Car stereo for checking mixes

SteveAlton

New member
Back in the day we checked mixes on Car Stereos & on Boomboxes, because that is how people heard most of their music...Today, I check my mix on my phone with heaphones....If it sounds good there, you are good, since people use this for running & in the gym & in 2020, is the preferred method of listening...

Just my 2 cents
 
Last edited:

spantini

COO of me, inc.
Back in the day we checked mixes on Car Stereos & on Boomboxes, because that is how people heard most o f their music...Today, I check my mix on my phone with heaphones....If it sounds good there, you are good, since people use this for running & in the gym & in 2020, is the preferred method of listening...

Just my 2 cents

That makes good sense. I'll be using my phone w/headphones too, eventually.
 
Does anyone here have a car stereo set up in their studio for checking mixes?

My (GM) car has a factory Bose Stereo system and it's great for checking my mixes. So great in fact, I want it in my studio for quick reference. I don't plan on ripping it out so I'm wondering what it's going to take to build this 12v DC setup in my 120V AC studio.

Apparently, all the electronics can be had from eBay, but I don't have the means to build proper speaker enclosures.

https://www.ebay.com/b/Bose-Car-Electronics/38635/bn_575913

You should try to reference check your mix on the speaker of an iPhone. It's kinda sad, but that's how it will be played 70% of the time. If it sounds unbalanced on an iPhone - back to work ?
 

ecc83

Well-known member
You should try to reference check your mix on the speaker of an iPhone. It's kinda sad, but that's how it will be played 70% of the time. If it sounds unbalanced on an iPhone - back to work ��

I have never undersdtood the logic of that? Back in the day, top studios* monitored on Tannoy Reds (or Golds). Across The Pond it was JBL and Altecs. The punter was listening on a small valve radio with MAYBE 3 watts (at 10%THD!) Later on tiny Perdio and similar trannies with 2" speakers.

Teenagers played records on Dansette players...ONE valve and a cartidge tracking at ten gms 'king AWFUL things.

If anything the music producers made great strides to IMPROVE monitoring quality! Largely the BBC with its "LS" speaker research programme.

If you compare two things through a 'bad' innacurate system it tells you very little.

*And 'classic' recordings were QC'ed in exectutive's offices on Quad electrostatics, THE most accurate loadspeaker of its day and rarel equalled today.

Dave.
 
I have never undersdtood the logic of that? Back in the day, top studios* monitored on Tannoy Reds (or Golds). Across The Pond it was JBL and Altecs. The punter was listening on a small valve radio with MAYBE 3 watts (at 10%THD!) Later on tiny Perdio and similar trannies with 2" speakers.

Teenagers played records on Dansette players...ONE valve and a cartidge tracking at ten gms 'king AWFUL things.

If anything the music producers made great strides to IMPROVE monitoring quality! Largely the BBC with its "LS" speaker research programme.

If you compare two things through a 'bad' innacurate system it tells you very little.

I will not compare it to anything. I jut want to make sure, that what I have been spending hours on polishing in the control room (no pun intended) will translate to whatever people tend to use as playback device. I use Focal Twin monitors in a controlled environment - an iPhone is by NO means my listening environment - it's just a mandatory reality check.
Less that 0,1 % of your listeners will listen to your production in a controlled or even reasonably suitable environment. You'll have to deal with that at some point. You'll also have to deal with stuff like mono-compatability - just because most people today will listen to your production through a mono blue tooth speaker. You'll have to check it for mono-compatability - even though you have been working will wicked FX-pans throughout the whole intro and vers and double tracked guitars that unite in the center for the big finale - add your own "postproduction killer tricks". It sucks, but that's life ;-)
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Cell phone speakers are trash! I've said it before. Most people listening to music on cell phones are using headphones or earbuds.

God forbid if Jimi and Eddie had changed Electric Ladyland so that it sounded ok on an I-phone (or in their day, a transistor radio). They would have ruined a masterpiece!
 

ecc83

Well-known member
Cell phone speakers are trash! I've said it before. Most people listening to music on cell phones are using headphones or earbuds.

