Headphones and Mastering

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by beatsme, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. macrumors 65816

    beatsme

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    Oct 6, 2005
    #1
    I know nothing beats a good pair of reference speakers, but there are headphones out there that are labelled as "suitable for mastering." Anybody use these? Can anybody recommend a decent set?

    I'd quite like to have some reference speakers, but I don't want to drive the neighbors crazy (I live in a 4 unit apt. building). And I'm realizing that while I can get a nice-sounding mix through my plain old stereo, it won't sound that way through the iPod or in the car...at all...

    anyway, comments/suggestions?
     
  2. macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #2
    The MDR-7506 is used by studios worldwide. It doesn't necessarily mean the headphone is actually that good in the overall scheme of things, it just means that it is suitable for monitoring. The MDR-7509 is also very popular among vocal and instrumental performers alike for playback monitoring. The Beyerdynamic DT100 is also extremely popular for all-purpose monitoring.

    Apparently there are some people who partly master on things like the Stax Omega II headphones, but usually a mastering session will be handled by the use of monitor speakers: I doubt anyone commits to a final master based on a pair of 7506's for example.
     
  3. macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #3
    imo, a mastering room is more about the room and the ears than the gear.
     
  4. macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #4
    Er... well, it is all about the ear but... headphones... room... ?
     
  5. macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #5
    meaning:
    1. the gear is secondary, and
    2. using headphones removes the room from the equation, and that's a bad thing
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 65816

    beatsme

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    #6
    yea...I think I see what you mean.

    I've been "mastering" :rolleyes: this thing I'm working on for a couple of hours. Really, I think you just hafta listen to it about a zillion times to get a sense of the overall mix, and then adjust accordingly. I mean, that big bass line sounds cool, but 3 or 4 minutes of it can get a little old...
     
  7. macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #7
    i'm rather of the opinion that mastering should be done by someone who hasn't heard the track before, and can work from their very first impression of the song.

    i.e. those who mix it shouldn't master it

    among other things, the mastering engineer should be able to fix the mistakes made by the mixing engineer. note that the mixing engineer doesn't realize he's made those mistakes, 'cuz he's fixed all the ones he knows about.
     
  8. macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #8
    Yeah... but... that's... what....

    *deflates*
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 65816

    beatsme

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    #9
    well, I'm done with the mix. Anybody want to hear it?
     
  10. macrumors 601

    zimv20

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  11. thread starter macrumors 65816

    beatsme

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    #11
    ok...lemme figure out how to do it...
     
  12. macrumors 601

    zimv20

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  13. macrumors G4

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    #13
    AGK240 have bee a "standard" for a couple decades. Cheap too under $100 on-line
    I bought these in the early 1980's Some Ass*&#$ just ripped them off so I'll be re-buying a pair ASAP. Oh well, looks like they are now slightly improved with a replaceable cord 55 ohms and all.

    http://www.akg.com/products/powerslave,mynodeid,157,id,252,pid,252,_language,ENUS.html

    If you are working at home at 2:00am speakers are kind of out of the question unless you live alone out in the woods some place. Even in the day time the noise annoys others

    the '240 has a very accurate sound and are comfortable for hours.
     
  14. macrumors G4

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    #14
    You are right about that, but if you are working on a computer at home the bad thing becomes a good thing. Heard a story about Neil Young. He has a habit of making a copy of the music out of the studio to the parking lot outside and listening inside is pickup truck. Figures that's the place it has to sound good in. One could argue that unless the mixing room IS where your final audience will be head phones are best.

    With all the iPods, maybe headphones ARE the listening room
     
  15. macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #15
    well, yeah, you have to check your mixes in different environments -- car, boombox, home stereo, mp3 format, etc.

    but those are all extra checks and don't replace the original mix environment, which should be as neutral and reference-like as possible. headphones are another check, but imo shouldn't be the primary mixing system.
     
  16. thread starter macrumors 65816

    beatsme

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    #16
    http://www.box.net/public/xitxnxxfcx

    alrighty...there it is.

    it's kind of thin-sounding because, other than the bass/drums, everything on the track was recorded through the built-in speaker on a Mac laptop. I had to pull out the sounds invidually...it was nightmarish
     
  17. macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #17
    besides the vox, what did you record using the built in mic?
     
  18. macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #18
    i'm hearing it more flat than thin. careful use of delays and reverb can add the depth i think you're looking it.

    it's a cool track, and the lo-fi vox actually work (though they need depth).

    the processing on the bass is... unsettling. what's going on there? if it were my track, i'd shoot for making the bass more center-centric to firm up the center channel.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors 65816

    beatsme

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    Oct 6, 2005
    #19
    mmm.....ok
    I'll post the original file. What happened was this:
    a coupla my buddies were fooling around with GarageBand, and they had a miniature steel drum, a tambourine, and a recorder (a kind of flute, I guess) that they were screwing around with. I listened to it, and thought "hey, I'll take that and put a beat to it." And then I got carried away. Hehe...
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 65816

    beatsme

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    #20
    the bass is digital synth...I screwed around with one of the presets in GarageBand and came up with that. It does need some mid-range, that's for sure, but my one pal is really into hip-hop, so I left it like that since that's what he generally prefers (insert shrug)

    I'll probably go back to it sometime after the holiday...
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 65816

    beatsme

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    #21
    http://www.box.net/public/5khf99dsji

    alrighty...there's the original.

    I agree totally, it could use depth. Unfortunately, I'm kind of limited by what GarageBand can do. I'm not really able to use delay on some of it because the available effects bays are already in use :(

    I'm thinking seriously about getting Pro Logic...
     
  22. macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #22
    I agree with zim about the bass processing - but interestingly, it works on headphones and in a slightly different (somewhat irelevant) way, on omnidirectional speakers.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 65816

    beatsme

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    #23
  24. macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #24
    i'm liking the center channel and balance better, definitely. i'm getting a phase issue somewhere, perhaps the bass? hard to tell w/o access to individual channels. or did you do something funky on the 2-buss?
     
  25. thread starter macrumors 65816

    beatsme

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    Oct 6, 2005
    #25
    hmmm...I hadn't heard it...I'll give it a listen and see if I can pick it out. It might well be a bass thing, since the bass is actually a combination of the original bass track and a newer track in a little higher register.
     

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