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Don't touch the headphones!!!
Old 1st July 2005
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Don't touch the headphones!!!

I recently had someone in the studio who produces beats and instrumental yugoslavian music. I play the part of engineer and assistant producer or head producer at times. We finished up a mix of a track he had been working on, and i was about to export it and burn him a copy when he stops me and says, "Wait, I need to listen on the headphones to see if we need to change anything!" I tried to explain that a pair of headphones can't portray the sonic characteristics of a song, but it was too late. He switched off the speakers, and had his ears buried in my not-top-of-the-line phones. Thank god it suited his untrained ears! He continued to do this about three more times, and each time I'd have a panic attack as he reached for them. Then, on his last listen, he says, "Man, the bass really hits your chest with these on!" WTF!?!?!?!?! I burnt him a copy and he left me there to ponder the universe. Before, when I didn't know any better, music sounded just fine on my iPod, but now, I can't even bear to listen, unless there's no stereo around. I mean, I listen in the phones to a mix, and it sounds so unbalanced to me, but at least he didn't make any changes to the song from listening, which doesn't say much about his ears. Rant over!
Old 1st July 2005
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Seems reasonable to me. The guy's probably used to listening on cans. It's just a different presentation. Some things are easier to hear on cans, other things are easier on monitors. I have 3 decent playback systems.. Dunlavy, Spendor and a home-brew with Focal drivers.. and I still listen to music on headphones about half of the time (work and pleasure). I just like the different presentation. So, anything I mix had better sound decent on cheap headphones and really good on nice headphones, or else I'm not done yet.
Old 1st July 2005
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Chris Parsons's Avatar
 

When i'm working in a room that i'm not used to I ALWAYS check on headphones. Every room sounds different but my HD280s sound exactally the no matter where I am.
Old 1st July 2005
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Back in my NS10 days I bought a pair of Sennheiser HD 600's for mix checking. Really helped me zero in on aspects of the mix that were tough to hear with those white coned c#cksuckers heh . I still use them now and then (I mix now on Adam P11a's) to check stuff like reverb levels etc. but not very often any more.
Old 1st July 2005
  #5
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

better check your mixes with cans... or earbuds... how a LOT of people are going to be listening to them.

id probably put it like this:
1. headphones or car
2. car or headphones
3. shelf stereo system with oddly placed speakers
4. boombox
5. a stereo system with oddly placed speakers with loudness engaged and bass and treble pinned
6. a true stereo system, still not flat... possibly with loudness on
7. a stereo system set up properly with tone adjustment
8. a flat stereo system



i put a LOT of ear candy in my mixes for headphone listeners... cant really hear it much in stereo listening but wheni finish an album, i sequence it, put on some headphones, make the room dark and lay down and listen.
Old 1st July 2005
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

I do always check my mixes once they're finished, but in this instance, he was using the phones as his main reference point. I have had to use headphones at times for late night beat conjuring, but when i wake up, the mix sounds so off, when it sounded just fine in the phones. I just can't believe that he didn't dislike the sound of the mix in them. They're FAR from top of the line, and they translate terribly. They're made for monitoring, so the average kid won't have them. I Do always throw mixes on my iPod for testing, but I never use this as my main reference source, since even commercially released music sounds crappy on my iPod.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #7
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

well you are hearing shortcomings of your cans [or buds]... i can mix with mine just because i know what NOT to do with them, or where things should be. of course i cant fully mix on them and my main ref are my monitors for sure...

i can understand someone wanting to hear it on them just to disappear into the song [something headphones allow that monitors dont typically. the stereo image is in your head opposed to in front of you or whatever.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dingo
I have 3 decent playback systems.. Dunlavy, Spendor and a home-brew with Focal drivers.. and I still listen to music on headphones about half of the time (work and pleasure). I just like the different presentation.
it's all good.
there are so many peeps using the iPod that it can't be a bad thing to hear if things are translating well. sure, it's probably disconcerting to experience what U just have. don't show fear. sometimes peeps sense the anxiety attack and interpret it as weakness or lack of confidence in your work.
dingo, can i ask U what spendor's U'r using? i'm always curious when i see peeps here NOT using the standard issue monitors. i too, find that certain "hi-fi" speaker sound far more natural than almost any of the popular monitors.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by µ¿ z3®ø™
dingo, can i ask U what spendor's U'r using? i'm always curious when i see peeps here NOT using the standard issue monitors. i too, find that certain "hi-fi" speaker sound far more natural than almost any of the popular monitors.
Yeah, they're S1's.. they sound a bit like the S3/5 with more ass. A little dark on top but the midrange is where they put the money. Natural vox repro is exactly why I have them.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dingo
Yeah, they're S1's.. they sound a bit like the S3/5 with more ass.
yes, the S3/5 replaced my LS3/5a when kef ceased manufacture of the B110/T27. i totally hear U on the midrange reproduction for voices, etc.. this is where virtually all "monitors" fail for me. they inevitably soud boxy and have varying degrees of that hand cupped over mouth sound.
are the S1 a new speaker?
Old 7th July 2005
  #11
Lives for gear
when you have different pairs of phones, you got some control - just offer a particular pair that fits the situation heh

but phones are critical to judge a product. in 2005 no mainstream or average product should show any noise, hiss, hum, glitches etc.
you can fine-tweak many issues with your phones. so can the client.
Old 8th July 2005
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
cultureofgreed's Avatar
 

