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My cd sounds great on a home stereo but not in the car...why?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by JamesNylen, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. JamesNylen

    JamesNylen Member

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    Ok I have been working non stop on my first cd and it sounds great when I play it on the home stereo.No background noise,absolutely perfect sound quality....but when I play it in the car all of the sudden(I dont know if im explaining the sound right) its almost like it cant handle the bass and sounds like the recording was recorded all in the red levels. I mean its not like terrible but for example when I am palm muting a fast riff it like farts out in the car and sounds like it was recorded in the red when every single track was well below the red.

    A friend told me that mastering would proble take care of it...As I said it sounds perfect on the Home stereo.

    Will a good mastering program proble take care of it? I also have a TC finalizer express rackmount would that work or are the computer programs for mastering alot better?
     
  2. elambo

    elambo Member

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    Before deciding how to fix it, you need to know which of your two references is correct - the home stereo or the car.

    My guess is that your home stereo will be closer to ideal than the car (car stereos often suck), but you can't fix the problem without knowing what it is.

    I'd suggest you take a few CDs of music of a similar genre as what you're producing and listen closely to the overall sound. Bass response, treble response, etc. Do these CD's seem overpowering in your car in the way that you describe? If so, the problem is with your car stereo, NOT the recording. However, if these CDs sound well-balanced, you might have a problem in the mix of your songs.

    Whichever CDs you choose, you should favor ones that weren't "budget" recordings. Get something that was well recorded and well mixed and well mastered. The bigger name bands usually have the bigger budgets and use the top engineers.

    As for HOW to fix the problem - post the results of your listening test and maybe we can go from there...
     
  3. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    +1

    I listen to my stuff in the car, but I don't use it as a reference... cars have terrible acoustics in general.
     
  4. JamesNylen

    JamesNylen Member

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    Ok.... yeah my cd player is crapping the bed on me in the car...The lighted background on the player is nolonger working and I put the new john mayer trio cd in earlier and it had the same problem and sounded like crap...I dont think columbia records is short on recording budget and recording gear....so looks like a new cd player for the car is needed.
     
  5. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    I like to listen to my stuff in a bunch of settings. I am not going to be playing(nor others) it on great equipment all the time. I listen to masters in the car,crappy stereo's,even boomboxes,etc as well as in my monitors and home stereo. Fact is most people will be listening to it in less than perfect settings. I try to get a mix that is somewhat balanced in a variety of different types of players.:)
     
  6. juniorspecial

    juniorspecial Member

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    I think you need to rotate your tires.

    :D

    Go out and test drive a nice car. Like a Mercedes E series. Tell the guy that sound quality is very important to you.

    Get out on the highway, and crank that thing!

    :dude
     
  7. todaystomorrow

    todaystomorrow Member

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    i'm gonna vote for mastering........don't have any engineering experience, but I have heard what a good mastering job can do
     
  8. fin

    fin Guest

    be sure to go back a few years to find some of your favorite recordings for comparing mastering levels...

    as many folks on this board and elsewhere have pointed out- (and I strongly believe this based on my own ears) -

    many recent CD's are mixed like ****, all the levels compressed into clipping...not the way you want to go with your material I'm sure
     
  9. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    Not to jump in or correct you or anything - I'm far from an expert - but what you're describing sounds like the way albums are *mastered* nowadays, not mixed.

    I know lots of producers use lots of compression in tracking & mixing, but that uber-compression that we're all subjected to, the kind 'they' use to make every CD put out THIS FRIGGING LOUD ALL THE DAMN TIME is done in mastering.

    I don't know how to fix your problem, there's been some GREAT suggestions above, but PLEASE for the sake of the music, don't *rely* on the mastering phase to FIX any problems inherent in the mixes.

    Fix the mix. Treat the mastering stage as icing, the final sweetening to just top things off & make it wholly perfect. If you leave out the egg, milk or oil your cake is going to suck, no matter how sweet the icing, eh?

    --chiba
     
  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>Fix the mix. Treat the mastering stage as icing, the final sweetening to just top things off & make it wholly perfect. If you leave out the egg, milk or oil your cake is going to suck, no matter how sweet the icing, eh?<<

    Truer words were never spoken. :)
     
  11. JamesNylen

    JamesNylen Member

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    ah no worrys anymore I have tried the cd in my other vehicle (Nissan Xterra.I dont drive it cause the tire blew...:( ) and it rocked. so I was basing my comparison of the sound quality based on my Bmw cd player that has pretty much Sh*t the bed now :mad: . But anyways back to my other question....

