Best headphones for writing/mixing?

OleJoergensen

Senior Member
I just bought a pair of Sennheiser HD 650.
In the shop, with some elegant jazz trio, they sounded good. Now Im back home and comparing them with my old Akg 712k, Im a bit disappionted. Maybe it is because Im used to my Akg. And maybe it is also because the Akg is not really flat and the Sennheiser is flat....?
I listen on my ipad with, classical: orchestra, solo piano, orchestra + solo voice, orchestra+ solo violin, some old good Sting as well :). Al of them I prefer the Akg.
Later I will test the same with my Apollo interface....
 

MHP

Audio Engineer & Producer
I just bought a pair of Sennheiser HD 650.
In the shop, with some elegant jazz trio, they sounded good. Now Im back home and comparing them with my old Akg 712k, Im a bit disappionted. Maybe it is because Im used to my Akg. And maybe it is also because the Akg is not really flat and the Sennheiser is flat....?
I listen on my ipad with, classical: orchestra, solo piano, orchestra + solo voice, orchestra+ solo violin, some old good Sting as well :). Al of them I prefer the Akg.
Later I will test the same with my Apollo interface....
I also had the Sennheiser HD 650 and returned them. With their high impedance they need a suitable headphone amplifier and I was not willing to buy one. Powered by my Focusrite interface they sounded too dull to me. But with the right amplifier they are loved by many audiophiles.

I got the cheap HD 569 instead - no perfect linear frequency response and a terribly microphonic cable, but they have a fairly deep bass, a good stereo imaging, are very comfortable to wear and they work well with all sources including iPad. Would not take them for mixing though, but use them to countercheck a mix regarding the amount of bass or too harsh treble/presence. Or just to have fun hearing music...
 
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OleJoergensen

Senior Member
Thank you for explaining. I thought there must be something I didn't do right because many likes the HD 650.
I will “see” how they sounds like with my Apollo...
 

ryans

Active Member
I thought there must be something I didn't do right because many likes the HD 650
My guess is.. you haven't done anything wrong... you just don't like the HD 650. It's a pretty..(relaxed..?) headphone.. Lots of nice low mids but probably less upper mids and highs than what you are used to, and as a result they could sound dull to you.

Ryan
 

OleJoergensen

Senior Member
Thank you Ryan.
I have tried the HD 650 on my Apollo and it sounds better, I think. But mostly I think it is because Im used to the Akg 712K. The HD 650 has more low mids and the Akg has more in the high range. There is also a difference in the stereo field. The HD 650 sounds more narrow and the Akg more wide or open. I tried the HD 650 with Sonarworks and they are nearly flat, so maybe when I get used to them they will be better for mixing.
 

shomynik

Active Member
@OleJoergensen Sonarworks actually "dulls" AKG 702 down as 702s are pretty boosted in the high end. It's shocking at first and not fun to listen to at all but MUCH!!! better for mixing. What you are refering as dull just might be the linear(-ish) response. Once your ears are used to it much more details across the whole spectrum get revealed.

I'm planning to add HD600 as a low mid/bass magnifying tool.
 

Bartholomeus

New Member
So I'm considering AKG 701/702 now, but am wondering: will I need to buy a special headphone amp to go with it?
Up to this point, I've been using consumer (i.e. non 'studio') Sennheiser HDsomething and have always just plugged that into either my onboard or external soundcard.

What do you guys do and is there a real difference between, say, an external soundcard and a dedicated headphone amp? I tend to be skeptical of 'snake-oil' audiophile products for which there is no plausible explanation in terms of physics or signal theory. But, in this case it seems like there could be a real reason, such as high impedance of 'studio' headphones.

p.s. has anyone done an A/B comparison of the AKG 240 with the AKG 701/702? If so, how much of a difference is there for the purpose of mixing/mastering?
 

shomynik

Active Member
So I'm considering AKG 701/702 now, but am wondering: will I need to buy a special headphone amp to go with it?
Up to this point, I've been using consumer (i.e. non 'studio') Sennheiser HDsomething and have always just plugged that into either my onboard or external soundcard.

What do you guys do and is there a real difference between, say, an external soundcard and a dedicated headphone amp? I tend to be skeptical of 'snake-oil' audiophile products for which there is no plausible explanation in terms of physics or signal theory. But, in this case it seems like there could be a real reason, such as high impedance of 'studio' headphones.

p.s. has anyone done an A/B comparison of the AKG 240 with the AKG 701/702? If so, how much of a difference is there for the purpose of mixing/mastering?
I got both 702 and 271mkII. They are miles apart both in sound quality/stage and comfort.

And yes, headphone amp is important, but you just might have enough power on yours. So just try it out, if there is no enough output, research and buy something decent. I'm using mine with RME HDSPe AIO on board headphone amp (not separate amp) which has plenty of power.
 

brandowalk

New Member
I've been using the Sennheiser HD 600s through my Apollo interface for about 6 months and am very happy with them for writing and mixing. I find them to be detailed, neutral and I find mixes done on them translate well to other systems.
 

ghostnote

Vincit qui se vincit.
I could talk day and night about headphones. Had them all, currently using the HD800.

*takes a deep breath* ... let me tell you...

All of the above mentioned headphones are suitable for mixing. It all comes down to personal preference. However, the Sennheisers are made to please listeners and the AKGs mainly to reproduce all frequencies evenly. The Beyerdynamics sit somewhere in between.

