Best Headphones For Mixing – Only When Necessary!

Best Headphones For Mixing Music – Why would one do this, you might ask?

It is not ever the best idea to do a multi-track mix through a set of headphones. Monitors are always preferred. But if you live in an apartment or have a home full of people who may not be as excited as you are about your latest recording, sometimes headphones are necessary to get some work done. But there are good reasons that most people do not prefer the use of headphone for mixing work. I avoid it whenever possible. Usually if you see me at home sporting a pair of headphones, I’m only doing editing work. However, I still find myself tinkering with the mix, even if it’s just to set the levels appropriate for editing. So the idea came to me that I would like to get a pair of headphones that would at least minimize the amount of level and frequency differences when editing tracks that I’ve already recorded and worked on in my studio. So I ventured to the internet to conduct some research. I knew there must be some folks out there who have completed mixes through headphones. I wanted to get the general consensus on the best headphones for mixing.

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There are two main reasons it is not ideal to mix through headphones: compensation of frequencies and ear fatigue. Obviously, being that the headphones are right up to your ears, frequencies are going to be heard differently than they would be at a distance from studio monitors. And the pounding of frequencies into your ears throughout an extended period of time will bring fatigue quickly. So it’s just not a good idea. But for minor mixing and editing, it can be done. The important thing is to have open back headphones as opposed to closed back headphones (the ones with the hard, closed cup). Open back headphones allow for less restricted movement of airflow and frequencies, thus providing a more natural sound. I use closed back headphones while tracking, however. This is to isolate the sound I’m monitoring from the outside sounds that may interfere.

So what are the best headphones for mixing? Well, I have no idea. But I did do some research, and the name Grado kept popping up. I didn’t delve too deeply into this research, however. I wasn’t looking for the best headphones for mixing on a regular basis. I just needed a good pair for the occasional times when I have to get some work done at home. Grado seemed like a good choice. I decided on a pair of iGrado headphones. These are very budget friendly and have the same drivers as the more expensive Grado Sr-60 model. And the iGrado headphones have served me well. I have found that any mixing I have done through these has been fairly accurate and has needed very little change once I get the tracks back to the studio. Being able to take the tracks back and forth from home to the studio with very little difference in sound quality has been a life saver. So I guess I can say the iGrado‘s are the best headphones for mixing, but only because I haven’t tried any other open back headphones. And realistically, they may not be for everyone, but that’s okay. They work for me. Why should I care how they work for anyone else? I’m kidding though… kind of.