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Reference Studio Grade headphone appreciation thread & Discussion

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

Mobbaddict brought this up to me. & I liked the idea. List/compare/contrast/ Reference grade studio headphones. Hopefully we can help new members out who are interested in monitoring & mixing. I encourage members like ACIX yo add his expertise among others. Studio engineers are also welcome. Please, no, this headphone is better then that headphone non sense.. Lets just keep it about studio grade headphones.

4070

T50

CD900ST

DT48

7509

HP1

HP2

LCD2

DT250

DT150

M50

702

240DF

141

7506

280

25 II

Fostex T10

HD600

DT220

DT480

K240

K271

K142

K1000

K701/2

Equation RP21

German Maestro GMP-450

DT100

 

I will keep editing.. I'd love more vintage ortho studio headphone references. As I stated before, I'm looking more for reference grade studio headphones, or at least border line. Neutrality, accuracy, & transparency are the 3 most important in terms of a reference grade studio monitor headphone IMO. Being flat is good too, but that would limit the list to under 5.. Brownie points for rare & un know studio grade headphones.

 

Please include serious Ultrasone, AKG, & Maestro studio monitors as well.. PLEASE MAKE SURE THEY ARE A GRADE REFERNCE types. Some can bve ebtry level if they fit into the mold of a refernce monitor headphone..


Edited by kool bubba ice - 5/26/10 at 6:00pm
post #2 of 33

I've heard quite a few studio h/ps so here's my take on some of them:

 

akg k240DF sounds the most neutral and free of coloration of all I've heard. More so than the k702...and vocals are more forward with the DF. Bass is on the light side, however.

 

k702, though not as 'neutral' as the DF, has better bass and treble and detail retrieval...and is definitely a more audiophile sound. Midrange is not as uncolored as the DF, IMO, making vocals better with the latter.

 

dt250 sounds pretty flat...vocals more recessed than the 240DF and bass a bit north of neutral, IMO. Highs nothing to write home about. Has much more weight to the sound than the other two with decent timbre and relatively flat except for small peak in the upper mids. Probably a good option if you need closed...definitely sounds closed.

 

7506, which is the same as the v6, FWIR...harsh upper mids and recessed upper bass make it sound overly bright. Mid bass is a bit north of neutral. Fun to listen to with rock and pop, but not as 'neutral'/flat as the above three 

 

The Equation RP21 isn't on the list, but it's a popular studio h/p which got a lot of good reviews on gearslutz.com as well as here. Sounds very natural and flat in the midrange...warmer and smoother than the others with somewhat recessed highs. The bass, however,  is over the top. It's probably got at least 3 or 4dB more mid and upper bass than the akg DF and quite a bit more than the dt250 and the v6 as well.

 

On my wish list, the DT48 and one of the Fostex orthos


Edited by lejaz - 5/25/10 at 8:32pm
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 

Great info.. This is what I was looking for when I created this thread.. I give thanks to mobbaddict for recommending it to me.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post

I've heard quite a few studio h/ps so here's my take on some of them:

 

akg k240DF sounds the most neutral and free of coloration of all I've heard. More so than the k702...and vocals are more forward with the DF. Bass is on the light side, however.

 

k702, though not as 'neutral' as the DF, has better bass and treble and detail retrieval...and is definitely a more audiophile sound. Midrange is not as uncolored as the DF, IMO, making vocals better with the latter.

 

dt250 sounds pretty flat...vocals more recessed than the 240DF and bass a bit north of neutral, IMO. Highs nothing to write home about. Has much more weight to the sound than the other two with decent timbre and relatively flat except for small peak in the upper mids. Probably a good option if you need closed...definitely sounds closed.

 

7506, which is the same as the v6, FWIR...harsh upper mids and recessed upper bass make it sound overly bright. Bass is a bit north of neutral. Fun to listen to with rock and pop, but not as 'neutral'/flat as the above three 

 

The Equation RP21 isn't on the list, but it's a popular studio h/p which got a lot of good reviews on gearslutz.com as well as here. Sounds very natural and flat in the midrange...warmer and smoother than the others with somewhat recessed highs. The bass, however,  is over the top. It's probably got at least 3 or 4dB more mid and upper bass than the akg DF and quite a bit more than the dt250 and the v6 as well.

