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Thread: Industry professional reckons headphones are the future in mixing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    I do think that some of us have given very clear answers to that question...
    Absolutely.
    The "Why not headphones ?" wasn't actually directed at a specific person. It would be a bit silly, given that this has been the crux of the discussion. No, you asked why use them, after stating on a few occasions that they could be used but would be harder {or concepts to that effect} or a band aid etc. I was responding to that. I get that they could be harder to learn, much harder in fact {unless one starts with them}. But that doesn't qualify as a reason not to.


    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    but you keep coming back to what some pro said in a video as though the flood gates have been opened
    I've already explained that. We've always been told that it can't be a viable means because pros don't do it and spend money, big money, going the other way. That has now changed. It may merely be a blip at this point but I wouldn't put my house on that. People are strange.
    I didn't say the floodgates have opened. When DAWs were first developed and people started using them, there wasn't a flooding of the markets with used analog gear. It took a while. Same with drum machines and drum programmes. Actual drums are now so often the exception. But the floodgates didn't open immediately.

    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    and we all just need to accept it and dive into the new waters
    The former wouldn't hurt, the latter isn't necessary. Acceptance doesn't have to involve liking. Some double bassists despised the bass guitar initially. Keith Jarrett was as contemptuous as could be about electric pianos, clavinets and all electronic keyboards. "Toys" he called them. In the 21st century ! But Jarrett and the bassists had to accept them. Many of them {and Jarrett} even used them.
    It's interesting being in at the dawn of something new. It may grow, it may not. Samplers took off big time. Minidiscs did not.


    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    Again...that pro may not be pimping any one specific brand...but don't think that his job doesn't involve pimping new gear as a whole.
    Hmmmm, possibly. But I don't really care. You see, I would expect someone to tell me what gear they use. It is absolutely no different to what has been happening since the 1950s and teens first saw pictures of Hank Marvin playing a strat or later saw Pete Townshend blasting everyone's ears with his 100 Watt Marshall amp. People like what a person does and are interested in what they do it on in music.
    Much of the stuff spoken about in the vid isn't even new.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    Now don't get me wrong, I like Warren and his videos are always very informative...but don't think for a minute that it's not simply about pimping new gear.
    It's one thing to say "Just get any old monitors." It's another altogether to say "I use these particular ones and I hear good things about those particular ones." The other week, he had some guy on talking about Reaper. He always tells the viewer that he's been using Pro-Tools since the 90s, yet he gave Reaper a major plug.
    We've been doing the same at HR for at least 10 years.
    I guess different people see different things in a vid. You can't control what different people are going to take away from what they watch.


    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    That video you posted is a small snippet of a longer video...and you can catch for a split second at the end where he starts to talk about guess what - Sweetwater.
    He is paid by Sweetwater to help sell gear...any gear...all gear...that's why he can talk about headphones and monitors all in the same breath...along with other gear....at any price point.
    It is true that when he gets to cables {or some other thing} he says go along to Sweetwater. What the heck is wrong with that ? In the past, I'd advise people went to Turnkey or Sound control or Rock Stop or wherever. I've learned so much about music stores in the USA just by listening to my fellow travellers at HR !


    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    Here is the whole video, and it's just a long advertisement for gear, via Sweetwater.

    That is not the video that I was watching or culled the clip from.


    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    I'm kinda wondering who/why took the whole video, and just cut out the part where he talks about headphones, and then posted that on the website where you found it.
    It was I, your honour.
    I watched the video. It came up on that recommended list. Most of them I pass by. I've got about 210 in my "watch later" list. Maybe I'll get through them by July. I'd just gotten in from work and was resting for 20 minutes before going to mix {not with headphones alone !!} and thought, as the telly wasn't being hogged, that I'd catch a quick vid. It could've been "10 facts about "Revolver" or "Bellamy rides again: The sulphur cycle" or "Labour: The wilderness years." It happened to be that. It was pretty 'meh' as it was a subject that I'll watch a vid on once in a while as opposed to something that specifically interests me. But that part interested me. I had never heard an industry pro actively go against the grain of perceived wisdom when it came to HP mixing. I wasn't blown by him saying "it's the future;" hyperbole and people on telly often go hand in hand, especially in the music biz. What really made me perk up an ear was him saying that many of his ilk were working that way. He was not talking about a trend among home recorders.
    I thought it was interesting and would make for an interesting topic to discuss in the mixing forum. Most of the replies were what I expected. That doesn't make them any less valuable or informative. If I desire universal agreement, I'll have imaginary conversations with an imaginary friend {or adversary. They're more fun}. I didn't want to post a 22 minute vid because my thinking as far as HR contributors were concerned were those 2 mins 29 secs. I'm not greatly tech savvy but I know that clips can be cut from vids. I didn't want to bombard people with a long video. The site I used gave me the option to download but I wasn't clear where to download it to so I just used HR's link system and hoped it wouldn't be too much bother for people.
    They'd soon let me know if it was !


