The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
ninox_rufa
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by ninox_rufa » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:23 am

3phase wrote:thats no stupid question?

are you sure?

i actually think its one of the most stupid that came along here ever..and thats quite something..

The way you continuously insult people around here. I really don't understand why you haven't been banned yet.
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MPGK
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by MPGK » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:57 am

ninox_rufa wrote:
3phase wrote:thats no stupid question?

are you sure?

i actually think its one of the most stupid that came along here ever..and thats quite something..

The way you continuously insult people around here. I really don't understand why you haven't been banned yet.
Be gentle to 3phase, he's a marvel of modern day society: the frustrated old techno-fart.

Mister36
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by Mister36 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:57 pm

3phase wrote:
Of course, consumer headphones and studio/monitoring headphones are very different beasts made for very different purposes, but is there any way of finding out what specifically makes my consumer headphones sound "better"? What are they doing to my frequency response curve?!?!? :P

thats no stupid question?

are you sure?

i actually think its one of the most stupid that came along here ever..and thats quite something..
I still don't think it was a stupid question. Surely if the answer is so simple and the question so stupid and pointless, you could have just shared the answer in the first second you wasted by answering properly. Instead you post dismissive and frankly rude comments.
What makes it a stupid question, may I ask? I see stupidity every time I read one of your comments, either responding to a question you deem to be a waste of time to answer, or professing the inadequacies of Live, which you continue to use.


Thank you to fx23 anyway. He at least tried to actual question I posed, and went a long way to answering it.

Piplodocus
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by Piplodocus » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:18 pm

"Meanwhile, back behind the facade of an old gift shop..."

My "studio" headphones have a very flat frequncy response and don't add lots of warm bass end. That means they're clearer for mixing stuff and don't get woolley in the bottom end. Equally I have a likelyhood if I mix stuff on them that it then sounds super bass heavy and/or muddy/woolley on my Hi-Fi/in my van, so I then have to re-mix everything anyway! :lol:
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UKRuss
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by UKRuss » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:18 pm

I think the simple asnwer is that consumer headphones are designed to flatter the music, but their actual success in doing that varies greatly usually depending on how much you paid for them.

For studio and monitoring use I think its subjective. I guess most people wouldnt buy more than one paid of headphones at a time for this purpose if they work in their project studio solo.

So, whatever it was that made you p[urcashe brand x over brand y aside, you are stuck with what you bought (unless you really hate them and you might buy something else).

Over time I think you compensate for the effect your phones have on the music and make reasonable enough judgments to be able to mix on them. I know i do.

In fact some of the tracks I have had the best comments on about the mix have actually been mixed through the phones (albeit i do a/b check the mix on the monitors/hi fi speakersl. ipod, car stereo etc.)

Point is, I think you can know your phones well enough to be able to use them for whatever purpose you need if you are aware of their effect on the music.

As for the actual effect and the electronics used to do it, no idea. but I would wager that consumer phones are designed to flatter the highs and boost the lows to increase the perception of the music sounding good at high volume...its what the normal listener wants.

Remember the old graphic EQs on the old tape decks combos? Who didnt set that up in the classic smile curve?

just my 2c.

Khazul
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by Khazul » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:21 pm

Mister36 wrote:Of course, consumer headphones and studio/monitoring headphones are very different beasts made for very different purposes, but is there any way of finding out what specifically makes my consumer headphones sound "better"? What are they doing to my frequency response curve?!?!? :P
Headphones are a headache and just because one set sounds great to one person, it doesnt mean someone else will actually hear the same thing on it, in the same way that a pair of speakers sounds different depending on the room that are in.

The reason for this is that the accoustic environment of a headphone includes your ear and its shape etc, where a compfortable listening position is etc, which in turn can mean the bass you perceive might be very different to what someone else perceives with the same cans. Back to your specific question the driver for studio cans might hopefully be intended to yield a relative flat frequency response for a standard test head, but all bets are off when stuff on a real head :)

So, just find something that is comfortable, lets you hear as much a possible (or not hear if isolating external sounds is a requirement).

Generally you have varation of the following options (yes - you know this allreasdy, but this is about sound consistency)
1. In ear (small sit in your ear - iphone buds etc)
2. On ear (medium, cover your ear, but dotn surround it)
3. Over ear (big - completely surround and cover the ear)

Then a couple of variations:
a) open back - With a good pair the sound allmost seems like it is coming from near field monitor rather than cans directly on you head. part of this is because being open backed, ambient sounds get in, and there is little driver pressure in your ear. Nice deep sound bass, but bass can be a bit flabby - you may even feel that there is a huge hole in the 90-300Hz region where alot of bass warmth comes from.
b) closed back - generally get much more of a sense of wearing cans, little or no ambient sounds in or out. Bass generally tigher (but might be less of it). Tend to exist in both 2 and 3 options above, some rely upon band pressure to isolate, while some rely upon thick pads around your ear and against you head to isolate. The problem with pressure on your actual ear is that it deforms you ear and drastically changes what you hear (people's ears deform differently).

