The Pros and (Mostly) Cons of Mixing on Headphones

Headphones have taken on a large role in our society today, ranging from huge, bulky headphones to ear buds that can be hidden from sight. While headphones are great for listening to music, they are not the best option for mixing or mastering your tracks.

One reason why headphones are not the best option is because they can cause a wide range of problems while listening to your mix, including ear fatigue and not being able to listen to your mix for long periods. Also, the majority of your audience will listen on speakers instead of headphones.

While mixing on headphones can be acceptable in certain situations, it is best to listen to your mix in a wide variety of environments. Listen to your mix on studio speakers, laptop speakers, even your car speakers. You could even try listening on bad speakers just to get a reference.

Headphones also tend to give the false impression that your mix is better than it really is. Good headphones give the impression that the bass and higher frequencies are more clear and crisp than they are on normal studio speakers.

You may have noticed this dilemma (as I have many times) when listening to your mix in the car. It sounded great on your headphones, but after playing it on speakers, it sounded absolutely terrible! This is because our ears don’t take into account the atmosphere of the natural outside environment when we have headphones since the sound from headphones reaches our eardrums much sooner than with speakers.

When your mix is played from speakers, though, we hear what the sound is like after it has bounced off walls and been absorbed or reflected by the floor or curtains (or whatever else is in your room). While you can hear certain imperfections such as clicks, pops, and improper panning in your mix, it is generally recommended that you create your final mix on speakers.

If you absolutely have to mix on headphones, such as, you are working at night, then you obviously have to mix on headphones. If you are going to mix on headphones for certain reasons, you might as well have some information on what headphones to get for mixing. It is also recommended that you get headphones with replaceable parts so you don’t have to buy a completely new set each time you break something.

Hope this helps you on your mixing adventures!

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