Did you know that studio headphones can represent one of the most powerful tools you can have for home recording?
I know this sort of flies in the face of the traditional recording advice, which says that listening to audio through loudspeakers – so that the audio comes through the air – is the best way to mix. In fact some of the old wisdom says “never mix with headphones.” And if we all had perfect acoustic listening spaces, that would be decent advice.
But in home studios, we almost NEVER have ideal acoustical spaces in which to listen to our recorded audio so that it sounds accurate to our ears when we listen through monitor speakers. So headphones offer us a way to sort of offset the negative distortions that a poor listening room can have on our recordings.
Of course, headphones can distort the audio in their own way. So if you approach your final audio edits and mixes with this in mind – and also listen to test mixes in other environments (in the car, on the home stereo, etc.), you can be much closer to an accurate and “portable” (will sound good played on any system) final product.
One other way in which headphones can provide us with superior audio is when editing voiceover recordings. Music can easily mask little noises and imperfections in vocal recordings, such as p-pops, mouth noises, and background sounds like hiss, computer hum, etc. And even without music to hide these things, it can still be quite difficult to hear them with just speakers. Headphones brings these things front-and-center, allowing you to clean up your vocal nicely.
Here’s what Graham has to say about this in an article by The Recording Revolution.