Headphones for Monitoring
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Schmoron13

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Hi everyone, I am a transplant from Keyboard Magazine's Forum and have a question that only you guys seem to be able to solve:

After a weekend recording session (smooth jazz into the computer) my downstairs neighboor asked me about headphones (IE: banged on the ceiling)..so I've been trying to find out what pair I should get but have found little info on any. I saw that Keyboard Mag had a keybuy for the new K240 (from AKG) and a lot of people seem to love the Grado 60's, 80's and 125s, but that's it. I tried going to GC (I know I know) but those idiots didn't help (the girl working the pro audio dept sent me to another dept only to have me go back and point out that the cans were right behind her!!!!)...

I need a pair asap for the following uses:
I record mainly softsynths and the occasional guitar, cello, voice into my Aardvark Q10. I started doing some dance and hip hop music so I prob need decent bass response. Now I was wondering what people use and like/dislike. I would prefer to spend less than $100 but if they are worth it...

I know I need to listen to really pick a pair, but I'm curios as to what the rest of you use. I know very little about the technology in headphones and what the stats mean (besides range) so any advice would be great.

Thanks in advance
 
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JZC

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The first thing you want to remember when making your decision is that headphones that sound the best are not the headphones that you should use to mix and master with. People tend to enjoy extra bass and treble in their music, so a lot of headphones come with hyped responses in this range. You don't want to master or mix with "biased" cans, because that's going to translate into your track.

I personally own a Grado SR-80, Sony MDR-7506, Koss KSC-35 and Sennheiser MX-500, and of those, I would probably pick the Sennheisers to do most of the mixing with, even though they sound the worst. The Grados have too much treble, and the Sony and Koss have too much bass.

In the end, the only piece of equipment that can ensure that you have a flat, balanced mix is a good set of studio monitors. I'm actually in a similar situation as you, because I do a lot of my work at night, when the neighbors (and girlfriend) are asleep. I do a lot of my work with my Sonys (as they are sealed and won't wake up my girlfriend), but since they are so heavy on the bass they tire my ears out pretty quickly. When this happens I switch to the Sennheisers. Whatever the case, I make sure I do my final EQ and mastering with my studio monitors.

The bottom line is, you really shouldn't mix and master using headphones.


If you need one RIGHT THIS MINUTE, the Senns can be had from places like buy.com or amazon for under 20$.
 
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acs236

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There are at least a few sub $100 cans that would be decent for mixing. The Sony v6/7506 comes to mind, the Sennheiser 280 as well (but it might not have the bass you're looking for).
 
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Eagle_Driver

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And speaking of mixing and mastering through speaker monitors, I would NEVER try that at very loud levels. You see, most professional monitor speakers are designed to deliver their optimal sound for mixing/mastering at an SPL of about 85 dBA - and mixing and/or mastering at SPLs much louder than that through the monitor speakers will almost always result in recordings that sound muddy, honky and mid-rangey (the engineer will tend to over-compensate for the extremely high SPL by turning down the bass and treble in the final mix).

For that reason, headphones are less than ideal for mixing or mastering, simply because it's all too easy to get too high of an SPL going through them.
 
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Tim D

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AKG K240S would fit the bill fine and are much better than the Grados for monitoring purposes. In fact I'd prefer the K240S over the low end Grado's for listening purposes...they are better balanced and have very good low-end response. They also sound much better than SennHD280 IMO which is the same price...but they don't isolate much in comparison.

Make sure to get the newer K240S 55 ohm version over the older but still venerable 600 ohm M series.

These are made for studio monitoring and are reference phones in that aspect. Good recordings will sound good, bad recordings sound bad, compressed recordings sound compressed, airy recordings will be airy. Everything is remarkably "middle of the road" with these phones. Those Grados for example tend to lend dynamicism to recordings.



 
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bkelly

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The 240's are common aroud studios and you shouldn't have any problem understanding their sound. The Sony V6 is very popular also in studios and is the favorite of a studio musican friend of mine. Me, I would also consider the grado 225 and the Sennheiser 590's if I really need to know what was on the recording.

It's great to get advicee but it would be realyy helpful to hear all of these headphones.

Good luck.





Best
Brian
 
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a1leyez0nm3

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Quote:

Originally posted by JZC
The first thing you want to remember when making your decision is that headphones that sound the best are not the headphones that you should use to mix and master with. People tend to enjoy extra bass and treble in their music, so a lot of headphones come with hyped responses in this range. You don't want to master or mix with "biased" cans, because that's going to translate into your track.

