If you have a quality headphone distribution system such as Hear Technology’s Hear Back, setting up and using multiple headphone mixes is relatively simple and straight forward.
Depending on the particular system you are using in your studio, the steps will vary slightly. But for this example, the Hearback is the system we will be using.
Here are 5 the steps in order:
1. Group your tracks logically
Depending on the session, the groupings may vary somewhat, but generally they look something like this: Bass, Drums, Guitar, Vocals.
2. Send each group of instruments to its own stereo output
The sends will probably go something like this: Bass-Outputs 3/4, Drums-Outputs 5/6, Guitar-Outputs 7/8, Vocals-Outputs 9/10.
3. Connect the outputs of your audio interface to the inputs of your Hearback Hub
Here you have the choice of connecting with either an analog cable snake or a digital ADAT cable.
Definitely opt for the digital cable.
It can transfer all 8 channels in just one cable. On top of that, since it’s going to have to be converted to digital again anyway, you might as well save yourself 2 conversions by keeping things digital.
4. Connect each of the four personal Hearback mixers to the Hub
The mixers are connected together with a digital cat5e cable. In addition to carrying the audio channels, the cat5e cable also sends power to the individual mixers.
5. Allow the musician to adjust the volume of each group to his liking
The beauty of this system is that each musician can control the level of his own instrument in relation to the mix without any assistance from the engineer.
With a quality headphone distribution system, and some basic knowledge of headphone mixes, you can set up your sessions in a way that will make headphone monitoring for musicians as simple and easy as possible.