Nice mixing without studio, only headphones. Possible?

Hello, friends!
Could U give advise, is it possible in general make nice mixing for simple music (piano, strings, pads, keys, drums) using only headphones? Is here anyone who mixes his audios with headphones and how is Ur succes with it?

It is possible, but you should have alternative monitors to control it. The most important thing is to learn the sound of your headphones/speakers.

I’m pretty sure that @AurusAudio said in a post that up until recently he’d been mixing only using headphones (although he is now getting some monitors) so I’d say, yes, it is definitely possible to be successful using this approach if you know your own gear well!

I agree with what was written above. From myself I will say that you can get good results in headphones, although it’s not right (mixing in headphones). It is necessary to use competently the reference tracks on sounding, as well as at least cheap audio for monitoring, since a well-mixed track will sound good everywhere.

I use headphones only as well… I even have a decent set of speakers (Adam A5x) and i still prefer the headphones.
You can miss out on some frequencies though, so be extra carefull with low end. And be sure to have decent, neutral sounding headphones.

Mixing in (good) earphones is fine, the main problem is that when all you hear is your own mix, the ears “adapt” to the sound, usually making mixes sound better than they are, even when they are too bass heavy and/or sizzling. Ears are also more easily fatigued when the volume is turned up, which is often the case with earphones. Always double check your mixes with reference tracks.

One big problem when mixing with headphones is that most headphones sound pretty ‘coloured’, so it can get hard to identify frequency issues correctly…

I think the ‘Sonwarworks’ approach is interesting in this regard:

They measure and calibrate each individual headphone that you buy directly from them. Load your headphone’s unique calibration profile into the software and you’ll get as close as you can get to a ‘neutral’ frequency spectrum when mixing with headphones.

I actually just bought the Sennheiser HD 600+ from them today (I already own the software for other speakers and headphones). They got a spring sale until 31st of May (tomorrow…). Coupon code: MAY-MX67B8HECM0G

(No, I’m not affiliated with them nor do I get a percentage from the coupon or anything like that…).

I was also interested in the Sonarworks approach, and I tried the demo which worked fine. The plugin is basically an EQ that compensates for different brand frequency response curves. However in the end I decided to not go that route, simply because I’ve grown accustomed to the frequency response profile of my phones (ATH-M50x and ATH-R70x, which are decently flat anyway) and it would only give me headaches to “re-learn” how I’m supposed to interpret the audio. Plus, if you don’t use the plugin when listening to everything else you’re using your headphones for, you’ll eventually get confused about how music is supposed to sound, or at least that’s what I think would happen to me (and I’m already adequately confused :wink: ). While it may work wonders for many, for me it just didn’t click.

The main advice I would give is to learn your setup, spend some time listening to reference tracks and mainstream mixes before you dive into your track. The next big thing is to check your mix on another rig, even if it just is switching to another pair of phones. While you certainly can’t assume to spot every possible glitch in your mix, what almost always happens is that the “sweetspots” move around in the spectrum and you inevitably change focus on what really carries the track, and what elements put the balance of the mix at risk.


Of course you’re absolutely right.

Knowing your setup and its flaws (by analyzing your own mixes as well as reference mixes on many systems/setups) is by far the most important thing in this context… There’s no software that can do magic tricks here and do this work for you.

Yet I still think the Sonwarworks approach can work. To avoid the confusion you mentioned you can use their ‘Systemwide’ software to be able to hear everything through their EQ.

If you don’t want to spend the extra money you can achieve the same by using a workaround of “Pedalboard 2”…

This way you can also hear any reference mixes through the software and compare those to your own mix.

It’s possible to mix in the headphones,but headphones won’t give that great sense of 3D sound and it’s impossible to feel music with your body,it’s a big problem if you want to make track that would sound mighty in the cinema :slight_smile: