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Logic song is good with headphones, bad with mac speakers?


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I'm sure this has been asked before...but I'm pretty new to Logic pro 9 and pretty new to the forum still.


I haven't used EVERY feature of Logic, but only the things I think are necessary, like messing with the tracks and automations. I am making music in logic with really good quality noise-cancelling headphones. But the problem I've been having is that once I start blasting a song I made with just the mac speakers, it sounds awful...like not good quality at all, especially the bass.


I know that mac speakers don't have the best quality anyway, I'm using a 15" macbook pro 2.66 GHz Intel i7 with 4 GB memory 1067 MHz DDR3 that I got in June of last year.


I don't know much about the technical details of Logic that could possibly fix this. It's weird because other music I play from my itunes library doesn't sound magnificent through the mac speakers but decent enough to blast really loudly. I know I can catch much more detail making a song with my headphones, but the mac speakers seem to take a few elements of the song and lessen the quality of them, almost as if they don't belong, or make the bass fade in and out randomly when other elements of the song overpower it. (it sounds perfectly fine with headphones)


I would really appreciate help with this because this has been bugging me for a long time and I don't know what to do. I'm thinking of getting really good speakers to use with logic but a song in logic should at least sound decent enough to work just with my mac speakers.


Thanks! :D

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It's not really a Logic issue, but Logic (and any other DAW) has the tools to help. Balancing all the elements in your song so they provide mutual support rather than get in eachother's way - Mixing - is an art and not an easy one.


Firstly and most importantly, work the other way round. Get your mixes sounding nice on the laptop's speakers first, then add polish on your headphones. If you can make your song sound good on the built-ins then it'll probably sound decent on other systems too (including your cans.) Mixing on headphones exclusively is asking for trouble: they do weird things to the stereo picture, they're way more revealing than speakers (so things will sound 'fuller' better and more separated on them) and most models color the sound a fair bit too. For all intents and purposes it's impossible to get a nice sounding mix using headphones alone, and very hard if you mostly use headphones.


Secondly, it sounds like your bass is out of control. Not just your bass guitar, or your kick, but all the low frequencies in your tracks. Bass frequencies carry lots of sound energy which can easily overwhelm speakers - even though you'll never hear those frequencies, they'll be there, swamping your speakers and preventing them from making other sounds. That's probably why you're hearing things drop out now.


Try some low cut EQ on your kick, your bass guitar and any deep-sounding instruments. It's counter-intuitive: you don't need lots of bass frequencies in a song to give it punch. Try ditching everything under 100hz on each bass-heavy track while you balance out the whole song. Logic's channel EQ has a nice built-in meter (use the high resolution mode, and flip it between pre- and post while you solo the track) which will show you a lot of what's going on. Don't stare at that too long though: it's infinitely more important to listen than look.


Next up, think about compression on your bass and drums. That'll help keep the transients - where all the energy is - under control, and give everything else a bit more room. You'll need to study up on that, which brings me to...


Finally, I'd start reading up on the process of mixing. Get a handle on the theory and everything will start to come together much easier. It's not really about tools or plugins, more about a few basic concepts and guidelines. Mike Senior's book about mixing in a small studio is great. The internet is stuffed with free advice too, if you ignore the gear-fetish sites.

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