Octatrack headphone output sounds better than main outs?

So when I’m jamming on my octatrack I find that things are sounding great in the headphones but when I use the main outs and record into my daw, or go to a mixer and listen to the headphones mix off that it doesn’t sound nearly as good, is there something I’m missing with my main outs?

Could it be that you are listening louder on headphones and getting some ‘natural’ saturation and compression by driving them harder? What happens to the sound if you listen back on the same headphones to your DAW project at the same volume?

There are a lot of variables. Your headphones/mixer could be worse/better quality. Your volumes could be unmatched like the above poster said.

could be your audio interface. some cheaper ones can suck out low end. i recall being thrilled about overbridge because my digitakt’s kick drums sounded thin through my m-audio interface, but amazing in headphones.

Monitoring from the last step in the chain is always best if you want accurate feedback.

Example: I record my OT main out with a zoom recorder and monitor from there.

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Run both into the same mixer and compare on headphones connected to that. Will be a fairer comparison