In general, mixing with headphones is not recommended because you could produce some wonky results. You would want to have one ear out to at least be able to listen to other sounds other than those coming from your main monitors for referencing. Even so, there are still great beneficial effects that you stand to enjoy when mixing with headphones.
A great pair of mixing headphones does not come cheap. A really high-quality pair of headphones can also be equally costly but even the best headphones out there will still likely to be much more affordable as compared to studio monitors. With that being said, you can easily find plenty of affordable yet highly efficient headphones for DJ purposes. They can range in the hundreds whereas some basic studio monitors can already fetch triple that price tag.
Work Silently Around the Clock
This is one of the most obvious reasons of using headphones for mixing. Regardless of the time, you can work silently on your mixing without having to become public nuisance to your loved ones and neighbors. A pair of expensive studio monitors is not ideal in a world where you need to work on your mixing until the wee hours of the morning which is the norm for most mixing projects. It also works both ways. Your noisy cousins or loud neighbors will not distract you from achieving optimal results.
Headphones are highly portable. This means that you can bring your setup almost anywhere you go which is highly ideal for travels. Just throw in your laptop and your good pair of headphones and you are good to go for some good mixing. Whether you need to go over to a friend’s place, the studio, or even in the plane, headphones are the ideal choice. This is something you should consider if you are in between projects and commuting with your setup is a regular norm.
When it comes to sound quality, the majority of professionals are most likely to tell you that studio monitors will emerge as the winner when contesting against headphones. However, this might not be entirely true because headphones do provide the DJ the ability to achieve precise listening. This is due to the fact that our ears are sandwiched in between the headphones which allow us to listen in much greater detail. Hence, we will be able to concentrate on the finer distinctions of a mix.
We are not saying that studio monitors lack detail, but it is that physical element of being within close proximity to our ears is how headphones can deliver a different listening sensation. Studio monitors can be positioned up to several feet away, hence we lose that amplified listening capability.
Adding on the previous pointer about being able to work silently, headphones also let us mix in privacy. For beginners or those who are conscious of their work, headphones will enable them to switch off from the outside world momentarily. This allows them to focus on their project and give it their 100% undivided attention.