God forbid if Jimi and Eddie had changed Electric Ladyland so that it sounded ok on an I-phone (or in their day, a transistor radio). They would have ruined a masterpiece!

My point exactly! I now listen to television from a digital feed to a 50Wpch Arcam Alpha 6 amp and a pair of Mission 775s (yes! They ARE too fekkin' big!) BBC TV is largely ok and Radio 3 sounds sublime. Some of the 'other' stations are overcooked and bass especially is very heavy (but then so are the 775s in my room)
The interesting thing, for me is the fact that I can understand dialogue far better with the hi fi rig than from the FSTV speakers. The other thing is that I am constantly hearing backround 'stuff' that I never noticed on the crapo speakers.

Quality will out! Do we REALLY have to cow-tow to the lowest common denominator? Not while I have breath (and fingers to type!) and ears, however HF restricted!

Dave.
 

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
I will not compare it to anything. I jut want to make sure, that what I have been spending hours on polishing in the control room will translate to whatever people tend to use as playback device.....You should try to reference check your mix on the speaker of an iPhone. It's kinda sad, but that's how it will be played 70% of the time. If it sounds unbalanced on an iPhone - back to work
If you plugged the phone into a stereo and it was unbalanced, then fair enough, maybe. But it seems to me that in all these debates about checking mixes, the central issue that rarely gets discussed is that of developing an ear that can discern what sounds good.
The key is to be able to hear something and judge whether it sounds good, generally. I could care less if my mix sounds good in general across the main mediums {stereo in a room, ipod/walkman, car, boom box, computer, headphones/earbuds} but not on an iphone.
 
If you plugged the phone into a stereo and it was unbalanced, then fair enough, maybe. But it seems to me that in all these debates about checking mixes, the central issue that rarely gets discussed is that of developing an ear that can discern what sounds good.
The key is to be able to hear something and judge whether it sounds good, generally. I could care less if my mix sounds good in general across the main mediums {stereo in a room, ipod/walkman, car, boom box, computer, headphones/earbuds} but not on an iphone.

I have yet to make adjustments to a mix after reference listening through an iPhone, but I must stress that I just want my mixes to translate well on anything they are played on. An iPhone will by no means be the ideal play back environment, but I have no plan on stopping doing this. I am certain that no one will listen to my work in an environment that will be as good as the one I am using when mixing, but again; it's the just a fact of life I'm afraid.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
I have yet to make adjustments to a mix after reference listening through an iPhone, but I must stress that I just want my mixes to translate well on anything they are played on. An iPhone will by no means be the ideal play back environment, but I have no plan on stopping doing this. I am certain that no one will listen to my work in an environment that will be as good as the one I am using when mixing, but again; it's the just a fact of life I'm afraid.

I have no quibble with CHECKING a recording on a 'lesser' system, afterall a 'perfect' monitoring system would just give you the unvarnished? But the idea of 'TWEAKING' something good to sound 'better' through a crap system just seems to me wrong headed? I mean, where do you stop? One 'sound' for phones, another for buds? Yet another for the grotty sound system in FSTVs (Oo! But careful! They might be using a rather good $1000 soundbar!)

"We" have been telling noobs for years that you can't make good mixes on cheap, pimped up 'hi fi' speakers...This seems the inverse of this going up its own jaxi!

Dave.
 

bouldersoundguy

<div><p>&nbsp;</p></div>
There are two things I will do that accommodate lesser systems, but I tend to do them by default because they are good practice anyway.

First, I mix with mono compatibility in mind. I think it just sounds better, even on a stereo system. And it definitely sounds better on a mono system like a phone speaker.

Second, I make sure LF is centered. Below 300Hz you can't hear much directional information anyway, and I figure I might as well be using all the woofers in whatever system is being used. Panned LF is uncomfortable in headphones/earbuds because it's an extremely rare situation in a real acoustic environment.

In addition to that, a generally balanced mix will work better on low quality systems. One common mistake is to think of bass instruments as only having bass content. The fundamental may be in the bass range, but the overtones are just as important. If you balance the fundamental and overtones, it will still be contributing to the sound on a system with limited LF extension.
 

