Mixing & Mastering With Headphones
We hear from a lot of people who want to mix and master their songs using headphones. The quick answer is yes, you can mix and master using headphones. However, you need to take note of a few things. Make sure to read til the end to get for some critical info if you are mixing and mastering with headphones!
You may need to use headphones to mix and master for various reasons.
- You don’t have monitors
- You need to be quiet or have a pesky neighbor
- Your room sounds bad and you don’t have the budget for acoustic treatment
- You prefer using headphones to speakers
It is possible to mix and master with headphones, but it comes with certain pros and cons. While headphones can provide crisp sound, they do have limitations compared to studio monitors or speakers.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when mixing and mastering with headphones:
Headphones have their own frequency response characteristics, which can differ from studio monitors. It can also differ from one pair of headphones to the other.
It is important to use high-quality headphones with a flat frequency response. Look for headphones that are specifically designed for audio production and do not have anything like bass boost.
Headphones can create an exaggerated stereo image due to the sound being delivered directly into your ear. This can make panning sound more pronounced than it would on speakers. It's critical to check your mixes on different headphones and speakers. A car stereo or earbuds work great as a point of reference.
Extended headphone use can cause ear fatigue faster than using studio monitors. Take regular breaks to give your ears a rest. You can try a timer and do something like 30 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
It's a good idea to compare your mix or master with professionally produced tracks. By listening to reference tracks on the same headphones, you can compare how yours sounds and make adjustments to mimic the reference track.
Mixing And Mastering Hack!
According to their reports, Apple shipped 63 million headphones from Q1 2022 to Q3 2022. That means that a ton of people will likely listen to your songs with apple earbuds. It is always a good idea to give your song a listen on a pair of these headphones whether you prefer them or not. Just like the Motown folks used the popular car stereo’s of the time to dial in their mixes, use what is popular to your advantage.
If you are mixing on headphones only and need help coming up with ideas for acoustic treatment please let us know. We would love to help you figure out how to get the best sound in your room!