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Headphone or Speaker Monitors?

Discussion in 'Monitoring' started by reflekshun, Sep 8, 2002.

  1. reflekshun

    reflekshun Guest

    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 :)
  2. Mike Simmons

    Mike Simmons Active Member

    Nov 5, 2001
    Home Page:

    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.
  3. reflekshun

    reflekshun Guest

    Thankyou For your post Curious G - that makes alot of sense! I'll definitely consider speaker monitors next since i already have a decent pair of headphones... a little average on the very high end frequencies, but bah - speaker monitors will hopefully help me with that. thanks again!
  4. Mike Simmons

    Mike Simmons Active Member

    Nov 5, 2001
    Home Page:
    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!
  5. jajjguy

    jajjguy Guest

    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.
  6. Heezzi

    Heezzi Guest

    Get some Yorkville YSMP1's

  7. robin746

    robin746 Guest

    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.
  8. RedNucleus

    RedNucleus Guest

    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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