There must be a lot of people who use headphones regularly either
because of circumstances or because they prefer the sound. Yet one
wonders if record companies take this into account. One reads statements
by experts on the internet (of which there are many) that recordings are
produced for loudspeaker listening and that, as a result, headphone users
are, in a sense, being short-changed. The ideal, we are sometimes told,
is dummy-head recording (using only two microphones placed in the best
seat in the house) and issuing the recording with two discrete channels
(i.e. "Binaural"), thus producing a recording designed for headphone
listening, though hopeless for loudspeakers. There are some pretty
technical articles on the web advocating this way of recording and
listening and some of the authors of these articles get quite excited
about binaural recordings they have made of a dog running around the
garden (I'm not making this up); but there is no sign of any binaural
recording of the Ring cycle or, indeed, of any more modest composition.
Does anyone know of one? And is the whole concept a fallacy anyway?
What I do notice is that some recordings, and some labels, sound better
on headphones than others, though the same may not be said of hearing
the same records through loudspeakers. But I have the idea (tell me if
it is false) that recording engineers who mix the sound do so with
headphones over their ears, and, if that is the case, the argument that
commercial recordings are designed specifically for loudspeaker listening
seems a bit unconvincing.
Meanwhile I will not part with my Sennheiser HD600s, even though I did
confuse Rossini with Weber while wearing them.
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