So far I've been relying on a pair of Logitech desktop speakers, but now I'd like to get into mixing/mastering. Would it be best if I invest in a good pair of headphones (I think someone recommended Sennheiser HD25 in another thread) or studio monitor speakers?

Are there any specific brands anyone can attest to? Thanks all!

I had a pair of Shure headphones, before some buttface stole them. They were really nice, and if you can find a good deal, I'd recommend those. However, if you mainly do Chiptunes, and not much normie music, you might not need studio headphones. Keep in mind that early Chiptunes were listened to on televisions and beeper speakers. Unless I want to do stereo, or write some other electronic music, I just use a mono desktop speaker. A normal pair of mid-range headphones will get you the best of both worlds.

I've never had monitors, but I'd recommend, from what I've heard from others. Just make sure that your room has enough crap in it, that the sound doesn't bounce off the walls and make you think falsely about any delays or reverbs in your tracks.

Got a pair of Pioneer HDJ-500 for 120Can$ and this is the best pair I bought in my life ! ...and you can change the cord if something happens to it !

Thank you. I'll probably check out Guitar Center and see what they have there. I see they have the Pioneer headphones for $90 online.

Do you know what model of Shure headphones you had, warefaire?

By the way, I'm planning on doing more than chipmusic.

While a good pair of headphones is a necessity if you plan on doing "serious" mixing, they will never ever be as helpful as a proper pair of monitors. You don't need to aim for a pair of Genelecs, even just a pair of bog standard KRK or even Behringers will get you better result than any headphones out there. Headphones are terrible when it comes to properly mixing low end or doing any kind of spatial work because you literally have each speaker stuck to an ear. Ideally you need to get both monitors and headphones, but the monitors will give you much more bang for the buck in the end. A mid-range pair of monitors is still better than the absolute best headphones ever.

Sonically, most chipmusic is pretty simple and easy to mix in my opinion, and could be done well with even cheaper headphones if you really know what you're hearing.

From my experience, you can get better analytic, studio quality sound for cheaper with headphones than you can monitors, but you should have both.  There's so much variety of "studio" branded sound out their though, make sure to check frequency response graphs for the flattest sound signature you can get.

I'm using a pair of KAM-HP1's I picked up on a sale for around $100 and, to my ears, they're the flattest headphones I think I've ever used. They have a very revealing, deep and detailed sound that sounds higher tier than their price.

I used ath-m30's for a long time and I'd easily recommend those for chip if you're not looking to spend much. they're pretty close to neutral, and also sound a bit better than their price.

If you go for monitors, also try to soundproof your room as much as possible.
I haven't heard many monitors but KRK's have a warm colored and kinda muddy sound IMO. I'm using yamaha hs8's right now and I wouldn't completely recommend them because of some deep, weird scoops in the low mids and the 70-90Hz range. My roommate is using Alesis elevate-5's and I think they sound true and great for the low price.

Last edited by ShintarouMusic (March 5, 2017 2:46 am)

I think it's important to bear your audience in mind when making these kinds of choices.  For example, some producers will insist on mixing with iPod earbuds because they figure their audience is most likely to listen to their work with those and they want to get the best sound out of it in that specific application.  Maybe you're mixing for a car stereo.  Maybe you're mixing for a top-notch home stereo setup.  These are all things to consider.

Personally, I feel like good music should sound good on any setup and that the best way to guarantee that is working with good hardware first--a little bit like starting with a super high quality master track and compressing that to MP3 or AIFF for an album release.

That being said, I'm going to toss my opinion in the hat as far as gear goes.  I used to mix on KRK Rokit 5s and those did the job for a while.  I have since upgraded to the Yamaha HS7s and I personally really like them.  Whatever you do, though, I can't stress how much of a difference having a subwoofer can make.  I kept my KRK S10 from when I was rocking the KRK monitors and that thing has served me well over the years.

Basically everything n00bstar has said is spot on by the way!

I'll go ahead and play devil's advocate. My favorite headphones are "KOSS UR20"
You can find these over-the-ear headphones on Amazon for around 14-17 USD.

They are remarkably comfortable and have a very wide frequency response. No, they are not high-end or top-tier, whatever but they work well and probably reflect the average phone your audience is going to be using. They don't exaggerate bass, or filter noise; you get nothing but honest sound.

There are two important points with this:

You should know your listening setup very well,  and take the time to learn it if necessary. That way, if you know there is an exaggerated frequency, or a missing range, you can compensate.

It is good to have many listening targets available to make sure.

If you can do this, brands and prices aren't important.

Seeing as most of these are in the $100-200, I'll go ahead and look around for both a pair of monitors and headphones.

As for the subwoofer, how do you get a flat frequency? Move all the dials to the center? tongue I assume not all subwoofers are the same?

By the way, my room is about 12x20 feet, for whatever that's worth.

subwoofers are rarely involved when it comes to mixing and mastering since their whole point is to boost the bass (and pretty much only put out bass).. studio monitors are designed to have as flat a frequency response as possible, meaning that they neither add nor remove from any frequencies within the standard human hearing range (~20Hz-22kHz), so adding a subwoofer to the equation is only going to make it difficult to properly EQ the mix, i honestly would recommend against involving a subwoofer in the setup

I got a pair of 8" monitors to avoid getting an additional subwoofer.  Try to get at least a 6" monitor or larger if it's within your budget. That's the advice I've always been given when this topic comes up.

Lastly, this never gets stressed enough, but proper placement and room treatment will make a huge difference. There's plenty of youtube vids out there that can explain the scientifics of this for you better than I can smile

Last edited by 4ormal (March 6, 2017 3:24 pm)

i have a pair of mackie MR5's that are absolutely wonderful. you really don't need anything bigger than a 5" speaker for proper bass response if the monitors are designed well, these things can shake pretty much the whole house if i wanted them too (i actually have the volume trim on the speakers themselves almost all the way down so i won't do this on accident)
edit: also, +1 on Sennheisers.. i have a pair of HD202's  that sound great (not monitor quality, but pretty close. they exaggerate the bass a tiny bit, but less than skullcandy headphones or KRK monitors from my experience).. can't beat the price on them, apparently only $25 at this point

I went with a pair of LSR305's. After comparing it to the Rokit 5's, I found that the Rokits exaggerate the bass too much. The good thing is that all my music so far sounds like it was mixed well (I guess 'cause it's chip tongue).

I heard that speaker pads also make a difference, and I haven't bought those (yet). Thoughts?

By the way, I didn't purchase a warranty (don't have any pets or babies in the house), and I don't plan on moving these around, so is it really necessary?

Pads will make some difference. It's not night and day but it will help to mitigate vibrations making weird low frequencies in whatever material you set your speakers on. Especially useful if your speakers are on any kind of box-ish thing, like some desks or furniture. My own monitors are set up on big oldschool wooden PA speakers so I definitely need pads to avoid the PA speakers resonating with the monitors. However you don't really need to buy the space-age stuff manufactured under a full moon by naked virgin ninjas. Just get yourself some foam tiles and cut them to size. This stuff:

As far as warranty goes. Monitors aren't especially prone to break for no reason. Just make sure they're plugged into a surge protector of some kind. In fact all of your computer/studio stuff should be on a surge protector anyways.