I enjoy composing with cans, but track and mix with monitors. You really can't mix with headphones IMHO, they cannot accurately portray the mix. I do check mixes with headphones, but never make adjustments while listening with them.
Old 8th July 2005
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by µ¿ z3®ø™
yes, the S3/5 replaced my LS3/5a when kef ceased manufacture of the B110/T27. i totally hear U on the midrange reproduction for voices, etc.. this is where virtually all "monitors" fail for me. they inevitably soud boxy and have varying degrees of that hand cupped over mouth sound.
are the S1 a new speaker?
Hey, sorry to get back to this thread so late. The S1's are fairly new, intoduced about 5 or 6 years ago, then discontinued shortly thereafter. No idea why they were discontinued, though I wonder if they weren't perhaps a bit too much like the SP3/1 (which retailed for $4-500/pr more than the S1). But, to be fair, the S1's were supposed to be part of their "elegance" line, which at the time included the S3/5 (the S3/5 bridged their "classic" line and their then-new "elegance" line). Now I see the S3/5 has a place all its own apart from the "S" and "classic " lines. So, it may well be that the S1 just found itself without a home once the "S" series went completely to floor-standers and satellites.

Say, you ever compared Harbeth's Monitor 20 to the S3/5? I'd always heard that Harbeth and Spendor were similar, except the Harbeth house sound was a little leaner/tighter/more extended, yet still shared the magic midrange of the Spendors. I really wanted a pair to try back when I was looking at Spendors, but it just didn't happen.

I think I might look into adding another set of monitors in the near future... I'm actually really curious about the smaller PMC's, the DB1+ and TB2+.
Old 8th July 2005
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoVXR
when you have different pairs of phones, you got some control - just offer a particular pair that fits the situation heh

but phones are critical to judge a product. in 2005 no mainstream or average product should show any noise, hiss, hum, glitches etc.
you can fine-tweak many issues with your phones. so can the client.
In relation to this, how can I best minimize hiss? I try to eq it out, starting from the highest frequency, and working my way down, but by the time I get rid of the hiss, I've lost all my top end on the channel. I use the eq in sx to do this. Is there a better way? I have all the waves plugins. Is there a good one in waves to use? thanks
Old 8th July 2005
  #15
Lives for gear
the waves denoisers are not bad at all, but did you study how to use them?
take a good noise print etc...
but I can't tell you anything other than - record no noise!
I am not a professional AE, but you might gather your own information about how to avoid noise in recording, I can get along but not the right man to answer it sufficiently, for this is a huge chapter.
de-hissing is cumbersome and never perfect. sometimes I had to tune the denoiser several times to several parts of a track, and used different brands.
if you can afford the high-class systems for thousands of bucks, you are lucky..
Old 8th July 2005
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dingo
Say, you ever compared Harbeth's Monitor 20 to the S3/5? I'd always heard that Harbeth and Spendor were similar, except the Harbeth house sound was a little leaner/tighter/more extended, yet still shared the magic midrange of the Spendors. I really wanted a pair to try back when I was looking at Spendors, but it just didn't happen.

I think I might look into adding another set of monitors in the near future... I'm actually really curious about the smaller PMC's, the DB1+ and TB2+.
i've never done a direct A/B with the harbeth. however, i certainly think what U have heard about the harbeths being incrementally more 'open' may be true. of course if U want those qualities with the S3/5, U get the 'se' version of the speaker. thruth be told, tho', i think the S3/5se loses a bit in immediacy over the standard model.
i LOVE the PMC driven w/ bryston.
i'm still struck with the midrange of the quad ESL. the speaker design is now almost 50 years old and along w/ some of the speakers that U have mentioned (probably Ur dunlavy's as well), is still one of the most palpable speakers in the mids.
Old 8th July 2005
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by µ¿ z3®ø™
i've never done a direct A/B with the harbeth. however, i certainly think what U have heard about the harbeths being incrementally more 'open' may be true. of course if U want those qualities with the S3/5, U get the 'se' version of the speaker. thruth be told, tho', i think the S3/5se loses a bit in immediacy over the standard model.
i LOVE the PMC driven w/ bryston.
i'm still struck with the midrange of the quad ESL. the speaker design is now almost 50 years old and along w/ some of the speakers that U have mentioned (probably Ur dunlavy's as well), is still one of the most palpable speakers in the mids.
Much thanks for the info. Now I really have to try the PMC's since I run Bryston. Which PMC did you try? Also, the S3/5 is sealed, correct. I might trade in the S1's on the S3/5 since the rear port on the S1 is a problem where placement's concerned.

Never had the pleasure of hearing the quad ESL's.. nor any electrostats for that matter. I've heard many good things about them, but for now they're on my list of gear to try wherever I can find it. Different technology, but Maggies have always interested me, as well.

The Dunlavy's are interesting beasts. I have a pair of SM-1's.. huge, sealed MTM design using matched, common Vifa drivers. IMO, they don't really have the same magic mids as the Spendors, but they are seamless, very precise imaging, very believable. They do seem rather dependent on the room , though. For instance, in room, vox doesn't really sound like the singer's right there, not like the Spendors. Step out of the room and I could be fooled, though. So, I wouldn't be surprised if someone with a better room might not have a different opinion on that matter. Anyway, great speakers if you have the space for them (due to the MTM driver config and spacing between the drivers, they really should be set up about 2.5m+ from the listening position).
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