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The Perfect Headphone Monitor?

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  • The Perfect Headphone Monitor?

    Hey guys.

    So once again, I'm hit with a question concerning studio design. Shep2112 has helped me out greatly and pretty much helped me out with every decision I had to make. I mean, now I feel like a pro.

    But anyway. Now here's something that came to me: Monitoring. I definitly want to go with headphone monitoring. I think that live monitoring sometimes makes things a little tough, especially when the mic in front of the guitar amp is picking up the whole kit in the background.

    I always thought that I could just plug the phones into the Digi 001 (which is what I'm using, by the way) and create a headphone monitor mix. The problem with that is the length of the cord.

    That's when I found this.

    This means that I can now plug a monitor mix into this thing and the have them plug in the their phones right there. This will fix two problems. 1, it will juice the signal. 2, it will allow a greater distance of cable. Its not all that fun having to cram a whole band within 6 feet of the computer!

    Will this work for me?
    The best damn kid in the record industry. Maybe.

  • #2
    Re: The Perfect Headphone Monitor?

    Originally posted by Algee

    Will this work for me?
    Not sure as your link shows no product.

    However it sounds as if an in the ear unit will do the job for you. There are a few threads on the subject and sure make a good one.

    Hope this helps



    • #3
      The reason the link didn't work is because the period (.) at the end of the sentence comes up as part of the link. If you click it, then remove the . from the end when you get the error on the site, then hit enter, it works fine.

      The unit is a Rolls headphone amp with 2 inputs, to monitor yourself and another source. It's $40.

      I have a Samson 5 output headphone amp (1 pair of stereo inputs, not 2 like the Rolls). I can barely see the model # on it, but it looks like Q5? I think it was $100 or $130.. plenty of power to drive 5 headphones at once (power is important when monitoring, especially with acoustic drums, or a guitar or bass amp in the room). The unit has balanced inputs and balanced outputs to pass the signal onto another unit, or else. I run my powered monitor speakers from the output of the phones amp. I use the control room out on the mixer. The phones amp doesn't need to be turned on to get the signal to the monitors.

      If your only problem is the cord length, just get a headphone extension cable from Radio Shack.

      I use Sony MDR-7506 headphones btw.. They were $100 at Mars a few weeks back. Really nice smooth sound, great low end and can handle TONS of power without breaking up.. They're standard issue in many studios, quite rugged, and they fold up a little when not in use to make them more compact and less likely to be broken.

      Tip: when sending a signal to any kind of amp or recording device, DON'T use a powered output, ie: speaker or headphone out. It will sound really bad even if turned way down. So if/when you do get a headphone amp, feed it from a stereo out on the Digi001 and not the headphone jack.

      Another tip: You can use a home stereo receiver or amplifier to drive your headphones. My local studio back in Massachusetts has been doing that for YEARS. More power from a speaker output than a headphone amp's output, so you can drive more headphones louder. The resistance is really low (600 Ohms or so) with most headphones, so you can drive a lot of them without damaging the speaker amplifier circuit. If you connect a bunch of speakers to an amp, it can cause problems, but headphones are okay.

      Expanded TD-10, TD-7, PTX-8, DrumKAT 3.8, 8xPD7, 5xPD9, 4xKD7, FD7, 3xPD100, 4xPD120, 4xHart Acupad TE3, 2xECymbalX, Pintech Kick, 10xLP Spike, 2xSapphire, 3xPTT8, 1xPSD8, PBD8 Kick, 2xSynare 3, 2xAcrylic Cymbals, Gibraltar/Roland racks


      • #4
        shep, once again...


        well here's what I want to do.

        (Random ouput) output 4 >> headphone amp >> headphones

        But will the acoustic drums be too much for monitoring with headphones? I dont want the guitarist to be able to hear the acoutsic drums except for in the mix. I mean, these guys are all in the same room.

        Or how about floor monitors?

        The setup is what we might be throwing everyone off. It's pretty much like this. My Digi 001 has 8 1/4" ouputs on it. If I need, say, 3 monitor mixes, with all the people in the same room. Now how is the best way to get the sound to each person, each with their own monitor mix?. Headphones? Floor Monitors?
        That's what's really holding me up here.

        I would take 3 different monitor mix signals from the back of the 001 and send them to three different headphone amps. Then plug their headphones in to the headphone jacks if their headphone amps. Or will this cause problems having all these people in the same room?
        The best damn kid in the record industry. Maybe.


        • #5
          The problems I see are:

          You don't want floor monitors in the room unless you're tracking guitars, bass and keys.. Anything else is gonna pick up the speakers.. The guitar and bass COULD pick up the speakers, but you shouldn't need them cranked if they were the only people in the room..

