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Thread: Sub Bass & Mixing on Headphones (Q&A)

  1. #11
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    Yes! I'll be back with that too. =)

  2. #12
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    You should be careful using speaker modelling software. Although they can give you approximations on how your music will sound through different speakers, you should still listen to your mix on different system as its a true real life setting.

    I have the Focusrite Saffire 24 DSP and the vrm hardly gets used as I prefer to do it in real life. (car, shitty headphones, CD player in the kitchen etc)

    Id also recommend saving up for the HD650 ... best headphones ever made.
    Soulful inspired music below ...

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickGeorge View Post
    You should be careful using speaker modelling software. Although they can give you approximations on how your music will sound through different speakers, you should still listen to your mix on different system as its a true real life setting.
    I have the Focusrite Saffire 24 DSP and the vrm hardly gets used as I prefer to do it in real life. (car, shitty headphones, CD player in the kitchen etc)

    Id also recommend saving up for the HD650 ... best headphones ever made.
    True! On all counts. (Nice song, by the way!)

    I think the operative words are "being careful" and "referencing".

    Here are some web articles that go into a LOT more detail about mixing with headphones, including managing bass and referencing outside platforms:

    Roundup : Can You Really Mix On Headphones?
    Mixing On Headphones
    Mixing with Headphones: Avoiding Disaster | Headphones | Music Production Tips - The Stereo Bus Blog
    Mixing With Headphones
    How to Manage & Process Sub-Bass Frequencies

    The point with this whole exercise is really to try and get as close to a final mix as possible without referencing, mainly for "bedroom" producers who aren't allowed to be loud and musical at home, but referencing is mandatory at the end of the mixing process....
    ...unless, of course you are Skrillex, who used Beats headphones, a blown speaker, and a laptop to make Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites... which eventually led him to 5 Grammys. Apparently he still mixes on headphones because he's constantly touring and living out of hotel rooms. LOL!

  4. #14
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    micdork-jpegheadphones-jpg

    Wow. A page and a half thread about how to avoid the best option for the better quality.
    "Master of the mouth, music, microphone mechanics; gifted wit prolific spit, my larynx do damage"

  5. #15
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    Mdr-xb300 by sony are insane and very cheap (50$) and the frequencie response is very good (5hz to 22khz ) .

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by anaujiram View Post
    Mdr-xb300 by sony are insane and very cheap (50$) and the frequencie response is very good (5hz to 22khz ) .
    The notion of the human ear being able to translate a 5Hz signal is ridiculous. Physics prevents this. 5Hz can only be felt.

    Please, people, do the research. If you're really serious about production, really, REALLY serious, then a general Knowledge of the fundamental principles of the physics of sound is imperative. The idea that one is truly interested in capturing, producing, manipulating, and becoming a master of sound without knowing how it works is asinine. A man without Thought will never have an idea.

    I've been on this site for years, and one thing I've noticed is that noobs will go to great lengths to find those who sympathize/empathize with their environmental shortcomings, insufficient equipment, or plain ignorance in order to justify their continuation of bad and counterproductive practices. Whatever the reason or excuse, production quality will not improve just because several others agree with and support your position. How do I Know? I was one of them.

    So all of you can get together and build your own website, entirely dedicated to the production of music through headphones, and get a million members who post 10,000 threads a day. You know what'll happen? There'll be 1 million people putting out music that sounds like it was mixed and "mastered" in headphones. Then you can all start a website dedicated to "Why can't I get my snare to sound like the one that Boi-1da used? I got it from the kit, but it just doesn't sound like his..."

    threshold-audibility-curve-jpg

    C'mon y'all! If you're serious, put in the work. Half the people trying to do this talk about the grind, but they don't read.

    The man without legs can't jump.

    Peace.
    "Master of the mouth, music, microphone mechanics; gifted wit prolific spit, my larynx do damage"

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedBeerd View Post
    The notion of the human ear being able to translate a 5Hz signal is ridiculous. Physics prevents this. 5Hz can only be felt.

    Please, people, do the research. If you're really serious about production, really, REALLY serious, then a general Knowledge of the fundamental principles of the physics of sound is imperative. The idea that one is truly interested in capturing, producing, manipulating, and becoming a master of sound without knowing how it works is asinine. A man without Thought will never have an idea.

    I've been on this site for years, and one thing I've noticed is that noobs will go to great lengths to find those who sympathize/empathize with their environmental shortcomings, insufficient equipment, or plain ignorance in order to justify their continuation of bad and counterproductive practices. Whatever the reason or excuse, production quality will not improve just because several others agree with and support your position. How do I Know? I was one of them.

    So all of you can get together and build your own website, entirely dedicated to the production of music through headphones, and get a million members who post 10,000 threads a day. You know what'll happen? There'll be 1 million people putting out music that sounds like it was mixed and "mastered" in headphones. Then you can all start a website dedicated to "Why can't I get my snare to sound like the one that Boi-1da used? I got it from the kit, but it just doesn't sound like his..."

    threshold-audibility-curve-jpg

    C'mon y'all! If you're serious, put in the work. Half the people trying to do this talk about the grind, but they don't read.