It's fun to use the Sennheisers and get the idea how music will be perceived by the heaphone listener, the end consumer if you will (if he chooses to use headphones), so it makes sense to use them in an mixing environment. The AKGs on the other hand are not really as enjoyable as the others, because of their unemotional and linear sound. In the end I always had the image that I used a tool instead of headphones when putting on the AKGs. I felt more productive using them.
 

givemenoughrope

Senior Member
I feel like I probably already posted this in a similar thread...but I would really be careful using headphones for prolonged periods. Even if you’re in an apartment, normal tv watching levels won’t get the cops there usually. Monitoring at low levels and through things besides headphones and monitors are an option. I know @charlieclouser said something about listening through a tv speaker. Laptop speakers, iDevice, etc you can use an app (the name Im blanking on) by Rogue Amoeba.
 

BassClef

Active Member
Was using the AKG712 Pro but found them a little harsh on the top end. Now I am quite happy with Sennheisser HD650. If I really need to block out external sounds, I use Sennheiser HD280 Pro, as they are closed back, seal tightly and keep out much more noise.
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Headphones

By Nick Batzdorf, leading authority on everything

1. Headphones are very good for monitoring and as an auxiliary reference for checking mixes, but they're suboptimal for mixing on - for the same reason I always argue against "removing the room" as an approach to control room design: you need the room to hear the speakers properly.

2. Even more so than with speakers, I haven't heard one pair that's really good at everything. It's possible that incredibly expensive electrostatic self-fellating expensive high-end audiophile ones would change my mind; I haven't listened to any of those.

But my experience is that good studio headphones sound boring. The reason is that headphones tend to exaggerate some things like reverbs, because their dynamics are a little unrealistic. They're also good for isolation, which means over-the-ears; that doesn't bother me, but some people find it uncomfortable.

3. I've had a couple of pairs of '80s studio-standard AKG 240Ms since the early '90s and am fine with them. They're boring, but they don't cause you to make bad decisions, plus they're good for isolation and can play loud enough to track to.

AKG 240s sound sort like old Tannoys - boring and flat. But I want a little acoustic compression to compensate for their being headphones, while I don't want that in speakers.

4. I'm in love with the Bose Quiet Comfort 3s. They're noise-canceling headphones that totally change the experience of flying on an airplane. Best product ever.

5. Don't tell anyone, but I'm a fan of the Apple Earpods for what they are. I listen to them in bed - nothing super-freaky, but you can lie on a pillow with them in.

6. Beats headphones suck whale dingus.
 

chimuelo

Star Of Stage & Screen
Beats are for anyone that wishes to donate to an already successful artist who laughs at how easy it is to make money off of consumers.

IEMs are the only way for me for everything.
They’re made for my ears, not a compromise for pleasing millions.

Went to an ENT for the first time ever.
She commented after looking into my ears why did I come.
A very attractive lady, I was unaware of her beauty, she was referred by my Primary I see once a year.

Anyways I told her I figured my ears needed cleaning because my IEMs have to be cleaned every time I use them, some wax, mostly moisture, but a Jodi Vac and some Rubbing Alcohol w/ MicroFiber rag, and a little wire loop for removing stuff, high maintenance but worth it.

But she said my ears were tip top shape, even did a short audio test.
100%.

Reason why is the SPLs are 75% lower than headphones, and because theres 24 drivers the fidelity is top shelf.

I use headphones from ADK and Sennheiser on occasion but my output level goes from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock on the output knob.

There’s no reason to damage your ears because with headphones I bet most of you guys can pull off your headphones and hear the music.
It won’t cause damage right away but over time more and more output is needed and your eardrum can easily heal itself, but not while you’re blowing your head off.

Not trying to alarm anyone but if tests were ever required to see levels of hearing loss I’d be one of the models used.
Started using IEMs in 1995, first pair from Shures partnership.
Since then Ive stayed with their former partner who started UE and JH Audio.
Everybody uses his patents.

If you can afford getting pro level IEMs go for it.
You only get one set of ears.

When somebody hands me a set of phones to check out a mix or new arrangement I have to turn it down because Ive worn IEMs or hearing protection to protect my ears, and also to hear audio at its highest quality.

Also another expensive but priceless way to monitor what I record instead of rooms, speakers, etc.
Astel & Kern AK240.

Sounds terribly expensive but my mixing mastering and monitoring solution is made for me, totsl cost 5200 USD.

Can’t afford IMAX but 5200 to enjoy 384k awesomeness using products designed for you is cheaper in the long run.

Your ears will love you for it.
 

Vardaro

Active Member
I use Sony RH-5Ma c.80€. They're intended as a keybord phones, but the frequency response is amazingly flat, with a touch of a lift above 8kHz which suits my 70-yo ears. It gets a bit confused with very dense scores, so I compare with an old M40 (where I drilled holes in the domed closed back to "relieve" the tiring 1kHz hump) or the harsher Sony 7506.
 
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ka00

Senior Member
I just bought a pair of DT880s. I opted for the Edition 32 Ohm version. Wearing them now and playing "Gotham's Reckoning", the track with which I personally test all headphones and speakers. Geez, these are much more neutral than any headphone I've ever used.

I've been mixing on a Sony 7520 for the past two years (when I'm not using JBL305s) and I guess these new DT880s indicate just how hyped the Sony's are without me knowing.

I'll go download the Sonarworks Headphone profile for these now.
 

Jdiggity1

Senior Member
Moderator
I just bought a pair of DT880s. I opted for the Edition 32 Ohm version. Wearing them now and playing "Gotham's Reckoning", the track with which I personally test all headphones and speakers. Geez, these are much more neutral than any headphone I've ever used.

I've been mixing on a Sony 7520 for the past two years (when I'm not using JBL305s) and I guess these new DT880s indicate just how hyped the Sony's are without me knowing.

I'll go download the Sonarworks Headphone profile for these now.
Excellent choice. Though do be aware of the "sparkle" they add to pretty much everything. (they have a substantial bump around 8-10k)