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> "best" Headphones For Mixing/recording?
Todd Simpson
post Nov 15 2013, 10:48 PM
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There's that word again smile.gif "Best". Shorthand for "Worth a purchase" but meaningless as a descriptor, sadly. So then, quick question!


1.) WHAT HEADPHONES DO YOU USE IN YOUR STUDIO?


I use the AKG240 MKII. Having tried most every vendor and read everything I could find on the subject until my eyes went blurry, I did find some consensus on this set which is partly why I bought them smile.gif Pros/Studios seem to use this series quite a bit and for good reason. They are some what flat/neutral. But they are still headphones so not a great idea for your only reference source.

PRICE: About $120 U.S. Street Price
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CRUCIAL BIT OF INFO!!!


YOUR HEADPHONES SHOULD NOT SOUND "GOOD"


Sounds wrong eh? Well, the thing is, most folks think headphones sound "good" when they have good thick bass and nice crisp treble. Sadly, this is entirely WRONG.. Much like you want your speakers/monitors to be flat/neutral and not "color" the sound, you want the same thing from you headphones. Which is why you can't trust "Earbuds" for ANYTHING other than a final check of your mix to see how ipod folks will hear it smile.gif

But what to do when budget restrictions keep you out of the $120 headphone bracket? GOOD NEWS!!!! You can still get a nice pair of AKG cans on the cheap!!! I've been searching for a second set recently and Iv'e found this.


The AKG 240 (Original Series)


*PRICE:
$76 on amazon.com
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Same driver (the part that makes the sound) same great sound and quite a bit cheaper. They don't have a "detachable cable" but so what? I was stoked to find these at this price and got a pair on the spot.


QUESTION:
Are you considering buying some headphones? Share your research/info and experiences!


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Nov 15 2013, 10:51 PM


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Mertay
post Nov 15 2013, 11:01 PM
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I bought the Sennheiser 280pro at the time and still using it (around 100 dollars in U.S.A.?) . The insulation on these are great; while recording (for example) vocals, the sound coming from the headphone wasn't reaching the mic. which is something important.

As for sound I liked the smooth top-end of it, I could work on bright sounding instruments without hurting my ears smile.gif its probably not the flattest or neutral sounding headphone out there but with a little burning and learning time its pretty useful either at home or in studio.



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Darius Wave
post Nov 16 2013, 01:20 AM
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Owe You a beer Mertay! 280 pro rules. They have also unexpected low end response. We know how much regular listening rooms are not worth trust but I found many low end problems on those headphones and when I fix it using them, the problem is also gone in any other P.A. One of my best ever money spent on ! They also help me to fix some high mid range problems taht not alwaus come out on my regular monitors + they are good as hell to remove any humn, buzz, noise in recordings. Love them!


I tried some AKG to. Like that tone for listening music but didn't find them trustful for my mixing work


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Mertay
post Nov 16 2013, 02:09 AM
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Ah yeah forgot to mention, specially mid and upper mid.s are detailed very good with these (tiny bit bumped) and for such balance challenges I actually prefer them to my adam monitors which are also considered to give those freq.s in detail.

I first auditioned them at studios, it was a default choice for recording no matter how high-end the studio was because of insulation. Later realized its very popular among PA companies too, my guess is because its built like a tank smile.gif

It took me a while though to memorize its character for using like studio monitors. I suspected they needed burn time and listened music on them at night while surfing web biggrin.gif I guess after a week or two it actually worked as it started to have the "air" I wanted from it. I intend to buy them for recording only, later buy something more expensive but they turned out good enough smile.gif


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Darius Wave
post Nov 16 2013, 05:26 PM
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I just borrowed a lot of different headphones from my friends and tested a lot of new ones in the music shop I work in. The choice was very clear. They helped me to detec some guitar high mids overloads and I was always satisfied with this bottom end - I mean incerdible equality of low end response below 80 Hz (I trust them as hell while setting all the HPF's). They also help me to find best mid cuts level while mastering at high volumes


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Todd Simpson
post Nov 16 2013, 06:46 PM
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Fine choice!! The Senheiser 280 was on the list of top sets when I was doing research. They are pro cans and you can do good work with them. They are "isolation" phones so they are actually better for recording than the 240. I usually use cheap cans during live/amp recording since I don't have an isolation booth I tend to turn up the headphones quite a bit to hear above the amp. For direct recording, "open" headphones are less of a problem since bleed isn't an issue.

