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SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

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SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby MOF » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:03 pm

I mostly agree with Drew Alexander but I think he should have mentioned checking the mix at moderate levels with speakers for panning and level issues (particularly vocals) before signing off his mix.
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby The Elf » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:17 am

I can only speak for myself, but that 'final check' is really not necessary if you truly can complete your mix in headphones. I normally give my mixes a speaker check, but for many years I've not found anything from speakers that I haven't already deduced in the headphones. This idea that speakers *have* to be involved to 'make sure it's right' is a bit of a tea-cake.
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:47 am

MOF wrote:I think he should have mentioned checking the mix at moderate levels with speakers for panning and level issues (particularly vocals) before signing off his mix.

To be fair, he was writing about why he loves headphones, not delivering a masterclass on mixing techniques... and the word count for that item in the magazine is quite limited.

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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:09 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:To be fair, he was writing about why he loves headphones, not delivering a masterclass on mixing techniques... and the wordcount for that item in the magazine is quite limited.

Yep, that was my first thought too - I've written one of those 'Why I love...' pieces, and they only have a 600 word count, so you end up having to trim almost everything that's not essential to your main point ;)


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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:12 pm

The Elf wrote:I can only speak for myself, but that 'final check' is really not necessary if you truly can complete your mix in headphones. I normally give my mixes a speaker check, but for many years I've not found anything from speakers that I haven't already deduced in the headphones. This idea that speakers *have* to be involved to 'make sure it's right' is a bit of a tea-cake.

I still do various loudspeaker checks (particularly on a tiny grot box that confirms a suitable balance of the kick/bass elements for those listening on earbuds), but most of my mixing now takes place under headphones with my AKG K712 Pro's, and invariably when I next check on my main loudspeakers the mix sounds better than it did.


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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby ManFromGlass » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:43 pm

Just curious why in this digital age there is a word count maximum? Does the online version have a maximum size limitation due to bandwidth or device memories?

I think back to the days of print and remember a particular review of the Roland S-770 (760?) that went on for pages and pages. The review was brilliant and I loved it, as were the other in-depth reviews. SOS was always consulted, and still is, before I part with any cash.
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:52 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:Just curious why in this digital age there is a word count maximum? Does the online version have a maximum size limitation due to bandwidth or device memories?

All the different parts of SOS (features, software/hardware reviews, technique articles, columns etc...) tend to have well established target wordcounts, mainly for the printed magazine, since costs (both for printing and posting to all parts of the world) are directly linked to how many pages are in each issue.

Yes, some of the more important reviews and features can extend over several pages, and occasionally even more, but there's nearly always an upper wordcount target in mind when they are commissioned, so that the layout of the mag can be anticipated in advance.

In my experience SOS are the most liberal and flexible when it comes to wordcounts - some magazines not only specify wordcounts, but also how many boxouts, diagrams, & screenshots are to be included, as they have a very fixed way of laying things out.


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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:05 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:Just curious why in this digital age there is a word count maximum?

Further to Martin's comments, SOS is still fundamentally a paper magazine and, given the economics of printing, the page count is inherently limited. That, in turns, means that the word counts of the various sections of the magazine are also limited. However, we do publish more and longer (meaning more in-depth) reviews than any other music technology magazine anywhere in the world.

However, you are quite right in that this inevitable restriction of the physical magazine doesn't apply to the digital versions -- both tablet and online. As a result, both routinely carry additional, enhanced, or extended material compared to the paper magazine -- content which is 'nice to have' rather than fundamental. An example from the latest issue is my review of the Pultec EQ, where the online and tablet versions contain additional information in the form of side info boxes and test charts.

It's about added value, you see? :D

In the fullness of time, paper printing may become uneconomic, or deemed environmentally abusive, or just go out of fashion with the next technologically-dependent generation, in which case we'll all be able to write pages and pages on our innermost thoughts of the products we review without limitation....

But then again, I don't think a review or feature article has ever been written by anyone that hasn't benefitted from some judicious editing, and imposing a word count limit is a very good way of focusing the authors' minds! :lol:

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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:32 pm

Can we get more gutshots on the online version please? Don't see many of them in the mag (for understandable reasons) but I love looking at the internal layout of nicely engineered hardware.
When I worked in a hifi store in Amsterdam, whenever we got a new product in, especially amplifiers, the first thing we did was pop the top off for a look inside. :)
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby Wonks » Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:44 pm

As the back page article is generally written by readers rather than standard article contributors, having a word limit does help them keep things to a sensible length and force them to think about the core ideas of what they want to get across. If there was no word limit, things can drift too much and points fail to get made. Which then makes it much harder work for the SOS editors to get it into a meaningful form.
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby MOF » Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:01 pm

I can only speak for myself, but that 'final check' is really not necessary if you truly can complete your mix in headphones.
My problem is the perception of panning and levels “inside” my head, I find that vocals sound great on headphones but on speakers either too loud or quiet and there’s no way of anticipating in advance which way that will go.
I get the printed version of SOS by subscription and have done for years, it would be nice not to have to pay extra for a download version.
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:11 pm

MOF wrote:I get the printed version of SOS by subscription and have done for years, it would be nice not to have to pay extra for a download version.

