Mixing with headphones...cheaper...bad?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Pointbreakd, Aug 11, 2005.


  1. Pointbreakd

    Pointbreakd Member

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    I keep hearing that it's bad to exclusively mix through headphones...why?

    I can honestly say I hear things better with headphones, I can take apart the track easier and single out each instrument better than through monitors.
     
  2. melondaoust

    melondaoust Member

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    When I listen through headphones, there is a lack of "3D" to the sound.

    Always best to mix through speakers/monitors (IMHO). I find that you have a better perception of sound and panning (which is very important in a mix.)

    Again, all MHO...
     
  3. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    The main reason that I've heard people mention is that it is easy to get the reverb "wrong." Personally, I mix on speakers, but frequently check on headphones. I do most of my critical listening of other music on headphones.

    Bryan
     
  4. BramhallFan

    BramhallFan Member

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    The biggest problem with mixing on headphones are actually a few. First would be its not a "real" environment. If people will be listening on headphones chances are that they are not the same quality or driver design of the ones you may be using. Also on that there is no air between the driver and the listener. Your body will be making up for this lack of air an creating a false sence of sound. Also its not good for bass response. For there is no room in those headphones to recreate to low frequencies. You need space to make bass. HOWEVER..... picking out noises ie... pops, pings, sqeeky kick drum pedals, rattling guitar cabinets, its great for isolating the environment and picking out those sounds and therfore helping your problem. Typically Ill do that during tracking phase. check out my joint...

    www.redemptionstudios.com


    Tommy Hayes
    Chief Engineer
    Redemption Studios inc.
    tom.hayes@redemptionstudios.com
     
  5. Gerry

    Gerry Guest

    IMHO as a new DAW user, I've noticed two shortcomings mixing with headphones, when you play back on speakers (car or otherwise):
    1) You dialed in too much bass.

    2) You didn't pan the tracks enough (what sounds like real separation on headphones comes out much less noticable on speakers).
     
  6. Pointbreakd

    Pointbreakd Member

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    That's an awesome looking studio. Those are some good points...

    If I use stereo speakers as monitors will that work? Or do I need the real deal?
     
  7. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    I find that mixing with CHEAP or NASTY sounding headphones (not always the same thing) is 'bad' - or at least sounds bad to me. A good set of headphones can be a crucial mixing tool.

    --chiba
     
  8. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    I think most will tell you that you need flat-response studio monitors (typically "near field" style if you have a small studio space) to do it right, but then you should burn a test CD and try it out on a variety of sound systems--home stereo, car stereo, iPod (OK, I had to throw that in). The monitors have no special dynamic enhancement (especially on the low end) and therefore allow you to hear and work with the true color of your piece. That's an important step in your mixing and mastering, if not exactly the final step.

    I use the Behringer Truth monitors and they do fine, but there are several good ones to choose from out there. As always, depends how much cash you have in your jeans.
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    I use neither monitors nor headphones.

    I use the Force and go with my feelings. :)
     
  10. Pointbreakd

    Pointbreakd Member

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    Yah that's def a good way to go if you have no money...

    which I don't so it's looking like cheap monitors.
     
  11. BramhallFan

    BramhallFan Member

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    Well check it out. The best way to get to have the " secret " in mixing is you need to know what your speakers sound like. The only way to do this is to mix on whatever you have and then play the tunes on different speakers. A wide array of speakers. Its not nessisarily good to mix on crap sounding speakers ie. ns-10s.
    What you need to know is how the mix will react to different speakers. once youve got that your set.

    Stereo speakers will be fine just get used to what your working with.

    also listen to already mix/mastered records on your monitors in the studio to learn the charactaristics of your speakers.

    Tommy Hayes
     
  12. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    The low budget system I used for a long time was a pair of NHT speakers. You can buy used super zeros or super ones and a Hafler p1000 or Art SLA1 and still be under $300. Even good headphones will only get you 90% there and good headphones cost as much as budget monitors.
     
  13. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    I really don't have that option to mix or track with monitors... everything is headphones.

    My sanity check are my reference CDs. I have an intimate knowledge of how these CDs sound in different environments... car, room, and headphones.

    When I start getting 'lost', I use my reference CDs to get me back on track. The 'too much bass' is a great example. When I playback the mix and kinda feel that I have too much boom, I plop in my reference CD to listen on how the bass responds. This will tell me if I truly have too much bass or not.

    Burning a CD and listening in different environments is my last step. I go the car, listen to it on a cheap boom box, put the headphones one, etc. I try to use real world environments because the studio really isn't.

    Knowing your equipment and how it responds compared to a reference is not a perfect situation, but one that has worked in my particular situation.
     

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