For Vocal recording the s280 are a better choice than the 240. Good call!!
**These can be had for about $100 U.S. which is a great price.

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QUOTE (Mertay @ Nov 15 2013, 05:01 PM) *
I bought the Sennheiser 280pro at the time and still using it (around 100 dollars in U.S.A.?) . The insulation on these are great; while recording (for example) vocals, the sound coming from the headphone wasn't reaching the mic. which is something important.

As for sound I liked the smooth top-end of it, I could work on bright sounding instruments without hurting my ears smile.gif its probably not the flattest or neutral sounding headphone out there but with a little burning and learning time its pretty useful either at home or in studio.



I found the low/mid to be just a pinch exaggerated which is maybe what mertay was talking about? But once you get used to that you can work around it pretty easily. In short, if you record live/amps/vocals these are a better choice IMHO than the AKG 240 simply because they are "Isolation" headphones meaning they do a good job of not letting sound out to bleed in to microphones.

If you record mostly direct/using sims/not much vocals, like me, I'd still suggest the akg240 simply due to the flatter more accurate response. But they are "open" meaning that sound will bleed out, so they are more for checking mixes and recording direct. That's probably why I'm partial to them smile.gif




QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Nov 16 2013, 11:26 AM) *
I just borrowed a lot of different headphones from my friends and tested a lot of new ones in the music shop I work in. The choice was very clear. They helped me to detec some guitar high mids overloads and I was always satisfied with this bottom end - I mean incerdible equality of low end response below 80 Hz (I trust them as hell while setting all the HPF's). They also help me to find best mid cuts level while mastering at high volumes


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Nov 16 2013, 06:49 PM


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Nov 17 2013, 11:24 AM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Nov 16 2013, 05:26 PM) *
... They also help me to find best mid cuts level while mastering at high volumes


I think you're talking about checking translation at different volumes. Very few, if any, mastering engineers master at high volume both to protect our hearing and also because of the Fletcher Munson curves. There are also very few of us that master using headphones not least because headphones don't produce proper stereo but that's a different story.

Todd's point about spill is a very good one. If you only do direct recording then a semi open design is fine but otherwise you may need to use fully closed to minimise spill in to mics.

One of the better headphones for mixing and recording is the Beyer Dynamic 770 but they're quite a bit more expensive at @$250.


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Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

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We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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Darius Wave
post Nov 17 2013, 11:54 AM
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Yes ..I meant the translation. I do not make full master on my phones, but... because they are closed, I can recheck if I left any hum / noise in the places it should not be. As for the high mids I just recheck the level because I found that sometimes when I tweak those on hd280, they still sound ok on the monitors and home audio gear. Not always the opposite. So it's more like the translation thing You mentioned Tony.


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Todd Simpson
post Nov 17 2013, 08:43 PM
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The mids on the 280 are the problem area for those particular cans. You can work around it of course by checking against your monitors and such. The issue with the mids and the fact that I record direct are why I chose the AKG. They are a bit more accurate but they do BLEED like CRAZY. smile.gif The beyer dynamic are killer cans as Mr. Miro mentioned and were on my short list for purchase. Only the price kept them off my final buy list.

You mentioned mastering at High Volume on Headphones, and I have to agree with Toni that it's not a great idea to master with headphones much less at high volume. But then you posted a follow up saying you only check the master with phones, and that is a good idea smile.gif Actually checking with several different pair of cans, even ear buds is a good idea once the mix is complete. smile.gif

QUICK MIX TIP: (For Folk New To Mixing)


*EVER NOTICED STUDIOS HAVE SEVERAL SETS OF SPEAKERS OF SPEAKERS OF DIFFERENT SIZES?

That's so that they can hear the mix on different playback systems.The small square speakers you often see are to sort of test what it will sound like on a crap system. Also, they don't use all the speakers at once. Just one pair at a time smile.gif This seems obvious to folks with some experience but at first, it can seem just odd to have all those speakers smile.gif

You may see two pair of mid size speakers. (near field monitors) they serve the same purpose. Trying your mix out on several playback systems allows you a better idea of how the mix will "translate" when played in a variety of settings. Home audio, ear buds, laptop speakers, etc.




QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Nov 17 2013, 05:54 AM) *
Yes ..I meant the translation. I do not make full master on my phones, but... because they are closed, I can recheck if I left any hum / noise in the places it should not be. As for the high mids I just recheck the level because I found that sometimes when I tweak those on hd280, they still sound ok on the monitors and home audio gear. Not always the opposite. So it's more like the translation thing You mentioned Tony.



