Posted: May 18, 2020
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**Guest post by James Longman of AudioReputation, a technology writer & blogger by profession.
"A very common question we have been trying to answer is – can I use my headphones to record and mix music? Well, unfortunately the answer isn’t “definitely yes” because of some reasons, but if you have some decent mixing skills and you can trust your ears, then the answer goes pretty close to “yes”. A good quality pair of audio monitors will do the job perfectly well.
The main reason for this is that headphones generally make everything sound better than it really is. Even some headphones from this list of behind the neck Bluetooth headphones will make that happen. Don’t be surprised when you hear your mixes on your headphones and they sound awesome; it is because of the boosted frequency response and increased stereo field. This is the reason why we would recommend you to listen to your mixes on as many different devices as possible. Listen to them wherever you can - in your car, on your tablet, smartphone or PC. This is important because when people listen to your mixes they won’t use headphones only, they will use different devices and if you test your mixes you will notice how good they are and you may notice the same thing your listeners will notice as well. This means you can then fine tune your mixes to sound great on all devices.
If your mix sounds great on your headphones, it may not sound that good on monitors, However, if you can make your mix sound great on monitors, it will sound even better on headphones.
This is something you should keep in mind and use it as your advantage. You can do your best and make your mix sound really good on your monitors. After that you can add a few tweaks while using your headphones. If you do this, your mix won’t sound very different on speakers.
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If you use monitor-quality headphones it would be enough to clean up audible noise like hum, pops, licks and so on. You can also fine-tune your mixes, especially the reverb and delay.
And once again, listening to your mixes on a variety of devices will help you realize how they sound to your audience. The good thing about headphones designed for recording and mixing is that they will precisely reveal the original mix without any added effects. On the other hand consumer headphones are designed to make the sound more pleasant so it is possible not to notice all the imperfections of your mixes.
Using your headphones for recording and mixing is easier, and your mixes will be better if you follow the next tips:
Use at least two pair of headphones while mixing
If you do your mixes with only one pair of headphones your ears will adapt to them after a few hours. This means that in case you are using headphones that have a specific response pattern, your brain will adapt to it. Using another pair of headphones or ear buds will wake your ears and brain up. Maybe the new pair has a different response pattern, but it will prevent your ears to adapt.
Let your ears rest
Your brains and ears will get tired after some time. This is the reason to let your ears and brains rest before you publish and share your latest mix. Ideally, you should listen to your mixes the next day when your brain and ears have rested and use speakers for listening. Pay attention to all the tiny details you normally pay attention to, are different instruments well balanced, how are the vocals and so on. Take notes and fix everything you can.
Enjoy in what you are doing
At the beginning most people can’t afford the best quality gear for recording and mixing. However, you shouldn’t let that stop you from your mixing and recording dream. What’s really important is to do your best to create the mixes and most of all, enjoy what you are doing. Who knows, if everything goes well in the right direction chances are that you will have the budget for professional gear one day. Until then, enjoy."
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