Headphones for Mixing music

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by yorisi, May 7, 2012.

  1. yorisi

    yorisi New Member

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    Hi, I'm new here,

    I am in a band that is recording demo's. We use a Samson C01U to record everything. Our method is to overdub everything, so I end up having to mix all the tracks. My current headset is very uncomfortable, so I am looking for a new pair of headphones. Maximum cost: about 400 Euros.
    Could someone give me some advice on a hifi/high end pair of headphones that would be suitable for me, mixing music? Or if I should even bother spending that kind of money this purpose.

    Thanks a bunch

    Oh and
    Connecting ...

    If you'd like to hear our music ;)
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Mixing headsets

    There are some excellent headphones in that price range that would be perfect for mixing, where you need to be able to hear everything, but without giving you head fatigue or ear fatigue. First off, though, do you know if you prefer open or closed?

    EDIT: And BTW, when someone says they have a sample, it's usually, you know, kinda interesting but maybe not the greatest, huh? Your sound OTOH is great! So you definitely want a top-quality 'phone.

    EDIT #2: Ever hear of Sugar Hiccup? This track is the first thing I thought of when I heard yours.
    http://soundcloud.com/eldiabloxxx/sugar-hiccup-moden-de
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  3. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi yorisi

    I have spent a huge amount of time recording and playing in bands - you are welcome to ask any follow up questions you have but here is what I have to say on the matter.

    You need to pick accurate headphones. Headphones which flatter the music (most headphones and speakers are designed to sound nice rather than accurately portray what you are listening to) will lead to disappointing sounding music and an inability to fix problems in your mix. You need to know that when you perceive a problem or think you have reached a decent point in the mix you are sure that your hard work is paying off.

    Although the normal bit of wisdom that is applied here is that you should not mix in headphones I do not agree. Many professionals mix with headphones - it is a near standard in broadcast as speakers are unwieldy for outside broadcast and many Editing Suites are shared by several Sound Techs. Although it is easier to use a superb pair of near field monitors these tend to cost £1000+ per side, far too much for most home studios, for that price you can buy two paits of some flagship headphones! With headphones you can get very close to the same kind of detail aand sense of space for less than a tenth of the price, this is why I think you are better of getting some great cans.

    Headphones which work best for mix are not necessarily the same headphones you would use for a musician to monitor audio whilst recording a part. Cheaper headphones are pretty much fine to help a musician track out a part as they do not need to hear the same level of detail as during mix - the headphones for this job should be closed back to stop any sound getting into the mic.

    Semi Open headphones give a really similar sound to nearfield monitors, here are a couple of suggestions for mix headphones which would really help. One of the big advantages of headphones is that they are already a self contained space which means you do not have to treat the room where you mix as you have to if you use speakers. A really important point which I would add here is that no matter how accurate any speaker or headphone is you have to get used to the way they sound - listening to similar material to that you are working on is an invaluable way to learn what you are aiming for. getting used to how your music should sound through the headphones will speed up the solving of mix problems.

    Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium Semi-Open Headphones 32Ω
    £208.96

    GermanMAESTRO GMP 435S Open Back Headphones (GMP435S)
    £189.00

    Although I said semi-open headphones are closer to nearfield monititors than closed backs Ultrasone have created a system by which their closed back headphone perform more like open backed - this means they can be used to record as well as mix!

    Ultrasone PRO550 Closed-Back Professional Headphones (PRO 550)
    £154.96

    Ultrasone PRO750 Closed-Back Professional Headphones (PRO 750)
    £249.95


    Hope that helped and also really good luck witgh your musical endeavours!:D
     
  4. yorisi

    yorisi New Member

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    @RobinHifi
    I will most definitely consider those last two ultrasone headphones since they would also be (like you said) useful for recording.

    Thanks a lot for your detailed reply! It really helped me out :D
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  5. yorisi

    yorisi New Member

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    @dalethorn
    My knowledge of headphones is very limited but I read online that closed-back headphones tend to misrepresent the lower frequency's. What would be your thoughts on that?

    No I had heard yet of sugar hiccup, thanks for showing me!
    And thanks for the compliment and your reply ;)
     
  6. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Closed and lows.

    About 6 months ago I compared the Sennheiser HD800 (open, $1500 USD) to the Shure SRH940 (closed, $300 USD). I found interesting differences in the highs and upper mids that would justify the extra $1200 for people who are willing to spend it. But I didn't find a significant difference in the lows. So since there was a lot of controversy around that headphone, I put out a request for actual music tracks with which to compare, and I ended up buying and downloading a number of those tracks. Still no significant difference. There are people who find 1 to 2 decibels difference to be very significant, but you have to realize that that level of difference is an order of magnitude less than the overall differences between different headphones. Some brands and models exhibit more difference than that even with the same model! I don't want to say who, since more and more of the manufacturers now are declaring that they match drivers very closely. What they don't tell you though, is whether they match the drivers from one headphone to the next. They probably don't.

    But the SRH940 isn't the only lower-price headphone that delivers excellent and smooth (not bumpy or irregular) bass in a closed design. The German Maestro 8.35D is excellent also. The new Philips L1, when used with a specific degree of bass reduction, is also in that league as a top quality sound with strong, smooth, detailed bass.

    There probably are some closed headphones that have irregular freq. responses, but most of those are the ones with small earcups like the Beyer DT-1350, the VModa M80, Phiaton MS400 and a few others.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
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