Bedroom Studio Mixing
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:04 AM   #1
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Bedroom Studio Mixing

Hey y'all,
This is an TL;DR excerpt from somewhere else on how to get better mixes done in the bedroom:

Here are 14 quick, easy (and cheap) tips for prepping your room:

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1) Don’t waste money on expensive equipment

First of all, don’t jump into buying tons of acoustic treatment before assessing your space. Also, don’t assume that better gear is the solution, either. High-end audio interfaces and monitor speakers will not solve the problems of a poor-sounding room. The recordings will be limited by the acoustic performance of the space and, as mentioned, speakers are only as good as the room that they’re playing into. Monitors should also be relative to the size of the space that they inhabit. If you have a smaller room, use smaller speakers. Large monitors are pointless in a small bedroom and, more often than not, actually have a negative impact on the mix.

2) Use reference tracks

If a professionally mastered balanced track is resonating at a particular frequency, you can make a pretty sure bet that it’s the room that’s causing the issue, not the master. By flipping back to your reference throughout the mixing process, you can assess the performance of your own mix and push or pull frequencies to adapt accordingly.

3) Get away from the walls

Try moving your setup away from the rear wall and further towards the centre of the room (although not the absolute centre, as this will also give an imbalanced perspective). It’s also a good idea to avoid placing the speakers directly in a corner to avoid frequency build-up. As a general rule of thumb, many people advocate the ‘equilateral triangle’ rule, where you position yourself equidistant from both speakers i.e. just within the third point on the triangle. While I don’t have enough space to fully break down monitoring positions and speaker placements in detail in this article, a quick Google search will pull up some great articles on the subject.

4) Avoid corners

Applying absorption to the corners in your room will provide one of the biggest returns on investment. This will reduce much of the high-frequency ringing and flutter echo. Placing bass traps in the corners of your room can also mitigate against low-end build-up.

5) Avoid parallel lines where possible

The majority of bedrooms are cube-shaped, which is one of the worst possible dimension combinations for acoustics (cubes certainly contain plenty of 90 degree corners!). Any resonant frequencies or flaws within the space will be magnified further in a cube, so anything that can be done to avoid this will have a major impact.

6) Absorb low end

Big, heavy, cushioned objects help to absorb bass frequencies. Being in a bedroom, a mattress is actually a big advantage. Effectively a huge sponge, a mattress will help to absorb many of the low-end frequencies that can build up and resonate in a small space.

7) Cover your windows

If you’re in a bedroom, it’s likely that you have a window on at least one wall. Frustratingly, glass can create bright ‘slapping’ reflections that lead to an inaccurate view of the top-end. Consider closing curtains or covering windows altogether with absorbent panels.

8) Keep your bookshelf

A well-stocked bookshelf can act as a useful diffuser. It’s not the same as a real diffuser, but it’s a decent home brew option, particularly if you already have one in place!

9) Monitor at low volume levels

If you have an imperfect room (which is pretty much a guarantee in a residential property), mixing at low levels can reduce the sonic impact that the environment has on the track when listening. At a lower amplitude, less undesired reflections will be created and the strength of resonant frequencies will be reduced.

10) Make use of headphones

Although I can’t recommend solely using headphones when mixing, they’re a boon for home recording when you’re working in an imperfect environment. Headphones isolate the sound, so there is no opportunity for it to interact with the space around you before reaching your ears, thus eliminating the impact of the room.

11) Isolate your speakers

Not only is it a good idea to move your monitors away from nearby walls, it’s also important to isolate them from contact with any other reflective surfaces. There are a number of ways to separate your speakers from other surfaces and minimise these unwanted resonances and reflections, such as speaker stands, desktop pads and desktop stands.

12) Make use of the closet/wardrobe

Try opening up your wardrobe while mixing to break up any parallel walls and get some extra absorption to prevent reflections. In addition, why not try adding cushions, pillows, blankets, towels – essentially items that you may already have hanging around the house – to shelves to improve this effect? You can even fix additional acoustic panels to the inside of the doors for added diffusion.

13) Leave the room

This one may sound a little left of centre, but often you can actually get a more balanced impression of your mix by turning up the volume and listening outside of your room. Try going out onto your landing, your hallway or down the corridor and take a listen from a different perspective. You may find that certain flaws in the mix begin to jump out and become more obvious from this alternative position.

