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Anybody producing/mixingmusic here? Need advice on Headphones/Interface/Setup...

knkkskknk

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Hey, I'm basically a bedroom producer who wants to up his mixing/mastering game, and I realize the most important part is properly hearing what you're doing.

I was following tutorials, and they were doing mini compression / EQ dips, and I literally could not follow along cause I couldn't hear what the changes were doing lol

I have an Audient EVO4 (99$ USB interface) and AKG K240 headphones. I want to upgrade my interface, my headphones, and get a headphone amp.

I actually bought a Burson Conductor V2+ the other day, it was such a great deal I snatched it up (like 1/8th of retail price) hopefully it works lol. It's a HQ Dac/Amp/Preamp. Excited to get it but not sure what I'm doing really. No idea how to use it, like do I connect it to my interface or what?

Anyway, I'm thinking of upgrading my setup like I said. I basically narrowed it down to these:
Headphones: AKG K712, Slate VSX
Interface: Babyface PRO FS, Audient ID22
Headphone amp: Grace M902, Burson Conductor V2+ (soon to have)

I heard Grace HP amps are neutral and clean, not sure about the burson I'm getting, if it colors the sound I'll sell it and buy a neutral amp.

Basically I want to use headphones mainly for mixing, and I heard everyone say amazing things about Slate VSX, except they're not very detailed, but they're flat, and imitate speakers/rooms excellently, people said they've got professional mixes out of them, so I'm basically planning on buying those.

So since the slate VSX doesn't show all the details (AKA the recording mistakes, the little sharp pitches that happen) I was thinking of getting the K712 which I heard is very analytical and precisely shows you the details of the sound, unless I'm mistaken here. And using it with a good HP Amp and Interface to drive it best.

For the interface, I need good preamps for running analogue outs of my synths and effect boxes and fattening the sound, and DI input for guitar (Audient has JFET DI, and great preamps)

I also need great drivers for heavy VST projects, and to figure out a way to bypass the interfaces headphone preamp (not sure how to do this yet) I heard RME has the most neutral DAC/great drivers. but their preamps and DI input are just okay.


So I don't know whether to go for RME, or a bigger Audient device (for more I/O), ppl say amazing things about RME, but its expensive and I lose good preamps/DI input

any suggestions or advise?
 

stevenswall

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No advice on gear, but with decent headphones you should be able to hear what is happening in a class (minus correct soundstage stuff if they are using monitors.)

Highly recommend finding a copy of Harman's "How to Listen" program and training your ear. I can't hear many of the tiny edits my producer friend obsesses over.

Not sure if you can add Sonarworks TrueFi or something like that to EQ your headphones to neutral, but that would be a good idea too.
 

Bob-23

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Hey, I'm basically a bedroom producer who wants to up his mixing/mastering game, and I realize the most important part is properly hearing what you're doing.

I was following tutorials, and they were doing mini compression / EQ dips, and I literally could not follow along cause I couldn't hear what the changes were doing lol

I have an Audient EVO4 (99$ USB interface) and AKG K240 headphones. I want to upgrade my interface, my headphones, and get a headphone amp.

I actually bought a Burson Conductor V2+ the other day, it was such a great deal I snatched it up (like 1/8th of retail price) hopefully it works lol. It's a HQ Dac/Amp/Preamp. Excited to get it but not sure what I'm doing really. No idea how to use it, like do I connect it to my interface or what?

Anyway, I'm thinking of upgrading my setup like I said. I basically narrowed it down to these:
Headphones: AKG K712, Slate VSX
Interface: Babyface PRO FS, Audient ID22
Headphone amp: Grace M902, Burson Conductor V2+ (soon to have)

I heard Grace HP amps are neutral and clean, not sure about the burson I'm getting, if it colors the sound I'll sell it and buy a neutral amp.

Basically I want to use headphones mainly for mixing, and I heard everyone say amazing things about Slate VSX, except they're not very detailed, but they're flat, and imitate speakers/rooms excellently, people said they've got professional mixes out of them, so I'm basically planning on buying those.

So since the slate VSX doesn't show all the details (AKA the recording mistakes, the little sharp pitches that happen) I was thinking of getting the K712 which I heard is very analytical and precisely shows you the details of the sound, unless I'm mistaken here. And using it with a good HP Amp and Interface to drive it best.

For the interface, I need good preamps for running analogue outs of my synths and effect boxes and fattening the sound, and DI input for guitar (Audient has JFET DI, and great preamps)

I also need great drivers for heavy VST projects, and to figure out a way to bypass the interfaces headphone preamp (not sure how to do this yet) I heard RME has the most neutral DAC/great drivers. but their preamps and DI input are just okay.


