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Request advice on location of headphone amp and headphones in the studio.

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by usalabs, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. usalabs

    usalabs Active Member

    Hi everyone.

    As the assigned sound engineer for a group of friends starting a local hard rock band, we have the studio already built and most of the equipment set up in the control room, and we decided on using line outs of the amps for the guitars and bass, and the line out of the keyboards, the only live sounds being used are for mics and the drum kit, all being routed to the Behringer Eurodesk SX2442FX channel mixing board, and grouped to 4 subs:-

    1 = bass, guitars
    2 = drum kit
    3 = vocals
    4 = keyboards

    main out is to a Peavey 500W stereo PA using mono inputs.

    This set up is great for practicing, but for recording I would like to use the 12 headphone amp and use wall sockets for the headphones, 1 behind the drummer, 1 close the the lead guitarist, another next to the bassist, another close to the keyboardist, etc etc, the question is, should the headphone amp be in the sound room or the control room?, in either case what would the best route to take for wiring?

    I'll post a list of equipment here a bit later, as I'm not at the studio right now to write down the list of equipment models and makes.
  2. jimmys69

    jimmys69 Active Member

    Seems you would want to run balanced cables to the headphone amp in the sound room. Less noise and cable. Then each musician will be able to control their own volume also.
  3. usalabs

    usalabs Active Member

    Thanks for replying.

    Is the location of the headphone amp critical?, Because if placed under the control room window, then band members would be tripping over themselves to get to the amp to control their volumes, I was more or less thinking of using variable resistors set in various positions around the sound room connected to each wall socket, in a configuration to where the tip of the mono headphone jack is connected to the wiper and one end of the variable resistor, and the screen of the headphone jack to screen of the output channel of the amp, and the output from an amp channel would be across the resistor track, thus, when turned, the output would be variable, resulting in continuous volume adjustment, the amp controls would be set to midway, but,,,, the problem is figuring out the resistive value as not to impose a short or unbalanced load across the amp output.

    Attached is a schematic of the proposed volume controls.

    Attached Files:

  4. jimmys69

    jimmys69 Active Member

    Something I ran across: http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10904
  5. jimmys69

    jimmys69 Active Member

    I would think it would make more sense to have the amp in the room for one member to control. As easy as "hey dood, turn up my headphones". If you had separate isolation rooms, then yes I would go for individual controls. Depending on the amp, you will be in control of the AUX input levels.
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Jimmy hasn't really answered the question for you fully. This is one of those selections you have to make like boxers or jockeys. There are commercial headphone amplifiers made that can power 4 headphones simultaneously. But the volume controls and the sockets are on the 19 inch rack device. And if that's in the control room, how are you supposed to get it into the studio? On the other hand, you can take a line output feed from your control room and feed that hopefully balanced cable (like microphones) into the middle of your studio floor. Then you plug that into the 1 input 4 output headphone amp of fire which must also be plugged into the AC mains. And are you going to run back and forth from the drum set 10 feet away (3 m) to adjust the volume level in your headphones, over & over again? That's rather impractical. Those headphone amplifiers are basically designed for the bedroom control room/studio environment. For larger studio setting, you need conveniences, at each musician's position so that the volume control is easily accessible. Today there is even more options since we now have headphone systems that each have 8 volume controls at each position and are fed via CAT 5 digital feeds. I personally prefer a simpler distributed headphone system utilizing a 60-150 W amplifier in the control room. The output of this amplifier has what we refer to as buildout resisters on its outputs. That generally means a 8 ohm power resistor across the amplifiers outputs for proper loading and a current limiting resistor in series such as another 8 ohm power resistor at the output. Then individual small headphone boxes can be built that contain both volume controls left-right-Mono switching and extra resistors to prevent blowing out headphones and or your hearing. The design and construction circuitry for that type of system is both simple & economical. And with this type of system, you can't hurt or load down your amplifier even if you are utilizing 100 headphones simultaneously. It's great when you are working with larger orchestrated groups that require much more than just a few headphones.

