mixing for little BUD EARPHONES

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logancircle
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mixing for little BUD EARPHONES

Post by logancircle » Sat Mar 03, 2007 1:14 pm

I know it's a topic we've bounced around a bit, but...
When I am on the train home at rush hour most people have on earphones (not headphones) to give a little soundtrack to their ride home. It's a little creepy to see all these blank faces, but whatever. But it doesn't matter what neighorhood you're in, people are walking around with earphones--yes, usually iPods, but also CD players and others.


Most of us reference using nearfield monitors, check our mixes on car stereos, boom boxes, etc. When I put my bud earphones to the test things change a little. Good mixes still sound good, but I must admit that one can make damn good (and interesting) mixes in some good headphones, check them on a couple common ear-/headphones and sidestep the whole control room. Don't crucify me right away--when I first heard someone ask, "Why do you still mix in speakers," I was like hmm, that's a good question. Especially if you mix on iPod earbuds, you'll know the exact playback system consumers will be using, which might be an indespensible help. Okay, blast away...

PS. Someone told me people still listen to the radio, usually in cars which means through speakers, and often base their purchases on what they hear on the radio.
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JamesHE
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Post by JamesHE » Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:39 pm

It's helpfull when your question is in the form of a question. :lol:
Now here is my answer in the form of a ramble.

I think it will still be important to mix on nearfields even when the only people that listen to music from speakers are engineers when they are mixing. Why? Because it's one of the least fatiquing ways to listen to music for hours and hours on end in a critical manner.

My friend wants to mix in his car - like in a really bad way. Supposedly he's working on something with his brother so he can use his multitracker in his car. I think it's a bad idea, but I'm not going to discourage him.

I can't wear iPod ear buds. After 20 minutes or so I am much pain.

One friend who is a professional truck driver, wears big headphones while he's driving. I think that might be illegal. He also airdrums on the steering wheel. Sometimes he wakes up his partner playing kick patterns on the floorboard.

When I'm in New York, the sound of the Subway is such a part of the experience, I can't imagine having "my" music in my ears and missing out on that. THe sound of the train, overhearing conversations, and of course subway musicians. But if I lived there I'd probably end up with ear buds in my ears at somepoint.

We should reference ear buds and headphones and desktop speakers, but we can't give up "good" speakers. Would you be comfortable mixing for hours on end with ear buds or headphones on? Yeah it's got to translate, but really if the music isn't giving you a hard on coming out of your nice nearfields (or mid fields) in your nice control room, it's just not as fun is it?
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Post by caseybasichis » Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:53 pm

Those little white buds are the new ns-10's

What sounds good is subjective (casey king of the obvious). Our idea of what sounds good is based on one hundred years (not really) of music mixed on speakers. I think, in a modern context, mixing on headphones is the most sensible thing to do, but it is going to sound different.

If you want a record that will sound good within the context of almost all recorded music, mix on speakers.

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Post by lancebug » Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:58 pm

JamesHE wrote:My friend wants to mix in his car - like in a really bad way.
I would at least to encourage him to do it in a good way.

I think the idea of cross checking your mix on ipods and cars speaker and such is good. However most people don't listen to ipods in acoustically treated rooms and such. I like crunching my mixes down into mp3's and listening to them in the car driving 75 mph or in a noisy gym. If my mix sounds great, but is unintelligible with the motor running, its worth knowing. I think its also good for me to listen to a mix when I'm not paying attention to it. I think I really hear how things sound when the ipod is on shuffle and on of my creations comes on unexpectedly and I instinctually think "wow the drums sound dead" or "that acoustic guitar sounds great. Its like when I don't expect to hear my own work I have a lot less baggage about it.

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Post by ceilingcat84 » Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:48 pm

The biggest problem I have with mixing on little earbuds is that if someone does try to listen to your mix on a higher-end system it's likely to sound like crap. definitely in favor of mixing on decent speakers and then making sure it sounds good on the iPod headphones, car speakers, etc., changing the mix if necessary to do so. It's all about compromise- i want to end up with a mix that sounds good on the majority of systems. maybe not up to par on teh highest quality audiophile systems, but hey, most people can't afford those anyway.

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Post by themagicmanmdt » Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:49 pm

i think it's a good idea to CHECK your mixes through (earbuds or lo fi audio of choice), especially what you're REALLY used to listening to,

but actually *mixing* is such a bad idea. so many frequencies are forsaken, altered, lost, added, etc in most portable, semi-open eared earbuds, it's a good studio = good earbuds, but good earbuds don't = good studio.

also, my cynical comment: if someone is used to the way their car sounds listening to music, it's their number one time-spent place for music, and they're producing or mixing a record ..... why are they mixing a record?


i'll edit saying that i've had mixes sound AMAZING in my studio setup, even in comparison to something like Radiohead, but the bass and treble just overloaded lower end audio things. i was just too 'hi fi' for my own good.
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Post by leftofthedial » Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:55 pm

Years ago, when my studio was in my basement and iPods didn't exist and a blank CD-R still cost 2-3 bucks, I put together a system where I could transmit stereo FM signal out of my console aux bus and pick it up in the car parked 10' away. I'd put the clients in my wife's maxima with the "premium bose sound system" and let them listen to the mixes before we printed them.
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Post by themagicmanmdt » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:09 pm

leftofthedial wrote:Years ago, when my studio was in my basement and iPods didn't exist and a blank CD-R still cost 2-3 bucks, I put together a system where I could transmit stereo FM signal out of my console aux bus and pick it up in the car parked 10' away. I'd put the clients in my wife's maxima with the "premium bose sound system" and let them listen to the mixes before we printed them.
now THAT'S an idea!
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Post by monkeytodd » Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:30 pm

leftofthedial wrote:Years ago, when my studio was in my basement and iPods didn't exist and a blank CD-R still cost 2-3 bucks, I put together a system where I could transmit stereo FM signal out of my console aux bus and pick it up in the car parked 10' away. I'd put the clients in my wife's maxima with the "premium bose sound system" and let them listen to the mixes before we printed them.
I heard that Caribou studios had an FM transmitter and they'd listen to mixes in a car and use a walkie-talkie to have an engineer make adjustements in real time while listening in the car!

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Post by vvv » Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:59 am

Doodz, this is very easy and cheep, nowadays.
I use one by Belkin like this: Image , I paid about US$20.00.

Here's another, costlier one:
Image

I simply burn a CD and put it in a walkman, hook the transmitter into the headphone-out (to get a little cheap transistor gain) or line-out, then broadcast it to the radio in my '96 Ram 1500, or the stereo in my livingroom. There are no Orbans, obviously, but you can get an idea...

For more such devices, google "fm transmitter car".
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Post by numberrr » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:23 pm

those things kill my ears. i wouldn't know if my mixes sounded good on em, cause i never use them in daily life and have no frame of referrence.

back in the day, i used to mix on a 35$ crappy stereo, and my finals came out super whack, and sounded retarded on everything else. i suspect using mainly earbuds to mix would produce a similar result

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