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Accurate/Neutral Sounding Headphones for Recording, Mixing, Tracking and General Listening for...

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

These headphones will be used with my iMac and my audio interface (30 ohm output) for both home recording (guitar) and general listening.  Since I will use them also for tracking isolation and lack of leakage when recording with a condenser mic is important.  I have idenified a number of candidates based on an evaluation of the flatnness of frequency response, whether they were closed or semi-open, acoustic isolation specs, weight/comfort and qualitative comments from the internet. These were the candidates that I evaluated:

 

AKG:  K 701, K 702, K 550, K 271 MK II, K 240 MK II

Audio Technica: ATH-ESW9A, ATH-A900, ATH-M50

Beyerdynamic: DT 880, DT 1350, DT 770

Denon: AH-D2000

Sennheiser: HD 25-1 II

Shure: SRH940, SRH840

Sony: MDR-Z1000

 

The flattest in terms response seem to be the K550, DT 880, AH-D200 and the SH940s...

 

Headphonesfrequencycopy.jpg?t=1341147797

 

In terms of acoustic isolation the Shures and the AKGs provide more but the Beyerdynamics and Denons attenuate somewhat.

 

headphonesisolationcopy.jpg?t=1341147797

 

I was surprised that many of the AKG Studio Professional audio headphones did not appear as flat as the k 550s. The K 550s are in teh consumer line and are not marketed for audio engineering.  So the fact that they appeared flatter surprised me a bit.

 

akgstudio.png?t=1341158727

 

I would your input in recommending a pair forr my listening application. I also would appreciate advice as to whether or not I will need an amp to achieve volumes considering the impedence of my computer and my audio interface? What I can't really tell from online reviews is the quality of construction, fit, sound stage and wearing comfort.  So any distinctions here would be welcome.  Lastly, if there is a pair that I should consider that are not listed (no open models please) I would love to hear your suggestion.

 

Explaining "why" is always welcome!

 

Thanks,

 

Bob

post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 

0 replies in 22 looks,,,yikes

post #3 of 16

How many people do you think are on this forum? 23? lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post

0 replies in 22 looks,,,yikes

 

Anyway, welcome to the forum. Of the headphones you listed, have you listened to any? Also you know a lot of the models you listed are open design, right?

post #4 of 16

Have you considered these:

 

http://www.mrspeakers.com/

 

I have a pair of the T50's,and love them..

Customer support is fantastic ,and the price is too.


Edited by mikek200 - 7/2/12 at 7:42am
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I decided that for tracking I will use my earbuds and by a pair of open headphonesfor improved sound stage for recording, mixing and general listening to music. I decided to try the AKG K 702s with a HeadRoom Micro Amp. My RME audio interface has top quality DACs within it so I will output my iMac via that.  I will let you know what I think.

 

Thanks,

 

Bob

post #6 of 16

I'm very curious what you come up with comparing the Brainwavz HM5's.  They're subjectively known as being the neutral champs (to which I'd agree), so I'm curious how the measurements would relate...

post #7 of 16

KRK KNS 8400 or Sony MDR-Z1000

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Typhoon859 View Post

I'm very curious what you come up with comparing the Brainwavz HM5's.  They're subjectively known as being the neutral champs (to which I'd agree), so I'm curious how the measurements would relate...

 

I originally bought them for that reason. To be honest though, I don't think they're "neutral champs." Maybe they are more even-handed and balanced than a lot of other headphones out there, but the frequency response below 400Hz is just all out of whack. Big dip at 300Hz and then a bump between 100-200Hz. Subjectively, this to me translated as kind of boomy and indistinct bass. I also think that overall they are slightly dark/veiled.

 

Unfortunately I never got to try them, but at least on paper kingpage's mods look like a big improvement to me. Maybe somewhere down the road I will buy another pair to try out the mods.

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by manveru View Post

I originally bought them for that reason. To be honest though, I don't think they're "neutral champs." Maybe they are more even-handed and balanced than a lot of other headphones out there, but the frequency response below 400Hz is just all out of whack. Big dip at 300Hz and then a bump between 100-200Hz. Subjectively, this to me translated as kind of boomy and indistinct bass. I also think that overall they are slightly dark/veiled.

Unfortunately I never got to try them, but at least on paper kingpage's mods look like a big improvement to me. Maybe somewhere down the road I will buy another pair to try out the mods.

Coming from something that you're used to, I could see how you can feel that the headphones are on the darker side. I personally strongly disagree, especially with the boomy bass. At least in comparison t anything in the $200 range, nothing is cleaner and more separated than that of which the HM5's provide. They are in fact very neutral sounding, especially for mixing, and I feel as though that's just something you don't like.

