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Headphone types

From: Digital Audio Principles

Video: Headphone types

Headphones are the other device that you'll use to monitor your audio, and they're really helpful for a lot of tasks. They are great for zooming in on sounds. If you have little things you think you hear a little pop or click, but you can't quite see it, or can't quite hear it, you can put the headphones on and try and listen back a little critically. They really bring the sound right to you and eliminate any surrounding sound, so they are great for kind of putting certain little moments of sound under the microscope. They are also great if you are working with microphones, because obviously you can't have live speakers in the same room as the microphone that you are working with, the exception with stuff like guitar amps, but obviously not your monitor speakers.

Headphone types

Headphones are the other device that you'll use to monitor your audio, and they're really helpful for a lot of tasks. They are great for zooming in on sounds. If you have little things you think you hear a little pop or click, but you can't quite see it, or can't quite hear it, you can put the headphones on and try and listen back a little critically. They really bring the sound right to you and eliminate any surrounding sound, so they are great for kind of putting certain little moments of sound under the microscope. They are also great if you are working with microphones, because obviously you can't have live speakers in the same room as the microphone that you are working with, the exception with stuff like guitar amps, but obviously not your monitor speakers.

So if you are singing, doing vocals, and you want to hear the playback track, headphones are where it's at. You have to hear what the playback is and hear yourself coming through the microphone. They are also good for working late into the night, whether you want to or not. It's also good for not bugging your neighbors and kind of keeping your work to yourself. Like every other audio device they also have frequency response or frequency reproduction quality, and so you can look at a chart and find out how they do. You'll find that most headphones tend to struggle with the bass, and this is because there is a limitation of smaller speakers.

They've gotten a lot better, but you don't want to use them to monitor full range music, the way you do your near-field speakers. But they are great for getting kind of a snapshot, and you can definitely do mixes in them, but it's easier to use speakers. Your ears get kind of tired. And it's good to hear sound around you when you are mixing, kind of the air in the room and the reflections. So there's three different types of headphones that you need to know about, there is the closed back, the open back, and then semi-open back. And what this refers to this closed or open is whether or not sound is allowed to leak in or leak out of the headphone when you are wearing it.

Closed back means that the sound is not supposed to get out into the room. So if you're doing vocals, it won't get out into the microphone. It also means that sounds in the room around you, their designs that you won't hear them. They are like earmuffs. If you go to the airport and those guys wearing earphones, they are like super, super closed, they don't want to let any sound in or out. Open back head phones are the opposite. They let lots of sound out and lots of sound in. If you are in a situation where it's important to hear what's going on around you, maybe hear the other players in the room, perhaps in a string quartet or something like that, open back headphones are very helpful.

Now semi-open, they live right in the middle, they let a little bit less in and a little bit less out. And this is really a great application for people like singers where you don't really want it to leak out into the microphone, but you do want to able to hear some of your own voice. Generally speaking, when you get started, if you have to make a decision, I recommend you just get a closed pair of headphones. You'll find that you'll use those most of the time in most of the recording applications and for critical listening and for working late nights. Because that way, if you are sitting next to someone and doing some work, they wont hear most of what's coming out of your headphones.

You've actually probably experienced the difference between these kinds of headphones when you sit on subway or a bus and the guy next to you, you can hear what he's listening to from two seats away. Or if someone's sitting there with their big disco-muffs on, and you can't hear what they are listening to at all. And you're kind of curious what they are listening to. They've got the closed back style. One other thing to know about is that a lot of headphones have only one cable that runs up to one ear-cup, and that's always up to the left ear-cup. Now most headphones will have markings on them, somewhere at left, right, but as soon as you see that you can pick it up and know that that's left.

It's just the standard. I don't know who invented it or why. But that's always the case, and it's helpful. The reason this is worth knowing about is so that you don't put them on the wrong way. So that's about it for the magic of headphones. They are really cool, great worth having a great pair. If you get a nice comfy pair, it's great for singers. It can really help make people more comfortable while they are performing, because a lot of recording is wearing headphone while you are behind the mic. So it's worthwhile to have some that you enjoy wearing.

