Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Welcome back, old friend!

I love headphones. Conventional wisdom is that studios should NEVER use headphones for mixing and mastering, because mixes created on headphones don't sound right on speakers. Bullshit! If you know what you're doing, understand the differences between how we hear headphones and speakers, and finally USE THE RIGHT HEADPHONES, there's no damn reason why you can't mix on headphones. It's my FAVORITE way to mix, because I can hear more clearly how every piece fits in the final puzzle that is my MIX! Each individual strand is clearly audible.

I write, voice, and produce for radio. The most important questions during the "process are:

1)-Is your music bed overpowering the voice?

2)-Does the voice sound both full, AND crisp?

3)-Is everything in the mix clearly audible, and in proper proportion?

4)-Is the audio spectrum well filled-out. Is there something going on "down there", and if so is it balanced with the rest of the mix? Is the octave to octave balance in proper proportion? Too damn many radio and tv commercials are PIERCINGLY bright! IT'S ABOUT BALANCE!

5)-Does everything CONGEAL into a mix that's greater than the "sum of it's parts"?

ALL OF THE ABOVE IS EASIER TO HEAR WITH HEADPHONES! Especially a truly revealing pair, like the Sony MDR-7506 (also known in consumer circles as the MDR-V6), LONG MY REFERENCE! Mixes done on these things sound immaculate, and hold together on far less revealing speaker systems! YES they're a little "clinical" sounding (on the "brightly lit" side of neutral). That'll keep you from making things painfully bright! They have FULLY extended bass (down to the "bassment") without any "bloat" or bass emphasis. And they're supremely comfortable! You can wear them for MANY hours (and I have, for a long, LONG time!) My 13 year-old MDR-7506 has been out of service a while because both earcups were split. I just ordered replacements from B&H Photo ( ), and after much prodding, the THIRD PAIR OF EARPADS IS IN PLACE! Welcome back old friend!

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