Posted in : Forum : Audio Hardware Chat
Discuss all things hardware such as studio gear, intruments, sound cards, grooveboxs. Recomended setups, problems, advice
I don't own a set of speaker/monitors suitable for producing, mixing or anything. Iv always used whichever headphones I use for listening to music when out and about, more times than not these have been noise cancelling headphones. But when listening back, the mix always sounds horrible unless I listen with the same headphones the track was created with.
Iv always been advised its best to create music using studio monitors but its never really suitable as I tend to play with my DAW late in the evenings and house share with a mother and her 2 year old. Is it possible to mix music suitably with headphones? I've tried searching ebay for production headphones but am shown a list of results that I cannot be sure are suitable as I don't know what I'm looking for!
I understand what you're talking about, because I've been using headphones for many years to produce my tracks. Just recently got decent monitors, but I still use headphones sometimes because I'm used to it, or I don't want to bother anyone. I feel like I usually get a pretty good mix/master sound with headphones. My newest pair are the very affordable JVC HA-RX300. I love the sound of these so much, and when I play back my mixes on the monitors, my other computer's speakers, or my stereo, it sounds about like I expected which is nice. They have good bass response and frequency range overall, and they're comfortable to wear for long periods of time. I have an external audio interface which outputs to a decent but old rack amplifier, and this gives me a good headphone output. I'm not sure what the difference would be if using a standard sound card output. Hope this helps.
I'm totally with you on how difficult it can be to get an opportunity to play the music loud for hours. I've done everything on headphones for years and some people think my mixes tend to be excellent. I did have the same pair of not very good Sennnheiser headphones for ten years. I guess it's a good thing they eventually broke
Two years ago, I got a bunch of new gear and my music and mixing has improved a great deal since then.
I only just thought, while reading your post, that one aspect of the significant improvement may well have been the much better headphones I got. They cost about £120 English pounds but I make music every day so this is a trivial cost, even over a year or so.
I'd love to do more music on speakers and am always told that mixing entirely on headphones is bad. But, as I say, I've got some pretty damn good results just on headphones so would recommend a quality pair. Here are mine, which I'm fairly happy with as they're also quite comfortable (most important thing for me):
KRK KNS 8400
I'm using Sony MDR-CD280's their budget but good.
Personally, I think using both headphones and some sort of monitor to be the best approach.
With headphones, it's possible to hear the nuances of some of the sound textures that really requires far too much volume with speakers. It's also great for getting panning and other effects dialed in right.
But you're not going to really get the full effect of the bass, particularly subs with any headphones - at least not the kind that's in any of our budgets.
I tend to bounce back and forth between both depending on where I'm at in the recording process.
I think that mixing with headphones has its perks and drawbacks. As, mentioned you can hear some subtle things in your track since the speakers are placed against your ears. I think two big draw backs could be that some headphones may not produce a flat response to the sound it outputs and the sound that comes from the headphones to your ear has no interaction with anything except your ears.
I personally use headphones since I'm a broke college kid. I also frequently use software that visualizes sound in an attempt to counteract some of the negatives of using headphones.
Hi Cheesey....I've pondered about this myself in the past and settled on these http://www.krksys.com/krk-headphones/kns-8400.html their great for the reasons given below and won't cost and arm and a leg......the thing is and this applies to monitor speakers as well as headphones,your finished product will tend to sound like the inverse of your listening source,if you listen to dark low output your mixes are more likely to come out sounding thin and bright,if you listen to high tight response speakers your mixes will tend to be muddy,conversely if you listen through impressive high definition output speakers/headphones with great full toned bass response your mixes might come across as dull,bland and homogenized.....the answer is in the midrange,systems that deliver good focused midrange are more likely to get you headed in the right direction and make your mixes really pop when you ultimately listen to them on high end gear. Imo
PlanetJazz: I already recommended those headphones as I've used them for the last couple of years.
Very happy with them though the noise isolation is such that I cannot hear anyone knocking at my room/studio door when I have them on and am listening to music at a decent level.
Anything beyond that, such as doorbells, I have no chance of hearing.
I agree with "Personally, I think using both headphones and some sort of monitor to be the best approach." though not all of us are in a position to do proper loud(ish) monitoring on speakers.
I'm beginning to appreciate switching between headphones and monitoring as a way to perfect the mix.
Yes, I know what you mean. I'd like to do more stuff on speakers whilst composing (it's more jamming in my case) so that I can walk about the room and hear it from different places, look out the window - that sort of thing.
Gets you out of your chair, a little more active and enjoying the grooves more.
I always do both,use the headphones when I'm recording my instruments then nearfield monitors for the final mix.
Maybe in the end it depends on the quality of the headphones and the quality of the monitors. I use Sennheiser HD380 Pros for DJing ( I find them comfortable with one earphone folded back) and use them for most of my recording and mixing. I have a pair of HD650's which I get out on occasions like the family jewels and yeah they make a big difference. I have M Audio BX5 monitors which I rarely use due to noise levels in the home. I am guessing my mixes are better when I use the 650's than the BX5's.
