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Author Topic: Vocal levels in monitors vs headphones--question  (Read 2398 times)

AdamC

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Vocal levels in monitors vs headphones--question
« on: May 20, 2012, 10:27:07 pm »

Hey I was wondering if this is normal. I'm fine tuning vocal levels in a few of my mixes right now and I've noticed something that previously I hadn't been aware of: the vocals always sound noticeably quieter in my headphones than coming from my monitors. I've noticed this on different mixes in the last couple days, totally consistent. So what ends up happening is if I mix vocals to optimal levels wearing headphones, they sound too loud coming out of the monitors and the inverse, if I mix to the monitors they are not loud enough for the headphone mix...


Is this normal or is something in my system maybe tweaked? And if it is normal, what is the "standard" approach to this when mixing, if there is one or something close to it?


Thanks from audio twilight zone over here!

Adam
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Fletcher

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Re: Vocal levels in monitors vs headphones--question
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2012, 06:58:07 am »

Personally - I'm of the opinion that you should check mixes in at least 3 places [or at least 3 different monitor/playback systems before delivering that mix, headphones could be one of them.  What you're experiencing could be peculiar to that specific set of headphones, or could be peculiar to that specific set of monitors... if you add a 3rd reference point to your process then you can get an average of the 3, and hopefully deliver product that references well on all system.

Peace
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

AdamC

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Re: Vocal levels in monitors vs headphones--question
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2012, 03:19:58 pm »

Ok, thanks Fletcher!
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Patrick Tracy

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Re: Vocal levels in monitors vs headphones--question
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2012, 05:37:22 am »

Hey I was wondering if this is normal. I'm fine tuning vocal levels in a few of my mixes right now and I've noticed something that previously I hadn't been aware of: the vocals always sound noticeably quieter in my headphones than coming from my monitors. I've noticed this on different mixes in the last couple days, totally consistent.

On speakers things panned center sum acoustically for a bit of gain over side panned things before reaching both ears. On headphones the sound doesn't sum acoustically before reaching the ears so the two sides stay isolated and center panned things sound quieter. Pan law is designed to compensate for the effect of the acoustic summing by attenuating the signal toward the center.

I get the same effect when I sit too close to the monitors and the angle is too wide. Each ear hears less of the far speaker and there's less gain from acoustic summing so I tend to mix centered things hotter. Although a lot of people are using ear buds these days I still consider speakers to be my standard reference.

Fletcher

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Re: Vocal levels in monitors vs headphones--question
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2012, 11:59:10 am »

In reading this again I'm reminded of something Maurice Starr [New Edition, New Kids On The Block, Jonzun Crew] once said to me... "the vocals can never be too loud". 

He has the hits, and the money to prove the theory as far as I'm concerned.

Peace
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm
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