I've heard everywhere that you should mix with a monitor etc. if it had to be a headphone then choose a flat sounding ones aka. studio/reference headphone. (by the way in the AKG website they separate the studio and reference headphone, is this a market jargon or something else?)

But.. I've always listen in this consumer headphone, closed back and colored sound. I've always listen to my favorite song and think "wow! I love a sound like this!". The song I listened to is probably well-made in studio and such and got colored bass-heavier with my headphone.

People says that if the headphone boosted the bass and I'm making sound with it, your sound will comes out as lacking bass.

What if when I producing, I make the sound so it's sounding the way I like on this consumer headphone? If the bass is as heavy as the song I like, then it probably OK elsewhere too right? This way I would not need an expensive mixing headphone...


4 Answers 4


When I asked someone this question years ago, the person responded and said "You can mix on coffeecans if you know how they translate to other speakers."

With that said, you may find that good monitors or at least unbiased monitors will get you to a mix that will translate quicker than the pair of consumer headphones that you may have to keep tweaking adjustments to and they don't represent what you're hearing in other speakers.

  • I see, even if I make an exact same song from scratch (I know that's impossible) to exactly sounds like the song I like on my consumer headphone, there would be 'unseen' frequency that I would miss on other sound system. But that is the issue with the missing frequency that my headphone can't represent. (like the very high-end/low-end) However, the colored frequency (boosted/attenuated) would be no problem right? Because I know it's there, and it's on par with studio sound so it will be there on other system too?
    – 5argon
    Sep 5, 2013 at 7:29
  • You are correct, you would know it's there and yes, every system has its unique freq response. Like I mentioned, I feel that getting a pair of honest and relatable monitors and headphones will, imho, cut down on a shitload of unnecessary bouncing back and forth. I have yamaha hs50m's. They're not the world's greatest monitors, but i've found that my mixes come much closer to the final product with them than they have in the past. I also like my sony 7506 headphones. Between those two, i've had more success and less going back to the drawing board.
    – Dave
    Sep 5, 2013 at 14:12

I wouldn't use a pair of consumer headphones for mixing exclusively. While the argument stands that if know what 'good' sounds like with those headphones you'll make the right choices but that won't always be the case.

Studio monitors exist for the purpose of providing clear, detailed and flat sound. That being said there's no reason why you can't use those headphones for referencing, I've been stuck using sennheiser hd 25-1 ii's when I haven't had the foresight to pack a pair of open backed monitoring headphones and despite being slightly weighty below 120Hz I've never made a terrible mix with them but that's because I'll monitor everything below 100Hz with an analyst instead of using my ears.


Mix on whatever system you know best. If you have consumer Headphones that you used for your, they are a good starting point. But if you want to be shure that no frequency is peaking out use studio monitors and studio headphones.

Mixing in consumer and checking on studio equipment or vice versa is a personal choice in mho


I just used 4 different headphones during the last weeks, all nid/high quality(AKG100$,Bose200$, UE250$ AKG500$) and stomped the 3 "cheaper" ones in the ground now. The difference was way bigger than I expected. And even studio headphones manufacturers NEVER give you frequency response diagramm - for a reason.

You only know you eqipment after you had sufficient choice/comparison.

Pro Headphones: Stax Headphones are more exactly reproducing sound than any speaker in the world. And your room does not have to be anechoic.

Pro Speakers: stereo image is way different, and your ears get slower tired.

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