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Perhaps the greatest detriment to a session running smoothly is the inability for players to hear themselves comfortably in the headphones. That's why the headphone mix is so important, and that's what we'll look at in this video. Musicians and singers can't perform at their best unless they hear themselves well, and this is one of the reasons that veteran engineers spend so much time and attention to the CueMix and headphones themselves. While it's true that a veteran studio player can shrug off a bad or distortive foam mix and still deliver a fine performance, good cans can make a session go a lot faster and easier.
First of all, make sure that you use the best headphones possible and that they're not broken or intermittent. Nothing stops a session quicker than a player with a headphone problem. Your headphone or CueMix is going to be derived from the AUX-ins on your console or computer interface. Connect the AUX outputs to the input of the headphone amp or personal mix boxes. If you're giving all the players the same mix, try to make it as close to the same mix that you're listening to, then adjust from there after they listen to it. male speaker: Okay, everything good? Drummer: Yes! male speaker: Phones okay? Well, good. Let's go for it.
Bobby Owsinski: If you're providing separate mixes, remember that some players don't want a balanced mix. They may want either the kick, snare, bass, a keyboard, or a vocal a lot louder than the rest of the mix to cue off of. Perhaps the best thing to come along in recent years has been the introduction of the relatively inexpensive personal CueMix systems. These systems allow the musician to control the headphone mix by supplying them with up to 8 channels to control. Many personal mixers don't require you to set up a mix for the player, just to supply him with the individual track sense.
Even though that's the case, it's best to provide a Stereo Monitor Mix, which is what you're listening to in the control room, as well as the kick, snare, vocal, and whatever other instruments are pertinent so that player can mix it to the way he feels comfortable. The Stereo Mix that you provide acts as the main mix, and the other tracks enable him to boost that element as needed. Select the tracks that the musicians want for their headphone mix. This might be the kick, snare, bass, vocal, guitars, keyboards, and sometimes the Stereo Mix that you're listening to in the control room.
Connect each direct output to the input of the distribution system. Then have all the players run down the song so they can adjust their own mixes. That's how to set up a headphone mix in most situations. Make sure to use the best headphones possible and make sure that they're working correctly. Then spend the time to give the musicians the best mix that you can and adjust accordingly.
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