How to make live performance sound good on any speakers


haha, maybe thats why it sounds like chopped chainsaw :stuck_out_tongue:
I am kidding of course, I respect his work.

the main challenge with the headphones (Presonus HD7) is that everything sounds great,
I can hear every detail, and once I put it on average speakers, I get no more then 50% of that.

and thanks for listening the jam :slight_smile:


It’s not 100% the same but I have a pair of Audeze LCD-X “planar magnetic” headphones and they go a long way towards achieving a neutral & honest response. They do a pretty good impression of a pair of monitors, they do not flatter at all. Sonarworks might even improve things a bit more. Also if you’re travelling and working on headphones make sure you at least have a decent audio interface like an Apogee doing the D/A conversion.

Nothing beats good monitors in a treated room but the LCD-X come a lot closer than I thought possible. Even just upgrading to a pair of DT 880 Pro would probably help you quite a bit.


woow, those are expensive headphones, but sure looks nice and promising.
I was thinking about new adam audio SP-5, half of the price :slight_smile:

btw. DT 880 Pro looks great, I think I will try them.

thank you for the info @finalform


it’s not just PA question, it’s more complex.
the room itself also emphasizes/resonates certain frequency ranges and suppresses certain other frequency ranges.
so sound check and frequency corrections by sound engineer (or by yourself) is the only way.


Most budget monitors and headphones aren’t flat, and aren’t going to tell you the truth. You need some extra help.
Using a spectrum analyser and constant A/B’ing with as many professional reference tracks as possible, and learning how these professional tracks look on the analyser will over time make it possible to see where your tracks frequencies differ, thus requiring boosting or cutting.
The frequency graph never lies, always tells the truth regardless of the environment it’s in, and over time you will learn what looks ‘right’, and this then used in conjunction with good headphones or monitors should get you much further than just using headphones or monitors alone.
Even when just casually listening to music I have it running through my analyser, and over time it becomes apparent just by observing this frequency graph, what a great track not only sounds like, but looks like.
To me the analyser is equally as important as my monitors in my studio


so thats another reason for the headphone solution, it sounds the same, whereever you are… and you do not disturb your neighbours when working on a kickdrum for half an hour late at night :sweat_smile:

I have DT880 and headphone amp and it sounds great

but all the other good tips apply for this setup too, of course

i have a low budget set of monitors too, where i listen back and in the car is also good idea i think, cause i know how other tracks i like translate in the car…

btw, i think your example video sounds pretty good, nothing is completely off in my opinion… maybe the snare is a bit to harsh/loud sometimes…


sounds good from here man

dont worry about it and just keep putting stuff out :+1:


Thanks @mattleaf, I really appreciate your comment, especially when it comes from somebody with so much experience :slight_smile:

btw. great projects on your web page


That is the answer I was looking for!
now I just have to learn how to use spectrum analyser, because it looks kind of messy for the moment :smile:
do you have any tips what to look for in this graph?
do you analyse separately or the whole mix?

Thanks @psyclone001


Sorry, I have to disagree about the usefulness of visual spectrum analysis.

It can be useful for troubleshooting, like discovering that your track is being messed up by subsonic frequencies, but I’ve found that great-sounding tracks can LOOK like anything. It can be quite shocking to realise that a great-sounding track has nothing going on above 8khz, or below 100hz, for example; but that’s often enough the case; and you would never get that result if you were relying on visual analysis rather than listening; you would ruin the track with unnecessary EQ changes.

I absolutely agree that A/Bing with reference tracks to study EQ is excellent training. I would just be wary of relying at all on eyes rather than ears.


The more I read about it, the more I feel like mixing a track NEEDS a lot of time.
It’s impossible to nail a mix on first try and you must consider that you will a need few weeks of mixing, tweaking, listening on several devices and resting your brain and ears to get to a point where the mix is robust and works for you on most devices.
Never ever expect a mix to be quick, always plan for a longer mixing phase than you think.


now I am more confused then before :slight_smile:

so, what to do, what to trust? ears or eyes?
maybe both in balance


but, as one of my favorite musician once said, there is no perfect mix, just accept it and move on!


No mastering needed, just be prepared to adjust your levels on stage (a small analog mixer helps here). All sound systems sound different anyway.

  • Avoid too much reverb as the room will probably have it’s own verb on top of that.
  • Don’t count too much on stereo.
  • Watch the low end as things can get muddy real quick there. There’s usually a lot more bass on stage so be prepared to adjust the kick/bass levels. Give room to the kick.


Never used an analyzer. Useful I suppose for weird samples to weed out sub stuff. And each track has it’s own character and set of “rules”. If there is a remarkable peak or null, you should be hearing it anyway, I think.
So, yes, rely on your ears.


Exactly! And better mix 100 hundred tracks than the same one over and over again, because there will always be something to tweak


Most venues hosting a live act be it acoustic or electronic will have an in-house engineer making sure levels etc are ok for the sound system, your job is making sure your stems, samples and various instrument levels are balanced and have a balanced master mix, if the engineer is any good and your mix is balanced you should be good to go.
If there is no in-house engineer then you still have to make sure your master mix is well balanced and hope that the system is well set up.
If the sound system sucks and the engineer is on crack then doesn’t matter how well mixed your tracks are… my point being; there’s only one thing you can control, and thats your mix, and getting a good mix has nothing to do with if you’re using headphones or how flat you’re monitors are, it’s how well you can translate what you hear from your headphones or monitors into what it will sound like on a big system.
Thats why you hear of artists producing albums on broken monitors or whatever, because they know how what they are hearing translates to a big system.
A friend of mine once produced an entire EP that was commercially released on an old Bose portable speaker and it sounded amazing.
Learn to “hear” whatever monitors you are using, listen to your mixes on as many speakers as possible and keep A/Bing, you’ll soon understand what your monitors are telling you and will create better sounding mixes, but it takes practice. If there is a venue or a system than you can play on often, even better, keep listening and making tweaks to your mix, you’ll eventually train your ears. Ok, I’ll shut up now


An analyzer is absolutely key. Even a pro studio that has $5k monitors is checking an analyzer. There are frequencies you cannot hear. It’s even more necessary in a home studio. If you used an analyzer and learned the limitations of your Apple Earbuds you could still make a decent mix.


tc clarity M

used by the good ol richard devine, must be good right ;D

outside of what has been mentioned here already, for live performance really watch your M/S mix and make sure you get rid of as much bass frequencies leaking into the stereo field. huuuuge difference to get the subs to work properly. hard to tell without external tools- inaudible on certain speaker setups


Exactly. I don’t have a pro studio but I do have $5k monitors.
The analyser is the first thing you will see in every mastering engineers multi million dollar studio. Well maybe second, after their monitors.
Is one of those things where if you don’t use it, you literally don’t know what you are missing