Can You Mix Without Studio Monitors?

Are you an audio engineer and need to buy a device for mixing?

You must have thought, “Can you mix without studio monitors?” 

Well, you can mix with or without studio monitors.

But the outcome of both the situations will be different.

Studio monitors might look crappy and you might think that they are not essential.

But for mixing, they are good if not essential. 

But if you are on a budget and can’t afford a studio monitor right now or you just blew your studio monitors, you can use other ways and devices to mix. 

But there are some things to keep in mind before mixing without a studio monitor.

Let's learn about them!

Mixing Without Studio Monitors

If you don’t have a studio monitor, you can still mix.

For that purpose, you can use a headphone.

Here is my recommended headphones to use for mixing.

Headphones are worn around the ears of the users.

Only the user can hear the sound coming from the headphones.

They are like a personal loudspeaker driver.

But since, headphones are much smaller than studio monitors and they are also different than them, the sound quality might seem different.

Moreover, there are a few changes that you might notice while mixing with headphones instead of studio monitors.

Huge Stereo Spread

You can hear music on a headphone with huge stereo spread and more detail.

It is great for hearing music but it is not the best for mixing.

When you are mixing on a headphone, the in depth- detail can make you change some parts of the music that you are producing.

 But when you hear the music on loudspeakers, the changed part might not sound appropriate.

It is because the in-depth detail can’t be heard on a loudspeaker.

Therefore, it can be hard to know which details to avoid when you are using a headphone for mixing. 

Phase Issues

As the sound is divided when you use headphones, you might notice some phase issues.

Some phases of the music are not revealed on the headphones but when you hear the music on speakers, it is revealed.

It is because when you use a speaker, both of your ears catch the same sound.

While it is different in headphones.

Here is an article I wrote on phase issues and if it matters

Discomfort from Headphones

As you have to wear the headphones around your ears, you can easily get tired.

Mostly when people are not used to using headphones, they experience some ache around the ear.

The discomfort from the headphones can make you feel annoyed and tired.

Moreover, the ear fatigue due to headphones can also affect the mixing.

It can result in over doing the volume. 

How to Mix with Headphones?

Can You Mix Without Studio Monitors

Now that you know what issues you might face while mixing with headphones, there are a few measures you can take to avoid such issues and problems.

Even then, you can’t get perfect mixing without studio monitors.

1. Choose Good Headphones

Choosing good headphones is as important as choosing good studio monitors for mixing.

There are a few factors that you must keep in mind while choosing the right headphones for mixing.

Buy headphones that are comfortable to wear.

You can avoid ear fatigue by this.

If you use uncomfortable headphones, the chances of ear fatigue are high.

Ear fatigue affects the mixing in many ways.

Moreover, your comfort is essential. 

Buy headphones that give off accurate sound.

You are buying headphones for mixing and you must remember that.

If your headphones are hyped, you won’t be able to mix properly.

2. Take Breaks

As mentioned earlier, headphones can give you ear fatigue.

Therefore, it is important to take breaks.

Otherwise, your ears will be too tired to work properly.

For that, you can hear music on some other speakers like your laptop’s speakers.

This way, you will also be able to know how they sound on some other speaker.

3. Avoid Phase Issues

You can easily avoid phase issues by turning your headphones to mono.

For that, you can use a stock plug-in.

When you hear your music on mono, you can modify it better.

If it sounds well balanced, and good on mono then it means it is good to go.

4. Check Your Mix

It is important to check your mix on different speakers if you are not using studio monitors.

For this purpose, you can use ordinary and daily life speakers like phone’s speakers, laptop’s speakers, car’s speakers.

Because in the end, your music will be played on these devices more often.

Is is Better To Mix on Headphones or Monitors?

There are several pros and cons of mixing on headphones.

It is essential to know them before you adopt this method. 

Pros

Headphones are small in size due to which you can take them anywhere.

They don’t occupy much space and you can easily travel with them.

On the other hand, studio monitors take a lot of space and if you think about travelling with them, it is very difficult. 

Headphones are cheaper than studio monitors. 

Noise pollution is less from headphones than from studio monitors.

By using headphones for mixing, you won’t be disturbing other people present around you as well as your neighbors. 

Cons

As you have to wear headphones, such as this Audio Technica Headphones on Amazon around your ears, you can get tired much quicker than when you use studio monitors.

Huge stereo images are bad for mixing.

Headphones have a lot of details in the music they produce which is not the case in studio monitors.

Headphones are less durable than studio monitors.

They can break easily, especially the wire.

You don’t touch studio monitors often whereas you take off headphones and wear them again many times.

Due to this reason, the durability of headphones is affected.

Conclusion

You can easily mix without studio monitors on headphones.

But it is better to use studio monitors if you want to produce professional music.

So, if you have the budget to buy studio monitors, it is better to use them instead of any other device such as a headphone.

Studio monitors are easier to work with as compared to headphones for mixing because they are designed for it. 

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