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possible to mix and master via headphone?

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by vaibhav dewangan, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. vaibhav dewangan

    vaibhav dewangan Active Member

    Hello boss,
    I hv krk monitor in my acoustically treated room for mixing and mastering, no issue, but I am shifting to some other place for few months and I wanna continue my mixing and mastering but can't take setup along with me, so
    is it possible to mix and master via headphone? I wanna do perfect mix n master which sounds perfect in any device.
    if it is possible, which headphone should I purchase?
    Because I won't get any acoustically treated room and gud monitor.
    please do help me as soon as possible.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    No, it's not possible, at least for the reason that no mixing and mastering process can sound perfect. To create mixes that sound good on lots of diverse replay equipment you have to go through a procedure of testing the mix on that gear in different acoustic environments and making appropriate balancing adjustments. Using only headphones, you would be compromising your process even further than by using just one set of monitors in one listening environment.
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I agree with Boswell..
    The first thing that gets screwed with headphones is the stereo image. The natural reverb of the room (inexistent with headphones) and the bass response are also issues to be carefull with.

    One thing tho, it depends what kind of material you mix and master and what exactly you meen by mastering..
    The only exception where I think someone 'MAY' succeed with a pair of headphones is when mixing and mastering VSTi or Samples.
    The reason is that most vsti instruments and sample loops, are pre mastered. So, you just assemble the sounds and you have a minimum to do to mixing and master to be done.

    In the end there is one thing to consider : how trained your ears are, your level of skills and knowledge.
    A person who is just starting to make audio recording may not ear the difference enough to even consider buying a hi-end set of monitors.
    But it's easier to learn on the right tools even if at first you can't discern the difference.

    Every high end gear I bought brought me new realisations about audio and helped me achive some results I couldn't even grasp before.

    There is some room/monitors simulators but it's never the same has the real thing.
    Headphones are good as a complement but not as the only reference for you mix.. sorry.
  4. vaibhav dewangan

    vaibhav dewangan Active Member

    Thats pretty good information, thanks for the support, and vst n samples yeah I am gonna make music with the same but still I use some acoustic instruments like guitar and cajon, and vocals. So, in that case I really need to focus on few setup amd arrangements.
    any suggestion??
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Why couldn't you bring your monitors ?
    What kind of limitation, your next place will have ?
  6. vaibhav dewangan

    vaibhav dewangan Active Member

    Few problems like sharing room, no one wants disturbance and more over its heavy bleeding room... so not possible to treat also...and the neighbours vll also get disturbed... its not big room...
    so many different issues...
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Sorry to read that.. But still, recording some guitar and vocals may disturb as well won't it ?
    I feel for you and hope you find a solution or a compromise.

    Speaking of a compromise, If you really have not choice, you could buy a good studio headphone set and something like this :
    http://global.focusrite.com/firewire-audio-interfaces/saffire-pro-24-dsp : it has VRM, a room simulator which is far from perfect but could help you mix in a halfway from ideal situation.

    You could also try this : http://rekkerd.org/beyerdynamic-releases-virtual-studio-free-room-simulation-plugin/
    But I have no idea about its accuracy
  8. vaibhav dewangan

    vaibhav dewangan Active Member

    Well I already have m audio mobile pre so can't afford for another interface I know it doesnot have vrm.. still...
    Instead I hv vocalbooth http://www.rajmusical.com/primacoustic-voxguard-microphone-isolation-panel.html
    Will it work for vocal and acoustic guitar?
  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    A mic isolation pannel is not a real vocal booth. Which in my mind is a seperate room or something like this :
    Isolation pannels will reduce very lightly how your vocal spill into the room. The first purpose of those pannels are to reduce reflexions in the room.
    In a sens, they help cut the sound from bouncing to the wall and comming back to the mic. Also, you should know that they help only for certain frequencies depending on their tickness and dencity.
    It will be no use for an electric guitar cab but I don't know if it could help a bit with an acoustic guitar.

    I'm sorry Vaibhav, you will need to accept the limitations of your room's accoustics and headphones.
    If you really have no choice, the only thing you could do to help you mix is to COMPARE.
    Everytime you change something in your mix, compare it to commercial professionnal CDs.
    Then, bring your mix to a car and/or a friend to have listen in different environments.

    In the end, the most important thing is that you do not stop doing music ;)

    Good Luck !
  10. vaibhav dewangan

    vaibhav dewangan Active Member

    Yes of course, those who stop doing music they are not musicians!
    I vll try to make in any conditions.
    thanx alot.
    and I vll consult you for more issues if needed. (y)
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Okay, it's like this, so here it is.

    Yes, you can mix and master with headphones if this is a hobby.

    All my professional colleagues - including myself - use headphones only as a point of temporary reference, generally as an "overall" check, after the final mix has been rendered. No one I know relies on them for serious mixing or mastering.

    If you are planning on doing this seriously, or hanging out a shingle as a professional recording facility, you're gonna have to bite the bullet and get into a pair of good near-field monitors - either actives or passives - and if you choose the passive route, you also need to pay great attention to the power amp that will be driving the monitors. There's just no other option. You will not be able to do professional work with headphones.

    And then there's this:

    Room treatment will also be very high on the list of priorities... and it takes a lot more than just throwing up a few square foot panels of Auralex, randomly tacked to your walls, to treat a room correctly.

    I strongly urge you to pick up Rod Gervais's book "Home Recording Studio - Build It Like the Pros".
    For many around here on this forum, this book has become our bible. It's a fantastic, well written book, worth every penny... and then some.


    Your recording setup will only ever be as strong as the weakest link in your chain. If you want to do this as a hobby, then buy what you can afford, and have fun.
    But if you want to do this professionally, then be prepared to spend money... lots of it. Forgetting world class, which runs in the millions of dollars to build, even on a lower level, it's not at all uncommon for mid level project studios to have $50k to $150k invested.

    It all depends on how serious you want to be. So, no offense intended, but you are asking your question to a forum filled with professional engineers, and I would bet that they would all tell you what I'm about to tell you, and what I think I've mentioned several times here... and that is this:

    No. You cannot mix and master with headphones.
  12. vaibhav dewangan

    vaibhav dewangan Active Member

    thats the reason I came here to get more and more information regarding mixing and mastering, I want to be a professional in this field, now I have few recording stuff, for my home studio just to practice the work.
    next year I have already planned to go to my country's best school to learn.
    till then I am working on this to understand the basics.
    I really love you people who are so great that you make me understand sound engineering from the basics.
    and I am not doing as a hobby off course,
    I record my own compositions but I am quite weak at my audio engg part.
    thanks a ton for the time you guys give to share the knowledge.
    I do respect all you guys alot.
    thanx again

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