You are here

Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby shiooma » Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:07 am

Hi,
I know it's a common question about mastering... I'm using home studio to mixing and mastering my works... I adjust many times between Studio Headphones, Smartphone Headphones, Speaker, and Car Audio ....
Everything sounds ok except Car audio.. but my car is not old one (just 2 years old).. The bass is too loud, and the accompaniment is muddy in my Car audio system. So I adjust the Bass volume and low-filter some instruments to make it sound ok in Car.. However after that I found the mix is too "thin", especially in my Smartphone Headphones...
I know I didn't buy the appropriate one for Studio monitor but think my Studio Headphone should be ok (AKG K702), Anyway the Studio Headphone is "always" better than the others.. so does it means the Headphone is cheating me?? How should I get the balance between these, especially the car audio is so crazy loud in bass frequencies..
shiooma
New here
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:23 pm

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby ore_terra » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:19 am

How does “everything else” sound in your car? Is something only with your mixes, or tracks you like also show the same issues?

I use my car to check out mixes, but not with the criteria “gotta sound good in the car”, but “gotta sound like X or Y” in the car, show the same balance, etc. This I find it useful.

Lows are always muddy in my car, and it’s also new and in theory with a better sound equipment (than the standard model). But I see a lot of limitations in cars, apart of the sound equipment itself.
User avatar
ore_terra
Frequent Poster
Posts: 532
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:56 pm
Location: Seville - Spain

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby shiooma » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:57 am

Yes, it annoyes me because the other commercial MP3 files sounds "ok" in my car, (Bass is there but never dominant in the mix)... so I decided to retune my track to be similar, or sound like "X" or "Y"..
But while I put the retuned track into my Smartphone, very little bass and the biggest problem is, the accopaniment seems lost because I also cleared some "muddiness" of the instrument tracks for what I heard in Car audio...
So does that mean I shall not trust so much on Car audio? I know to lower the Bass level is easier, but maybe I should not cut so much "muddiness" heard in Car audio?


ore_terra wrote:How does “everything else” sound in your car? Is something only with your mixes, or tracks you like also show the same issues?

I use my car to check out mixes, but not with the criteria “gotta sound good in the car”, but “gotta sound like X or Y” in the car, show the same balance, etc. This I find it useful.

Lows are always muddy in my car, and it’s also new and in theory with a better sound equipment (than the standard model). But I see a lot of limitations in cars, apart of the sound equipment itself.
shiooma
New here
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:23 pm

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby Wonks » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:44 am

If you aren't doing it already, then it mat be worth running the final through a steep high pass filter to remove subsonic sounds that could be causing the muddiness in a fairly resonant car. The filter frequency will depend on how much bass you have in your mixes, but you should be able to adjust it so it's just below the point where it has an audible impact on the sound.

It is really better to do this at source, rather than on just the final mix, so put a high-pass filter on each track, set so that it's just below the point where it starts to affect the lowest notes on that track. You'll get a much cleaner sounding mix as a result and probably won't have to high-pass filter the whole mix as a result.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6109
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Now even grumpier than Ivan in his heyday.

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby blinddrew » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:09 pm

Quite often the bass that you think you're hearing isn't actually what you're hearing on commercial tracks.
Zukan could explain this better, but frequently on commercial tracks you'll find that bass instruments have their harmonic content raised and the root frequencies aren't nearly so prominent. That way you get a signal that is much easier to mix (and translates better to small speakers), but your brain still thinks it's hearing lots of bass.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5133
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby CS70 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:02 pm

shiooma wrote:But while I put the retuned track into my Smartphone, very little bass

It's a common difficulty, but easy to fix. :-) It's not a mastering issue, but a mixing one.

When you listen on a smartphone, you can't hear bass because there isn't any! The little loudspeaker cannot reproduce any bass frequency at all.

