I am involved with an app for the iphone in which I am doing the cut cinematics for the game. What I am quite weary about is if I should mix this like I would a film, or do I need to mix the dialogue and everything else a little louder with less dynamics due to overall gain/volume of the Iphone headphone output. Basically apply some heavier compression akin to today music. I really would hate to do that, but I do not want my dialogue to slip away from intelligibility when someone is listening to it on their speakers, I know Ill pretty much lose my BGs and most softer fx when on the built in speakers.

I have never really done a test to see where and what the sweeter levels are for the phones headphone amp.

Tomorrow I am going to export some different reference tones and dialogue at different levels to see where things fall away.

Just curious if anyone else has any experience with it.

4 Answers 4


You have a rare opportunity: You're mixing for a known platform, and even better, a known device (well, two, if you count iPhone and iPad). No errant theatrical calibration woes, no home-TV-setting guesswork, no network affiliate variables. Mix, test, refine, repeat. Iteration is the best way to let your ears anticipate what wil happen. Don't guess at the solutions when you can render out mixes and try them on the device itself!


Is there any info on how most people listen to their iphone's? I don't own one, but I have to believe that a reasonable % of the audience is listening via headphones or out the headphone jack into some better system. Your approach to a mix would have to be very different if you are going for 1 or the other or both audiences.

I wouldn't be surprised if the the software can tell whether the headphone jack is in use. Depending on your sound engine, you may be able to modify your master bus fx based on this.

good luck

  • 1
    The iPhone definitely does know when the headphone jack is in use, though it would be up to the developer to implement the switch over to the onboard-mono-speaker-optimized version. Doable, as far as I know. Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 18:23
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    That's something that I'd thought would have been implemented in the bigger budget games (at least) by now, such as Assasin's Creed or Spiderman...
    – Kurt Human
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 12:35

I have my iphone connected to my mix system at all times. I do a mix, drop it onto the iphone, pop on the headphones, modify the mix, repeat until happy


I have had material kicked back because I used too much low-end. Also, slight compression on the master stem helps even it out as you said.

Shooting your speakers at a lower db is one technique to getting louder, yet more comprehensible mixes without using compression. This will naturally crank your mix.

Using a compression setting used on todays pop music would ruin your mix. The reason why its cinematic is because of dynamics, not because its just loud as hell constantly... however some action directors would disagree. Theres always people that disagree.

Good luck,


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