You may have noticed that your favorite artist was wearing headphones during one of his/her recording sessions and wondered why is that so. You may have your own ideas as to what is the reasoning behind the setup but you are not sure if they are indeed the right reasons. If you are wondering why musicians wear headphones while recording, here are several reasons why.
Keep Things Clear
Artists record individual parts separately before layering them until they form a track. This process involves overdubbing on the parts that have already been recorded. The artist can then make adjustments without having everyone else record their parts over and over again. Through the use of headphones, every recording can be kept clear without any bleeding. Sound bleeding is when a mic designated for a certain sound captures other sounds that are unwanted. This can substantially implicate the ability to separate instruments and vocals during mixing.
In previous years when recording technology was still in the primitive era, most artists group up around several mics positioned in one room to perform their entire track in a single shot. This is often accompanied by instrument amplifiers and monitor speakers. Such as process made it difficult to have any impactful EQ changes during mixing as all the voices and instruments could be affected even as little as one minor change was made. By wearing headphones, artists can perform multitrack recording by plugging in the cable into a different device each.
The musical director may provide certain audio cues and music directions during a recording session. These cues and directions provide the artist to achieve better synchronization and deliver an outstanding performance. The headphones feed the cues and directions straight into their ears so the sound will not bleed out and be picked up by the recording mic.
During a live performance, headphones allow artists to hear themselves to check if they are singing at the right tempo with the background music. This provides them with better sound isolation as compared to using floor wedges. Headphones have great sound quality while blocking external noises so the artists can hear their personal mixes better.
Another reason why headphones are worn by artists is to be able to control the in-ear music volume while the overall stage-volume is reduced. Most professional headphones come with a noise-canceling feature so artists can listen to their tracks clearly at just the right volume. They will feel much more comfortable and get to preserve their hearing over the years.
Feedback can be eliminated when the sound and music are fed into the artist’s ear directly. On the other hand, through the use of flood wedges, the amplified music coming from the loudspeaker may be captured by the mics that are meant for the artists. This is a possibility when the monitor speakers and mics are positioned too closely together or when the mics are turned up.