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Mono mix checking

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Hi Guys,


I have made a fairly decent stereo 'master' of one of my songs using minimal processing:

a linear phase EQ, and a third party Limiter (Brainworx bx_XL) on the master track.

I have tested the bounced mp3 master on a few different stereo systems and it sounds good.

I then checked it's mono sound by using Logic's Gain plugin through my standard monitors and

it also sounds passably good.

However when I play my stereo master through my iPhone4 speaker, I notice it sounds

very different. It sounds like the overall volume of the mix is undulating and unstable, and

some sounds poke out louder than others.

Is there any obvious things I haven't done, or didn't do properly?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



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It's don't think it's a phase/mono issue when it's not a problem when checked in mono on regular speakers.


It could be inter-sample peaks. That will cause some small playback devices such as the iPhone, iPad, iMac and laptops to pump - but not other regular playback devices such as a sound card/monitors combo or a CD player (though it can cause some distortion there). You did say you experienced the level was undulating and some sounds popped up. This is exactly how inter-sample peaks affect protection limiters in small playback devices with built-in speakers.


Check your master with the free SSL X-ISM or simply lower it by a couple of dB (for checking). Then use an inter-sample peak protected limiter, such as the FabFilter Pro-L in 4x oversampling mode. However, you should still leave a couple of fractions of a dB in headroom, since 4x oversampling is no complete guarantee. You will also need to clip and limit less, since 4x oversampling will make your limiter pump more.


Finally, consider that the iPhone has a very limited frequency spectrum which will influence what you perceive.

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It's a not an area that's been researched or documented (ISPs affecting protecting limiters in integrated playback systems), as far as I know. The only informatioin on the subject is on Gearslutz, in threads I've written, and one other thread.


I would love to hear from an Apple tech guy on exactly what's going on at a hardware level, since I don't believe it's software related.

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Thanks guys for your input.

Lagerfeldt, I will look further into ISP, and get SSL X-ISM.

The issue though, has also led me to review my pre-master mix since

there is always room for improvement.

The fact that I have tried to maintain a lot of dynamics in most tracks

probably wasn't helping the matter either.

Revising compression settings on some of the main tracks has already led to a more even mix.

I might of wrongly gotten use to hearing and liking my music with a wide dynamic range on a lot of tracks.

And on top of that the potential of ISP would make things even worse.

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