    The man without legs can't jump.

    Peace.
    Sound like your mad bro , i only make music for 8 month first ... second i was just proposing good cheap headphone for 50 box .... Third i haver multiple monitors im using pioneer cs-r570 some bose systeme and some 5.1 surround system , its normal it dosnt sound good on your 300$ studio monitors with flat response , im starting out and i already have spent alot in music production i can tell you im very serious in music production and i do saving right now for GOOD studio monitors but for right now poeple enjoy it my stuff on their speaker (if they have alot of bass) and im doing it first for the love of music . dont be the guy that need equipment for making music some poeple have shit to pay and cant afford good equipment but they make better music that me and you so it dosnt mean anything .
    Last edited by anaujiram; 04-19-2013 at 03:19 PM.

  8. #18
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    Not mad at all. Just pointing out the fact that you don't know what you're talkin' about, and you're passing along your misinformation like it can be depended on. That messes up alot of newbs in here. They go out and waste money and wonder why their production still sounds the same or worse.

    Peace.
    "Master of the mouth, music, microphone mechanics; gifted wit prolific spit, my larynx do damage"

  9. #19
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    best option get some subs in your car and call it a day
    if you can't play subs in your dorm,bedroom,apt.

    I'm glad I live in a house
    it's a blessing


    -Coach Antonio

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedBeerd View Post

    I've been on this site for years, and one thing I've noticed is that noobs will go to great lengths to find those who sympathize/empathize with their environmental shortcomings, insufficient equipment, or plain ignorance in order to justify their continuation of bad and counterproductive practices. Whatever the reason or excuse, production quality will not improve just because several others agree with and support your position. How do I Know? I was one of them.
    RedBeard,

    I hear you, I agree with you, and I know what you are talking about because I have done a TON of reading and have been playing around with this for months. I'm learning something new every day, and that's after playing around with DAWs for 15+ years. I was never really serious about it until a few months ago, but now I am, so I have been learning, making mistakes, then trying to improve using the tools at my disposal.

    Your information IS correct, and should be evaluated and acted on by people on this site, myself included! Hey, I'm the guy who wasted $250 on entry level monitors, then discovered that they were wholly incapable of reproducing sub because their dynamic range didn't go low enough, which is exactly why I started this thread: To help people not make the same mistake as I did!

    Having said that, commercial studio mixing is not what this thread was about. This thread is about mixing with headphones, in a micro-studio environment, WITH the knowledge that eventually the song will need to be played on various practical devices like car stereos, home stereos, or even iPhones or whatever else people are listening to. That is called "referencing". Get a mix sounding a certain way, then burn it to a CD or MP3, then stick it on a car stereo or iPhone and then see how it actually sounds. I have had to do exactly this because there is a huge difference between phones and speakers. By "referencing", you will learn your own gear, and eventually know what you have to do on the computer to make it sound good on a _____________. The specific problem, and the title of this thread, was "mixing sub bass" using phones. Yes, 5 hz can only be felt because the lower range of human hearing drops off at 12-15hz, and that's if your ears have great dynamic range! 5hz will be more in the realm of an LFO than a regular oscillator. However, if you get a set of phones with a dynamic range that extends down to about 15hz, at least you can start to hear what your bass may sound like, so at least you can work on something. I find myself flipping back and forth to actual commercial songs to see how my work stacks up.

    This is NO physical way to "get it right" using ONLY headphones. I think I probably said something to this effect when I started this thread, if not, I'm re-stating it now.

    However, people are still going to be limited by their surroundings, so the question was: "How can I get something as close to "finished" as possible without monitors, and sounding decent if I can't run a 12" sub in my apartment?" (Or similar).

    So, please people, read this whole thread from start to finish, do your homework either with books, the Internet, and your gear, then make up your own mind on how you want to proceed. Yes, do a ton of reading! Learn about sound and the physics behind it because you just need to know that stuff. It isn't just important, it's mandatory. Like RedBeard said, you pretty much can't fly if your airplane has no wings.

    -----

    Now, getting back to topic: I've had a chance to "burn in" the AudioTechnica ATH-M50S headphones over the last week, and I think they are the final piece I needed to be able to work on music using my micro-studio. Regular studio music sounds fantastic, and my mixes are already sounding more like I want them to. There is also a lot of detail with these phones. Overall, the $99 was well spent. Now, they won't hit those 5hz tones that can only be felt, but they are able to get down into the bass range enough to be able to at least hear some bass. The vibrations you feel with your ears is your clue to sub bass. No, it isn't what will be coming out of the PA system, and it won't replace a woofer for testing, but you will at least have something to reference. That was my goal, and it works. I took some samples of new stuff I'm working on last night and played them on my parent's stereo, and it sounded pretty good! Not perfect, but good.

