The effect of headphone and loudspeaker monitoring on classical music mix balance
Classical music recording often is accomplished using mobile equipment and provisory listening conditions. Headphones are often preferred for location monitoring where the acoustic qualities of the mobile control room are unsatisfactory or unknown. Thanks to mobile multi-track recording many decisions about the final balance can be postponed to the postproduction stage which usually takes advantage of more trusted monitoring conditions. However, key parameters of the sound image still have to be judged right in place, including such irreversible decisions as sound source and microphone placement.
Sound engineers usually develop their own personal way of compensating the reproduction qualities of loudspeakers and headphones. It is, however, often related just to one specific model of headphones and one reference control room. Therefore, the current awareness about compatibility of headphone and loudspeaker reproduction is based on personal experience rather than objective psychoacoustic properties of the reproduction methods.