Best headphone for bad crappy recording quality songs from the 80's
Apr 1, 2024 at 4:54 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

Sound Eq

Headphoneus Supremus
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Greetings

Yes the title is exactly what I am looking for

So many great bands recorded their best albums in the 80's and boy the sound quality of those recordings are terrible on some of top of the line headphones

So maybe there is a headphone that is magical with such bad recordings, and that headphone is so messed up that it suits those crappy recordings :). As much as I liked those bands in the 80's but its torture to my ears listening to them on my totl headphones

Bands with terrible recordings
1- Depeche Mode -- such as Songs of faith and devotion
2- Eurythmics
3- The cure
4- Tears for fears
5- Europe
6- Bon Jovi



and the list goes on and on

So lets have some fun here and just see where this thread will lead us
 
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Apr 1, 2024 at 8:21 PM Post #2 of 15
The best bet might be something simple that's not as resolving like the Hyper Cloud Stinger Core wireless or Sennheiser hd58x or Drop PC38x. All those are pretty forgiving and really affordable.
 
Apr 1, 2024 at 10:10 PM Post #3 of 15
Apr 1, 2024 at 11:23 PM Post #5 of 15
My go-to for those is my ZMF Auteur OGs, because they've got an easy going treble and they're more about fun-factor than exacting detail and accuracy.
 
Apr 2, 2024 at 11:21 AM Post #6 of 15
HE-500's on a R2R DAC and /or using PEQ to add bass under 80 Hz, slightly lower around 800 Hz, 3.2kHz, 9KHz - in particular great on vocals
 
Apr 2, 2024 at 2:54 PM Post #7 of 15
I would say that headphones that are generally "better" or more resolving etc are better even for "crappy" recordings but you may have to consider tweaking the frequency curve if it's way off for your taste
 
Apr 3, 2024 at 6:58 PM Post #9 of 15
Either something with an older design (even better something from the 80s if you can find one, for the most realistic experience haha), or something that have its own distinctive tone (for example Audeze) so it doesn't get affected much by the quality of other component or the recording
 
Apr 3, 2024 at 11:11 PM Post #10 of 15
Greetings

Yes the title is exactly what I am looking for

So many great bands recorded their best albums in the 80's and boy the sound quality of those recordings are terrible on some of top of the line headphones

So maybe there is a headphone that is magical with such bad recordings, and that headphone is so messed up that it suits those crappy recordings :). As much as I liked those bands in the 80's but its torture to my ears listening to them on my totl headphones

Bands with terrible recordings
1- Depeche Mode -- such as Songs of faith and devotion
2- Eurythmics
3- The cure
4- Tears for fears
5- Europe
6- Bon Jovi



and the list goes on and on

So lets have some fun here and just see where this thread will lead us
I just listened to Songs of Faith on 800S. Any particular song in that album you are having trouble with? Not well recorded and mastered but doesn't sound bad (but can hear all the bad mixing choices) and not harsh or sharp or anything close to torture.

What dac are you using?
 
Apr 12, 2024 at 8:34 AM Post #11 of 15
I thought recording tech. was pretty good in the 1980's. Certainly I don't have any complaints about albums by the Cure in terms of recording quality. I'm surprised no one has recommended the Sennheiser HD650.
 
Apr 12, 2024 at 12:20 PM Post #12 of 15
I thought recording tech. was pretty good in the 1980's. Certainly I don't have any complaints about albums by the Cure in terms of recording quality. I'm surprised no one has recommended the Sennheiser HD650.
Not really about the recording tech. Much more about '80s-era mixing preferences and the early days of the "loudness wars" (i.e. compression). Prince was notorious for his affinity for spicy treble. I've got old Prince LPs that I can't even touch without cotton balls jammed into my ears.
 
Apr 12, 2024 at 12:45 PM Post #13 of 15
It's not really the recording quality that's the issue as much as the mixing and mastering trends in the 80s, especially in some genres. I'd go for something warm where the mids and highs aren't very forward, like the Amiron Home or Nightowl

I thought recording tech. was pretty good in the 1980's. Certainly I don't have any complaints about albums by the Cure in terms of recording quality. I'm surprised no one has recommended the Sennheiser HD650.

