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New Mixing Headphones or Studio Monitors

Discussion in 'Mixing, Post-Production, and Effects' started by Hunter123, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. Hunter123

    Hunter123 Senior Member

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    Feb 9, 2017
    Hi guys, so far i've been producing and mixing everything on my Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones for the last couple years. I'm trying to decide if I should invest in studio Monitors or maybe a new pair of headphones for mixing purposes. I can't go too expensive and I was set on going with the JBL 305's but now I'm not sure if getting some decent mixing headphones would be better.

    Would the AKG 701's, Beyerdynamic DT 880, or Sennheiser HD 650 be that much of an Upgrade to my Audio Technica's (which are closed back)? Or is it time for studio Monitors although I really can't buy anything more expensive than the JBL 305s?
     
  2. aaronventure

    aaronventure Senior Member

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    Apr 10, 2017
    I would put the money in the piggy bank and save up and do a solid purchase which will set you up for good (or until your needs exceed your equipment). I still use my M50x cans and don't plan on buying new headphones until these break down and stop working, or I decide that I don't have a better thing to spend a couple of hundred on :D

    You won't get much farther by getting cheap monitors. There's still your room which is a big factor, and if it's untreated, you'll constantly be running into problems (see my post here).

    If you don't see yourself saving up ~$1200 for a solid pair of speakers and some acoustic tretment, at the very least try to save up for M-Audio BX8 D2 (really good speakers for that price range). These will take much longer for you to grow out of than JBL 305s or any similarly priced speakers, and then afterwards as your first step onward you can get some acoustic treatment for your room (DIY Rockwool/Owens is the cheapest and the most effective solution; Gikacoustics.com for those with money to spend).
     
    Hunter123 likes this.
  3. Kaufmanmoon

    Kaufmanmoon Matthew Kilford

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    Jan 25, 2015
  4. phil_wc

    phil_wc Senior Member

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    Personally, I love DT880 so much after upgraded from DT770. Open back has better soundstage esp. film score. If you have a room that pretty good acoustic treat, you can go for studio monitor. I also like the M-Audio that he mention above, quite solid one in that price. I have Bx5a.
     
    Hunter123 likes this.
  5. OP
    OP
    Hunter123

    Hunter123 Senior Member

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    Feb 9, 2017
    Do you use the 250 ohm version and if so does your audio interface have the ability to power it or do you need a headphone amp? I'm working with a Roland Quad Capture.
     
  6. phil_wc

    phil_wc Senior Member

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    Jan 20, 2014
    Yes I have 250ohm. Regular audio interface should works fine. I use it with Steinberg UR22mkii. No headphone amp need.
     
    Hunter123 likes this.
  7. JVitolins

    JVitolins Member

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    Nov 29, 2016
    You can mix well on anything be it headphones or monitors as long as you either know or love the sound they produce. Otherwise you’ll be mixing not just the sound of your music but also the sound of your headphones/speakers/room. For example: Bass lite headphones will cause bass heavy mixes and vice versa. Cheap pair will keep you guessing and guessing, because of distortion until you invest in a high-end, but even then make sure you try extensively before you buy, because if you don’t love the sound they produce you’ll still be mixing them instead of your music.
     
    Hunter123 likes this.
  8. elpedro

    elpedro Senior Member

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    Canberra
    The 305's IMHO are too light on bass, but with the subwoofer they combine well, i got the 308's the other day with the sub and i'm loving it, but still trust my AKG K702 and Denon ADH 2000's more as I have used those for around 10 years or so.Even the best monitors suck in a shitty sounding room, and even the best of headphones can't come near a good room with good monitors. Having said that, how many hit albums have been mixed and on the ol' Yamaha NS-10's? Know your gear and you will do well...Plenty of folks have produced great-sounding stuff in their bedrooms.....
     
    Hunter123 likes this.
  9. Beat Kaufmann

    Beat Kaufmann Senior Member

    There are things that can be adjusted less well and accurately with headphones. Especially when it comes to stereo matters. I do not want to miss monitors. Also, headphones are sometimes far from a neutral sound. If I were just mixing with my AKG K702, my mixes would be too dull for most listeners. The headphone is an open type and it has a very transparent and rather bright sound. If you mix with it, you automatically reduce the heights. Therefore, a countercheck with the Sennheiser HD 650 brings often the sound back to a more common brightness. But I just do not want to work with the Sennheiser alone as well...

    On the other hand: Cheap monitors can not really complement good headphones. Especially not if the room characteristics are not optimal as well. A good mixing with monitors simply means to make quite an investment of money. If the money is missing, I would rather put on one or better two good headphones. For multiple headphones, they should ideally complement each other in the sound (see above).

