7 (Can't Miss) Tips For Mixing Music With Headphones

7 (Can't Miss) Tips For Mixing Music With Headphones

Written by Jaron Lewis

The question of whether it’s possible to mix music with headphones has popped up several times in the professional music industry. Some agree it’s possible while some say it’s not. Well, the truth is it’s very much possible, but the quality of the vocal sound will depend a lot on the experience, knowledge, and the tools of the musician.

Why headphones and not monitors?

Not all musicians are endowed with the same financial muscles. There are some who can afford to rent or buy bigger spaces while some can’t. There are also some who can afford to pay someone else to mix their music. For those who can’t, the only feasible option is to mix the tracks yourself and use headphones due to lack of space for monitors or maybe due to fear of noise complaints.

Irrespective of all the challenges of mixing vocals with headphones, there are valuable tips each and every musician should know if they dream of producing quality audios like seasoned veterans someday. Let’s have a look at some of them.

1. Buy Good Quality Headphones

Go for high-quality headphones and not the average pieces that will likely produce a wishy-washy mix. The best versions for mixing are those with a flat frequency response i.e. the Audio Technica ATH-M50. Other companies that are known to produce such headphones are Yamaha, Sony, AKG, and Shure.

shure headphones 7 (Can't Miss) Tips For Mixing Music With Headphones

2. Take Care Of Your Ears

To avoid hearing damage, take breaks between mixing to allow your ear to relax. The overall volume should be soft, not cranky. This will help you mix music for longer periods without ear fatigue. Mix in the morning when your ears are fresh and relax thereafter.

3. Spend More Time With Your Headphones

Those who frequently listen to music via headphones have a good headphone experience. They can tell the best quality of the audio; hence, can make great mixes.

Spend time with your headphones 7 (Can't Miss) Tips For Mixing Music With Headphones

4. Get The Right Balance

It’s not easy to achieve the correct balance for all your sounds when using headphones. This means you will have to obtain the appropriate balance from the source in order to get a good mix. Additionally, the headphones do not have an exact low-end info; therefore, you will need your previous info using headphones to get the mix to balance well.

5. Use Reference Tracks As Samples

To ensure nothing is too loud or too low, you will need to work with as many reference samples as you can to ensure all your sounds are balanced. Also, when listening to reference tracks listen to how the panning of the instruments and vocals takes place.

These are also important criteria as well as the frequencies that they produce. In order for headphones to be a strength, you must understand their weakness. Most headphones will lack and boost in certain frequencies, you have to know this information well and be able to compensate for it in the mix.

6. Mixing With Headphone Plugins

There are people who cannot listen to music via headphones for long before they have a headache. This is because the sounds from the other side of the speaker go to the opposite ear and arrive at different times.

This brings with it a weird sound that leads to headaches due to a shadowing effect. Acoustic simulation plugins can be used to normalize the situation by harmonizing the sounds received on either side of the ear.

7. Headphone Mix Translation

This is the final and most important part of music mixing as it determines how your mix will play on the speakers. You will need to do some adjustments and then have your final mix edited from the studio using speakers. It’s not advisable to do your final mix on headphones, as you should know how the mix plays on all playback platforms before you release it.

-> Studio Monitor Placement: 5 Thing You NEED To Know



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