Why do singers wear headphones?

+97 votes
asked Jul 25, 2019 in Entertainment by Jessie (710 points)
edited Aug 8, 2019
I like to watch a lot of music videos on YouTube of artists who are in the studio or doing live recordings, and I’ve noticed that the singers always wear headphones. Are they trying to protect their hearing? Does it help them focus?

2 Answers

+22 votes
answered Jul 28, 2019 by Chiara (1,200 points)
edited Jul 29, 2019
Singers wear headphones while recording in order to hear the beat they are singing to without the microphone picking up other noises. When recording a song, each instrument and person is recorded separately on individual tracks and then all the pieces are put together. So if other noises or instruments are heard while recording the singer’s part, then the mixing process is more difficult.

You wouldn’t want the drums to echo because pieces of the drum track can be heard in the background of the singer’s track. The room used for the actual recording is soundproof in order to stop this from happening due to other people talking in the studio or other common noises.

However, it’s difficult for a singer to stay completely in time with the music and the beat of the song if they also are in complete silence. So, the headphones allow them to hear the music they are singing to without any of the other instruments being picked up by the microphone.
+4 votes
answered Aug 11, 2019 by Marc (540 points)
edited Aug 13, 2019
I agree, but that’s one case to why do singers wear headphones, there’s another case to consider: live performances. During live performances, singers wear headphones in order to hear themselves better. When they’re on stage, a lot of noises are going on at once very loudly. For instance, the only thing a singer might be able to hear is the crashing of drums behind them and the roar of the crowd over their own voice. Not being able to hear yourself while singing can cause you to sing too loudly or even shout, which affects how your music sounds. The earpieces musicians wear on stage are called in-ear monitors, and it allows them to hear only what they want to hear, for instance their voice and the keyboard. The sound engineer that adjusts the volumes of each instrument during the live show also can change what the singer is hearing in their ear.
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