Monitor Speakers and Headphones

 For listening to your recorded tracks you need monitor speakers and headphones. This looks like a pretty simple thing, because you can both of them for just a couple of bucks in electronic stores. My advise is: don't do it! You will be able to hear something, but you won't hear the sound you have recorded but the sound the speaker / headphone wants you to hear. In most cases this is far away from reality.

Monitor speakers

The most important thing, much more important than headphones, is a pair of reasonable monitor speakers. I emphasize the word "reasonable", because "good" monitors are far beyond the price you want to spend for a home studio.

In general there are two kind of monitors: active and passive monitors. You will get some passive ones if your audio interface already has a good and powerful amplifier. In most cases this is not true, which means that you should get some active monitors.

An important thing to look at is the lowest frequency the monitor can play. This should be between 50 and 60 Hz. Monitors which have a lowest frequency of 60 and above don't give you a feeling for the bass in your recordings, which means that you will mix to much of it into your songs and the songs will sound awful when playing it in a regular Hi-Fi-System.

On the other hand it's no good idea to get a monitor system with special bass boosters. These will mix too much bass into your sound and on a regular Hi-Fi-System your songs will sound to flat and powerless.

And at least, it's absolutely no good idea to buy some of this cheap PC speakers used for gaming and office PCs. No, don't ever do this! Never! If you really want to do great mixes, you have to spend some money, and believe me, you can spend a lot of money for loudspeakers. For a starter home studio it's okay to buy cheaper monitors, but cheap means at least 100 €. All monitors beyond this will work, but will result in spending some more money in other speakers after a year or so.

Headphones

The same as for monitor speakers applies for headphones. It's a good idea to have headphones in addition to monitor speakers, because you might want to hear how your recordings sound over headphones.

But to be honest, I cannot give you any tips here, because I just have a cheap pair of Philips headphones by myself and rarely use them. The reason is that I'm wearing hearings aids and these collide with wearing headphones at the same time. When I put the hearing aids of, I cannot hear the high frequencies, which is also not a good idea when mixing songs. So: no headphones for me.