Why my mixes sound like sh*t on phones

And ... don't forget to bounce a mix to mono cuz that's what you're getting out of a phone.

If you've never done this, you'll be surprised that when you get a song sounding great in mono and you switch back to stereo ... it's like a door opening with somebody saying VOILA!

And ... don't forget to bounce a mix to mono cuz that's what you're getting out of a phone.

If you've never done this, you'll be surprised that when you get a song sounding great in mono and you switch back to stereo ... it's like a door opening with somebody saying VOILA!

My DAW has a mono button, so you can instantly hear the difference without bouncing to a file.
Mono mixes are really nice to listen to imo. Smooth. focused, intimate, warm. I'd probably never bounce a mono mix down, but when listening to my stereo mix on a mono speaker it sounds so good to me.

I'll switch to mono all throughout my mix, sometimes I forget I'm even in mono....... then when I blend that stereo delay in like 8db's too hot because that's what sounds right to me in mono. I am always in for a surprise when switching back to stereo. HELLO hello hello lo lo lo.

Rookie mistakes. heh
The vast majority of music listeners today listen on sub-par garbage. I have three teenagers that had never heard music on a "real" stereo system until a year or two ago & were completely blown away. If you can get a mix/master that sounds great on a decent system and in headphones or earbuds you're doing ok. I don't even consider phone speakers.
Hello, I have same issue with everything sounding like poo on phone. Every time I get finished with something and I post it on FB or something, I gotta say " use headphones or a good system". I mix using headphones, so it sounds great on playback or in the car. But I sound like crap on my phone speaker. I play guitar, bass and usually do the vocals. I think it really just comes down to the fact that phone speakers do not have the what it takes to put out really good sound, you aint gonna hear my bassline I am so proud of on the phone speaker lol.
This is the type of response you get with something like an I-phone. Don't expect to hear anything below about 300 Hz. It's down about 20dB by that point. That's 3 octaves above the low note of a bass that is missing, which means throw away the bottom 3 strings of your bass unless you run a lot of distortion.

Think of the people who listen on phones. They like the tunes, quality doesn't matter. There's no bass, hinky mid range and nothing at the top. People are happy. The people who have spent money on hifi systems have a greater need for quality. Nobody even knows what their mixes sound like on peoples' phones, with the cases, background noise and huge distortion on full volume.
Every time I mix without using headphones, everything sounds off balance in other sources, and I have to correct it with headphones.
Phones don’t have mono speakers anymore, so you can ignore the advice about it. While it won’t be true stereo, there are definitely multiple speakers in phones, just like there are multiple mics.

I get people who say don’t worry about mixes on phones. I really do. But that doesn’t make sense anymore. Millions of people listen on their phones. Its an extremely common way to do it now and has been for pretty much a decade.

As for me, I only aim for “not shitty” rather than good/great.

There was one time I couldn’t hear my bass AT ALL on my phone. Posted on another forum and most said don’t worry about it. That to me doesn’t make sense. I can hear the bass just fine on every professional song, and even more so from the bass of the band I was trying to emulate.

Anyway, I still got my answer from that thread. There was something fucky going on with the recording. It was in a kind of stereo (recorded on my iPad via an iRig) and it was also phasey. I guess that didn’t mesh well with the phone system.
Does it sound "good" relative to a professionally polished mix of the same genre played through the same phone?

That would be my suggestion for a bit of a litmus test. It's not definitive, but can help in hunting for issues when auditioning your tracks on different playback systems.

I would also suggest auditioning tracks relative to a reference track in the same genre.
A good song that a listener likes, is still a good song on a phone. It's not supposed to sound amazing.

It's not worth trying to make it sound better. Just write good songs... :)

Just as one can’t please everyone, you can’t please every audio format.

And let’s face it. Phones sound like shit. Period. You never hear even one person say...”hey man, your phone sounds really good”. Yeah, didn’t think so.

As far as commercial releases go.....They’re mixed in really good rooms with good monitoring. (For the most part) And they’re mixed by really top notch engineers and mastered by really good mastering engineers in good rooms with excellent monitoring.

Also, we’re less critical of commercial releases as opposed to our own.

I think also, when we hear a song we like on our phones, our brain fills in the missing stuff. We’ve heard it before on a better system than a phone and to some degree that experience is transferred to the phone.

Eh, could be completely wrong, but that’s my thoughts.

But........ it all comes back to the song as jimmy says. A great song will transcend the limitations of the playback medium.
I heard a great ring on a phone, once. It went "Dibby dibby dibby daa dibby daa daa - Prrrraaaang !"
Sounded like shit on the car stereo though.....
Some of this is psychological. When you hear a familiar song on your phone, you don't question the mix because of what it sounds like on the phone.
When it is your mix, you are always questioning translation, and are disappointed with how it sounds on the phone.