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DIGITUS 2003-11-03 06:03

What's the way out? (Headphones pitfall)
Recently I've fallen victim to the old mixing in headphones pitfall. I've been around long enough to know this is something to avoid. I don't live alone so sometimes I'm forced to use headphones. What I normally do is remix the song later using monitors. I'm currently annoyed because a mix that sounded great via headphones got lost in the monitor translation. Now the mix sounds just okay through the monitors, but it's complete crap in the headphones. Before remixing, I thought the headphone mix sounded excellent. I want my great mix back!

I don't understand how it happened this time. I normally work this way and manage to find a balance. If anybody has any tips as to how best maintain control when using both headphones and monitors to mix, I'd be very grateful. As for my track, I guess I'll have to strip it down, rebuild it from semi scratch, and remix again when my ear is fresh. By the way, shouldn't my final mix sound great in both headphones and monitors?

Signed Dazed from Industrial music.

jappe 2003-11-03 09:43

Re: What's the way out? (Headphones pitfall)
Check your room acoustics. If you have a reverberant room and lots of standing waves then your monitor mix will probably try to compensate that. That mix will probably sound dry when you listen in headphones. Those frequencies that have a maximum (or minimum) amplitude in your listening position (due to room resonance) will probably be filtered in your monitor mix. And such mix will appear as having a wrong frequency balance when listening in headphones.

Also, there is a problem if you have low frequencies in your headphone mix that have a different phase. This will sound pretty OK in headphones (although they will sound "panned" - check the "Haas effect")
but sound terrible in monitors, because frequencies will cancel each other out.

Best Regards Lars /"jappe"/RedSkinBuddha

gnorpf 2003-11-03 16:19

Re: What's the way out? (Headphones pitfall)

Headphones separate instruments much better than normal loudspeakers. It's kinda like a magnifying glass: Every part of a track can be easily located and differenciated.

This is part because the stereo separation is much better in headphones: if an instrument is just 1/10th off to the side of another instrument, we can already clearly tell them apart, and with loudspeakers, it's just one big mess :-) To fix the stereo separation problem, listen to your mix in mono (through the headphones). Just insert a spider right before the output interface that mixes L+R together and outputs it to both channels. Granted, it will sound even worse than with normal loudspeakers - but it's quite save to assume that if it's no mess in mono, it won't be in stereo either when you remove the spider again :-)

Besides the stereo separation, there might be other issues - like most headphones have no linear frequency response and so on. But I'd try the mono thingie first :-)


PS: If you need extremely linear headphones and are Scrooge McDuck, I'd suggest...
...the AKG K 1000 :-)

FlexOffset 2003-11-03 21:30

Sennheiser HD580 or HD600
I would additionally recommend Sennheiser HD600 headphones. They list at or around $500 but they are quite good for mastering, though some prefer the 580's.

They do not filter any outside noise so you need a quiet environment to listen, and they are just as loud on the outside as they are in your ears.

You would need a beefy headphone amp as they have 300 ohms resistance, but their sound is out of this world. Everything is balanced quite nicely at any listening level (of course the Fletcher/Munson curve still applies).

maxpopds 2003-11-03 21:53

Re: Sennheiser HD580 or HD600
go wit the HD580. the sound is the same just a cheaper caseing. plastic instead of carbon whatever.

DIGITUS 2003-11-08 06:38

My Thanks to all whom helped. n/t

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