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pdf64
post Nov 17 2013, 11:31 PM
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Another vote for Sennheiser HD280 from me, especially for live monitoring, I was very impressed when I tried a pair when recording.
Their isolation, power handling and bass extension being the main benefits compared to other types.
However, I didn't use them for long enough on mixdown (or other listening) to form an opinion on how accurate they were.
Sennheiser tend to make things sound better than they really are.
Thanks for the tip on the AKGs, I'll look out for them.
Pete


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PosterBoy
post Nov 18 2013, 07:49 AM
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I use Beyerdynamic Dt770 pro which are 220 or so in your money,.


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mad
post Nov 18 2013, 08:06 AM
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Using them since about one year, too. Very satisfied with them!

QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Nov 18 2013, 07:49 AM) *
I use Beyerdynamic Dt770 pro which are 220 or so in your money,.
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Darius Wave
post Nov 18 2013, 09:46 AM
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I was checking either beyerdynamics and AKG while choosing best phones for my work. All 3 (with Senheiser) were great phones and I like all but then again I always choose the one that when I tweak something on them I feel satisfied listening to the mix on others too.

I was comparing a few mixes that I love to test the gear...like "Julio's party"by Syro Gyra.

For me this record does sound good on everything I tried:



Now some mixes I thought sounded good on AKG and Beyerdynamic had some details I would like to fix while listening on Senheiser. When I tweaked those I went back to AKG and Beyerdynamics and still liked to mix.


Those are a few rules that work for my recording gear choice smile.gif


I had similar sytuation with Yamaha NS30 monitors. Thay had more than nasty 4-6kHZ range and often hi-hat sound on some recordings was harsh as hell. Now while tweaking by a few very narrow cuts I could made mixes sounding well (I hope so wink.gif for those NS30 and simialar sounding speakers too smile.gif





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Mertay
post Nov 18 2013, 02:30 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Nov 18 2013, 08:46 AM) *
I had similar sytuation with Yamaha NS30 monitors. Thay had more than nasty 4-6kHZ range and often hi-hat sound on some recordings was harsh as hell. Now while tweaking by a few very narrow cuts I could made mixes sounding well (I hope so wink.gif for those NS30 and simialar sounding speakers too smile.gif


This also leads to design preference, like in monitors some prefer ported and some don't I think this is also applyable for headphones.


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Caelumamittendum
post Nov 18 2013, 03:25 PM
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These are the headphones I've got, and I've always been very pleased with them:



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Todd Simpson
post Nov 19 2013, 03:29 AM
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Egad! Are you talking about the YAMAHA NS30t Speaker? If so, a quick google on that might have saved you the trouble smile.gif Those speakers are just a bit crap to be honest due to the harshness of the tweeter,sort of like the original NS10.

They are not really monitors. Those are glorified "HiFi" speakers. They are best used in a situation like this IMHO smile.gif.

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The original NS10 was so bad in fact, people used to tape layers of Kleenex over the tweeter to soften the sound. The later NS10M was a bit of an improvement and the newer YAMAHA HS80M which are quite respectable and workable as nearfields for the price point IMHO smile.gif

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In the end, Headphones and Monitors come down the ears of person using/buying them. As with most gear, there are some products that get used quite a bit because they just work and work well smile.gif All of the Headphones mentioned I'd say fall roughtly in to that category smile.gif Anyone looking for cans would do well to own any of the three we have discussed.

AKG 240, 240 MK II
BEYER DYNAMIC 770
SENHEISER 280, 380


Each has it's strong points and each his it's issues just like any piece of gear. It's important to try to understand the details if possible when buying gear so that you get the most bang for your buck especially if you are trying to build a home studio from scratch with limited funds as many GMCers are doing or have done smile.gif




QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Nov 18 2013, 03:46 AM) *
I was checking either beyerdynamics and AKG while choosing best phones for my work. All 3 (with Senheiser) were great phones and I like all but then again I always choose the one that when I tweak something on them I feel satisfied listening to the mix on others too.

I was comparing a few mixes that I love to test the gear...like "Julio's party"by Syro Gyra.

For me this record does sound good on everything I tried:



Now some mixes I thought sounded good on AKG and Beyerdynamic had some details I would like to fix while listening on Senheiser. When I tweaked those I went back to AKG and Beyerdynamics and still liked to mix.