But yes, the mod looks interesting. Surprised I haven't noticed this earlier. No wonder my thread on them isn't getting any traction...
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Typhoon859 View Post


Coming from something that you're used to, I could see how you can feel that the headphones are on the darker side.
Yeah, perception definitely changes depending on what you're comparing to. Personal preferences aside, I think the graphs I've seen seen do back that impression up though. The highest treble peaks are about -5dB from the bass. Of course, subjectively that could be considered bright by somebody, so maybe that doesn't really matter :)
I personally strongly disagree, especially with the boomy bass. At least in comparison t anything in the $200 range, nothing is cleaner and more separated than that of which the HM5's provide. They are in fact very neutral sounding, especially for mixing, and I feel as though that's just something you don't like.
But yes, the mod looks interesting. Surprised I haven't noticed this earlier. No wonder my thread on them isn't getting any traction...
Really? I found the Philips Uptown ($150) to be much cleaner and separated than the HM5. It was in comparison with them especially that I found the HM5's to sound muddled in the bass/mids. I think the soundstage/imaging is way better too.
In any case, you're right about me simply not liking the HM5's sound. However I didn't buy them for musical enjoyment, but specifically for the purpose of mixing. I suppose that's why I'm being extra hard on them. They're still decent for that purpose out of an appropriate amp, but I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable making any big EQ decisions based off of them alone.
post #11 of 16

Hmm, well your impressions are pretty much the opposite of what I've seen anyone else have coming across the HM5's, from the point of view of general listening AND for mixing.  Very much so the latter actually...  I've never tried the "Phillips Uptown" but they don't seem to be all the rage in this respect.  I don't speak for trends nor do I support them but in this case the HM5's, they deserve their praise IMO.  I will actually try the Phillips Uptown from that singular suggestion which you made.  It seems very unlikely that the "Neutral Champs" and all which followed that regarding soundstage and everything else (which to my experience was very true) was unjustified with some random pair of headphones floating around which you say is better on every front.  The HM5's weren't ever even compared with anything of a league below headphones ranging $300+.  Anyway, this is not on topic here... >.<  If you'd like, let's continue this in PM.

 

And just for the record, I don't consider them bright...  That's not a good trait IMO.  I find them, hmm, what's the word... neutral!  Lol.  They're very natural and transparent sounding and that's what I love.  I was surprised to learn actually that your opinion is based with mixing in mind because I didn't think anyone could dispute at the very least that...  Quality of the earpads make a very huge difference with them so maybe some of the issues you experienced were revolving that.

 

EDIT: I'm assuming these are what you meant?


Edited by Typhoon859 - 7/2/12 at 7:53pm
post #12 of 16

Hey there!

 

As a mastering engineer and audio restoration specialist, I could give you a few pointers. The first thing you need to decide on is your maximum budget. Is your budget just for the headphones? Will you be needing a dedicated amp and dac for your headphones? Is isolation critical? Are you going to be mixing on them most of the time so that fatigue and soundstage accuracy are of utmost importance? Do you need them to be durable? Do you have want a dynamic headphone, an orthodynamic, an electrostatic or would you consider an IEM or even a custom made IEM? Once you answer these questions, I could give you a good recommendation based on your needs/means.

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Typhoon859 View Post

 

I don't have a problem with other people liking them. It's a good thing in fact. I really liked them myself when I first got them (compared them to the HE-300s at the time). It was only after several months had passed and I got to compare to some other headphones that my opinion began to fade. I am one of only a handful of people that seemed to have certain problems with them. (One of whom was wje. He made a post about liking the Uptowns more in the HM5 thread which is what originally got me interested.)

 

Anyways, the Uptown isn't better on every front, although overall I like them better. I wrote a review with comparisons to the HM5 if you cared to know my detailed thoughts at all. Note that they are not meant to be neutral or for studio use , they are a more fun consumer-oriented headphone. I'd really like to hear a modded pair of HM5s sometime. Maybe it would turn my opinion around.

 

I wasn't saying that you thought they were bright, I just meant that it's possible someone somewhere could, since brightness is a relative subjective term in that sense. I remember seeing your post about the earpads thing. Didn't notice that was you! I got my pair right at the beginning when the HM5 were first coming out, so hopefully my pair wasn't at issue.

 

And yes, the link you posted is to the headphones I was talking about.

 

Sorry for the long off-topic posts. Just wanted both sides to be represented in case anyone else was reading. redface.gif

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post

Hey there!

 

As a mastering engineer and audio restoration specialist, I could give you a few pointers. The first thing you need to decide on is your maximum budget. Is your budget just for the headphones? Will you be needing a dedicated amp and dac for your headphones? Is isolation critical? Are you going to be mixing on them most of the time so that fatigue and soundstage accuracy are of utmost importance? Do you need them to be durable? Do you have want a dynamic headphone, an orthodynamic, an electrostatic or would you consider an IEM or even a custom made IEM? Once you answer these questions, I could give you a good recommendation based on your needs/means.

LFF,

 

I have already ordered a pair of headphones (AKG K 702s with a HeadRoom Micro Amp - see a few posts above yours). 

 

Because the pair that I selected work best when driven I purchased an amp to put between the audio interface and the headphones. When I first was looking isolation was considered critical but after much reading and consideration I decided that I would use my Etymotic in-ears for tracking (low leakage) and use the new over ear pair for help in recording/mixing and general listening.  The type of transducer was not a consideration but I was looking for a accurate/neutral frequency response, good dynamics, detail and a imaged soundstage. From what I could see, that open phones where generally preferred for these attributes.  I was also concerned about the quality of the construction and wearing comfort (I did see that many find the AKGs uncomfortable but it seemed a bit variable on that).  Long-term fatigue while a consideration was secondary in that I am an amateur who does this as a hobby and a few hours  at a time will be considered a lonmg wear session. I have  a pair of 5" active monitors to also use (Focal CMS 50) to aid in mixing as well.  My budget to the headphones was ~$200-$400 and for an amp if required was < $500.

 

Despite my ordering the AKG and HR, I am still curious to hear you opinion.

 

Thanks,

 

Bob

post #15 of 16
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