Mickster

Well-known member
One common mistake is to think of bass instruments as only having bass content. The fundamental may be in the bass range, but the overtones are just as important. If you balance the fundamental and overtones, it will still be contributing to the sound on a system with limited LF extension.

Absolute thumbs up to that. Seems almost like that tip should be obvious but...to be honest....for so long I adjusted bass EQ's without really understanding this. And....by keeping and sometimes even boosting the bass overtones....you'll usually hear the bass sound better on small...or mono...or crappy output systems.
 
Absolute thumbs up to that. Seems almost like that tip should be obvious but...to be honest....for so long I adjusted bass EQ's without really understanding this. And....by keeping and sometimes even boosting the bass overtones....you'll usually hear the bass sound better on small...or mono...or crappy output systems.

This is exactly one of the issues that could be fixed, without degrading the mix (on a reasonable monitoring system). Adding a bit of harmonic distortion to the burried bass, can often solve issues like this.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
I don't know why we are discussing this. I think we agree.

I suspect because I grew up in an era when sound recording and presentation was very different from much of what is done today. Don't mind me, reactionary old fart (or seeker for truth?)

Dave.
 

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
I don't know why we are discussing this. I think we agree.


I think we're discussing it because of the quality of what you're suggesting one tests one's mixes on. An iphone doesn't compare with a boombox or car stereo which are actively designed for music reproduction, even if they are inferior to basic studio monitors. An iphone, though many use it to play music on, isn't, really. Testing mixes on other systems isn't the issue, it's what system.
 

TimOD

Member
Jack White listens to mixes in his car . . . a Tesla with a kick-ass sound system. Most people don't have that luxury. White also records only to eight tracks on two-inch tape, or so I read. Another quirky luxury--or is it some kind of obsession? I never use the car stereo's system to check a mix, because my car system, the stock system in a Chevy Cruze, sounds like crap. The custom system in my old 2006 Dodge Caravan sounded really good, but the best way to check, I think, is how most people world-wide listen--on ear-buds. So, I use a set of Bose earbuds, around $110.00 retail, out of an Ipod Nano, an indestructable little beast. The bass is rolled off a bit, and the mid-highs are up, but they're my go-to way to check how all the civilians out there are going to hear what I'm doing. Still, that can't substitute for the monitors and room I have. Also, listen on 'phones in the studio. Never hurts to check a mix that way.
 

Mickster

Well-known member
What TimOD says about most music listening done on "buds" of varying quality is invariably true. Just look around...right? I used to think that the "buds" generation would eventually migrate to better systems....sort of like we did. But...if by "better systems" we mean Echo speakers and Alexa devices and Bluetooth speakers....and the like....well...that's the current situation for most....not all...but certainly most.

Maybe someday a forum like ours will be saying......"why are you checking on those big old 8 inch monitors?......if it sounds right on those $1000 buds.....and the Alexa speaker...it's fine.....who uses speakers like that anymore." Just sayin'.....not predicting or advocating.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Mick
 
I suspect because I grew up in an era when sound recording and presentation was very different from much of what is done today. Don't mind me, reactionary old fart (or seeker for truth?)

Dave.

I’ve been in the business since the middle of the 90’s, so I hear you. Times have changed.
 
I think we're discussing it because of the quality of what you're suggesting one tests one's mixes on. An iphone doesn't compare with a boombox or car stereo which are actively designed for music reproduction, even if they are inferior to basic studio monitors. An iphone, though many use it to play music on, isn't, really. Testing mixes on other systems isn't the issue, it's what system.

But...if people don’t use boom boxes anymore, there is no need. I am Well aware that I can’t mix on an iPhone, but I still don’t want it to sound bad when people listen to it the way they tend to. That is the reason I spend 4-5.000 USD on my monitors alone.
I view them as the bygone NS10 speakers. They also sounded like crap, but they did reveal issues in mixes from time to time.

On another note (to another post), it’s not the sound quality of the sound system in your car that justifies the system for reference. It is the fact, that some of us have spend hours and hours listening to Well knon music on those speakers in that space - hence we know how it is supposed to sound. The actual definition of reference.
 
Top