Become a member
Become a member

or
Continue with Google
Log in
Log in

or
Log in using a Google account
learning

Headphone mix for the singer - Part 1

The ultimate guide to audio recording - Part 96

Today's article could've been easily included in the previous section because we are once again dealing with the comfort of the singer. However, I decided to make it part of a new, much larger section dedicated to the handling of headphone mixes when recording vocals. Let's go!

View other articles in this series...

Choosing the right headphones

I’m the kind that thinks that if it goes without saying, then you might as well say it anyways, so let me begin by highlighting the importance of cue mixes for musicians. A musician recording without a headphone mix is like a painter trying to paint with his/her eyes covered: the result will most probably be surprising, in the bad sense of the word. Likewise, having a bad headphone mix is like painting when you have serious sight problems. Are you into daubing? You get the idea: the quality of the performance of a musician depends a lot on his/her ability to hear clearly what he/she is playing while at the same time being able to hear what the other instruments are doing. That applies to all musicians, but even more so to singers. Indeed, the extremely intimate nature of the vocal instrument I mentioned in a previous article makes singers particularly dependent on a good cue mix. And this is where things start getting complicated…

In an ideal world, the singer should have the cue mix going through a pair of closed headphones to avoid any crosstalk issues. And yet, listening to your own voice with such a setup can be pretty strange. If you’ve never had the experience, I invite you to sing into a mic while listening to yourself with a pair of closed headphones. You’ll probably notice that it’s far from being natural, it’s even unpleasant. It’s like when you hear your own voice coming out of the answering machine and you have a hard time recognizing yourself. This awkward situation is certainly not the best to get an optimal recording, especially if the performer is not used to working in the studio. But what can you do about it? There are several options at your disposal.

Enregistrement-96

The first and best one, in my humble opinion, is to create a perfect headphone mix for your singer. Problem is it entails a good know-how and the gear to match it. I won’t go any deeper into this option because there’s lots to say about it, but don’t worry we’ll discuss it in a forthcoming installment.

The second option consists in asking the singer to remove one of the earcups from his/her ears. This will allow him/her to listen to his/her voice more naturally, which ought to make everyone’s life easier. But be careful, as easy as it seems, you need to take some precautions for the plan to work. First of all, make sure not to include the voice of the singer in the headphone mix, to avoid disconcerting him/her. Also, send the mix in mono to the earcup the singer is using so that he/she doesn’t miss half the musical information. Finally, you might want to mute completely the sound from the earcup not in use, to avoid any crosstalk.

The third option consists in using a pair of open or semi-open headphones instead of closed ones. This type of headphones is usually much more comfortable and the “near-natural” listening experience they provide ought to be more pleasant to the singer. I know, you might end up with some mic bleed, but that’s better than nothing and you’ll see later on that it’s possible to live with a bit of crosstalk under certain conditions.

And finally, the last option entails getting rid of the headphones and using a monitor speaker to provide the cue mix. In this case you obviously need to consider the crosstalk, but as I just mentioned a couple of lines above, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you know how to deal with it.

More on all of this in the upcoming articles…

← Previous article in this series:
The comfort of the performer - Part 3
Next article in this series:
Headphone mix for the singer - Part 2 →
  • bushra khan 1 post
    bushra khan
    New AFfiliate
    Posted on 08/26/2019 at 02:25:28
    nice article thanks

Would you like to comment this article?

Log in
Become a member
cookies
We are using cookies!

Yes, Audiofanzine is using cookies. Since the last thing that we want is disturbing your diet with too much fat or too much sugar, you'll be glad to learn that we made them ourselves with fresh, organic and fair ingredients, and with a perfect nutritional balance. What this means is that the data we store in them is used to enhance your use of our website as well as improve your user experience on our pages (learn more). To configure your cookie preferences, click here.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies
Cookies not subject to consent
These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Example: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).
Google Analytics
We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.
Advertising
This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies
Cookies not subject to consent

These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Examples: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).

Google Analytics

We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it. When this parameter is activated, no personal information is sent to Google and the IP addresses are anonymized.

Advertising

This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest.


You can find more details on data protection in our privacy policy.
You can also find information about how Google uses personal data by following this link.