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smokeyvw
Forum Full Member


Registered: 06/13/06
Posts: 7157
Location: N/A
 
audio mix seems to change when uploading to MacJams
Sunday, June 18 2006 @ 06:55 AM CDT

this might not really be a MacJams problem per se, but something is wrong.

perhaps there is a problem with the audio on the iMac. it seems like Apple did a little sound "sweetening" on the audio output.

or perhaps Bose did it in my external speakers.

there is a method of "enhancing" stereo done by cross mixing the left and right sides out of phase. unfortunately it means if you mix a song on a computer like this, it will sound OK on that computer, but if you play it on something else. it's very different, and usually undesirable.

i don't have all the evidence yet, but if you play a monophonic audio file on my iMac it sounds awful. something is definitely wrong.

the symptoms i've noticed is that vocals smack in the middle end up sounding way too loud on a different player (like in my car) - also the bass ends up being way too loud.

i read several posts that mention the effect of the mix changing when you upload it. since i've only read a small fraction of all posts on MacJams, i'll bet this happens a lot.

ginz111
Forum Regular Poster


Registered: 02/13/05
Posts: 107
Location: Chicago,
 
Re:audio mix seems to change when uploading to MacJams
Sunday, June 18 2006 @ 07:08 AM CDT

dont use itunes to listen to your music.
ginz111
Forum Regular Poster


Registered: 02/13/05
Posts: 107
Location: Chicago,
 
Re:audio mix seems to change when uploading to MacJams
Sunday, June 18 2006 @ 08:22 AM CDT

Well I should have said turn off the "sound enhancing" garbage in itunes.
smokeyvw
Forum Full Member


Registered: 06/13/06
Posts: 7157
Location: N/A
 
Re:audio mix seems to change when uploading to MacJams
Sunday, June 18 2006 @ 01:15 PM CDT

there is only one option in iTunes that seems to fit: sound check. i'll give it a try, but it claims to only equalize the volume, there is no mention of any other "enhancing."

what i hear played in GarageBand sounds pretty much like what i hear in iTunes. the trouble is that if i burn on audio CD from iTunes and play it on a ordinary CD player, then the mix sounds wrong. that makes me suspect that *all* the sound coming from the iMac has been modified in some odd way.

any ideas about another reason this could be?

BTW - i agree that any of the sound enhancing stuff should be avoided - certainly in any serious music production stuff - if it's there, you'll be optimizing your mix to sound good on just your setup - anyone else is going to end up hearing something totally different. what's really nasty is what happens when you enhance already enhanced sound...
pgreenstone
Forum Full Member


Registered: 12/01/04
Posts: 950
Location: Roxborough, Colorado USA
 
Re:audio mix seems to change when uploading to MacJams
Sunday, June 18 2006 @ 02:07 PM CDT

Well, the Sound Check option in iTunes only effects the overall volume. The Sound Enhancer option (yes, there is one in the iTunes prefs) will effect the playback sound quite dramatically, evn more than the EQ. But neither will actually change the file in any way. Uploading the mp3 to MJ will not change the file in any way. They don't do anything to the file when they get it. Of course, the act of compressing the music to an mp3 affects the audio quality though only a very tiny bit if you do it at a high quality setting. Anyway, the music is likely going to sound different when it's played from the player on the MJ page than it will sound when played in iTunes or on your stereo because the Quicktime player in the browser plays back the audio without any additional EQ or other enhancement that iTunes or your stereo is going to add if those things are on.

Obviously, one stereo system is going to sound different from another due to any number of basic things like the speakers or headphones, the amplifier, the tonal settings, and the space it's in. It's good to test the mix out on as many as you can to try to find the best balance.

Sooooo sleepy.
smokeyvw
Forum Full Member


Registered: 06/13/06
Posts: 7157
Location: N/A
 
Re:audio mix seems to change when uploading to MacJams
Sunday, June 18 2006 @ 06:41 PM CDT

you make lots of good points. i need to explain where i'm coming from i guess.

first of all, this whole area is *very* subjective.

i know mp3 compression subtlety changes sound - you generally can hear if you listen carefully doing an A / B comparison. but that's subtle. i'm looking for something pretty blatant.

i absolutely agree you have to "test listen" your mixes on every sound gear you lay your hands on. my understanding is that's especially true if you're seriously after commercialzing your stuff. basically you want it to sound good for every potiential customer, no matter what they're using to listen to it. that, i imagine, is very hard to do.

my concern is that when i'm setting volumes in GarageBand on my songs, i want to have a reasonably "true" version of what i'm doing coming out of my speakers. that's cause if, for instance, i think a vocal is buried, or too hot, when i raise or lower the dbs, i'd like a reasonably close sense of what it's going to sound like an most sound gear. i understand they're all somewhat different, but my fear is that the sound i hear from my setup is *dramatically* unlike most systems. that's bad. very bad. i need to locate and correct that.

