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What should i trust ? speakers or headphones ?

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

  1. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Yep! 100%! Car audio systems are generally horrible listening environments (unless it’s a highly tuned, after market system) so if you can get it sounding great there, it normally sounds pretty good anywhere else.
     
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  2. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yup. When my friend was signed by Atlantic and recording in a top LA studio they were always loading their latest song onto cassette and playing it in the car to check on the mix. The goal was to make sure it sounded great coming over FM radio into a potential buyer’s car.
     
  3. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    Speakers.
     
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  4. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    The other thing that strikes me is mixing at a loud enough volume (but not so loud it damages your ears!). I tend to overemphasise the top end and bottom end unless I listen at a sort of party volume, and I don't hear build-up around 1-2k so well (which stands out to humar ears anyway and can sound blaring as you increase volume).
     
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  5. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't like listening to music to loud, i find it tiresome. On a record i did, i tracked all my guitar parts with earplugs in the headphones. I am too old for loud.;)
     
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  6. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    Soundwaves combine differently in the air. Headphones will reveal phase problems differently, and they won't reveal them at all except when you sum to mono.

    I mix on headphones a lot out of necessity. You can get close if you have experience with how your headphone mixes will translate. It's necessary to always try headphone mixes on speakers, then adjust.
    If the speakers say there's something wrong, especially if they're not very good speakers, trust them.
    Ideally get it to sound at least ok on everyrthing you have. If anything says there's a problem try to address it, but definitely trust speakers first.
     
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  7. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

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    Trust no one. And everyone. Car, studio monitors, and cheapest earphones for your phone too. Because if you’re mixing for other people you don’t know how they will be hearing it.
    Like @Buell said the old trick is to take your rough mix to the car because that (and phones) is where more people will play music.
     
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  8. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    In general, it's not recommended to mix using headphones. You can still do it, but you'll need to be aware of and adjust for the way your particular headphones bias the sound.
    It's also a good idea to listen back to your mix using various equipment (home stereo, car stereo, etc), to be sure the mix is going to work in various settings.
    If you really want your best mix, a good (or at least decent) pair of studio monitors is highly recommended.
     
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  9. edvard

    edvard Friend of Leo's

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    Compare your headphone mix to a favorite song that most resembles what you want your mix to sound like, and match it as best you can. If that one sounds decent everywhere, then you'll know your mix will too, because you've matched the headphone anomalies.
     
  10. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I have one of those and never went back after using Reaper. Suggestion: Get the free MT PowerKit2 to help with drum tracks. It has a library of groove segments you can put together then drag into to drum track in Reaper. It remains editable MIDI so it's easy to tweak.
     
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  11. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

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    What ever you decide to use, use them a lot. Listen to everything on them. Music that you like, music that you don't like, spoken word, commercials, everything.

    Once you know how your monitors, headphones, ear buds, cups connected by string, what ever it is you use really sound like, and how they color the sound of everything, you can start making intelligent decisions about your mix.

    Until then it's really a shot in the dark. You'll be chasing your tail from one listening system to the next, trying to figure out why it seems to work ok on one, but not another.

    Many studio monitors are anything but flat, and many lower end sets are basically home stereo speakers with a built in amp.
    The much revered Yamaha NS10s, for example, were horrible speakers. But they were consistently horrible and were/are a staple in many studios.
    So no matter what studio you're working in, if you know what NS10s sound like, you know what you're getting and can consistently get results with them.

    It all boils down to practicing your listening with the system you will be using, in the place you will be using it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  12. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    As Chulaivet1966 and others have mentioned, mixing on speakers (mostly at low volume) is always advisable. You don't have to spend a lot of money. Positioning them properly and a little bit of room treatment can go a long way. Cover or lose reflective surfaces near the speakers and stick something in the corners. Try not to have them too close to the wall. If your ceiling is lower than 8', tack an old rug up there. Just have a bunch of stuff in the room: book cases, clothes rack, etc. And most important - learn how they sound. Is the top end exaggerated? Is the bass weak or hyped?

    Kali Audio ($300 pair - that's as cheap as you'll find a good set of monitors new) ... https://www.kaliaudio.com/lone-pine-studio-monitors
    Cheap but decent ($99 a pair and up) ... https://www.soundguys.com/best-cheap-studio-monitors-34664/
     
  13. nedorama

    nedorama Tele-Meister

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    Hard to tell what the issue is without more details.
    What speakers? What headphones? Where are you listening?
    If you post the file you're trying to hear, we can listen and tell you what may or may not be missing.

    For me, I monitor on a set of Event Audio Tuned Refernce 6" powered monitors set up at head level and 30" away from me. I also will check mixes on a set of AKG K702s, but used the K240s before that. And I'll pop the mix on my iPhone and listen through my car. The other saving grace is having a frequency analyzer on my master buss - I'm able to see the things I can't hear, like lack of low end, or too much, and that's helped me to EQ tracks better to have a mix that translates better across multiple speakers.

    But share more info and the sound files and we can help more.
     
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  14. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    I kind of have the hang of it now, for simple beats. If it requires a lot of syncopation, it gets harder.
     
  15. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks for the input guys, but most of you are over thinking it. I am not trying to get the best sounding songs, especially since the playing is average, and it has midi stuffs in them. I am just trying to get something listenable. You know, like hasil adkins. ;)
     
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  16. MojoTrwall

    MojoTrwall Tele-Holic

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    Speakers because of sound spatialization.

    Headphone are a bad solution to do a mix, they're way too much in your hears and it prevents a good sound representation.
     
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  17. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Holic

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    If the guitars were recorded in stereo there might be phase issues that aren't apparent in headphones but are apparent with speakers. This is great advice!

    Edit: This will work even with headphones.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  18. standup

    standup TDPRI Member

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    I’ve been messing with recording for years. The goal is to have it sound the best it can on any playback system. They all sound different.

    For me, I get far better mixes on speakers/studio monitors. If I have to mix on headphones, the balances just aren’t right when I play it on speakers.
     
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  19. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    I appreciate the inputs guys, but most of it goes over my head, since I am a total beginner. I am pretty sure it will make sense in a few years !
     
  20. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Nah, we're not. We just all know that stereo speakers are really difficult to work with, even just trying to get something 'listenable'. Believe me, if I was overthinking it I would have suggested a pair of Adams or Focals ;)
     
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