View Single Post
Old 15th July 2005
Gear Guru

so let me try and grasp this-

If headphones are indeed "sounding sharp" and you take one side off to hear your vocal cords in "correct" pitch via bone conduction, won't you own voice appear to be _flat relative to the track?? and wouldn't you hear your voice at two different pitches- one "sharp" through the cans and one "correct" through the air?

If you had a will of steel and perfect pitch you could grit your teeth and sing "correctly" (i.e. flat to the track) or you could compensate by singing higher in which case your voice will come out sharp when played back on the monitors.

I think these contradictions are evidence that the phenomenon is suspect, or that it is an illusion of perception like everything looking red when you first remove the blue sunglasses. When you take off one side of the cans you are simply decreasing the overall amount of track and increasing the overall amount of vocal you hear.

"more me"

I think if you did the same adjustments with the cue send you would also improve the singer's pitch.

does this only happen to singers? what about someone with variable pitch and minimal bone conduction- like a pedal steel guitarist? A theramin player? do they play out of tune with headphones? (OK theremin players are rarely in tune anyway, but my point is the same)

And what about drummers:

to perceive an A=440 as sharp, it might have to be as much as a quarter tone higher (i.e. faster) that would be about 453. In tempo terms, that's like going from 110 BPM to 113 BPM! Any good drummer would feel that for sure. I know a lot of drummers who take one side of the headphones off, but its not because they feel that headphones make the track "faster".

Again, I am not trying to tell anybody what they are hearing, but obviously it has to be an illusion of some kind or we would never be able to overdub anything.