    And finally: If you are only using headphones I would often check your mixes with a correlation meter. So you do not use too much stereo widthness - which sounds great in headphones but not with monitors. Also check your mixes from time to time with the monitors in your car or with other equipments. So you get a sense of what your mixes are worth along with monitors.

    Beat
     
  10. Mornats

    Mornats Senior Member

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    Feb 21, 2016
    Bristol, UK
    Would you still need to check your mix on several different sets of headphones if you use Sonarworks headphone calibration? I use it with my Audio Technica M50x and Superlux 668B headphones and whilst the EQ response is very similar after calibration they still have their differences. Notably the M50x is closed back and the Superlux is open back, plus the M50x is of greater quality overall than the Superlux.
     
  11. Beat Kaufmann

    Beat Kaufmann Senior Member

    I also use sonarworks. The software makes the two headphones sound amazingly similar. It's really nice and I'm happy to use Sonarworks. Nevertheless, I'm glad to be able to test my music, as it sounds to people with rather bright-sounding headphones and vice versa - so without Sonarworks as well.
    The best solution, of course, is to have all the resources at your disposal: different monitors, different headphones, an acoustically-treated listening room, sonarworks, ... :dancedance:

    Best
    Beat
     
  12. Mornats

    Mornats Senior Member

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    Feb 21, 2016
    Bristol, UK
    Ah yes of course, it totally went out of my head that you'd still want to test it on headphones without calibration.

    I use the headphones I mentioned above, my Yamaha HS7 monitors (sadly in an untreated room so can't do too much on them), my custom-sealed (i.e. non-ported) Tannoy E11 hi-fi speakers, my Logitech overly-boomy 2.1 gaming speakers and a Juice SoundSquare - a lovely mono speaker with quite passable sound but all the qualities of a crappy speaker that you'd want to test your mix on :)

    I still think my mixes have a huge way to go and I'd love a nice treated room to work in but as a non-working composer (hobbyist) I'm quite limited on what I can budget for.
     
  13. JVitolins

    JVitolins Member

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    Nov 29, 2016
    If you know what you are listening for then yes definitely double check, if you don’t, then don’t bother, because you will most likely confuse yourself even more.
    If I could give advise to my younger self I would say this: find a speaker or headphone that suits you and your ears. Don’t trust reviews and don’t take anybody’s advice, because “they” don’t have your ears nor your taste in music, so “they” can’t help you. You have to find it for yourself. The trick is to always compare. Go to a shop with 10 of your favourite tracks that represent your music and simply find a product on which those tracks sound the best and that will be the product for you. And again don’t listen to anybody’s advice there either. How do I know? Well... I spent 4 years studying acoustics, then built 3 studios from scratch, then spent €€€€ on monitors of that were the latest hype and listened to everyone’s advice. Fast forward 10 years, I was in my 3rd studio with acoustics of mastering grade (+/- 2dB flat frequency response 30Hz-22kHz), but my mixes still didn’t translate well. I finally realised it’s the sound of the speakers themselves that my ears disagreed with.
     
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  14. JonAdamich

    JonAdamich Senior Member

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    Jan 24, 2016
    Eh, it depends. I have Komplete Audio 6, and I use DT990pro 250ohm. I needed to get a headphone amp for orchestral work. It was just a bit too low for comfort when writing subtle work.
     
  15. lr11here

    lr11here Member

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    Feb 26, 2018
    I've been using only Audio Technica m40x as I can't afford a treated room for now. After mixing my first tracks with this headphone and listening the result in other sources (car, laptop, cellphone, very cheap headphones), I had to go back to the mix a couple of times to make some adjusts, but I didn't notice that much difference in the result between the sources, maybe because my lack of experience - I should also say that I wasn't too critique with the mix. I want to start using the sonarworks headphone calibration for m40x very soon and see what difference it does for me.

    But the major problem that I noticed using the headphones though is that after some time I feel really tired. I mean, I use this headphone for the whole process - recording the instruments and mixing -, it's a comfortable headphone and I really like listening to music with it, but after some hours of work I really feel the fatigue - and most of the time I'm listening in low levels, only a few times when needed I turned up the knob volume on the interface.

    I think that this is the major problem with headphones, at least for me, and sometimes I think in buying some cheap monitors only to use when recording the midi stuff, but maybe it would be terrible to mix afterwards, so maybe do what @aaronventure said - save money for some time until I can afford a room treatment, only hope I still have my ears till there.
     

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