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Author Topic:  Studio Headphones Suggestions?
George Redmon


Post Posted 22 Mar 2018 6:39 pm     Reply with quote

I'm currently using AKG k240 Studio Headphones.

https://www.akg.com/Headphones/Professional%20Headphones/K240MKII.html

I purchased a pair of these about 6 years ago, after I had the wonderful opportunity to do a jazz session at a major studio in Detroit. Every sound booth had k240's, and they sounded great to me anyways. So I bought myself a pair. They have served me well but I'd like to possibly upgrade within budget. I use my studio monitors to do my final mix. I'll need to use the headphones not just for steel, but a variety of instruments and voice. I will just mostly use these with my Behringer Digital Studio. I don't want to have to mortgage the farm for a set of cans. I was thinking right around $200 to $250. Any suggestions?
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Jim Park


From:
Carson City, Nv
Post Posted 23 Mar 2018 7:13 am     Reply with quote

I use a set of Beyerdynamic 770 pros in my studio, a great bang for the buck.
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Tim Kowalski


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 23 Mar 2018 8:26 am     Reply with quote

It would probably depend on how you are using them in your studio - Mixing or Tracking?
I have Sennheiser 280 pros, Beyer 770s and Marantz. I have used the Beyer 770 Pros for mixing when I can't use monitors, but have noticed that they are a bit lacking in the low frequencies. When I use them to mix, I need to watch that I don't get the bass and kick too heavy.
I picked up a pair of Marantz MPH-2s on a Stupid Deal for around 30.00. When I mix with those, I've had good final mixes. Then they put Marantz MPH-4s on sale, so I bought 2 pairs - they are pretty close in sound to the Beyer 770s.

Bottom line - For mixing, I go to MPH-2 For tracking I use the 770s. 770s are also great for just listening.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post Posted 23 Mar 2018 9:23 am     Reply with quote

Mixing on headphones is dicey. Apart from the bass thing, it's impossible to get a reliable perspective on a vocalist or solo instrument. If I have to mix on cans I always revisit those aspects when speakers come available.

Interesting thread though as I'm in the market. I have a couple of pairs of Sennheiser HD455s which are so smooth and light but falling to bits. Also Beyer DT220s if I need isolation. They're left over from when I used to do location recording for TV. Not really hi-fi but very analytical and show up flaws.
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Howard Parker


From:
Clarksburg,MD USA
Post Posted 23 Mar 2018 9:27 am     Reply with quote

I track with the Sennheiser HD280 Pro.

I don't mix with cans.

fwiw

hp
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George Redmon


Post Posted 23 Mar 2018 9:41 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for all the suggestions. As i clearly stated in my original post, i mix using studio monitors. While i sold most of my home studio gear, i did keep my Yamaha HS8 studio monitors. So the phones would be for just direct recording. Thanks
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Bill Terry


From:
Bastrop, TX
Post Posted 23 Mar 2018 10:07 am     Reply with quote

I've used a pair of these for tracking for quite a few years, and now that I've gotten comfortable with how they translate I also use them to check mixes. It's a good reference.

What I like a lot is that I don't seem to get ear fatigue with these like others I've used. I'm not sure what's different, but they don't seem to fry me after several hours.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ATHM50x--audio-technica-ath-m50x-closed-back-studio-monitoring-headphones?gclid=Cj0KCQjwy9LVBRDOARIsAGqoVnt4hVyPGRQht9Sx-1qk12tTUnLCZPc5hV9Sxg-wXZDNTIhe2DfspHUaAlSlEALw_wcB
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Greg Cutshaw


From:
Corry, PA, USA
Post Posted 23 Mar 2018 10:18 am     Reply with quote

I have the AKG k240 Studio Headphones as well and hate them. Also been wanting to upgrade. Like George I have the Yamaha HS8 studio monitors and they are great for mixing.

Bill, WOW!!!!! 5699 reviews on Amazon for the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x! May try those out. The AKG K240's I have don't handle the bass guitar at any level without distortion.

On the other hand, reading headphone and speaker reviews will drive you crazy after a few hours. I see the next model up Audio-Technica headphones are on sale now for $129 on Amazon.
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 23 Mar 2018 12:39 pm     Reply with quote

I'm using the ATH-M50X headphones. I've tried others, even higher cost headphones, and like these better than others. I've got several Sony MDR7506 "Studio Monitor" headsets and a couple Shure SRH440's but prefer the M50X's.

