Why my mixes sound like sh*t on phones

dennisgamalej

New member
Hey guys i am new in the studio world.
I have a condens mic sound card and studio monitors. My mixing and mastering sounds amazing on my studio monitors but when i listen it back on my phone it sounds like sh*t. A lot of like overcompressed mix, basses sound like rise,vocal and my instrumental music sound separated...... is there anything i can do? For example ajust eq so it sounds good on my phone? Any tips? Thank you so much!
 

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
Don't mix to sound good on a phone. Mix to sound generally good. If it sounds great on a stereo, in a car, on an ipod, on a computer and on a boom box type but sounds crap on a phone, one shouldn't be shedding any tears at that.
Of course I'm biased but pretty much everything sounds pretty shitty on a phone. That's life.
 
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VomitHatSteve

Hat STYLE. Not contents.
The general wisdom is that if it sounds good on a good system, it will sound fine on a bad system.

Now, if your mix sounds noticeably worse on your phone than your reference songs do, the next step would be to compare your mix to your reference songs on your good system. How do they compare there?
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I've heard some absolutely wonderful commercial songs that sound like crap on a phone. I blame the phone, not the music.

Do you songs sound like crap when you plug in a pair of earbuds or headphones? If not, then the problem is you probably have lots of information beyond the limited frequency response of the microspeakers in the typical phone.

If you are seriously worried about making mixes for "good sound" on a phone, you might read through this. Mixing for small speakers. Just be aware that limiting information or boosting certain parts of the spectrum to sound good on a microspeaker may mean you miss out on a superior product on a REAL audio system.
 

Brad_Pit

New member
Hey guys i am new in the studio world.
I have a condens mic sound card and studio monitors. My mixing and mastering sounds amazing on my studio monitors but when i listen it back on my phone it sounds like sh*t. A lot of like overcompressed mix, basses sound like rise,vocal and my instrumental music sound separated...... is there anything i can do? For example ajust eq so it sounds good on my phone? Any tips? Thank you so much!

You can record your synth and drums and mix them again. It is the only one solution that make you sound professional. Only recording matters. No amount of eq and compression and secret studio techniques will help you. Only recording your speakers or monitors or whateva your listening device.
 

Massive Master

www.massivemastering.com
The problem here is that generally, *everything* sounds good on phones. If something sounds BAD on phones, it's probably the phones or the phone amp or something silly like that.

Now getting something that sounds good on phones to sound good on "everything" - That's the trick...
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I had a coworker who used to put his cell phone into a popcorn cup to try to make it sound good. It "pumped up the bass" he said. It doesn't help that cell phones sound different from each other.
 

VomitHatSteve

Hat STYLE. Not contents.
I had a coworker who used to put his cell phone into a popcorn cup to try to make it sound good. It "pumped up the bass" he said. It doesn't help that cell phones sound different from each other.

I've seen that trick. It's the "poor man's amplifier"
 

CoolCat

New member
I know what the OP means, the commercial stuff can sound great elsewhere...but even on the laptop its at least a certain quality .

HR stuff is often totally mud-crap-blurrface...on lesser quality systems. I just assumed there is some freq & tricks the pro's know what to remove, and make it at least listenable/tolerable. Usually I can hear the vocals and snare drum and the main melody on the crap tiny speakers.
 

Cosmic

Active member
You could always make an "EQed and smashed to bits" version that is designed for phone play. As long as that version isn't used for anything else, then, at least, it will serve its purpose.
C.
 

Mickster

Well-known member
In my experience...listening to your own work on a phone speaker always sounds terrible. I think it's because we work for hours performing it and playing it back and mixing it on premium equipment...better than almost any normal playback system...and we're used to that. There's no way your ears will be ready for your mix on a phone speaker most times. Play a good track of some other artist through your normal playback system...Then play that same track back on a phone speaker. I've found that waiting a few days or more helps the end result sound somewhat more normal on a phone speaker.

Just my opinion and 2 cents worth.

Mick
 
In my experience...listening to your own work on a phone speaker always sounds terrible. I think it's because we work for hours performing it and playing it back and mixing it on premium equipment...better than almost any normal playback system...and we're used to that. There's no way your ears will be ready for your mix on a phone speaker most times. Play a good track of some other artist through your normal playback system...Then play that same track back on a phone speaker. I've found that waiting a few days or more helps the end result sound somewhat more normal on a phone speaker.

Just my opinion and 2 cents worth.

