Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Production Gear › Are noise cancelling headphones good or bad for monitoring? › “What I didn’t knew (or ne
“What I didn’t knew (or never consider) was that in order to cancel such
noise the headphone is cancelling some parts of the actual audio that is
Just to clarify, it is not cancelling out the audio that is physically being captured to your disk/media, but it can affect what you’re hearing be recorded. In other words, if you’re not able to accurately hear what is being recorded you may make misinformed decisions on mic placement, mix levels, etc. What you thought you were hearing during the recording may not be what you actually captured and therefore how it sounds when you play it back later in post.
I would say the same goes for post. If you are editing/manipulating the sound based on listening conditions that are not very transparent (you can’t know exactly what your noise cancelling circuit is doing), that will likely result in some unintended mix results when listening back later over other sound systems. The ideal monitoring headphone/loudspeaker situation is one that does not effect or color the sound, or as little as possible. Ultimately you don’t know where your sound will be played back (a user’s TV, earbuds, car, or hi-fi home theater), but the theory is the more accurate and transparent your monitoring situation the better the mix will translate across all possible sound systems. Ideally, that’s why a mix location should be quiet as well. There’s not really a great solution to mixing in a noisy environment, other than make it quieter or mix when there’s a minimum amount of external noise. Many people use open-back headphones when mixing (not tracking) because they tend to have more natural/transparent sound, so if it was really noisy I would again switch to close backed phones to give better isolation. I wouldn’t trust noise cancelling headphones to mix on, and they certainly aren’t a replacement for a good quiet room.
I also agree that comfort plays a big part in headphone selection. People just have different shaped heads and ears. Sometimes the coiled cord is great if you’re tied at the waist to a recorder and don’t want long dangling cords to get caught, and sometimes they’re restricting. For every single pair of headphones there are those that love em and those that absolutely hate them. Definitely check out reviews and try out different pairs to see what is comfortable for your own ears and everyday use.