Mixing With Headphones Like A Pro

Mixing With Headphones Like A Pro

August 23, 2019 100 By Kailee Schamberger


All the way from the start I can feel it in my heart like… All the way from the start Hey what’s going on out there i’m Sean Divine hope you all are doing well today I’ve got a new video i want to talk about the topic of Mixing and potentially mastering with headphones. This is by request I get a lot of questions on this. And so I just wanted to talk about some ways that you can get the best results If you’re mixing primarily with headphones or maybe even solely, while that’s not Ideal I’m gonna show you some things to consider and also some tips that are gonna help you get the most out of your Headphone mixing. So the first thing I want to talk about is choosing the right headphones. It’s really important to know the difference between Open back and closed back headphones so if you’re like me, I use closed back because they are isolating and I’m generally recording near my computer and so I want to make sure that I’m minimizing the bleed and Obviously you’re not going to be able to record Per se with open backs because you have that noise coming out of the other side of the headphone That said, open back is going to be your best bet in terms of getting a better low-end response so i would say if you’re mixing just with headphones Open back Is probably the way to go but if you’re like me and you’re tracking Also with headphones that you want to be able to mix with Then you’re going to need a closed back headphone. The goal would be to aim for The pair with the flattest frequency response so you can look some information up on the frequency response For headphones and just mainly, you don’t want to be mixing in a consumer headphone you know, some of these really popular Stylish headphones out there they’re not gonna be ideal for mixing because they hype the low end and they give you misrepresentation of the bass that’s not gonna be your best bet. You want To go with something that’s going to translate to other systems as well as possible. Now there is a tool out there By a company called Sonar Works I did a review on the plug-in and i’ll put a link to it here in the video but It will actually adjust the frequency curve of what you’re monitoring Through headphones Based on whatever pair you have. They have a lot of different settings. Actually they have one for these Sony Mdr-7506 is a pair that I use quite a bit but they’re really bright and so i use the Sonar Works Plug-in to flatten the frequency response on those Sony’s and it helps tremendously so that’s something you may want to consider. So lastly in picking the right headphones, if you’re on a budget maybe under $200 USD I have a video on the channel that talks about my 3 best recommendations for mixing headphones there so the next thingI want to touch on is you want to make sure to mix at low Volumes when you’re in headphones. You’ve heard of this concept of ear fatigue – it’s a real thing when you’re doing mixing and mastering especially If you’re doing this all day or for extended periods of time, you want to make sure that you’re not damaging your hearing But also just in the short term you don’t want to mess up your mix judgments by dealing with ear fatigue so it’s a pretty big problem with headphones If you start monitoring louder Than you should, if you want to talk about getting ear fatigue quickly – that is how to do it so What I mean by that is if you’ve got your headphones up at a pretty high level For more than a couple of minutes, you’ve already fatigued your ears and you’re not going to be making accurate mix judgments so you want to keep It as low as possible, just so that you can hear everything Maybe getting a little bit of the low end response but you want to leave It there and if you want to turn it up for very, very short amounts of time That’s fine. But just wanting to touch on if you’re mixing primarily with headphones – you have to be especially careful About ear fatigue and making sure that you’re monitoring levels are safe and low. Another really important aspect of mixing with headphones is to use an audio interface that has Accurate high quality AD/DA conversion. If you don’t know what i’m talking About there… Be sure and look it up. It just means that the sound that is going in and out of the computer or in and out of your audio interface, it has to be translated from analog to digital and digital to analog and you want the most accurate Representation of what you’re hearing so a quality audio interface is going To have you covered there. So look into that and do a little research. I’ll make some recommendations on quality audio interfaces in the description below. So touching on the audio interface, another aspect There is going to be the headphone amplifier that is built into the audio interface. If you’ve ever plugged in a pair of you know, good headphones into say, just your laptop, output you’re gonna Immediately notice a difference. Not only in just how loud the headphones get but also the quality of The playback on the headphones so if I was to use this same pair just on my laptop output And then I came and plugged them into my RME UFX, which has really nice Headphone amplifiers – it makes these sound a lot better and they get a lot louder so you want to consider that and If you’re on the lower end of the audio interfaces You may want to consider an external headphone amplifier. I don’t have a lot of experience with these since i’ve used RME Interfaces.They do have really good headphone amplifiers built-in So again, that’s something you may want to consider because it’s not going To sound the same just coming out of your computer output or a Budget, not as High-Quality Interface. So I have a simple but very Useful trick that I use all the time if i’m mixing in headphones and I’m having trouble kind of judging the low end of the sub Frequencies. All you need to do is just put a channel EQ on to your stereo bus or your Master Channel. We’re just going to roll off a lot of the high end frequencies so that we’re just monitoring Basically where a subwoofer would be engaged so… Somewhere between 100 – 120 Hz and then we’re just gonna set as steep of a curve as we can and Then when we play back we’re gonna be able to make a lot more accurate judgments on what’s going on down there When you you fall down, divine tracks got that new sound… Gave you what you needed, instead of what you wanted… so it’s just a lot more focused there and You know obviously with headphones it’s just tougher to monitor the low end because you’re not getting the room response and There’s just so much that’s right there on your ears it’s harder to pick it Out. This definitely I have found useful, I think it’s going to be very useful for you all Mixing in headphones. So the last thing I want to touch on about mixing and mastering in headphones is you want to do it in Tandem with a set of studio monitors. Now I know a lot of you have stressed that you can’t Have monitors. Maybe you have neighbors or Maybe you just can’t disturb the rest of your family or whatever it may be but I do think that you can get even just a small set of monitors: a 5-Inch monitor something with not a disturbing amount of bass but enough to where you can just get the response of a speaker Versus a headphone not everybody’s gonna be listening on headphones and it’s a totally different Representation when you’re hearing your mix through speakers so you’re gonna want to be able to Do both and if it’s absolutely not possible At least take the mixes out to the car, go put them up on your TV or Whatever you need to do just to get a representation in a speaker environment. All right so that’s a couple of key Things to consider when you’re mixing and mastering in headphones Also some tips to make sure that you’re getting the most out of it, you want To make sure and keep your monitoring levels low in your headphones. You don’t want to damage your hearing and you certainly don’t want To get ear fatigue ten minutes into your mixing session. Keep that in mind and keep It safe Also Check out some of these things that can adjust the frequency response of your headphones. You want it to be as flat as possible So you get a really nice translation. Finally I always stress that you want To use monitors in tandem with headphones if Possible so that you can get the most out of It. Hope this helps you all out there Mixing and mastering in headphones. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. if you Learned anything in this video, please like and subscribe and we’ll talk to you soon!