Tips for Monitoring Sound when Editing Video

Tips for Monitoring Sound when Editing Video

Monitoring sound can be a tricky matter. If you search the Internet for something like β€œBest audio monitors for video editors” you’ll get a million different recommendations. Then once you realize that the room you monitor in is also important, you could find yourself down a huge rabbit-hole trying to figure out the best way to affordably make your room sound better. And can you use headphones to monitor sound for video? The answer to that from different people is almost like a religious debate. Oy vey!

In this episode, we cover three topics related to monitoring sound while editing video: 1) If you use headphones, work with over-ear, open back, reference headphones. 2) If you can afford it, bass traps are the best type of treatment to make your audio more accurate. 3) Which types of monitors should you buy if you cannot afford $1500 USD professional monitors?

This one is a pretty nerdy episode, so if you don’t really have the interest, you are now dismissed from class. πŸ˜‰

If you’d like to improve your sound recording skills for film, please have a look at our Sound Recording for Video course over at

Visit us at for more updates on how to improve your lighting and sound for video. Also be sure to subscribe to get new weekly episodes!

Gear used to create this episode:


Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (focused mainly on mixing music but great info for all mixing engineers)



AKG K612 Reference Headphones


B&H Photo:


Beyerdynamic DT880 Reference Headphones 250 ohm (This is the set I have for mixing. I really like them, comfortable, sound clinical)



Sennheiser HD650 Reference Headphones (If you buy these, I will be envious. People rave about these headphones)


B&H Photo:


Avantone Active Mix Cubes (You will need an audio interface with line outputs to work with these, also, make sure you get a pair, not a single)


B&H Photo:


Learn more about room acoustics at


Copyright 2016 by Curtis Judd

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don’t pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!


  1. I edit most of my videos on a laptop which require a basic sound design and mix and I was wondering if headphones such as Shure SRH 840 & Audio Technica ATH M50X will do the job or not. If they are good for basic sound designing and mixing, how well do they hold up against in ear monitors such as Shure SE425 and 535 for the same function?

  2. How can i edit a video , This was the scenario, Girl have a earphones in her ears and she will remove it when someone calls her ,
    What should i do to make Louder or Min the sound effects of my video ?

  3. All true but you get used to bad acoustics while mixing in your home and your brain makes necessary adjustments. There are volume settings that will somewhat overcome acoustic impact, you can generally find a low and high setting that allows decent monitoring. The bigger the room (in a furnished house), the better. Make your wife happy and mix in the living room πŸ™‚ And if they’ll be your only speakers, get something else than small full range like the Auratones. They were designed to replicate the average radio receiver back in the day and always used in mono even when there was a pair.

  4. I recommend a pair of Tannoy 502’s, they sound alot better than rokit krk monitors and cheaper as well.

  5. Well over 15 years ago, I got some Boston Acoustics speakers with a Gateway PC I bought. They were fantastic then and I’d call themΒ very goodΒ now. The subwoofer has a dial to control the amount of bass.

    I have a question. How does one connect 8-ohm audio speakers to a PC? I’m guessing an amp is needed but won’t that also affect the sound quality for monitoring?

  6. Is it a good idea to have a pair of Avantone MixCubes for monitoring (post-audio, sound design, mixing, etc.) combined with a pair of Rokit 5’s as my overall/primary speakers (movie watching, listening to music, etc.) assuming I have bass traps in my small room?

  7. thanks Curtis i think monitors mixing and finding the right ones is like looking for the holy grail joe from scotland

  8. What do you think of the focal shape twins? I’m switching from my Yamaha hs50ms and a hs10w sub

  9. You’re tips have gotten amazingly serious and I love it. I was just saying the other day I’ve learned more from your channel and Caleb Pike’s than I did in my entire first semester at Film School hahaha. Thanks again Curtis!

  10. What about how to adjust audio for cell mobile devices where there is very little bass and the highs are more pronounced? The biggest challenge I have is being able to adjust the audio in my videos so that it will sound just as good on cell phone devices and other mobile devices as with laptops, desktop speakers, and headphones.

  11. Another great video and couldn’t agree more that a good pair of speakers goes a long way in getting good results in the video

  12. Curtis-that room in which you edit-highly reflective linoleum tile? that is what it looks like anyway. Further explain that one…thank you!

  13. That was a good general overview.

    You can create professional looking panels for $200-$300. The DIY project involves purchasing 3" thick rockwool (Safe-n-Sound) panels from Lowes, making wood frames from inexpensive 1×3’s and then stapling on your favorite fabric. You want to hang them at the first reflection points first and tune from there. No home studio will be perfect due to perpendicular room dimensions creating standing waves etc. but we can get it pretty close. To eliminate bass frequencies a trap needs to be 7 foot deep which is not practical. My current set-up has build up in the back of the room but not in the mix position. Here are a couple images of my recording studio before I moved to the new location. You can see the DIY panels. Good luck

  14. I have the Rockit speakers but your video says not buy them, but you have them as well. What’s up with that?

  15. Thanks Curtis, I was just about to buy the M-Audio V42 Pair for $ 150, but probably not such a good idea

  16. Hi Curtis, im thinking to buy Razer Nommo Speakers, have you heard about that speakers? I work doing video editing and my budget is very limited, The razer Nommo costs 99 bucks so it seems good for me but im concerned about the quality or the accuracy of the sound.