    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    I mean...it takes things out of context when you see the whole video promo for Sweetwater.
    No it does not. What you're doing there is known as "straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel." The thing you've linked to is about building a studio for under $5000. I've not watched it but if he does talk a lot about Sweetwater, well, to me it makes sense to tell people where they can get some things from. If he's paid by Sweetwater to give them a plug, then he should give them a plug. I cannot see the problem there. Few people watch mixing vids to know which shops to go to. It's incidental. That's why it's a win~win. The viewer, the host and the sponsor all get something.
    The context of any of his videos I've seen is not Sweetwater. And of the one I linked to, it was about how much will your studio cost ? It was fairly specific. That's good. No fluff.
    The context was mine and mine alone. Warren could've been talking about the pixies at the bottom of his garden for all I care ~ but if that segment was in his oratory on pixie life, my context would have remained the same. It's not "my" thread but it is, at least initially, "my" context. I don't mind if conversations go in all kinds of directions and away from the topic at hand. That's what friends and acquaintances do when they chat, be it verbally or with a keyboard. Sometimes they're the best ones and I've had my fair share of being the culprit or major contributor in that happening.



    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    OK, that doesn't change the fact that headphone use is trending more....but my point is, just because Warren talks about it, it don't make it something really absolute.
    Of course it doesn't. He's not announcing the destruction of the world, a new medical procedure or some new religion. Even if he was, it wouldn't make it absolute........yet. It may never.
    But as I said in the OP, it isn't carved in stone just because a pro said it.
    Equally, it isn't to just be dismissed, just because a pro said it.
    One can't have it both ways though. One can't talk about "I'd be more inclined to listen to what someone in the industry says if I'm seeking info, not some blogger or unknown face on the internet" when it suits your stance and then denigrate the same "someone in the industry" as a gear pimp for the big nasty corporations when what they say doesn't suit it.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    I would like to see pros giving up their $10k-$20k-$30k monitoring systems...in favor of a pair of headphones as their mixing tool...
    I wouldn't.
    If one person lives in $8 million 23 room house with the latest heating system and 61 inch screen TV built into the walls of each room and someone else lives in a one room flat with a basic heating system and has a 32" table top telly but both watched the same news item, snugly warm in their various abodes last night, what does it prove if the person in the bigger pad gives it all up to move into the small flat because more and more people are opting for smaller flats ?
    Now, perhaps it's just my skewed perception, after all, I'm thousands of miles away, but you seem curiously ill at ease by the notion that there just might be increasing numbers of people who may be able to do, with phones, what you can do but at a fraction of the cost. You're the only one that has objected on the grounds of cost. In 5 out of your 10 posts. I'm curious as to why it should matter and why it does matter. It doesn't actually make anything worse for you sticking with what you love.


    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    however, they know that you and I will probably never buy a $20k monitor system...so why push that on the average home studio guy if you know they can't afford it
    It's never stopped Massive Master. In virtually the whole time I've been aware of him, he has been consistent about a top quality monitoring system. OK, he may never actually say "drop $20,000" but the point can be almost inferred from much of what he's said ~ you're not going to to get top quality with $150 used.
    Now, his raison d'Ítre has never seemed to me to get people to part with their moola. Or to have people have the rig he has. He's asked questions and answers them from his experience. it's not his responsibility how the reader appropriates his advice.


