Headphones or monitors...?

Just wondering how everyone works on their tunes.

I have a bedroom devoted to my studio space, which is outfitted with 4 floor-to-ceiling bass traps in the corners, about 64 sq.ft. of Auralex pads on the walls, and a homemade 6-foot diffuser right behind me on the wall. I use two 8" KRK RG2 monitors and the 10" sub, connected to the computer via XLR cables and balanced breakout box for the Apogee Duet. Needless to say, I’ve worked hard on getting the acoustics as good as I can get them in the room so I could do all my work off the cans.

Now that I’ve been working with the monitors for the most part, I find that my mixes sound awesome in the room, but kind of dimensionless, flat, maybe even dry on the headphones. I try to mix with comparison sources on another track for quick A/B, but the mixes never quite seem to have that “depth” that the pro tracks have. This is even though they sound really close in comparison in the room on the monitors.

What do you all do? I know I need to get much more used to my studio space and monitoring system, but it is pretty crazy to sound so awesome in the room and then so blah on iTunes after a bounce. Just curious to see what some of the more experienced people have to say. Thanks in advance! Love this site, by the way. Learning a lot!


hey man. good question.

I have the same monitors as you so I might be able to help.

It sounds like you have a pretty nice setup there.

As far as mixing goes… You need to use both headphones & monitors.

Lots of times a kick will sound bad *** on monitors but like crap on headphones.

Its a good idea to listen 2 your tracks on speakers that are not in the studio.

Headphones at work, a laptop speaker, anything where your getting limited audio range.

If it doesnt sound good on a crappy speaker, then the mix still needs work.

I have had the same problem before with tracks where when I didnt listen to them on my monitors, that they sounded FLAT and didnt have all the dimensions I expected.

My suggestion would be to see if you can add any new sounds to flat sounding areas.

Also make sure that your drums are mixed properly. If the kick is no good, then the rest of your track is no good. It screws up all your sidechains and your mixdown.

Also play with adding sound FX into parts that should be wider. It adds interest.

Another thing to do is to add some extra pads to add some depth. Pitch sweeps can do this 2.

I used to only mix on monitors to get the proper stereo field idea… But I just downloaded 112 dB’s red line… Works like a charm for simulating monitors in headphones. My neighbors are much happier :smiley:

Have a look here: http://forums.sonicacademy.com/Topic51021-8-1.aspx?Highlight=headphones+monitors

And here: http://forums.sonicacademy.com/Topic32594-8-1.aspx?Highlight=headphones+monitors

Thanks Guys!

Yes, I’ve been working slowly but surely on the studio here, United. It’s a good amount of time and money invested into a place that I now feel like I can do some quality work in without worrying whether what I’m hearing is flutter echoes, or if standing waves in the room are a problem, et cetera. It is definitely well worth the investment to treat your room first!

As far as the techniques you suggest, I definitely use my ipod as the tester technology, since most people will be listening on their headphones through an iPod or something similar. I don’t check much in the car or on the home system, but it wouldn’t be too much of an issue since I can just link my tunes through the Apple TV. That’s already hooked up through the home theater.

It’s just a pain having to bounce all those things out and then take notes and then test on the home files. Just seems like a lot of ad hoc, trial and error (I’d like to say a waste of time, but I dare not) when I’d like to think something more efficient could be used to get everything to “glue.”

I won’t use room correction software either. It causes more trouble than I already have! I have pics up on a website devoted to bass traps. Here is link to those pics over there since they are already posted in the message.