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Will headphones solve my hearing problems?

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Slim Chance, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

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    So I've dipped my toe in to recording myself using my new SM-57 into an older PreSonus Inspire interface with GarageBand. At this point my aim is to be able to solo over backing tracks that either I find online or create myself. Since I'm still new at this I have been experimenting with recording using both an amp and the amp sims in GB. Monitoring has been through computer speakers (not the built in ones, though.)

    My quandary is that when recording with my amp at the necessary volume, I have trouble hearing the backing track out of the computer unless it is also turned up loud. This is further complicated by the fact that I can only hear out of my left ear so I live my life in mono and determining sound direction is often very difficult.

    I'm considering getting a pair of closed back headphones to help hearing the backing tracks better. My question, therefore, is can I monitor both the guitar I'm recording, mic'ed through an amp and a backing track played in GarageBand through headphones at the same time? I assume that the closed back will cut most, but not all of the amp volume.

    If what I've written above isn't clear, my apologies. I lost hearing in the right ear nine years ago and still struggle to compensate. Feel free to ask questions if my explanation isn't clear. I don't currently own headphones, but am willing to buy a pair if it will help me be able to hear what I am playing through an amp and from the computer at the appropriate levels.
     
  2. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Or, just put the amp in a separate room, crank it up and get'er done.
     
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  3. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Similar to you, I hear significantly better with my left ear. So in your situation, I'd try wearing closed back headphones, with the left one fully on my ear, and the right one off (for the loud amp in the room).
     
  4. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    How about using a smaller amp that can be driven at lower volumes.
     
  5. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm unfamiliar with GarageBand, but with all DAWs, yes, you can load the prerecorded music into one track and play it as you record the amp in a second track, while monitoring both through the headphone output.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
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  6. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    A better option would be a pair of small powered speakers, driven by your computer. Bookshelf-size are great for this.

    I also do lots of home recording, and the only time I use headphones is when tracking vocals because the 'phones cause ear fatigue really fast.

    And having existing hearing problems, headphones will only create more issues for you.
     
  7. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Go have a look at the Twanger Central section here; there's a small but talented bunch of players that regularly do backing track challenges.

    You download the backing track as a WAV or MP3, move it to the files manager on your Mac and drop it into your Garage Band file. Then open Garage Band, select Files, navigate to the GB file and drag the WAV/MP3 into a new track. That way the backing track becomes part of your recorded material.
     
  8. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    As mentioned by other posters, a better pair of monitor speakers will help you more overall especially post record so that you can get a good level/balance between the track and your guitar part. But, a decent set of headphones is also a worthwhile purchase.
    I like these for tracking because they isolate really well. I can have a medium sized tube amp turned up medium loud in the same space I'm recording in. Sennheiser HD 280 pro ... https://en-us.sennheiser.com/hd-280-pro
    100 bucks from anywhere all the time. Sometimes they go on sale.

    The 'Inspire' should have a headphone output right on the front(?).
     
  9. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

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    Regrettably I have zero hearing in my right ear. Surgeon A says, “Let me get Surgeon B to take a look. Surgeon B Looks at MRI and they say, “Can you go down now and see Surgeon C, he’s a neurosurgeon.” The four of us plus Surgeon D, reconstruction surgeon all had a nice 12 hour party. Could of been worse.

    Yes, good idea. I really want to use the Vibrolux Reverb because it sounds so good and has the reverb. I also have a Vibro Champ and a reverb pedal, so I will try that, too.

    That’s more or less what I have now, but whether I use headphones or not, I’m going to have to workout a better studio configuration. It a question of balancing the sound levels from various sources when they all go in one ear.

    And thanks for the Twanger Central heads up.
     
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  10. nedorama

    nedorama Tele-Meister

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    Headphones are great for listening to detail, but they're also how I now have Tinnitus from cranking them. Don't. Solve the issue.

