How to make live performance sound good on any speakers


How to make live performance sound good on any speakers.?
because its driving me crazy, every time I make something on my headphones,
it sound very different on other systems :frowning:

tell me your experiences and techniques for mastering live sets.

here is my example.
(as I said, sounds good on my headphones, but translates bad on other speakers)


The secret technique is not to use headphones when mixing or mastering.


Yes I know, but for the moment I dont have any good speakers or even close sound proof room.


I use sonarworks headphone reference and goodhertz canopener plugins and am pretty happy with it, as I also dont have a sound treated room… (requires computer to work)


Generally, every PA or system is going to have it’s own character and it depends on what you are feeding- you mentioned mastering so I assume stems? I would stay clear of too much compression and watch them low mids. Some people prefer using mono.
Without “proper” room treatment, you are always going to be missing a little bit of something, but generally if your mixing skills are honed, it isn’t so bad that everything sounds way off in a live environment. Between headphones and some type of monitors and listening through as many types of formats as possible, it’s all in the mix. And the mix is dependant on the individual sounds.


Then you will have no control over the spectrum.
Coz that’s how sound rolls.


A good tip that no one listens to is to mix at low levels.


Also, headphones can work but they should be transparent… Many boost low end and that’s going to screw things up.


Thanks @nionmu, I was reading about this before and will definitely try it


cool, try it! both have free trials… if your headphones are in the list of measured devices, you could start immediatly


Same here (Studio Version). Jamming out patterns on headphones and after that fine-tune on monitors.



Mix. Test on as many different sound systems as you can get your hands on. Note your mistakes. Analyze how your monitoring system (headphones and/or studio monitors) sounds different from what you tested on. Mix again. Repeat.

Great monitors and headphones help to get there but they’re not the magic solution. It’s the work: trial and error. Good producers with crappy cheap monitors that they know inside out will make better mixes than lazy amateurs on the most expensive ones.

Also, know your target audience. Are you mixing in preparation of a live show on a big PA or for soundcloud users on laptops? Test accordingly.




Thank you guys, for the great tips and information.

maybe I used the wrong word in the OP, mastering instead of mixing.

because I mainly play live, without any stems.
and everything is mixed on the elektron machines.

so, do you have any experience in mixing for live,
or using some hardware mastering chains (compressors, limiters or Analog Heat for example)?

btw. nobody mentioned mixing and mastering with frequency and spectrum analyzing tools?



I find it impossible to produce with headphones, although I know a lot of people can.
Great monitors and a spectrum analyser are the bare essentials imo


Flat response monitor speakers are essential. Placed properly in a room. Mix on those an it will transfer to any system, although as already mentioned all systems sound different all spaces sound different.
On the house mixer, balance each channel to say -6db. This allows headroom. Watch the high frequencies, cut a 500hz scoop, an have a low shelf around 100Hz ready to back off if the lows are too much. Avoid boosting anything. Ask for tips at gigs from other players, sound techs etc Enjoy the learning process.


mmmmm Skrillex did an entire ep with just one side of a pair of krks…? The other side was blown…which is kinda like Mozart cutting the legs off a piano so he could write by fealing the vibrations because he was deaf…ha…but should indicate that if you know what your doing there are no excuses and you cant point at the gear.

If you know what you are doing you can work arround headphones. But its better to have flat response broadcast headphones that dont colour. They dont necessarily inspire you when you listen to music on them. Like a pair of ns10s they are actually horrible to listen to. But if you can get its sounding o.k. on them your 1/2 way thier.

Also another great tip at SAE way back, was using a REFERENCE TRACK…pick a track that you want your mix to sound like an do fast A/B comparrisons between the two. You will quckly get an impression like too much low mids, not enough presence. Kick to loud…that sort of thing. Its more of a starting point though and wont help finish or master a track. It wont expose the problems you cant hear…

Nice jam by the way…


Yep. Stop and listen to a reference track once in a while to help maintain perspective.

Also: if it’s possible to have a soundcheck, use it. You might find that your sweet kicks are boomy and loose in that particular room, and you need the engineer to cut some frequencies, or whatever. A few tweaks can make a big difference.


Thanks, I am starting to realise that is the only way :slight_smile:


I am traveling a lot and mixing on the go :-/