The 650s have some touchy areas in the upper mids that might be a bit annoying with 80s mixes.
 
Apr 16, 2024 at 6:25 PM Post #15 of 15
Greetings

Yes the title is exactly what I am looking for

So many great bands recorded their best albums in the 80's and boy the sound quality of those recordings are terrible on some of top of the line headphones

So maybe there is a headphone that is magical with such bad recordings, and that headphone is so messed up that it suits those crappy recordings :). As much as I liked those bands in the 80's but its torture to my ears listening to them on my totl headphones

Bands with terrible recordings
1- Depeche Mode -- such as Songs of faith and devotion
2- Eurythmics
3- The cure
4- Tears for fears
5- Europe
6- Bon Jovi



and the list goes on and on

So lets have some fun here and just see where this thread will lead us

I don't have the energy for this hobby to get into a discussion, but I'll try to give my thought process and suggestions.

In my experience since I built the most transparent without a sound signature CIEM chain, the CD mastering and pressing plays a big role because GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out).

I prefer West German CD pressing plants and then Japanese CD pressing plants. Target pressings are my favorite because it is straight up from the Master Tapes and no EQ processing because processing wasn't a thing yet. Shout out to Black Triangle pressings too.

For:

1- Depeche Mode -- such as Songs of faith and devotion. I need to test over the Summer, but I think I usually go for the Japanese pressings here.
2- Eurythmics. I believe you can only find a good mastering / pressing on a compilation CD such a Time-Life.
3- The cure. I need to test over the Summer, but I think I usually go for the Japanese pressings here.
4- Tears for fears. Mercury Atom / Atomic pressings. Preferably West German. I think MFSL mastering for SOF is still the go to, but for seeds Mercury Atomic. Mercury Atomic SOF is said to be warmer than the MFSL. Summer Test.
5- Europe. I believe you can only find a good mastering / pressing on a compilation CD such a Time-Life.
6- Bon Jovi. Mercury Atom / Atomic pressings. Preferably West German. Note the bottom label of the CD "MADE IN W. GERMANY". Note the Center which looks like a Atom. Most Bon Jovi albums have the West German option.

bonjovi_sww.jpg


Others:

Prince. Target Pressings, either West Germany or Japan

1999.jpg


Rush. Mercury Atom / Atomic only. Almost all Rush have the Mercury Atomic option.

Since I run a Hugo₂TT not a HugoTT₂ which unlocks Soundstage Depth, Talking Heads Live has been so fun (Note the "Target" CD Design and "Made In Japan"):

th.jpg


It's a rabbit hole, but I label my Genre Tag "Masters" for the good stuff. The Generic stuff I don't distinguish.

You can find more here including recommended compilations:

There are actually a whole lot of ways for a mastering engineer to screw up the sound of a CD. I’ll list these in descending order of seriousness, in my opinion.

1. Making the sound as loud as possible.

2. Using exaggerated equalization (EQ).

3. Using inferior source tapes.

4. Using noise reduction.

5. Applying additional compression/limiting at the mastering stage.

6. Remixing from the multi-track tapes.

7. Truncating the fade-outs.

8. Using a non-hit version of the song.

9. Making the disc too quiet.


Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about most of the CDs released after about 1996, many of which compete in the so-called “loudness wars.” (The Time-Life CDs are the exception, although most of the their CDs released after about 1999 feel like retreads of earlier Time-Life CDs.)

TIme-Life mentioned.

https://crapfromthepast.com/compactdiscs/index.htm

Time-Life:

https://crapfromthepast.com/compactdiscs/timelife.htm

Sorry, I can't play anymore. It's like pickup Basketball. I wish I could play with you guys, but I just don't have the energy anymore. But if I stumble upon Depeche Mode and The Cure over the Summer, I'll post.

Xennial
 
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