mastered track distorting on phone to avoid this?

I started mastering with Ozone 9 a few months ago and every once in awhile a mastered track of mine will sound distorted on iphone speakers (not on my macbook pro speakers). Many of our songs that are sold here are used in adverts, fb videos, etc that people watch on iphones. So my question is how to avoid this? I just finished a track today. I’m pretty sure I mixed it and mastered it fine and it sounds great on headphones,etc but not on a phone. Any tips or tricks? Thank you!

Here’s the track ( i know it’s a weird track but all my tracks are kind of experimentalish lol…kind of my niche)

Kabbalistic Village · Northern Hemisphere

Set your limiter on -0.5 db. Mp3 compression sometimes do not work correctly and signal is clipping. Some streaming services suggest -1 db. But i tested on mp3 and -0. 5 is ok, no distortion on even bass driven tracks. For Souncloud maybe -1 db is correct value


I used to master with -0.5db for peaks, at that time they were just “peak” not “true peak” (which takes into account the fact that you are not clipping digitally but could in the analog domain).

Then I switched to -1dBTP as it was mandatory for some platforms, but today I lowered a bit more and I am at -1.3 or -1.4dBTP, while maintaining a reasonably loud -10dB LUFS.

You don’t have to go as low as -1.4, but I really recommend -1dBTP as this seems to be pretty standard, and this way you won’t have to fear any distorsion when converted to lossy codecs.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

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@KabbalisticVillage .

There are multiple harmonic distorsion build-ups due to resonant percussive elements. And all of those are fighting in the same frequency range. The percussion section itself is way too loud and obviously, it emphasises the resonances. Try to lower the percussion, use some resonance attenuators, ( soothe is a great tool , but some others may help, too) And most important is the Phase rotation. Take a moment and watch this video.Hope it helps.
The FIRST Step to Mastering a Song: Fixing Phase Rotation | Mastering Masterclass Ep. 4 - YouTube. ( Setting the peak value at -1 dB or -10 dB wont help, so don’t bother )


I think that the ceiling at -0.3db true peak is enough. Let us know!

thank you i will check that video out.

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Wow,; excellent video, thanks!

Now, for the -1dB, I now realize it will be important for the mp3 or other conversion… but not for the distorsion heard on phone speakers, you are totally right!

In the past I had distorsion on some tracks, when listening on a small bluetooth speaker… driving me crazy, and maybe this was the reason.

The thing is now, how can you achieve this phase fixing without having to buy the full rx suite?

Oh, I am realizing RX6 Elements which I got a long time ago does indeed the phase rotation suggestion shown in the video. The thing was to use the standalone version.
Would it be something to try on each finished track, to see if there are phase issues?

Hey @frozenjazz . Actually , RX has some unique features, one of them being assymeyrical phase issues fix. There are some other tools but these need to be manually tweaked. You don’t need to buy the full version of RX. The RX 7 Elements has the adaptive phase rotation feature. You just need to render the mix before before the limiting or compression process and fix the phase offline. ( the RX elements does not come with the phase plugin option) .
Back on topic. Some distorsion and unwanted saturation may be induced during the mixing phase due to improper gain staging. Yes, is a long debate about that, but some little artifacts here and it ends up with lots of artefacts and saturated resonances.

Very useful link, but it wotks when analogue consoles and real instruments used, not sure it very useful when you record inside DAW using VSTs

@LumenMedia . How did you come to this conclusion? Assymetrical phase anomalies are present in digital domain aswell in analog domain. Actually in analog domain they are not quite critical due to the tolerance.

Well, that’s what i know. Need to check it on my files too. It’s usually visible on waveforms, but not sure i saw this before, may be because i am not interested in such. Need to check. P.S. By the way - in aformentioned videos such artefacts affects loudness, this not about disrtotion. I mean less headroom for mastering.

When phase anomalies occured, they may exceed the hard limit imposed by the digital physics. 0 dbFS is a hard limit. You cannot exceed that limit.Everything which exceeds the 0dbFS limit is digital distorsion. Using that as a deliberate act as soft digital saturation ( clipping) is a common practice but it is a distorsion, nevertheless. When it comes to analog domain, we are talking about the dBVU, translated as - 18 dbFS. Everything that exceeds 0dbVU is analog distorsion, saturation.

I usually saw problems with phase only on analogue recrods - mics, guitars, multichannel drums and guitars and so on. Does it happen on VSTs?

The phase issues happening during recording are different . These are happening due to mic positioning, Different cable lenghts, etc. The assyncron phase issues which are happening in digital domain have different varied causes. Izotope RX Phase — Fix Uneven or Asymmetric Audio Waveforms - YouTube.

Great example of distrortion. Bass have a lot more subs than it need to have, causing distortion with kick. It also sounds saturated, so it could be second cause of distortions. Resonatings frequencies is also issue here. Though track is great imo

Great video, great tips, thanks

Well. To be honest, and that is a personal approach. I am not advocating for saturation. Just my subjctive point of view. Using controlled saturation, it may be helpful . It adds harmonic content to audio material . Especially on sub frequencies which are hard to be heard on small speakers and/or earbuds, mobile phone speakers, laptops etc. So saturation is one way to add harmonic content. Of course, if overdo ,it may cause more harm. But we are comparing apples and oranges. Those distorsion may be due to not so great gain staging, or excessive bass content, or many other causes.

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Great article about reasons of such phase assymetry

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Yes. Very good article . i was about to link it a few moments ago. Add this to the ’ Gain staging article’ on SOS too, and the OP should easily find the culprit and the right answer to his questions. Gain Staging In Your DAW Software