If you’re producing your own songs in your home studio, chances are you’ve run into this particular problem:
Your song doesn’t sound the same on every speaker system.
Making your mix translate to other speakers is incredibly important. It’s something even professional mixing engineers struggle with. As a DIY Musician you’re doing almost everything yourself, so the “Mix Translation Process” is an important lesson to learn when you’re trying to mix your own music.
This guide will give you a step-by-step process to making your mix sound the same whether you’re blasting it through your studio monitors or showing it to your friends at a party.
First of all, in order to finish your mix, there is something that you should always do to get your mix to translate well for anyone that listens to it: You need to listen to your mix on several different types of loudspeakers and take down notes on what jumps out at you that you need to fix.
Today you’re in luck because I’ve created a handy, 7-step infographic for you to reference whenever you’re getting ready to finish your mix.
Personally, my mix process is as follows:
- I mix in mono on my Behringer Behritone mixcube. The Mixcube is a terrible speaker that has no low-end or highs. It has only one driver and sounds pretty terrible. However, if I can make my mix sound halfway decent on this speaker I know I’m getting somewhere.
- I flip my mix over to my Yamaha HS-5s and do another round of tweaking. This is usually a re-balancing effort on EQ but I also flip my mix out of mono at this point. Now I can hear the stereo spectrum pretty well. If I get a “whoa! That mix really opens up even though it wasn’t sounding bad before” I know I’m on the right track. I’ll spend some time on reverb, delays and other effects.
- Then I listen to my mix on my Focal CMS50s that are coupled with a subwoofer. Now I can really hear all the little things in the mix, as well as all the low-end that’s present. Usually, this requires me to tweak the drums, kick, bass and other low-end instruments.
- Once I feel my mix is done I bounce it and upload it to Dropbox. I take the dog for a walk and listen to my mix multiple times on earbuds, making mental notes of what needs to be changed.
- I either tackle the mix right away, or I sleep on it and come back to it with fresh ears. Throughout this process I tend to check the mix with a high-end pair of headphones every so often to make sure nothing is screwy with the reverb and effects.
- Once I’ve done my revisions I usually get feedback from my studio partner before sending it to the client.
- If the client has any feedback I change the mix accordingly and send him the final mix.
Notice how many different pairs of both speakers and individual ears the mix goes through before it’s done?
You don’t want to rely on one single monitor set up in one room to make your final mix decisions. You want to make sure your mix translates well everywhere the mix will be listened to.
This infographic and my 7-step Translation Process was based on the final chapter to my best-selling eBook, Step By Step Mixing. If you enjoyed the Translation Sheet and check-list please grab the full eBook here.