There are many differences between experiencing a track on speakers and on headphones.
If you only ever use headphones for mixing, it’s all too easy to misjudge your mixes. Common mistakes include making the stereo field too narrow, and not splashing enough reverb onto vocals and synth parts, leaving them overly dry. Judging how much of any effect to use should be a decision that’s made through listening on both cans and monitors.
A well produced track should sound great on everything from laptop speakers to a high-end hi-fi. Don’t forget: just because you can mix on headphones doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.
That said, there are techniques that can help you mix more accurately when using just a sat of cans. On the next few slides we’ll guide you step-by-step through the process of mixing a track without using monitors.
For loads more on working on headphone check out the May issue of Computer Music (CM 190) which is on sale now.
Step 1: We’re using some stems from a piano-led alternative pop track and have dropped them into our DAW. The track sounds pretty good in our headphones but we’ll need to make some adjustments so that it both translates well over a monitor setup and has a bit more depth and detail for those listening on cans.
Listen: raw track stems