Headphone sound vs Live sound

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by echos, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. echos

    echos Member

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    Okay, so I got a general question. It may be too broad to really make any suggestios but I'll throw it out there anyway.

    Here is the question:
    Do you have any suggestions on getting a tone thru cans that will in some way approximate the tone I'll get out of the PA? Again, I know you cannot "really" get spot on, but I'm just looking for general points that you guys have learned.

    So it is obvious that your sound thru any modeler will be different thru headphones vs thru a PA. But, I'm wondering how you guys deal with this. My particular situation is this:

    Play an HD500 thru a set of Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones. I only play out at one venue (chruch) which has 4 subs upfront and several PA speakers set up. (so I don't have to worry so much about tweaking to each particular venue).

    Anyway, when we play on Sunday, I don't have much time to analyze my sound (we play thru in ear monitors-which IMHO aren't very good anyway.) so I hardly ever get a chance to see what I really sound like out in the mix. Our sound guy is way too nice to be critical of anybody's sound. He used to work with some big name acts so he knows what he's doing, I think he just EQs us to his liking and that's the end of it. When I ask other musicians out in the congregation "How'd it sound" I get the typical, "sounded great man" reply. Anyway, any suggestions would be appreciated.


    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. burningyen

    burningyen Vendor

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    You're asking for trouble, but if you must, it will probably sound brighter and the FX will be less audible through the PA in a band context. So in your cans make it sound a bit darker and wetter than you would like. At least that's been my experience with HD280s. YMMV a lot depending on what PA you use.
     
  3. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    IMO, it's all about having the right cans. I have a pair of HD280s and they don't translate well at all. I had a similar experience with the AKG 240s I recently tried.

    On the other hand, I can dial stuff in on my ATH-M2X headphones with some degree of confidence of what it'll sound like through my Mackie MR5 nearfields as well as my K8s.

    That's not to say that I'm completely satisfied with the ATs. I'm looking to upgrade and the AKGs were something I hoped would replace them. I now have a set of Beyers on the way. Even so, the ATH-M2X work pretty darn well for a $20 set of cans.
     
  4. MikeNiteRail

    MikeNiteRail Member

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    My experience exactly! I've been trying to mix through my K10, which I use live, and jam/record though cans knowing that they don't sound ideal.

    I coul dial in for can use, but it would be too dry and bright live.
     
  5. Lele

    Lele Member

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    I agree 100% about asking for troubles!!
    Even if it is not enough at all, my suggestions are:
    - if you can: switch to mono when you edit your sound with the headphone (because I suppose you play mono in the mixer)
    - the gain level you adjust with the headphone will be too high for live playing
    - reduce treble frequencies (and probably bass freq too) because the PA at higher volume will enhance them; that is to say: you'll need more mid frequencies (and a lot of!)
     
  6. eclecto-acoustic

    eclecto-acoustic Supporting Member

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    My solution:

    Take the red line on this graph, and adjust your PC EQ accordingly. Get it flat (which is what a PA ought to be).

    Mix every patch mono (if you don't already), and expect it to sound really wet.

    That will get you much much closer. The difference will still be there.

    After that I'd either get in the tech's grill and ask him for his very honest opinion, and/or get another musically inclined buddy of yours to sit in for a few songs with the express purpose of critically listening to you in the mix.
     
  7. echos

    echos Member

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    Pardon my ignorance, but how do I do this? My PC doesn't have an EQ, that I know of. Thanks.
     
  8. eclecto-acoustic

    eclecto-acoustic Supporting Member

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    Most people either use a Creative sound card or RealTek onboard audio.

    In both cases, the manufacturers' websites have software that will invariably include an EQ. YMMV. Let me know what you have and I can find something for you if you aren't super comfy with your computer.
     
  9. echos

    echos Member

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    I think it's a Sima Tel sound card. But, if I running my headphones from the jack on the POD, does my CPUs sound card really matter?
     
  10. eclecto-acoustic

    eclecto-acoustic Supporting Member

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    Ah, I was assuming that you were getting sound from the computer while plugged in via USB. Sorry, been recording a lot lately.

    In that case, best of luck to ya. The headphone environment is "perfect" acoustically, which is a far cry from any space you are likely to find yourself in.
     
  11. s360guitarist

    s360guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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    +1 as I am just coming to the slow reality of all of these layers. I play at a church venue as well and do these things in order:

    1. set up my rig and dial in the tones I want from my amp.
    2. place the mic'd amp in a back room where it sent to the front of house.
    3. I go out in front of the PA to hear what is going on out front.
    4. Put the headphones on and dial in the mix I want to hear.

    I have noticed that the gain seems higher coming out of the front of house than in does in my headphones and even more than above in step 1. (Man the learning process sure is slow!)
     
  12. Lele

    Lele Member

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    One more suggestion about the different equalization between headphone and live.
    Often I used the 4x12 cab simulations, because with the headphone or at low volume it seemed to me that they were fuller, richer and more neutral.
    On the contrary, playing live or anyway at much higher volume this full sound is not ideal at all, specially in a band mix context.
    I found out that changing the cab simulation to 1x12 cabs (or 2x12 sometimes for cleaner tones) gives immediately a sound that cuts better without being too harsh in the high frequencies. So, before tweaking the eq too much, I'd suggest to try different cab simulations or even the mic simulations if your modeler can, when you want to readjust your tweaked tones.
     
  13. Titi1506

    Titi1506 Member

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    Here are some tips I've found during my tweaking time:

    1. Get the right headphones!
    I've tried many headphones. Sennheiser HD25, AKG K271 and Beyer DT-880 Pro. Some of them sounded good but pretty far from my studio monitors or/and PA system.
    The only one I've found with an approaching sound was the DT-880 Pro.

    2. Try your preset everywhere
    At the beginning I was used to make specific presets for my headphones, PA and recording. With the time, I've found out that it wasn't really the right approach. I make a preset and try it on different setups, headphones, recording, PA, Hi-Fi system, amp, etcÂ… I tweak it until it sounds acceptable on every system and perfect for the main use.

    3. Don't tweak your sound with only the guitar
    You can have a good standalone sound which doesn't cut thru the mix or sound muddy when you play with the band. I always tweak my tones with a backing track to be sure that it will sound right with other instruments.

    Hope it helpsÂ…
     

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