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how to make your music sound good on every sound system

Making Music For Every Sound System

“Loudness Wars” get a lot of hate that I feel is a bit unnecessary to be honest.

I like to think about it as more like “clarity wars” or “translation wars”.

You want tour music to sound clear and translate well on every sound system it’s played back on.

That often means limiting the dynamic range pretty heavily but not at the cost of the FEEL of the music.

I used to hate on loudness for loudness sake because I thought it means destroying the sound of the music but as my skills and ear developed I’ve learned that loudness is often just a byproduct of mixing for clarity or translation.

If you listen to drum and bass artists like Camo & Krooked, Sub Focus + Millbrook or left field bass artists like Tipper + Mr Bill you’ll notice that although their music is crazy loud when you run it through analyzers the actual sound of it is silky smooth and never abrasive.

Don’t hate on loudness as such. It’ll hold you back.

Make a short list of reference tracks that always sound good no matter the sound system you play them on. Listen to these reference tracks again and again on as many different systems as possible. If they don’t sound good everywhere then get different references.

Then carefully examine the mixes using spectrum analyzers, dynamic metering, and ideally the stereo image analyzed across the frequency spectrum (pure analyzer by Flux is by far the best analyzer I’ve found).

When you KNOW the tracks always translate on every system and you examine them carefully using the vest tools you can find you’ll have a good idea of what your dynamic, spectral and stereo targets are.

IZotope neutron also comes with a “Tonal Balance Control” VsT that I find indispensable for hitting these targets.

Hopefully that will help you find the balance you are looking for in your own music.

If you learned anything useful please consider checking out my renegade music coaching community and record label over at

Lots of love

Dylan aka ill.Gates

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