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Headphone bleed is killing me HELP!!!!
Old 15th March 2011
Lives for gear
Headphone bleed is killing me HELP!!!!

I've done a search and while there is some great info, I'd still like some more input on finding the solution to my problem. I have booked a week of studio time starting April 4th, so time is running out quickly. It's the usual scenario: either click track or a strummed acoustic guitar used for keeping time and coming in prior to the beginning of the actual keeper tracks. I keep the volume just high enough to be able to hear it while I'm recording the other tracks and still have bleed into the mics. We are working completely OTB, so I don't have the option of using any DAW magic to gate the sound out at the beginning and end of the songs. I currently own AKG 271S,ATH-M50,and Sennheiser HD280 phones (the studio has the AKG's and Sony 7506's) and all have too much bleed to be useful. I'm sure some of the problem is the hearing loss I've incurred over the years, since the studio reports they haven't had a problem with other clients. This leads me to believe that my neccessary que mix is at a higher level than normal, but there's nothing I can do about the hearing loss. I really need your help finding a solution. Here are the things I've thought of:

The Extreme Isolation and the Beyer DT770M phones seem to get the highest marks here. Anything else with better isolation that won't break the bank? ($250 is about my limit)

I have an Aphex 612 Expander/Gate that I could use while recording the "keeper" tracks, but my studio guy isn't very flexible (but he is cheap). I would only want to bring this in as an absolute last resort.

I was considering combining in ear monitors with a pair of those shooters earmuffs. It might not be the most comfortable thing, but at this point I'm getting desperate. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Thanks for any and all ideas you might want to share.

Old 15th March 2011
Lives for gear
Protools Guy's Avatar

Try a pair of Shure E-5's (ear buds) or, if you HAVE to use headphones, try Vic Firth isolating headphones. Hope this helps.
Old 15th March 2011
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NeedsMoreFuzz's Avatar

If you cant afford the extreme isolation phones, then yeah, I'd prob go the in-ears-with-shooters-muffs route. Just please be careful with the volume of in-ears --- it's much easier to do yourself damage with them than with phones.
Old 15th March 2011
Gear Head

Sounds like you need proper moulded IEMs.
The moulds - made by an audiologist - should fit your ear-canal perfectly, unlike the cheaper foam inserts or generic types. There should be no leakage at all, and the sound-quality is excellent with the higher end 2 and 3-way drivers available.
Check out Ultimate Ears | The earphone choice of the world's top touring musicians for an idea - there are other companies, but these seem most popular round here.

Old 15th March 2011
Gear Maniac

In lieu of buying other cans, there might be other stuff the engineer can do to mitigate the bleed, depending on how bad it is. Using an old Urei click sound can help- the closest thing in PT is the MPC click- it's a very short pulse without a pitch so doesn't bleed so much. He could also ride the level of the click based on what you're playing, so pulling it down a bit for the die aways of notes and gaps in the music.
Old 16th March 2011
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close/far's Avatar

+1 for in-ears or earbuds with shooting muffs. That's what I do for tracking drums. It isn't too uncomfortable assuming you have phones that fit adequately in the muffs. You can typically get away with a much quieter signal, too, since the isolation is so much higher than normal phones. For reference, I switched from HD280s to in-ears by Ultimate Ears.
Old 16th March 2011
Lives for gear
Hey,thanks for all the replies. It looks like I'm gonna have to up my budget a bit as the moulded in-ear definitely seems like the way to go. I spoke with a friend of mine last night who's been using a pair of Westones for quite some time for live performances and he also helped convince me. Now my only concern is how comfortable I'll be using them since it's quite an investment and doubtful that I'd be able to return them (like I could with the Extreme Iso or DT770M's). Thanks again for all the input.
Old 16th March 2011
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RTR's Avatar
I would use earbuds and then put on some cans over top..that should keep everything out!
Old 17th March 2011
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by RTR View Post
I would use earbuds and then put on some cans over top..that should keep everything out!
Just wanted to give a quick update. That's exactly what I did. To experiment I picked up a pair of cheap in-ears on clearance at Radio Shack (they fit very snugly in my ears) then used a pair of K271s (with the cable detached) over them. The sound quality wasn't good, but man it sure does work. I had the backing tracks set at my normal levels and overdubbed a vocal. Soloed the vocal on playback and heard absolutely nothing but the vocal. Problem solved. Thanks everyone.

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