Good Budget "Monitoring" headphones?
Sep 9, 2009 at 8:06 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

Triple_Dude

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So I'm taking a course in "Sound Design", and the instructor sent an e-mail for us to get a headphone with "Neutral frequency response". The pertinent portions of the e-mail, verbatim:
Quote:

Additionally, each student should acquire and bring to the lab a pair of good headphones. By good, we mean with a neutral frequency response (ask the retailer for monitoring headphones, these are not more expensive).
These headphones should be circumaural headphones, that is having circular or ellipsoid ear pads that fit around the ears (preferably closed rather than semi-open to minimize the interference of background noise).


Seeing as how the class uses custom courseware which was only 45 bucks (compared to 100+ texts), I'm willing to spend around $80 for the headphone with the left over money that I would normally have to pay for a textbook anyways.

So any potential suggestions? Thanks in advance
smily_headphones1.gif
!
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 8:20 AM Post #3 of 17

Comfy

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As far as I've understood, many studio professionals use some variant of the AKG K240 models. You could probably find a used pair for around 100USD. These are semi-closed.

Another option would be the Sennheiser HD280, which are cheaper and closed. Maybe the perfect option for you.
Sennheiser HD 280 PRO | Sweetwater.com

graphCompare.php


Regarding the Sony MDR-6, the HD280 seems to be flatter in response and less fatiguing, while the MDR-6 (or MDR-7506) seem to have more coloration (pronounced lows and highs), which provides more fun but also more fatigue for extended monitoring.
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 8:57 AM Post #4 of 17

Drubbing

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Comfy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
As far as I've understood, many studio professionals use some variant of the AKG K240 models. You could probably find a used pair for around 100USD. These are semi-closed.


They don't use them by choice, that's just a bog standard that studios can get to do vocal audio well on the cheap, and they're durable.

By all accounts, they suck for any sort of music.

Methinks the course controller may be underestimating what a decent set of neutral monitors cost. Beyer DT250/80ohm are designed and built for this application, but fall well outside your budget at around $300.

The upside is, once you've finished the course, they're great for actually listening to music with them.
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 10:27 AM Post #5 of 17

Comfy

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Did you read OP's post, Drubbing? I'd also recommend Stax Omega 2's for open audiophile headphones in the +1000USD category, but the OP's requests would not be met.
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 12:16 PM Post #6 of 17

TyRip

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Neutral and around that budget, I immediately thought Audio Technica AD700, but they are open.

One suggestion - Don't get Sony 7506 headphones. If you go to Guitar Center or wherever that will probably be up their on their recommendations. Not neutral at all, even though a lot of studios use them because they are relatively robust and inexpensive.

Maybe try one of the AT closed headphones in the 500/700 range, A700?
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 3:34 PM Post #7 of 17

Pianist

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I think under ~$80 Sony MDR-V6 is a save bet. It has a decently flat response and is easy to drive unamped. Sennheiser HD280Pro is better, but only when used with an amp and a good source. So if you will be plugging the cans into a quality source, get HD280 instead. Get MDR-V6 otherwise.
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 5:45 PM Post #8 of 17

dnullify

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I'd agree the HD280s are relatively neutral, for what they are. If you're plugging them into a computer with a high-end card, or other high-end source you shouldn't be too off... downside being, you might not enjoy them for pleasure listening as much as other models.

If this is your first time delving into hi-fi audio however, there's a good chance you'll love the 280s immediately. as they say: You can't miss what you've never had!
 
Sep 10, 2009 at 3:14 AM Post #9 of 17

Ntropic

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TyRip /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Neutral and around that budget, I immediately thought Audio Technica AD700, but they are open.

Maybe try one of the AT closed headphones in the 500/700 range, A700?



I wouldn't recommend AT at all. I listened to a pair of K271Mk2 for 15 minutes and I could immediately tell my A700s were lacking in comparison with violins. That, I presume, is the recessed AT mids that everybody talks about.

Besides, I don't think A700 is a good idea for portability reasons. Big in the bag, and they don't seem particularly durable. It's the headband I worry about.

HD280, MDR-V6...

How about Shure SRH440? Those are marketed for professional audio, and are foldable as well. I think they're $100 at B&H, and less at J&R.
 
Sep 10, 2009 at 3:17 AM Post #10 of 17

Kingfrog

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ntropic /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I think the Sony MDR-V6 will be the first recommendation suggested. Wait and see...


+1 Most use Live board monitoring Headphone and great in the Studio..I had a pair of the Sonys 7506s for years....just replaced them in our Studio.
 
Sep 10, 2009 at 3:33 AM Post #11 of 17

Drubbing

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Comfy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Did you read OP's post, Drubbing? I'd also recommend Stax Omega 2's for open audiophile headphones in the +1000USD category, but the OP's requests would not be met.


Yes I did. That how I came to provide an answer. See, if I hadn't read the post, I couldn't have contributed, could I?

Anyway, enough biting sarcasm. Did you read my post? I suggested that he might look outside his budget to get 'decent' monitors. Cheap ones, like the AKG, will not be useful for much else after his course. I was only suggesting an option that would have some value beyond the course/work usage.

He can take or leave it.
 
Sep 10, 2009 at 8:00 AM Post #12 of 17

Triple_Dude

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Thanks for the responses guys ^_^. Since I'll be using them on run-off-the-mill Mac's, I won't have access to any amp. So I suppose in that case the Sony MDR-V6 would be my best bet?

But neutral being a requirement, would you guys still recommend the MDR-V6 over the HD280 under non-amp conditions? I've been doing some reading on my own, and the HD280 seems to be all around better at being "analytical" (so to speak). That's what I'm leaning towards from what little I've read, but I have no real experience. This would be my first purchase of a "decent" pair of headphones.

Shure SRH440 is a bit outside of my budget, at around 120CAD when all is said and done (Yep, I'm a Canadian
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).
 
Sep 16, 2009 at 3:01 AM Post #14 of 17

Triple_Dude

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Right now I've tried both the HD 280 and the Audio Technica M30. The shop I went to doesn't have the Sony MDR-V6's (although from what I've read, they're not as good as the 280's or 7506's--which is out of my price range anyways).

Is there a frequency response graph for the M30? The HD 280 sounded pretty nice through their amp, and so did the M30, but the M30 seemed to have a more exaggerated bass than the 280's from my short listening period.

Again, thanks for all the help so far guys
smily_headphones1.gif
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Jun 18, 2011 at 9:05 PM Post #15 of 17

ZetsuBozu0012

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Rather than start a new thread, since I'm looking for the same thing, I thought I'd just ask around here.
 
Then again, I don't really mind whether they're circumaural or supra-aural; I'm partial to neither. Also, I actually prefer open/semi-open backed headphones, since I kinda need to be aware of my surroundings at times, particularly when I'm just lounging around and listening to my music library. 
 
Also, does anyone think splurging on a pair of custom fit IEMs (Ultimate Ears 4 Pro?) is worth it for non-professional use? (I.E. for personal listening)
They're a tad pricier than what I'm willing to spend, but I wouldn't really mind if they end up being worth it. I currently own a pair of Pioneer EX-9s (see my profile pic), and they have relatively neutral response, though the bass is a bit more pronounced than the treble. The mids, by the way, are pretty decent. 
 
... Just thought I'd give a general idea of what I'd gotten used to.
 
Cheers, everyone.
 

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