    So, to recap:

    1) You will never know what your actual mix will sound like on speakers until you play your song on speakers.
    2) Get a good set of headphones if you plan on mixing on them. Make sure they have a wide a dynamic range as possible, especially on the low end. The closer you can get to 12-15hz, the better. Read reviews, scour the internet for reviews, figure out what your budget is and then get the most bang for your buck.
    3) Do your mix on the phones, getting it to sound good, but then be ready to ditch your mix when you start using referencing plugins like Toneboosters Isone, or a physical device like the Focusrite VRM. Don't stay on any one virtual setting too long! Mix it up (sorry for the bad pun) and make sure your song sounds decent using a variety of virtual settings. This will indicate that you are moving in the right direction. If your mix sounds great on one preset, but like crap on most of the others, you should re-mix to the crappiest sounding virtual setting, then mix it up again.
    4) Once you are satisfied that you have something that sounds good on most of your virtual settings, then you are getting closer. Now take your music and play it on whatever physical devices you want. Car stereo, home stereo, mobile devices are all fair game. If you have done your mix well with your gear, you should have a difficult time figuring out how to make your stuff sound better on actual physical devices. If you have NOT done your mix well, you will almost immediately hear what's wrong. (This is usually where I am to start with!) Have a pen and paper ready to jot down notes! Take those notes, go back to your DAW, and re-mix it, re-test it etc. using your notes. Your next mix should sound considerably better!
    5) Wash, rinse & repeat until you are satisfied you can't make it any better using the gear you have.
    6) Send it off for mastering! Have someone else do that because you have now spent way too much time with this song, and you aren't going to make it any better by keep mucking around with it!

    I think that's about all I can add to this thread.

    So, that's about it! I hope this helps some people. =)

    Back to work...

    ---------- Post added 06-22-2013 at 01:09 PM ---------- Previous post was 04-20-2013 at 12:09 PM ----------

    I'm Back!

    So, I have taken some time now to work with bass and sub bass with the ATH-M50S headphones, and the verdict is YES, you can mix sub bass on these phone. In fact, when you do it "right" (and I am using that term VERY loosely), you will actually feel the vibration of the sub bass on your ears.

    The real test though, is taking a mix to a reference point and verifying the bass.

    For my mixing tests I used various Deadmau5 songs as a reference point being played back on a 2007 Camry stock stereo system with a flat treble and bass at volume "35" which is a little more than 1/2 max volume. I gauged the "correct" amount of bass by the intensity of the vibrations in the car, especially the vibrations of the rear view mirror.

    The instrument I used for bass is Rob Papen's Subboombass (quite a nice module overall!). At first, I wasn't sure about the mix, and when I took it out to the car, it was pretty flat, as it was on the headphones. No shaking. So, I went back to the drawing board. After bunch of mucking around, I came up with a formula to make a decent sounding/feeling bassline. Here's what I did:

    - Take a bass and write a bassline.
    - Copy that bassline to the same channel, but one octave lower. You may need to muck with the phase of the bass, but I didn't have to for my test.
    - Make sure that the oscillator and amp outputs are set at maximum level on the instrument.
    - If you want to make the bass tighter, use an amp envelope and/or filter envelope to quickly cut off the sound at the release stage. It should go from full level to to nothing as fast as possible. (Boom Boom Boom as opposed to Wum Wum Wum... you know what I mean...)
    - Throw a compressor and an EQ on the channel, and compress the shit out of the bass. The bass should come right up to the peak meter without going over, and make sure you aren't distorting on the master bus. Some people might use a limiter, but I didn't because of the fear of distortion of the high end and transients.
    - Put the EQ either before or after the compressor (to taste). Cut the mid-high range, but leave any wanted transients (or even jack them up). Make sure there is a wide bass range with heavy low end, but without muddying the mid-range. For my tests, I used the compressor before the EQ so I would have the strongest output signal that could then be shaped by the EQ.
    - Take the first bass channel and copy it to a second channel.
    - On the second channel, replace the original bass instrument with a straight sub bass. Move an octave lower if need be, depending on how high the pitch is on your original bass channel.
    - Adjust the EQ and compressor on the second channel until it sounds "right"
    - Use a 3rd compressor and/or mastering plugin on the master bus to further fatten the sound.
    - NOTE: If this isn't enough, you can muck around with saturators or other beefing effects for the original bass channel, but don't throw it on the sub. That signal (should, imo) be clean and dry.
    - Finally, if you STILL aren't getting enough bass, there is a free VST plugin by QuikQuak called "UpStereo" that can further amp the signal(s). Even though it is called "stereo" it does have a mono/stereo slider and gain control slider. Put this on either of the 2 bass channels or both, before the compressor to add a little more bump.

    That pretty much did the trick for me. Rear view mirror shaking in the car!

    At this point, I would say yes, the ATH-M50S headphones did replicate the vibrations of the sub bass in the car. Not as big of shaking as the car stereo, of course, but enough air moving that you can gauge sub-bass on the headphones by the intensity of the vibrations on your ears. One safety note: Don't blast the audio this way on your ears for very long. It could potentially damage your hearing! Just get the right levels and then turn down the mix.

    Once you have set up a reference (like the car stereo) and have verified it, then you can just use the headphones for any future bass monitoring because you know how it will sound.

    So anyway, that's my two cents. Happy mixing! =)

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