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In-ear monitors for mixing and mastering? EXPERT OPINIONS only, please.
Old 19th May 2016
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
You guys saying that you can't mix or master on headphones are assuming that all speaker systems are calibrated perfectly and give a perfect representation of what is on the recording. This is ignorance, there are about a million ways a speaker system can be set up wrong or flawed, just as there are about a million ways you can design and set up a headphone system to accurately represent the recording, and thus not have any problem at all mixing and mastering on it. Imagine the difference between a well set up headphone system and a speaker system that is not full range, not firing at your ears, has room problems, etc. I know which I'd choose.
Well - top end mastering rooms ARE set up in the best possible way. I'd take a great mastering engineer on headphones vs billy chump in his mum's spare room on speakers, sure, but the thing is - we don't have to make that choice. I'll use Leon @ 301 on his amazing setup, or one of the other great mastering engineers I've used in the past.
Old 19th May 2016
  #32
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Definitely! The thing is high end headphone systems actually get close to the best set up speaker systems, not just compete with billy chump. Not a lot of people know that though cause they don't invest the time in the calibration and set up of headphone systems.
Old 19th May 2016
  #33
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Originally Posted by bmanic View Post
That guy is a real interesting case in point for in-the-box and minimalist mastering rig.
I had never heard of him before, but I'm very interested in this style of working. The more we travel, the more my wife and I realize my career choice imposes severe limitations on where we live. Lots of reading to do....

Last edited by Tarekith; 19th May 2016 at 07:43 AM..
Old 19th May 2016
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Definitely! The thing is high end headphone systems actually get close to the best set up speaker systems, not just compete with billy chump. Not a lot of people know that though cause they don't invest the time in the calibration and set up of headphone systems.
Listening through headphones and listening through loudspeakers is a completely different experience though. Lack of LR bleed from headphones - unless you invest in one of those speaker emulation boxes, at which point you're trying to force it to be something else.

I'm not disagreeing that a headphone check is more important than ever - but speakers are more important IMO. and you can't check that on headphones.
Old 19th May 2016
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
[snip] Lack of LR bleed from headphones - unless you invest in one of those speaker emulation boxes [snip]
Hi, yes this is what I'm alluding to when I say set up and calibrated headphone systems, there is actually a lot you can do to make the headphone experience on par with or even surpass speaker setups. You can get extremely precise stereo imaging, frequency balance etc. A stock pair of headphones has almost no use for mixing or mastering except for a quick check for obvious problems, and of course for things like tracking. I absolutely agree that in general headphones are never going to be a substitute for a good speaker system, but I find the idea of headphones being inferior is usually based around the fact that they don't represent the stereo image like speakers - if you can correct for this and a couple of other things, they are truly useful in critical monitoring applications.

Cheers!
Old 19th May 2016
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Hi, yes this is what I'm alluding to when I say set up and calibrated headphone systems, there is actually a lot you can do to make the headphone experience on par with or even surpass speaker setups. You can get extremely precise stereo imaging, frequency balance etc. A stock pair of headphones has almost no use for mixing or mastering except for a quick check for obvious problems, and of course for things like tracking. I absolutely agree that in general headphones are never going to be a substitute for a good speaker system, but I find the idea of headphones being inferior is usually based around the fact that they don't represent the stereo image like speakers - if you can correct for this and a couple of other things, they are truly useful in critical monitoring applications.

Cheers!
I respectfully disagree I'm afraid.

Headphones are by definition inferior at presenting what a speaker system presents. Likewise a speaker system is inferior at presenting a headphones-listening experience (like binaural for example).

By all means feel free to hold a different opinion, but I don't care how precise someone claims their headphone setup is - I'm still going to ask someone who monitors on real speakers to master my projects.