    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    Instead, find something less expensive, and then pimp it so they think it's the next best thing since gaffer's tape for the studio
    That sounds rather conspiritorial but on the other hand, maybe it's as simple as that.
    However, I see a slightly different side. What I see is in concert with moves over the last 15 years. There was a time {late 70s, 80s} when someone that wanted to record their own stuff barely had access to any professional that could show them the ropes, so to speak. The internet has blown that out the waters. Even when I first landed at HR 10 years ago, there wasn't the preponderance of channels of people showing you this, that and the other, let alone industry pros. So the common Joe or Josephine that would like to record has access to so many different people and with that comes the different opinions, the different gear they use etc. Manufacturers would be daft to ignore the potential to sell gear, video makers or hosts would be daft to not make a little money advertising and the punter would be daft not to do some research. Maybe there will be people advertising stuff they never use or don't believe in. If you buy it and can't get it to work as you thought it would, consider it the price of an education. And learn your lessons.
    I wouldn't be at all surprised to see many more pros coming out and saying they use headphones to mix. I also wouldn't be surprised if many people take to headphone mixing and find that it just is not for them. I can't see the situation being any more different than the one in which one group loves a set of monitors and another group hates them. Or one crew lionizes a particular tool like a compressor and others complain that it prevents the music from breathing etc, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grimtraveller View Post
    https://www.kapwing.com/videos/5de867c45d6b660014bd40d2I've never been one for following trends or doing things just because a professional says so. On the other hand, I've long taken the view that if someone in a particular industry advocates something, I won't dismiss it out of hand just because it was a pro. I've long felt, particularly in recording, that if someone has found that something has worked, even though the entire world may be against that thing, it's worth looking into and possibly trying out. Just to find out for myself.
    One of the staple debates that has been a mainstay of HR over the years has been the "monitors vs headphones for mixing" one and has generated much heat {and possibly some light too}. Therefore I was interested to hear Warren, the English guy from "Produce like a pro" in his "FAQ" session the other week state that headphone mixing was seen by some professional mix engineers as the future. I don't want to represent him in my own words, hence the video clip. But what do people make of it ? It would appear that perhaps there's a tide turning on this.
    I work as an engineer with live music, and that's a very different thing to studio work. To put it briefly, if you record from the stereo mixer output to the PA system, then when playing back later on headphones you will effectively get something roughly equivalent to 'binaural stereo'. Assuming that your cans have reasonably good isolation side to side, your left ear will hear next to nothing from the right track, and vice versa. The only 'left to right bleed' will be because your on stage mics will have picked up other sounds on stage, including from the other side, which is another very good reason to use 'close miking', which will minimise unwanted sounds being picked up. All other things being equal, you will particularly notice a very clear stereo separation, giving an excellent spacial representation across the whole sound stage

    However, when you listen back over monitor speakers in 'free air' the sound coming at you will have become a complex 'smear' of left and right before it reaches your ears: phase and dynamic differences will produce all sorts of cancellations and reinforcements.

    Consequently, a 'purist' would ideally create one mix for monitor speakers, and another for listening on headphones. Further, because of the cancellation effects, including all the foibles of a live performance and the specific acoustics of the particular venue, live recording can get very 'muddled'. Believe it or not, a mono version will often sound 'better and brighter' with much more HF and sheer sparkle. But what you must never do IMO is to try to arrive at 'mono' by merging the two stereo tracks into one; it will instantly sound flat and dull: that's 'phase cancellation' for you. The safer method is to listen to each track using as near instant 'A - B' comparison as you can get, on headphones or speakers whichever you wish, and choose the best sounding track. Ditch the other one completely.

    Now I already hear some of you correctly screaming 'heresy' and arguing that this kind of mono from a live gig will result in left side instruments sounding artificially louder, right side sounding depressed, and vice versa. But you'd be surprised just how relatively little difference this makes. To begin with, nobody at the mixer with any experience will have indulged in 'extreme panning'; as far as the live audience is concerned the stereo effect will have come over just fine when, say, three front line vocalists standing in a line, each a few feet apart, and their 'pan' settings in order Left, Centre, Right need only be as little as 11 o'clock, 12 o'clock and 1 o'clock. The most extreme separation you'll ever need might be (for example) a guitarist standing stage far left, and a keyboard player standing stage far right. Again, you'll be surprised at just how little panning is required: in my experience 10 'o'clock and 2 o'clock is all you'll usually need.

    The practical effect of all of this is that either track when played 'mono' will usually show much less incorrect instrument balance than you'd expect. Furthermore, it's surprising how a little bit of judicious 'tweaking' of EQ's, or even selective boosting of a 'solo' section here and there where, say, a guitar predominates, will go along way to persuading the listener's ears that the balance is just fine. Live mixingf and live recording is one of the 'Black Arts' - it's all smoke and mirrors.

    So if you want a reasonably good sounding end product from a compromised live recording situation - which live recording of Rock music from a PA mixer usually is - then you'll often get a much better result using mono as described above, and I can virtually guarantee you that if it sounds good to you, then hardly anyone else other than another experienced musician or sound engineer will even notice the difference unless you actually tell them. Mono was fine for Brian Wilson with his one correctly functioning ear, and you won't get a better endorsement than that!

