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Thread: Headphones or Monitors

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    Headphones or Monitors

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    After years of using a standard home stereo to monitor / mix / master (and getting decent if not amazing results), I'm finally gonna step out and get some monitors or decent headphones. Headphones will work better in the home so the family aren't exposed to various noodlings, mumblins and expletives but I wonder what the downsides to that are? I'm doing some reading on T'web about my options but always keen to hear folks preferences on here. My initial budget will not be big c200...but I figure anything will be a step up from a home stereo playback...and I'm happy to invest further if the results warrant it.

    If you'd like to hear the songs mixed on my home stereo to see my starting point they're at:


    Lone Star Laundry on Spotify

    Cheers
    Mark

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    If you're going the headphone route, may be a little more than the budget perhaps but Sennheiser HD-600 would be my first choice. But, if budget is tight, a pair of Sony MDR-7506 with Sonarworks isn't a bad choice. In any case recommend you look at adding sonarworks (can download free demo) - will make a huge difference.

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    There are pros and cons with mixing with headphones or monitors. The biggest pro for headphones is the noise isolation as you already mentioned. The biggest con for mixing with headphones is getting the mix to translate to other sound systems. What sounds good on the headphones will not sound good on anything else. You have to pay a lot of attention to how your songs sound elsewhere.

    The biggest pro for monitors is getting speakers that can really convey what your mix will sound like. Good monitors are very accurate and do not hype the audio like hifi speakers will. The biggest con with monitors is even though you spent a chunk of money on good monitors, they will only sound as good as the room they are in. When you invest in monitors, you should also invest in room treatment. (Treatment doesn't have to be expensive)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    Headphones or Monitors
    Both !


    To be honest with you, I think you can go either route. Once you learn what you need to do in order to produce translatable mixes, you become adept at whatever it is you're working on ~ even the home stereo.
    It's worth bearing in mind that it is unlikely that any two people on the planet will have exactly the same set up; I even have several set-ups and they're different to each other, the speakers, the furniture configurations, the amps, the players, the shape of the rooms, the placements etc.....so translation is a very general concept.
    Personally, I would always start with monitors {or speakers} but headphones are indispensable partners in crime.

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    I really don't like mixing on headphones, but if your acoustic environment is less than ideal it might actually be the better option. At least it will be consistent. Open back headphones are generally better for mixing, but they isolate less. People will hear what you're listening to. And they're not good for tracking. You really need closed back headphones for vocal tracking to keep playback and input monitoring from bleeding into the mic.

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    Driver Type: Dynamic Driver.
    Frequency Response: 12Hz – 40,500Hz.
    Headphone Type: Open-back, Over-ear.
    Sensitivity: 102 dB SPL/V.
    Impedance: 300 Ω

    Don't know what your interface is Simman but from that specification the hedphones might be a wee bit quiet? This is sometimes a problem when you are tracking (as you should!) at -20dBfs because many AIs don't have enough gian in the headphone circuit.

    The Behringer HA400 is pretty good for 20 and you get 4 feeds.

    Dave.

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    As was previously mentioned.........the Sennheiser HD600 is an excellent pair of headphones......just a bit above your budget. They used to go for much more. If you can get them.....you'll be happy. Like all headphones.......they're not 100% flat / neutral...........but they're as close to flat as you can get. A cheaper substitution is the Phillips SHP9500. They work well too. I have both the HD600's and the SHP9500's.

    Keep using your stereo system. You're very familiar with them so that's extremely important when mixing. Whatever headphones you get.......use them enough to be VERY familiar with them as well.
    Just A Song Writer..........

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickster View Post
    As was previously mentioned.........the Sennheiser HD600 is an excellent pair of headphones......just a bit above your budget. They used to go for much more. If you can get them.....you'll be happy. Like all headphones.......they're not 100% flat / neutral...........but they're as close to flat as you can get. A cheaper substitution is the Phillips SHP9500. They work well too. I have both the HD600's and the SHP9500's.

    Keep using your stereo system. You're very familiar with them so that's extremely important when mixing. Whatever headphones you get.......use them enough to be VERY familiar with them as well.
    For the price, the Phillip's sound worth a go although they're not readily available in UK...is there a current model you'd recommend?

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    Well......not as good as the Philips or the Sennheisers......but you could give the Audio Technica ATH-M40x a try. I have a pair of those too and they're not too bad as far as a neutral sound goes. Trust me......as best you can......getting a near neutral sound and getting used to your headphones is key.
    Just A Song Writer..........

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    I have been mixing on headphones all my musical life (about 40 years of it, thank you) and there are 2 main things to consider:
    1- how good sounding is the room you mix in and 2- how good sounding is the room you're mixing in!
    Take point 1: most (if not all) bedroom studios suffer of bad acoustics. in this scenario no matter how much you spend on speakers/monitors you'll always end up with a bad sounding replay of your music.
    In addition, with 200€ you can buy very good to excellent headphones while the same 200€ will only get you very budget monitors which, most likely, you will place in a bad sounding room (see points 1 and 2).
    Worth thinking about it.

    It is also most important, regardless of all the above, to get to know the gear you're using, the strong and weak points.
    At the moment I use AKG K-701 and Sennheiser 600, while I track (record) with other close-back headphones.
    You can check the result of my mixes here, if you wish:

    Last edited by peghead; 02-11-2020 at 06:06.

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