I personally own a Grado SR-80, Sony MDR-7506, Koss KSC-35 and Sennheiser MX-500, and of those, I would probably pick the Sennheisers to do most of the mixing with, even though they sound the worst. The Grados have too much treble, and the Sony and Koss have too much bass.

In the end, the only piece of equipment that can ensure that you have a flat, balanced mix is a good set of studio monitors. I'm actually in a similar situation as you, because I do a lot of my work at night, when the neighbors (and girlfriend) are asleep. I do a lot of my work with my Sonys (as they are sealed and won't wake up my girlfriend), but since they are so heavy on the bass they tire my ears out pretty quickly. When this happens I switch to the Sennheisers. Whatever the case, I make sure I do my final EQ and mastering with my studio monitors.

The bottom line is, you really shouldn't mix and master using headphones.


If you need one RIGHT THIS MINUTE, the Senns can be had from places like buy.com or amazon for under 20$.



are you crazy?!?!?!?! the sennheiser buds are no where near the quality of Sony V6!!! the V6 is a great headphone to monitor/record with!!!!!


Either Sony V6 or Sennheiser HD280 PRO or Etymotic ER4P or Beyerdynamic DT-250-80
 
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a1leyez0nm3

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the sennheiser hd280pro has great bass, and so does the V6. the akg 240 doesnt have good bass, from what i have heard... the grados are horrible for monitoring... they are way too colored.

1. Beyer 250-80 ($150)
2. Sennheiser HD280PRO ($100)
3. Sony V6 $(70)


4. if you have the money/ dont mind ear canal phones:: Etymotic ER4P ($300)
 
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a1leyez0nm3

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Quote:

Originally posted by Eagle_Driver
And speaking of mixing and mastering through speaker monitors, I would NEVER try that at very loud levels. You see, most professional monitor speakers are designed to deliver their optimal sound for mixing/mastering at an SPL of about 85 dBA - and mixing and/or mastering at SPLs much louder than that through the monitor speakers will almost always result in recordings that sound muddy, honky and mid-rangey (the engineer will tend to over-compensate for the extremely high SPL by turning down the bass and treble in the final mix).

For that reason, headphones are less than ideal for mixing or mastering, simply because it's all too easy to get too high of an SPL going through them.



very true, but you can get an SPL monitor to help with that
(rat shack)
 
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Tim D

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The K240S, the newest version of the AKG 240 series, has very good bass response. This is explicitly stated as an improvement over the older models with the XXL Varimotion modules. Not to mention the older models were 600 ohms making it difficult to drive with most amps.

I also have ER4S as a reference being a long-time user, and still think the AKG240S perform well in lower frequencies with some visceral bass to boot while still having AKG tightness and precision. In fact it is probably easier to appreciate the bass from the AKG240S than the ER4S, the latter sometimes taking time to get used to and a great seal.
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by a1leyez0nm3
1. Beyer 250-80 ($150)
2. Sennheiser HD280PRO ($100)
3. Sony V6 $(70)


Invert that order and you got it right


The Beyers are the most enjoyable of those to listen to IMO, but they're too rolled off in the highs and warm in the mids to do any real studio/monitoring work.

The V6 have a flatter response, IMO, than the 280 Pro.

I'd recommend the V6 (although I'm really curious about the 240S that Tim mentioned)
 
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Tim D: Still happy with it, are you? Me too...


Grinnings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

P.S.: Maybe I should change my signature line... What about: "Sometimes I feel so schizophrenic that I have the urge to hold elections with myselves." ?
 
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a1leyez0nm3

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i was just listing them by price. the V6 would probably be best, since the beyers are a bit rolled off, right. hd280s would be good too if you need more isolation tho.
 
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Another vote for the Sony V6 (or their pro equivalent). I've used them from time to time for monitoring live bands off the board, and they do the job very well. I've used them in this capacity for about 5-6 years. I feel they would be the best choice under $100 (and I also own the Senn HD 280).

-Keith
 
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Hey, Schmoron13! I have got to go with the Sony MDR-7506 or MDR-V6 (which, just in case you haven't figured out, are the same exact phone with different numbers). I have been in pro audio for a long time, and the MDR-7506 is pretty much the standard for live sound monitoring. In my opinion they match up with pro gear much better than some of the others mentioned. I do a little MIDI work myself and that's what I prefer. Additionally, the 7506 is built like a tank- chunk them around, they'll hold up much better than some of the other stuff mentioned.

The MDR-V6 has been discontinued if I recall, but there are still plenty of them around. The V6 is much (much) cheaper than the 7506- GC will probably get about 200 for the 7506 and the V6 has been known to go for about 70 or so. Good luck!

Peace and softsynths (I really dig the Native Inst. B4), BeeEss
 
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