    Finally, digital personal audio is changing peoples' listening habits very quickly. It's now perfectly normal to listen to music privately on your mobile device using earbuds or headphones; and that's pretty much all a good many people ever do nowadays. So the case for one mix for speakers and another for headphones is now getting stronger, when in the past listening on headphones was either fo record producers and engineers working in studios, or perhaps (for example) the dedicated classical music 'connaisseur' who is seeking the purest and clearest possible representation of the world's greatest orchestras and the world's greatest concert halls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecc83 View Post
    It was said effectively. "nor is is natural for music to come out of two small wooden boxes"

    True, but IF your speakers work that way they are crap!
    I was actually being literal but ridiculously so. Much of the conversation has brought in the way our ears are meant to work and what is natural verses what is unnatural. All bets are off when it comes to music reproduction. I literally meant you cannot squeeze a group of people with musical instruments into two small wooden boxes in your front room. So nature becomes kind of irrelevant to the debate. We're human. We manipulate nature big time. The way nature was meant to be began to depart music production right around the time Les Paul started mucking about with an idea of recording sound on sound, if not well before.
    I actually agree with everything you said in the quote. I just find it to be selective when people talk of nature in order to support their preferences when they will disregard it in other instances that support their preferences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    I am saying that you can never be sure a headphone mix is going to work on speakers.
    Well, you can't. And I can't.
    I can't even be sure my mixes will work on anything ! Then I check 'em on various and breathe a sigh of relief......or go back to the drawing board.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post

    It's not a preference, or advice, or a tradition; Hell, it's not even a debate.
    When it comes to experience and expertise, it's nearly always going to involve a debate.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post

    Your left ear hears two speakers and your right ear hears two speakers.
    Headphones don't recreate that and there's no amount of experience that's going to make you know when cancellation/filtering would have happened, had you been listening on speakers.
    That is way too absolute a statement for me.
    Physics certainly explains a lot. But it doesn't explain workarounds of a person's experience where those things can occur.

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    If you can tell what's going to cancel and filter without listening on speakers then, to be honest, you don't even need headphones.
    The screen alone is fine for you.
    ---------- Steenaudio Website ----------

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    If you can tell what's going to cancel and filter without listening on speakers then, to be honest, you don't even need headphones.
    The screen alone is fine for you.
    Ouch! That does make sense.

    The bottom line here is that there are pro's and con's to mixing with either headphones or monitors in either a well treated or not treated room. A million variables in between... Not even going to attempt to state the differences.

    So, it is personal choice. If one way works for you, then go with it. Who am I to tell someone else what the right way to do anything is? I really only have my personal experience to judge what has worked for me in my environment.

    That being said by me previously, I hate headphones with a passion. If someone else finds that way the best for them? Then go ahead and do that.

    There is no right or wrong, if the final product shows what the vision that is presented, is given in the way the artist wishes.

    It isn't rocket science. It is music recording. The music is what is important. Good songs first. The recording and subsequent presentation to others is the hardest part... If someone you recorded music for loves it, then you win. However you get there is the not means, it is the result that is important.
    PC Win7-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 10 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 4 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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    I treat all subjects like this as, what is my reality. I have to deal with my reality wich is not the same as a studio for hire. You can mix with headphones. It takes adjusting and some of your skill has to be applied to that goal. However that does mean at some point you have to listen to speakers of different types. I listen to monitors, car, and ear buds before I'm done. The headphones get me close. My monitors are the final tweak. But my headphones get me 80% there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmys69 View Post
    Ouch! That does make sense.

    The bottom line here is that there are pro's and con's to mixing with either headphones or monitors in either a well treated or not treated room. A million variables in between... Not even going to attempt to state the differences.

    So, it is personal choice. If one way works for you, then go with it. Who am I to tell someone else what the right way to do anything is? I really only have my personal experience to judge what has worked for me in my environment.

    That being said by me previously, I hate headphones with a passion. If someone else finds that way the best for them? Then go ahead and do that.

    There is no right or wrong, if the final product shows what the vision that is presented, is given in the way the artist wishes.

    It isn't rocket science. It is music recording. The music is what is important. Good songs first. The recording and subsequent presentation to others is the hardest part... If someone you recorded music for loves it, then you win. However you get there is the not means, it is the result that is important.
    It's personal choice, sure, but there is a fundamental physical difference.
    There will be things we can hear things on headphones that may not be audible, or always be audible, on speakers.
    ---------- Steenaudio Website ----------

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    The easiest way to tell what's going to cancel and filter, whether using headphones or monitor speakers, is sum the left and right channels to mono and listen. If you don't, you don't know what you're missing. It becomes more important as the phase coherency and stereo imaging become more complicated.

    Stereo imaging and detail perception on headphones is totally different than speakers and vice versa. Very different animals. Room simulation techniques that allow you to do stereo mixing or even surround sound on cans with a head tracker have probably narrowed the gap somewhat, but I'm not aware of anything that will allow speakers to show you what headphones will sound like. Regardless of my own preference, "use both" still seems like reasonable advice.

    If there's an uptick in headphone sales happening, I don't think that's a bad thing. I don't think the market for monitors will vanish any time soon, but that's just my opinion for what it's worth.

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