Unlocking the mixing power of headphones with Realphones

Realphones UI

Disputes among sound engineers on the topic of "is it possible to mix sound in headphones" continue to this day. Some say “it is impossible to create a high-quality mix in headphones”, others say “it is possible and even more”.
We will try to understand the topic of sound monitoring and tell you about Realphones - a tool that will significantly expand your capabilities when mixing with headphones.
1️⃣ Monitoring problems
Beginning sound engineers and musicians often need to work on tracks outside of a professional recording studio.

Surely there has already been a situation in your life when you mixed a track on speakers or headphones at home and were satisfied with the result. But as soon as you turned it on on an unfamiliar speaker system, for example, while visiting a friend, you realized that the track sounds different - not at all like during the mixing. It is difficult to put into words the disappointment and confusion that overtake you at this moment. But do not get upset - there are legitimate reasons for what happened. To work effectively on tracks, it is necessary to hear the sound in the right way.

Let's draw a parallel with the work of the designer. Imagine that you need to do photo processing on a monitor that does not reliably transmit colors. What will happen? There may be several options.
You don't suspect that your monitor has problems with color rendering. You like its bright, juicy picture and rely on what you see on the screen. The second option is that you suspect there are problems and try to get around them with the help of intuition. The third option is that you have studied the color rendering features of your monitor and rely on experience.

In all three options, the work will be associated with a huge number of difficulties and unpredictable results. There is no guarantee that your customer will see on his screen the real color of the sky, wood, or skin of the person depicted in the photo when he receives a ready-made version from you. All these difficulties are due to one factor: you don't have a tool that you can trust. Your monitor is not suitable for professional designer work.
When working with sound, the situation looks about the same.
To hear the right sound, a sound engineer needs professional studio monitors (speakers) in an acoustically treated control room. Any studio monitors interact with the acoustics of the room in which they are installed, so the room is a continuation of the sound of the monitors.

Studio monitor manufacturers often publish beautiful smooth frequency response charts of their products. But many do not think about the fact that these graphs were obtained in the laboratory. It is important to understand that even the most expensive monitors in an ordinary “buzzing” bedroom will give an absolutely unpredictable sound, which is not at all like a professional studio control. Turning a bedroom into a studio control room is quite labor-intensive and expensive. It is not enough to hang several sound traps in the room - you will need to make a serious reconstruction of your room, the cost of which will most likely be many times higher than the cost of your studio monitors. This is not always possible and expedient from a financial point of view, so there is a logical idea to look for other options.
2️⃣ Monitoring problems with headphones
You can try headphones! They can be used in any acoustic conditions, it remains only to choose a model with a neutral sound and it's in the bag, right? Not really.

Unfortunately, headphones have uneven frequency response and uneven timbre representation. There is also excessive width and a completely dry environment without any reflections.

If you don't constantly adjust for this in your mind, then the track mixed with headphones will sound beautiful and pleasant only on this model of headphones. On other speakers and in other headphones, you will be able to hear exactly what features and unevenness of the frequency response of your headphones you compensated for in your mix.
3️⃣ What is Realphones?
dSONIQ Realphones is a software solution that significantly expands the capabilities of headphones for professional work with sound.

Realphones UI

4️⃣ Features
Correction of the frequency response of headphones

Through our research since 2015, we have created an advanced multi-stage technology that achieves highly accurate headphone measurements. The results are as close as possible to what a person hears in reality.
Realphones headphone frequency response correction allows you to hear a linear sound with minimal unwanted coloration.

Frequency response graphs of popular models of studio headphones, measured in the dSONIQ laboratory

Correcting the frequency response of headphones in Realphones

Currently, Realphones supports about 200 headphone models, and we are constantly working to expand this list.
A professional studio control room in your headphones

Realphones UI

In a professional studio, sound engineers use near, mid, and far-field monitors to get a clear idea of what's going on in the mix.
Realphones emulates a real high-end large control room designed by American architect Tom Hidley and remodeled by British acoustician Roger d'Arcy.
Studio emulation will help you work more comfortably with width and feel the interaction of instruments in the mix, turning headphones into a tool that you can trust.
Night club and car cabin for mix-checking

A lot of sound engineers are used to checking mixes outside the studio. With Realphones, this can be done without getting up from the workplace.

Nightclubs are equipped with powerful subwoofers, and they can reveal low-frequency issues that you might not even know about when working on a track in the studio.
Club emulation in Realphones will help you avoid typical mistakes associated with an excess of low frequencies and understand how well your track will "pump" in a club.

Realphones UI

Another common habit for sound engineers is to test mixes in their own cars. This allows them to look from a different point of view, since good car speakers sound "fat" and "juicy", unlike neutral studio speakers.
Also, many people listen to music in the car and are used to that sound, so it's never a bad idea to check out your mixes with Realphones car emulation.
More tools for mix-checking

Acoustic system variants in Realphones

Realphones emulates the response of professional monitors of the near, medium, and far fields, as well as various household speakers and headphones. Check how your mix behaves in different listening conditions.

5️⃣ For whom can Realphones be useful?
  • For beginners - as the first tool for mixing and writing music. This is a way to get the right idea about the sound of tracks and adequately prepare your hearing for the transition to working with monitor speakers.
  • For project and home studios - this is a way to dramatically improve the quality of control and identify problems in mixes in cases when the acoustic treatment of the room is not great.
  • For those who travel a lot - this is an opportunity to work on tracks on the road, on vacation, or on a business trip.
  • For professional studios - this is an advanced additional tool for checking the mix in headphones.
  • For music lovers and audiophiles - this is a way to improve the feeling when listening to music with headphones.
6️⃣ Which headphones should I use Realphones with?
We recommend using Realphones with full-size studio and household headphones, popular among professionals and amateurs.

Most popular brands: AKG, Audeze, Audio-Technica, Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, Sony.

The timbral coloring, detailing, spatial feelings, and dynamics primarily depend on the capabilities of headphones. But Realphones works effectively with headphones of any price category.

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