Mixing for Cellphones

The old days are gone. We used to mix to satisfy the book shelf speakers because that is what most people used to listen to music. But today, the cell phone and tablet could be, and in many cases is the device people listen to music on most.

I have found that I use compression very differently now. In a cell phone the voice and anything in the voices range pops out dramatically. So compressing and EQing is more tricky than ever. How do you create space for vocals and instruments on a tiny little mono device? It is different than the bookshelf speaker for sure.

I recently studied a few popular songs like Radio Active by Imagine Dragons. I listened to that song on my cell phone. The big bass drum was completely gone! Did the imaginer even consider a cell phone customer? It did not seem like it.

So I have found that I have to strike a balance between the book shelf concept and the cell phone. I work it until the vocal sounds very low in the mix but very present on the big speakers. That generally translates to a good cell phone mix.