Why You Should Listen Everywhere Before Mastering

By October 24, 2023 May 19th, 2024 Mastering Studio

As a DIY recording artist, you’re a passionate hobbyist, creating music with love and dedication. But before you send your mixes for mastering, there’s an essential step that often goes overlooked: listening to your work in various places. Here’s why it matters, especially if you’re mixing in rooms without acoustic treatment and using budget-friendly speakers:

1. Mixing in Rooms with No Acoustic Treatment:

  • The Reality of Home Studios: DIY recording artists often work in home studios, which aren’t acoustically treated. This means your room can introduce unintended sound colorations, such as reflections, echoes, or uneven frequency response.
  • Listening in the Wild: By testing your mixes in different places, you simulate how your music will sound on various playback systems. When you take your mixes to different rooms, you’ll uncover issues that might have been masked in your home studio.
  • Adapting to Imperfections: As a hobbyist, you might not have the budget for professional room treatment. Listening elsewhere helps you adapt to these imperfections. You’ll learn how to mix with them in mind, making your music more accessible to a broader audience.

2. Using Colored and Inexpensive Speakers:

  • The Limitations of Budget Speakers: Many DIY artists work with budget-friendly speakers, which may not offer the most accurate representation of your music. These speakers often have their unique sound characteristics or colorations.
  • Compensating for Speaker Coloration: Listening in various places allows you to compensate for the coloration of your speakers. You’ll learn how to make adjustments to achieve a more balanced mix that translates well across different playback systems.
  • Avoiding Sonic Surprises: If you only rely on the sound of your budget speakers in your studio, you risk sonic surprises when your music is played elsewhere. By listening everywhere, you reduce the chances of your mix falling short on other systems.

3. The Importance of a Fresh Perspective:

  • Ears Get Used to Environments: Our ears quickly adapt to our environment. If you’ve been working in the same room with the same speakers for hours, your perception can become biased. Listening in various places can reset your perspective and help you catch issues you might have overlooked.
  • Understanding Your Music’s Versatility: DIY artists often create music with a wide audience in mind. Listening in different places helps you understand how versatile your music truly is. It ensures that your songs sound great in a bedroom, a car, or on headphones.
  • Preparing for the Mastering Stage: Before handing your music over for mastering, you want to be sure that your mix sounds the best it can be. Listening in multiple environments is a crucial step in this preparation process.

In conclusion, as a DIY recording artist, embracing the practice of listening everywhere before submitting your mixes for mastering can make a world of difference. It empowers you to overcome the limitations of your recording environment, adapt to your budget-friendly speakers, and gain a fresh perspective on your music. Ultimately, it helps you create mixes that translate well on a variety of playback systems, ensuring that your music resonates with a wider audience.

For more tips, be sure to check out all our tips here; https://crystalmastering.com.au/music-mastering/prepare-mixes-mastering/

Grammy nominated Mastering engineer

Written by Joe Carra`

With over 30 years of experience in the mastering field, Joe is the sole director & chief mastering engineer at Crystal Mastering. A Grammy nominated audio engineer, Joe is also a founding member of MPEG (Music Producer & Engineer’s Guild of Australia). Over the years, Joe has had the privilege of mastering numerous ARIA award-winning albums, and his work has amassed over 3.5 billion streams. Aside from his regular mastering duties, Joe can also be found giving guest lectures at various audio colleges in his area.