So I don't know whether to go for RME, or a bigger Audient device (for more I/O), ppl say amazing things about RME, but its expensive and I lose good preamps/DI input

any suggestions or advise?

You should also consider: As mixes done with monitors are only appropriate for speaker-listening, mixes done with headphones are only appropriate for headphone-listening. Otherwise they are systematically deficient.

We'd need two mixes for each recording: one for headphones, one for speakers.

'Crossfeed' tries to correct for that deficiency, when listening on headphones to recordings that are typically mixed on monitors - but it's only an approximation, not the perfect reproduction of the 'correct' stereo-image. Nonetheless, I couldn't listen on headphones without crossfeed.
 

alex-z

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Because headphones aren't subject to room acoustics, you can EQ them easily. The only real requirement is buying a pair with low distortion.

Hifiman Sundara did pretty well in that regard.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/hifiman-sundara-review-headphone.22529/

Dial in some bass boost, knock out the 6000Hz peak, you have "perfect" headphones.



With headphones, a flat frequency response will sound terrible, because we don't perceive all frequencies as equally loud. You don't want to mix on a flat system because then your work will only sound good on flat systems.

Headphones cannot emulate speakers in a room. They lack the spacial queues added by the room, and the directivity factor of speakers. Like comparing motorbike and sports car, both enjoyable but they do not emulate each other.
 
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knkkskknk

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Not sure if you can add Sonarworks TrueFi or something like that to EQ your headphones to neutral, but that would be a good idea too.

I had used Sonarworks EQ before but found it to be too "sterile" when comparing to my then speakers, I did alot of research and found alot of ppl complaining about the same thing. I switched to using "oratorys EQ curve" instead and it sounded much better.
Supposedly headphones arn't meant to be completely flat, there's a harmen target curve that's different from flat and it's made to sound like "good speakers in a good room" and sounds way more natural lol

Edit// I had used sonarworks room correction on my speakers, and EQ on headphones. They sounded nothing alike, the room correction was amazing.

I'll definitely look up that series, I didn't know they had ear training for stuff like that! thanks




You should also consider: As mixes done with monitors are only appropriate for speaker-listening, mixes done with headphones are only appropriate for headphone-listening. Otherwise they are systematically deficient.
Yeah, I totally get what you mean, most mixing and mastering studios use speakers mainly, some headphones, and a cheap radio/bookshelf speakers combination. and I heard mixing with good speakers in a well treated room translates to headphones, but not so much the other way around. Ideally I think the goal is to get the mix to translate to all sources as evenly as possible...

Headphones cannot emulate speakers in a room. They lack the spacial queues added by the room, and the directivity factor of speakers. Like comparing motorbike and sports car, both enjoyable but they do not emulate each other.


I read alot of the 193 page thread on gearslutz, almost everybody says they can't believe how it sounds like they're really in a room with speakers, and a lot of pro audio engineers opinions on them say it perfectly translates their mixes to speakers / gets amazing mixes. It could be shills and I haven't tried myself, but there's guys on there who have 100,000$ in production gear and 40,000$ speakers saying they are using this lol So I was pretty kean on getting a pair but they've been sold out for so long.
 

acbarn

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The Babyface Pro FS is excellent; unless you buy a very hard to drive headphone, you won’t need a separate headphone amp. Use that money saved to buy a nice pair of near-field monitors like the Adam T5V.

For headphones, I’d look at the HD600, DT1990 Pro, or possibly the K712. In any case, you’ll want to EQ the headphones using Sonarworks or some other method.

I’d give Sonarworks another look. Their new SoundID Reference is much improved. They don’t divulge their target curve, but Oratory claims it’s very similar to Harman but with less bass, which is good. I find it excellent for both headphones and monitors. Remember that the goal is not to sound good, but to be accurate so your mixes translate well to multiple platforms.

Good luck!
 

alex-z

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Yet another company jumping on the HRTF wagon. Every company these days is slapping a new name on it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head-related_transfer_function

Better 3D audio from headphones is a good thing. But for 1 simple reason it doesn't truly emulate speakers in a room.

The HRTF is slightly different for each person. You can get good coverage with a few good presets like the PS5 Tempest chip is doing, but it won't be dead on.

Essentially with the VSX headphones you are paying for a neat software trick, the headphones themselves aren't special.
 