Mick

I must admit, that I do not find this to be an issue. I believe that the issue starts in your general listening environment - your room acoustics and your monitors - and, let's face it, maybe your mixing skills. If I am happy with a mix, it will generallt sound fine on my phone - and I WILL check it.
Actually I am not all sure if you mean headPHONES or just PHONES, like iPhone.
Now try this for an experiment; do your initial mix on headphones. Make it reasonably balanced. As good as you can - and then move to you studio monitors. Taking another approach, might get you to a better result - or maybe not. Worth a shot. I do have a mobile recording asetup, where I will use my SONY 7506 headphones to do initial mixing. On my side, it will take some tweaking to get it finished, but it will usually be slightly different (no neccesarily better or worse) than when starting in my controlroom on my main speakers.

I do believe, tho, that this is NOT a mastering issue, but a mix issue - or even tracking issue - or both.
 

Mickster

Well-known member
Yes....my premise is that the problem is not in the mastering. As I mentioned......even when I play a commercial tune from a prominent artist on a phone (not headphones).....it sounds like crap. I mean...how could it not? That’s all I was saying. My mixing skills are not so bad....because.....when I play my own work back on better systems than a phone....my work holds up pretty well.
 
Yeah it won't sound great on a phone but it should at least sound good, I'll get a mix sounding nice on every other speaker system in the house but the phone poses the real challenge and that is where I will not call a mix finished until it sounds much more pleasing on a phone, I even went as far to stream straight from logic to my phone speaker to mix through that instead of bouncing down.

With the multitracks I am mixing that I can get to sound pretty nice on normal speaker setups that sound bad on the phone, is always an issue with the mix. The reference tracks I load up of the actual song I am mixing (same multitracks, same everything) will generally sound really good on the phone. Unless I can match it I would never dream of finishing that mix up, not unless I can get the mix to a place where nothing bothers me even if listening on the phone. Also, most people will actually listen to music I mix on a phone, post to facebook and probably 98% of people on there are not going to be listening on anything decent.

If your mix is not compressed right you will get a boom and really hear the compressor pumping but not in a good way. Those high mids 2-5k need to be just right and the low end can not be too hyped otherwise you will need to overbrighten those instruments in the presence range to be heard resulting in a really disgusting harsh mess on the phone. If the mix is too scooped also the phone doesn't like mixes that are done with way when the song is turned up louder.

It's tough to mix for a phone, the hardest of all. It's the one check that screws me over, but I really don't care, I would rather hurt the mix a little for a proper soundsystem to get it sounding better on the phone, no question. Nobody would even realise you are falling short of potential on a real system. But they will for damn sure notice a mix sounding like crap on a phone.

Just my thoughts on it.
 

Mickster

Well-known member
Observing my 29 year old nephew and his friends...they use their phone for most listening....but rarely just use the phone speaker alone. He...like most...finds a phone speaker irritating to listen to. If he's not using his Bluetooth buds or his ATH M40X wired headphones....he's streaming his song to a Bluetooth speaker or the Bluetooth speaker in his car. It's fine to mix for a phone speaker.....but IMO it's not paramount in any way.

Mick
 

jimmys69

MOODerator
Sorry I'm late to the thread...

Is the question about listening with headphones/earbuds from a phone, or just the speaker on the phone? Or Bluetooth sending from a phone to a device?

Phone speakers are obviously not capable of sounding good. Different phones sound better or worse depending on the model. They all are limited and not really worth judging because they all sound 'shitty'.

That being said, so do most average car stereos, home systems, and studio monitors. The last in line, after even headphones or good lord- ear buds, would be a 'shitty' phone speaker.

That also being said, if one's mixes played on a cellphone sounds at a level of 'shitty' more than do other commercial or other productions on your phone, then you may have an issue to deal with. I would never compare them unless the level of 'shitty' is so bad, that it is obvious that it is super 'shitty'.

I would like to take this moment to type 'shitty' one more time, just to make clear that cellphones sound 'shitty'. LOL!

I'm feeling a little 'shitty' today...

Cheers!
 

TAE

All you have is now
Ditto to what Jimmy asked about what sounds shitty the mobile phone speakers (can't polish a turd) or the headphones or when aux'd out to a stereo..

I have a set of small computer speakers with a sub set up in my garage for when I'm working in there. I just plug the input of the speakers into my old ass iphone 6s ;) and tell google or siri to play some rock music...It is awesome sounding...now unplug that and try and play that same music on the iphone and you can listen to the music but hell no it's not even close to the clarity of the computer speaker system.

If your mix sounds good on a variety of normal stereo system set ups / speakers your mix is fine. With regard to getting any mobile phone with tiny ass little speakers to sound as good as a stereo with incredibly bigger speakers is not going to happen...Try as Midas might, you can not turn lead into gold. Midas preamps however do produce a solid gold sound.
 
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