14) Leave the house

Continuing from Tip 13, actually getting away from your studio altogether can be extremely helpful in getting a better overall impression of your track. Bounce it down and put a copy on your smartphone. Go for a walk and take a listen on some headphones. Take a drive and test out the mix through your car speakers. Take the mix to a friend’s house and test it on their system. You may even know other producers that have alternative setups, and you can also send your track for feedback.

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Thought I'd share as there's some really good info here!

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Old 06-06-2017, 08:48 AM   #2
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

Nice assortment of useful tips - thx!

What helped for me was comparing; both comparing your track to others and comparing how your track and other track sounds on as many different speakers, headphones and environments as possible. Also, load the tracks you want to compare yours to into your FL Studio or whatever and look at certain frequency spectrums seperately: What happens below 60 Hz in the subbass for example.

Also: I like to make many different versions and make an MP3 off of it (and safe it with the same name as the MP3, so you can actually find it easily again). Then just compare a few of them where you changed smaller things, like just a tiny bit mor subbass or the percussion a little bit more predominant etc.

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Old 10-06-2017, 09:55 AM   #3
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

renters insurance
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Old 10-06-2017, 03:16 PM   #4
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

Eh?
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Old 10-06-2017, 04:03 PM   #5
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

Quote:
Originally Posted by fidelium View Post
renters insurance
DARK

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Old 10-06-2017, 10:41 PM   #6
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

Just to clarify, renter's insurance because of how many stories I hear about people's studios getting stolen, amirite?

Last edited by White Noise; 10-06-2017 at 10:41 PM.. Reason: lite grammer

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Also, check this out. Updated 10-27-17.

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Old 11-06-2017, 12:18 AM   #7
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

I believe fid's was a fire, but whatever. Bad shit happens to good equipment sometimes.
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Old 11-06-2017, 12:12 PM   #8
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

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I believe fid's was a fire, but whatever. Bad shit happens to good equipment sometimes.
yeah i did have a fire in my bedroom studio that completely disabled me beyond just musically but that's not why I am saying "renters insurance". i didn't elaborate but shouldn't have to. not having insurance on your gear literally has runs you the risk, bears the possibility of tossing you into the fun gamble of "am I going to sleep under a ceiling tonight?" panic-inducing dilemma. literally within seconds or minutes, whether it's you returning home from breakfast to most of your belongings being destroyed by the embers caused by faulty wiring, of coming home to your rent money cash being robbed out of your sock drawer.

having a fire that crushed me was not the only thing I've had happen to me or my music gear or intellectual property. I've been both robbed and vandalized. Luckily THOSE two time I had renters insurance. For the fire, I did not, and I am genuinely telling you to insure your property. getting right on that. soon as now.
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Old 11-06-2017, 03:05 PM   #9
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

Put speakers right in front of you, in a triangle so your head is the 3rd end. aaaaaaaa
send your wife to a shop or somewhere so you can making music in peace.
Zip few hard liquor shots if you are having trouble focusing or you are in a creative block, I suggest Jagermeister with anything beside water...

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Old 12-06-2017, 04:07 AM   #10
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

good tips especially for starting up on mixing

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Old 12-06-2017, 01:21 PM   #11
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

Quote:
10) Make use of headphones
My monitors have been acting basically as decoration for a pretty long time now, I'm always using headphones. I'd like to add that personally my mixdowns have improved a lot (not saying I would still be happy with them however) after I:

1. Started to use 3 different headphones and switch between them on the fly. Atm, my main cans are Sennheiser HD280 Pros. Second ones are cheap DJing headphones from AKG. I use them when I'm listening to music for fun (like in a bus or a train etc.), so I know them pretty well. Finally, I have MDR-XB300s from Sony. They are shit in every way except for checking if the low end is prominent enough.


2. Figured out the volume setting which is equal to the max volume of my iPhone. For me it's 5 steps down from the max volume on my laptop. This way it's easy to compare how things would actually sound on an average playback device.
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Old 18-06-2017, 04:40 PM   #12
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

Thanks for the tips!
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:07 AM   #13
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

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Originally Posted by TheSampleThief View Post
Nice assortment of useful tips - thx!

What helped for me was comparing; both comparing your track to others and comparing how your track and other track sounds on as many different speakers, headphones and environments as possible.
I was about to write this, but it seems I'm a bit later.

Just to complement the tip: listening to your track from another room can also give an interesting perspective about your work.

