Many mix engineers have encountered this situation: after working for hours or days on perfecting a mix – it sounds amazing in the studio – but when trying it on a different sound system, iPod or car stereo, it doesn’t sound all that good. What is wrong? To explain this properly we need to go back to the basics – the mix room.
Chances are that you’re not exactly mixing in a well designed control room that has been properly tuned to give a flat frequency response across the whole spectrum. There is nothing against setting up a sound studio in your home – in fact most of the recording and mixing these days is done in less than perfect settings – but then you will need to understand that you are making mixing decisions based on the wrong audible information.
When it comes to sound treatment for our studio, we’ve all heard that you need bass trapping to absorb low frequency build up in corners because mixing in a room that amplifies the low-end, will result in a mix without a solid base. These problems manifest themselves not only in the low frequencies but also in the mid and high ranges, and you won’t hear this until the mix leaves your studio and is played back in different surroundings.
At SWT Mastering we know what to listen for and how to fix the incompatibility of your mix. Unfortunately we can not always “repair” a mix and have to send it back to the mix engineer. Don’t worry, if we send a mix back, we’ll tell you what to fix. One way of avoiding your mix getting send back is to deliver it in stems. Our optional Stem Mastering Service means that you do not send us the usual 2 channel mix but split your completed mix up into various instrument groups on separate tracks, that can be treated individually, giving us greater control over the individual elements of your mix. Providing stems shouldn’t be too complicated as you probably created mix groups for drums, guitar section, effects and vocals anyhow.
Cross Platform Mastering
To ensure that your music sounds great on digital platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Google play and Youtube – SWT Mastering uses the Nugen Audio MasterCheck Pro plug-in. We analyse the Loudness and PLR (dynamic rage) of your track to make sure it is compatible with the digital platform of your choosing. All the digital delivery platforms encode your music differently, even using different bit-rates for different user accounts. Audio MasterCheck Pro let’s us preview how your track will sound on the different play out services and solve any specific issues.
If you want to know if your mix has problems, before you submit a final version for mastering – you can opt to have SWT Mastering analyse your track. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining what your concerns / questions are and provide a download link. Please make sure to submit your track in a lossless format such as WAV in the sample rate that you where working in (at least 44.1 kHz – 16bit). MP3s are no good…!