I read a lot of forums. I see a lot of people talking about how, to make a great mix, they need this or that set of monitors or they need to treat their room in this or that way. And I agree wholeheartedly! It will make your life so much better to have a great room, treated correctly and to have sweet monitors that have a great frequency response.
But I also think that you should do what you can with what you’ve got.
That is why I think that you should always check your mix (several times in fact) on a wide variety of speakers. This way, you can cross reference how the mix sounds in a variety of environments and make sure that you tailor your mix accordingly. Here’s where I check my mixes:
On my good headphones (Grados)
On my monitors
On my crappy iPhone headphones
In my car (great system)
In my roommate’s car (crap system)
On a boombox
On a club PA (I usually do this when a project is close to done)
For every one of these, I take notes. I write down which instruments are too prominent and instruments are getting “swallowed.” Then, I compare these notes with one another. If I see the same problems arising on multiple systems, then I assume that it is a problem with the mix and I correct accordingly.
While this may seem janky, I have it on good authority that even the best sound engineers will eventually listen to a mix on a crappy boombox. The reason behind this is simple: only .05% of the population will ever listen to your track on anything resembling a hi-fi system. Most of us mere mortals will listen to it on a laptop at best and, at worst, on iPhone speakers. Even the most clubby of music now has to be able to be listened to in these different environments. So, take heart! You are just doing some field testing.
You scientist, you.
Leave a comment and tell me where your going to check your mixes! Extra points for bizarro answers.