i had noticed the bass volume varied like crazy on my mixes when i played them in my car (which is probably better than the sound gear on my iMac). i tried it out on our CD player in the kitchen and also noticed the same issue with bass volume. (i probably need to upgrade my sound system on my iMac - right?) my guess is that i couldn't really hear the bass when i mixing, so it was basically random. it's especially variable on mega-low bass - like the bass drums on appleloop deep house loops.

now, inconsistent bass, i could attribute the poor bass response on my speakers on my iMac (they're little Bose speakers). but inconsistent vocal levels is another matter.

my concern about vocals is based on how a plain old mono sound file sounds on my iMac: which is basically very bad. that can't be explained by poor bass speaker response. my hunch is that that is related to why sometimes vocal mixes come out way too loud when i play a mix in my car, compared to how it sounds on my iMac.

finally, the way i get all my mixes from GarageBand to a CD is via iTunes. it's the only way i know how. it would be nice to rule out iTunes as the culprit. from what you say, i should not be concerned about that. (although i did not find any preferences relating to Sound Enhancer - where is that accessible? - i'd like to be sure it is not enabled.)

if iTunes were changing the sound, then everything downstream from that: my car CD player, my kitchen CD player, MacJams(?), would be subject to the mixing problem.
pgreenstone
Forum Full Member


Registered: 12/01/04
Posts: 950
Location: Roxborough, Colorado USA
 
Re:audio mix seems to change when uploading to MacJams
Sunday, June 18 2006 @ 07:45 PM CDT

I'm a little bit confused about what you are asking about. If you think the sound coming out of your computer speakers is dramatically inferior (or just very different) to what you hear in all the other stereos you try then I suppose, based on how you describe the sound, that you need some better speakers on your computer. Others here can probably better recommend speakers to you. I may have missed it but I don't think you told us what kind of speakers you are using on your computer now.

Anyway, the Sound Enhancer in iTunes is right above the Sound Check option in the iTunes prefs which you seem to have found (just look up). But like I said before neither the Enhancer nor the EQ effect the file or how it is burned to CD. Those things merely affect the playback when you listen in iTunes. Burning the CD in iTunes should not change the sound quality or balance in any way.

Did you listen to the CD you burned on your computer in iTunes to compare with the original audio file already in the iTunes library? (To clarify) Did you listen to the CD in iTunes or only on other stereos? They should both sound exactly the same when played in iTunes.

I think what it will come down to for you is having the right kind of speakers plugged into your computer so that you are getting full well-balanced sound to mix to.

Sooooo sleepy.


 
Re:audio mix seems to change when uploading to MacJams
Sunday, June 18 2006 @ 08:29 PM CDT

Quote by: smokeyvw
there is only one option in iTunes that seems to fit: sound check. i'll give it a try, but it claims to only equalize the volume, there is no mention of any other "enhancing."

what i hear played in GarageBand sounds pretty much like what i hear in iTunes. the trouble is that if i burn on audio CD from iTunes and play it on a ordinary CD player, then the mix sounds wrong. that makes me suspect that *all* the sound coming from the iMac has been modified in some odd way.

any ideas about another reason this could be?

BTW - i agree that any of the sound enhancing stuff should be avoided - certainly in any serious music production stuff - if it's there, you'll be optimizing your mix to sound good on just your setup - anyone else is going to end up hearing something totally different. what's really nasty is what happens when you enhance already enhanced sound...



Remember a few things, never mix with just headphones... the center will almost always be lower than when played on another system. Get some studio monitors to do your final mix. Or, listen on several systems, and adjust accordingly, the way you are mixing so far. It may not sound right on your computer, but ask yourself, "Where do I want it to sound the best? BTW, I believe the "car" system is your best sound booth.

If you can afford "PEAK", by using the MDA MultiBand Compressor, you can also choose the "Stereo Enhance" option slider to achieve that "wideness" you get from the iTunes Enhancer, which will be included in the export of the final AIFF.

The following is an example of stereo widening using PEAK MDA Multi (and a few other tricks):

Song of Ages

Leebo
Forum Newbie


Registered: 03/25/04
Posts: 11
Location: N/A
 
Re:audio mix seems to change when uploading to MacJams
Monday, June 19 2006 @ 06:14 AM CDT

I have the same problem with the bass - far too boomy when played on other systems. Now before exporting to iTunes I always reduce the bass in the Master Track as a matter of course. Even then it sometimes sounds too boomy.
 
smokeyvw
Forum Full Member


Registered: 06/13/06
Posts: 7157
Location: N/A
 
Re:audio mix seems to change when uploading to MacJams
Monday, June 19 2006 @ 05:44 PM CDT

i think i need to invest in some better speakers. or else mix my tunes in my car Wink

thanks, all!