Those are a few rules that work for my recording gear choice smile.gif


I had similar sytuation with Yamaha NS30 monitors. Thay had more than nasty 4-6kHZ range and often hi-hat sound on some recordings was harsh as hell. Now while tweaking by a few very narrow cuts I could made mixes sounding well (I hope so wink.gif for those NS30 and simialar sounding speakers too smile.gif



As we talked about earlier in the thread, you are SPOT ON about these as recording headphones due to their being "CLOSED BACK" and having really good "ISOLATION" E.G. the sound doesn't bleed out and get in to a near by microphone smile.gif

You also nailed it IMHO on the Sennheiser cans propensity to make things sound a pinch better than they really are. I tried several pair side by side to the BD and AKG and KRK cans and they did seem to have a bit more punch/push in the mid than was actually there on the track. Of course if you know this ahead of time, you can work around it during mixdown, so it's not a huge prob. But if you were mixing, for example, only using headphones (never a great idea but sometimes it's all someone might have so folks make do) it might become an issue. Still they are great cans and very much worth including in our short list of cans that most home studio buffs might be able to afford smile.gif

Todd






QUOTE (pdf64 @ Nov 17 2013, 05:31 PM) *
Another vote for Sennheiser HD280 from me, especially for live monitoring, I was very impressed when I tried a pair when recording.
Their isolation, power handling and bass extension being the main benefits compared to other types.
However, I didn't use them for long enough on mixdown (or other listening) to form an opinion on how accurate they were.
Sennheiser tend to make things sound better than they really are.
Thanks for the tip on the AKGs, I'll look out for them.
Pete


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Nov 19 2013, 03:34 AM


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Monica Gheorghev...
post Nov 19 2013, 09:21 AM
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I use AKG240 MKII and I bought them with almost 200 $. One year I was satisfied about them, now I don't know why but the sound it's not very amplified in them even if I let the volume at maximum level.
And I feel that I miss some very tiny details when I try to mix something and this thing wasn't happen when I bought them. Actually I bought this headphones special for those tiny details.
I always use my monitors and others headphones for verify the sound at the end of mix to be sure that all it's ok.
Unfortunatelly, currently I don't have anymore that big trust in this headphones.



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Darius Wave
post Nov 19 2013, 12:58 PM
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Nope Todd- those are not that one. I can't find the precise model name. Mine are more "monitors-like" but indeed - they are not studio monitors they are home audio category and this is exactly the reason of buying them because they represent some standard of home gear that is still in use at some places / homes. When I can nasty 4-6 kHz (narrow cuts at particular frequency depending on the particular mix) I make it sound ok on those NS and still ok on other gear. That's probably something better if we consider that our production is made for people to listen it at home. I think that saying "those speakers are harsh "etc is no excuse for us, mixing guys. Some tweaks make Your record sound good even on those worst speakers or just a notebook speakers. My regular monitors ar Adam A7. This is my opinion.


Each little thing in my "monitoring" system has it's purpose. I use little sharp hi-fifor messing with the middle range. Why? Because why I make some adjustment to the mix and they soudn ok on this Sharp, I still like it on any other of my speakers. Yamaha is for the 4-6kHz tweaks.

Every one of us has a different approach to the mixing job. It's just mine. I'm not saying it's any better.

This post has been edited by Darius Wave: Nov 19 2013, 01:14 PM


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Mertay
post Nov 19 2013, 02:35 PM
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Check out these monitors from link;

http://www.barisbuyuk.com/web/galeri.aspx?lang=1

He's a well respected mastering engineer where I live and you'll notice giant PMC's together with ns10m's and mixcubes smile.gif I've been there once to meet him and chat. Not giving away any studio secrets but those ns10m's were important to him although the PMC's (almost as expensive as a small house smile.gif ) were nothing like I've ever heard before!

As said every speaker has its use but I must add ns10m's are very good if one knows how to use them, a friend of mine had one long ago when we were students, we mixed a song with them then checked them on Genelec 8050's at school studio and the kick was perfect smile.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Nov 19 2013, 04:07 PM
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Yes Mertay absolutely right that many of us mastering engineers check translation on a different set of speakers. We use ATC SCM Pros (which also cost nearly as much as small house) for mastering but check translation on a pair of Sonus Faber audiophile hifi speakers and avantone and often a car stereo. Ultimately what works for a monitor for mastering is not the same as mixing or recording or listening at home for enjoyment.


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Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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