Mixing Headphones Buyers Guide
What to look for when buying mixing headphones
If you’re using your headphones in the studio for mixing and mastering, you’re going to need to ensure that you have some of the best possible headphone features. If your sound quality (whatever the audio) isn’t clear, you won’t be able to make an accurate mix. If the headphones are uncomfortable, you will need to take them off after an hour or two. You need your headphones to last all day without interruptions so you can fully immerse yourself into the recording. Proper music mixing and mastering requires good attention and focus.
Here is a short guide on all the things you should consider when picking out a pair of mixing and mastering headphones. We want to make sure you make the right choice for your purposes.
You are absolutely going to need great sound quality with mixing headphones. It’s the single most important aspect of the design for you. Your musicians and clients are counting on you being able to produce the highest quality mixes for them. Whether you’re mixing solely on headphones to avoid driving others crazy or you need a more enclosed approach, the sound should be well balanced with booming bass response and shimmering treble. You’ll want the frequency response to be good.
A lot of engineers will use mixing headphones to help balance the sound compared to studio monitors. When you listen to music on the monitors, it will undoubtedly be different than it will in the headphones. However, most people like listening to music using speakers and headphones alike. It will be really important to make sure that the sound is accurate on both types of outputs. If you have a good set of studio monitors, you also need to make sure that your mix is similar to the same level of sound quality.
When listening all day, you’re going to need your headphones to be outfitted with the highest level of comfort. Mixers need to wear headphones for hours at a time. Sometimes you get so lost in the music that you forget the world is still turning around you. That’s what you should aim for. You need the type of comfort that allows you to do this. Be sure that the materials used in the headphones are of high quality and will not wear out after a short time. Then you can mix for hours problem-free.
Do you need open back headphones or closed back headphones? With closed back headphones, you get more of an inside feel to the sound without any outside noise bleeding. With open back headphones, more ambient noise is allowed in, turning the sound into a different kind of monster. Closed back designs are more popular. Being able to block out unwanted noise is a necessary luxury when creating the best possible tracks, and open back headphones don’t provide this as accurately as closed back headphones do. However, it is said that open back headphones provide better sound quality. Whether you’d prefer closed-back or a pair of open back headphones depends on your taste.
Another thing to consider is if you want a detachable cable or not. A detachable cable is something to consider if you think you’ll be moving around a lot. You can also listen to your music on the go without the cable getting in the way.
Are you concerned with how your headphones look while you’re tuning your masterpiece, or is it more of an afterthought? If you want to use your headphones solely for the studio, the design could be straightforward without any extra dazzle. If you’re interested in taking your headphones out into the world, you may want to consider how they’ll go with your particular style.
Since you’re looking for a pair of headphones that are going to be in a high movement recording environment, you ‘ll want to make sure they’re durable. Musical instruments and accessories are built to last because they go through a lot of abuse. It’s likely that with all the commotion going on around you during a recording session, things will get knocked over plenty of times. If you want your headphones to last a long time, pay attention to the way they are built.
The best headphones will be comfortable when it comes to mixing/mastering. Do they feature cheap plastic or stainless steel? What are the ear cushions made of? Are they made from memory foam? Memory foam is comfortable, if that’s what you want. Can they withstand sweat from your ears while cultivating your genius? The more durable your headphones, the fewer headaches you have to deal with, and the more deadlines you’ll hit.
Make sure the headphones you’re picking up have a solid warranty. If you’ve got a good warranty, it will allow you to make a more confident decision. You won’t have to worry about whether or not the headphones are going to show up with manufacturer defects or any other unforeseen issues. The warranty will help you out of unwanted jams so you can get back to mixing and mastering.
So now you’re ready to walk into any studio, lay down some tracks, and get mixing/mastering. With any of the best headphones for mixing on our list, you’ll surely be able to stun your colleagues. Get recording exceptional sound quality that only the best mixing and mastering or reference headphones can offer.
You should expect the mixing/mastering to sound different from your headphones than the studio monitors. It’s always recommended that when mixing any type of audio, you cross-reference the sound with both types of outputs. A good pair of reference headphones are great for this.
Did you know?
In March of 2008, a particular song was unearthed dating back to the year 1860. The song was called Clair de la Lune and was recorded by audio historians in France at the time. It’s considered the first recording ever as far as what has been discovered.