Monitors and headphones serve a similar purpose: to help audiences listen to music. Monitors are devices that act as loudspeakers, whereas headphones (or earphones, earspeakers, or cans) are devices for a single listener. Firstly, monitors’ design is specifically for audio production applications where a precise audio reproduction in essential. In addition, every music team uses them in recording, radio, project, home, filmmaking, and television studios. Secondly, there are several types of headphones. In opposition, their design aids a wide range of audio reproduction quality capabilities.
Monitors and Headphones: All About the Listeners
As mentioned before, monitors and headphones have both divergences and similarities. The main difference between the two is the way the listener perceives sounds. With natural sounds, the human brain processes two audio streams. Similarly, it analyzes the differences in both timing and frequency to distinguish the direction of a sound. In opposition, with headphones, both ears perceive the audio stream at the exact same time. For this reason, the listener perceives it as if it was coming from inside their head. When listening to sounds through headphones, the room acoustics disappear. Contrastingly, monitors add ambience to natural room reverberation and it soothes aggressive soundwaves.
What Headphones Do
Headphones are great for listening to details, which is quite useful when trying to solve pitching issues and vocal timings. They are also beneficial when trying to spot unwanted distortion, as well as clipping and clicks. In addition, reverb, delay, and panning effects tend to be more specific when using them. You have to turn on subtle sounds, such as shakers and hi-hats, to make them audible. In contrast, you have to turn down sounds such as kick and snare drums in order to be accurately perceive them. Listening to tracks on headphones requires the left and right channels to pump directly into the ear without mixing the signals. Regardless, listening to tracks on monitors crossfeed is essential.
Monitors and Headphones: Mixing
Mixing requires both monitors and headphones, although many users prefer using the first as the primary device. The main reason is that, when only using headphones, it is much harder to achieve good quality and transferability. Hadphones are best for revealing details, whereas panning and stereo imaging is best when done with monitors.