Is using Headphones for Audio Editing a good idea?

MadMaverick wrote on 1/13/2014, 1:49 AM
Is using headphones for audio editing a good idea or a bad idea?

I've heard that it's a bad idea sense very few people listen to a video while wearing headphones.

I like to edit late at night when there's no distractions, but if I do audio editing, then my speakers could easily wake up my family.

Are there any kind of headphones that can kinda replicate the sound of my computer speakers?

I use a pair of wireless enclosed Radioshack headphones for watching TV at night. They work great for watching movies, but they have a low hissing sound to them, and just all around sound different from my speakers. I also have a pair of Marshmellow headphones that are nice and loud and go inside your ears, which I use mainly for music.

So what do you do? Do you use headphones for editing? If so, what kind?


Grazie wrote on 1/13/2014, 2:34 AM
I think you've kinda answered r own question?

I use a pair of Pro Senni cans to get my audio-head in amongst the waves to target certain gremlins that my EDIROLs or room space just glosses over. Using cans certainly adds a further level of confidence with my mixes that my Monitors will ultimately gain from. However, I don't solely rely on them and allow my Monitors to be the final arbiter of all things audio and then on my better than average sound stage around my SONY BRAVIA. I have to think that this is the most pragmatic and sensible way forward.

Does that help?


PeterDuke wrote on 1/13/2014, 6:38 AM
I agree.

Headphones are good for checking for spurious noise and distortion. Follow that up with listening via loudspeakers, if that is how the final product will be used.

I have a pair of Sony wireless headphones in the cupboard, where they are likely to stay. They have a low level hiss that even I can hear with my poor hearing.
richard-amirault wrote on 1/13/2014, 7:31 AM
There are headphones and there are headphones. Some are good, others are better than good, others are not so good, and others are crap.

You are going to need to spend some money to get the good ones.

These are one of the really good ones:

megabit wrote on 1/13/2014, 7:44 AM
I must say that - doing mainly classical music video - I hate those times when I need to meet tight delivery terms and my family is at home (I work in a home studio/office). For the reasons mentioned by the OP, I must use headphones and I'll tell you that even with some best ones, I'm becoming tired much quicker than while monitoring through my speakers at full volume.


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ken c wrote on 1/13/2014, 10:33 AM
agree, I've been using Sony MDR 7506s for years and they're Epic wins... I use a second pair every day, have for many many years, for watching tv, and for pro audio (guitars/keyboards). 7506s are the best cans ever - industry standard in music.

good point tho about video editing, ok to use headphones but I'd check not only on monitors but also if you're producing dvds, on a television set as well to hear what the final mix sounds like; often it's not good enough for high end unless you tweak audio settings w/EQ and/or other plugins for enhancing audio mix, if relying on headphones alone it's easier to hear compared to speakers
CJB wrote on 1/13/2014, 12:10 PM
That depends........

Headphones do not have room distortion/coloration a good thing. Room distortion can destroy good audio monitoring regardless of the monitors you have. Big recording studios pay a lot of attention to room acoustics so that monitoring is primo. Headphones also have good frequency response. What they tend to lack is correct spatial imaging. Most of this comes from cross channel feed, i.e. left ear hearing right channel attenuated as well as left channel direct and vice-versa. There are several technologies that try to correct this. One I can recommend is ToneBoosters Isone, it is a VST plug that you can throw on your master bus to simulate room listening on headphones. There is at least one company out there that is building similar capability into the headphones themselves.

For me, a video hobbyist (I have much more experience on the audio side) I do critical monitoring with headphones and Isone. Headphones are fatiguing so I have a set of Mackie monitors that I use to do day to day editing.
Geoff_Wood wrote on 1/13/2014, 3:21 PM
The 7506s are also very nastily harsh and fatiguing.

I am a bit of an addict and do have the Sonys. Also Sennie HD280, and AKG K141, K240, K270, K701, Q702, and AudioTechnica ATH-M50. Plus .....

I would recommend the M50.

drmathprog wrote on 1/13/2014, 3:28 PM
I've had good success with Sennehsier HD 650's, but they are pretty pricey.
fldave wrote on 1/13/2014, 4:59 PM
I used Sennheiser HD 5xx series for the past 15 years or so until I my dog accidentally ripped the wires out. Loved them for their clarity. Just got the Sony 7506 last week and I have a new friend. Hearing good things the Senn couldn't reproduce, not sure if just from age. Sony's have a bit more pronounced bass; accurate, not thumping. I am very impressed and happy with the change.

But again, you can't rely solely on one or two tools. My workstation is 2-channel/5.1 surround setup. Plus I have three 5.1 surround systems of various quality around the house. And a car stereo adds to your mix confirmation.
farss wrote on 1/13/2014, 5:35 PM
I've pretty much always used cans when editing audio. Most of my audio editing was on already mastered recordings. The consensus from the audio gods is that cans should not be used for mixing. Given that more and more music is listened to by people with things in their ears I do wonder about this.

john_dennis wrote on 1/13/2014, 5:38 PM
In sixteen years of editing audio or video on computers, I have never made a sound that wasn't muffled by my head between two ear cups.

Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is subjective like everything else audio/video.