  17. Wow a youtuber that actually has good audio in their videos while they are reviewing audio equipment #mindblown

  18. I’ve seen your videos around for years, but it’s only recently that I’ve become a huge fan. There’s not a lot of content on youtube like yours.

  19. hey Curtis, i totally agree what you said about the room. the room mostly is the worst limiting factor on audio quality and it is easy to prove that, just take your stereo outside and listen, even the worst stereo sounds decent outside. the thing where i don’t agree is that bass reflex is worse than closed enclosures. maybe your room is really terrible with low frequencies so cutting that off might be an advantage in your special case, but in general there is something that is called the q factor with audio speakers. that is a factor that tells you how impulse accurate it is. a little hard to explain as a non native speaker, but the key here is that you ideally want a q of 0.5. a lower q i.e. 0.3 results in lower frequencies but less accuracy while a higher q i.e 0.7 can not go as low (sounds a little wooden) but is is faster with the impulse accuracy. so what you always want when designing a speaker is that q of 0.5. there are 3 things that influence this q factor. the magnetic power, the weight of the speakers membrane incl the coil and the mechanical force that pulls the membrane back to the resting position. a closed enclosure adds to this mechanical force coz it increases/decrease the pressure inside the enclosure while the speaker is moving. the result is a higher q factor (or less bass). but a good speaker designer would always compensate this by using speakers with higher membrane mass and lower driving force. so the result in frequency and q factor would be the same, and the problems with your room are the same. the difference is only that the efficiency factor of your speaker drops and you need more power from your amp to get the same db out of your speaker. that’s why bass reflex speakers have mostly a efficiency factor of 90db/w/meter and up, while closed speakers are mostly 90db/w/meter and lower. however a bad designed bass reflex speaker is just a bad speaker and a bad designed closed speaker is just a bad designed speaker too. maybe this lack of design fits exactly with your room conditions and makes it work well, but this is just a special case ant nothing you can say in general. imo the best advice you can give when it is about buying a speaker is: try it in your own room, never ever by a speaker in the shop, always try it at home, coz exactly as you said in the beginning, the room is the worst limiting factor. (hopefully my english works with these technical terms – not 100% sure)

  20. Don’t waste your $$$ on so called off the shelf "bass traps" they are ALL a major misnomer – the only effective bass traps are those specifically designed to your room, that take into account your listening position & the location of your monitors. They are selectively tuned Helmholtz resonators or tuned membrane absorbers. You need to treat the low frequency resonant modes of a room & every room is different & there are absolutely NO of the shelf solutions. The only way to deal with this is a custom solution built & designed for that room by a competent acoustician – who is willing to stad by his work & supply you with "before" & "after" MEASUREMENTS
    People stop deluding yourself
    if you’re on a budget, the only thing you can do is acquire knowledge & measure your room ( again room measurement is a lot more than buying a dayton microphone… )
    Corner bass traps are "doable" for a DIY’er BUT they only partially address room resonant modes…
    Yeah I know it sucks…. but don’t be the sucker… There are "some" active solutions on the horizon, but not cheap & again only a partial "band aid" & given their cost & the fact that 1 or 2 will not do, your band aid solution will be approaching in cost what a much better custom job would cost πŸ˜‰

  21. Thank you Curtis for the info. Going back to Will Fastie"s entry, what if I wanted to use the XLR balanced connections, are you aware of an Audio interface that will connect to the computer (Mac) via USB? Or I’m I just making this more complicated than it needs to be…?

  22. This was very informative. I find it helpful to test the audio on both laptop speakers and my production sound headphones and finding a balance (I don’t have anything else to test on, haha).

  23. Would you say Samson Samson Meteor M2 is worse than a pair of headphones within the same price range (80-150 USD)?
    Keep up the great content Curtis!

  24. Fantastic video as usual. But, I have a question this time, Why I can read the title and description in spanish? It is cool xD

  25. Yamaha HS8’s are great for way under $1500. I think I snagged mine for $600 during a promotional sale. There are lots of reviews online for them and most state the obvious, they outperform everything in their price range.

  26. Excellent video, I actually use the K612 headphones from AKG. Looking to get the 712’s soon (I just like the look of the 712’s!). Use my headphones when I want to hear what is really going on with my audio. I highly recommend the K612 and 712 from AKG.. My speakers are Creative Inspire T10’s (older model). Which do not accurately reproduce sound and I don’t recommend them at all for reference anything. But for $40 bucks they dang sure do sound good for music!

  27. Great topic Sir!! I just bought me some JBL 305s. My room is not sound proof friendly, but hey these speakers rock and I can hear stuff in music that I wouldn’t have heard before. my thing right now is i’m looking for a good desk chair. one that is comfortable for many hours of editing. I have bought several and they flattened up really fast. hopefully you can help ..thanks.

  28. those bass traps only cover perhaps down to 80-100hz standing waves. for lower frequencies need thicker bass traps

  29. Fantastic video again Curtis. I need to work on my rooms acoustic properties sometime the in the future.

  30. I’v been setting up my editing room and wonder how you tested your room. I built some DIY base traps out of a sound blanket. They seem to work but I would like to test them in a few ways. I have some HS8 monitors and i love them but the base buildup is a problem.

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