Mixing on headphones is the new normal

At the bookshop of the train station the title on the front of the new Sound On Sound triggered me: mixing on headphones. I LOVE headphones.

After years of pro-people saying “you can’t mix on headphones”, things started to shift a bit over the last couple of years. Many professionals started using headphones for mixing and even for mastering.

Mobility

I am also a huge fan of headphones. They are more revealing than most monitors. You don’t need any room treatment. And you can use them anywhere you’d like. I love mobility, that’s why I am using a MacBook Pro for recording, mixing and mastering audio.

A few years ago I bought a pair of Sennheiser HD600 headphones. These are just great. For example when working on guitar sounds the HD600 are way better than using monitors. I found monitors very forgiving when creating guitar sounds. The HD600, because of their open nature, sound very open. They work wonderfully on electric guitar. Many headphones sound awful on electric guitar I must say, the first ones I ever heard which truly sounded superb are the HD600s.

Tchad Blake is mixing on headphones too

For the artikel of SOS Tchad Blake was interviewed as well as a few others like Manny Marroquin and Michael Brauer. Tchad uses Audeze LCD-X. He finds EQ’ing to be more challenging though on headphones:

Tchad implies that he can use headphones to rough things in, but would avoid final EQ decisions on headphones.

And Tchad misses the low end feel of monitors when using headhones:

“I prefer, even at moderate levels, the whole-body feel of the low end with my monitors.”

Tchad uses the Sonarworks Reference 4 Headphone Edition to add more of that “monitor sound” when using headphones.

For me it’s no problem. I just love the sound of my HD600. I also love the fact that the left and right speaker won’t bleed. I am not using a headphone-amp, the impedance of both my MacBook Pro output and Focusrite headphone-output are low enough to amplify the signal uncoloured and without distortion.

Impedance worries?

If you’re worried about distortion and impedance issue, this video is a must see:

Not only for music using headphones is becoming the new normal. Many people doing podcasts (like me) are using headphones too. Also because the people who listen to podcasts are often listening through headphones. It creates this wonderfully intimate experience with sound at its best.

P.S. Recently I heard that Dutch musician Erik de Jong, aka Spinvis, uses Audeze LCD-XC headphones for mixing.

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