I did get one of those little usb box sound cards. The VRM box by Focusrite a while back but don't use it much any more. It is interesting with the software package as it gives virtual Monitors in Phones, and a selection of them.
At the end of the day though I do not have a room large enough to allow wavelengths below about 120cps, nor the budget for a 20-30k pair of monitors nor another 20-40k for professional sound treatment of the room. I have however had the luxury of the use of stuff like that when studying music, and yes I would have it if I could.
I have found one of the best tests of a mix I have done is to listen through the car stereo on my way to work, when my ears are fresh.
It is probably the closest to a real world listening environment I can get. If it sounds good enough to me there then it is good enough for me. Time to move on to the next tune.
I can't master a track without hp's. I have HD600s they cost $600 but I got them used so it was cheaper. But also have big monitors. To properly master a track you need to go through a hp phase imo. But only if you have really good quality OPENear hp's. You cant mix and master using crappy closed ear hp's, or even mid-class. Having open ear hp's is key, and a good amp, it's like having two massive speakers right beside you ear so it's good for pickuin up phasing issues, and small level problems. But you cant toitally priiduce a real good track only with hps.
Man if someone offered me 40k to sound proof my studio room I'd go sure!..(I would in reality spend $500 on that then go and buy a load of new guitars and synths!) ;)
I was assuming you had them already. We are after all talking about a perfect world
In the number1 studio where I studied they had spent from memory about $65k on acoustic treatment and that was about 15 years ago when $65k was a lot of money
There's a studio somewhere in New York if I remember correctly(the name escapes me)where the whole recording area is encased and floating on an oil bath to deaden traffic vibrations encroaching from the outside....I've had trouble with fridges turning on and off and causing electrical spikes,thank heaven for modern day DAW's is all I can say.
I was reading an article about the duo 'Tuck and Pattie' if you know them. You probably do. They have an isolation booth in their music studio for Pattie to sing in. It is something similar. I also read about a gut somewhere with a very rare D'Angelico New Yorker which is never allowed out of a climate and humidity controlled room. I think anyone honoured enough to touch it has to wear cotton cloves. But yeah, back to the real world I still think the car stereo test is a good yard stick, and as I said, in the morning when your ears are fresh. By this stage I am guessing you are going to be familiar enough with the piece you are mixing to remember any spots you notice and as to Headphones and speakers I would say which ever you have the best of.
The KRK KNS 8400 don't look to far out of reach, Iv spotted them on line from £70! I'm currently using Sony MDR XD200's, I don't even remember where I got them from which means they cant have been worth too much at all!
So I'm looking for hp's with a flat response, and open backed is what Iv gathered so far.
My next question is sound cards, Iv always used the stock sound card with my laptop, foolishly it never occurred that I may be better of with a nicer sound card! I did install ASIO4ALLv2 with FL studio 10 but didn't immediately notice a difference so have not really ensured to enable it whenever I play with the DAW. Would tweaks in the audio settings help at all??
and i thought I am the only one :D
I`m using sony too, but don`t know the name pretty old stuff... aprox. 25Y old... works fine, but I`m doing the mastering with monitors... well speakers (crappy ones) with a sony amplifier (is too good), but still with a good headphone you can produce not less quality like with monitors, speakers...
i think headphones are good for referencing and not annoying the rest of the household, but to really get in your mix i think monitors are a must. even if just from perspectives, i always try my mixes on as many different speakers as poss(car, hifi pc )etc
anyone know much about sound cards for laptops for production? to be honest i dont know much about sound cards at all but ive heard it can be more complicated with laptops. Is it just 'get a compatible one with the highest specs'?
LOL What's your budget? I have 3. I have bought them at different times and each has been an upgrade. It's the sort of thing you may pick up cheaply on Ebay, or even though here.People buy better ones and old ones gather dust.
My first was an Edirol UA-1ex which I used with a windows XP laptop. The second a Tascam US-122L, which I used with a windows & laptop. When I bought a MBP a year ago I found that Tascam will not update drivers for older units. I was pretty pissed off and would never buy anything from that company ever again. Still works fine with the old laptop but not the MBP. Ended up getting a RME Babyface which was expensive as hell but money well spent. The bottom line is that generally you get what you pay for.
Older stuff works well but be sure you can get the drivers for it to run on what laptop you use. If you can then I would look 2cd hand
just see it running first. Other than that5 there is no problem running a USB sound card.
I use both... I start with headphones to setup my initial mix... then I go on to my monitors to fine tune it for open air listening ;)... but I must say... I have special headphones for this proces to get a more neutral sound, I'm using the KRK-6400 for this...
I believe so. Just get yourself a good pair of open-back headphones and you're good to go.
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