Impressive Ways To Use Speaker Emulators for Sound Mixing

Impressive Ways To Use Speaker Emulators for Sound Mixing

Impressive Ways To Use Speaker Emulators for Sound Mixing

Introduction

Sound mixing and mastering is a massive challenge, but making the project sound great across many different devices is a feat. Mixing takes a lot of time and knowledge on what to do and not do - Making it sound great on things like consumer-grade headphones, laptops, and earbuds can be grueling.

 

To make this process easier on yourself: Using speaker emulator plugins while sitting comfortably in your studio can save you a lot of time and headaches on your future projects. Here is an impressive way for you to make that happen.

 

First, you need to get a great-sounding mix that you like on your studio monitors inside your room. Make sure you feel confident in your mixing choices. If that vocal in the chorus is slightly soft, raise it slightly. The bellowing laugh is loud in your dialogue? Lower it by a few decibels in your dialogue track. We need to make sure the mix feels right because you will be referencing your mix a lot when we add a speaker emulator plugin on your Master Track in the next step of the process.

 

Second, Let's add that speaker emulator to your master track. Simple enough, right? Great - Let's move on to the next step then.

 

Next Step: Some plugins will default to adding additional effects like EQ, compression, etc. Bypass or turn all those effects off; focus on just the impact of speaker emulation. Let's choose a laptop or smartphone. These devices will primarily impact two things; The human voice boosted and the removal of both volume and feel of the low end in your project. We will focus on the voice since that will be most common across all projects and make this article easier to read and understand.

 

Listen to your project with the speaker emulator for a minute or two. It will instantly sound different. I want you to focus on the dialogue or vocals - They will sound louder than before, but do you notice that they may be a little too loud in some areas? Perhaps most of your volume choices are spot on, but do you want to grab your EQ or De-Esser and adjust those painful frequencies?

 

Hold on just a second. Go to those troubled areas again but bypass the plugin and hit play. The mix choice now will go one of two ways which may get confusing. 

  

  1. The problem areas are the same with or without the plugin enabled.
  2. The problem areas only exist with the plugin enabled.

 

First: The problem areas are the same with or without the plugin enabled - This means there is a problem area that you might not have heard while mixing and going through the mix the first time. Try simply reducing the volume first, which most of the time it will - Just make sure to A/B test a couple of times to ensure this was the right mixing choice.

 

Second: So, the problem areas only exist with the plugin enabled - This means that there isn't a problem with your mix, but there is a problem with the sound being played back on this chosen device. If the voice feels a bit too loud in some areas, maybe 3dB - Should we turn down the vocals by 3dB? Not precisely; remember that it still sounds good without the speaker emulator, but the problem exists with the plugin enabled. Try reducing the voice in those spots by 1.5dB and play it back with and without the plugin. I have found most of the time that not only will this fix the problem, but it now sounds better for both the device and my professional monitors in my studio. 

 

Reducing the volume by 1.5 dB might not fix the problem - Sometimes, volume is perceived - grab an eq and lower the harsh areas of the voice, typically in the higher frequencies.

 

If the voice still sounds too loud, pay attention to what seems loud about it. Does it seem like the music is dipping in these spots? Raise the volume of the music. There are multiple ways to fix problems, but you need to identify the problem and what is happening in your mix. 

 

Conclusion

It's not always easy to mix for all devices, but with these tips above, it will be easier to do this process simply in your studio. It is always worth it to provide a well-rounded mix that sounds good across multiple devices.

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