So if all your bass content is in the actual bass frequencies, it will disappear from phones and sound very thin on small speakers. The trick is to use a harmonic exciter on the bass line to create content a bit high up (in the region from 200Hz to 1KHz, where exactly depends on the spectral balance of your mix). Your brain will hear that harmonic content, and trick itself in "hearing" bass even where there's none.

I use the Aural Exciter, on occasion MaxxBass or even double up the part with a synth, but any exciter will do. The idea is to create harmonic content from the bass line. Don't overdo it (otherwise you end up with bass all over the place) and you may want to use a lowpass filter on the bass line to optimize what gets fed to the exciter, so that the new harmonic content makes the "bass" audible but without smearing the rest.

Your final bass is a sum of the original bass line and what's created by the exciter. As someone else's said, unless you have a subwoofer and a treated room to handle it, best to put a hi pass on the actual bass line to avoid having there stuff that you can't hear when mixing.
User avatar
CS70
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2860
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby ore_terra » Fri Aug 31, 2018 7:06 pm

750 - 800 Hz is where “that” bass is typically for my ears.

El bajo peleón, in Spanish :-D
User avatar
ore_terra
Frequent Poster
Posts: 532
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:56 pm
Location: Seville - Spain

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby shiooma » Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:42 am

Thanks, Appreciate for the recommendation about Aural exciter to the Bass part...I will give it a try..
shiooma
New here
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:23 pm

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby Humble Bee » Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:19 am

CS70 wrote:
I use the Aural Exciter, on occasion MaxxBass or even double up the part with a synth, but any exciter will do. The idea is to create harmonic content from the bass line. Don't overdo it (otherwise you end up with bass all over the place) and you may want to use a lowpass filter on the bass line to optimize what gets fed to the exciter, so that the new harmonic content makes the "bass" audible but without smearing the...

Any tips for free plugins for this kind of treatment in Logic...?

Cheers!
User avatar
Humble Bee
Regular
Posts: 130
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Switzerland/Germany/Sweden

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby CS70 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:57 am

Humble Bee wrote:
CS70 wrote:
I use the Aural Exciter, on occasion MaxxBass or even double up the part with a synth, but any exciter will do. The idea is to create harmonic content from the bass line. Don't overdo it (otherwise you end up with bass all over the place) and you may want to use a lowpass filter on the bass line to optimize what gets fed to the exciter, so that the new harmonic content makes the "bass" audible but without smearing the...

Any tips for free plugins for this kind of treatment in Logic...?

Cheers!

There's Bootsy's FerricTDS which is great but runs only on Windows. Don't use Logic or Mac so not sure if it runs VSTs, but if it does, there's a bunch of free plugins to try just googling "free vst exciter".

Much also depends on the specific way you get your bass and how the bass line is. If it's a bass guitar, you may already have enough information in the actual recorded track that a EQ boost someplace in the mids high mids region may do the trick. If your bass is generated by some means that really creates only bass freqs (say 20 to 150Hz) then, exciting is the right thing (because in that case there's very little content to boost up there, so you need to create it) .But even with a real guitar bass line, you may want to lowpass the track to avoid noises or bad sound and then excite to bring back cleaner harmonic content.

A simple trick to hear approx how things sound on a very small speaker is to simply place a hipass and lowpass on the master bus, cutting away everything below 400Hz and above 9K. Different phones differ in their frequency response of course, but it gives you a ballpark.
User avatar
CS70
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2860
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby CJmastering » Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:57 pm

I find that if you audio master in a room that is acoustically tuned and your ears are tuned to know what frequencies need to be cut and boosted, your masters will translate well in your car and on a smartphone.
I know that everyone's skill level is different and its easily said than done, but there should be no compromising in the mastering stage.
User avatar
CJmastering
Poster
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:39 pm
Location: Ft Lauderdale / Miami
Online Audio Mixing and Mastering - Pro Online Mixing & Mastering, TV Commercials & Audio books

Audio Mixing Tips

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:40 pm

CJmastering wrote:I find that if you audio master in a room that is acoustically tuned and your ears are tuned to know what frequencies need to be cut and boosted, your masters will translate well in your car and on a smartphone.

