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What causes mixes to sound bad at high volumes?

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by AllanD, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. AllanD

    AllanD boom tap boom-boom tap

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    At low volumes, with everything brought up to "commercial volume", i'd like to think my mixes sound pretty decent. Once I blast it on the monitors, it sounds sharp, painful, explode-y. I'm bringing the Ozone level down to see if it helps, nothing. Any ideas?

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1742937/Away Single.mp3
     
  2. Audio X

    Audio X New Metal Member

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    Sounds a little scooped... like a smiley curve. Maybe add a dB or so of 500 - 600 Hz or a bit of mids.
     
  3. Top Ground Studios

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    Im not sure if there's a way to stop the sound of mixes starting to sound really harsh once blasted really loud. Even mixes by Sturgis or any good engineer will start to sound harsh once you push them really loud.
     
  4. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

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    Sounds absolutely fine to my ears. I used to have this problem thinking my mixes were harsh, we tend to hear our mixes miles different from other mixes even when they are extremely similar if not near identical. Its a skill I am just now beginning to obtain. Listening to your mixes objectively is hard as fuck to do.
     
  5. JarekMusil

    JarekMusil Member

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    Hey man!!!

    The song is pretty good, I like it!!

    It sounds fat, but in my opinion a little boomy.
    I would cut at somewhere 100Hz-200Hz, 250Hz-450Hz, 3k-4k and maybe a little High boost.. LPF at 11,5k..
    This cleans it up.

    But be careful with the cuts and don´t cut too much - don´t loose power..

    This is "my version".. What You think about it???
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73319675/UMF/AllanD/Away Single Jarek.mp3


    Just my 2 haléřů - Czech cents :-D


    Keep it up!!
     
  6. Firaxis

    Firaxis Member

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    I've noticed this in clubs etc. the older songs seem to sound more balanced when cranked, it's down to how the ear perceives things at different volumes I would've thought, same as how no mids on your amp can sound great in the bedroom but when cranked sounds shit.

    To prevent having a muddy mix at general listening volume I think it's quite necessary
     
  7. Star Ark

    Star Ark Member

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    I think it's just the preferred modern mastering approach labels and artists want to take to make their music louder. You could have an album that pumps on a killer stereo that sounds like absolute shit through a smart phone's built in speaker or laptop speaker..... or you could have something clear and pumping on a laptop and sounding distorted and shitty on a killer stereo. I think it's mainly capitalism causing this and most of the worlds current problems. Teenagers don't have killer stereos but they are the ones the spread the word about new bands
     
  8. BLUElightCory

    BLUElightCory Member

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  9. Nimvi

    Nimvi Member

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    +1000. This is one of the most frustrating things about mixing imo, and one of the reasons why it's good to get someone else to master your stuff if you have the budget for it.

    It's also good to have a buddy or two who aren't AEs, but have decent listening skills, so they can give you feedback from a normal listener's perspective.

    Another thing you can do is listen to the mix while doing something to keep yout mind off it, like playing a game or so. That way you don't overscrutinize things, but will notice right away if something is really flawed, cause it draws the attention back to the mix.

    And the graph BLUElightCory linked is very good to be aware of. Guitars almost always have some nasty spikes around 4khz that can become harsh oh so fast when turning up volume, so keep an eye on that area. Most mixes that sound great to me have surprisingly dark guitars in general.
    On the other side of the spectrum, it's good to set bass-levels on somewhat higher volumelevels (when you mix on whispervolume), since it can be deceivingly soft on lower levels, making you crank that 60hz knob way too much.
     
  10. Jordon

    Jordon Member

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    Capitalism causing harsh mixes at high volume? Yup, or it could just be science.
     
  11. AllanD

    AllanD boom tap boom-boom tap

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    Thanks for the tips guys. Cory, I always have an EQ on the master with a slight reduction around the 2-4k area to prevent ear rape.
     
  12. Ascendant

    Ascendant Member

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    Would probably be better off fixing that area on instruments that need it tamed like distorted guitars, but I guess it could work decently with a linear EQ.
     
  13. wutzington

    wutzington massive member

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    Quoted because it's a fucking golden piece of advice.
    Gotta listen to all my mixes in shuffle together with my favourite records while playing League of Legends.
     
  14. Fox Mulder

    Fox Mulder The Truth Is Out There

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  15. Maybelater

    Maybelater Member

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    +1
     
  16. Star Ark

    Star Ark Member

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    Science doesn't cause mixes to sound bad at high volumes. The mastering engineer who chooses a specific technique causes mixes to sound bad at high volumes. Science doesn't really cause anything but it explains things.

    And science explains that being exposed to louder audio releases adrenaline which makes you enjoy the music more. A digital limiter creates a sound which would otherwise not exist in nature and our natural response to this digital volume increase is the opposite of enjoyment. Old albums don't have this and they sound great blasting out of a reasonable hi fi system. New albums sound like shit loud because they smashed into a digital limiter so they sound good on tiny shitty speakers.
     
  17. tgs

    tgs Elder

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    Like a distorted guitar? God I hate those...
     
  18. Star Ark

    Star Ark Member

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    Scream into someones ear and the ear drum distorts

    Distortion is natural
     
  19. tgs

    tgs Elder

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    By all means. Hi-gain guitars?

    EDIT: Also, in that case having someone yell into your ear is natural and thus enjoyable.
     
  20. Audio X

    Audio X New Metal Member

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    I have plenty of cd's that sound great at uber loud volumes and at least an equal number of vinyl that doesn't. It's not black and white. You can have good and shitty sounding music on any medium.
     

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