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Stepping up and need some help!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello, Head-Fi folks!

So, the last post I made, I was considering stepping things up, but life happened, money was gone and everything sucked. Since then, though, I've toyed around with demo headphones in Best Buy and other stores to find that my love of heavy bass was fading. I found myself leaning towards more clear and natural sounding headphones. 

Today, I do have money and am looking to make a purchase really soon, but I don't know what.

I would prefer something more in the $125 range, but, if the difference in quality is big enough, I'm willing to go as high as $175. My general budget for things at the moment is tight enough, but I need a little something more out of my music-listening, more than my Sennheiser HD 202 II's can give me. Plus, I'm needing to slide into audio recording for a few projects, so more natural sounding ones would benefit that, at least I would assume. I'm no audiophile...yet. With that, the need to keep the headphone budget lower would be great as I need to also pick up a decent microphone, but still on the cheaper side.

So, Head-Fi, what would be good? 

Also, if you know anything about audio-recording, pointing me in the right direction for that would be much appreciated.

I'm looking at:






Mostly vocals.

Thanks, Head-Fi.

post #2 of 8



AudioTechnica ATR6250

Pop Filter

KRK KNS 8400


Alternative headphones: KRK KNS 6400, Shure SRH440, Sony V6, Sony 7506.


Very best,

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

I notice all those are studio monitor headphones. What separates studio monitors from others?

Also, the reviews on the mic make me uneasy. What are your reasons for suggesting that one?

Edit: Would discussion about the microphone be better in another part of the forum, or is it okay being apart of this?

Edited by JorgenMeathooks - 9/13/12 at 6:59am
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

So, doing some looking around, USB mics are eehhh when it comes to vocal recording other than podcasting and the like. Spoken-word, not singing.

Edited by JorgenMeathooks - 9/13/12 at 12:00pm
post #5 of 8

Shure microphones are bulletproof. I swear by them. As long as you know the limitations of recording with a dynamic mic then go for it. I have never used the SM48 but I have SM57s, Beta 58s, SM58s, SM7s. I also have a few AKG mics which have served me well.


The common view is that if you're not willing to spend at least a couple hundred dollars (Neuman, etc.) then stick with dynamic mics, since low budget consdensers are very hit and miss. I have to agree with this. The pros only outweigh the cons of condensers once you get into the studio-grade stuff.


Through that interface, you wouldn't notice a difference anyway.


Do get a pop filter. The CAD is cheap and very well built. I have a bunch.


As far as the Behringer, I've never owned a Behringer product that sounded good or lasted for more than 6 months. The idea of a Behringer interface with drivers definitely scares me away since not even most high-end brands can get their drivers right.


If you can spend more look at the Focusrite Scarlett line. I like my 8i6.

I would have at one point recommended Mackie (nice pre-amps and even a decent integrated headphone amp), but their interfaces haven't been updated from horrendously slow USB1.1 compliance.

If you absolutely have to spend under $100 and want max features then check out the Tascam US-122MKII. Throw the driver install disc as far away as possible when you get it and download ASIO4All drivers instead (which are free). The drivers that come bundled with sub-$100 audio gear are just trouble.


Amazon has the M-Audio Fast Track MKII at 50% off the normal price ($60 vs $120) under the name "Avid recording studio" (Avid recently parted ways with M-Audio, I think?). It's probably also better than the Behringer, albeit in a very small, minimal device.


After comparing the Tascam to the M-Audio side by side, I think the Tascam sounds much better. Plus, it has more inputs, outputs, midi support, and USB 2.0 instead of 1.1. The M-Audio worked "OK" (very thin sounding) with Cubase, Audacity, Reason, FL Studio and Pro-Tools but had horrible clipping with Reaper. The Tascam's only quirk as gradually amassing white noise the longer it was plugged in, sadly something common in this price range. Both gave me a couple bluescreens of death and forced me to reboot a couple times.


I once owned one of those Behringer guitar interfaces. a V-amp 2 I think. Horrific preamps. It sounded like there was a permanent reverb you could never turn off. Luckily in typical Behringer fashion it stopped turning on after a week or two.

Edited by machoboy - 9/13/12 at 12:33pm
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 



So, how's this to start me out?

post #7 of 8

For the prices, I'd be surprised if you could go with a better setup than that.


The "next level up" (about $140) for the interface would be the Scarlett 2i2 (usb 2.0, great preamps, but no MIDI) which just sounds amazing for its price. It has the same dac/preamp as my 8i6 and I've recorded stuff on this that sounds as good as with my dedicated preamp and analog mixer. The drivers are excellent.


That said, the Tascam pretty much slapped around everything else I tried in the $80 and below range. I did some pretty good vocal tracks on it before I bought the 8i6.


Which DAW are you planning to use?


Of course this is a pretty high-end oriented headphone forum so some people think the HD 280s suck, but I like them quite a bit.

I like the Shure SRH840 more for closed studio headphones though. That's why I bought them for my own smily_headphones1.gif

Edited by machoboy - 9/14/12 at 12:53am
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Well, this already goes over my current budget by $50, but maybe I should just build up to what I need instead. It would take longer to get where I need to be, but I could get better equipment. Then I could look at the Scarlett and maybe a better mic (SM58, probably). That would also leave me to blow my current budget on just headphones and in a month or two, get another piece.

I'll probably be using FL Studio for now until I could get Logic. What would you recommend? 


If I'd be doing it this way, I'll take a close look at those SRH840s. What can you tell me about them as far as how they sound?

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