None of these are High $$ headsets but work good in my home studio.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post Posted 23 Mar 2018 12:43 pm     Reply with quote

Greg Cutshaw wrote:
Reading headphone and speaker reviews will drive you crazy after a few hours.

Be warned.
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Greg Cutshaw


From:
Corry, PA, USA
Post Posted 23 Mar 2018 4:01 pm     Reply with quote

Agree with others that a speaker that makes for easy listening is not always the best for critical studio mixing and mastering. I have 5" Yamaha studio monitors on my Reaper workstation and 8" Yamaha monitors on my Zoom for recording and listening to real tracks. Neither is particularly warm sounding or great for music without a small subwoofer added. I got some really cheap speakers for easy listening that color the sound lot but they sound beautiful. Still thinking about the headphones! I knew I shouldn't have started reading this thread. The only hobby I have that cost more than the home studio is my Jeep Wrangler.
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George Redmon


Post Posted 23 Mar 2018 7:46 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks Jack, and Bill for steering me to those ATH-M50X phones. I'm looking really hard at those. Thanks everyone for their thoughts. Helps me to make a wise purchase choice.
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Bill Terry


From:
Bastrop, TX
Post Posted 24 Mar 2018 8:19 am     Reply with quote

By the way, at the risk of name-dropping Smile, Tommy Detamore steered me toward those AT-M50X initially. I find his recommendations are usually pretty much spot-on.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post Posted 24 Mar 2018 1:36 pm     Reply with quote

Beyer 770 users, which of the three available impedances (32, 80 or 250 ohm) do you favour?

I want to update my trusty old DT220s which are sounding a bit dated. (Not sure how old they are but I'm pretty certain I first used them on Top Gear in the middle eighties.)
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 25 Mar 2018 2:12 am     Reply with quote

I'd like to add, I don't mix with headphones. My final mixes/mastering is done with JBL LSR308 studio speakers.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 26 Mar 2018 2:35 pm     Reply with quote

I really like my Grado headphones. I have the SR325 ones. They are all good but the more money you spend the better.
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
Philippines
Post Posted 19 Apr 2018 2:38 pm     Reply with quote

No matter what you end up getting you have to go through a lot of different mixes (released hits as well as indie mixes) to get used to your headset in order to tell reference and how your chosen set works on all these mixes.

It will take time to get used to any pair to use as a dependable guide.

I use a pair of Sony MDR V600.

It's an older set but it's what I'm used to.



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Les Cargill


From:
Oklahoma City, Ok, USA
Post Posted 20 Apr 2018 2:48 pm     Reply with quote

At least try a pair of Koss KTX PRO. Whopping $16.10 on Amazon, but they're my favorite headphones.
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Joseph Carlson


From:
Grass Valley, California, USA
Post Posted 20 Apr 2018 5:52 pm     Reply with quote

https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/best-recording-studio-headphones/
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George Redmon


Post Posted 2 May 2018 1:23 am     Reply with quote

I want to thank everyone for the suggestions. I finally went with the Audio Technica ATH-M50X. I could have my choice of black, white, blue, or red. I got the red of course. These are fantastic. I also bought a case to keep them in, and a snap on knitted red headband protector. Goes to show, that i do value all of your opinions. Thank you all again so very much for all your help and guidance, i really appreciate you fella's helping me out like you do.


























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Greg Cutshaw


From:
Corry, PA, USA
Post Posted 2 May 2018 4:40 am     Reply with quote

George, I also just got the ATH-MM50xRD red headphones. I find they handle the bass a lot better with no distortion, than my AKG k240 Studio Headphones. They are also a bit more trebly on the non-bass notes much like the Yamaha HS5 speakers that I master with. The red is sharp looking!
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 10 May 2018 1:10 am     Reply with quote

Those are indeed nice phones !

It's an interesting debate regarding mixing and yeh the rules have always been do not mix in cans. Well, why not ? Pretty much everyone who listens to music these days does so in earbuds or phones connected to the PC.

I track and initial mix all the time in cans. While of course I use the ref Monitors for the final product but not before clearly understanding the pan and EQ fields in the cans. Stereo separation jumps out in the cans as does stereo effects and placements of these effects, which may be very slight.

