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Mixing with headphones


Mogut

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I do most of my mixing with headphones, mostly because I have to wait until the family is asleep to get the privacy. Then of course I run through my studio monitors as a final check before I run the mix in the car and other speakers.

 

But I must say, I recently picked up a pair of AKG K240s headphones, and those SOB's are the closest flat sound I have ever heard compared to my other monitors and other speakers. My budget doesnt allow me to buy the top shelf pro stuff, but I have to give props to these cans.

 

Question for the pro level guys in here... Do you ever see these cans in the studio?

 

 

-Greg

Motif XS8, MOXF8, Hammond XK1c, Vent

Rhodes Mark II 88 suitcase, Yamaha P255

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I've held onto my K240 headphones for a LONG time, and they have served me well.

 

I'll admit that I bought them because I saw they were often being used in the studio. Probably because they offer good bang-for-the-buck.

 

I don't know if they are as popular in the studio today as they were then though.

 

Prior to that I had... Yes, the proverbial Koss PRO4AA.

 

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41N6A4G5N2L._SX300_.jpg

 

And yes, when I ditched the PRO4AA 'phones, I found I could also get by without a neck brace. :freak:

 

Now I'm going COMMANDO! :facepalm:

 

ITGITC? :cool:

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Years ago, AKG K240s were standard cans in recording studios around here. My personal preference is Sony MDR-7506 or VR-600. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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The AKG240 has been made in numerous variants. The one with the flattest response was the K240 DF which have unfortunately been discontinued. I'm also a big fan of the Denon AH-D2000 (much easier to drive, btw), which are also now discontinued.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I do most of my mixing with headphones, mostly because I have to wait until the family is asleep to get the privacy. Then of course I run through my studio monitors as a final check before I run the mix in the car and other speakers.

 

But I must say, I recently picked up a pair of AKG K240s headphones, and those SOB's are the closest flat sound I have ever heard compared to my other monitors and other speakers. My budget doesnt allow me to buy the top shelf pro stuff, but I have to give props to these cans.

 

Question for the pro level guys in here... Do you ever see these cans in the studio?

 

 

I've been using the same headphones for years, and for exactly the same reason you do...always with good results!

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I purchased for my son from Amazon one of the M-Audio reference studio headphones (were on a sale.) He abandoned them to I took them into my studio, wow, was positively surprised. Using them more than my Event 20/30s for mixing just now :-).
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Headphones are great for setting EQ, as they tend to be a lot flatter than speakers (if you can find a pair suited to your ears, and if you listen through them enough to get calibrated). It's a lot easier to move just a little air and do it well.

 

The problem with headphones for mixing has to do with stereo imagery. Speakers and cans just work differently. With speakers, each ear hears both sides, but the far side attenuated, EQ'd, and delayed -- google HRTF for gory details. With headphones, each ear hears only one side. This makes a huge difference in the resulting stereo image, regardless of what kinds of stereo imaging techniques you use.

 

If you don't try to compensate but just make a pleasingly wide image in the cans, the result is that the image through speakers will be narrower. Also, with headphones you won't hear the comb flitering caused by phase cancellation between L and delayed R in left ear, and vice versa in right ear. Your final step will help to hear that if it's there in the final mix, but it's better to hear what you did that caused it when you did it than trying to backtrack and figure it out later.

 

That said, I admit I do (or more accurately, did) most of my mixing in cans, for the same reason as you. I wasn't shooting for pro level results (and by gosh, I hit my mark!) But from decades of experience I knew what the cans would do to the stereo image, and I used minimal phasing techniques.

 

You do have to watch the bass; while headphones say they're 20-20K (and may be), there's a big difference between 40 Hz in your ear and 40 Hz rattling your chest. It's easy to overdo the bass. Trust me on that!

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...to be fair, one of my last-mastering checks is to listen to the track with iPod headphones. You find out pretty fast if the bass is over-emphasized. Otherwise, I'm nowadays a big fan of 3-way reference speakers, the mid-range is always my enemy...
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...to be fair, one of my last-mastering checks is to listen to the track with iPod headphones. You find out pretty fast if the bass is over-emphasized. Otherwise, I'm nowadays a big fan of 3-way reference speakers, the mid-range is always my enemy...

 

I listen to my mixes through IEM's, monitors, my home theater, and the car stereo. Each has different characteristics and will reveal different things. I try to make the mix sound as consistent as possible across all of those systems.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I listen to my mixes through IEM's, monitors, my home theater, and the car stereo. Each has different characteristics and will reveal different things. I try to make the mix sound as consistent as possible across all of those systems.

 

Thats all I know to do as well.

 

Cool tho, I didnt think to use my IEMs as a mix checker.... good one!