    Could I get a pro sounding mastering job from the TC finalizer? or are computer programs better? and if so what is the best in the mid to pro level?
     
  12. elambo

    elambo Member

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    As it goes - it's not the arrow, it's the archer.

    You could get good results from either the Finalizer, or software, but it's not automatic. There's no golden preset. Good mastering engineers have real talent for what they do and if you're serious about this record you might consider having it professionally mastered.

    If that's not an option, the Finalizer CAN be a great tool. It's very easy to over do it with that box and ruin the sound, but if you favor the light side, it can be very good.

    I have to say it one last time -- strongly consider a mastering engineer if this project is important to you.
     
  13. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth

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    Start with what you have recorded. Are the tracks "good". This is totally subjective, but think about the instruments you are recording and how their frequencies fill up the available sonic spectrum. If you have a lot of low-mid information, your mix might sound good on a big system, but smaller speakers will fart out when you play your mixes through them.

    If you can get your mixes sounding good in a car, you're in good shape. As crazy as it sounds, I've also taken to playing my stuff through ear buds as MP3's because so many people get their music that way these days. Ideally, I'd like to make my music sound best on audiophile systems, but that's just not what people demand these days. consider where and how most people will be listening to your music, and then make sure your stuff can cut it in those environments.

    That's ambiguous advice, but it's also really important.
     
  14. JamesNylen

    JamesNylen Member

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    well I have a few songs up on My Myspace music if you want to check them out to see how bad or good the recording was.I will be adding hopefully another one(Hard rock/funky) if myspace will let me....(yeah ever try uploading a song to the internet with dial up on a big site like myspace....not pretty lol)....ps I am just beggining to start my recording studio and these songs on myspace were recorded: Guitar>Pod pro rackmount> M-audio fasttrack> laptop. So they arnt top of the line recording studio quality.So judge them only based on what was used....
    Also I did everything on it and I am neither a bassist or a keyboardist so judge those also by that standard lol:) :p
    plus they have been remixed and automation has been added now.So levels are better now than what are currently on the Myspace site.
    Listen to breakaway or the other if you want I guesslol I just like breakaway better
    www.Myspace.com/alongmyway
     
  15. Matt_Scogo

    Matt_Scogo Senior Member

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    I ran into the same problem a few months ago... and it was before Mastering.

    1) Make sure you EQ the room in which you record previous to recording. And each time you move or add equipment.
    2) A good mastering program should set the levels correctly.

    The good thing is you recorded digitally and can salvage any work thus far.
    MW
     
  16. elambo

    elambo Member

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    The problems I'd want to look at closer are in the ranges that MySpace doesn't allow to pass through freely. The MP3 is so compressed and grainy that it's very hard to hear the extreme highs and lower and even upper bass regions, and I think that's where your problems might be, if at all.

    I hear very little hi hat, although I know it's there. Also, compositionally, you have multiple melodies in the bass region (bass, guitar, lower end of rhodes part) that will compete very easily if you don't mix them right. With this MP3, there's too much going on in the upper bass region, so you'd have to decide for yourself when listening to a high-quality sample if the overall spectrum is balanced or not, and if the composition is asking too much of the ear (Even Mozart's melodies, which often had multiple instuments playing multiple different melodies simultaneously, strung together to form one "theme"). I think also that the timing is a little loose on some of those parts (a bit ahead of the beat here, a bit late there) and that's making it complex. Or send me a better MP3 and I'll listen again.

    Sorry - too hard to more of an accurate judgement based on such an affected MP3.
     
  17. NuSkoolTone

    NuSkoolTone Member

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    Since you didn't mention you have a pair of dedicated monitors, I'm going to say that's a BIG issue. It sounds like you "mixed" your cd to your home stereo, which is fine but may ONLY sound right on your home stereo. Home stereos are made to flatter what you have, while monitors pretty much tell it like it is.

    Getting a pair of monitors you can trust is KEY, followed by tuning the room you mix in. Not to be a downer, but it sounds like you're up for a re-mix. I SERIOUSLY doubt some "mastering" is going to fix it. If anything corrective home (I assume) mastering will probably just make it worse. It may fix what you're hearing, but may create new problems. Most likely the guitar riff with overbearing bass in your car is still present on your home stereo, but masked by it's freq response. Try cutting the low end below 200hz and let the bass take over there (Assuming it's following the guitar.) If you're lucky you can try some eq on your current mix and see if it helps, but for the parts you fix other parts may suffer.


    Good luck.
     

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