Knowing what are the best headphones for mixing and mastering is important because they can profoundly affect your creation. Mixing and mastering are almost inseparable, but they are the important processes that audio production has to go through to ensure high-quality results.
Mixing goes first before the mastering process. In the mixing process, the tracks are being combined and adjusted together to create a stereo sound after the mixdown. After the mixing procedure, the result, which is the stereo audio file, undergoes the mastering process that polishes the sounds and ensures cohesion in an album.
As you may see, mixing and mastering are cool ways to produce good and crisp sounds. However, if you think that the traditional or common requirements for mixing and mastering are easy and cheap, then you are wrong. They are tremendously expensive and discouraging to set up.
Think about it. You need a room that is not a square in shape but has an acoustic treatment. You have to find the nodes in the room and spread them out. Buy quality speakers. You need expensive materials to make up the ideal room for mixing and mastering.
The good news is that you can still do mixing and mastering without them.
What You Need to Mix and Master Without Building an Expensive Room?
- Dedicated and good-quality headphones
- Headphone amplification
People have different opinions regarding the efficacy of using headphones for mixing and mastering. Even though some people claim that using headphones to do these processes is impossible, some musicians have proven that it is still possible.
Moreover, if you do not have the right budget to build the right acoustic room, buying headphones and using a headphone amplification can be your last resort.
In this blog, I will help you learn what makes an ideal headphone for mixing and mastering.
How to Know Which Headphones Are the Best for Mixing and Mastering?
The use of headphones is the ideal alternative from building a room dedicated for mixing and mastering because it lets you hear your audio free from the environment’s impact.
1. Understand That You Cannot Just Buy Any Headphones.
You might already be aware that there are different kinds of headphones on the market. If you see that a lot of people are making positive reviews about a particular headphone, then it does not mean that it is already good enough for mixing and mastering.
The different varieties of headphones cater to the various needs of the market. Generally, the types of headphones that are ideal for mixing and mastering are expensive, but not as expensive enough as building a room with good acoustic.
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2. Know Some Terminologies on Headphones
Musicians or audiophiles use jargons most of the time when referring to some features or characteristics of a headphone. For now, you as a person looking for a good headphone for mixing and mastering should know the difference between supra-aural and circumaural.
These two terms refer to the earcup design. The earcup is a cushion-like part of headphone that is placed between the speaker or driver of the headphone and the user’s ear. The supra-aural describes the earcup that is placed above the ear, and the circumaural describes the earcup that is around the ear.
You will also need to know the difference between the open-back and the closed-back headphone. These terminologies refer to the covering at the back of the headphone’s driver which goes straight starting from your head’s side.
The closed-back and the open-back have each its advantages and disadvantages. The closed-back prevents the sound from escaping. However, it creates inaccurate low frequencies due to the pressure trapped inside the headphone. Professional and expert musicians may not have a problem using this kind of headphone. In fact, common individuals like this kind of headphone a lot.
The open-back, on the other hand, provides less isolation but offers balance and accurate frequency. Therefore, the open-back headphone is ideal for critical listening. There are some open-back headphones that are well-designed. These types of open-back headphones provide the same isolation that is as good as the closed-back. The only downside is the price.
Semi-open-back headphones are also available in the market. These headphones are well-balanced and affordable.
3. You May Need Multiple Headphones
If you need to be more critical, then you may need multiple headphones because you are going to have different needs when you are tacking. The headphone that you will need to track the drums may be different on the one for the vocals.
If you cannot afford to buy multiple headphones, then buy the headphone that is dedicated to the instrument that you will need to track most of the time. Generally, the ideal headphone for mixing and mastering should have the following characteristics:
- If you are a beginner, then start with the open-back headphone.
- Provides good isolation
You would like reading our buyer’s guide on the 5 of the best circumaural headphones under $100
Using a headphone is a practical and cheaper way to do your mixing and mastering. With a good headphone, you do not have to purchase any materials required for proper acoustic treatment. You do not have to hire workers to make a room soundproofed.
You do not have to worry about the size and shape of your room. The positioning of the speakers will not be a problem at all. In fact, you may not need a speaker at all. You do not have to worry about the buildup of frequencies.
Moreover, you can move around while making your mix because you can take the headphones almost everywhere. The headphones let you focus on your audio, which in turn make it more detailed.
However, to acquire all these benefits, you have to make sure that you have the right headset for the job. Remember that as much as possible, you have to pick the one that you will use for a particular instrument.
Generally, pick a closed-back, circum-aural headphone with good isolation technology for more accurate listening.
However, if you have the budget to create a room with good acoustic treatment, then create one, especially if you are serious about it as a job or a hobby.
Now that you know what are the best headphones for mixing and mastering, I hope that you have enjoyed reading this blog. Please share this blog if you like it. Also, share your thoughts in the comments section below.