< back to blog Spatial Headphone Compensation - a new level of reference
08.11.2021 / spatial audio monitoring

Spatial Headphone Compensation - a new level of reference


 

Virtual monitoring is one of the most compelling new opportunities in today's audio production environment. It combines the advantages of mixing via loudspeakers and mixing on headphones. Learn more about virtual monitoring and experience how your mixing can become far easier and the results even better.

What is virtual monitoring?

Simply put, virtual monitoring simulates listening in a great mix room with speakers through headphones. Relying on advanced spatial audio technology, you get the same three-dimensional depth and panoramic stereo image as you would mixing via speakers in an acoustically extensive treated room. Concurrently, using good studio headphones, you have a detailed and high-precision monitoring system that enables you to focus undisturbed on your mix, everywhere and anytime. Doesn't that sound amazing at all?

Known DRAWBACKS USING HEADPHONES

Usually, headphone playback distorts the left-right image. As a result, the stereo image becomes non-linear and ill-defined due to missing interaural timing information. And it doesn't matter what type or brand of headphones you choose. You will always perceive the sound inside of your head, running in a straight line through the center. Therefore, judging stereo signals or panning mono sources is difficult on headphones.A man is mixing with its headphones. He seems a bit sceptical.

 

SOLUTION: Virtual Monitoring

Our virtual monitoring plugins solve this problem by recreating the perception of mixing through speakers in an acoustically ideally treated room. So even though you are using headphones, you perceive the sound out of your head right there in front of you or even surrounding you if using an immersive multi-channel speaker setup.

How does it all work?

The virtual monitoring technology is based on binaural 3D audio rendering. It's an advanced spatial technology to recreate sound via headphones the way we hear the world around us. Using signal processing, an audio signal delivered through headphones is perceived by our brain to originate from a real-world sound source at a specific position - in this case, as a loudspeaker in a control room. Binaural 3D audio is Dear Reality's core competence and our passion. Our dearVR plugins have a worldwide reputation for the sound of their binaural rendering.a man is mixing via headphones with dearVR MONITOR

 

Spatial Headphone Compensation

A new improvement and one critical factor for the high level of reliability in our virtual monitoring plugins is our Spatial Headphone Compensation (SHC) feature. Integrated into dearVR MIX and dearVR MONITOR, this technology ensures an optimized mix room virtualization by considering the individual sound characteristics of 44 different studio headphone models.

We handpicked the most well-known studio headphones models for the Spatial Headphone Compensation feature and created individual profiles to match the headphone's frequency response with our spatial rendering. Binaural 3D audio rendering relies on specific filters, which leads us to the situation that typical headphones frequency responses tend to counteract this effect. With Spatial Headphone Compensation, you will get a perfect out-of-head localization and binaural rendering with an accurate frequency response, depth perception, and localization for your headphone model.a screenshot of dearVR MONITORs featured headphone models

 

Adaptable Sound Characteristic

Every headphone profile also has two filter sets, one with a linear phase (FIR) and one with minimum latency (IIR). Both filter types are known to have their ups and downs: FIR filters do not introduce phase-shifting but create more latency and pre-ringing. On the other hand, IIR filters have little latency but raise phase-shifting around the center frequency. Finally, we also added two shelving filters for an additional individual customization of each headphone profile. With all these features, nothing stands in the way for you to use your studio headphones as your own perfect, customized mix room!

Support for 44 Studio Headphones

Of course, the quality of your headphones matters. Simply because it is an essential part of the applied monitoring chain. That's why we focused only on worldwide known studio headphones for our Spatial Headphone Compensation list. We can't turn a cheap and inferior headphone into a reference-grade mix room even with advanced spatial audio technology. We will continuously add support for further studio headphone models in the future. Check the current list, and please give us feedback on which headphones you are using for mixing here.

Mixing on any pair of Headphones

It is essential to add that our monitoring plugins dearVR MIX and dearVR MONITOR work with ANY pair of headphones. Even if you are not using the new Spatial Headphone Compensation filter, the plugin recreates the spatial acoustic response of a masterfully designed studio control room. Thus, you get a professional reference for your mixes to better translate to speakers. However, if you do not use spatial headphone compensation, you must consider the individual frequency response of your headphones.a man is mixing with its laptop in his living room

 

Conclusion

Our virtual monitoring plugins dearVR MIX and dearVR MONITOR open up amazing new opportunities for everyone into audio production:

  • Get an additional reference besides your loudspeaker to create your mixes on headphones - without all the previous unavoidable drawbacks of headphone listening.
  • Experience a professional reference mix room – essential especially if your mix room is not perfectly acoustically treated.
  • Enjoy the opportunity to mix everywhere and anytime simply by using headphones.
  • Start mixing your tracks in immersive multi-channel audio formats without investing in additional speakers.

 

Just try it out and hear for yourself how dearVR MIX and dearVR MONITOR help you mixing with greater ease and fun. It is just as simple as using the plugin itself!Place yourself in the sweet spot with dearVR MIX.

discover dearVR MONITOR - your perfect mix room