Whenever I make a beat, I just make a beat, plain and simple. I hate the fact that mixing is necessary because I just don’t enjoy it. It’s okay, but if I had a choice between making beats all day or mixing, I would be banging away at the pads and nodding my head.
Mixing is one of those things that is good because it’s a challenge, but it can become repetitive really fast, since you’re listening to the same tracks repeatedly. I have to tip my hat to audio engineers because they mix all the time. Oh their ears! Their poor ears!
Since mixing is something that we all end up doing at one point or another, you have to make sure you know what you’re doing. As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, it’s best to keep things really simple, otherwise you can end up overwhelmed with plug-ins, effects, and lots of stuff hitting your ears all at once.
However, one thing you must consider when you’re mixing is the fact that it’s no longer just about getting the best sound possible, but also you must make sure the final mix sounds great EVERYWHERE.
I know it’s a pain to hear, and trust me, I hate having to deliver the bad news to you, but most likely the beats you just finished mixing don’t sound great on all devices. Think about where most people listen to music nowadays – mobile devices. It’s one thing to create the perfect mix that sounds great in the studio, but have you ever taken the time to listen to your mix on all sorts of different mediums?
And the list goes on and on and on….
I know it’s impossible to make your mix sound great on EVERYTHING, but the point is to make sure you at least try to nail down the most popular. I would suggest you first start off with just getting the right mix in your studio. It could be a professional studio, or your setup at home, but just get the mix down tight.
Once you do that, then it’s time to start testing it. My first choice would be to test it on an MP3 player with headphones on, then move onto mobile devices. If you have a car, test it there too.
The thing you have to realize is that stereo systems such as a car stereo and a gaming system (which is tied into your TV) – they will all pretty much sound fine. It’s the smaller devices that you should be concerned about because of the thin frequencies.
If you take a look at one of the most popular mobile phones out there today, the iPhone 5, (or any mobile phone, really), most people use those tiny earbuds that come with the phone. If you have a mix that has a heavy low-end with lots of bass, or a thumping 808 kick, it won’t sound great at all on those tiny earbuds.
A person could use some high end headphones and plug those into the 3.5mm jack on their mobile phone, and their results will be much better, but you’re still relying on that mobile device’s audio quality to carry the signal to the headphones.
Does the iPhone 5 have strong audio quality?
According to that study, it does. The iPhone 5 has a super flat frequency response, and responded well to the tests that they put it through.
So the problem isn’t necessarily with the device, but with where the output is going to. In the example I’ve given, I’m talking about headphones and earbuds.
When it comes to earbuds, you can’t expect much. You can plug them into a very high-range audio system, and they still won’t sound great because they’re just too small and carry only a small signal. Headphones, on the other hand, can carry a much heavier signal, resulting in great sound quality.
Taking your mix into consideration, it needs to be optimized to sound solid on everything, from large to small. There’s not much you can do with the low-end of your mix when you listen to it on earbuds, so in that case when testing, don’t worry about the low-end, focus on everything else. I’m not saying that the earbuds don’t have any bass at all, of course not, but compared to studio-grade headphones, there’s a very big difference.
Why Should You Care?
Mixing your beats is just one piece of the puzzle, and making it sound great is a whole different process. You have to care if your beat sounds good on someone’s earbuds with their mobile device because it could cost you a fan, but also, a sale.
Just because you’re on your desktop computer making beats, doesn’t mean that potential buyers are a desktop. People that browse myFlashStore’s Marketplace are most likely using their mobile device, so if they come across your beat and it sounds much better than all the other beats they’ve been previewing, it could mean an instant sale for you. Test your mixes!