a question about accurate headphones....please help!!!

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
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a question about accurate headphones....please help!!!

Post by samezvous » Tue Jul 27, 2004 8:51 pm

i would like to attempt to mix the stuff i record but i can't do the whole noise at night thing and i work and go to school during the day. . so...i was wondering what the general concensus on headphones for mixing was.
(btw, i don't need these for tracking). in other words, i know people trust (if not always like) yamaha ns-10's for monitor mixing accuracy but is there a headphones equivilant that is also known for being the most accurate if not always the most pleasant? i have to mix with headphones and i guess i am just wondering what models are regarded as being the best for mixing. is there one model that stands out as being the standard? thanks for any replies....

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Re: a question about accurate headphones....please help!!!

Post by jajjguy » Tue Jul 27, 2004 9:12 pm

No. I find headphones excellent for picking out details, flaws like pops and crackles and stuff, but terrible for overall mixing. I would never judge compression or reverb on phones, and i'd be very careful judging eq. I've done good work using headphones for a first pass, and then reworking later on speakers, but it can really be reworking, not just fine-tuning.

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Re: a question about accurate headphones....please help!!!

Post by @?,*???&? » Tue Jul 27, 2004 10:12 pm

Spend the money and get a set of Sennheiser HD600 headphones. You'll be glad you did.

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Re: a question about accurate headphones....please help!!!

Post by optionshift3 » Tue Jul 27, 2004 10:19 pm

http://www.headphone.com offers a good selection. They have some reasonable information regarding all of the models they sell, and only slight biases. It's a great place to start....

for what it's worth...

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Re: a question about accurate headphones....please help!!!

Post by Professor » Tue Jul 27, 2004 10:24 pm

Like anything else, it is all a matter of how much you're willing (or able) to spend. I have a couple sets of Sennheiser HD-600 headphones in the school studio ($450 a set) and they are great headphones that deliver every little detail and give a very good picture of the mix and balance and tone. I also recently picked up a set of their new HD-650 headphones ($500 a set) and they are a nice improvement - managed to pull out a little of the sibilance I noticed with the older model. I've also personally owned a set of HD-580 ($250 MSRP) and HD-525 ($125 MSRP) for years now and have used them to monitor while tracking, quality check mixes, work on detail editing and occasionally to mix.
I have also liked the Audio Technica M40 (or whatever the exact model is) headphones and think they would be an excellent choice as well. I believe the AT headphones are 'closed' phones so they sound a little more confined and dry while all the Sennheiser ones I listed are open and sound a lot like speakers. I've always found the Sony MDR series to be too loud, and the really common AKG headphones are just kinda bulky and heavy and uncomfortable, not to mention a little dull. Grados sound nice, but they don't fit around the ear, rather they kind of sit on top of them, so they aren't very comfortable after about an hour. I've worn my Sennheisers for 2 hours straight through classical concert recordings and they have been perfectly comfortable.

Whatever type you choose, you'll be best served by listening to lots of other music on them first so you can mix to 'match' what you hear on other recordings. You'll then want to reference the tracks on other systems after you've mixed so you can see if you need to make any other adjustments before calling the track 'finished'.


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Re: a question about accurate headphones....please help!!!

Post by evan » Tue Jul 27, 2004 10:42 pm

I do the mix-and-matching technique. I have a pair of Grado SR80's which let me hear pretty much everything (I can't compare them to other pairs, but they're certainly a big step up from your typical Sony's), but obviously can't be trusted to translate to speakers. Using your headphones as a reference point and then testing the mixes everywhere is probably your best bet. Headphones behave differently than speakers do, so I wouldn't expect any of them to be a replacement for monitors.

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Re: a question about accurate headphones....please help!!!

Post by fuu drakka » Wed Jul 28, 2004 12:08 am

I like my sennheiser HD 280s quit a bit. they are really close in sound to my monitors, and I can get a pretty decent mix with them. I mix mostly on monitors, and I would probobly never EQ anything in phones, but I've done a couple live remote recordings, where all I could bring was phones, and got some pretty good mixes with them on the spot.
they are not as flatering as the hd 600s, so I find them more useful for mixing, although I would rather listen to music in 600s

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Re: a question about accurate headphones....please help!!!

Post by AnalogElectric » Wed Jul 28, 2004 2:38 am

I like the Audio Technica ATH-M40fs for a flat response...it's really a personal suggestion tho. I first found monitors I liked to work with then a/b'd headphones that worked with those monitors. I worked with NS-10's for less than a year and didn't like them, but that's me and my taste. The Audio Technica ATH-D40fs headphones are closer to the NS-10's in tone.

My interns and second engineers like to use headphones that are EQ'd like the Sony's but I can't stand them, personally (not my interns or second engineers...the headphones they like to use, I mean...heh).

Monitors and headphones are tricky. I have several pairs of different styles just to make sure I'm covering certain bases here and there...it's like having different monitors or several different stereos to play out from just to make sure things are cool all around. You'll figure out what works best with more practical experience over time.

Once you get used to how you record and how you hear the end result through monitors/other sources your headphone choice will be narrowed down right quick.

--Adam Lazlo
AnalogElectric Recording
Gilbert, Arizona USA

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Re: a question about accurate headphones....please help!!!

Post by IronMaidenX » Sat Jul 31, 2004 12:46 am

why not just mix at lower volumes? headphones are never accurrate...that's why music sounds so much better on them than your normal speakers. I've tried just for the hell of it mixing on my AKG K240 headphones and it always comes out sounding like a mess....only thing headphones are good for is editing.


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