Long term lurker first time poster…
I’ve had a bit of a search around for information on this subject and while there’s plenty of information on the why’s of testing your mix across a few systems (pretty obvious really) there’s not a lot on the practical side of it.
To explain myself a little more:
Back in the day my mix translation tests were fairly straightforward - burn mix to CD, try in car, hi-fi at friends and family etc. Pretty easy, if a little wasteful on CD’s, and I could be reasonably confident I was hearing issues with my mix - on that particular system. Nowadays, the obvious method (to me at least) is to mix to 44.1/16 dithered (from 96/32 or whatever) and put on a phone. Now with a headphone cable I can try on many more different types of system, as long as they have an ext jack. This broadened potential test systems to DAB radio speakers (great for testing in mono), to TV soundbars as well as the usual old standards. Ideally at least this should give me a rough idea of what a general consumer might hear.
However - my concern has become, what, if anything, is my phones OS (or playback app, or anything in between) doing to colour the sound. For example, when I got my Win 10 laptop, I noticed a distinct lack of low end out the headphone jack, which I have taken to Equalizer APO to ‘solve’ (for various values of ‘solve’ ). While I wouldn’t use my laptop output to test a mix (mainly for this reason), hopefully you can see the point I am making - now it’s not just about the mix and the system, there’s an added layer of software in there that may or may not be doing it’s own thing to the source material.
I’m currently using a Samsung Galaxy with Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) and VLC to play out my 44.1/16 file. Whilst I’m acutely aware there may still be problems with the mix itself, I’ve definitely found some anomalies that are difficult to describe but I’m pretty sure I’m not imagining.
So what do you do to ensure you are hearing the problems with your mix, and not any ‘colouration’ from in-built OS eq’s etc? I suppose somewhere along the way the audience IS going to be listening on something with forced crappy in built EQ anyway, but that doesn’t help when trying to make the best possible master.
Any advice/opinion and personal experience with this greatly appreciated.