    If you are building your own headphone system up and you want things on wall plate sockets, you should generally not use the same earth ground as the electrical system. The output ground on the amplifier is not necessarily at the same potential as the electrical earth ground. So in other words, you want the ground of your amplifier output to be connected to the same ground as your microphone input sockets. Keep those separate. Make the headphone system an entity unto its own with only the input being commonly connected to your consoles output. This explanation may seem a little vague right now but people are thinking on labels that are done are done and you don't know if you're making them violent and health are engineered and you will understand me physically a little understanding it now and I'm in the US and in fact you are certain we definitely a record and that is that the limited field if you know that limiters work very well if you use the view that everything will be right than you think and plug-in file for computers with the saturation of them live in exactly one of the people actually want to do this with my remote and not soon maintained 24 track machine is that it is illegal in you never need another reality of course will you wear them out one by now my active noise playback output of your multitrack machine he and his active in the saturation of a first generation in don't remind me that well if you read and get no vacation at his lousy for this patent for this but if I need something loud and you heard well before you finally got my only dislike thatI have written about this on numerous occasions over the past 5 1/2 years here at Recording.org. I manufacture my own individual headphone boxes connected to lawn of cables to make it to the central distribution point. The little individual boxes are generally small aluminum and/or aluminum/plastic that you can get at your local Radio Shaft or other electronics stores along with the requisite 10,000 ohm linear taper volume controls. And with headphone systems, you don't need those 10 W wire wound speaker volume controls. You only need the low-power little ones with carbon elements. And while those online controls are only rated between 1/4 to 1/2 W, it builds in an extra margin of safety for the listener. Never in my 30+ years have we ever blown a volume control before we've blown headphones or blown eardrums. And you don't want 8 ohm lion controls for headphones. 1000 to 10,000 ohm audio taper will be what you want. You should also include at least an extra pair of 50 ohm resistors in the box. All of these resistors work to reduce the current or power going to the headphones. Headphones generally can't withstand much more than 1-3 W before failing. I like the beefy control room monitor amplifiers utilized for a incredible dedicated headphone system. You don't want to share this amplifier with your studio speakers.

    Head Phony
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    I'm not clear why you wouldn't want the headphone amp in the control room. Let the musicians tell you what they want and need and give it to them.

    I have six seperate headphone mixes available in my studio and it is very simple to have each musician tell me what they want. Letting each musician turn their own headphones up or down wouldn't do anything for the MIX that each musician might want so they would have to have you mix their phones anyway...why not control it all?
  8. jimmys69

    jimmys69 Active Member

    I suppose it depends upon how much you want to spend on headphone monitoring convenience. I would invest in the recording chain before a deluxe monitoring setup.
  9. usalabs

    usalabs Active Member

    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Sorry I haven't been online for a while, I had no Internet and my wife recently had heart bypass surgery.

    Ok, now back to the post. I bought a 16 channel headphone amp placed in the control room, and used the low output mix from the mixing desk to the headphone amp, and the cables run through the walls around the studio using conduit, to wall sockets strategically placed, and all the headphones have adjustable volume for L & R, and a stereo/mono switch, the headphone amps output on each channel is set mid way, so that there's plenty of volume for the headphones, so that all the musicians can have a wide range of volume settings on their headphones. This setup is agreeable by all the musicians, and there's been no noticeable degradation in recording quality, concerning the changes to studio acoustics by running conduit around the walls.
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    That's good to hear. Conduit in your walls should not affect your acoustics. I think people were interpreting your question as to what kind of headphone feeds to deliver to the people in the studio? Newer systems today, many of which are digital, provide for sending out 8 different stems. Meaning that each musician can conjure up their own balance of what they want to hear. That's different from just delivering the same mix to everybody and providing them with personal volume controls. In older times and even today, we would provide a single or perhaps, two differently delivered mixes to the musicians in the studio. And as mentioned by other contributors here, most of the time, we just try to provide a well-balanced mix to all. Some people though are prima donnas and the guitarist cannot hear enough guitar, the vocalist cannot hear enough of their vocals, the keyboardist cannot hear enough of their keyboards and overall, there's too much drums in the mix. And that's where these new Cat 5 eight channel digital headphone systems are now being offered. Of course at a premium price for the premium studios. You actually didn't need a headphone amplifier that had 16 separate output amplifiers. I can provide up to 100 or more from a single amplifier and everybody still has a left and a right switch and volume controls right at their feet. This applies to both dwarfs and basketball players. LOL.

    Hope your wife is doing well? That's more important than any headphone amplifier.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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