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Giving headphone mixing a second chance?
Old 3 days ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 
Giving headphone mixing a second chance?

A few years ago I got the senheisher hd280's headphones to be used for making and mixing (mostly electronic) music.

My experience with them was fraustrating. Tracks I mixed on them would just fall apart when played back anywhere else. Mixing even on my cheap computer speakers would translate much better to the phones than vice versa.

What I didn't realize then was the large consensus that closed backs like the hd280 aren't suitable for mixing.

Now I'm thinking of buying some decent open back phones. Would you say that the difference between closed and open back when mixing is big enough to give it another shot?
Old 3 days ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
6000's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dimz ➡️

What I didn't realize then was the large consensus that closed backs like the hd280 aren't suitable for mixing.
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniq...k-lil-uzi-vert

Kesha Lee disagrees

I too prefer open back like DT 880 Pros and HD600 but it absolutely can be done with closed cans as well. I'd suggest trying out Waves NX Ocean Way Nashville with Sonarworks (or Toneboosters) correction after - this combination sounds quite close to my calibrated monitoring setup.
Old 3 days ago
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Zed999's Avatar
 
I only mix on closed back phones, I started out with way to much sub because it's damn nice and made me think I must have a speaker on somehow, but I have that levelled about right, now sorting the mids. I truly believe it's possible but as everyone says you have to work on how it needs to sound in your headphones in order to translate to... everything else. One problem with headphones is keeping the volume down, they can be deceptive.

However, the true test is speakers, I'd use speakers if I could.
Old 3 days ago
  #4
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zvukofor's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
As i do listen music on headphones most of the time last 25 years, i do know how it should sound on them, it was an easy move for me. Get a really good headphones (i do prefer closed or IEMs, it is just harder to find a good one), add little corrective EQ - and you’d only need to check final mix on good monitors, just to check physical bass impact. But you have to listen music on headphones, a lot.
Old 3 days ago
  #5
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 6000 ➡️
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniq...k-lil-uzi-vert

Kesha Lee disagrees

I too prefer open back like DT 880 Pros and HD600 but it absolutely can be done with closed cans as well. I'd suggest trying out Waves NX Ocean Way Nashville with Sonarworks (or Toneboosters) correction after - this combination sounds quite close to my calibrated monitoring setup.
Interesting article. To be fair, it's stated that she only used the cans to mix the vocals on top of the pre-mixed beat.

As for the software solution - I could upgrade my phones for about the same price, so it's not a simple decision, plus I generally like to keep my signal chain as simple as possible. Guess it won't hurt to check out the demos though .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zed999 ➡️
I only mix on closed back phones, I started out with way to much sub because it's damn nice and made me think I must have a speaker on somehow, but I have that levelled about right, now sorting the mids. I truly believe it's possible but as everyone says you have to work on how it needs to sound in your headphones in order to translate to... everything else. One problem with headphones is keeping the volume down, they can be deceptive.

However, the true test is speakers, I'd use speakers if I could.
Exactly, this deceptiveness is the issue. I recall how my headphone mixes sounded perfectly fine, and how shocked I was when listening back to them on speakers. The balance was completely changed, some sounds almost completely disappeared. I don't strive for perfection, but this was too much.

My original question remains unanswered though. How drastic a change can I expect from open backs? would you consider it a night and day difference?
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #6
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zvukofor's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dimz ➡️
My original question remains unanswered though. How drastic a change can I expect from open backs? would you consider it a night and day difference?
Comparing good open to good closed - not so much difference. But there’s much more good open headphones than closed ones.
Old 2 days ago
  #7
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stafs's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
In contrary to what Zvukofor said, i’m the guy who’s never listening or mixing music on headphones. I have used headphones only in recording scenario. However, few months ago i accidentaly listened to one of my mixes on iphone earbuds. I was immediately able to spot ALL mixing mistakes, except sub bass. I got adventurous and next song did on those earbuds. Guess what? Mix translated perfectly across all systems, which was never the case when i mixed on my Adams in treated room. Now, iphone earbuds are my cheat code. Yes, i can’t hear 0.5 db eq moves or light compressor settings on them, and reverb tails are nightmare, but balance wise this is by far the best solution for me. I’m almost 20 years in this game, and never had such “wooow” moment with monitoring. So, the conclusion is - it’s absolutely possible to mix on headphones, but you just have to find the right ones for you and LEARN HOW MUSIC SOUNDS ON THEM. I have 280’s, they are great for isolation when tracking, but i can not get useable mix on them. I also have DT880’s, but because of earpearcing highs and recessed lows, i am not able to tell what’s going in the mix easily. My brain just does not accept that kind of sound. However, “Can Opener” with boosted lows makes them totally useable for me, but for some reason, earbuds are still better when it comes to making mix decisions. So - which headphones are for you, depends on your taste and pereception. Open back, closed, inear... who cares? All have their strenghts and weaknesses, and a lot of younger engineers have proved that some of the old dogmas are dated.
Old 2 days ago
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Zed999's Avatar
 
My only experience of owning open backed headphones was in the late 1970's as a listener. They were Sennheiser, cost £85 (2 weeks wages) and were amazingly clear, but as a youth I found the bass extremely disappointing. In hindsight I can still hear them in my head and the bass was probably just right and nothing but the clarity stood out.

I'm very aware the music is coming out of the phones with my closed back 770 pro's. The open backed ones were more like being surrounded by the music. I really should get some myself, I've almost talked myself into it while I type this.

I intend to carry on fighting the 770 pro's. Next step I thought I'd try rolling the bass right off the bass and drums and mix like that before gradually reintroducing the bass. Being attracted to too much bass seems to be a common problem with headphones and starting with too much completely messes every other decision. Or perhaps temporarily boosting the bass on the masterbus while mixing would head me in the right direction as stafs suggests above.
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stafs ➡️
Now, iphone earbuds are my cheat code.


Thank you for this unique tip and uplifting post!

It's probably not a big deal, but can you tell the specific model of your earbuds?

It's definitely worth a shot before spending much larger sums on headphones that might or might not work for me.
Old 2 days ago
  #10
Gear Nut
 
Mixing on headphones is hard. Mix Balances just don’t feel the same. Choices that come naturally on speakers do not translate to choices that you make naturally on cans. Have you ever heard your headphone mixed songs in a fully treated, professional recording studio? There will be lots of “aHa!” Moments. If you can, find a professional studio in your area that you can rent out for a day and do a mix.. this may actually make you a better headphone mixer, to have your own refs of your own material. Me personally, after years of headphone monitoring and HF hearing loss, I am getting off cans ASAP

To the post abut the iPhone earbuds: they will instantly tell you if your lows are too boomy, snare too loud or HF is harsh or bright. I like those a lot and I see why you do too

*What can help with home headphone mixing is a small, mono Bluetooth loudspeaker to help get those initial balances right, (not perfect but better than nothing!)
Old 2 days ago
  #11
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gravyface's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Slate VSX
Old 2 days ago
  #12
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
That Waves NX plug in is $35 right now. It's pretty cheap to give it a try. They will give you a 14 day demo to check it out. Start there. If your headphones are on the list, even better. If not, I would pick one from the list.

Steve
Old 1 day ago | Show parent
  #13
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stafs's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Just basic earbuds that came with Iphone 8. I’m still puzzled - HOW it’s possible? 😂

Cheers, mate! 😁
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