Other tips:

- Check out your track in mono, to identify any stereo sounds disappearing due to phase cancelation.

- Put your track on shuffle together with other songs, while driving or listening to other artists music. It can be weird but, at least for me, it's cool to have my tracks suddenly playing inbetween comercial tracks and it helps me to judge how are my levels against them.

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Old 03-07-2017, 07:57 AM   #14
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

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Originally Posted by dark_virus View Post
I was about to write this, but it seems I'm a bit later.

Just to complement the tip: listening to your track from another room can also give an interesting perspective about your work.

Other tips:

- Check out your track in mono, to identify any stereo sounds disappearing due to phase cancelation.

- Put your track on shuffle together with other songs, while driving or listening to other artists music. It can be weird but, at least for me, it's cool to have my tracks suddenly playing inbetween comercial tracks and it helps me to judge how are my levels against them.
Love that last one in particular!
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Old 03-07-2017, 02:49 PM   #15
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

Cool! Glad to be of help.

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Old 05-07-2017, 05:23 AM   #16
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

Havent tried this one yet, but I've read it everywhere. While you produce, use a reference track, some popular track you like, and try to reach those level of production.

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Old 05-07-2017, 05:27 AM   #17
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Re: 14 Tips to Bedroom Studio Mixing

I was looking through this earlier, great advice. Unfortunately I can't avoid corners in my room. :/

^^^ I like the idea of a reference track. For now I am going to just focus on remaking covers of songs that inspire me, or that I like, and just practice skills and getting things where I need to get them.
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:28 AM   #18
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Re: Bedroom Studio Mixing

Changed thread title and removed link to 3rd party website.
Sorry but '14 tips...' is too click-baity and shuts down the idea of expanding the thread beyond the OP's wisdom.
That's not how our forum works.
Feel free to add more tips.
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:28 AM   #19
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Re: Bedroom Studio Mixing

Understand gain staging when recording audio sources: run your line in to between -12 and -6 dB with mixer fader at 0. The scale is logarithmic, so this is where you get the most fine tuning.

Leave enough headroom: -6 to -3 dB and do that by adjusting the gain. Purists say the mixer faders are for automation only, but I think that's a bit anal. If you think you need a brick wall limiter on your main out, your gain setting is off.

Check the frequency spectrum of all your feeds individually. Run a notch or BP filter across to look for frequency clashes, especially in busy sections. Mud hides in the 300 Hz region and around 1-2 kHz things sound shrill. A notch or slight dip EQ can clean up things nicely. Remember that we tend to hear things at the high end more loudly and that loud sounds can drown out quiet ones easily. Think of a box with three coordinates: frequency, amplitude (loudness), and time. You can fill the box only once. In a good mix, every component should be clearly audible and identifyable.

You can use panning and reverb to separate sounds spatially.

Your bass and kick should run mono, but a little reverb as a side chain panned both hard right and left can be cool.

The Hass effect can be used to create dimension. A particularly nice way to do this is to run left and right channels separately, add a very short delay (10-30 ms) on right with phase inversion and the swap left and right channels, mix in with main signal to desired degree. It's really amazing what that does.

Make room for your kick by using side chain compression on the bassline, fatten up the kick using New York compression. You can also use a trance gate to good effect to attenuate the bassline, which can be very abrupt (either works or sounds shit).

A good set of plugins is actually quite useful. And while everyone says your DAW comes with all you need, they do come with neat little features (and presets) that make things easier. Don't snub presets, but do try to tinker with them. Firestarter by Prodigy starts with a synth line that was the second preset of a particular synth. Doesn't sound any worse for it now, does it? Plugins are a dime a dozen (well, figuratively, not in terms of $$$). I personally got the most mileage out of the FabFilter suite. The entire set will cover all essential needs. Use a staurator such as Saturn to fatten up the sound instead of a limiter. It does seem to apply some amount of compression, though, I can't hear that, but it's mentioned occasionally.

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Old 05-07-2017, 12:39 PM   #20
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Re: Bedroom Studio Mixing

So many rules? I need only one:

1) Learn to mix with headphones.

And don't believe if someone claims that one cannot mix properly using headphones. Headphones are more accurate than speakers. The only problem is learning to make mixes that "translate" to speaker listening. But that's not rocket science.

Also, listen to Vaetxh/Rob Clouth. I believe his mixes are all done on headphones.

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