          With the acoustics in the same room, it's another story.. You'd need the monitors cranked to hear them over the drums, which in turn would make the drum mics pic up the monitors..

          Separate headphone mixes would require multiple headphone amps (or stereo receivers or whatever you're using).. That can be tougher to come by.. It's also more work as engineer to customize things that much..

          I would run 1 headphone mix for now and worry about getting the best sound recorded, then get into the more complicated setup stuff..

          My mom used to have a cardboard thing about 4x5 feet, I guess.. It folded up and was for laying out fabric and then cutting it. It looked like a large piece of graph paper.. You could prolly get that or something similiar at a fabric store, and put that as a wall between the drums and the other guys.. It won't BLOCK the sound, but it will separate it a little..

          You won't be able to remove the drums from what they hear if you're inthe same room, but you could get some isolation headphones ($70+) for drummers. They're like what you use with a chainsaw, but with headphone speakers inside. Or make your own based on the last sentence..

          For mic'ing amps, try putting them in a closet. That will remove the room ambience, and all other sounds in the room from it. It will also stop it from leaking into the drum mics.

          How big is this room you speak of? It's possible you'll hear the guitar's strings through the drum mics if you're kinda close and the guitarist is wailing with no drums or soft cymbals.. You can use a noise gate to remove that stuff, or try some kinda wall like the fabric layout/cutting thing..

          P.S the fabric thing was also cool when I was trying to breakdance in the mid 80's..
          Expanded TD-10, TD-7, PTX-8, DrumKAT 3.8, 8xPD7, 5xPD9, 4xKD7, FD7, 3xPD100, 4xPD120, 4xHart Acupad TE3, 2xECymbalX, Pintech Kick, 10xLP Spike, 2xSapphire, 3xPTT8, 1xPSD8, PBD8 Kick, 2xSynare 3, 2xAcrylic Cymbals, Gibraltar/Roland racks


          • #6
            I really inherited this room from my parents. its's only about 20 x 12 feet with a closet at the end. im taking the doors off the closet to form like a seperate extension just for the desk. That way, the workstation isn't jutting out into the room.

            Yes, its in a house. yes, the walls haven't been professionally constructed. but, with todays technology, you need not a lot of concern about things like that. the monitors, great. the system, great. the only thing that can lack in a home studio is the actual taking in of things. the system is professional. and my monitors are not all that bad! but the one part of a studio like this that can cause things to not sound good is the mic'ing. see what I'm saying.

            well, the guitars will not show up in the drum tracks because the final drum tracks will be recorded solo after everyone else is done.

            the part that might have a problem is the mic'ing of guitars and basses. the drummer will play to a click track, and everyone else will play with the drums. but the first drum tracks will just be as a metronome for the guitarist. the drummer doesn;t have to worry about making it perfect, rather keep good time. any guitarist would agree that it's a lot easier to play with drums than a CLICK, CLICK, CLICK...

            so really the only problem would be the drums getting into the amp mics. i like your idea about isolating them. or maybe throwing a blanket on top of them or something. that's an idea.
            The best damn kid in the record industry. Maybe.


            • #7
              Yeah, a blanket works.. The closet is a better idea though.. If you can do it without taking the closet doors off, that's what I would do. Or, put the amp just outside the door, or in another room or linen closet or something. It doesn't need to be turned up loud, just needs to be away from the rest. 12x20 sounds quite large, you should be all set with that. Put the drums in a corner facing out if you can. You don't want to have anything playing towards a wall head-on. You'll get a nasty slapback that way that could cancel out sounds or just be too loud coming back. Diagonal in the corner is usually best. You'll get more low end being in a corner too..

              I see your point about the final drums going later. Are you tracking scratch drum tracks at the same time as the guitars? One thing that's tough is playing with someone else, AND playing to a click at the same time. The guitarist may rush and the drummer has to ignore him. If you record the drums wihout anyone at first, to have a base, the drummer has to know the song well enough to know where the changes are, etc. Playing the music I play, that's not possible at all, where every few bars I'm in a new time signature and possibly a new tempo.. If you're doing Blink 182 or something, it's fine, but if you doing more complicated stuff, it can be tough.

              I must say, I'm quite surprised you have a set of VDrums and don't wanna record with them.. The drums are one of the toughest things you can record, because of all the mics, etc. Having a bad room (not isolated, maybe not acoustically breathtaking, etc) only makes things worse.. You'd save money not having to buy the 8 channel adat converter and the mics too. Something to keep in mind at least.

