My vocal volume recording is not the same on all devices. Too loud on my computer speakers, too low on my car’s stereo, perfect on my computer headphone and too low on my phone. Can anybody tell me how to make the volume consistent in all devices?
That’s the ultimate challenge we’re all facing & working on - getting our mixes and volumes of each track & instrument to sound consistent from one device & set of speakers to the next.
Sorry I can’t help but to say ‘welcome to the club’ - the life long club of recording & learning how to mix & master properly.
Heat a seat - you’re gonna be here for a while - a long while!
Hi, while in line with the previous post I want to add some practical steps (just a selection, I am not digging deeply into the matter):
- If not done yet, invest in a pair of Studio Monitor Speakers - neutral ones - (KRK, Yamaha, etc.) - They do not Need to be the most expensive ones. Go and listen at your Music dealer.
- Set them up for your listening Position in a hopefully “accustically good” environement (in Project Studios this is often a limiting factor - I can tell from personal experience that it IS worth investing in something like IK-MUltimedia ARC-System)
- Calibrate your Monitoring System e.g. to K-System, so that you can really judge Levels by ear and not by meters in a consistent way.
- Be Patient and judge your mixes on this “neutral” System and then on a variety of “target Systems” (Car Stereo, etc).
You will find that the steps 1 to 3 help to make the mix more neutral
- Be Patient - try and improve.
The first thing that comes to mind is: did you compress your vocals properly and used a maximizer/compressor on your masterbus?
Those 2 are quite important for proper mixing/mastering
(and I know, it’s not a golden rule, bla bla, but still… it might help him )
Mastering corrects these problems.
Lower the level on your computer speakers, raise the level on your car’s stereo, and raise the level on your phone. Done.
Define vocal recording . Is this vocal attached to/part of a song? Acapella? If it’s the latter, then you obviously need to do what I said above. If it’s the former, it’s a mixing thing. Assuming that’s the case, nobody on an internet forum can give you correct advice on what to do, without hearing the rest of your tracks that comprise your mix. You can’t come on a forum, and say, “xyz is too low. I am not going to give you any audio exs., and I am going to give you absolutely no clue as to what kind of music it is, what else is going on in the song, and how anything was recorded”, and expect someone to give you proper advice.
This guy claims his vocal is too low, and you are telling him to buy monitors, and how to position them. Well, that’s, umm… different.
Most of the time it can. Unless the mix is so poor… (yes, I have heard mixes that were so bad… )
This is all about monitoring and how the mix translates to other systems, as I see it.
If you have “shitty” monitors in a “shitty” room, you can’t expect things to tranlate well (it may, but it’s hard).
The best, but most boring answer, is:
- Get yourself a good acoustical treated room (I know - you think its expensive and boring to use money on. More fun to buy other stuff).
- Get yourself a good pair of monitors (I said it was boring).
Bla bla bla, is not stronger than the weakest link, bla bla bla. I said it was a boring (but necesarry) advice
I’ll agree with both of you, but I’ll claim that proper EQ at the mixing stage will probably have the biggest impact. No offense, Tom, but mastering - in my very limited experience - helps a good track to really shine. But if he’s having volume inconsistency issues then I would argue that his mixes need work first.
No offense taken. I agree. There are other things that effect the perceived vocal level like guitars that sit on top and flank it. If the vocal is stable and the guitars are wonky, the vocal will seem to be the issue, mainly because as listeners, we are listening for the melody in the vocal. We tend to notice it ahead of other things. the fact that sounds so different on many systems is a sign at the spectral balance is out of whack. When it is dynamically out, that is a strong cause for drastic differences between playback systems as it can be the most taxing on the speakers and amps playing it back.
But, I haven’t heard the song in question, so all this is mere speculation.
Yep. What you said.
This guy claims his vocal is too low, and you are telling him to adjust the volume controls. Well, that’s, umm… different.
I agree with Elien on this one. Fix the monitoring environment.
Well, it’s more than that in my opinion. Frequency response curves in the target playback environments are going to differ from speaker to speaker. So it’s a combination of a few things:
- The monitoring environment isn’t great so carving out EQ bands on various tracks isn’t as effective because you don’t get an accurate representation of the impact of EQ changes.
- The target environments aren’t identical or, sometimes, even close to being the same so the expectation that your mix is going to sound the same everywhere just can’t be met.
For that last point, you have to set your expectations properly. For example, I know my car’s bass response is crappy. So when I take a mix into the car I know that the bass will sound weak. I adjust my expectations appropriately.
If you can’t fix it in the mix it’s not exactly easier in the mastering, so the best thing is to postpone it and fix it in the plastic wrapping!
As boring, time consuming and even expensive it may seem it’s the way to go.
Sometimes there are no shortcuts …
That’s what you have reference material for. You have CDs or something and you have some environment where you double check your new mix against the references. You know the references sound good so you can somewhat rely on them. Adjust critical stuff (like bass levels and lead vox) according to the reference material and you’re at least one step closer to a good mix.
Spot on in my journal. The truth is no room is perfect. You have to know the room.
Spot on here too.
Oh wait. That’s a different kind of spot. The dog pooped.
Depending on how much pooed the acoustics may have been offset so maybe you should rebuild your studio …