LightninBoy

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My advice - which you won't like.

1) don't mix on headphones.

If you are dead set on mixing with headphones ...

2) I have no experience with the Slates, but I am skeptical based on past experiences with those modeling concepts. If you go this route It is probably a good idea to have another set of headphones around just to check for translation. The Slates are closed, so assuming the Slates have good bass (a big assumption I recommend you verify if you can), I don't see any reason to go spend more than say an HD6xx.

3) Don't fret preamps. Even with budget interfaces, you are getting nice preamps. if you aren't getting good sound, its not your preamp. In case you haven't seen it already, check out Julian Krause's channel for great interface reviews ...

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0HrD4cTsQpAZ8KK9jPzzGg

That said, I think both of the interfaces you are looking at are good choices.

4) Don't fret about headphone amps. If the headphone amp on the interface you choose can't drive your headphones to good levels without distortion, then you can get transparent amps for ~$150 that will drive any headphone. Flip that Burson and use the money to buy some cool new instruments (physical or virtual) or plugins.
 

Thalis

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I am not a DJ/music priducer but having a pair of K240 MkII (not sure which version yours are)... I think they are capable. I use the EQ from RTINGS listed in Oratory measurements. Also in my opinion the K240 sound their best with velour pads.

The highs can sound very open and detailed and once you apply EQ the mid bass muddiness is gone and you can get good quality low end and mids.
 
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knkkskknk

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My advice - which you won't like.

1) don't mix on headphones.

If you are dead set on mixing with headphones ...

2) I have no experience with the Slates, but I am skeptical based on past experiences with those modeling concepts. If you go this route It is probably a good idea to have another set of headphones around just to check for translation. The Slates are closed, so assuming the Slates have good bass (a big assumption I recommend you verify if you can), I don't see any reason to go spend more than say an HD6xx.

3) Don't fret preamps. Even with budget interfaces, you are getting nice preamps. if you aren't getting good sound, its not your preamp. In case you haven't seen it already, check out Julian Krause's channel for great interface reviews ...

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0HrD4cTsQpAZ8KK9jPzzGg

That said, I think both of the interfaces you are looking at are good choices.

4) Don't fret about headphone amps. If the headphone amp on the interface you choose can't drive your headphones to good levels without distortion, then you can get transparent amps for ~$150 that will drive any headphone. Flip that Burson and use the money to buy some cool new instruments (physical or virtual) or plugins.

from what I read in the slate thread, people said they can finally make mixing decisions on bass with those headphones...

Yeah I'm very skeptical if these upgrades of preamps / D/A conversion / headphone amps will do anything TBH. I keep hearing opinions like "The sound is more 3D!, I can hear the levels between vocal and instrumental much easier" and such, and since I've been on budget for years thought I'd try some highend stuff for once and see if it actuallymakes me hear EQ/Compression/Mixing decisions better... but still not so sure, instead of spending 1K USD I could buy a synth or something lol

I'll probably end up flipping the burson for something

The Babyface Pro FS is excellent; unless you buy a very hard to drive headphone, you won’t need a separate headphone amp. Use that money saved to buy a nice pair of near-field monitors like the Adam T5V.

For headphones, I’d look at the HD600, DT1990 Pro, or possibly the K712. In any case, you’ll want to EQ the headphones using Sonarworks or some other method.

I’d give Sonarworks another look. Their new SoundID Reference is much improved. They don’t divulge their target curve, but Oratory claims it’s very similar to Harman but with less bass, which is good. I find it excellent for both headphones and monitors. Remember that the goal is not to sound good, but to be accurate so your mixes translate well to multiple platforms.

Good luck!

Didn't know sonarworks had a new thing out, the main problem I had before was I was getting very conflicted on whether to trust my speakers with sonarworks room EQ (measured with microphone, slight room treatment at the time) or the headphone EQ curve (which IMO sounded very weird)

the speakers with room correction, and oratorys EQ curve matched alot better for me so I didn't look at it again, but I'll checkout their new soundID.


Essentially with the VSX headphones you are paying for a neat software trick, the headphones themselves aren't special.

Yup, I read that as well, alot of people said "they're not very detailed" but the emulation was "good" there's alot of ppl in the thread who say it takes a while to get the effect going, and slate has been updating with different average ear profiles.
 

LightninBoy

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from what I read in the slate thread, people said they can finally make mixing decisions on bass with those headphones...

