Creating a mixing-soundstage inside headphones

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selig
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Post 13 Nov 2022

crimsonwarlock wrote:
13 Nov 2022
Yeah, his video effects can get a bit irritating.

I also do prefer more bass, and that is exactly what he points at, at least that is my interpretation. As he describes about himself, I tend to mix bass-heavy, to the point that I always have to correct after listening on other systems, especially those with subs. I don't have a sub in my studio, which might be part of the problem, but on the other side I don't do actual sub-heavy music. Using a tilt-EQ seems to solve the problem for me. Listening to reference tracks with a tilt-EQ now also sounds more natural to me. I'm obviously correcting for MY ears, not saying everyone should use this. We all agree that hearing differs between people, and indeed even between your own two ears. That's all there is to it.
OK, this is something I solved early on for myself. After a few bass heavy mixes I made the decision to move to systems with more bass. I am also sensitive to high frequencies, so I prefer a monitor that is a bit darker, and I also tend to turn down the tweeter on my monitors that allow it. I know plenty of engineers with the opposite issue, so it’s not a ‘given’ that we all hear that way!

I figured it was quicker to adjust my monitors and mix like I ‘heard’ it than to try to re-learn how to listen. This was probably 30 years ago and was one of the best decisions I made. As for putting an EQ on it, I’m not going to go THAT far. It’s more natural sounding to adjust the crossover/sub level because you’re not adding any coloration/EQ/phase shit to the monitors. Easier to implement too, since you don’t have to bypass when exporting (or risk forgetting to do so). It’s also a part of choosing a monitor, since there is no “one size fits all”.
Since doing this I rarely have mixes leave the studio that need much further EQ/spectral balancing, nor do I need to overthink how to EQ tracks etc.
But like I said, it’s different for everyone, there is no one ‘tilt’ that would apply to everyone, or even a tilt direction we could all agree on. And a tilt is probably not an accurate description either but who knows - it’s not easy to measure how we individually perceive levels/frequencies.
But overall I can attest the “adjust your monitors to your ears” approach works, or at least that it worked for me (but not using EQ).
That said, I DO know of a product that offers an excellent tilt EQ option… ;)
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crimsonwarlock
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Post 14 Nov 2022

selig wrote:
13 Nov 2022
After a few bass heavy mixes I made the decision to move to systems with more bass.
Isn't that what I'm doing? Using a tilt-EQ means my system now has 'more bass'.
selig wrote:
13 Nov 2022
I figured it was quicker to adjust my monitors and mix like I ‘heard’ it than to try to re-learn how to listen.
I see no real difference between moving to a system with more bass-response and moving to my system having more bass-response. In both situations, you have to re-adjust to what you are hearing.

I know of the phase-issues argument, but we use EQ all over the place anyway, and a few dB tilt at the edges of the spectrum doesn't completely screw my mix. Especially because the tilt is across the complete mix and not just on certain channels (where it might introduce phase problems).
selig wrote:
13 Nov 2022
This was probably 30 years ago and was one of the best decisions I made.
If I had the money right now, getting better monitors would be at the top of the list. But some of us have to work with what we have.
selig wrote:
13 Nov 2022
It’s more natural sounding to adjust the crossover/sub level because you’re not adding any coloration/EQ/phase shit to the monitors.
But the topic is about the necessity of headphones in my situation. There's no option for adjusting crossover or sub-levels, other than EQ.
selig wrote:
13 Nov 2022
Easier to implement too, since you don’t have to bypass when exporting (or risk forgetting to do so).
There is that. Part of working this way is to make switching it off when exporting part of the workflow. This is one little issue I have with Reason by the way, and that is the fact that 'control room out' is still part of the export path. If it were not, we could simply have correction on the control room out without it being part of the exported audio. In my studio, I have multiple spare outputs and I'm looking to wire my monitoring up to solve this problem. But at home, where I must use headphones, I only have a Scarlett Solo, so that won't work there. So, I'm hitting that red bypass button that is on my combinator :puf_bigsmile:
selig wrote:
13 Nov 2022
That said, I DO know of a product that offers an excellent tilt EQ option… ;)
Yep, and it is on my list of stuff I would like to have but will have to wait because... money.
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selig
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Post 14 Nov 2022

Actually, the entire point is that you DON”T have to readjust to what you’re hearing. Otherwise you would leave things the same and readjust.
One misconception seems to be that every one hears this way, or that every system is bass light. Neither are true! You may find a system, either headphones or speakers, that already naturally fits your preference. Some like the bright Sony phones to mix on, others like bass heavy phones. There is no ‘one size fits all’ whether you’re using phones/speakers, or EQ on your mains or whatever.

