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Mixing with headphones and monitors? Audio Interfaces
Old 1st August 2010
Gear Nut

Mixing with headphones and monitors?

First of all, this isn't really a mastering topic, but I couldn't find a "mixing" forum so feel free to move this to the correct place. Btw this is my first post here, and yes I know I look like a lurker, but I'll make sure not to be one.

Ok, here's my situation. I just bought a pair of Senn HD280's because I heard they're nice and flat sounding (as opposed to Sony's or other headphones at $100). I also know that there are a bunch of problems with mixing on headphones (spacial imaging, reverbs, etc) but I was hoping I could combat that with also using a second reference, the Logitech (I know, laugh all you want) z-2300's. So I figured that having a decent set of headphones that are APPARENTLY flat, and a pair of "monitors" that are probably not far behind cheap KRK's or similar in sound quality, I could with practice get away with a passable mix. The biggest complaint about the Senn's is lack in bass, well thankfully my Logitech's have a huge subwoofer and 400w peak output.

SO, can somebody give me some tips as to how I would go about mixing (ie, which elements of the mix are best suited to the headphones or monitors, things like that). Any help is appreciated.

PS, I'm using an M-audio fast track pro to boost the headphones. Will that be good enough in terms of audio quality?
Old 1st August 2010
Lives for gear
huejahfink's Avatar

Verified Member
Well we all gotta make the most of what we got, whatever that may be.
I find phones better for the earlier stages of music creation, and then the very final QC stages, but this is how I feel about the main differences,

Speakers are very well suited for the bigger picture....

Hearing the dynamics
Overall frequency balance (esp. how the frequencies sit together 'in the air')
FEELING the frequencies
Judging sound stage (panning, ambience/reverbs, front to back depth)
Judging realism

Headphone is very well suited to detailed work, kind of like a microscope for sound...

Noise reduction,
Cleaning up samples or editing recordings.
Detailed frequency work (for example, tuning slight frequency peaks in a hi-hat pattern)
Detailed aspects of sound design
Subtle background stuff (also a good second judge for reverbs. Usually if it sounds too much on headphones it probably is a little bit too much)
QC - checking for clicks, pops etc

But also for general arranging etc
and working late!!
Old 3rd August 2010
Gear Nut

Thanks for the reply. Basically what I understand from lots of researching the main problem with headphones is the stereo field (as in, how much you should pan each instrument and things like that) and how the instruments fit together in the space. For those, obviously I have my monitors.

My next question, is there a HUGE difference in the stereo field for different speakers, assuming my room and speaker placement is good. Logically, it wouldn't make sense because stereo field is just about the first speaker playing a certain sound (the first channel) and the other driver playing the other channel. It's probably just my lack of knowledge about loudspeakers though.

EDIT: I just got the headphones, and I've got to say from MY experience they sound more flat than any cheap KRK's or Mackies (maybe not as good as the low-end Yamaha monitors) and the stereo field is huge. I have no idea if that's a good thing or bad, though I love the sound. The senn's are also fairly detailed.
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