In the recording studio, whether tracking or mixing, a pair of headphones is a must have.
There are two main types of headphones that you will most commonly use: closed back and open back.
1. Closed Back Headphones:
These type of headphones are designed to isolate you from the outside world. Closed back headphones are most commonly used when tracking. They eliminate the ‘spill’ from the audio being played back from your DAW so that you’re left with a clean, isolated recording. Another advantage to closed back headphones, is that they can help you identify problems such as ground hum and buzzing of bad cables. Featured above is the black DT 770 PRO Closed Back Headphones.
2. Open Back Headphones:
This type of headphone is more commonly used for mixing. They’re more ‘open’ sounding, giving you a better representation of the stereo image and sounds that are more realistic. They’re also less likely to give you ear fatigue because the sound has a way to escape. One downside to open-back is probably obvious. Everyone can hear what you’re listening to, so they are not very popular when tracking.
A pair of good headphones is also a great way to hear your mix without hearing the impact of the room. If you’re starting out, it is recommended to start with a good pair of headphones over studio monitors.
It’s a good idea to keep a pair of regular, iPhone, single driver earphones on hand when you mix. Remember we’re living in an age where the majority of your mixes will be listened back on these type of earphones. So having a pair to use as reference will help in getting your mixes to translate.