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Roundup: Can You Really Mix On Headphones? Harrison AR

To complicate matters further, someheadphone amps are more of an afterthought(few are as sophisticated asSound Performance Lab's Phonitor,which seems to make just about anyheadphone sound better).

Guitar Smiths Inc.
(870) 741-4002
112 E. Stephenson Stret
Harrison, AR
 
Guitarsmiths
(870) 741-4002
112 E Stephenson Ave
Harrison, AR
 
Golden Pawn Shop
(870) 741-6204
815 Highway 62 65 N
Harrison, AR
 
Valley Piano Co.
(479) 968-5200
813 E Main St
Russellville, AR
 
Rockabilly Music
(479) 474-7625
16 N 6th St
Van Buren, AR
 
Capital Pawn
(870) 741-4782
1404 Highway 62 65 N
Harrison, AR
 
Ashley Music Store
(870) 741-8315
1510 N Main St
Harrison, AR
 
Ronnies Steel Gtr
(501) 623-4603
625 Albert Pike Rd
Hot Springs, AR
 
Guitar Center #742
(479) 571-2900
160 E Joyce Blvd
Fayetteville, AR
 
Mathis Harden Inc Dba
(870) 836-6844
727 N West Ave
El Dorado, AR
 

Roundup: Can You Really Mix On Headphones?

Of course you can mix on headphones, but does that mean you should? It’s an increasingly relevant question because many people listen to music on ear bud sor headphones, not the hi-fispeakers that resemble what’s usedfor traditional mixing. Further more, asmore people work in home/projectstudios, mixing at high levels couldlead to a grumpy spouse or complaining neighbor.

Another consideration is economics:Headphones take room acoustics outof the equation, which can be a factorwith home studios, and top-of-the-lineheadphones cost less than top-of-thelinespeakers.

However, not all headphones arecreated equal. Those designed forconsumers sometimes “hype” the lowend, high end, or both. Finding headphonesthat provide an accurate listeningexperience requires effort.

To complicate matters further, someheadphone amps are more of an afterthought(few are as sophisticated asSound Performance Lab’s Phonitor,which seems to make just about anyheadphone sound better). But even ifyou get the right headphones and agreat amp, there’s still a major psychoacousticissue because music doesn’tsound the same on headphones as itdoes on speakers. The sound is in yourhead, not in front of it, and there’s nocross-feed between channels. (I hadplanned to cover some of the DSPsoftware that claims to make workingwith headphones more like listening tospeakers, but after working with themfor a while, decided they deserve their own coverage—which we’ll do in afuture issue.)

In any event, now you don’t just mixso something sounds good on different speakers: Your mix has to soundgreat on living room speakers, cheap ear buds, and in the car. What’s an EQreader to do?

Well, start with this roundup. Welooked at nine headphones intended for recording applications, and haveincluded a roundtable discussion ofmixing/mastering on headphones,courtesy of the “in the trenches”recordists who frequent my forum at www.harmony-central.com .

Ultimately, can you mix on phones?Whether you can or not, many feelthey now have to be a part of the mixingprocess, even if it’s just a bit part.

ROUNDTABLE: MIXING ON HEADPHONES

EQ: If you use headphones for mixing,what’s your methodology?

Roy Brooks: I tend to mix withheadphones late at night, but thenlisten to it the next day on monitorspeakers to see if it needs changes.I’m pleasantly surprised when the mixI did with headphones sounds goodwith monitors.

Jon Chappell: I do a variation ofthis. I often mix with headphones (AKGK 271 MkII) because I can hone in onthe individual instruments better and listen for timing, breath noise/fretsqueaks, flams, etc., faster and moreefficiently than with speakers. I domake individual EQ adjustments,but sparingly.

When working with headphones, Imake it a habit to swap the left andright sides, sum to mono, listen to leftonly (through both earpieces), thenright only. This was a trick I oftenemployed when I was a professionaltranscriber and music editor; it helpsyou hear parts in a new light. This(hopefully) eliminates a...

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