That's encouraging. IMO the best mixing application for headphones is to use them as a compliment to speaker monitoring by checking bass levels when the speaker/room monitoring has low frequency issues. That's why it always perplexes me when so many "hi-fi" and "professional" headphones have terrible bass response. If the Slates deliver on the bass front, then I think its money well spent.

Yeah I'm very skeptical if these upgrades of preamps / D/A conversion / headphone amps will do anything TBH. I keep hearing opinions like "The sound is more 3D!, I can hear the levels between vocal and instrumental much easier" and such, and since I've been on budget for years thought I'd try some highend stuff for once and see if it actuallymakes me hear EQ/Compression/Mixing decisions better... but still not so sure, instead of spending 1K USD I could buy a synth or something lol I'll probably end up flipping the burson for something

That's cool. Seems like you are experimenting with eyes wide open, which is fine.

Do you have any speaker monitoring currently? If so, what are you using?
 
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knkkskknk

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That's encouraging. IMO the best mixing application for headphones is to use them as a compliment to speaker monitoring by checking bass levels when the speaker/room monitoring has low frequency issues. That's why it always perplexes me when so many "hi-fi" and "professional" headphones have terrible bass response. If the Slates deliver on the bass front, then I think its money well spent.



That's cool. Seems like you are experimenting with eyes wide open, which is fine.

Do you have any speaker monitoring currently? If so, what are you using?

I'm on cheap ik multimedia iloud micro, I use to use room correction with sonarworks EQ, but I moved many times and sold the microphone my room is totally untreated, everytime I asked questions about treating my room I was met with all different opinions so I never did it lol like, ppl said moving blankets are good, then they said its horrible cause it sucks all midrange or w/e out. And the only proper way to do it is getting fiberclass panels and spending 1000's I was like ARGH, researching this stuff sometimes is annoying.

If I were to upgrade my monitors I'd go for Genelec 8030 or similar
but then I'd have to go through the room correction thing again lol
 

AdamG247

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I'm on cheap ik multimedia iloud micro, I use to use room correction with sonarworks EQ, but I moved many times and sold the microphone my room is totally untreated, everytime I asked questions about treating my room I was met with all different opinions so I never did it lol like, ppl said moving blankets are good, then they said its horrible cause it sucks all midrange or w/e out. And the only proper way to do it is getting fiberclass panels and spending 1000's I was like ARGH, researching this stuff sometimes is annoying.

If I were to upgrade my monitors I'd go for Genelec 8030 or similar
but then I'd have to go through the room correction thing again lol
Welcome Aboard @knkkskknk.
 

AA63

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Hi, new user here, longtime studio player/engineer - in case you are still working this out or for others...

"I have an Audient EVO4 (99$ USB interface) and AKG K240 headphones. I want to upgrade my interface, my headphones, and get a headphone amp."
"Headphones: AKG K712, Slate VSX
Interface: Babyface PRO FS, Audient ID22
Headphone amp: Grace M902, Burson Conductor V2+ (soon to have)"

Nah, that's not what you want to do if the goal is to up your mixing/mastering game. No need for new headphones, nor a headphone amp, nor the choice of either of those interfaces.

Pick up a UAD Apollo and you will have all you need, and some great plugins that come with it. Not shilling for UAD, but they are being used all over the place with commercial-level results. If you need more I/O or don't like patching, consider getting a small mixing board - you can find something like a 8-16ch. Soundcraft Delta for peanuts and they are nice and clean and very upgradable.

IMHO though, your money would be best spent treating your room and getting a decent set of monitors - if - you have mixing aspirations at any sort of commercial level. Don't get me wrong, you can get a ways there in headphones, learn a ton about what does what, your work flow etc., - but for any real decision making if you are thinking about how your mixes are going to translate to the general public, you will need monitors in a decent room. I would also advise against thinking about mastering at any commercial level - that is a specialty, with specialty level gear. Again, you can get decent results using Ozone-like mastering plugins and be happy with that, but mastering is a whole other (and very expensive) game, and most pro mix engineers I know do not master themselves, they send it out.

Finally, remember that your gear is not nearly as important as knowing HOW whatever it is that you use translates - more or less, how well you can get the results you want with what you have. Good gear helps you not think about that so much, but in this era, with prosumer gear being at such a good baseline, it is almost a moot point. It is wonderful to have audiophile/top shelf gear, really enjoyable if you can afford it - but for mixing - converters, preamps, compressors, etc. should be the last thing on your mind - hardware can be emulated to a very close degree with plugins... but speakers can't, and ****** room acoustics is going to be a non-stop pita.

There is my 2.5 centavos.
 
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