Crucial audio tool: Your car stereo

It’s not just about how good your track sounds in the studio, the true test of any mix is how it sounds on your car stereo. After spending so much time in the studio making it perfect why on earth would you bother playing it on your car stereo? Here’s a few reasons why the car stereo is such an important tool.

It’s the worst place possible

Listening to music in your car is just about the worst listening environment possible. Due to where the speakers are placed, no one is in the sweet spot and the space is confined and has terrible acoustics. Basically, if you can get it sounding good here you can get it sounding good anywhere…


They’re the speakers we use the most

I bet like me and most other people, your car stereo is the audio system you use most, maybe even more than your studio monitors. Because most people will listen to your tracks when cruising in the car, it’s crucial that it sounds good on car stereos. It’s true that most people aren’t engineers but that doesn’t mean they don’t know what sounds good. Anyone can compare your tracks to awesome sounding mixes they normally listen to so they’ll soon know if your mix doesn’t sound quite right…

It’s not proper stereo

These days most producers and engineers don’t think for a second about how their mixes sound in mono, because they presume that everyone’ll be listening to it on stereo systems. Playing it on a car stereo shows you what it sounds like without the proper stereo imaging you get from studio monitors.

Mix sounds disappointing? Take it on the chin

Don’t worry if your mix sounds terrible on your car speakers but sounds amazing on your studio monitors. We’ve all been there… It’s an important learning experience so just take it on the chin and make sure you learn from it so next time you know how to stop it sounding boxy or too bassy. Don’t just check it on car speakers, make sure you listen to your mixes on cheap bookshelf monitors and iPhone speaker and headphones too. Most people don’t have professional audio monitors so you need to know how they’ll be listening to it and make it sound good on those systems too. It’s not easy but that’s why mixing is such an art form, so the sooner you start making mistakes and learning lessons the quicker you’ll develop into a top audio engineer.

Joe Scarffe

Joe Scarffe

Joe is the CMO at Twine.

When he’s not moaning about the state of the music industry or public transport in Manchester, he works with the Twine community and handles social media, the blog and partnerships with companies and institutions.