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Hearing Audio in Headphones While Recording

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by blackenedradio, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. blackenedradio

    blackenedradio Active Member

    I am recording a podcast, and would like to hear everything that is being said through headphones in real time. Here's my setup.

    MXL 990 condenser mics into the mic jacks of a Mackie VLZ series mixer. An instrument cable from the out port of the back of the mixer, into the instrument input of a presonus firebox. Firewire out of the firebox into the USB port of a macbook.

    I would love to be able to hear us on headphones while we're recording live, but I'm a little new when it comes to audio engineering. Could someone please help?
  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Have you tried plugging your headphones into the "PHONES" socket and turning up the knob marked "CTL ROOM/PHONES"? Depending on the mixer you may have to select "MAIN MIX" in the "CTL ROOM SOURCE" box.
  3. blackenedradio

    blackenedradio Active Member

    Thanks for the tip. Keep in mind I'm fairly new. I'll try this in a couple hours when I get off work and report back. I can also take a few pictures of the setup that I'm using if that helps.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Well first off, there really isn't any reason to utilize the Mackie at all. This microphone will do well plugging directly into your Firebox. In fact it's probably better to do it that way. All you need to do to hear things is to go to Radio Shaft and get yourself one of those 1 stereo headphone plug to 2 stereo headphone jack adapters. Then 2 of you could hear what's going on. You really should read your instruction manual first however. I know you're in Kansas Dorothy but it's not rocket science, it's just a wicked witch. Now just click your headphones together and say, I want to phone home, I want to phone home.

    Good witch from the east
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Unless he's got more than two mics.
  6. blackenedradio

    blackenedradio Active Member

    Thanks for the input Remy, and I've done that before and it does in fact work, but the reason that I'm using the mixer is the podcast will always have at least four mics running simultaneously. I would figure I would need to plug the headphones into the mixer itself somehow to hear everyone speaking, but I obviously haven't been able to figure it out, which is why I'm posting here.
  7. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    You could listen to the mix through the interface, but if you plug into the mixer instead you can do things like solo individual mics.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Well, to put it mildly, studio headphones and control room monitoring can become an immensely complex ordeal. Yes, if you want to be able to solo each microphone, you really want a dual function headphone monitoring system. You want to be able to solo their microphones but you don't necessarily want them to hear you doing the soloing. Right, check, I got that. And so here is my recommendation. It's a slight modification of what I have already suggested. So we are going to use your mixer as the primary monitor source. In this instance, you will be putting your headphones into your mixer. The other 3 or 4 headphones will be fed via the mixers auxiliary 1 pre-fader output to a dedicated 1 and 4 out headphone amplifier. You will then also take the Line outputs from your Computer audio interface outputs into one of the mixers stereo line level inputs. That input will be turned up an auxiliary 1 while leaving the fader down at zero. You will then switch your headphone selector on the mixer to monitor auxiliary 1. This way, any time you press a solo button, only you will hear that. When you released the solo button, you will be again monitoring the output of the computer audio interface device through the Mackie line level mixer input through auxiliary 1. Auxiliary 1 will only allow your participants to hear the main left-right line level outputs without solo interruption. And because the fader will be down, it will cause no feedback due to recycling back through your main left-right output bus. This turns the simple mixer into more of an all-inclusive recording console like operating functionality with this type of creative routing and busing. So there it is, all the function you need.

    Quite personally, one should also probably include some kind of dynamic range limiter on the main left-right line level output bus from your mixer to the limiter before the recording. While this dynamic range compression & limiting can be accomplished in software, everyone will love the way it sounds when done in real time through an actual hardware based limiter. In software of them, all you might really have to do is to normalize your recording after the fact. And you're job of having to closely ride each one's microphone level will be much more easily accomplished and professional sounding just like we do for television shows and radio shows, as we frequently use real-time dynamics processing. And not necessarily on each individual microphone as that is not generally the correct manner in which to accomplish a professional sounding mix. This is where bus limiting is the de rigueur way to process. Utilizing individual compressor/limiter's on each microphone causes enormous problems with timing errors and phase cancellation. That's because the person who is speaking is dynamically being reduced in level while the folks who are not speaking have their compressors turning them up, balls to the wall. And unless you are an expert at adjusting a downward expander or gate on each one of those individual microphones, it will cause you nothing but an acoustic nightmare. So when all of the microphones are first combined altogether and then fed into one central limiter it's as if each microphone is stereo strapped altogether into 4 separate limiters so that they all operate in perfect unison with each other regardless of who is speaking. This is the technique that I use to do for shows such as the McLaughlin Group on NBC/PBS/CBS. There you have 5 folks all getting into it, jumping upon one another sonically between a whisper and shouting. That in combination with the host, John McLaughlin who always needs to remain sounding bigger than life and in charge. And some of that comes from very quick fader manipulation. Nobody ever gets turned down all the way when they are not speaking but are generally reduced between 6-10 DB. That way when they do blurt something out, they're microphones are not off but merely ducked down and with a quick jerk of the finger they are right back into the fray without ever getting lost or clipped, "up cut" which sounds like amateur hour when that happens. But at the same time, you can't leave everybody's microphone up at the same level 100% of the time. That's why you have a mixer. That's what you are an audio engineer professional. And these types of shows require still a lot of manual level riding in order to be network quality. And no, you don't want to try to switch their microphones on and off as that's just damn near impossible and also sounds incredibly horrible when ambient background levels snap in and out. And I can guarantee you, if you do that, you'll up cut most everything, making for a miserable sounding amateur production.

    Twenty-year NBC-TV veteran
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. homestudioguy

    homestudioguy Active Member

    How about a basic headphone amp??????????

    Yoy! :confused:
    Connect this to the monitor outs of your interface or mixer.
    Everybody gets their own headphone jack, volume control, bass control and treble control.
    Behringer Powerplay Pro-XL HA4700 | Sweetwater.com
  10. amesrecordingstudios

    amesrecordingstudios Active Member

    What type of software are you using? Sometimes there is a monitor setting right on there so that you can hear yourself while you're recording a track when you plug your headphones into the headphone jack on your interface.

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