    Solutions in order that I'd try:
    1. 180° Turn - if it's a closed-back, turn the amp 180° from you so that it's facing away. If it's a combo, this won't work.
    2. Amp in another room - you'll need a longer guitar cable, a pedal with a buffer in it at the end your pedal chain (any boss pedal works) and a longer mic cable. Amp in a closet - same deal.
    3. Partial: make baffles from 4" 703 or mineral wool and cover with fabric. Or Pillows and blankets around the house. You'll get the close-mic'd sound, not distance, but you'll hear yourself.
    4. More Expensive: Spend money on a reactive load box that lets you record your amp silently - Two Notes Captor, Suhr IR
    5. More Hassle and expensive - build or buy an isolation cabinet to put your amp/speaker in with a mic.
     
  11. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    As other mentioned, even disregarding your hearing loss, the common way of recording something like this is to have the backing track in the DAW (GarageBand), using closed back headphones and isolating the amp so it's not audible over the sound of your guitar as it's being recorded. Once you have the GAIN of your interface set so the recorded track will be at a good level, you then change the track volumes in the DAW so that the two are at levels that allow you to hear both while you are recording. In your case I'd just pan everything hard left, or even use the pan in addition to volume to get the relative volumes acceptable while you record. Once you have the track recorded, you can reset the pan and levels in the DAW to something that yields a good mix. I.e., the relative levels while you record do not have anything to do with what you subsequently mix.
     
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  12. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Holic

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    You might try an earbud-style headphone with noise-reducing tips. I had to pull a pair of headphones on over mine once and didn't realize how much attenuation the 'buds had.
     
  13. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks @nedorama All my amps are open backed. I will try the least/no cost methods first. My needs are simple so I'd like to avoid the expense and hassle, if possible.

    Thanks @still_fiddlin I'll take our suggestions into account. I still have much to learn about recording aside from hearing issues.
     
  14. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

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    Peegoo, one of my two computer speakers stopped working ages ago, but I just put the working one on my left. Your reply pushed me over the edge and I fixed the other speaker. A number of cold/broken solder joints on two of the internal input terminals on the powered speaker. 10 minute fix for a ten year old problem. Thanks!
     
  15. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Rock ON! Fixing stuff is good for the soul :cool:
     
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  16. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    If the backing tracks are fully developed (done), crank up their volume versus the amp so you can hear them. Very little backing tracks will actually feed into the 57 positioned near the loud amp. That’s how I do it. I have a little backing tracks in my guitar and vocal tracks.
     
  17. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    Ever considered amp sims? GB has some pretty decent ones.
     
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  18. BelairPlayer

    BelairPlayer Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, you can absolutely do this.

    It depends on exactly which phones. Results will vary by model. I would point out that you can more closely match the backing track/guitar volumes in your phones, either way. You can also move the amp very far away (maybe even another room?), while still hearing it fairly clearly at a reasonable volume in your phones.

    ‘twas crystal clear.
     
  19. 4wotitswurth

    4wotitswurth TDPRI Member

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    I can sympathize with the hearing loss, I too struggle somewhat. Too many nights offshore under the blare of a generator... I’m luckily, I guess, both ears are diminished equally but still work. I have headphones, not expensive ones, but truth told I’m not much for them, i tend to go back to the actual sound.

    Not a sophisticated solution... but I do a lot of recording, just to see how I progress at stuff. Ive almost exclusively come back to using the dreaded phone. I like the convenience and I’m impressed with the sound quality, it does seem clear, and no saturation with the right volume level and positioning. I mount the phone on a stand/clamp and capture as video. I confess, our house is mostly apple stuff, so I use either iphone or iPad to record and feed the aux for backing if wanted.

    if you are trying to create serious stuff with separate tracks, mics and daw, this is probably not much good for you, but if it’s just personal noodling, sorta works ok. Also I use a small amp that has an aux input, so it’s very easy to equalize a backup track through the amp speaker itself. I’ve also used the home theater for the backing track and a tube amp for playing, it just takes more trial and error to get the sound balanced between the two... have fun!
     
  20. braveheart

    braveheart Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, that would work if you link the backing track and guitar to your HP...
    you should also consider half-open or even open HPs...so you could hear your guitar even better.
    That depends on how loud you turn the headphones volume...and how faraway the amp mics are (bleed)...

    Do you also wanna hear the monitored guitar signal (PC) or do you just want to hear the natural amp signal, because of latency etc?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
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