Headphones and/or correction software

Hi everybody,
after years when I mainly composed and recorded my music, I’m starting to go into more detail about mixing.
I have a couple of Adam A5-X monitors that I think are good for my room, not very large, but the room itself is not threated so I’m considering to purchase a decent pair of headphones .
I see there are a lot of options but I I wouldn’t spend much more than 300€.
I know openback models are best for mixing but maybe I would use them for tracking too (now I own an old pair of AKG K271, mkI, that I mainly use, and a pair of AKG K240 monitor and AKG K141 I rarely).

I would be grateful for advices and opinions even about tools like ID Sonarworks software compared to Slate VSX system, if anyone ever tried them.

Thank you very much for helping,


All ears are different and perceive sound differently. Some love closed, some love open. Some love the sound of AKG, some love the sound of Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Nuemann, Audeze or Shure?

The most important thing is that you find a set of headphones that sound good and natural to you and feel comfortable while wearing them.

First start the other way around! Play music you love and know well on different systems and try to find headphones that can match how this sounds.You can use all the (compensation) tools you like, like ID Sonarworks, Slate or Emerse to get there? But in the end it all comes down to your ears! How your ears can translate one signal to another.

The next step is to get so familiar with these headphones that you can start to translate what you hear on these and how it translates to how it sounds in your car, the speakers in your living room and even the little radio in your kitchen!

And learning this will be a trial and error process. Make mixes on your headphones and compare these to other systems until you know how it translates from your headphones to other systems.

This is the only way to get there!

Sorry, but there is no software that can do this for you!

I have both

Slate is more like a simulation. It does not correct your headphones. It simulates different studios and headphones and you need to use their headphones for this. I mostly use it for NS 10M and Auratone simulations.

Sonar creates an Eq curve according your headphones aiming to make it sound less colored. If you buy the measurement mic you can also use it for your speakers too. which helps a lot correcting a room

I use it with my Beyer DT 700Pro X but for example I prefer to use my ATH- R70X without it.

HI @Nickeldome, hi @ozinga,
thank you for answering.
My doubts about software correction or simulation are mainly about how much they would help me to really improve in mixing; so I basically agree with you, @Nickeldome; should I ever mix in a different contest, with no ‘external’ help, would I be able to get the same results?

Like @ozinga mentioned. There are basically 2 types of headphone software:

Mixroom/speaker simulation - Waves NX, Slate VSX, Embody Immerse.
Corrective - Sonarworks Sound ID, ToneBoosters Morphit

Both can be helpful in achieving your goals but if will be helpful for you I just can’t say?
I’ve tried Sonarworks for some time but to me it doesn’t offer extra value. I’ve chosen my headphones (Sennheiser HD600) because of how they sound. Correcting them to be supposedly flatter only makes them sound different. It doesn’t really help me in the translation.

I haven’t used any of the simulation programs so I can’t really comment on those but if you look at the video’s and reviews I personally doubt it will get you better mixing results? And frankly I think the more correction/simulation software you use the more confused you will get in translating because you are constantly changing your source of reference, which are your headphones.

Again, I think the most important is to learn how your headphones translate to other systems and you can only learn this by trial and error.

But I would also say just try it. Download a few demo’s and see what it can do for you?


HI @Nickeldome,
this is my fear, honestly, after a bit of researching, reading, and thinkin’ on this topic, and I exposed it, someway, in my previous post, so you confirm this.
At the end, probably, mixing learning is a path where shortcuts are not necessarily an advantage…
I think I’ll try to train more my ears, maybe using a useful site like Sound Gym that I discovered last summer and I also frequented a lot before I had to start working again; do you know it?

Thank you for helping,

p.s. do you know AKG K240 monitor headphones? It’s an old open back model I own and I used a lot for listening, in the past… Having a very high impedance, 600 ohm, unfortunately, they are not good with mobile device (I try to mix on iPad, using Cubasis, sometimes)

I have Sonarworks but only use it on my Monitors and not my mixing phones. And even though it does tweek the speaker’s response a bit, the bulk of the correction is for room related problems. Mainly because the speaker’s response curve is pretty good to start with, while the room is all over the place.

Currently I’m moving my studio & don’t have all the acoustic treatment installed yet. So I’ve got it turned off until I can generate an analysis of the new room. Can hardly wait to have it on again - things are sounding a bit harsh now. If I didn’t need room correction I wouldn’t use it on the speakers alone - agree with others about needing to know your sound sources.

HI @raino,
I have an untreated room, at the moment, so I was considering the option to mix in headphones to see if I can get better results; apart from any other consideration I’m convincing myself that knowing their own sound sources, and referencing, is the key…
As I wrote I guess that correction software and/or simulation ones would maybe help me in getting better mixes but not as much to become a better “sound engineer”…

Using the phones is a great solution for avoiding being mislead by a bad room. I’d recommend buying open backed phones and get a 2nd cheap closed back phones for tracking. I think the corrective tools are best used to correct problems in the environment, like the room. But less useful of sound sources like speakers and headphones where instead of investing in the correction software it makes more sense to use that money to buy better headphones.

You can check this site for your headphones eq curve.

It also gives you a way to correct by suggesting graphic eq numbers or convolution files.
Basically what sonar works does to a headphone but free. You can see if it helps. But as mentioned knowing your headphones and referencing good mixes in your style regularly while mixing is the best way to go.

Thank you @raino, I agree: I own AKG K271mkI yet, that I generally use for tracking, but I was thinking to buy something like AudioTechnica M40 or 50, because they are more portable, and I’m thinking of Beyerdynamic D990 or D900 (not sure names are correct but I mean the open back models) for mixing because I generally read good reports about them (always keeping in mind that there’s no an ultimate truth…)

Hi @ozinga, this is interesting, I’ll have a try! Thank you very much :slight_smile:

I fully agree! Sonarworks is great for speaker correction. To get the frequency response from the speakers up close as flat as possible. The impact of the reflections of the room is of course a whole different story?

I know the Beyerdynamics DT990 Pro because I used them for a few years and they are very good headphones. I recently heard the new (bit more expensive) DT900 Pro X and liked them very much.
I don’t think you can wrong with either one of these. But the DT900 Pro X is highly suitable for portable use because it’s low impedance of only 40 ohm, while the DT990 is not so much with its 250 ohm impedance.

Hi @Nickeldome,
sorry for my delay, I’m afraid I missed answer notification…
I think I’ll probably go with the DT900 pro X, as their low impedance is a plus for me :+1:t2:
Thank you for helping!