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Logic 9 Lessons learned mixing on iMac speakers and how small ~= big?

Discussion in 'Logic 9' started by apson, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. apson

    apson New Member

    I hope this is the right forum for this. I'm a Logic user and have been for 10 years.

    I've been having decent luck with mixing lately by using my iMac 27" built-in speakers. It seems that if I can get something good on these little speakers, I'm only a few minor tweaks away from a good mix that translates well on multiple devices. Not surprisingly, it's the higher highs and very lows that I need to clean up on real reference monitors in a good room...but it takes very little time.

    One key element I've found in getting mixes to sound good on bass-challenged speakers is shifting the spectrum of my program UP such that only a few elements at most occupy below 300hz. Some elements might even be high-passed such that only a drop of their fundamental remain...left mostly with the harmonic fingerprint in tact and some high shelf adjustments for depth placement.

    This is the only way I've been able to get even remotely expensive sounding mixes. At least, being able to form an emotional connection with music with my iMac volume set to "5". My question is this:

    How many of you do this routinely (i.e. high pass like crazy) and, more importantly, which High Pass filtering tool do you reach for the most? Do you use Logic's EQ high pass with gentle slopes? Third party plugin? Low shelfs? None of the above? Am I crazy, etc...

    One valuable thing I learned: Tracking things properly in the first place, taking into full account the instruments destination in the mix while tracking, is critically important. I will never "close-mic" something again for the sole reason of not liking the sound of the room I'm tracking in. My new theory is: find a better room.
     
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  3. daveyboy

    daveyboy Senior member

    I don't high pass like crazy but to take extra care when it comes to not making the lower midrange too heavy. I'm referencing on a cheap boom box in my control room and what I call "grocery store" speakers hanging up high in my live room so as to get the small speaker translation. Similar to you I feel that if I nail it on the smaller speakers and it sounds good on my real monitors than the mixes translate very nicely.
     
  4. sonnykeyes

    sonnykeyes Senior member

    A friend of mine who has mixed dozens of records for high-profile artists with multiple gold and platinum records always checks all his mixes on a little transistor radio he hot-wired onto the console 40 years ago. He does it for that same reason - if it sounds right on the little crap speaker, it's going to sound great on a big system.
     
  5. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    It makes a lot of sense to try to find the ideal set of speakers to help check that mixes sound good on as big a range of systems as possible. Hence the popularity a couple of decades ogo pof the auratone. It's tricky sometimes to find the ideal in this regard. I do a lot opf work for TV, and a while back when all TVs were mono with a crap speaker I had the idea of always checking my mixes throiugh a TV, but in the end it meant they would sound OK on a JVC but awful opn aSony.

    If you have hit on the iMac speakers as a good general compromise for most low end listening that's great, I use a 27" imac and have of course use them for reference after the fact of mixing but not done an actual mix and then tested it on other systems.

    I always test mixes afterwards on my living room stereo and in the car, if I can get bot of those working with a happy medium I know the mix is ready to send off (either to its final destination or for mastering first).

    One other thing that mnay people don't do is to mix on their normal monitors (eith big or nearfield) at a very ow volume: this reveals many issues and of course makes you work harder to get a good sound: we all know things always sound better loud!

    On to the subject of mixes, I agree that you sould conisder this right at the recording stage, especially with things like congas, guitar, piano and organ.

    I can spend a whule getting a great sound on congas, only to find that great sound is perfect fopr a conga solo, but really muddies things up when competing with the bass in a mix.

    High passes are useful, another issue when certain notes seem to have an extra amount of bass compared with other notes, you get this alot on cellos (wolf tones) and guitar. Again, in a solo setting they are fine usually, it's part of the chracyter of the instrument, but in a mix they can be annoying. You either need to eq these notes individually, not so difficult theses dyas, or find an eq that works on these without losing warmth form higher notes, and I tend to find a filter will do this better than a parametric.
     
  6. zoundman

    zoundman New Member

    Interesting post.
    I filter moderately because you can suck the life out of the tracks. It might sound really clean, but not necessarily good.
    I used to filter and notch out resonances in some instruments and started to get stale mixes.
    When I HPF i like using the Q to make it resonate and give it a little bump on the low end in the case of the bass and kick getting a fat sound without the rumble.
    Mixing on little speakers is a good idea. I some times try the "Down the hall" listen to hear what sticks out or gets lost. I leave my control room door open and go to the coffee room. I have the TouchOSC app for iPhone and use it to play,rewind, and maybe tweak a fader, etc.

    Cheers
     
  7. michaelo

    michaelo LUG Emeritus

    I find it very interesting to hear what other people routinely do in this regard. I have seemingly gone the opposite way in that I use only one pair of speakers in the studio to record and mix everything. I never audition on any other speakers my mixes of the many albums I have produced. I simply trust that I have it right and send it to mastering. Usually the mastering guy says he didn't have to do much. I find this is the process which suits me best. I have experimented in the past using other small systems to check my mixes, or perhaps like some people do - try it in the car. I find that all it makes me do is doubt my original mix decisions and make me try to second guess myself all the time. I have found that I have built confidence over the years in the result I am hearing with my studio monitors that it always translates into the mastering room with good results.....
     
  8. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    One of the things I really love now is being able to instantly switch Logic's audio output to Airplay, so with Airport express I can instantly hear my mixes in other rooms.

    I do agree with michaelo however in some respects I do prefer to just mix on my monitors rather than chasing around constantly adjusting for different systems. In the end you often have to go with one system if a compromise isn't forthcoming, especially if you are sending stuff off to be mastered.

    The main issue of course is what can't be fixed in mastering, e.g. too much ambience which can be the result if your control room is too dry.
     

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