 

On my wish list, the DT48 and one of the Fostex orthos

post #4 of 33

Thanks KBI. I'd love to hear some feedback on these headphones myself. Especially comparisons of the 240DF with some of the other 'studio' phones on your list that I haven't had the opportunity of hearing myself. Like you I'm a big fanboy of 'neutrality'.   I was hooked from the moment when I first heard the 240DF. While it's lacking the qualities that would make it an 'audiophile' type of headphone like the k701, I think it has enough virtues of it's own that make it an equally valuable tool in the studio...or just for laying back with some good jazz CD's. In fact one of our forum members uses it as her main listening h/p for electronica. For extremely natural sounding vocals...acoustic instruments too...it's pretty hard to beat, IMO...but I haven't heard the Fostex othos which are supposed to 'kill' with vocals. And I haven't heard the DT48 either.

post #5 of 33

hehe, 4070 on top of the list.

 

Ultrasone 750 or 2500.

post #6 of 33

you should probably include the HD600 as well.  And the Fostex T10.

post #7 of 33

I recently read that the hd600 was used for mastering some classical CD's. I had to make a choice between that one and the k701/2. It was pretty much of a coin flip, but I went for the one with the better detail retrieval...and glad I did, now that I've heard it for myself. I would recommend it to anyone who has to mix or check mixes on headphones. But I wouldn't rely on it as my sole reference.

post #8 of 33

Not really for studio/mixing use or anything like that, but I use the K271 MKII for my monitoring work and I find that it does the job very well.  Excellent isolation, good fit and comfort, and I feel that I can make out the information I'm getting very clearly no matter what I am listening to with great positioning.  Has one of the best mids that I've listened to in a headphone, as well as well extended and bright highs and neutral bass.  It may not be the best headphone out there for recreational listening (though on certain genres they still do excellent for this purpose) but for monitoring and I suspect for studio needs, I feel that it's a very solid choice.

post #9 of 33

My experience as a post-production engineer is with these :

 

K271 II : Have them for 4 years now . Great mids and highs balance and detail . lows are "too neutral" for me and I've encountered some surprises when moving from the HP's to speakers .

HD280 : Great isolation and decent comfort . Nice bass but the sound is lacking overall detail IMO . They're fine for tracking but I wouldn't mix with them .

M50 : Have them for about a week now . I enjoy listening to music very much with them and I find them very revealing - more then the K271 . The vocals might be a bit recessed compared to the 271's so I'm still not sure if I'll mix with them .

7506 : I find them useful for film/video location recording because of their high-mid exaggeration  , but otherwise they're no fun for me .

post #10 of 33

 

I'm not a sound engineer at all, but I've found myself gravitating towards pro cans rather than consumer cans in my journey, and it's made me pretty happy.  I guess I'm just one of those balanced sound people.  Some thoughts:
 
Beyer DT-150.  I have a review up for these puppies.  They aren't totally neutral, so I might not want to use them for mixing music, but they would be excellent (I suspect) for monitoring or mixing movie material.  Great soundstage, engaging, and a nice bass hit, but without overwhelming any part of the spectrum.  Actually, they might work well with bass-heavy music for mixing and tracking...
 
Charteroak SP-1 (German Maestro GMP-450).  If I was mixing professionally, these are what I would use (of the cans I own).  They are very neutral and balanced, fast and accurate.  The deep bass is audible but stays out of the way, it has the sweetest midrange I've heard (haven't played with orthos yet, though), nice crisp highs... These do beautiful things with vocals and instruments.  They are musical, but lack the bass for fun rock/techno/pop listening.  I suspect these would be superb tracking headphones.
 
AKG K240M.  I haven't listened to the DF or Sextettes, but these are phenomenally balanced headphones.  They have enough bass at the bottom to be engaging, have an awesome airy midrange, and smooth treble as well.  I haven't given these much head time yet, but I understand why these are common in studios.  They do require some pretty muscular amplification to bring out their best, though, and they don't isolate--so they wouldn't be good for monitoring.  Beautiful sounding cans, though.
 