I have multiple cans of which my favorite are some low cost Sony MDR 7502 and Sony MDR V-300 . Very consistent and easy to LEARN the mix.

These days while we all want to trust the Ref Monitors, all ref monitors are not equal. What may sound great in the room thru the RM's may very well be too low end or MID strong in the car or low end cans.

A couple of decades ago everyone listened to music thru hi end stereo's and efficient 3-way speaker systems in the living room. We had a total and complete spec war going on, which speakers were better , which amp had better distortion specs a etc...Today, none of this is valid.

Streaming music today , all sites, is caped at 16Khz hi end and right at 100 hz low end. We upload a nice wav file to a hosting site and ..uhh..it is compressed . We post a file for others to listen to and it's an MP3, probably a 128. Then we listen to it on PC speakers or thru earbuds.

While obviously listening or mixing in the ref monitors is obviously a good thing, these days it may not be the final product.

We can each argue which is the best way to do something but at the end of the day it's the final track that matters, not how we got there. If we understand our ref monitors and understand the cans we use we can get the job done either way. A really nice set on monitors may sound terrific in the room, but that exact same mix thru earbuds or in the car can be really lo end or mid range strong so a slight -db edit may be in order.

also consider this , if we are producing a retail product, our final MIX from our ref monitors is going to a mastering house , guess what they are doing with our mix ?

And of course the other variable not mentioned is, do we actually know what we want our tracks to sound like and are our ears reporting back to us what it is we are looking for ?
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Tim Kowalski


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 14 May 2018 6:41 am     Reply with quote

Tony,
I agree 100% (although others will certainly not). If you are very familiar with your cans, it is possible to get a good mix.
One could mix using high end monitors in an unfriendly room and get a crap mix. I believe that any mix will need a tweak to make it sound great on all devices and systems. Trial and error.
Using cans will take the room acoustics out of the equation.
I mix both ways. I recently purchased ARC 2 (Acoustic Room Correction) from IK Multimedia. It is software that includes a reference microphone to tune your monitor EQ to the room (making the response flat by adjusting for reflection, absorption and frequency response of the speakers). It seems to work pretty well - I get better first time mixes than without.
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Jim Park


From:
Carson City, Nv
Post Posted 15 May 2018 7:32 pm     Reply with quote

My .02 worth is this... unless the mixed track is played in identically treated room, it will sound different than mixed. The strategy I use is to mix for wav/aiff on CDs
one way and MP3/Digital players another way. I have also begun to really pay attention to metering as I’m mixing. The reason streaming files get “compressed” is they don't meet the -14 LUFS standards. There are apps to tell you if your files will be loudness reduced when loaded onto the particular site, and Apple offers a Tool Kit app for this. The two metering plugins I use the most are the Dorros meters from Waves and DynaMeter from Meter Plugs. The DynaMeter plug is kinda cool because it uses colors to show Dynamic range. Preserving the Dynamic range while giving each sound source sonic space in the track should produce good tracks.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 16 May 2018 1:16 am     Reply with quote

What Jim says above is correct , LUFS is the scale used for LOUDNESS . 12 LUFS had been the standard scale and in some circles is deemed as too loud, so 14 is now the new target. Keep in mind though, LUFS is not a dynamic range spec, just the normalized loudness spec.

Historically streaming sites compressed to 128 MP3 which has a top freq cut-off near 16KHZ. Normalization was at 12 LUFS . A few sites have moved the MP3 compression UP , some to 192, some to 256 and Spotify is now at 320 with a LUF of 14. But the jury is still out with regard to the hi end cut-off, can it even be noticed with earbuds or phones? Evidently it may be nothing more than a spec war.

The best way to see the cut-off freq is to place the music file in your DAW and look at the Spectrum Analyzer. If thats even important.

Kinda funny, a $12.95 set of earbuds has a spec of 20 to 20KHZ , a $200 set of quality phones has a spec of 20 to 20Khz ! Nothing wrong here !

If we are tracking at home and are using any sort of a Software Mastering Suite, such as T-racks etc, the scales and meters are on board so you can visually SEE whats going on via the meters. Are they as accurate as a Mastering House ? Probably not but they can be consistent for us from track to track, freq and loudness wise.
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