Magazine article Guitar Player

Mixing Guitar in a Headphones World

Magazine article Guitar Player

Mixing Guitar in a Headphones World

Article excerpt

HOW YOU MIX YOUR MUSIC determines how listeners will hear your music. For decades, mixing was done through speakers, because that was the dominant way people heard music. A standard recommendation was not to mix through headphones--except as a reality check--because they distorted the sense of space and stereo separation.

Well, the world has changed. The retail value of headphone sales has gone from $1.8 billion in 2005 to $15.5 billion in 2017, and speakers are now about Bluetooth speakers and soundbars--not traditional stereo systems. So why should you care? Because that will influence how you mix your music, and there are some special considerations for guitar.

Guitars are mono instruments. If you take your guitar direct, or go through an amp sim, there will be no natural stereo imaging. Miking amps used to include at least some room ambiance (as would playing back tracks through speakers in a room), but now you need to add it yourself to avoid an artificial vibe. Many sims include reverb, but not many offer ambiance, aside from room reverb. Adding several low-level, stereo echoes from a tapped delay line can restore a sense of space. Cockos Reaper offers its ReaPlugs VST FX suite as a free down load (currently Windows only) at reaper, fm/reaplugs. The suite includes a very useful tapped delay for adding lots of short delays. You can also use convolution reverb--such as the Open Air reverb in PreSonus Studio One Professional--and load a room-impulse response. There are many free impulses available on the net, like openairlib. …

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