Headphone Outputs Bass Heavy?

Do you all find that the headphone output is inaccurate, in that it is a little heavy on the bass compared to the main outs?

I inherited some supposed to be decent-ish monitors and have some consumer headphones.
when I get sounds with some nice saturated bass over the monitors it’s basically impossible to listen to it over the headphones without having my brain melt.
maybe a similar scenario?

I keep blaming this to my poor mixing skills and the lack of rudiment knowledge of audio engineering. (not that I’m saying you have that too)


your question opens the door to many complexities about the audio monitoring environment. forgive me if you are aware of the following already.

Firstly what sort of headphones are you using ?

Are they hi fi, dj, or specifically studio monitoring headphones ?

Many consumer headphones will deliberately elevate the bass response - and they can get away with it without fear of their signal being affected by the frequency response of the individual listening environment - because in the case of the phones, that environment is contained inside them and not outside. In a good set of DJ cans for example, where they are being used to beatmatch vinyl, it’s advisable to have a very strong and punchy bass response as the DJ will most likely be using the kick for sync and needs to hear it over the tune coming out of the PA. Likewise with hi fi cans designed for electronic music. You want to be able to compensate for not feeling the bass in your body as you would if you were listening at volume in a room so the bass is enhanced. Many hi fi amps also allow you to switch in bass boost so you can hear the bass at lower amp volumes…

At other times it is not deliberate per se but simply the result of there being no room factors to interfere with the audio - dimensions, angled surfaces, audio reflectivity etc combinations of which can cause phenomena such as the boundary effect. Here the soundwaves reflect off walls and cause comb filtering or phase cancellation whereby certain frequencies (especially noticeable in the bass range) are enhanced, softened or in some cases rendered inaudible. This is why your monitors and your listening environment are sooooooo important and why studios will pay fortunes to create the best and most neutral monitoring situation possible.

I would hazard that what you are experiencing is far more likely to be as a result of the type of headphones you are using, your monitors and their setting than any boosting or otherwise of the frequencies being emitted from your main and headphone outputs.

Along with the quality of your monitors and your phones, the characteristics of your room are going to have a huge effect on your ability to balance the mix especially in the bass spectrum.



this is what I am using.

Also, I was monitoring the recording I made through my portable recorder, through which I was receiving the output from the main out and thought it sounded thin in the bass as I recording. I had not freq cut on the portable recorder.

Ok I have no personal experience with your cans but they come well recommended…better for tracking than mixing though from what i gather.

In any case it’s possible that monitoring through your recorder is clouding the issue too.

By the way if you are doing your final mix on your pc (it’s not standalone) using your cans check these out. A mobile mix engineer mate of mine swears by them…


After some experimentation, it seems to be more a property of the recording device. I am not tracking on a computer…straight out of the OT main outs.