Editing with headphones for voice over

Do most y’all edit with your recording headphones? One of Koz’s previous suggestions is to not edit with the volume on really high. I feel the same way with my recording headphones (Senal), which I can hear everything. If I use Bose headphones, I don’t hear half as much detail and I wonder what is appropriate for the typical end-user listening to recordings.

If you have the ability, recording your voice while on headphones is highly recommended because of your automatic tendency to self-level.

There’s nothing quite like getting to the end of a chapter and the presentation is almost submission-ready with no wild volume variations.

You’ll never hit that exactly because the recommendations for reading volume and submission volume are different, but still.

And yes, the two recommendations for headphones, Koss Pro-4 (and his kids) and the Hollywood favorite Sony MDR-7506 are valuable for different reasons, but I wouldn’t want to listen to a movie on either one. The Pro-4 forms a surgical seal on my head and weighs as much as a Land Rover. That’s how they got the sound performance.

The 7506 claim to fame (besides a great many physical tricks) is the ability to show you errors on a movie set before anybody else finds them.

Maybe not the headphones you want to enjoy a movie.

I would have bet we had a list of tested headphones. There are a couple of Sennheiser models highly thought of.

But mastering is different. The task there is to make a desirable and pleasant presentation. You can do that on headphones if you have to, but I would do it on a good stand-alone music system.

I have a joke of not using speakers you can hold in one hand. It’s a given that earbuds and most laptop speakers need not apply.

Environment (noise, echoes) and good speakers are of paramount importance for live presentation and usually end up at the bottom of new presenter’s shopping list.


In mastering, there is another consideration. Check your work on the sound system most likely to be used by the client and customer.

But I don’t think I would actually master like that. You could get the Dog Chasing Tail problem. Yes, the show sounds perfect on earbuds, but on any other sound system, it’s unlistenable.

"Are you going to do anything about that rumbly traffic noise in the background of your show?

“What rumbly traffic noise?”

I’m not making that one up.


You can get into the English discussion.

Is Voice Over hyphenated? Voice-Over? What’s the plural? Voice Overs or Voices-Over? Over is a preposition and should not be pluralized.

Given the American fondness for adding prepositions at will, should it be Voice On Up Over (but only in the US)?


…and I wonder what is appropriate for the typical end-user listening to recordings.

Pro mixing & mastering engineers don’t use headphones as their primary monitors (unless they are making a binaural or “headphone” recording).

Pros use good studio monitors in a “good room”. And, most pros have a known-good CD (etc.) of the same genre to use as a reference to keep their “ears calibrated”. Then, they check the recording with earbuds, headpones, in their car, maybe on their home TV, etc.

You may not have studio monitors or a studio, but you can check your production on everything you can get your hands on, and compare it to a known-good commercial release. Without good monitors (and without years of experience) it’s going to take more back-and-forth between your “studio” and all of these other systems but if you’re starting-out with a good recording you should be able to get something that sounds similar to the commercial release.

From Recording Magazine:

As those of you who have followed this column for any length of time can attest, > headphone mixing is one of the big no-no’s around these parts. In our humble opinion, headphone mixes do not translate well in the real world, period, end of story. > Other than checking for balance issues and the occasional hunting down of little details, they are tools best left for the tracking process.