headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Tarekith
Posts: 17344
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by Tarekith » Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:37 pm

My vote would be for the Focal Spirit Pros, amazing cans for the price. I use mine for making music on the go, and when I get back to the big monitors in the studio I'm always amazed at how well things translate.

Comfy too.

tedlogan
Posts: 1343
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:23 pm
Location: Leamington Spa, UK
Contact:

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by tedlogan » Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:00 pm

The Focals, going simply by comparison graphs, seem to have better frequency response below 100hz than the HD600s. Not that the HD600's don't translate well, although if the bass is just a bit prominent on them, you know it's going to be too much on other speakers. Although no hard and fast rules here.

Some say those focals are uncomfortable if you wear glasses, squashing the top of the ear against your head. I'd love to hear them though, as well as other high-end cans. HD650s, HD800s, hifiman HE500s, Grado Statement Series SR1000, RS1e Orpheus (!!).

Nearly every article I read lists the HD600s (sometimes HD650s instead) as some of the best mixing headphones, so maybe I shouldn't bother. I am very happy with them, but what will £900 (HD800) headphones sound like? Will it be justified? I need to know at some point.

Tarekith
Posts: 17344
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by Tarekith » Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:46 pm

A lot of it depends on what you're driving the cans with too. A high end sound car dis going to have more power than the headphone out on your laptop. Another thing to consider.

lapieuvre
Posts: 711
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:29 pm

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by lapieuvre » Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:07 am

This article is in french, and in canadian dollars, but their suggestion was good to me. I got Grado Prestige for 300$ (CAD$)and didn't regret it! for higher price range they got nice suggestions.

http://www.lapresse.ca/maison/201405/02 ... -choix.php
Mac OSX 10.13.6
Live 9.7.6 Suite
Live 10.1.2 Suite
Soundcards : FF800, Apollo Twin duo

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:05 am

TomViolenz wrote:
Stromkraft wrote:What do you guys think about the Sennheiser 650?
There is a still active thread on this by beats me.

I think in essence we came to the conclusion that the 600s are better as monitors, while the 650s slightly hype the bass, making them nicer for your HiFi pleasures 8)

(Not that the 600s are not already very nice in that regard)
Thanks. I suspected as much, but haven't tried either one yet. Currently I'm using my old HD-200s which still are pretty good, but I wouldn't rely on them for mixing anything but raw levels and arrangements. I'll search for the thread.
Make some music!

TomViolenz
Posts: 6854
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by TomViolenz » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:14 am

Stromkraft wrote:
TomViolenz wrote:
Stromkraft wrote:What do you guys think about the Sennheiser 650?
There is a still active thread on this by beats me.

I think in essence we came to the conclusion that the 600s are better as monitors, while the 650s slightly hype the bass, making them nicer for your HiFi pleasures 8)

(Not that the 600s are not already very nice in that regard)
Thanks. I suspected as much, but haven't tried either one yet. Currently I'm using my old HD-200s which still are pretty good, but I wouldn't rely on them for mixing anything but raw levels and arrangements. I'll search for the thread.
It's this one:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=208639

But about the 600s vs. 650s discussion, my summary was about what you will find in that thread 8)

tedlogan
Posts: 1343
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:23 pm
Location: Leamington Spa, UK
Contact:

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by tedlogan » Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:34 am

From ongoing research, it does seem the HD800s might be in my future. Most owners of both HD600/650s and 800s say the latter tramples all over the former two, and that the HD800s are extremely transparent. Another league apparently in soundstaging, detail and overall frequency response. I guess I'll have to try them out for myself.

Extremely expensive, but if it offers a noticeable upgrade over the 600s for referencing, then I want them. Since sound is my most favourite thing in the world, it makes sense to me to get the absolute best I can get. Don't really drink much anymore at all really, and quit smoking a year ago - lots of extra money per month to save up :)

TomViolenz
Posts: 6854
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by TomViolenz » Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:32 pm

tedlogan wrote:From ongoing research, it does seem the HD800s might be in my future. Most owners of both HD600/650s and 800s say the latter tramples all over the former two, and that the HD800s are extremely transparent. Another league apparently in soundstaging, detail and overall frequency response. I guess I'll have to try them out for myself.

Extremely expensive, but if it offers a noticeable upgrade over the 600s for referencing, then I want them. Since sound is my most favourite thing in the world, it makes sense to me to get the absolute best I can get. Don't really drink much anymore at all really, and quit smoking a year ago - lots of extra money per month to save up :)
And just when you can afford them, they'll come out with some HD 1000s that are better and more expensive still. :mrgreen:
It just never ends
Mark my words 8)

tedlogan
Posts: 1343
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:23 pm
Location: Leamington Spa, UK
Contact:

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by tedlogan » Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:01 pm

TomViolenz wrote:
tedlogan wrote:From ongoing research, it does seem the HD800s might be in my future. Most owners of both HD600/650s and 800s say the latter tramples all over the former two, and that the HD800s are extremely transparent. Another league apparently in soundstaging, detail and overall frequency response. I guess I'll have to try them out for myself.

Extremely expensive, but if it offers a noticeable upgrade over the 600s for referencing, then I want them. Since sound is my most favourite thing in the world, it makes sense to me to get the absolute best I can get. Don't really drink much anymore at all really, and quit smoking a year ago - lots of extra money per month to save up :)
And just when you can afford them, they'll come out with some HD 1000s that are better and more expensive still. :mrgreen:
It just never ends
Mark my words 8)
Haha don't I know it! That's the very first thing I thought of when the idea of acquiring them entered my head. I really try and avoid buying gear at all costs these days. But this could be amazing...will have to hear for myself.

jlgrimes
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:55 am
Location: Atlanta, Ga

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by jlgrimes » Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:21 pm

de wouzer wrote:My neighbour doesn't like my beats. I want to make more use of my headphones. But my Sennheiser HD 25-1 is not very good for production and for my ears. Anyone an idea about real good headphones? It's my plan to spend max 500 euro, but if it's necessary (I don't expect so) I can spend more.

