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Headphone or Speaker Monitors?

Member for

21 years 2 months
I currently have a (very humble) home studio with a few synths, and i was thinking the next addition i should make.. Monitors seem to be one of the top things i want.. I would prefer headphone monitors only because i would be able to do more production at times when people don't want to be disturbed. This isn't a huge preference though, only little (hehe).. if speaker monitors really have worthwhile advantages i will consider them.

So basically I'd just really appreciate if you peeps could give me some pointers on the pros and cons of headphone/speaker monitors. thankyou in advance :)

Comments

Member for

20 years 1 month

Mike Simmons Mon, 09/09/2002 - 03:47
Reflekshun,

Headphone monitoring for mixing is going to make you crazy. IMO it's impossible to mix in cans (especially when judging verbs). It's a nice second reference but very dicey if you really want to mix on them. Headphones may be good for revealing "issues/problems" in the mix that aren't detectable if your mixing environment is less than stellar.

That being said, I use Sennheiser's open ear headphone design and saved up to buy a pair of HD600's which are perfect to my taste. I've also heard HD580's and HD280's and thought that they would also be excellent choices. There is quite a bit of dicussion on this if you google search at RAP. I found a very good price on new "grey market" Sennheisers on eBay.

Member for

20 years 1 month

Mike Simmons Tue, 09/10/2002 - 06:58
Hey Reflekshun,

Sounds like you've got a plan.

There are several Aussies here who can make suggestions on this type of stuff if you need a local angle. There are also alot of searchable threads on "Best Monitors" in certain price ranges too.

I noticed you're a fairly recent poster, would you like to tell us a little about your set up and the kinds of things you work on?

Good luck and happy mixing!

Member for

21 years 2 months

archived member Mon, 09/23/2002 - 12:01
here's my version of the awful compromise (that's actually working fairly well):

i record and mix both with headphones and speakers. in my case it's because my "control room" is the size of a large closet, and i don't think i could make speakers sound right. so i have a pair of speakers i know and trust pretty well in the next (larger) room, and some cables connecting the computer. i do what i can with the headphones -- i find they're fine for getting sounds and basic level-setting and compression of individual tracks. the phones give a very detailed sound, really, so they're good for these tasks. but when i get to making overall mix tweaks, judging reverbs and pans, and even EQ, i find frequent trips to the speakers room quite necessary.

Member for

21 years 2 months

archived member Wed, 10/30/2002 - 09:20
Do not even try to mix on headphones.

Headphones couple the left channel to the left ear and the right channel to the right ear -- they are binaural. When listening to a set of speakers both ears hear both sources (stereo). It is a completely different sonic experience.

Headphones are good for foldback and for tracking, when you need to hear minute details. This goes double for a project studio where you will not have good enough monitors or a low enough noise floor to hear quiet signals or small (but real) problems (like disortion, gritty reverb tails, full fades).

Do not buy "nice" audiophile phones. I have Grado phones which uncompromisingly reveal flaws in the sound. There are many other options.

Member for

21 years 2 months

archived member Mon, 11/04/2002 - 11:59
When you have a pair of monitoring speakers available you should really try mixing two song excerpts, one using cans, and another listening to the monitors at a moderate level; then compare the two mixes. I once tried this and was amazed by the amount of 'obvious' EQ problems and balance anomalies I didn't hear when mixing with the cans on. Cans are great for checking certain details but in my experience they fail to give you a precise idea of how your mix is going to sound through speakers - even if you're really used to the headphones and have used them for countles hours... it's definitely not commendable to have this as your sole option. I never heard of any recording enthousiast who regretted getting decent monitors, they don't have to cost a fortune to help you a lot in the mixing process. Just my $ 0.02...
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