Are Gaming Headphones OK For Mixing?

Mixing is a delicate job that requires some precision in order to carry it out well.

Therefore, ìts only right that one get the right gear to help them achieve this.

One question I recently got from a kid trying to get into music production is ; “are gaming headphones OK for mixing?”

This question really had me thinking and I thought about writing a full article about it to put the myths surrounding this topic to sleep.

I’ll therefore, give you as much information both about mixing and gaming headphones so you get a better idea of the necessary gear important for mixing in general.

With that said, are gaming headphones OK for mixing?

Gaming headphones are meant for pleasure listening not highly technical work like mixing, so NO, Gaming headphones should never be used for mixing music.

Gaming headphones

Let’s get into a simple overview of gaming headphones so we get a sense of our discussion. Mixing as you may or may not know involves getting vocals or instruments into a state that is sonically pleasing to listen to in audio production terms.

Pleasure listening

First things first, gaming has been a growing industry over the years. It used to be a pleasure thrill back in the day, but now it is more than that.

Gaming has become a job for most people. Thanks to the innovation that has come with online gaming as well as online broadcast media like YouTube and Twitch.

Gamers are now able to stream themselves playing video games online and can chat with others while they do. Gamers are also able to play video games with other people online without being physically in the same place.

So, let’s talk gaming headphones.

With the introduction of online video game playing, users now utilize headphones to play multi player games with other people online.

These headphones are meant to make the gaming experience more appealing and as real as possible by fully immersing Gamers in the games themselves.

By design such headphones are meant for pleasure listening and are optimized to fit this exact attribute.

Gaming headphones also have attached mics on them that allow the gamer to communicate and speak to other Gamers while they play the multi player game together.

Therefore, pleasure listening and ease of communicating are the two reasons why gaming headphones exist.

Sound transmission and user experience

Like I’ve mentioned. Gaming headphones are meant to provide pleasure to the listener .

With that said, you can easily tell that using them for anything other than that especially for something as complex as mixing audio would be the wrong thing to do.

So if you have a pair gaming headphones sitting around and you thought you might use them for mixing. I’d advise you not to because all you’ll do is get a bad mix.

You might want to get something a lot more specialised.

Gaming headphones are not meant for highly technical audio work, they’re meant for simply pleasure listening.

Mixing

There are lot of things that surround mixing and I’ll discuss some of these below so you get a sense of why I say gaming headphones should never be used for mixing.

High technicality

When we discuss mixing in audio production, we refer to a very highly technical job.

And mixing doesn’t always start with you opening up a digital audio workstation and throwing a bunch of effects around. It starts with choosing the right gear in order to avoid messing things up.

Which is why sound engineers by definition are people that can handle equipment, have good knowledge of it and can use it accordingly.

Gaming headphones are not specialized for the high technicality that comes with audio production.

Which means using them to mix would make the job not only harder but the end result would be pretty much not great.

Gaming headphones are not headphones you use for mixing music, they’re headphones you simply use to play music or enjoy enjoy audio experience of video games.

Attention to detail

The highly technical part of mixing is not just in the equipment and that sort of thing. It is also in the attention to detail…

When it comes to mixing audio, the key really is in the details.

Which means that you need to get a good and true representation of the audio you’re working on from your sound system.

If you’re using headphones, then you need to get headphones that can give you a flat frequency response.

Gaming headphones have too much Low end, so they are definitely a no no.

Clean audio

Mixing is all about getting clean audio and audiophiles obsess over this so much because they know the importance of getting a clean sounding mix.

One reason why you need a clean mix is because the music you work on will be played  on different sound systems.

Which means that a bad mix will stick out so easily.

To get a clean mix you need the right equipment…that is, equipment that can give you an actual depiction of the audio you’re working on.

This means you cant just go for any kind of headphones or speakers unless they’re optimized for music production and the manufacturer actually does specify this.

Gaming headphones are meant for gaming and are not ideal for things like mixing. You can use them to as a reference sound system after you’re done mixing with the right equipment but that’s about it.

Even then, you’ll most likely notice their over emphasis of some frequencies which is why you need to have other alternative reference sound systems.

Avoid using headphones For mixing

For beginners or advanced audio producers, I actually don’t recommend using headphones for mixing because they are limiting and make it difficult to perceive audio in a 3D sense like you would with studio monitors.

Studio monitors

They are optimized to provide a flat frequency response which will allow you to mix music more effectively and free of errors that you may encounter due to the use of the wrong sound system.