If you take a poll on whether or not you should mix with headphones, the higher number of votes will tell you ‘don’t’. The advice is worth following because audio mixing with headphones is really a tough job that needs a lot of concentration, dedication, and carefulness. Headphones are such a big liar that they tell you fake about many aspects of your music. However, mixing with headphones can come handy when you are on the roads or cannot hit the studio or you need to fix a rough mix instantly. If you are stuck in any such condition and mixing with headphones is a must, you must take care of following things and avoid any mistake:
Keep It Dry:
Because you wear headphones very close to your ears, there is little or no scope of acoustic information. You will hear everything pretty close and this will tempt you to make the sounds deeper, lusher and wider. As the result comes out you cross all the limits and have no frame at all. The best way to mix with headphones is to keep the mix dry. A dry mix with headphones will sound great on speakers.
Keep it simple:
When you play a mix with headphones on speakers, many fancy effects like flanging, phasing and their ilk is lost as the positioning contributes natural phase shifts. Playing with the phase in your headphone will not be a very wise idea as you will not know what will be the result when the speaker distance will be added to the equation.
Use whole stereo Image:
This is one critical thing to consider while mixing with speakers and even more critical while mixing with headphones. The two point of sound source in headphones create three major lobes: left, center, and right. These lobes are known to be loudest and when you listen to the sound through these lobes, it is sure to be wider and huge. You must always use the space between these lobes and position the track in such a way that it sounds impressive. Say no to the temptation of making anything live on these three lobes.
Make your mastering engineer your partner:
Headphones do not offer you flat frequency responses. In fact, they have a very different transient response than the speakers. The reason can be smaller and lighter drivers that result in aggressively snapping transients. Using a lot of EQ and compression can do a disaster. Too much of equalization can bring a phase shift and thus will result in a degraded quality. Introducing the track to a mastering engineer can give you great results if you allow them enough space to do their work.
Mixing in headphones is not a very recommended. The experts suggest that you must use a studio for finer results until and unless it is very necessary to mix a track on the go. If you have already decided to go with the headphones, keep these tips in mind and come out with a great music product.