So basically your fucked - dont buy anything just because some says its good if you are after the best for you :)

I actually have 3 sets of cans all for different purposes:

1. AKG 240 studio (around ear - open back) - very very comfortable, open back so sometimes I have to take them off to check sure I really did switch the monitors off! Good deep bass extension, but the bass level is wierd - quite low and for me personally, there seems a bit of a hole in the 100-200 or so range (but not everyone gets this with them). Can happily use them for hours. Cant make bass mix choices with them.

2. AKG 271 (around ear, closed back, isolating vocal booth use) - I got these for vocal recording work as they isolate a bit and have a cutoff switch - so ideal for a vocal booth. Sound wise, similar to the AKG240, but bass is much tigher, but for me the low end doesnt extend down as much. Can sometimes get away with bass mix choices with them. As far as closed back cans go, they do actually feel very comfortable and have an openess to them - which mean they dont fatigue much over long use and you dont get so much of a sense of a speaker right next to your ear compared to many closed back cans.

3. AKG 181DJ (high pressure over ear, closed back, isolating DJ cans) As these dont surround my ear and have quite high head band pressure, then they squash my ears which means they change the shape of my ear enough to quite strongly attenuate upper mid range upwards. The bass end however is very solid, doesnt seem to have the 100-200 hole and good enough to make quite alot of mix decisions with. Additionally, becuase I use these for DJing, then I am far most used to the sound of commercially produced music on them, which is turn makes them better for me for general mixing, despite what they do to my ears. however duie to shape and high band pressure, and hard head band, they are not comfortable for extended wear (when DJing they are only on my head briefly, or on shoulder etc, so not a problem).

The above probably is counter intuitive - in theory the 240 should be the best studio monitoring cans, but actually sometimes they are the worst. The 181 should be he worst for studio mix use, but actually they are times the best for various reasons. The 271 tend to be consitently in the middle. That may serve to give you an idea why you might choose a specific set of cans that works well for you, but may be completely different to what people would generally recommend for some reaosn or other.

Audiophile vs studio cans seems to be as much as a price differntiation and feature differntiation rather than a quality differntiation - feature being roughly equal, price is often a good rough guide. AKG for example target many of thier cans for studio and audiophile use, with some obviously having very studio or DJ, or some other music production orientated feature that is irrelavent to audiophile use. While some cans are designed to be flatter than others - that has to be ttaken with a pinch of salt, just as speakers can change drastically depending on the room they are in.


By all means, see what folks here recommend, but in the end - you have to either get something because people like them, or because you have acttually tried them and you get what you want out of them.
Nothing to see here - move along!

zigzag
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by zigzag » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:53 pm

Mister36 wrote:This wasn't a stupid Ableton "producer" question. I'm sorry you thought it was. But as your answer was pretty much pointless as to what I was asking, maybe you shouldn't have even wasted that one second.
What a way to appreciate someone's help.. even if it didn't touch upon your question, he wrote a suggestion for what to do/what not to do which is pretty valid. you should appreciate that. After all you didn't contact support of a manufacturer. You just asked a question in a forum. You should realize this. You should expect any kind of answer, not always the one you think you should have.

Cezband
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by Cezband » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:16 pm

Khazul, really informative stuff. Never put much thought into the fact that over-ear cans would mash your ears, although of course it's blatant when I think about it remembering back to taking off the cans after long recording sessions and feeling my ears all bent out of shape on the side of my head :D

Zigzag, I think you might want to read the whole thread before weighing in like that.
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Mister36
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by Mister36 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:25 pm

To flatter or to flatten, that is the question. :P

Thank you very much for your input, UKRuss and Khazul. Very interesting and informative.

UKRuss wrote:i do a/b check the mix on the monitors/hi fi speakersl. ipod, car stereo etc.)
I do this too. Mainly mix on monitors but also check on as wide a variety of different sound sources as possible and attempt to get a happy medium.

UKRuss wrote:As for the actual effect and the electronics used to do it, no idea. but I would wager that consumer phones are designed to flatter the highs and boost the lows to increase the perception of the music sounding good at high volume...its what the normal listener wants.

