mixing challenge, tone-wise


...Mixed a home product, sounds good on the BX8 M audio powered nearfield monitors (respectable desktop monitors but not 'real' studio $$$ stuff).....burn a CD, and sounds more shallow and boomy bass on the car stereo (stock GM system)..

The BX8s are more 'hi-end' than your typical current home or car systems, so..
...How do you tweak a mix to sound good on lesser systems? thanks.


Silver Supporting Member
This is a great topic. We used to mix all of our analog mixes to
a cassette and go out to the car and listen to them there, and
also listen to them in the living room on a low-mid end system.
This is what most people had and listened to music on, so you
had to mix for that to a certain extent. Your high(er) end
studio monitors and gear were deceiving.

You need to know where your monitors stand EQ-wise and
where your car stands, and also consider your market.
I'm positive in the old days the mastering was different for
the mix going to vinyl and the mix going to cassette. If you're
mixing your bud's local band and know primarily their friends are
going to be listening to the disc in the car, then you want it to
sound good in the car. If you're sending demos off, then you
may want to mix differently. If you're mixing for a mass national
audience, you need to consider that.

It may take some listening and re-mixing back and forth to figure
out what you need to do EQing your mix for you car based on
what you're hearing in the studio.



A good mix should sound good on most systems, both at low and high volume levels. I use my car as the final testing ground for my mixes. Some mastering engineers keep crappy boom boxes in their mastering room to check their results.

Also keep in mind that many car audio systems have the bass intentionally enhanced. The best way to check it is to use a CD for reference, one that sounds balanced like you'd want your mixes to sound. Set the tone the way YOU normally like to listen, then compare.

It sounds like your problem is in your monitoring, and my guess (just because it's the most likely culprit) is that it's caused by the environment, though it could also be the monitors themselves. If you're getting phase cancellation of bass frequencies then you can't hear them, and you can't tell how muddy your mix really is. It's a long tricky topic. There are all kinds of fixes depending on the specific conditions of your listening environment. It could take a lot of reading and a lot of trial and error to fix it if you don't have an acoustical engineer to help you, or at least an audio engineer. Then again, it might not take much at all. An engineer friend of mine fixed 9/10 of my problems by slightly shifting the position of my monitors.

That last 1/10 is still a mother, tho...


Guitar Player
Platinum Supporting Member
I just happened to be in Guitar Center today and listened to a half dozen monitors, the bx8's being one. I'd say MichaelK hit it just right. The bx8 has upper mid emphasis and the bass isn't as full, campared to the others. That's not to say they don't sound good, because I thought they did, just be aware how they sound.

The mid emphasis and shallow, tight bass is going to make you mix bass heavy and eq out some mids, which is just what you heard in the car.

Find some CDs that have the sound you're after and listen to those through your monitors. Use that as your reference.


Another thing to do when you're not sure of your acoustics is listen through decent headphones, just as another reference.


Senior Member
What I do now, is put aiff files on the iPod, put it in the little transmitter in the car and listen to it on the car radio. No more CDs burned. I can put a LOT of mixes on an iPod. Then I sit there and take notes on what's missing, go back in side and add or subtract from the mix, re-bounce and listen to it in the car again.

Mixing should be done, if possible, in a fairly dead room, because you don't want the room adding reverb to the sound you're hearing out of the speakers.

I'm hoping to have another computer for mixing soon.


Originally posted by pbradt

Mixing should be done, if possible, in a fairly dead room, because you don't want the room adding reverb to the sound you're hearing out of the speakers.

The room shouldn't be dead, but sound good and pretty darned accurate (a tricky proposition - mine sure isn't). You want some reflections - just not the wrong ones.

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