Monitoring and mixing down

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#1
I have recently got some Yahmaha hs-80's and a Focusrite interface. The settings of the speaker are pristine, suiting the needs of my room, space and dimensions. I am now wondering on the interface, what volume should i crank the nob up? What are the ideal levels for monitoring and mixing down, loud? Low? Any advice because i am not too sure? Thanks.
 
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#2
I've heard from a few people is the final mix down should be done at low levels and just get everything sounding right. One of them has been producing and sound engineering for 10+ years so I'll go with what he says. :)
 
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#6
In my daw it's on the normal 0? What settings shall i have my Interface volume knob on or are you saying i should turn the master in logic right down making everything sound minuscule? :s
 

EvezDroppin

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#7
Mixdowns should be kept at around -3 to -6 dbs, giving you enough headroom for mastering.
I was saying in reference to this, mixdown with the interface volume at whatever you like....

but make sure in ur db as quoted above it isnt pushing past -3 , altho if im just exporting to play a tune out a clipping of a couple of db's seems to be fine for me, i would abide by these rules if i was to get my tune mastered.
 

RUSSLA

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#8
How loud do you listen to your TV? You're basically asking the same question :/ The interface does not matter one single bit as said above (y)
 
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What I'm tryna say is that my monitors are set at the right volume levels according to my room settings and dimensions. It is then connected to my interface so that it can connect my monitors to my laptop so i can play my work obviously.. I'm saying when playing back music to mix down, the interface controls the volume... it can be low, or high according to how much i adjust the volume knob. I am saying should i be mixing down on a high volume? Or a low volume. Thankfully that has been answered.
 

Nydus

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#10
@ OP, what are these settings you have applied to your speakers in order to compensate for irregularities within the room?

In regards to monitoring, there is no specific volume like someone above said. Just turn your speakers up/down until you feel comfortable, if you've got it ridiculously low/high you're not going to be able to make accurate decisions.
 

lostnthesound

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The best thing to do is first contact the mastering house that's going to master the final mix and ask them what amount of dB headroom they prefer (it can vary anywhere between -12dB and -6dB).**

Once you get that value, the key is to turn down your DAW channel volume faders to null and set you monitors and/or headphones to a level that is louder than usual. The goal is to mix your tune at low levels within the DAW and compensate for the low volume by having your monitors and/or headphones extra loud. This will prevent the urge to riding the DAW volume faders to hard because a channel doesn't "sound loud enough."

**In the event your wondering why headroom is essential, the follow is copied from another post I contributed to:

Do not aim for 0dB. The goal is to allow for anywhere between -6dB and -12dB (depending upon the specs per mastering house). The reason for this is that the hardware used for mastering (as well as higher end mastering plugins that emulate hardware like waves & ozone) are expecting a signal with a good amount of headroom so it can work it's magic. If you send a track that is already hot, the end product will suffer a great deal because you're already well above the signal the hardware is expecting to receive. For example, try adding a mastering plugin (like Logic's AdLimiter) or an instance of Ozone on your master out with your peak signal around 0 before applying the mastering plugs. Then, do the same with your peak signal around -6 – -9 dB. You'll immediately notice the difference in sound.

Personally, I use KMeter, it was developed by Mastering God Bob Katz and will help aid your mixes in finding the "sweet spot" of headroom for premastering. For $50, it's the best metering tool around IMO.

Cheers.
 

miszt

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#14
so basically turn the volume on the interface right down yes? Thanks
Yes mixdown at low volumes on your amp & interface, refrence it louder as you go along, but not for to long or your ears will adjust and distort your perception of the mix @ quieter levels for upto 30mins
 

RUSSLA

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#15
What I'm tryna say is that my monitors are set at the right volume levels according to my room settings and dimensions. It is then connected to my interface so that it can connect my monitors to my laptop so i can play my work obviously.. I'm saying when playing back music to mix down, the interface controls the volume... it can be low, or high according to how much i adjust the volume knob. I am saying should i be mixing down on a high volume? Or a low volume. Thankfully that has been answered.
Apologies, I misunderstood. When I do mix downs I listen at various different volumes and various speakers. Take notes at each different stage, leave it a day, come back again and see if the same applies. Listen in your car as well if you drive, I know my car speakers inside out so can tell immediately if something is wrong. HTH
 

gingerDoe

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#16
The best thing to do is first contact the mastering house that's going to master the final mix and ask them what amount of dB headroom they prefer (it can vary anywhere between -12dB and -6dB).**

Once you get that value, the key is to turn down your DAW channel volume faders to null and set you monitors and/or headphones to a level that is louder than usual. The goal is to mix your tune at low levels within the DAW and compensate for the low volume by having your monitors and/or headphones extra loud. This will prevent the urge to riding the DAW volume faders to hard because a channel doesn't "sound loud enough."

