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What should i trust ? speakers or headphones ?

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by johnny k, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    So i recorded, tried to make the volume levels even, and i noticed what sounded good in my headphones, was lacking guitar in the speakers.

    The speakers are not that good, but the headphones are quite ok.

    Should i keep making the levels via headphones ?
     
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  2. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Depends on the quality and type of speakers and headphones. Someone else will be better able to give a technical explanation. Poor headphones will definitely not be a good guide. Speakers generally are a better guide, but not regular stereo speakers. Studio monitors have a flat response that give you a true rendition of what has been recorded.

    But overall a good general rule is: add more guitar. ;)
     
  3. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    Howdy johnny k....

    If I were asked?

    Use your monitors regardless of your perception of them being 'not that good'.
    Then play it on another medium, a friends system, your car stereo, whatever.
    Then...you use your ears to determine how that mix translates to these other mediums.
    That's how you get to know your monitors should they be less than efficient in some frequency ranges.
    That will give you the clue(s) you need should you need to do proper EQ'ing to compensate for those 'deficiencies'.

    I never mix on headphones....I only use headphones when I solo a track (or recording vocals, of course) to edit out any artifacts like coughs, kicking the mic stand, etc.

    But..others will certainly disagree with me so it's a preferential call for you. :)

    I hope that helps....have a great day....
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  4. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Try different spaces, your living room, your yard, the car, where ever you listen to music.
     
  5. MugHimself

    MugHimself TDPRI Member

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    Gotta just playback through multiple sources and find the balance. I playback thru computer speaker monitor home stereo and car system when I’m level tweaking just to find a balance that works across different setups.
     
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  6. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't have studio monitors, and i am pretty much a newbee when it comes to recording anything. It is fun though.
     
  7. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    In theory, speakers are the way to go, but there’s caveats to that. They need to be at least semi decent studio monitors really (which doesn’t really mean expensive these days). Even then your room / environment can mess things up.

    In your case, I don’t think there’s any way for us to know. Even if you tell us what you are using.

    Try bouncing your mix and putting it on your phone or a CD and playing it back in different environments. Like in / through a car sound system for example, and on a regular home stereo or portable CD player, or a portable Bluetooth speaker, etc. It’s actually a lot of work, but if you can get it sounding decent across a range of devices, you can be kinda confident with it.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  8. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    Get a better pair of speakers...studio monitors
     
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  9. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    that helps. I knew you had to try different devices, because i made a record and that is how we did it.
    Now, i am on my own, i pretty much only have my computer. And no monitors. I don't aim for perfect quality, but something vaguely listenable.

    you might not use my records to tune it your stereo, that is what pink floyd is for ! thanks for the answer.
     
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  10. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thank you guys for the answers. I will probably have to look for monitors.
    Thing is i didn't have that problem using this
    upload_2021-4-15_13-31-25.jpeg

    And it was easier to use than reaper i am telling you. Doing a drum beat on repear made me rage a bit. Now that is about user friendly ! haha.
     
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  11. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I picked up a decent pair of small studio monitors for $100 recently. They are perfectly adequate for my home noodling. Also got my first really decent headphones for only about $60. AKG240. OMG a thousand times better than what I had before. So if your needs are modest it’s possible to get decent stuff for not too much $$$.
     
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  12. Durtdog

    Durtdog Poster Extraordinaire

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    Mix on speakers, headphones, earbuds, whatever you think the majority of your audience will listen to it on.

    I remember years ago, producers turning off the studio monitors and mixing though small, kinda crummy speakers to emulate car speakers. They were mixing for radio...and most people listened in their cars.
     
  13. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    I will probably just do it on speakers, since i don't think many people listen to stereos any more.
     
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  14. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    NOTE: you don't have to spend big dollars nor do you need large speakers to get a good mix.
    I 'mix' only on 3.5" Tascam Porta S1010M monitors which Ive had for 34 years.

    Also....do your mixing at very low volumes....if you can barely hear the bass at this low volume then try your 1st mix.

    THEN....If I think I have a good 1st mix then I play my song through my KRK Rockit 8's at a moderate volume to confirm.
    I'll make adjustments from there.

    Or....you can totally ignore my suggestions. :)

    Hope that helps....
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  15. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I had a set of old k55 headphones that I could mix on reliably. I was very familiar with them and knew what my mix would sound like on other speakers and systems. Those headphone are long gone now and I’m trying to “learn” a couple of new sets of headphones, but it takes some time. I do have decent studio monitors which I use to finalize my mix, but I do a lot on headphones.

    Either way, the trick to getting a mix to translate well to other systems is to learn your monitors and headphones - listen to a lot of reference tracks on them and compare your mix to reference tracks often. Then check your mix on as many sources as you can - ear buds, in the car, bookshelf stereo speakers, Bluetooth speakers, even a television. That way you will have a good idea of how your mix will sound on different systems.
     
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  16. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Afflicted

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    Make sure you check your mix in mono. A lot of listening might as well be in mono and if it doesn’t sound good in mono, it won’t sound good in stereo.
     
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  17. FMA

    FMA Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have one of those Zoom dealies and used it as a scratch pad kind of thing. Now I use my iPad and Garage Band, which is stupid easy to use. It may not have all the options and bells and whistles as, say, Reaper or even light versions of Pro Tools, but it works for me and is pretty simple so I spend more time working on my parts than messing around with the program.

    As far as playback, I play it back through a little BT speaker initially just to hear how it sounds and then through a pair of old Yamaha monitors to tweak it. (Those old Yamahas are very nice. You can sometimes find them used for cheap. Actually, I found mine in a thrift shop many years ago. I forget exactly what I paid for them, but they were cheap.)
     
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  18. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's a total lottery.

    Your music will sound totally different depending on the playback device, and there's no way to get a "correct" or "best" sound.

    This is also true for all professionally produced music; we just don't notice it as much.

    My stuff sounds great (to me) on headphones and through crappy computer speakers, but dead and flat through my schmancy Elac speakers.

    Some people tell me it's too bassy, others say it's too trebly - and I suspect it just depends on their headphones, their phones, or whatever else they're playing it on.

    As I said, total lottery. And, as with so many things in life, ain't nuttn we can do.
     
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  19. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Both. Audio sounds different on both BUT it's easier for a good monitor mix to sound good on headphones than the other way round.

    Maybe you already do this, but I find the best way is to set the levels and EQ for individual tracks in mono. It helps to set stereo pans first of course as they affect volume. You will easily spot any mono masking issues, which is usually a bigger issue that phase issues in my experience. It's also easy to set something too quiet or loud in a stereo mix and not notice until you try it on a different speaker.

    So basically, I set pans and stereo effects in stereo, do the rest of the levels and EQ on individual tracks in mono, then check back in stereo. I find it the quickest way to get a decent mix across multiple speakers and headphones.

    A good reason to use headphones is that unless you have decent monitors over 6", you're unlikely to hear much under about 50hz. Even an averagely decent pair of headphones may go much lower and you can sort out any rumbles without resorting to a cliff-edge HP filter at 45 or whatever.

    By the way, I find one of the little Sonos speakers really good for checking a mono mix and it's hyped in a way that will show up any harsh top end or muddy bottom.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  20. Buell

    Buell Tele-Meister

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    I use all mediums available. I have a great pair of headphones for the initial mix and then use my PC speakers and especially my car stereo to see how it "really" sounds.

    Back in the day, I can remember working in studios and we were constantly running a tape out to a car to check sound. It's still a good "trick". Good luck!!
     
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