Mixing and mastering with headphones

Greg Thompson

Jun 8, 2015
Rochester, NY
Hi guys, first time posting. Been lurking for a few weeks but thought I should chime in on this:

Years ago as an assistant engineer at a big NYC studio I worked on an album mix project with a VERY FAMOUS mix engineer who is still doing lots of big label releases.
His methodology might be different in rooms that he works in all the time (as this might have been his first time in this particular mix room AFAIK) but he said he always worked this way:
He plugged a set of standard Sony MDR V6 into a DAT machine set to input and used that as his headphone amp. I think he spent 75% of his time working on headphones and the rest of the time on Yamaha NS-10 nearfields. Never once went to the big speakers in the room unless the client asked.
I don't know how much of that was his methodology of keeping secrets as he worked, and how much of that was just knowing how things ought to sound on headphones, but his results were amazing.

So, I say: If you can do it that way and your work translates to other places, then go for it!
There is no wrong way to do things in this friggin' dark art we call mixing.



Mar 20, 2000
Nanaimo BC, Canada
Chris, can you tell us what headphones you are going to be using with this system? Are they HP's that you already have and trust, or do you have your eye ( or ears LOL) on something else... or in particular?
SPL recommends Open Back. Any recommendations, please share!

I'm pretty much following my gut which is telling me to use the ones that translate best for me so that could be anything!
I'm going to listen to my speakers, my room and then go back to the Phonitor 2 and play with it like any other tool.
AT advertises with us and they have a wide range of new OB headphones on the market so I'm going to ask them for some advise.
I've always liked AKG. Senn, Sony, Beyer ??
This is a completely new approach so its all an experiment for now. I'm pretty excited about it all but skeptical. I'm coming at Pro Audio in a new light. Emulation has my attention now. We shall see.


Apr 15, 2015
This looks very interesting and I'll be interested to hear some follow-up on this and may even be a purchaser of it at some point. But in a day of digital software and mathematical geniuses worldwide, I'm a bit surprised that a piece of hardware is required to accomplish this emulation.


Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
Akron/Cleveland, OH
SPL recommends Open Back. Any recommendations, please share!

I don't have any suggestions... I was hoping you could tell me. LOL

I don't have any problems with mixing with phones from a technical POV, if the cans are transparent, and the monitoring system can support an accurate representation of the audio, and mixes translate well, then whatever works is fine by me.

My problem with it is a physical one; when I was 19, I had surgery done on both ears; I had cartilage growing towards my ears drums, so an ear surgeon actually re-shaped my inner ear(s). The surgery worked great, but to this day, some 36 years later, my ears can begin to hurt if I put any pressure against them....like, if I sleep on one side too long, or wear ear muffs or hats for an extended time, or, unfortunately, if I wear HP's too long.

But in a day of digital software and mathematical geniuses worldwide, I'm a bit surprised that a piece of hardware is required to accomplish this emulation.

Chris and I have had this discussion, and I've even tried out some newer software that he found, meant to emulate the sound of speakers in headphones. The consensus between us is that the software technology isn't quite there - yet - but, we believe that it will be, eventually... and these days, "eventually" isn't as far away as it used to be. In this day and age of such rapid technological advancement, "eventually" could actually mean this coming Friday. LOL ;)