I totally agree with this Cjmastering!

However, if your acoustics aren't perfect then have a couple of 'second opinion' playback devices or venues can help a great deal.

Alternatively (and I know that some people still don't agree with this), buying some good quality headphones removes your room acoustic from the equation and can help you get the balance right even in a non-perfect acoustic environment.


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 12752
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby The Coastal Path » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:03 pm

Martin Walker wrote:
CJmastering wrote:I find that if you audio master in a room that is acoustically tuned and your ears are tuned to know what frequencies need to be cut and boosted, your masters will translate well in your car and on a smartphone.

I totally agree with this Cjmastering!

However, if your acoustics aren't perfect then have a couple of 'second opinion' playback devices or venues can help a great deal.

Alternatively (and I know that some people still don't agree with this), buying some good quality headphones removes your room acoustic from the equation and can help you get the balance right even in a non-perfect acoustic environment.


Martin


Martin

I've been thinking about buying some headphones for exactly this purpose. Could you recommend any you think worthy of consideration to use as a secondary way to check a mix?

Stephen
The Coastal Path
Poster
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:00 am
The Coastal Path

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:37 pm

Hi Stephen,

Well personally I use Sennheiser HD50 and AKG K712 Pro.

The former have a relatively flat response that is detailed, and get used for general music listening and for listening to TV sound when my other half isn't interested in my sci-fi films ;)

I use the AKG 712 Pro's for mixing, because although they aren't as flat response-wise across the midrange and high end (IMO), their bass end is wonderful, and once fed through the wonderful Sonarworks Reference filter plug-in they also sound flat to my ears from top to bottom, as well as extended at the bottom end.

Both these models (along with similar ones such as HD600, K701/702) seem very popular among SOS Forum posters, but there are loads of other threads on this subject if you'd to read some other opinions - here's a good recent one:

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... ng#p560842

...and an older one:

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... ing#p64781

Hope this helps!


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 12752
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby The Coastal Path » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:35 pm

Great - many thanks Martin! I will check them out.
The Coastal Path
Poster
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:00 am
The Coastal Path

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby Argiletonne » Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:26 am

Awe yes the age old problem of going from professional monitors to consumer stereo to car audio. I did not quite read every single word of the other posts so forgive me if what I write overlaps with someone else's comment.

In my research of car audio which I don't think anyone posted about you've neglected the simple fact that most car audio installs are not "tuned." The frequency curve of the speakers in the car are not giving you an accurate depiction of what you have produced. If you want a flat frequency response in your car you have to buy a car tuner device that when connected to the wires permanently tunes the frequency curvature of the car stereo to be flat. Simple fix costs like $150. But beware and know that even if you do tune your car's frequency to flat that does not mean other people will have the same hi fi going on. One person's hifi is another persons lofi, you know what I mean.

Good luck with that. I prefer the challenge of trying to make music sound good on crappy stereos anyway. The fun game of going from having your music sound perfect to not so great depending on where you listen.
User avatar
Argiletonne
Poster
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:18 pm
Location: UT

Re: Compromise between Smartphone and Car Audio (Mastering question)

Postby My Own Silence » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:11 pm

Here's my tricks - similar to what's been said.

If it's real bass guitar duplicate the track and distort it use EQ to cut out the low end and use the higher end distorted to blend it, this will give you the upper harmonic content.

For electronic I do 1 of 2 things, I duplicate the bass and do a similar thing, maybe change the sound, or up it all and octave. I'd still distort it a little - just a smallpuff sometimes is all you need.

As they are saying though bass that appears in bigger speakers but not smaller ones is just that - fundamentals that don't cut it on small speakers. Personally I don't care about iPhone speakers or whatever they all sound crap but I do care about it working on different sound systems and usually I find by checking it on a small Bluetooth speaker or something you can at least know you are on the right lines.
My Own Silence
Regular
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:00 am


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users