), and amazingly low distortion. So despite the hype, if a client has to listen on a laptop, this one's the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by piratepost View Post
I recently purchased a MacBookPro 2019 i9 computer. While it’s way faster than my 2012 MacBookPro, the built in speakers sound twisted. I was reviewing a mix for the first time via my laptop before sending it out for client approval and it sounds like Apple is playing games with the dynamics and EQ on this model. It sounds compressed but not in a linear fashion. The sound that comes to mind is dolbyA stretched but not quite that extreme. Upper bass is a combination of laptop resonances or a Waves MacBass plug-in.

If my laptop representative of other late model MacBookPros, and your clients are judging mixes on these, OMG. Bad enough on a laptop. But through a custom Apple compressor to make their crappy speakers pop is ridiculous.

Anyone else’s hearing what I am or did I just get a defective laptop?

MacBookPro 15 inch 2019
2.4ghz i9
Old 31st January 2020
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by NReichman View Post
Yep the sound is hyped, but it's also the best sound I've ever heard on a laptop. It has a surprisingly wide soundstage (for a slab of metal and plastic 15" wide), and amazingly low distortion. So despite the hype, if a client has to listen on a laptop, this one's the best.
Really. Mine must be a special edition version with added digital soup and Waves MaxxBass set on stun.

Old 31st January 2020
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kosmokrator View Post
Including f.e. my 'better half' who often for watching her movies cannot be bothered to switch from her Macbook speakers to our nice set of B&W802(!) powered by Hypex nCores that are connected via AirPlay for minimum hassle.
Like it or not, that is the reality we have to deal with.
Exactly! On multiple occasions I've found my wife lying on the couch watching a show or movie on her iPhone, directly in front of our 55" Samsung HDTV with 5.1 Polk Audio and Klipsch speakers. Our breed just can't relate to theirs.
Old 31st January 2020
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kosmokrator View Post
And IMHO if a mix doesn't work on these the mix doesn't work, period.
I'll just politely disagree.

I can't tell you how many times creative directors, AE's, clients have rejected commercials intended for radio or television because they couldn't hear the FX, or thought the music mix was too loud while listening on their MacBooks. Only to request a second re-mix after the spot hit the air saying you know you were right we should have listened to you when you explained it to us the first time.
Old 31st January 2020
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
I'll just politely disagree.

I can't tell you how many times creative directors, AE's, clients have rejected commercials intended for radio or television because they couldn't hear the FX, or thought the music mix was too loud while listening on their MacBooks. Only to request a second re-mix after the spot hit the air saying you know you were right we should have listened to you when you explained it to us the first time.
Interesting. I can count the number of times someone like that admitted they were wrong on one hand. And I think I've done a running change on a mix for an audio reason maybe twice.
Old 2nd February 2020
  #14
Gear Addict
 

encourage ALL of my directors that I have a relationship with to get the JBL 308P. And that their headphone or laptop speakers kinda do NOT sound like my main mixing speakers in the mixing room and can't make honest judgment on the mix. Surprisingly a few do get them and when they send their notes, everything makes sense and both parties are on the same page
Old 12th February 2020
  #15
Gear Maniac
I once had a producer ask me to email her the mix of a radio spot (she was in the room with me). Once she had it on her laptop, she called her client and held her cellphone up to the laptop while she played the mix over the laptop speakers. Needless to say, the mix notes I got were... interesting.
Old 12th February 2020
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by originalscottyg View Post
I once had a producer ask me to email her the mix of a radio spot (she was in the room with me). Once she had it on her laptop, she called her client and held her cellphone up to the laptop while she played the mix over the laptop...
You, of course, had a decent phone patch (or Zephyr, or $4 QKT clone) standing idle...
Old 12th February 2020
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by originalscottyg View Post
I once had a producer ask me to email her the mix of a radio spot (she was in the room with me). Once she had it on her laptop, she called her client and held her cellphone up to the laptop while she played the mix over the laptop speakers. Needless to say, the mix notes I got were... interesting.
That should actually be illegal.
Old 12th February 2020
  #18
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Rose View Post
You, of course, had a decent phone patch (or Zephyr, or $4 QKT clone) standing idle...
Yup. ISDN (APT or Zephyr), phone patch; I think this was before we started offering Source Connect. But, you know, she could have, I don't know, forwarded the mp3 of the radio spot to her client? Who would then, of course, listened on a laptop, which would have sadly been a major improvement.
Old 12th February 2020
  #19
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy View Post
That should actually be illegal.
Agreed.
Old 12th February 2020
  #20
Lives for gear
You're all professionals... surely the mastering software you use daily has batch processing for several final destination formats simultaneously: regular 16 bit wav, mp3, streaming squashed, HD download, mangled laptop, midrange car radio, iPhone equalized/compressed, etc, etc

Once you've tweaked all those presets to sound great on each of the destination devices, just hit render/export.... and you're good to go

Move with the times guys, quit complaining and embrace the modern in this...the best of all possible audio worlds
Old 12th February 2020
  #21
Lives for gear
 

You're right! I totally forgot that I had bought that "holding a phone up the laptop speaker" compensation plugin. Guess I've just been too lazy to use it.
Old 12th February 2020
  #22
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy View Post
You're right! I totally forgot that I had bought that "holding a phone up the laptop speaker" compensation plugin. Guess I've just been too lazy to use it.
Now you're getting the picture....never deliver any less than 6 discrete mixes/masters to a client: throw the onus back on them to use the correct one for the prevailing context....make that decision their problem, not yours
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