Musicians wear headphones while recording and performing for a variety of reasons. Since recording studios can be quite noisy, it’s possible for the reverberating sound to ruin the whole piece. In both instances, they need to hear themselves clearly to ensure that they perform in rhythm.
Why Musicians Where Headphones While Recording
Every talented musician knows that it takes a lot more than singing with passion and recording the subsequent audio. A professional studio has the equipment you need to produce, modify, and synchronize your music. While recording music, headphones play a significant role in the following instances:
1. Easy Communication with the Producer
The typical studio comprises microphone stands and microphones where vocalists and instrumentalists perform, and a separate control room for music production. In the control room, the producer, sound engineers, and other audio mixing professionals use consoles, equalizers, and effects units to synchronize the sound. While recording, all parties need to work together to make the necessary changes and improve the sound quality.
Rather than wearing headphones, most artists use in-ear monitors (IEMs) to get directions from the musical director and streamline the production process. Headphones allow producers, singers, and the entire production team to collaborate easily. Every band member must wear headphones for the team to work as a unit.
Besides looking stylish, conventional headphones are designed to emphasize certain frequencies to meet the preferences of a wide array of listeners. However, they can be quite detrimental for music production since it’s quite difficult to hear every sound clearly and make the necessary adjustments when mixing. That’s why a typical studio has different headphones for both recording and production.
2. To Listen to the Click Track
In this age of multi-track recording, each instrument is recorded separately and later mixed to create a single track. Recording each instrument individually provides more clarity, precision, and efficiency. Afterward, it’s quite easy for sound engineers to shape and mold the sound of each instrument independently. But first, it’s essential to create a click track or metronome to set the tempo and keep everyone in sync.
The producers use a backing track or a rhythmic accompaniment to help musicians play along while developing the vocals or synthesizing the instruments.
The sound engineer plays the click track through the musicians and instrumentalist’s headphones throughout the recording session. Most importantly the click track helps everyone involved to stay within the beat.
Even if the recording studio is equipped with the best soundproofing materials, it’s still possible for the recording microphones to pick some background noises. But when musicians wear in-ear monitors, they only receive the intended signal.
Why Musicians Where Headphones While Performing
Live performances contribute to a singer’s income and provide an opportunity to grow the fan base. During the show, it’s essential for the artist to heighten the performance and engage the audience. Quality headphones contribute to the success of such performances in the following ways:
1. Sound Isolation
Musicians wear headphones to block unnecessary noise during live performances. Since they wear these devices inside the ear canal, they reduce the noise levels and perform without distractions. Stage speakers can create acoustic problems as the music is highly amplified.
When placed in large halls, the sound might delay and adversely affect the singer and the entire band. In-ear monitors allow musicians to receive audio directly into their ears and provide the freedom they need to perform on stage. While producing music, the director can use studio headphones to determine the changes they need to make while fine-tuning the song.
Musicians wear headphones to listen to audio cues and set their own levels and synchronize the performance. When every band member wears the IEM, it’s possible to play in tune and rhythm.
Without the monitors, the band cannot sound as a unit as they cannot hear themselves sing or play. The IEMs can significantly improve the band’s performance. Musicians can ask for more or less guitar, violin, or drum, and will only hear what they need.
Music directors categorize studio headphones differently and each serves a particular purpose. Since musicians spend many hours in the studio, they can risk impairing their hearing if they don’t insist on the proper noise-cancelling features. Wireless connectivity gives musicians the freedom they need to record and play music without being tethered to any devices.
2. Customized Volume Levels
IEMs have a distinct advantage over conventional headphones as they help to control the in-ear music volume. The louder the music, the louder the band needs to sing to hear themselves clearly, and the noise is likely to create a cacophony on stage.
Since these devices have noise cancelling features, the musicians can listen to the music at their preferred volume levels. Besides making them feel comfortable, this feature protects them from hearing loss.
The types of headphones that musicians wear have a huge impact. In addition to conveying the sound signals, the headphones must be light and comfortable. It’s even possible for bassists to accentuate the bass and subdue the treble. By customizing every sound to the band’s requirements, musicians can improve the overall performance without going off tone.
While producing the bass sounds, drummers use ear monitors to direct the click track to their ears and ensure that the beat complements the sound from other instrumentalists.
With amplified floor monitors being directed to the musicians, they induce an overlapping sound that’s often misunderstood. If the musicians don’t hear themselves well, it’s natural to come close to the monitors or ask for more power.
Having more musicians in a concert means more floor monitors. The only way to prevent a hubbub on stage is to equip every musician with bespoke headphones and strike the right audio balance to avoid disturbing other musicians. Musicians wear an array of headphones that suit their individual requirements.
Why Musicians Need Headphones
Recording music is quite difficult as overlapping sound waves can degrade the sound, and that’s why artists must wear headphones. During live performances, the floor monitors cause immense distractions and make it difficult for the musicians to hear themselves clearly. Fortunately, the headphones, IEMs, and speakers are connected to the mixing console that makes it possible to adjust the audio settings for every instrument and vocalist.