For music producers and audio engineers, the choice between headphones and monitors for mixing and mastering can be a head-scratcher. Both offer distinct advantages, and the ideal setup often depends on your specific needs and your environment. Let’s delve into the world of headphones vs. monitors, exploring their strengths and weaknesses to help you decide which path to take to get the best results.

Stepping into the Studio with Monitors

Studio monitors, like the LA-X Range by Lambden Audio, are the workhorses of professional studios. They provide a flat frequency response, meaning they reproduce sound accurately, without unwanted emphasis on certain frequencies. This neutrality lets you make informed mixing decisions that translate well across different listening environments (speakers, headphones, car stereos).

The LA-X Range of Studio Moniotrs by Lambden Audio

Benefits of Monitors:


Studio monitors prioritise accuracy, meaning they strive to reproduce sound as faithfully as possible. Unlike some speakers that boost or cut certain frequencies, monitors deliver a flat frequency response. This allows you to hear your audio exactly as it is, without any colouration that could mislead you. This becomes crucial when making mixing decisions. You can trust what you’re hearing, allowing you to create a balanced mix that translates well across different listening environments (speakers, headphones, car stereos).

Stereo Imaging

Stereo imaging is how instruments appear positioned across your left and right speakers. Proper speaker positioning is crucial for stereo imaging. When your speakers are set up correctly, the physical separation creates a wider stereo field, allowing you to precisely place instruments within it for a richer listening experience. Want to learn more about optimising your speaker setup for stereo imaging? Check out this blog!

Low-End Detail

Studio monitors are designed to accurately reproduce low frequencies with more detail. This allows you to hear the nuances of your bass, like the attack and decay, which helps you balance it better. By clearly hearing the “bottom end” of your mix, you can avoid adding too much or too little bass. This leads to a tighter, punchier low end that translates well to any speaker system.

However, monitors are not without limitations…

Considerations for Monitors:

Room Acoustics

The space you place your studio monitors into plays a huge role in how efficiently they operate. Unwanted reflections and resonances bounce around the room, colouring the sound with muddiness or harshness. This makes it difficult to hear your mix accurately, especially the low end. The good news is you can fix this! By treating your room with acoustic panels and bass traps, you can absorb these reflections and create a more reliable listening environment. This lets you hear your mix exactly as it is, leading to better mixing decisions and mixes that translate well to any speaker system. To find out more about acoustic treatment check out this blog!

Volume Fatigue

Cranking the volume while mixing might seem like a good way to hear details, but it can actually hurt your ears in the long run. This is called ear fatigue, and it messes with your ability to make good decisions about your mix.

Mixing at lower volumes will help you avoid ear fatigue. This lets you hear your mix accurately for longer periods, leading to better mixing choices and a healthier listening experience.

Space Requirements

Not all studios are created equal! The size of your room plays a big role in choosing the right studio monitors. Bigger monitors might sound amazing, but they might overpower a smaller space.

The good news: there are fantastic studio monitor options for all sized spaces! Check out this blog to find the perfect fit for your studio.

Diving into the World of Headphones

Studio headphones such as the LAH-220 by Lambden Audio offer a more intimate listening experience. They isolate you from external noise and allow you to focus on specific details within the mix. Many headphones boast a closed-back design, providing further isolation and preventing sound leakage.

LAH-220 by Lambden Audio

Benefits of Headphones:


Unlike studio monitors which can be affected by background noise, headphones excel at creating a private listening environment. By blocking out external sounds, they let you hear intricate details in your audio.


Headphones are compact and lightweight, making them ideal for on-the-go producers and small workspaces. They let you work anywhere, anytime, and maximise your workspace compared to bulky studio monitors.

Ear Fatigue Reduction

Headphones let you mix at lower volumes due to noise isolation, reducing ear fatigue and strain compared to monitors. This allows for longer, more focused mixing sessions.

Despite their advantages, headphones also have limitations…

Considerations for Headphones:

Frequency Response

Some headphones can colour the sound of your audio, affecting mixing decisions. Look for well-regarded studio headphones like the LAH-220 with a balanced frequency response for the most accurate listening that you can rely on.

Stereo Imaging

Headphones create a wider stereo image than speakers due to how sound reaches your ears. This can sound immersive while using headphones, but may not translate well to speakers. Use reference speakers to check your mix for a more accurate stereo field.

Low-End Limitations

Headphones, especially models with smaller drivers, can struggle with accurate bass representation. Some may underrepresent low-end, while others might exaggerate it, making it difficult to judge your mix. Use reference speakers to check your low-end for a more balanced sound.

Combining Forces

LA-8X Active Studio Monitor by Lambden AudioLAH-220 Professional Monitor Headphones by Lambden Audio

The good news is that you don’t have to choose between headphones and monitors. Pro producers often leverage both tools throughout the mixing and mastering process. Here’s a potential workflow:

  • Start with monitors: Utilise them for the bulk of your mixing to get a clear sonic picture and focus on overall balance.
  • Refine with headphones: Use closed-back headphones to isolate specific details like sibilance or subtle instrument clashes.
  • Cross-check: Regularly listen back on different speakers and headphones to ensure your mix translates well across various listening environments.

By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of both headphones and monitors, you can create a workflow that optimises your mixing and mastering process, ultimately leading to more professional and well-balanced sounding results.

LA-6X Active Studio Monitor by Lambden Audio: RRP £139.00 incVAT
LA-8X Active Studio Monitor by Lambden Audio: RRP £159.00 incVAT
LAH-220 Professional Monitor Headphones by Lambden Audio: RRP £79.00 incVAT

Do you have questions about setting up your studio, require some advice on what gear you might need or need any other assistance?

Email us on or call us on 020 8208 9930 and one of our dedicated product specialists and sales support team will be more than happy to help.