I'd suggest an open-ear model (or at least semi-open). They won't be suitable for tracking (semi open might be fine though) as headphone bleed would get into the mics, but they tend to have a more natural bass response than the fully closed ears. The closed ears can have a more exaggeratted bass response someone might like better for listening to music though but for a more neutral bass end, the open ears are usually better (and more expensive).

Division Monarchy
Posts: 232
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:54 pm

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by Division Monarchy » Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:25 am

I've been using Sony MDR-7506 headphones for about a decade now & I love them. They are around $100.

There might be better ones out there, but the important thing is to learn how they are supposed to sound. Whatever you get, be sure to listen to the music that is closest to the sound you are working towards to get the best reference possible of what your mix should sound like in them. I don't think it is necessary to spend 500€, but that is your choice.

Just don't get Beats By Dre. But I'm sure you know that :wink:

tedlogan
Posts: 1343
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:23 pm
Location: Leamington Spa, UK
Contact:

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by tedlogan » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:25 am

While there is some truth in what you say Division, I have to respectfully point out one flaw in what you stated.

Let's say I get some cheap headphones, and I listen to my favourite music on it and use that as a reference to mix my own with. You do so and it sounds fine on those headphones. You play back your stuff on different stereos, the car etc. It sounds horrible - boomy/tinny, muddy/too sharp/ imbalanced etc. Why? My favourite music sounded so good and mine sounded the same on the same headphones?? What the hell is going on?

The reason for this will be that while the reference music sounded great, the cans did not necessarily let you hear all the frequencies, nor in an uncoloured way. You mixed on those same cans to that reference, unable to hear the mess of sub-bass clouding your mix and eating headroom, unable to hear the mud swamping the lower mids, unable to hear the harsh treble screeching over the top, unable to volume-balance the instruments etc. The reference material sounded fine because those things were taken care of on proper monitors where they could be heard and fixed.

You DO need proper neutral monitors and headphones, or you are simply painting in the dark. There is no way around this. You'll just be guessing. It is possible of course, but not a very good way to go about tracking and mixing in my opinion. If your room can't be treated and monitors are out of the question, and you have to use headphones, I would say get the best neutral revealing cans you can get. I would definitely not get HD650 by the way, as you'd get coloured bass, possibly ending up with bass-weak translations.

This is why I personally am eyeing HD800s. They are apparently very revealing and unforgiving on bad productions.

EDIT: Sorry for my poorly written post. I agree you can actually mix on coloured headphones if you know them inside-out and how they translate, so you can compensate for the spikes/dips in their colouration. Many people have actually made great mixes like this. Or so some say.

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Dec 09, 2014 11:08 pm

tedlogan wrote:
This is why I personally am eyeing HD800s. They are apparently very revealing and unforgiving on bad productions.
"revealing and unforgiving" sounds good. But how do they compare to HD-600? Will the differences be obvious if you try these two with your own material you think?
Make some music!

tedlogan
Posts: 1343
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:23 pm
Location: Leamington Spa, UK
Contact:

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by tedlogan » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:04 am

Stromkraft wrote:
tedlogan wrote:
This is why I personally am eyeing HD800s. They are apparently very revealing and unforgiving on bad productions.
"revealing and unforgiving" sounds good. But how do they compare to HD-600? Will the differences be obvious if you try these two with your own material you think?
This is exactly what I'm wondering. I think the best thing would be to test these for oneself if possible. Something nagging in the back of my mind tells me headphones in the league of the relatively humble HD600 is good enough. And just to be clear on one thing : I am quite ignorant on many details of sound reproduction, headphones, and sound engineering. I will often spout some half-truth, only to be corrected by someone who actually knows what they're talking about.

Anyway:

I still believe mixing on headphones is not a good idea overall, which is what I've been doing the last few years due to not treating my room nor fixing my left side monitor speaker, a Tannoy Reveal 6D. This is the only reason I'm kind of eyeing (earing :?: ) the HD800s - will they approximate the soundstage etc of using monitors ? Many say things in that vein, but I guess you're gonna have to tell people your £1000 headphones are great once you've bought them...

I came across this very interesting article yesterday:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle- ... n-2-6-4-13

Man, this guy sure must be loaded - he has probably one of the finest and most extensive headphone collections in the world. He even has an Orpheus...His favourite headphones of all time are the HD800s. He's made up a pretty useful rating system, considering performance/price ratio mainly. At the end of the day, this is but ONE guy's opinion, and one must remember snake oil factors, psycho acoustics, relative sound quality (listening to one headphone/soundsource after another might give you the completely wrong impression of what the latter actually sounds like etc). Regardless, it's a very interesting and detailed read if you're into this kind of thing. Here is his opinion on the HD600:

"The HD600 is one of only five headphones that I have awarded an A+ value rating in this entire evaluation (the other four are Beyerdynamic's DT 880, Audio-Technica's ATH-AD900, and HifiMan's HE-400 & HE-500). Dollar for dollar, the HD600 is among the best sounding headphones I have ever heard. Therefore, I feel it deserves a place in every serious headphone collection."

fishmonkey
Posts: 4099
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: headphones for studio (production and mixing)

Post by fishmonkey » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:55 am

tedlogan wrote: - will they approximate the soundstage etc of using monitors ?
no. never.

monitors always sound different. with monitors the sound of the room is part of the equation, plus both ears hear the sound from both speakers. you can approximate it with fancy DSP processing, but it's never the same experience...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

Post Reply