Recording - January 2013 - 49
the studio where setups are changing daily (unless it’s your studio and you only record your own band), setting up the headphone system for a session, patching inputs, and making labels for the control boxes so the musicians know which knob controls what, can be quite time consuming. Flexibility has its costs! The iGadget revolution Many of today’s digital mixing consoles offer as many as a dozen auxiliary outputs which can be configured as stereo buses, available to drive headphones through an outboard headphone amplifier such as the body pack of a wired or wireless headset. While time consuming, it’s straightforward on such a console to set up six individual stereo headphone mixes. But recently, console manufacturers (starting with PreSonus on their StudioLive consoles) have discovered that the Apple iPad can, with a custom application, become a remote controller for the console. Take the tablet out to where the players are and you can tweak headphone mixes on the spot. The next step, which happened pretty quickly once the “remote mixing” concept took off, was an iPhone app allowing band members to “log in” and adjust their own monitor mixes. While this was first conceived for live sound, it’s also well suited to
the studio. Since many remote-controllable consoles can also serve as a DAW audio interface, recorded tracks are available for playback through the console at the touch of a button, taking the same path to the headphones as when the track was recorded. In addition, nearly all digital consoles allow you to save a snapshot of all the settings, so it’s easy to recall the headphone mix from the previous session when it’s overdub time. Setting up such a system requires some knowledge of computer networking as well as a thorough understanding of how to set up permissions so the drummer doesn’t accidentally boost the snare in the lead singer’s headphones. Typically there’s an outboard computer involved which is connected to the console and provides the remote-control functions. The computer connects to a Wi-Fi router which provides a communication link to the remote mobile devices. The mobile devices control the computer software, which in turn controls the console. Bands are jumping onto this concept since it has become affordable. With equipment costs being spread among band members (typically they buy their own ‘phones and iGadget), the band’s investment is limited to the console, computer, and router. Console makers must constantly update their remote software to
keep it working in the rapidly changing world of tablets, phones, computers, and operating systems. The hi-fi headphone amplifier To bring us back to where we started (Figure 1, for example), there are single input/output headphone amplifiers that just sound very good and are designed to provide plenty of volume with any headphone, at very low distortion. This family includes straightforward high-quality stereo amplifiers, tube amplifiers for the audiophiles, and perhaps incorporate a D/A converter to go straight from a digital source to the ‘phones. Of course you’ll need some very fine headphones to get your money’s worth from such a device. This would not be something you’d use on stage, but you’d see it in the studio or perhaps in the mastering lab. Sit back and listen So there you have it, a short overview of the various things that we call a “headphone amp.” You can see that there are many variations and each has its specific applications. Choose the right type for your job and you’ll monitor happily. Mike Rivers (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an audio engineer and gear designer living near Washington, DC.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - January 2013
Recording - January 2013
Table of Contents
2012 AES Convention Report.
Universal Audio Apollo.
ADAM Audio F5 and F7 Monitors.
Earthworks ZDT 1022 Mic Preamp.
Trident HG3 Close Field Monitoring System.
AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition Headphones.
Grace Design m903 Reference Headphone Amplifier.
Monitors & Monitoring.
Lauten Atlantis FC-387 Condenser Microphone.
Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 13: Monitors Part 2.
PreSonus BlueTube DP V2.
Getting Into Your Head.
Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones.
iOS Music Tools: Last-Minute Audio Gifts!
Sennheiser HD800 Headphones.
2012 Annual Index.
Recording - January 2013 - Recording - January 2013
Recording - January 2013 - Cover2
Recording - January 2013 - 1
Recording - January 2013 - 2
Recording - January 2013 - 3
Recording - January 2013 - Fade In.
Recording - January 2013 - 5
Recording - January 2013 - Table of Contents
Recording - January 2013 - 7
Recording - January 2013 - Talkback.
Recording - January 2013 - 9
Recording - January 2013 - 2012 AES Convention Report.
Recording - January 2013 - 11
Recording - January 2013 - 12
Recording - January 2013 - 13
Recording - January 2013 - 14
Recording - January 2013 - 15
Recording - January 2013 - 16
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Recording - January 2013 - 18
Recording - January 2013 - 19
Recording - January 2013 - Universal Audio Apollo.
Recording - January 2013 - 21
Recording - January 2013 - 22
Recording - January 2013 - 23
Recording - January 2013 - ADAM Audio F5 and F7 Monitors.
Recording - January 2013 - 25
Recording - January 2013 - Earthworks ZDT 1022 Mic Preamp.
Recording - January 2013 - 27
Recording - January 2013 - Trident HG3 Close Field Monitoring System.
Recording - January 2013 - 29
Recording - January 2013 - AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition Headphones.
Recording - January 2013 - 31
Recording - January 2013 - 32
Recording - January 2013 - 33
Recording - January 2013 - Grace Design m903 Reference Headphone Amplifier.
Recording - January 2013 - 35
Recording - January 2013 - Monitors & Monitoring.
Recording - January 2013 - 37
Recording - January 2013 - 38
Recording - January 2013 - 39
Recording - January 2013 - Lauten Atlantis FC-387 Condenser Microphone.
Recording - January 2013 - 41
Recording - January 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 13: Monitors Part 2.
Recording - January 2013 - 43
Recording - January 2013 - PreSonus BlueTube DP V2.
Recording - January 2013 - 45
Recording - January 2013 - Getting Into Your Head.
Recording - January 2013 - 47
Recording - January 2013 - 48
Recording - January 2013 - 49
Recording - January 2013 - Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones.
Recording - January 2013 - 51
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Recording - January 2013 - 53
Recording - January 2013 - 54
Recording - January 2013 - 55
Recording - January 2013 - Readers’ Tapes.
Recording - January 2013 - 57
Recording - January 2013 - iOS Music Tools: Last-Minute Audio Gifts!
Recording - January 2013 - 59
Recording - January 2013 - 60
Recording - January 2013 - 61
Recording - January 2013 - Sennheiser HD800 Headphones.
Recording - January 2013 - Advertiser Index.
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Recording - January 2013 - 2012 Annual Index.
Recording - January 2013 - 71
Recording - January 2013 - Fade Out.
Recording - January 2013 - Cover3
Recording - January 2013 - Cover4