Correcting the frequency response in conjunction with the emulation of the studio acoustic environment and reflections is an extremely important step to improve the quality of monitoring in headphones. Many experienced sound engineers argue that it is necessary to use headphones without software enhancements, as they were intended by the manufacturers. After all, it’s not in vain that they conduct research and develop new models for years? It is not that simple.
Headphone frequency response is formed due to many factors that engineers cannot influence sufficiently to guarantee a flat frequency response. The manufacturer may change the design of the speakers, the headphone housing and the acoustic resonators of the cups. Each of these elements has many characteristics that also affect each other. But just a linear frequency response by itself will not give the desired result when mixing and will not be able to provide you with the necessary translation. This is where the design features of the headphones come into play, due to which the acoustic environment in them is fundamentally different from the reference listening conditions for acoustic systems.
In the case of studio monitors, linear frequency response and neutral sounding is a much more predictable task than with headphones. Unfortunately, however, studio monitor manufacturers cannot influence the acoustics of your room. In this case, it directly affects the linearity of the frequency response. No matter how reliable the monitors are “from the factory”, unfavourable room acoustics can ruin everything.
All of the above does not negate the fact that in headphones you can mix a mix with high quality without correcting the amplitude-frequency characteristic and emulating space. But, unfortunately, a high-quality and desired result requires a lot of experience, but not everyone is able and willing to adapt to this. The labour and time costs of creating a mix increase significantly, because the sound engineer will have to constantly make adjustments for unwanted sound colouration, unreliable transmission of timbres and space during monitoring, which greatly interferes with the creative process and productivity. And if you're just starting out in mixing and don't have an understanding of reliable monitoring, then the chances of getting the desired result are obviously reduced.
Studio headphones have been around for decades and were originally conceived as a way to complement monitors, not replace them. Based on our experience, we have found that the use of headphones for mixing can be greatly expanded with software. We assume that the manufacturers did not think about the fact that the emulation of the space of the studio and other rooms can drastically affect the capabilities of the headphones.
We are successfully cooperating with some manufacturers and we want to note that they have already begun to pay attention to this. For example, companies such as ESI
and FLUID Audio
already use Realphones
technology with their headphones and encourage their users to use our software security.
Time does not stand still and now you have a great opportunity to use your headphones as a full-fledged alternative to studio monitors. We hope that this article has helped you gain a deeper understanding of the topic of frequency response and the effectiveness of its correction.