One thing to throw into the mix, as well.  I'm no audio professional, but I believe pretty strongly that this is where the deals are.  Some of the studio headphones I've listened to are really impressive for the money.  They aren't as flashy as some of the consumer-marketed cans, but they tend to be more robust, more balanced, and very high quality.  If you're just starting into the headphone hobby, pro headphones are worth exploring.
 
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpearce View Post

 

I'm not a sound engineer at all, but I've found myself gravitating towards pro cans rather than consumer cans in my journey, and it's made me pretty happy.  I guess I'm just one of those balanced sound people.  Some thoughts:
 

 
AKG K240M.  I haven't listened to the DF or Sextettes, but these are phenomenally balanced headphones.  They have enough bass at the bottom to be engaging, have an awesome airy midrange, and smooth treble as well.  I haven't given these much head time yet, but I understand why these are common in studios.  They do require some pretty muscular amplification to bring out their best, though, and they don't isolate--so they wouldn't be good for monitoring.  Beautiful sounding cans, though.
 
One thing to throw into the mix, as well.  I'm no audio professional, but I believe pretty strongly that this is where the deals are.  Some of the studio headphones I've listened to are really impressive for the money.  They aren't as flashy as some of the consumer-marketed cans, but they tend to be more robust, more balanced, and very high quality.  If you're just starting into the headphone hobby, pro headphones are worth exploring.
 

Unfortunately the geniuses at AKG discontinued a couple of their most balanced headphones...the k240M (FWIR) and the 240DF in favor of the more consumer oriented k240S and the 240mkII...major step down, IMO.
 

post #12 of 33

Seriously, what's AKG thinking?

 

I love the sound of my K 240 DF. It's been my reference for neutrality, so I can't say I'm unbiased. It has pretty good separation of instruments, but it would probably be more detailed if properly amped. Bass is flat, not too light or exaggerated in any way. There's no veil here at all. The sound is absolutely transparent from lows to mids to highs.

 

My DT48 will hopefully get here before the end of the week. I'll post up first impressions and a comparison then.

post #13 of 33

'Neutrality' doesn't sell, but apparently, in their mind set, HD does.

post #14 of 33


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soaa- View Post

Seriously, what's AKG thinking?

 

I love the sound of my K 240 DF. It's been my reference for neutrality, so I can't say I'm unbiased. It has pretty good separation of instruments, but it would probably be more detailed if properly amped. Bass is flat, not too light or exaggerated in any way. There's no veil here at all. The sound is absolutely transparent from lows to mids to highs.

 

My DT48 will hopefully get here before the end of the week. I'll post up first impressions and a comparison then.

I look forward to the comparison of the DT48 and the 240DF.
 

post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 

There's a guy who has a pair balanced & has a amp made just for his 600 ohm 240DFs. He swears by them.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soaa- View Post

Seriously, what's AKG thinking?

 

I love the sound of my K 240 DF. It's been my reference for neutrality, so I can't say I'm unbiased. It has pretty good separation of instruments, but it would probably be more detailed if properly amped. Bass is flat, not too light or exaggerated in any way. There's no veil here at all. The sound is absolutely transparent from lows to mids to highs.

 

My DT48 will hopefully get here before the end of the week. I'll post up first impressions and a comparison then.




If I read HD driver again I will go nuts.. Beyers is know using the term HD drivers when mentioning their T1. Sennheiser HD800 HD drivers. AKG has about 6 headphones with 'HD drivers.' Sony & their SA5000. I love how they just throw it out there & hope it sticks.. No one is holding them accountable.. They need to prove how a HD driver differs from a non HD driver?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post

'Neutrality' doesn't sell, but apparently, in their mind set, HD does.



Won't be a fair fight.. 600 ohms to 8ohms.. Even though the DT48 are finicky about amping, & improve very well with better components.. I know the logic is, low ohm headphones will sound great out of any device.. Not true with the DT48.. With portables they lose some of that speed, & complex musical passages get blurred.. I don't think Soaa has truly heard what the 240DF are fully capable of.. Don't take it as a insult. I'm just saying if you had a amp with more drive they would sing better.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post


 

I look forward to the comparison of the DT48 and the 240DF.
 

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