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If You Mix or Master on Headphones...
#3064256 09/29/20 07:01 PM
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If you go to the Sonarworks site, they're currently offering a downloadable free guide that covers headphones for mixing and mastering. They've analyzed around 800 headphones in order to generate compensation curves, and chosen the ones they feel are the best. If you click on a headphone to read the associated review, you'll see the headphones' frequency response curve, as well as info about weight, durability, etc. The uneven response of most phones is scary, but at least you'll know what you're dealing with.

I have several sets of headphones. The true test of Reference 4 is I tried their compensation with multiple headphones, and they all ended up sounding pretty much the same in terms of response. However, be aware the frequency response curves are averages. Curves vary for different production runs and even models within the same run. If you really want to go down the rabbit hole, you can send Sonarworks your specific headphones. They'll do an analysis and provide a custom compensation curve.

The Sonarworks Reference 4 software that compensates for headphone anomalies is very cool, and doesn't cost as much as the version that can also tune your room for monitors (the headphone version is $99 IIRC). I highly recommend this software if you have to mix or master on headphones, but at least the guide will let you know what's wrong with your headphones (e.g., hyped bass, missing midrange, etc.), so you can compensate. You can even create a rough compensation curve with EQ based on the graphs.

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Re: If You Mix or Master on Headphones...
Anderton #3064263 09/29/20 07:29 PM
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I do some mixing chores on headphones, especially when it's late and I don't want to disturb other residents - one on the other side of the wall and one above.
At least I can get everything set up and more or less somewhere in the ballpark.

There's a pair of EX-25 Extreme Isolation phones hanging on my isolation box, good for tracking with low bleed. I'll listen to them but I don't think they are accurate.
Mostly I use Sennheiser HD280 Pro, they are a few years old now but still work pretty well. I like them for listening, comfortable. I do get tired of them and then...
I have a pair of AKG K240, made in Austria with a 1/4" plug. Really OLD, I got 2 pairs at Goodwill for $5 and one of them doesn't work. I need to see what that is, maybe just a loose wire or a bad plug.

The AKGs are probably the least accurate but by far the most comfortable and very easy to listen to. Worthless for vocal tracking, they bleed big time.

Just useful reference points in my mind, like the speakers in the kitchen and the laptop speakers (or the ones in my LG monitor.

That is a cool reference, thanks for posting. I'll take a look, most of my stuff is probably so far out of date it won't tell me much. Maybe I can find a better pair though.

Last edited by KuruPrionz; 09/29/20 07:32 PM. Reason: reference good!

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Re: If You Mix or Master on Headphones...
Anderton #3064324 09/30/20 08:13 AM
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An interesting read. They rated my Sennheiser HD280 cans. 8th in a list of 8. Comfort was one reason, they are correct about that.
I'll just keep using them, used them tonight to move drum hits around to match a retardendo. I got close, still a bit of tweaking needs done.


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Re: If You Mix or Master on Headphones...
KuruPrionz #3064409 09/30/20 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
An interesting read. They rated my Sennheiser HD280 cans. 8th in a list of 8. Comfort was one reason, they are correct about that.
I'll just keep using them, used them tonight to move drum hits around to match a retardendo. I got close, still a bit of tweaking needs done.

Did the review include frequency response data, and if so, are you going to generate a semi-compensating curve?

Re: If You Mix or Master on Headphones...
Anderton #3064437 10/01/20 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
An interesting read. They rated my Sennheiser HD280 cans. 8th in a list of 8. Comfort was one reason, they are correct about that.
I'll just keep using them, used them tonight to move drum hits around to match a retardendo. I got close, still a bit of tweaking needs done.

Did the review include frequency response data, and if so, are you going to generate a semi-compensating curve?

They only rated them, I don't recall reading a review. Maybe I need to dig deeper. No, I won't adjust anything - at least not now.

I wear headphones when I am tracking (including tracking somebody else, who is probably also wearing headphones depending...). I also use them when I am searching for drum loops and/or assembling them into an arrangement (something I've started doing recently). I will listen to a mix with either the Sennheisers or the AKGs to see what it sounds like. I do some rough mixing with headphones but leave the tweaking for speakers mostly.

I just had an opportunity to add a pair of Mackie MR5 speakers for $114. It sounds to me like the transients below the crossover point are faster, more realistic than the 8" woofer/mids in my Mackie HR824s and the high mids up near crossover sound more defined and clear. I have one of the MR5s now, the other will be here next Thursday. I snagged them for reference, I may end up doing the mix on them and using the HR824s for reference as they to go much deeper then the MR5s.

I'll know more about that after I live with them for a while.

I am still learning a TON of stuff about recording, it's impossible to tackle all aspects at once, as least it seems to be true. The software posted in the OP looks pretty nifty, I may purchase it at some point and treat everything.


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