Yea, it would be 'nice'... But this is a business and I believe the universal law of commerce is that to get more, you pay more! :lol:

To be fair, the digital subscription is actually less expensive than the paper magazine sub. Naturally, the paper+digital sub costs more, but then you're getting more too. It's also worth remembering that the online content all becomes free after 5 months too.

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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby MOF » Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:39 pm

I’m a traditionalist I guess, I like to get my copy through the post and prefer reading magazines and books in paper form.
I didn’t realise that there was extra material in the digital version and that’s where I felt it was unfair to have to pay extra.
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby The Elf » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:06 pm

MOF wrote:
I can only speak for myself, but that 'final check' is really not necessary if you truly can complete your mix in headphones.
My problem is the perception of panning and levels “inside” my head, I find that vocals sound great on headphones but on speakers either too loud or quiet and there’s no way of anticipating in advance which way that will go.
I never 'anticipate' anything. I just mix the song to sound right and it sounds right - in my headphones or out of them. The simple answer is that to mix in headphones you have to practice doing it - over and over and over... in just the same way that you would with speakers. Eventually you stop 'anticipating' what the mix will sound like out of the headphones and you just... do it!

As to panning... get them out WIDE - none of this 'nearly' panning! Yes, it may sound odd at first, but eventually your ears will accept it, and it will sound fine. Hard-panning will pull sounds towards you, which may be what the mix needs; if not then a bit of opposite lock delay/reverb or stereo reverb will help - and your mix will sound better for it. Whatever makes the mix sound good will work - trust your ears.

Having damned good headphones is the first step. These are as personal as speakers. I have AKG 701/702/712 and Sennheiser 605 in my collection. The AKGs are my most trusted. Others will differ. I couldn't mix in DT100s, though in the past I've tried.

It's not for everyone, and many people will tell you that it can't be done - but those people are wrong. For *them* it may be true, but not for me - and I'm discovering that I am far from alone!
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby Forum Admin » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:12 pm

blinddrew wrote:Can we get more gutshots on the online version please? Don't see many of them in the mag (for understandable reasons) but I love looking at the internal layout of nicely engineered hardware.
When I worked in a hifi store in Amsterdam, whenever we got a new product in, especially amplifiers, the first thing we did was pop the top off for a look inside. :)

It's in our plans going forward to enhance the online web versions of articles with such elements as extra screenshots, extra internal photos, and ideally more audio examples.

For the little extra we ask to be paid for the full-fat combo of Print+Digital, readers do get an awful lot: 12 print magazines way cheaper than 12x the newsstand cover price, plus web article access 24/7/365, plus 12 cross-platform tablet editions that are accessible forever even if they don't renew their sub, and most recently we've bolted on 12 Full Issue PDFs that can be downloaded onto smartphones, Amazon Fire and tablet models that are not compatible with our App-based iOS/Android edition. The monthly FI-PDFs sell for 3.99GBP each -- so that's an extra £47.88 no Digital or bundle subscriber has had to pay for... and that represents extremely good value in any one's book.
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:57 pm

More than happy with the value, this forum alone is priceless, i just like gutshots! :)
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby Forum Admin » Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:05 pm

blinddrew wrote:More than happy with the value, this forum alone is priceless...

:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

i just like gutshots! :)

Me too. When I was Assistant Editor (Recording) on Electronics & Music Maker magazine back in the Eighties, we habitually took the top off every rack-mount unit, synth, effects pedal that crossed the editorial office's paths. It was how we checked on components, converters and quality of soldering/wiring etc (like Hugh does now in many of his reviews).

We'll endeavour to feature more gut-shots at least in the online versions where space is unlimited.
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby desmond » Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:18 pm

Yeah, internals were much more a feature of E&MM, but then it was also a kind of electronics magazine as well so there was a dual interest there. They did go into some detail how gear was designed and worked, down to chip specs and everything..!
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:29 am

I have been a subscriber to various versions of SOS on and off (and mostly on) for many years. Sometimes I read the mag from cover to cover, others I may have copies stacked up unread (which is usually why I have taken a year out). A couple of years ago a thread talking about the way SOS operates as a small company prompted me to renew my digital sub and I intend to continue to be a subscriber for the foreseeable future, this forum is enough to justify it and, while I'm not in a phase of reading the mag cover to cover as soon as it arrives I'm sure I will do so again soon.
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Re: SOS February 2019 back page comments. Why I love headphones.

Postby ManFromGlass » Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:22 am

Ha! Not being of a technical background and due to spending too many years working with dancers and their morbid fear of obesity, can you imagine the first image that came to mind when the word gutshots appeared? :mrgreen: :bouncy: :mrgreen:
Thanks for today’s chuckle!

I will continue to subscribe to online thanks to the ability to make the fonts bigger!

I have found I can now do good mixes with the Shure SRH 1840s and boy, are they comfortable on my weird shaped head!
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