Headphones output- How reliable for live mix?

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Mike C Mike C 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • #101667
    Profile photo of Johen
    Johen
    Participant

    Hi, during live mix are you still listening on headphones or just the house L/R speakers? Is headphones still reliable for checking critical level balance of overall mix? I’m using Allen Heath QU24 and every time I use HP to check level balance, the mic is obviously loud all the time, but in the speakers it sounds ok already, with the band.

    During Live, what’s a good philosophy behind using headphones? Is it for soundcheck only or always reliable all throughout the mix? I mean is it like balancing everything using headphones first (primary) then double check in speakers (secondary)?

    Thanks a lot!

    PS. My first post. Obviously a newbie in live mix. If I posted in a wrong thread, I appreciate your lead.

    #101668
    Profile photo of Mfk0815
    Mfk0815
    Participant

    I am adjusting the mix with the house PA. The headphone I am only using to check single signals by using the PAFL switch of the respective channel. For instance, if I think that the main voice sounds a little bit strange, I press the PAFL switch of the main vocal channel and listen via headphone to check if I am true or not. I also use this PAFL function to adjust on a single channel the EQ or compressor. But most of the time, round about 99.99% I am using the main speaker. The reason is simple, I just want to hear what the audience also hear. There are events I never use the headphones at all.

    #101669
    Profile photo of garyh
    garyh
    Participant

    Using headphones to judge a mix is just that. It’s what the mix sounds like in your headphones. Headphones with a flat response are better than those that color the sound such as enhanced bass, which may make your livestream sound sound thin on consumer headphones and devices. Best case would be to set up a room isolated from the live sound with a feed from your mix channel feeding computer speakers and adjust with an iPad.

    #101670
    Profile photo of garyh
    garyh
    Participant

    Forget my post above. It’s still morning here and my brain did not register your post correctly. Do what Mfk0815 wrote.

    #101672
    Profile photo of Lee7
    Lee7
    Participant

    @Johen,

    I never use headphones to balance a mix or to get the correct eq etc, I always use my ears. As mentioned above, headphones are great for listening in on individual channels for side effects such as compressor, gate etc and/or why something may sound off but you can’t quite determine what it is when listening out front.

    #101674
    Profile photo of Mfk0815
    Mfk0815
    Participant

    I never use headphones to balance a mix or to get the correct eq etc, I always use my ears.

    Hmm, even if you wear headphones you need to use your ears, if Iam not completely wrong. 😉

    #101675
    Profile photo of SteffenR
    SteffenR
    Participant

    to me it depends… did some streams with no PA system at all
    sitting in the same room as the video team
    then I use headphones to do the mix

    make sure you know the sound of the headphones well
    take linear headphones if possible

    and just to mention it, on DAW/Computer you can use Sonarworks or something similar, that helps a lot…

    #101678
    Profile photo of MarkPAman
    MarkPAman
    Participant

    Listen to what the audience is hearing.
    However – if you’re doing a monitor mix (or 6) the audience is the band, and you can’t get to where they are – so headphones may be the closest you can get and will at least give you an idea of what they’re hearing.

    #101683
    Profile photo of Johen
    Johen
    Participant

    Thanks for your input, I just finished reading the manual last night, per your description above, it seems your PAFL is set to After fader (AFL), am I correct? thanks 🙏

    #101685
    Profile photo of Johen
    Johen
    Participant

    Thanks everyone for sharing your insight. Seems like I need to do lots of ear training and exercise using PA and hearing those compression/eq via HP.

    I struggle a bit because my venue is school auditorium and things can get loud even when I’m on HP.

    So far I’m using Audio Technica ATH M50. I tried Sony MDR 7506 it’s ok but not comfortable to hang around neck when not listening. On my next mix, I will try using a Shure SE215 IEM, with Decibel Defense earmuffs over it. I guess that will be a good insulation to hear clearly 🙂

    #101686
    Profile photo of Mfk0815
    Mfk0815
    Participant

    Hmm, so even if the most of us are telling you, that we usually listen to the PA speaker and do not mix with head phones, you still want to use headphones or an IEM?
    There are mainly two reasons why things are getting too loud. 1) the musicians are playing far too loud and 2) the sound engineer cannot control the sound in a proper way. a third reason might be the architecture of the school auditorium, but that reason is harder to change as the first two. and using a headphone might help you but not the audience. and as the one on the mixing console you have to do the sound for the audience but not for you alone.
    BTW, the M50 is far away from having a linear sound.

    I am using only PFL monitoring when I am working for live events. that allows me to listen to a signal even if it is not hear able because the fader is down or the channel is muted. But as I said before, I do not use headphones live that much. It make no sense for me, most of the time.

    #101688
    Profile photo of SteffenR
    SteffenR
    Participant

    BTW, the M50 is far away from having a linear sound.

    as all headphones, but the M50X are closer than many others

    #101689
    Profile photo of Giga
    Giga
    Participant

    One of the first things you need to do to hear clearly via headphones is use the delay to compensate for the distance between the PA and the mixing position.

    Good luck !

    Giga

    #101690
    Profile photo of Johen
    Johen
    Participant

    @Mtk0815

    Yes, will be listening more on PA. Only mentioned the HP to experiment if I’ll e able to distinguish clearly what’s wrong if outside noise is lowered a bit.

    Thanks for mentioning the audience, really good point. I guess I’m becoming too occupied in thinking of myself and mixing console and task at hand.. forgot to consider the main listeners 😂

    Thanks all, I appreciate your time & comments.

    #101691
    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C
    Participant

    In the room your mixing in the last thing you want to do is isolate yourself
    from what the room sounds like.
    You need to be mixing to the room, not headphones.

    Mfk0815 summed it up.

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