My main system:
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GPU: Currently intel on-die video adapter
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Sound card: Realtek S1220A on motherboard. Recording done on another system.
Primary Monitor: Asus ProArt PA248q (24" 1920 x 1200)
O/S: Windows 10 Pro 10.0.19045 Build 19045

Camera: Sony RX10 Model IV

John_Cline wrote on 1/13/2014, 7:53 PM
Whether it's headphones, earbuds or speakers, it is important to spend a lot of time listening to a variety of familiar commercial CDs and other programming through them to develop a reference. I developed this habit years ago when I was mixing audio in different studios, I have a specific collection of reference recordings that I have been using for years.

I use my 7.1 JBL system in my own edit suite and the room and speaker placement hasn't changed in years so I have gotten very used to what it sounds like. I also have a set of Shure SE-425 earbuds that I take with me everywhere, I am intimately familiar with their sound (and they sound GREAT.) Even the SE-215 earbuds are really impressive.

I'm currently lusting after their new SE-846 earbuds but I'm going to have to wait a while, they're $1,000 but I've heard them and they're worth every penny.

That said, I don't recommend doing a final mix on headphones.
Laurence wrote on 1/13/2014, 8:09 PM
Headphones are great for many things like checking sound quality of denoising and making sure that it doesn't sound phasey or things like that (in fact, for that kind of thing I prefer headphones). Where headphones are not good is for mixing, setting EQs or anything that involves setting levels of either frequencies or tracks.

There is a $100 box by Focusrite called the VRM, which models different sets of speakers through certain headphones. I bought one a while back and while I'm not sure of them or really whether or not I even like them, I can get a decent mix over headphones using them. Keep in mind that the sound isn't better through them. In many ways it is worse. They do give you a fighting chance of getting a good mix over headphones though, which I have never been able to do any other way:
MSmart wrote on 1/13/2014, 8:38 PM
I've been very happy with my (cheap) Sony MDR-V300 headset. I edit my audio exclusively through them.

I'm no audiophile but they seem to do the job.
musicvid10 wrote on 1/13/2014, 8:56 PM
I have to wear reading glasses for editing.
Traditional muffs become very uncomfortable, even painful after a while.

Some mid-priced but reasonably accurate buds during the mix do quite well for me.
But there is a point to put the mix on the home theater system, and work from there.
If one is to be a good editor and producer, both are needed.
Geoff_Wood wrote on 1/14/2014, 5:39 AM
First time I tried my 7506s I had a panick attack and ripped them off thinking my speakers were going full blast - but they weresilent. Swear I could feel the room shaking with the bass.

But apart from that I find the high-mids and lower--highs shrill and extremely fatiguing. And that's with my 56-year roll-off !

JohnnyRoy wrote on 1/14/2014, 6:30 AM
> Posted by: ken c " I've been using Sony MDR 7506s for years and they're Epic wins"


Been using these for years. Very good flat response headphones.

> Reply by: farss " The consensus from the audio gods is that cans should not be used for mixing. Given that more and more music is listened to by people with things in their ears I do wonder about this."

I'd have to agree. Conventional wisdom no longer applies. More people listen to music with ear buds than ever before. I would venture to guess that most kids under 21 have never even heard a good pair of speakers in their lifetime.

larry-peter wrote on 1/14/2014, 8:45 AM
7506's are the best in my opinion, too. I use them for QC constantly, but never for making mixing decisions. I've found that even by today's standards, good mixes from good speakers/room translate into a good mix for headphones/buds. The opposite isn't usually the case. I've found the few mixes I tried on 7506's sounded very flat and weak when played on good speakers. And ear fatigue occurs much quicker on phones for me, even at low volume.
John_Cline wrote on 1/14/2014, 3:00 PM
Sure, more people listen to music with earbuds but I don't think the majority watch TV with earbuds. It is still important to at least check the mix through speakers, what most people consider to be the sound of the speakers actually has much more to do with the room in which the speakers are playing.
Geoff_Wood wrote on 1/14/2014, 7:14 PM
" I've found the few mixes I tried on 7506's sounded very flat and weak when played on good speakers. "

Yes, that scenario is generally not a good recommendation for the phones !

The 'sharpness' of the 7506s I find very useful for clearly showing (exaggerating) problems when editing, which is the purpose I use mine for now.

wwjd wrote on 1/14/2014, 7:58 PM
based on thread, bought some 7506 to add to the stable. They are great! Already have the SENN HD280Pro and the Sonys are the same but different. More bass, but clean, nice clear detail (same as 280 but slightly diff sound), comfy headband, and maybe a tad lighter.
Oh, and I am glad they say "Professional" on them because I want others to know. :D
Good stuff!
ChristoC wrote on 1/14/2014, 9:06 PM
Sennheiser HD650. Those have staggering clarity, but are 'open' type, so not very isolated from outside world, which I prefer.... no-one can creep up and surprise me!
Great for editing to hear cuts and extraneous noises clearly, and checking mixes, esp balance and panorama of high frequencies.
Never mix entirely on headphones. Ever.
CJB wrote on 1/15/2014, 12:05 AM
Studio monitors are designed to have a flat response curve and a fairly high bass rolloff frequency. There is no bass kick added to the low end. Getting a set of cans for monitoring with all the coloration being described here in this thread is little like using regular stereo speakers for monitors. Me, I prefer flat and predictable.