I have to confess I've not heard of or heard this "earbud mastering guy"'s work - sounds like he's fairly well respected, and if you're turning out good work, I suppose who can argue - but I expect a mastering engineer to have a BETTER loudspeaker system than I do, to detect potential problems. The person who's the last bastion in the QC chain needs this more than anyone else.
Old 19th May 2016
  #37
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No problem with disagreeing, I guess you've never had a good headphone system to compare with a good speaker system. I have and it is extremely surprising how good it is, and not surprising at all how hard it is to convince other people how good it is! I've written a couple of things on Gearslutz before where I have heard numerous mastering anomalies with this Stax system, wind rumble and other mic noise that got past mastering, human voices on good recordings genuinely sound like the person is singing in front of you, and on one recording I can perceive about 6 inches of movement 2-3 metres from the mics of a pair of drum brushes sweeping across a cave floor. I'm sure the highest level of speakers can do this too!
Old 19th May 2016
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
You guys saying that you can't mix or master on headphones are assuming that all speaker systems are calibrated perfectly and give a perfect representation of what is on the recording.
No. No one is assuming anything of the sort. Saying that you can't master on headphones does not mean that you can master on every speaker system. That is just bad logic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo
No problem with disagreeing, I guess you've never had a good headphone system to compare with a good speaker system. I have and it is extremely surprising how good it is, and not surprising at all how hard it is to convince other people how good it is! I've written a couple of things on Gearslutz before where I have heard numerous mastering anomalies with this Stax system, wind rumble and other mic noise that got past mastering, human voices on good recordings genuinely sound like the person is singing in front of you, and on one recording I can perceive about 6 inches of movement 2-3 metres from the mics of a pair of drum brushes sweeping across a cave floor. I'm sure the highest level of speakers can do this too!
It is not about hearing details. It is about the way speakers interact with the room and our ears. Each headphone for instance only feeds one ear and there is no bleed going to the other ear. Speakers always feed both ears with an arrival timing difference for each ear. You can kind of model that with a speaker modelling system but it won't be as good as simply using speakers.

Alistair
Old 19th May 2016
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
Each headphone for instance only feeds one ear and there is no bleed going to the other ear. Speakers always feed both ears with an arrival timing difference for each ear. You can kind of model that with a speaker modelling system but it won't be as good as simply using speakers.

Alistair
Thats what I'm saying though. It will (or might be), depending on how well things are set up. Try it. (I use Isone Pro).

Hearing details is a good indication of how realistic the music is reproduced which is why I used it as an example. Details are not the only benefit of course.
Old 19th May 2016
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
No. No one is assuming anything of the sort. Saying that you can't master on headphones does not mean that you can master on every speaker system. That is just bad logic.
Alistair
I've read hundreds and hundreds of opinions on the fact that you can't use headphones for mastering, mixing or in fact anything critical and the reason is almost always because of the false stereo image of headphones. This is true. But almost everyone with no knowledge of what a good headphone system calibrated with HRTF software can do parrots this then goes on to proclaim a speaker system (any speaker system, an undefined one) is by far better. The resulting wisdom being 'speakers are better than headphones'. I disagree with that general idea. Stock speaker systems are definitely better than stock headphone systems, but very good headphone systems like mine are as good as very good speaker systems, but only a handful of people have actually taken the time to set up and test one to know this.
Old 19th May 2016
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
I've read hundreds and hundreds of opinions on the fact that you can't use headphones for mastering, mixing or in fact anything critical and the reason is almost always because of the false stereo image of headphones. This is true. But almost everyone with no knowledge of what a good headphone system calibrated with HRTF software can do parrots this then goes on to proclaim a speaker system (any speaker system, an undefined one) is by far better. The resulting wisdom being 'speakers are better than headphones'. I disagree with that general idea. Stock speaker systems are definitely better than stock headphone systems, but very good headphone systems like mine are as good as very good speaker systems, but only a handful of people have actually taken the time to set up and test one to know this.
You are adding the "any speaker system, an undefined one" part. This is the mastering forum. If not otherwise specified, it is assumed we are speaking of full-range mastering grade speakers. "edited". We don't expect people to assume we are speaking of crappy PC speakers.

As for HRTF software, it models an average head with average ears with average lobes etc. This will never be as good as real speakers in a good room interacting with the room, your head and your ears.

Alistair
Old 19th May 2016
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
You are adding the "any speaker system, an undefined one" part. This is the mastering forum. If not otherwise specified, it is assumed we are speaking of full-range mastering grade speakers. "edited" We don't expect people to assume we are speaking of crappy PC speakers.

As for HRTF software, it models an average head with average ears with average lobes etc. This will never be as good as real speakers in a good room interacting with the room, your head and your ears.

Alistair
If you read it, I think there was plenty of discussion on different speaker systems earlier in the thread to justify my point. And I'm talking in general, a general consensus on headphones apparently not being suitable. Sorry if you didn't get this. I think you know I'm not talking about crappy pc speakers, so please have a little respect. Not all mastering systems are infallible. I've seen a lot of mastering room speakers firing into the back of a cabinet, off past the ears, etc. Talk about a hole in the middle with headphones! Calibration of speakers takes hours of measuring, testing, and even a few mm out of proper alignment can mess up an otherwise perfect stereo image. Safe to say not everyone gets this right.

HRTF software: Good job I've got an average head with average ears and lobes then. HRTF software has controls for altering head size, ear size, etc.
Old 19th May 2016
  #43
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I use my A-T M50s on a daily basis to check for problems when doing mastering or restoration work. I would NOT use them for mastering decisions. I constructed one of those cross feed boxes for my headphone but did not like what it did to the sound so I abandoned it. My ALON IVs in my room tell me everything I need for mastering. Good topic!
Old 19th May 2016
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
No problem with disagreeing, I guess you've never had a good headphone system to compare with a good speaker system. I have and it is extremely surprising how good it is, and not surprising at all how hard it is to convince other people how good it is! I've written a couple of things on Gearslutz before where I have heard numerous mastering anomalies with this Stax system, wind rumble and other mic noise that got past mastering, human voices on good recordings genuinely sound like the person is singing in front of you, and on one recording I can perceive about 6 inches of movement 2-3 metres from the mics of a pair of drum brushes sweeping across a cave floor. I'm sure the highest level of speakers can do this too!
That's kinda patronizing. You have no idea what I have or haven't heard. I could equally "guess" that you haven't heard a decent speaker system because you don't agree with me?

I'm not disagreeing there are some details that are easier heard in phones. However, unless that recording was recorded specifically for headphones (eg a binaural recording), you're still getting a skewed picture of the intention.

Headphones do not carry left signal - right ear like a set of loudspeaker will do, therefore however much detail they supply, the soundstage will not be the same as speakers. This is fact not opinion.
Without a monitoring fudge that is, and that's by definition inferior (this part IS opinion I guess).

As I said, you're entitled to your opinion but until the world's top guys are mastering on phones exclusively, the professional field disagrees with you.

This is 1st hand experience not online reading btw.

I've heard plenty of great headphones thanks! You guess wrong...
Old 19th May 2016
  #45
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Real life is my reference so recorded human voices that sound spookily real is good enough for me!

Sorry, didn't want to be patronising. I have calibrated it so that sound sources appear exactly in the right position, same as properly calibrated speakers. (Yes I have A/Bed). Imaging is incredible, has to be heard to be believed. Not just great detail but totally balanced musicality. Closing your eyes when listening on this headphones system is like your full range speakers are on.
Old 22nd May 2016
  #46
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Originally Posted by SmoothVibe View Post

Does anybody here have any experience with the Shure SE846 in ear buds configured with the black filter? I'm very interested in their true performance...

I actually just placed an order for a pair, though I will likely stick with the blue filters for the time being. I'll let you know how I get on with them.

I have also been experimenting with the Goodhertz CanOpener plug in which does crossfeeding to give you the same sort of imaging as normal monitors. Even with my current SE425's this helps improve the imagine to be more natural sounding, it's actually been kind of surprising. Sadly the low end on the 425's just is not good enough for mastering by a long shot, so I decided to try the 846's. It's an interesting experiment for sure. If it works it'll be a nice back up system or secondary reference for me to rely on, and it's certainly hard to not find the portability option appealing (paired with my Hilo).

If not, oh well, business as usual and I still have the Tylers I love to rely on.
Old 23rd May 2016
  #47
I recently tried to master a few tracks only using my MDR7506, and it worked real good! I was very satisfied when i checked on my speakers the next day. I just had to tweak himids a little bit and it was done.
Old 23rd May 2016
  #48
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Thanks Riccardo for the edit.
Old 23rd May 2016
  #49
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FWIW
I've also found very high levels of consistency when referencing HD800s (with Isone+a tailored EQ curve) versus a bespoke mastering room environment.

