[linux-audio-user] drum loops, samples,

R Parker rtp405 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 2 09:51:22 EST 2004

--- Joe Hartley <jh at brainiac.com> wrote:
> On Tue, 2 Mar 2004 10:12:55 +0000
> Anahata <anahata at treewind.co.uk> wrote:
> > > I knew a band who used to keep a crappy tape
> player in their studio, 
> > > the portable kind that has built-in speakers
> either end. When they'd 
> > > finished a mix, they would run off a cassette
> copy and play it back 
> > > on this machine to see if it still sounded good.
> > 
> > This is common practice. Also switching to small
> "lo-fi" speakers in the 
> > control room and sticking a cassette mix in the
> car sound system to
> > listen to on the way home from the session or
> wherever.
> I swear by this approach.  I routinely come up with
> a mix that I think
> sounds good, only to take in the car and have it
> sound like garbage.

This is something that all of us experience. Joe, your
statement is almost a direct qoute from the opening
paragraph to a document on mastering that I've written
but never finished.

I probably don't have alot of mastering experience.
Reguardless, I think your example is the point where
mastering the audio needs to happen. If the mix sounds
great in the control room, it can sound great on many

Our studio has control and mastering rooms. Each room
has its own accoustical design for reverberation times
and flat EQ responses and different monitors. If the
mix sounds good in the control room, the mastered
version sounds good in the mastering room and the
mastered version sounds good in the control room, then
we're approaching sonic potential.

Basically what I'm adding to the many reference
monitors discussion is room accoustics and mastering.
What I'd suggest to Joe and all of us when we
experience "sounds like garbage on other systems" is
to move from mixing to mastering. Send these mixes
through JAMin and even if you only have one room to
work with you should expect very significant
improvements in how the audio sounds on many systems
and in many environments. But do not master until the
mix sounds great. Always master control room mixes
because compression and limiting ontop of compression
and limiting will fail.

I think it's a potential mistake to build a great
sounding mix in a control room, discover it sounds bad
in the car and then return to the control room and
remix by pulling out bass energy. Sending the great
sounding control room mix through equalization,
compression, limiting and gain stages can help you
control and keep that bass energy. 

My studio partner Bill and I recently designed and
built a studio for someone. I have spreadsheets for
the room accoustics design and photos of the
construction. The photos are interesting but only for
sound containment. I'll try to add these materials to
my documents. I just haven't had time to make them

The spreadsheet formulas are for simple cube shaped
rooms. We're not dealing with angles and such. I think
they are simple enough to be comprehendible and they
could help audio engineers understand the distinction
between mixing and mastering.

Some of what I'm stating is probably beyound obvious
for many of us but not for everyone and it doesn't
become simple until we're exposed. If I'm to redundant
and simple shoot or suggest I shoot myself. :)


> Part of that is that by the time I get to the final
> mix in the studio,
> I've worked on it for hours and my ears are just
> tired.  I've spent so
> long on focusing on individual parts and tweaking
> the EQs that I lose
> track of the piece as a whole.
> There's nothing like taking the mix elsewhere to get
> perspective on it,
> and if it holds up on a mediocre system, then I know
> I have something.
> -- 
>        Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant -
> jh at brainiac.com
> Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not
> possible. - FZappa

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