At 2/27/08 12:05 AM, G9 wrote:
What do you guys use to monitor and ultimately master your tracks? I went over to musicradar.com, site of the UK's Computer Music mag, asked if headphones were adequate and got a decisive "no". The headphones I had in mind were the Sennheiser HD280's.
people who outright tell you that you can't monitor on headphones are just lemmings trying to mimic what is currently trendy to think about the subject. besides the obvious absence of the haas effect assisting in localization of stereo sounds, there are virtually no scientifically explainable reasons why headphones cannot be used for overall mixing purposes.
in fact - there are a huge number of reasons why headphones can and logically should be more accurate if you "learn" on them instead of speakers. Here's a few very obvious reasons:
- there are no terrible phase/colorations discrepancies that occur over the crossover points that normal monitors always will deal with (because DUH there are no cross-overs)
- there are no phase problems due to driver alignment on different planes and/or azimuths and horizons
- they don't suffer from room modes or eq spikes occurring from diffraction/reflection off surrounding objects and walls
- there is no issue of stupid designs of the cabinets resulting in even more measurable eq spikes stemming from the common non-flanged cheap square box designs
- many cheaper monitors are ported - also a poor choice when quality is the main priority because it increases distortion and resonance by using the standing waves of the box itself as an amplification method - stupid idea? yes. makes speakers louder? oh yes. Remember - volume is not synonymous with quality (as most speaker builders would have you believe - bunch of crap)
- there is less THD and general distortion and interference that can occur with headphones/heaphone amps because the amplification levels are so much lower
- there are much less materials involved so the cost/quality ratio leans towards providing much much better deals than speakers
- transients are more detectable and hence general track trouble-shooting and fault finding are much easier with headphones
- they don't disturb neighbors or require measurement mics for proper setup
- they represent lower frequencies and sub harmonics much better
that said - i'll just say one more thing (and take in mind that I really don't care and I'm not trying to gloat about me, just proving a point about headphones and this "stigma" that's attached to them):
I have yet to get ONE single negative comment about any of the past 7 mixes (not the nature of the song in terms of composition, just the MIX) that I've done and showed to a good deal of people on a particular forum (not here) on my akg 701's. In fact - every single comment has almost always been about how clear and balanced it sounded and how amazing the mix was. That said - headphones are not the issue here - it is only the people who try to mix with headphones for a few hours, throw their hands up in frustration and just give up.
If you are going to buy headphones - don't buy a crappy set of $100 ones. Go straight for the best. I'm serious - don't even think about skimping here if you are really serious about what you do. Pick up at least a pair of akg 701's or senn 650's and try to get a pair of Audio Technica W5000's if at all possible. Then - get a decent enough single channel headphone amp (A REAL ONE - not one of these stupid pieces of crap put out by samson or behringer or rane or whoever - i'm talking about something in the realm of a wooaudio 3 or littledot V - something actually good). Last of all after getting that stuff...i'd get a dedicated stand-alone D/A converter. You can usually find some good Chinese brands that have pretty impressive build quality and will be a big upgrade from most any consumer audio interface you might already have.
If you are going to get speakers - I would suggest this: do the room treatment thing (the cheap way - don't buy the expensive as hell pre-fab stuff), don't get ported speakers, get monitors with at least 8" woofers and don't bother with a sub unless you are going to buy a measurement mic and tune your room as well. It's just too much of a PITA to quell some of those room modes you get from the sub.
etc. etc. etc.