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Old February 14th, 2006, 05:36 PM   #1
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Headphones when editing?

Just read on another post that it is not a good idea to edit using headphones, why is this?

Thanks Guys
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Old February 14th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #2
 
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For myriad reasons.
1. You have no sense of true spatial construction/placement
2. Your bone structure plays havoc with the EQ, therefore disallowing you accurate tone trim/EQ.
3. With the source in your ears, you can't accurately consider compression.
4. With the source in your ears, it's difficult to tell where levels are in the "air" of the mix.
5. Headphones are rarely flat. Etymotics is one of the few affordable examples of an accurate headphone, and even then, the ER4's are accurate, but still challenging.
6. Your environment isn't familiar. You're not used to hearing sources "inside your skull"
7. There is no "room reaction" to the mix that will be similar to what the majority of listeners will hear. It used to be common, but virtually unheard of today, to deliver one mix to the radio station and another on vinyl. This was due to the bad audio in most vehicles. Today, most vehicles have good if not great sound. Either way, the listening environment is totally discounted when you mix thru headphones.

You *can* learn to mix through cans. As long as you check the mix frequently on sound systems of merit, and have good 'phones to work with, and are familiar with both the can and the subject/recorded material, you can do it. Many do. A major PBS show was heavily mixed through headphones, and if that show isn't nominated later this year for at least 1 audio Emmy, I'll be shocked. But it's the exception, not the rule. Learn to mix through monitors, learn to "hear" the room, and learn to work with a soundstage. All that *has* to come before learning to mix with headphones, IMO.
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Old February 14th, 2006, 07:19 PM   #3
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OTOH,

Using headphones at times is a great way to hear little glitches.

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Old February 14th, 2006, 07:30 PM   #4
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Hi Greg, in addition to Spot's excellent advice, consider also that your audience most likely won't hear your program through headphones, so why should you. Listen to it as they will hear it.
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Old February 14th, 2006, 07:42 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford
OTOH,

Using headphones at times is a great way to hear little glitches.

Ty Ford
No one ever said they aren't. But listening for glitches isn't the same as mixing. Which is the topic of the question.
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Old February 15th, 2006, 12:44 AM   #6
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I usually edit with monitors in a good acoustically (sp?) sound room, then I'll watch through my whole production with headphones to see if I can pick out any problems. This lets me make all the major changes with the monitors, and then "fine-tune" some small areas using the headphones
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Old February 15th, 2006, 03:13 AM   #7
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Wow

Many thanks guys. I can appreciate what you are saying. To a newbie (me) it kind of seemed like it might be a good way but given your points I can now see why it is perhaps not. Very informative thank you.

Greg C
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Old February 15th, 2006, 03:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
No one ever said they aren't. But listening for glitches isn't the same as mixing. Which is the topic of the question.
to mix perfectly.. you actully need to use both, obiously more monitor than headphones, but like Ty said.. they are good for glitches/fine tuning. personally i preffer headphones.. but i notice mistakes i make with bass and volume.. that could have been fixed through the monitors.

greg, there's no set rules in mixing.. it just comes down to personal preff,
a musician friend of mine harvey mann, very very popular lead guitarist back in the 70's (google him if you like) mix's most of his stuff through headphones.. pretty much 90% headphones.
hehe, the downside to mixing through phones is.. you eventully go deaf.
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Old February 15th, 2006, 07:43 AM   #9
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I have to edit in the house in the 'living room'. I find that headphones do cut down the evil stares... :D

Thanks DSE and Ty. Informative as usual. GOOD Question Greg!
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Old February 19th, 2006, 11:25 AM   #10
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I had a painful experience which taught me to always check my final mix with headphones on.

A short film I made was shown to over 300 people in a cinema with an incredible sound system and about halfway through the film I heard my voice quietly say "Action".

No-one heard the next 20 seconds or so of the film because of the raucious laughter. Needless to say I went rather red!

The worst thing was there was 3 more showings that night, fortunately I was monitoring/adjusting the live mix (the editor who put together the reel did an awful job normalising the sound), so each time the moment came I purposely dropped the levels for that half second.

Ever since then I've used headphones to fine check everything!
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Old February 19th, 2006, 01:08 PM   #11
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Andrew,

Thanks for the validation and for sharing. I had an indie here for some quick trailer production. Everything was mixed. In one scene, every time the camera angle changed for the two person dialog, I could hear some room tone differences in monitors. In the headphones the difference was massive and disruptive.


I don't hear that with "real films"

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old February 19th, 2006, 03:38 PM   #12
 
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The thread has hashed this horse to the ground, methinks, so we'll end it with a summary.
1. Don't attempt to mix a project entirely through headphones, as commented in several posts.
2. Test your mix thru headphones to find any anomolies or problems prior to finishing your mix. Using headphones to find glitches is a good practice.
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