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This video is part of

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Digital Audio Principles

110 video lessons · 26795 viewers

Dave Schroeder
Author

 
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  1. 50s
    1. Welcome
      50s
  2. 39m 10s
    1. What is sound?
      4m 15s
    2. Hertz and frequency response
      5m 34s
    3. Phase
      2m 39s
    4. Capturing audio
      3m 39s
    5. Sample rate
      6m 16s
    6. Bit depth
      9m 47s
    7. The waveform
      5m 3s
    8. Audio file formats
      1m 57s
  3. 7m 25s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      2m 59s
    2. Typical DAW signal flow
      4m 26s
  4. 50m 33s
    1. What microphones do
      1m 57s
    2. Element types
      5m 0s
    3. Pickup patterns
      6m 51s
    4. Axis
      2m 52s
    5. Frequency response and the proximity effect
      5m 10s
    6. Phase issues
      1m 41s
    7. Microphone types
      8m 44s
    8. Miking vocals
      5m 39s
    9. Miking amplifiers
      2m 17s
    10. Miking drums
      10m 22s
  5. 16m 39s
    1. Cables and connectors overview
      2m 42s
    2. Balanced and unbalanced cables
      3m 19s
    3. Common cable types
      7m 13s
    4. Cable tips
      3m 25s
  6. 12m 16s
    1. What is an I/O device?
      1m 41s
    2. Analog to digital conversion
      3m 10s
    3. Tour of an audio interface
      4m 49s
    4. Interface considerations
      2m 36s
  7. 21m 5s
    1. What is a preamp?
      3m 21s
    2. Input levels
      5m 29s
    3. Padding
      2m 18s
    4. Phantom power
      2m 37s
    5. Phase reverse
      3m 4s
    6. Preamp demo
      4m 16s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. What is a mixer?
      5m 55s
    2. Input section
      1m 17s
    3. Channel strips
      3m 16s
    4. Master section
      2m 28s
  9. 18m 21s
    1. What is monitoring?
      2m 11s
    2. Speakers
      4m 47s
    3. Room considerations
      5m 43s
    4. Headphone types
      3m 50s
    5. Monitoring levels
      1m 50s
  10. 15m 23s
    1. What role do computers play?
      1m 36s
    2. Performance issues
      4m 11s
    3. Hard drives
      4m 38s
    4. Mechanical noise
      2m 10s
    5. Authorization
      2m 48s
  11. 6m 54s
    1. Planning for recording
      54s
    2. Doing a system check
      1m 26s
    3. Planning your inputs
      1m 42s
    4. The recording environment
      2m 52s
  12. 25m 52s
    1. Types of digital audio software
      38s
    2. Multi-track recorders/sequencers
      4m 56s
    3. Two-track recorders/waveform editors
      4m 55s
    4. Loop-based music production software
      5m 44s
    5. Plug-ins
      6m 56s
    6. Other varieties
      2m 43s
  13. 18m 59s
    1. Common components
      46s
    2. The transport
      2m 4s
    3. The toolbar
      3m 19s
    4. The Edit/Arrange window
      4m 42s
    5. The mixer
      5m 8s
    6. The file list
      3m 0s
  14. 19m 17s
    1. Setting up a session
      3m 30s
    2. Assigning inputs and getting signals
      3m 19s
    3. Input modes
      3m 28s
    4. Overdubbing and punching
      5m 14s
    5. Bouncing down
      3m 46s
  15. 19m 42s
    1. What is editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Waveforms
      2m 53s
    3. Making silent cuts and trims
      7m 1s
    4. Fades and automation
      8m 27s
  16. 1h 23m
    1. What are plug-ins?
      3m 0s
    2. Using plug-ins
      6m 11s
    3. EQs
      7m 4s
    4. Dynamics pt. 1: Compressors, limiters, expanders, and gates
      5m 40s
    5. Dynamics pt 2: Applying dynamic effects
      7m 2s
    6. Pitch shifting
      6m 14s
    7. Reverb
      9m 28s
    8. Echo and delay
      6m 23s
    9. Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus
      9m 39s
    10. Sound tools pt. 1: About, gain, normalize
      7m 39s
    11. Sound tools pt. 2: Reverse and time compression/expansion
      6m 29s
    12. Sound tools pt. 3: Noise reducers, dither
      8m 11s
  17. 23m 43s
    1. What is MIDI?
      3m 6s
    2. Keyboard controllers
      1m 23s
    3. Computer-based virtual instruments
      1m 6s
    4. Control surfaces
      1m 6s
    5. Recording and editing MIDI
      12m 4s
    6. Virtual instruments
      4m 58s
  18. 27m 29s
    1. What is mixing?
      1m 54s
    2. Some common objectives
      3m 4s
    3. Some useful techniques
      5m 59s
    4. A quick mixing demo
      16m 32s
  19. 18m 48s
    1. What is mastering?
      2m 24s
    2. Sonic maximization
      9m 43s
    3. Final preparations and exporting
      6m 41s
  20. 13m 34s
    1. What is audio compression?
      2m 16s
    2. Popular formats
      2m 9s
    3. Bit rate, sample rate, and channels
      5m 42s
    4. Other adjustments and considerations
      3m 27s
  21. 15m 6s
    1. Essential gear
      7m 36s
    2. Voice recording setups
      1m 43s
    3. The voice production process
      5m 47s
  22. 10m 4s
    1. Analog vs. digital
      2m 48s
    2. Tube vs. solid state
      5m 6s
    3. The continual upgrade
      2m 10s
  23. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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