 

Here's another question for you guys. How do you use a sub-woofer in your home monitor setup. I have 5" monitors that just dont sound as awesome without the sub (yamaha HS10w). All I know to do is check with and without the sub, but always question how much gain to set the sub up too to get flat results

-Greg

Motif XS8, MOXF8, Hammond XK1c, Vent

Rhodes Mark II 88 suitcase, Yamaha P255

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I purchased my son from Amazon...

 

I usually just stick with books.

Your mistake. Amazon has a good return policy.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I purchased my son from Amazon...

 

I usually just stick with books.

Your mistake. Amazon has a good return policy.

 

Wish you had told me this before I married my first wife.

 

What good are ya, 'nuthaScott? :laugh:

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Here's another question for you guys. How do you use a sub-woofer in your home monitor setup. I have 5" monitors that just dont sound as awesome without the sub (yamaha HS10w). All I know to do is check with and without the sub, but always question how much gain to set the sub up too to get flat results

Turn the sub up until accentuates the low end. The presence of a sub should be felt more than heard. IMO, a sub is too loud if you can actually hear it. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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I avoid subs in my studio as it's so easy to create low-end issues with such units. For me it's better to have good reference monitors that go low enough so I could catch rumble and kick issues, especially with dance music. Then again I don't make rap music for car stereos, exactly.
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I listen to my mixes through IEM's, monitors, my home theater, and the car stereo. Each has different characteristics and will reveal different things. I try to make the mix sound as consistent as possible across all of those systems.
words of wisdom.

 

Tom, you're a cut up. We're overdue for a drink or 8.

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i honestly wouldn't use earphones to mix. just wouldn't. but a decent set of reference earphones to check out are the beyerdynamic Dt100's.

 

like i said, best to use monitors but if the room is awful, there's no point and using earphones could be BETTER. again, its all preference. its the sort of "a good player can make anything sound good" sort of situation.

Yamaha MOX8, Roland VK8, LESLIE HL822 Woop woop!!!! and a MBP running PT10 and Omnisphere. My Blog.
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There are plugins you can use on your master buss to emulate the stereo imagery of monitors when mixing on headphones to address the issues Learjeff mentioned above. By no means a perfect acoustic representation of mixing in a room, but certainly an improvement over straight headphones.

 

I do a mixture of both headphones and monitors based on necessity, but the final mix is always done on the monitors. Usually with headphones I'll do an initial run-through to get everything sounding basically balanced, and then I'll do the "real" mix on monitors. I've got this cheap pair of earphones, Sony MDR-NC7s, which I didn't buy for this purpose (nobody in their right mind would), but just sort of stumbled upon the fact that they have an amazingly flat response. For whatever reason, just about everything I mix with them translates really well. I own much nicer and more expensive headphones that don't get it done like they do. Go figure.

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It's easy to overdo the bass. Trust me on that!

 

I've tried mixing with headphones on, and the subwoofer cranked in the room. Get some clean mixes that way.

American Keyworks AK24+ Diablo (with bow), Hammond L100, Korg M3 expanded, Korg Sigma, Yamaha MM8, Yamaha SY99
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It's easy to overdo the bass. Trust me on that!

 

I've tried mixing with headphones on, and the subwoofer cranked in the room. Get some clean mixes that way.

 

Remember, the point of the OP is that he's using headphones because ha can only work on this stuff after the family's in bed...a point I understand all too well!

 

Maybe slightly OT, but a similar situation for me, is programming sounds and learning new songs through headphones - in my case I use my IEM's instead of my 240m's because that's what I use live and they're wireless. But like before, I use the same concept of....after I'm done and I've learned it, I'll pay through my stereo, and my K10 to compare and further tweak/fine-tune the sounds and split/layer mix.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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You do have to watch the bass; while headphones say they're 20-20K (and may be), there's a big difference between 40 Hz in your ear and 40 Hz rattling your chest. It's easy to overdo the bass. Trust me on that!

True, and it's even easier to overdo reverb. Since you're not hearing room ambience in headphones, it's tempting to add extra reverb to compensate. Then when you get a chance to listen on speakers, you feel like you're swimming in it! :laugh:

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Steve

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I have the AKG240 Studio monitor model .I believe its a DF or maybe an M. I don't use these as a main reference because I never get the bottom right that way. They are good to check out mixes in conjunction with the car stereo, computer speakers and other secondary reference speakers. Also the extremely high impedance (600 ohms I think) makes it hard to get enough gain from a headphone jack wanting like 50 ohms or something.
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I got Beyer DT990's, great cans, if a little flattering.

 

I like to do panning and reverb tails on them, you can't get that level of detail unless you're in a pro-grade room with ditto speakers. One thing that is hard to do on cans is EQ.

 

There is some nice monitor emulators that I have gotten good results with in the past like this one:

 

http://www.112db.com/redline/monitor/

 

 

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