**In the event your wondering why headroom is essential, the follow is copied from another post I contributed to:

Do not aim for 0dB. The goal is to allow for anywhere between -6dB and -12dB (depending upon the specs per mastering house). The reason for this is that the hardware used for mastering (as well as higher end mastering plugins that emulate hardware like waves & ozone) are expecting a signal with a good amount of headroom so it can work it's magic. If you send a track that is already hot, the end product will suffer a great deal because you're already well above the signal the hardware is expecting to receive. For example, try adding a mastering plugin (like Logic's AdLimiter) or an instance of Ozone on your master out with your peak signal around 0 before applying the mastering plugs. Then, do the same with your peak signal around -6 – -9 dB. You'll immediately notice the difference in sound.

Personally, I use KMeter, it was developed by Mastering God Bob Katz and will help aid your mixes in finding the "sweet spot" of headroom for premastering. For $50, it's the best metering tool around IMO.

Cheers.
in all respect,I dont see single difference between limiting with OZone 5 at -6b headroom and -12db treshold than 0db headroom and -6 db theshold,the mastering devices arent expecting anything,even the most basic units have treshold function so it doesnt matter if you have 48db headroom or no headroom
 
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#18
I don't believe in a set db level for mixdowns. Listen at a reasonable level. . . . .Then crank it! Then turn it down. After all, if the track is any good, it'll get play and get cranked! I found that, generally, getting caught up in the numbers leave the track emotionless. Do what feels right to you.
 

lostnthesound

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#19
in all respect,I dont see single difference between limiting with OZone 5 at -6b headroom and -12db treshold than 0db headroom and -6 db theshold,the mastering devices arent expecting anything,even the most basic units have treshold function so it doesnt matter if you have 48db headroom or no headroom
The Ozone example was a quick example and perhaps I should've elaborated.

If you have your mix hitting 0dB when it hits the master out (pre mastering plugins) and then that near 0db level is getting sent to Ozone with a mastering chain (with EQ boosts, exciters, compression etc) and then top it off with a limiter/maximizer, your mix may sound "loud," but your squashing a great amount of transients and/or peaks. These transients are key in creating a "full" track that can be played on any size audio system and sound consistant (i.e. every sound can be heard evenly). That's the difference and that's why headroom is important.

However, in the end it's all about what sounds good to you. If you're mastering your own track and it sounds good to you, go with it.

Now if we're talking specifically in regards to creating an optimal mixdown to be sent to a mastering engineer, the fact of the matter is they're going to ask for headroom. Check with any professional mastering engineer and they will always give you a range to aim for in terms of your tracks Max RMS value. Some may tell you not to have anything peak above -3, others may say keep it between -10 and -6; It's all up to them.

The reason is that they're going to color your track with EQs, compression/limiting, saturation, etc. If you're sending them a signal that is peaking at 0dB already, that means they're going to have reduce the volume of your mix prior to even beginning implementing their mastering processes. So right there you've already robbed your track of some transient data. If you give them a mix with headroom, they can get started with their processes and coloring all the transients that are within your track without the need for any reduction.

Furthermore, giving them a tracks that your DAW has show as being near 0dB means an increased chance of some clashing frequencies/low level distortion in the low and mid range frequencies. When the engineer starts to process the track, these levels will be boosted which will amplify some of the low level defects in your track. Again, this effects the quality of the final product. Will it sound good, of course. Engineers can make anything sound good. Will it sound sonically amazing and rich across any and all audio systems -and your listeners? No.

But again it's all up to the individual. To each their own, and whatever works for a producer and sounds best to them, I say go for it.

Cheers.
 
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