Monitoring guide track with open-back headphones

thebarak

Senior Member
Has anyone tried monitoring a guide track with open back headphones in order to still hear their acoustic kit at the same time?

I know a lot have discussed isolation/closed back/in ears and that this is the opposite approach, but my application is not for hearing protection as I will not be hitting hard or playing with a guitarist etc. I basically want to privately play along to recorded tracks for solo practice and hear my kit very clearly.

So can anyone tell me their experience doing this with open-back headphones?
 

picodon

Silver Member
In my experience it's far too loud. You'd have to pump up the volume too much to hear the track. Vic Firth makes drummer headphones, they're not expensive, I use those. You will hear your kit very clearly. Of course the headphones insulation will deform the sound of the kit, but your ears get used to that.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Open back ‘phones are not a good idea as the volume of the music competes with the volume of the drums and could result in hearing damage. With phones like the Firth model mentioned you can keep the music volume low while playing along.
 

thebarak

Senior Member
Thanks for your replies picodon and cbphoto. I should have mentioned I am playing quiet jazz and need to hear the stick definition that normal closed back headphones take away. I have normal isolation cans and ear buds and neither works for this application. The kit is not that loud in the room and is not at dangerous volume levels. I am going to try out a cheap $6 pair of open headphones (on ear, foam pads, visible speaker) and if the theory works, then I'll try some good ones.

While my regular studio mixing headphones are not Vic Firth (Sennheiser HD280 pro) they are the same closed back, over the ear design. I cannot hear the sticking on the ride and other quiet subtleties with those on, and wearing one earbud feels like torture to me!
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
You have posted vids of you playing so you have a recording setup. Is there a reason why you can't pipe the music and drums through your iem/phones?
 

thebarak

Senior Member
You have posted vids of you playing so you have a recording setup. Is there a reason why you can't pipe the music and drums through your iem/phones?
Yes there is a reason. Thanks for noticing the videos. I use the simplest setup for recording, just that visible Tascam portable, so no other mics and no mixer and no monitor feed that can take a mixed in guide track. On some videos I played a guide track through one ear bud, which is a horrible way to play as you get your drums in one ear and the guide in the other. So that is why I will try open phones so I can play the guide track quietly, but right outside the ear, and I will still hear the live kit with 100% of it's noises etc. in my ears. For recording the open phones might bleed into the Tascam but for practice it does not matter.
 

thebarak

Senior Member
And they work! Sometimes the cheapest ideas have the best results. Decent amount of bass and I can hear the room as if I had naked ears.
 
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