The typical music consumer these days is listening on earbuds or headphones. Or maybe on the tiny speakers in their smartphone. Few are listening on speakers, at least none of any reasonable quality.
It makes sense for us to take this into consideration when we mix a song.
Engineers have always had to make adjustments and compromises in order for their mixes to translate well for the public. Since most of your work will be heard on some sort of personal listening device, it is often good to either mix using headphones, or at least check the mix that way.
In this episode, I talk about my personal preference for headphones for mixing and listening, which goes back decades. Sure, I use the studio monitor speakers as another reference, but when it comes to details, I just hear more with the headphones. This is especially true when editing.
Everyone has to develop their own approach to this, and I expect many people prefer monitoring and mixing through their expensive monitor speakers. And there are times when speakers are the way to go, such as when more than one person has to listen, or when you want to get that visceral experience of feeling the bass.
Many people in the world of recording were saddened to hear of the death of Joe Tarsia, founder of Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia. Joe was a pioneer, always on the forefront of new technology. Many successful engineers came up under Joe’s mentorship. I know I will miss the interesting conversations I had with Joe, going back to the late 1960s.
You can listen to my conversation with Joe Tarsia from 2020 in episode 26. Here is the link:
There is also a YouTube video of the same conversation, with some extra content, including a series of photos from Joe’s career: