Good Cans for Production/Mastering?
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phosfiend

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good evening all,

I've been sifting through the forums for 2 weeks and decided it's about time to ask some questions.

I'm an electronic music producer, mostly technical and experimental stuff and need a good pair of monitoring headphones. My studio monitors do an excellent job - but aren't neighbour friendly in the wee hours of the night. I'm new to some of the terminology so please correct me, but i need a very neutral and accurate set of cans - maybe a touch on the analytical side.

I would also like to be able to push the low end of these headphones for non-production use - as my listening and production preferences differ considerably.

I'm on the fence in terms of whether i want them to open or closed, or somewhere in between. Isolation would be nice, but not at the expense of sound.

And finally durability is also a factor - I am quite gentle with my equipment but wouldnt mind something sturdy.

some the phones I am considering are:
Sennheiser HD580
Sennheiser HD595
Sennheiser HD600
Beyer Dynamic DT880

If you guys have any other suggestions or just feel like correcting me please speak up!

Richard
 
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Zemo

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Well, for your personal listening, the HD580/600 would be fine, but I wouldn't use either in the studio (I work in a couple studios as well). The HD595 are more resolving and neutral, but the high end might sound a bit too unnatural for your work. The DT880's would be a nice set of cans, but might lack a little in the bass for your personal stuff. Likewise for the AKG K501's. I'd pick the K501's for most studio work where open cans aren't a problem (in the booth, etc), but for your style (electronic?) maybe the slightly smoother highs and fuller bass of the DT880's would suit your fancy.

It'll be hard to find a pair of cans that will suit both well! Oh, and when looking at amps (you'll need one when looking at these cans) look for something as neutral as possible!
 
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OceanEnthusiast

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im not a sound engineer, but some of the sennheisers (e.g. hd 580, and i think the hd 600, maybe the other ones too) have a pretty 'laid back' sound, especially in the vocals department. they're nice phones (i own the hd580), but sometimes vocals sound slightly distant. this is simply part of the signature of the phone (probably a tradeoff of for the large soundstage, full, lush sound and tame highs). it's not neccessarily a bad characteristic, but for mixing it might throw you off a little. it's slight, but definately a characteristic of the phone.

i think a brighter phone might be better for mixing.
 
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OceanEnthusiast

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phosfiend

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Amplification is something i am still try to do some research about - currently my mixer is powering my haedphones (HD 270's), and provides more juice than they can handle. If an amp is necessary its something i will consider later on.
 
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skyskraper

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i use an amp simply coz i build them. otherwise id just power my headphones off my mixer also.

what monitors are you using and what is your budget?

for cheaper can's id go the k240s or hd280's.

a bit more cash and the k271s or hd25's would be the next choice

culminating with the dt880's at the top of the tree.

for electronic work (i produce tech house) i find the k240s do great, and have a similar sound signature to my rp8's. im very partial to akg's simply because theyre so light and comfortable. moreso then the sennheisers, i don't feel comfortable commenting on the beyer's comfort coz i havent spent much time on them.

electronic work and grado/alessandro's doesn't work too well unfortunately.
 
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phosfiend

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thanks guys,

Much to think about - hadn't considered the 501's - those allesandro/grado cans look nice too, a little pricy but look interesting.
 
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phosfiend

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My monitors are Alesis M1 Active MKII's - and ive been very happy with them thus far. I use a very wide variety of sounds in my production, lots of analog, lots of samples, so it covers the range from very electronic, to very organic. I guess my budget is capping at around 250 USD for headphones...
 
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skyskraper

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personally i'd buy the k271s (you can get em for 170usd on ebay all the time) and spend the rest on a vintage compressor or eq on ebay
 
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I do mastering and EQing of classical music for CD release. I use cans, but if I had my druthers, I wouldn't. A good set of monitor speakers will get you a LOT closer a LOT faster.

That being said, it is possible to do ruff mixes and EQ balances using cans. What you want is a set that matches your monitor speakers as closely as possible. I did extensive testing of every set of headphones any of my friends had. I finally settled on Sennheiser HD-590s because they matched my JBL monitors as close as could be expected.

If you get cans that aren't stone flat through the key frequencies (100hz to 10khz), you'll find that your mixes always swing the opposite direction of the imbalance of your cans... for instance, if your headphones have a bass hump around 300hz of +4 or 5 db, your ears will mix with a -4 or 5db in that range to compensate. Parallel parking a balance can be extremely frustrating. Don't believe anything anyone tells you about the sound of various models of cans. Take your time and test cans against your speakers before you trust them with your mix.

The goal of a monitor is to reproduce the sound the way the whole world hears it. That's an unattainable goal, but the best way to get close is to start from a flat frequency response.

See ya
Steve
 
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Mastergill

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Get a Sennheiser HD25-1 first. If you really like what you're hearing buy also an HD600 or 650 with a reasonably good amp.
 
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Ever considered canalphones/in-ear monitors? The Etymotic Research ER-4 is designed for the purpose you are describing! Very very detailed and analytical, and when amped, the bass comes through! Other brands like Shure and Ultimate Ears may also be good for studio monitoring.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by phosfiend
I'm an electronic music producer, mostly technical and experimental stuff and need a good pair of monitoring headphones. My studio monitors do an excellent job - but aren't neighbour friendly in the wee hours of the night. I'm new to some of the terminology so please correct me, but i need a very neutral and accurate set of cans - maybe a touch on the analytical side.
Richard



I produce some drum n' bass/jungle. I use the MDR-V6 when I am not using my pair of Alesis. The MDR-V6 are closed cans and are very good for monitoring electronic music although they tip on the analytical side. The HD25-1 are another cans I use and they are also a bit analytical. In my case, I need to hear the top end as well as low end very well. The AK240S is also another one I use and I love it, but it is an open can.
 
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DJGeorgeT

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Teerawit
Ever considered canalphones/in-ear monitors? The Etymotic Research ER-4 is designed for the purpose you are describing! Very very detailed and analytical, and when amped, the bass comes through! Other brands like Shure and Ultimate Ears may also be good for studio monitoring.


I used to use my er-4 for that, then I stopped. I think other cans are better for electronic music production.
 
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bigshot

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I can't believe some of the advice in this thread. I guess some people just aren't familiar with what sound engineers need in a set of cans. It doesn't matter what type of music you are monitoring... electronic, acoustic, rock, classical... It doesn't matter if you personally like lots of bass or treble either. The last thing you want are cans that are detailed or analytical. You don't want ones that have a sound signature that suits a particular type of music either.

What you need for mastering are balanced headphones with a *flat frequency response*. Otherwise, you'll end up with music that sounds fantastic in your cans and sounds totally bizarre when you play it back on speakers.

The point of monitors, whether they be speakers or headphones is to provide a baseline. The only way to determine whether headphones are good for monitoring is to compare them to the output of a known source... ie: good monitor speakers.

See ya
Steve
 
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