              Get some furniture, heavy curtains, thick carpet, anything with some density to it, to absorb room sound as best you can. You're gonna have a tough time hearing the drums in the headphones for getting sounds, etc too, by being in the same room as the drums themselves.
              Expanded TD-10, TD-7, PTX-8, DrumKAT 3.8, 8xPD7, 5xPD9, 4xKD7, FD7, 3xPD100, 4xPD120, 4xHart Acupad TE3, 2xECymbalX, Pintech Kick, 10xLP Spike, 2xSapphire, 3xPTT8, 1xPSD8, PBD8 Kick, 2xSynare 3, 2xAcrylic Cymbals, Gibraltar/Roland racks


              • #8
                Maybe I could put the amp outside the room. Total isolation. In fact, I think thats what Im going to do. Oh, and the drums. That's just how I have them set up. As far as recording with acoustics. Dont get me wrong now, I love my V's. But there's just something about acoustics that makes you want to dance. You know what I'm saying? But that doesnt mean that I wont record with them. I'd love to use both. I think it looks mighty impressive, and it is. The power of a solid drum kit with the technology of the V's. It's going to be incredible.

                Now with tracking, yes. The first take with drums will be scratch material. It's for the guitarist. I've been in situations where the guitarists just couldnt handle playing with a click. so we did it like that, they played with real drums. the only one that needed a click was the drummer. the real drum tracks were done later. but whatever the song calls for, we'll play it by ear. (not literally)

                I've come to learn that in acoustic control there are two parts to it. sound proofing and acoutsical treatment. now, sound proofing is not a concern of mine. I dont need it. the household doesnt mind. but acoustical treatment, thats a must. blankets all over the walls and ceiling soud do the job. a good way to check is to snap or clap in a section of your room. then treat the section. try clapping again. now your room is dead.

                that's really all that will need to be done for that, I think
                The best damn kid in the record industry. Maybe.


                • #9
                  Well you're on the right track at least.

                  Yeah try the amps in other rooms.. Try the guitar amp in the bathroom if you want natural ambience.

                  But I still think real drums can be a ***** to record.. With compression and reverb and eq and all in ProTools, you'll be alright I think.. But to get the sound of a real 'studio recording', I think the V's will get you a lot further right from the get-go..

                  What kinda music are you doing? Real drums make you want to dance? Hmm, unless it's dance music..

                  The two weakest links are going to be tuning/muffling and mic'ing. The placement of the mics really affects things, even just moving a mic a half inch can make or break a drum sound.

                  Check out tracks 2, 3 and 7 on here:

                  Those are my V's.. Recorded into Sonar.. #2 was with a guitarist and keyboardist from Germany, their parts recorded there. #'s 3 and 7 were recorded with my guitarist back in Mass, before I moved to Florida again. But he did his parts at his place and then sent the files to me and we passed them back and forth a few times. I mixed the 3 songs and a few of the others on the album.. The bass guitar is actually from the TD-10 on all 3 songs..

                  I think you'd be hard pressed to get a drum sound as nice as the TD-10's in a basic room with no isolation to listen to the phones.. Maybe you can step outside the room with the phones though? Can you take a pic of the room?
                  Expanded TD-10, TD-7, PTX-8, DrumKAT 3.8, 8xPD7, 5xPD9, 4xKD7, FD7, 3xPD100, 4xPD120, 4xHart Acupad TE3, 2xECymbalX, Pintech Kick, 10xLP Spike, 2xSapphire, 3xPTT8, 1xPSD8, PBD8 Kick, 2xSynare 3, 2xAcrylic Cymbals, Gibraltar/Roland racks


                  • #10
                    Oh they will be a *****. No doubt about that. But I'm totally for it. There really is something about the sound of acoustics that I love. I'll be doing every style under the sun. I'm doing some stuff that closely resembles the sound of Incubus. I also have a guys I'll be working with to produce "matrix" music, if you know what I mean. And a lot of it might be looped drums. So that will help a little! I'll probably drench the V's in effetcs, overlap them with sampled drums, and so on to get the sound I'm looking for.

                    Did you know that Incubus recorded their whole last album with the Digi 001? That's it. Sure, they had a producer to run it for them, but it was recorded and edited and mixed all in a rented house in Cali. They did it all in one big room. So I know it's possible. You can even listen to that stuff and everything kind of sounds like it was done in one big room.

                    Upon request, I took some pictures and loaded up on the web for you. They are of the room currently. But in a week or so, it won't be a bedroom, rather completely empty. And the walls will be white.

                    Dude, your stuff is pretty good. Nice work.
                    The best damn kid in the record industry. Maybe.