Finally, no, the control room out is not necessarily a part of the export. It’s the Hardware Interface outputs 1/2 that ARE the exported audio. So if you connect the Control Room outputs to hardware 3/4 and put the EQ there, they will not be a part of the export. It’s a minor distinction, but important IMO! I realize this routing is not possible on your home system, I just wanted to clear or any misconceptions about exactly what is going on! :)
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crimsonwarlock
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Post 14 Nov 2022

selig wrote:
14 Nov 2022
Actually, the entire point is that you DON”T have to readjust to what you’re hearing. Otherwise you would leave things the same and readjust.
One misconception seems to be that every one hears this way, or that every system is bass light. Neither are true! You may find a system, either headphones or speakers, that already naturally fits your preference. Some like the bright Sony phones to mix on, others like bass heavy phones. There is no ‘one size fits all’ whether you’re using phones/speakers, or EQ on your mains or whatever.
You are missing my point. Maybe you didn't read the topic from the start. Firstly, I've stated here before that everyone's hearing is different, so no disagreement there. Secondly, you keep pointing at CHOOSING a monitoring solution, while I made it also clear several times in this topic that it is about using what I have available. I have a tilt-EQ that solves a problem for me. You take another route, but as you say yourself, that might not work for someone else as we all hear differently. A tilt-EQ might not work for you (which begs the question: why does your EQ have a tilt-curve? :puf_wink: ), but it obviously does for me. I came to the (for me) eye-opening realization that my reference tracks sound much more balanced (to my ears) with the tilt-EQ enabled.
selig wrote:
14 Nov 2022
Finally, no, the control room out is not necessarily a part of the export. It’s the Hardware Interface outputs 1/2 that ARE the exported audio. So if you connect the Control Room outputs to hardware 3/4 and put the EQ there, they will not be a part of the export. It’s a minor distinction, but important IMO! I realize this routing is not possible on your home system, I just wanted to clear or any misconceptions about exactly what is going on! :)
If you read my last reply before this one, you could have guessed that's precisely what I was thinking about, as I mentioned my multi-outs in the studio. The problem with this is the exact fact that it won't work at home, which means I have to rewire things every time I move a project between the studio and home. Having a single bypass button on my screen is less work.
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RobC
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Post 14 Nov 2022

These tilt EQs are basically linear filters. I'd never-ever use them. Not only because I'm not lazy, but also because they will affect every other frequency. Too much bass and too little treble? You apply the tilt EQ, now they are somewhat balanced, but your mix lacks low mids and has too much high mids as a result.

What human ear does not adapt to sound, I wonder...?
If the system sounds decent, then it makes no sense to change the tonality in any way.

And finally, I have no clue to whom stereo positioning is an issue with in-ears and alike, but I could position perfectly. Same on speakers.

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crimsonwarlock
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Post 14 Nov 2022

RobC wrote:
14 Nov 2022
And finally, I have no clue to whom stereo positioning is an issue with in-ears and alike, but I could position perfectly.
The lack of cross-feed in headphones is a widely documented issue in mixing with headphones.

Like here: https://www.izotope.com/en/learn/tips-f ... hones.html

Or here: https://audient.com/tutorial/monitors-v ... or-mixing/
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Post 14 Nov 2022

crimsonwarlock wrote:
14 Nov 2022
RobC wrote:
14 Nov 2022
And finally, I have no clue to whom stereo positioning is an issue with in-ears and alike, but I could position perfectly.
The lack of cross-feed in headphones is a widely documented issue in mixing with headphones.

Like here: https://www.izotope.com/en/learn/tips-f ... hones.html

Or here: https://audient.com/tutorial/monitors-v ... or-mixing/
They gotta sell speakers somehow! x D

But seriously, some of us have no such issues. I guess it's different for everyone. Point is, it's not impossible to deliver perfect results with in-ears; hence I don't like when people try to hate on them.

And there was a video where an engineer did all the mixing with in ears for shows/movies, and it worked perfectly.

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integerpoet
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Post 14 Nov 2022

RobC wrote:
14 Nov 2022
crimsonwarlock wrote:
14 Nov 2022
The lack of cross-feed in headphones is a widely documented issue in mixing with headphones.
They gotta sell speakers somehow! x D

But seriously, some of us have no such issues. I guess it's different for everyone. Point is, it's not impossible to deliver perfect results with in-ears; hence I don't like when people try to hate on them.

