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How Do I Choose the Best Headphone Mixer?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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A headphone mixer is necessary for musicians, especially bands, which need to be able to hear their recorded music to ensure it sounds right and that the mixing is correct, but finding the right headphone mixer can be tough. There must be enough channels so everyone in the band can hear himself or herself simultaneously, and the channels should be able to function independently of each other. The ability to adjust the click track on the fly will help drummers and vocalists the most, because this will turn up or turn down the click so the respective musician can hear his or her part. A mono control will allow each musician to hear an isolated part of the music. Preset controls will help when setting up the mixer, because the user just has to push a button to get the controls ready.

Each headphone mixer comes with at least one channel, depending on the model. The channels allow each person to hear the audio, and the channels themselves typically have controls to change the audio. The best mixer should have enough channels for each band member. It also is best if the channels can function independently, so each musician can hear only his or her part, without the other parts mixing in.

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The ability to increase or decrease the click track will be most important for drummers and vocalists, but others also can benefit from this control. Drummers are part of the click track, so they will want a high click to ensure the beat sounds correct and to make it easier to hear just the drums and not the other parts of the song. The other members will likely reduce the click when listening to themselves, because this will make the sound of their instrument or voice clearer.

Mono controls help isolate the audio, so each person can hear only his or her instrument playing. This is typically done either with a button or as one of the headphone mixer settings. Along with isolating the sounds, the bass and treble can usually be controlled as well when the sound is placed in mono.

Setting up the headphone mixer usually is not a difficult process, but it can take several minutes to get the sound just right. To avoid going through this setup procedure, it can help if the headphone mixer comes with preset controls. This will save the control settings, so the users just hit a button and the mixer will be set at its optimal levels.

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