However I've found the whole process becomes a rather more intellectual, less ephemeral one - something about the speakers moving the air around you in a room creates a more instinctive and ultimately *easier* process overall.

Having said all that I think there are potential flaws in both methods; whatever works I guess.

-----
oh wait, sorry this is about In-ear...HD800s are definitely not in that category!
Old 23rd May 2016
  #50
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It would be painful if they were
Old 15th December 2016
  #51
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What is a nice pair of in-ear to check (not to mix) a mix with?
Old 22nd December 2016
  #52
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uppp
Old 23rd December 2016
  #53
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Have been using the SE846 for years (with white filters, the blue ones sound too bassy), the bass is great but the treble details are a bit lacking. Been using a lot of flagship IEMs in the last decade (KSE1500, JHA Layla, UE 18 Pro etc), but not many of them are very balanced sounding to me, sometimes one has to tune the sound a little with different types of tips.

KES 1500 are good if EQed properly, but I find Layla and UE 18Pro definitely not worth the asking price.

My current favours are Nobles K10U, mine are the earlier version with carbon fibre housing, somehow the newer metal version sounds more bassy. I've auditioned the new Katana recently and they seemed very good too, so I'd be considering them too in the near future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarekith View Post
I actually just placed an order for a pair, though I will likely stick with the blue filters for the time being. I'll let you know how I get on with them.
Old 30th December 2016
  #54
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Originally Posted by andy3 View Post
What is a nice pair of in-ear to check (not to mix) a mix with?
Old 7th January 2017
  #55
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Originally Posted by andy3 View Post
It's kind of like speakers - you should pay attention to what speakers regular people are buying and have loads of good reviews (from people who buy speakers to listen to music and enjoy them who DO NOT work on audio, try not to pay too much attention to people that buy the most expensive speakers their spouses let them charge on their credit cards for their mastering biz).

You want some sure-shot IEMs to check mixes? Shure SE215. Under a hundred bucks. Buy some Comply tips for them and use the ones that fit in your ear holes the best. Thank me later!

I don't use them to check work, but they're my go-to IEM for walking and working out. When you get the right tips for them, good audio sounds good and **** audio sounds like **** (which is what you want).

EDIT: I just realized that I kinda check work on them sometimes since I have a playlist of my favorite tracks from projects I've worked on, so when I have all my playlists on shuffle, sometimes those tracks come on (and I'm happy with how they translate, especially when other tracks that I didn't work on come before/after).

Last edited by Franco; 7th January 2017 at 12:55 AM.. Reason: the whole truth sir
Old 14th January 2017
  #56
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@ Franco what do you use to check work?
Old 14th January 2017
  #57
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Actually it's never about "regular people." It's about the folks who will decide how many "regular people" are likely to ever hear the recording in the first place! This is why dumbing down a recording is a really bad idea.

Auratones and NS-10s were never popular speakers but their relatively resonance-free midrange could tip us off to balance issues that would not be very noticeable on high resolution, full range monitors.
Old 17th January 2017
  #58
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@ andy3 I regularly use my modded senn HD650s with a Bottlehead Crack w/speedball amp to check masters. Super synergistic combo (not IEMs though).
Old 20th August 2017
  #59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danzemusic View Post
Have been using the SE846 for years (with white filters, the blue ones sound too bassy), the bass is great but the treble details are a bit lacking. Been using a lot of flagship IEMs in the last decade (KSE1500, JHA Layla, UE 18 Pro etc), but not many of them are very balanced sounding to me, sometimes one has to tune the sound a little with different types of tips.

KES 1500 are good if EQed properly, but I find Layla and UE 18Pro definitely not worth the asking price.

My current favours are Nobles K10U, mine are the earlier version with carbon fibre housing, somehow the newer metal version sounds more bassy. I've auditioned the new Katana recently and they seemed very good too, so I'd be considering them too in the near future.
Do you still use the shure se846 ?

I want to use them for mixing late night and checking the sub (since my room is too small for a sub)
Old 24th August 2017
  #60
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilfredoFernando View Post
Do you still use the shure se846 ?

I want to use them for mixing late night and checking the sub (since my room is too small for a sub)
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