Headphone mixes are far more important than many of us like to assume. The difference between a great headphone mix and a not-so-great mix can make or break a recording session.
Music is all about vibe. This is why you or the performer you’re recording need to feel that vibe through the headphones.
If a vocalist feels like they’re in the middle of an inspiring mix, you’ll hear that in their vocal takes! They’ll sound inspired. They’ll feed off of that mix and deliver.
The big question though is how do you deliver that awesome, inspiring mix to their cans?
Well, it turns out that you can send any bit of audio to any output of your audio interface. Click on one of the empty Send fields on your track, and route it to an output.
I actually touched on headphone mixes in an old post and video. But since then many users have had a lot of questions. Questions like:
- Should you use Pre or Post-Fader routing?
- How do you quickly copy the rough Project mix to the sends?
- How do you fine-tune the headphone mix after?
- What about reverb and delay effects?
- And what if you need more than one or 2 headphone mixes?
Headphone mixes can get complicated in a hurry. Not because of Logic per se, but the gear you might need to make it all happen.
So it only felt right to revisit headphone mixes and give you a full deep dive on them.
Be sure to bookmark today’s video if you ever find yourself needing a refresher 🙂
Great video Chris. The flexibility in LPX is awesome, and simple. I dont have one but Im looking at the Mackie HM 400 to add more headphone outputs, even if theyre not entirely discreet.
I use two UA x8p’s and they each have two separate headphone outputs up front. Using UA’s mixer, I can get 2 discreet sends, but Im not sure yet if I can get 4 discreet sends from the two of them combined, and even then, if possible, I might have to use a DB25 cable to get it. Im still looking into this, but so far it hasnt been an issue.
Hey Jimmy, that Mackie unit looks great! I have an ART headphone amp, which is similar. 6 headphone amps that can power something like 3 headphones per amp. So up to 18 headphones I think? Same as the Mackie you’re looking at, the ART unit doesn’t offer discrete headphone mixes for each amp.
I have no significant experience with the Apollos, but I would hope they could be aggregating together as a cascading system to provide you with 4 discrete headphone mixes. That would be pretty slick 🙂
Jonatan Dahlgren says
Super helpful and great content like always. Also didn’t now about the “Single” mode in the mixer. That’s so neat.
A question I have though is how to ad fx to the input that is being recorded? Let’s say the singer would like reverb on the input monitor signal while recording. Is that possible and if so, without a lot of latency?
Depending on your system speed, you should be able to bus to a reverb without any latency issues. You should also be able to put any LPX reverb on the channel youre recording to without any latency. I like Chromaverb for either of these uses, especially if youre just getting a project started..
I’ll use either one of these methods depending on where we are in the project, but especially if we’re just getting an idea started. For vocals, you can bus to an aux channel and use that send in pre fader. This way you can change the level for the vocalist without changing the amount of reverb or effect you have.
Or you can put a reverb on the channel youre recording to and adjust the amount of processed signal, but I would think using a bus is less taxing on the CPU. Plugins like compressors on the vocal track can induce latency, and any plugins on the stereo out can do the same. These always need to be bypassed when tracking.
Hey Jonatan, thanks for your kind words! I’m assuming you mean placing a reverb on the vocal channel strip itself, and not on a separate Aux Channel. Is this correct?
As long as you’re working with Logic’s Software Mixer, as opposed to your interface’s Direct Mixer, this should be no problem. I would just say stick with reverb plugins that don’t introduce any sort of latency. Logic’s Chromaverb, SilverVerb, and Space Designer are all latency-free.
Kurt L Hanson says
I’m of the belief to record dry, never wet because any wetness fouls mixing. Any thoughts?
Hey Kurt, thanks for your comment! I assume you mean you don’t use delays or reverbs in the mix while recording, is this correct? I’m of the same line of thinking. But vocalists tend to feel more comfortable and “in-the-song” when there’s a touch of ambiance. It’s like a security blanket that can put them at ease. I just avoid drenching anything in verb, as things can get too washy, and then timing/pitch starts to slip.
Hi Chris, great content, great info. Thanks for what you do.
In order to use the ART headphone amp’s stereo inputs, you would just need a different adapter. Not a reverse Y splitter (or summer, as you call it), but a Dual Mono TRS into Single Stereo TRS. See link.
Hey Frido, thanks for the link and info! Very interesting, I’ll have to check it out 🙂