And there was a video where an engineer did all the mixing with in ears for shows/movies, and it worked perfectly.
I'm absolutely certain it's possible to imagine crosstalk … with enough experience.

RobC
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Post 15 Nov 2022

integerpoet wrote:
14 Nov 2022
RobC wrote:
14 Nov 2022

They gotta sell speakers somehow! x D

But seriously, some of us have no such issues. I guess it's different for everyone. Point is, it's not impossible to deliver perfect results with in-ears; hence I don't like when people try to hate on them.

And there was a video where an engineer did all the mixing with in ears for shows/movies, and it worked perfectly.
I'm absolutely certain it's possible to imagine crosstalk … with enough experience.
I can't go back in time to check if I was also capable to 100% accurately position sounds in stereo, from the very beginning on either speakers, headphones, or in-ears.

I, one day just simply tested, what's the difference. In my case: nothing. I do double, tripple check, of course.

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selig
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Post 15 Nov 2022

crimsonwarlock wrote:
14 Nov 2022

You are missing my point. Maybe you didn't read the topic from the start. Firstly, I've stated here before that everyone's hearing is different, so no disagreement there. Secondly, you keep pointing at CHOOSING a monitoring solution, while I made it also clear several times in this topic that it is about using what I have available. I have a tilt-EQ that solves a problem for me. You take another route, but as you say yourself, that might not work for someone else as we all hear differently. A tilt-EQ might not work for you (which begs the question: why does your EQ have a tilt-curve? :puf_wink: ), but it obviously does for me. I came to the (for me) eye-opening realization that my reference tracks sound much more balanced (to my ears) with the tilt-EQ enabled.
Quite right, I was making my own point. Sorry I didn’t make it more clear in my comment. I wasn’t trying to imply you shouldn’t compromise in some cases, such as when you have no choice. I spend over a year working on a mono speaker and phones at home when I had no other choice. My comments were intended to show another point of view, one that you may find helpful in the future or when you’re not working at home!
Why do I have a tilt EQ in my product? Because it can be handy in a mix. Would I use it on my monitors to correct the sound, no. Would I use it in a mix, sure if it helps!
I’m also trying to focus on the ROOT revelation you came to - that “flat” monitoring is in many/most cases not always desirable. How you achieve that depends on a number of factors, and you found one solution that is working for you (though it is not the only or even the best solution overall). There are many paths to the top of the mountain… :)
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RobC
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Post 15 Nov 2022

selig wrote:
15 Nov 2022
Why do I have a tilt EQ in my product? Because it can be handy in a mix.
How so? (I listed my concerns about such filters.)

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crimsonwarlock
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Post 15 Nov 2022

selig wrote:
15 Nov 2022
Quite right, I was making my own point. Sorry I didn’t make it more clear in my comment. I wasn’t trying to imply you shouldn’t compromise in some cases, such as when you have no choice. I spend over a year working on a mono speaker and phones at home when I had no other choice. My comments were intended to show another point of view, one that you may find helpful in the future or when you’re not working at home!
Your suggestions are appreciated.
selig wrote:
15 Nov 2022
I’m also trying to focus on the ROOT revelation you came to - that “flat” monitoring is in many/most cases not always desirable.
See, you did miss my point. I didn't come to the revelation that flat monitoring is not always desirable (in my perspective, it IS always desirable). I came to the revelation that my own hearing, which is different from someone else's (I think we agree on that) might have a tilt that I might be able to correct with an opposite tilt. I'm still experimenting, so the judge is still out on that one, but listening to loads of reference tracks this way does seem to make the point (again, for me). I haven't done any mixing this way, and I'm convinced that I'll have to fine-tune the tilt-EQ over several mixes to get the best 'correction'. I'm pretty close to the first mixing session, so we'll see how that goes.

What I'm missing in these discussions is that, although everyone seems to agree that hearing differs between every other person, if you and me were together in your studio (or mine), we would also each hear a different soundstage because our hearing is different. It could well be possible that I would need some kind of (tilt) correction while working in your studio, while you would be fine with how it sounds as it is (as you obviously do, and good for you of course).
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The smart thing to do is using a DAW because of what the DAW does, not because of what the company behind the DAW does.

RobC
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Post 16 Nov 2022

So basically people use tilt EQ, just because; and who cares about the frequencies between the high and low end? Yeah, I think I'll pass on that.

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