Working with Headphones – Andre’s Production Diary Part 43

Hi guys, it’s Andre.

It’s now my 43rd week at the Benztown Studios in Stuttgart and I’m still learning everything about radio imaging and production.

Headphones are an essential tool of every production studio. They help you for fine editing tasks, which can be overheard on speakers. I personally prefer using headphones when it comes to cut voice. For me, it’s easier to hear the little side noises in the VO track. Also you can hear other bad edits in your production, like little cracks when you didn’t cut the waveform at the zero crossing.

But when it comes to mixing, most find it very difficult to work with headphones, especially when it comes to stereo monitoring. Sounds from your speakers reach both ears and bounce off walls, so you always her both channels mixed. When you’re using headphones, the sound from each channel only reaches one ear at the time. This might be very confusing, especially when it comes to panning. Here’s a little tip: Try to avoid 100% pan in one direction, so make sure it doesn’t sound confusing on headphones. Some producers do more panning by eye than by ear, when they’re working on headphones.

Low frequencies cause the most trouble, when you’re working with headphones. You can’t feel the bass physically like with speakers plus most headphones don’t have a very accurate bass end. When it comes to mixing bass with headphones, I recommend using some analyzer tools to get a better result than just with your ears.

Of course, you can learn mixing with headphones, but it’s always better to check it on speakers, to make sure your mix is alright.

In modern times with more and more users hearing music and radio via mobile devices and headphones, it will become more and more important, that your mix is sounding good on speakers AND headphones.

Cheers and have a nice weekend.

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