How to make live performance sound good on any speakers


And thats the million dollar question, how to understand the translation to big systems?


Through experience. But really, just try to mimic recordings that are references for you, that should be enough. There is absolutely no way a “big system” can sound like your headphones, so abandon this idea.


I often say that but reading @cube48’s second suggestion bellow was definitely the most mind-opening experience related to mixing. Really helps understand what is going on with your sound.
Nothing like a bit of theory taught pedagogically when you have no clue what’s wrong.


as a semi-pro mastering engineer, (maybe full pro someday if I can grow my client base) I can tell you, the fastest way to improve your overall sound and have it ‘translate’ on any speaker system is to standardize your listening environment. whether it be headphones, monitors, or hi fi speakers - start listening, at a set volume that does not change, to OTHER people’s music (lol) and begin the sobering process of measuring your work up against what you know sounds good.

I’ll ‘check’ my work on other systems, but the truth is if I KNOW how it’s supposed to sound on my system, and i get it THERE, it’s going to sound good anywhere.


I am half tempted to message Richard myself on his opinion/process on how he uses his visual tools to achieve a better mix and how much he relies in it.
I would assume ME’s in big money studios could very well get the same results without visual analyzing, due to the fact their talents and hard work …ended them up where they are.
It only makes sense, especially if you happen to be mastering other people’s music, to have as many tools at your disposal at that level. They are also very techy and just nice to look at.
But we are talking bedroom fundamental stuff, knowing how, to a degree, pick out frequencies by ear…and I agree with the last post, know your system.



I bought myself a New Year’s Eve present . A Subpac M2X.

I urge you to try one out , because combined with decent metering you can get a really good reference for your low end while working in headphones . It will also give you a truly immersive experience when playing live in nature. Check it out. I think you will be blown away…


holly shit, it is like massage chair with your bass sound :smiley:
is it really that good?
how does it feel?

thanks for the suggestion @zeropoint


It feels , quite simply, amazing.

I find I can easily isolate conflicts between the kick and the sub and check energy levels against a reference track in the same key to make sure a project is doing the proper bass business. It most definitely is not a simple rumble back. You can feel and hear the tonal differences in the basses of different tunes.

Also means you can run the volume in your phones at a lower level as the low end is just so damn thrilling. Those frequencies definitely perform some magic too - I always end my listening / feeling sessions in a distinctly elevated mood…

Let us know how you get on if you decide to give one a try.

As for me, strapping myself in and heading back to Anjuna Deep…


currently listening with my headphones… dt 770 proi

kick sounds good. is that AR silky? sounds nice, but only on headphones… my rokits dotn sound that good.

I am in the same boat man! … what i do with headphones doesnt sound good anyhwere else unless there is a subwoofer…
i thought its just cos I am a shit producer…

i like your style and slow build up… good stuff man! not many youtube vids keep my attention for 7 min!


…low end and low mids are the mud u have to be aware of…
under headphones u know ur lost if u go for big pa bottom end like sound…
if the grumble is just right under headphones, u can be sure it’s way too much grumble on bigger speakers…

a hard lesson to learn, i know…because it means ur missing out quite some fun while producing under headphones…but that’s the way it is…if you want it to rock in the end for real , u got to demud a lot in first place…

keep always in mind…pushing the low end is easy to do on the fly at any time…but getting rid of it, if it’s once and already in the signals and all over the place, is a pain in the ass…
if u wanna be sure and safe…produce thinner right from the beginning…lowest octave must be clearrly defined…always…and get something like an analog heat at the end of the chain to pull the low end trigger full on anytime u need it for real…


Getting a Subpac was the best gear decision i made in the last years. If you like bass you should at least try it. I just love this thing.


Nothing can replace a good reference track. Comparing your track against it even on shitty headphones or monitors tells you how “shitty” your track has to sound through it (Of course if you cannot hear whole parts of the spectrum on the listening environment that’s a completely different problem).


youll need a nearly flat headphone (beyerdynamic dt 770 as a cheap closed one or a sennheiser hd 600/650/660 as a open one) and on the venue you should use something like a dbx driverack pa2, its a monitor management system that flatens out room acoustics. but this only works in a certain area of the room where you place the measurement mike during soundcheck.

the subpack is good to feel whats happening in the sub bass below 80 hz, because thats a bit difficult to hear over headphones. make shure, the kick is in tune with the scale of the song.



Ok, after reading all your great replies, (BIG THANKS TO EVERYONE)
I finally decided to build up my studio with acoustic treatment.

it was a DIY project, because I didn’t want to spend too much money on this experiment :slight_smile:
so I build bass traps from wooden frames and mineral wool insulation
and I bought some cheap foam for diffusion.

here is the final setup:

and the result was great, no more reflections and reverb from walls (it is a small room 3x3m)
but still my monitors weren’t so great (Alesis M1)

…and then I decide to buy Sonarworks reference!!!
(thanks @nionmu and @finalform for the info)

… man, this thing changed everything!!!
there is so much clarity when I turn on the plugin.
Finally it is pleasure to work, and I fill comfortable listening to sounds
I can spend hours in the studio without ear fatigue.

so my final thought is: spend as much as you can on room treatment, but don’t hesitate buying sonarworks. It changed my work in the studio, and makes my ears smile every time I turn on the plugin.

*I can post a new topic with describing my DIY project if you want.


This great picture would also fit nicely in the “your setups” thread :wink:


it’s done :wink:


Well done looks great. What helped me was upgrading my monitors and in particular, buying Izotope Neutron & Ozone.


Can you tell us more about your lighting setup? Looks really cool.


Thanks @Munro!
The lightning is simple old blue neon light below the desk, and some cheap disco laser toy for the color spots :slight_smile: