In the latest podcast I did with Graham, one of our 5 mixing “hacks” was to mix at lower volumes.
Lower volumes. What’s the fun in that?
I’ll be honest. I’m not great at doing this, but there are a lot of good reasons to mix at lower volumes. Here are a few:
- Less ear fatigue – Mix for longer periods of time without wearing out your cute little ears
- Forces you to listen more carefully – When the speakers are blaring, it can actually become more difficult to hear everything. Turning ’em down makes you listen more carefully.
- Makes your room less of an issue – Yes, you should acoustically treat your room, but mixing at lower volumes gives your room less of a chance to mess with the sound before it hits your ears. Blasting sound into your room will cause those room issues (and we all have them) to become more pronounced and exaggerated.
- Nowhere to “hide” – Sometimes a mix sounds better simply when you play it louder. Forcing yourself to mix at lower volumes forces you to get a good-sounding mix BEFORE you crank the volume.
- Flatter response – It’s a fact, louder music actually sounds more “hyped” to our ears. A loud mix seems to have more bass and more highs…even if that’s not really the case. A lower volume gives you a “flatter” response to work with…which is ideal.
“How loud should I mix?” you ask. Some folks like to get SPL meters and measure it out. I don’t. Graham made a great point in yesterday’s podcast. Mix at a level where you can still comfortable hold a conversation with someone next to you.
Hey, it’s worth a shot.
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