Remember the old graphic EQs on the old tape decks combos? Who didnt set that up in the classic smile curve?
Ha! True. And yeah, this is what I take to be the case too with what headphones do to the sound. Of course I didn't expect an outright answer for my question but just wondered if anyone had insight on the specifics of what they tend to do. Generally, though, flattering the sound is the overall objective of such "consumer headphones".


The point, too, about the subjectivity of listening is also true. Different people hear different things... Differently. But I feel I must clarify something that I perhaps didn't make clear before, which is that I'm not looking to buy headphones, as I am happy with the two pairs I have for different purposes and would even recommend them. I was just openly wondering about what headphones that are not made to be as flat as possible actually do. And that, I believe, has been answered as well as possible without actually testing them (and even then, as it has been pointed out, it may not be that accurate).
Thank you again to all helpful posters. :)

3phase
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by 3phase » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:00 pm

MPGK wrote:
ninox_rufa wrote:
3phase wrote:thats no stupid question?

are you sure?

i actually think its one of the most stupid that came along here ever..and thats quite something..

The way you continuously insult people around here. I really don't understand why you haven't been banned yet.
Be gentle to 3phase, he's a marvel of modern day society: the frustrated old techno-fart.

? frustrated? no, only pissed off about all the pseudos like you, flooding the market with generic electro clones..
But i am no copy of a copy of a copy ... and that helps a lot :-)


and regarding the stupidity of the question.. its pretty obvious that you cant do a mix for consumer hadphones.
because there are no consumer headphones.. just good ore bad headphones ..as there are good or bad mixes...

they all aim to be as good as they can for the given price and construction type...and what you call studio headphones are consumer headphones aswell.. there are no special monitoring headphones.. open, closed, in ear or electrostatic...

just worse and better ones.. and while a stax is probably the best you can get its the most unpractical in the studio.. so its clearly a consumer headphone on the one hand.. but the best to judge a mix on the other.. and one of the most expensiv of cause..

so question dismissed.. just learn to do a propper mix that is not too bass heavy or mid rangie and it will be fine on any system..

thats the art of mixing and mastering to deliver a result that works well on all speakers..

what is the same answer again in other words and there is no other.. your problem in not understanding this is not promissing...

And.. you better dont even think about doing a mix on bad headphones..that is as helpfull than doing the mix on bad speakers..

the result will be a mix that only sounds good onyour set and noweher else.. except lucky accidents..some of the cheap in ears are astonishgly good.. but than again.. you shouldnt mix on headphomes anyway at least not only on headphones
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Mister36
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by Mister36 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:46 pm

3phase wrote:your problem in not understanding this is not promissing...
How ironic. I never said that I wanted to mix using or for consumer headphones! I said previously and I will again that this thread was not really about mixing at all. I do not use headphones for mixing, other than, as I've also said, give an extra perspective in addition to other sources and the primary mixing source of monitors.

However, you give some good general advice this time. Just a shame it's mixed up with your hate and impatience for anyone you perceive to be lesser or not as wise as (you think) you are.

UKRuss
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by UKRuss » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:30 pm

Actually reading through...I now feel I need more than one set of headphones... 8O

I don't. :D

Khazul
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by Khazul » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:58 pm

UKRuss wrote:Actually reading through...I now feel I need more than one set of headphones... 8O

I don't. :D
Dont blame me! :)

I first got AKG240 ages ago, then needed an extra set for vocalists and instrumentalists to use (isolating and have a cutoff switch to stop bleed) and as a second set for other things and found the 271 at a discount somewhere.

These turned out to not be loud enough or have enough isolation for live use, so ended up with the 181 which solved those problems nicely :)
Nothing to see here - move along!

MPGK
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by MPGK » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:01 am

3phase wrote:
MPGK wrote:Be gentle to 3phase, he's a marvel of modern day society: the frustrated old techno-fart.
? frustrated? no, only pissed off about all the pseudos like you, flooding the market with generic electro clones..
Lol, where did you get that about me? First time I heard something like this, I could not be further away from writing "electro clones". If you actually base this on any research, then you suck at researching. :D
Well, you're still an old techno-fart, you don't seem to be fighting that part. ;)

UKRuss
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Re: The Consumer Headphones Effect...

Post by UKRuss » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:42 am

Khazul wrote:
UKRuss wrote:Actually reading through...I now feel I need more than one set of headphones... 8O

I don't. :D
Dont blame me! :)

I first got AKG240 ages ago, then needed an extra set for vocalists and instrumentalists to use (isolating and have a cutoff switch to stop bleed) and as a second set for other things and found the 271 at a discount somewhere.

These turned out to not be loud enough or have enough isolation for live use, so ended up with the 181 which solved those problems nicely :)
:lol: For all those reasons, I now definitely feel I need more phones.

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