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Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

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Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Atila » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:29 pm

I'm finding it really hard to judge the low end of my mixes on my Sennheiser HD650s. I know that's the kind of thing you expect from mixing on headphones (I read the article in SOS multiple times), but still. More than once I've only realised my bass-dominated mixes were that way after listening to them on PC desktop speakers + subwoofer or, would you believe, on earbuds on the train. Which really makes no sense to me given their diminutive dimensions.

I'm starting to think the HD650s just make everything sound... nice. Which is great if you just want to enjoy your music collection but not so much if you're trying to get your tunes to sound good on everything else! I can usually hear the bass problems on the cans after identifying them, but it never sounds as bad and I never seem to just get it right the 1st time around. There's been a lot of me iterating through the cycle of listening, comparing to commercial mixes, tweaking then rinsing and repeating lately.

Has anybody else had similar problems?


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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby buggymusic » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:42 pm

I have the same issue and also I struggle on Yamaha near field monitors. Interestingly on the cheaper closed D150 headphones it's much easier to judge both bass and kick balance.
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby matt keen » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:51 pm

Atila wrote:I'm finding it really hard to judge the low end of my mixes on my Sennheiser HD650s. I know that's the kind of thing you expect from mixing on headphones (I read the article in SOS multiple times), but still. More than once I've only realised my bass-dominated mixes were that way after listening to them on PC desktop speakers + subwoofer or, would you believe, on earbuds on the train. Which really makes no sense to me given their diminutive dimensions.

I'm starting to think the HD650s just make everything sound... nice. Which is great if you just want to enjoy your music collection but not so much if you're trying to get your tunes to sound good on everything else! I can usually hear the bass problems on the cans after identifying them, but it never sounds as bad and I never seem to just get it right the 1st time around. There's been a lot of me iterating through the cycle of listening, comparing to commercial mixes, tweaking then rinsing and repeating lately.

Has anybody else had similar problems?


Atila


I found the opposite to be true - they are accurate and it was easier to judge the bass

I think there is something to be said for working on monitors/headphones that have less of everything but are still pretty balanced - that seems to make you work harder but still be reasonably confident in what you are hearing
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby RonnieG » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:57 pm

I have had the 650's for about 4 years now. I find that the bass is a little light when heard on other systems.

I only mix on headphones (not by choice). I tend to drop trial mixs over to my phone and through bluetooth listen to them in the car. Always Always they are a little bass light.... but the more i read and learn is that I'm getting the wrong frequencies up loud. I need to understand how rolling off bass in certain Hz's gets it to cut through better (SIC )

So i'm resigned at the momemnt to thinking it's me not the equipment.
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Matt Houghton » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:11 pm

I use my HD650s a lot now, though it took me a long time to get used to them. I find them very good for almost everything, and I'd recommend them to anyone. The one area in which I feel they're left a little wanting, though, is the bass end. I find they seem a little bass-light compared with my speaker setup, and whatever the frequency response chart says, I find the bass a wee bit uneven.

These things are relative, of course, and there are few cans around at that price that can match them. Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro are slightly better in this respect, though maybe a wee bit less good on mid-range separation. Cheaper cans may give a 'nicer' frequency balance for working with bass, but they don't offer the same separation, which makes them less than ideal for mixing.

Despite what I've said above, though, I I've not experienced anything like the same degree of failure in mix-translation described by the OP, though. If I do, it's usually because I've been worrying too much about the tiny details that are revealed and making bm decisions because of that.

Certainly, if I'm trying to do any work with really deep bass, I wouldn't be looking to mix on phones in any case. There's just no way you can tell what's going on in the flare-flapping, chest-thumping region!
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby turbodave » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:55 pm

Hi, I have recently added hd595s to my mixing set up and have to say that combining these with my 8020s has drastically improved my mix ability.I was finding too much of the room in my mix and therefore the tunes were not transferring well to other systems.Now I am much happier, but balance between the cans and the speakers don't just use one or other.Dave
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:48 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:I use my HD650s a lot now, though it took me a long time to get used to them. I find them very good for almost everything, and I'd recommend them to anyone.


I'd agree with that Matt.

My HD650's have been a revelation, and I do nearly all of my serious mixing on them now, but like you I do always double check the bass end on my little ATC monitors and inevitably find the loudspeakers have more bottom-end 'welly', so the HD650's are a little light by comparison. However, I'm just used to that now, so when mixing under phones I know what to aim for.

What I suspect the original poster may be suffering from is simply being able to hear everything so clearly. With good monitoring even a poor mix can still sound as clear as a bell, and it's only when you listen to cheap gear that you hear any level imbalances more clearly.

I always used to check my mixes on the small elliptical mono loudspeaker bolted into an elderly colour monitor screen used with my Amiga computer, because it was so good at revealing things like this (partly because a single full-range loudspeaker will let you hear the balance where multi-band 'hi-fi' loudspeakers confuse the transition from one frequency band to another).

As you say, once you've heard the mix problem you can still hear it through good monitoring. I know there are specific mono loudspeakers available for this purpose, but I really must try out a few cheap mono full range loudspeakers to find myself another 'el cheapo' reference


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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Matt Houghton » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:39 pm

Hi Martin,
I keep meaning to try the Avantone Mixcube (which I assume you're referring to). Meanwhile, I quite like using a three-way hi-fi monitor for a similar reason (I've been using KEFs as you probably know). Yes, you now have two crossovers to deal with, but those crossovers are higher and lower than the critical midrange. Straying a bit off topic here, though, as the OP was talking about bass...
Fact remains that to check the bass end on speakers you need to have your room properly treated!
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby The_BPP » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:23 am

I agree with the O.P. My HD650s never gave what I thought was an accurate representation of the bass.

In the end, I switched over to Beyerdynamic DT880s, which I find to be more revealing in the lower-end.
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Zukan » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:42 am

I use 650s a lot too but I cannot ever recall having to solely rely on cans for low end referencing or even stereo imaging.
Basically, I use them together and, as Martin has said, you can get used to them to the point whereby you can compensate. But TBH, using speakers in conjunction with cans is the best combo.
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby SecretSam » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:49 am

HD25s have a lot of bottom end. More than my room could cope with, anyway ....

On the other hand, to me they sound a bit 'muffled' compared with the HD565s I used to use (poor man's HD650). Use Beyerdynamic DT770s at present. Probably will get 650s at some point.

Anyone use HD800s, and are they as utterly perfect as their price would imply ?
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:49 pm

SecretSam wrote:Anyone use HD800s, and are they as utterly perfect as their price would imply ?

John Willett certainly does, in conjunction with a Grace headphone amp


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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:54 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:Hi Martin,
I keep meaning to try the Avantone Mixcube (which I assume you're referring to). Meanwhile, I quite like using a three-way hi-fi monitor for a similar reason (I've been using KEFs as you probably know). Yes, you now have two crossovers to deal with, but those crossovers are higher and lower than the critical midrange.


Yes, that should help keep the critical midrange away from the crossover frequencies. Clever!

I still think the Avantone Mixcube is expensive for what it does, as you're essentially trying to replicate what people will hear on a single fairly cheap loudspeaker, albeit in a rugged non-resonant cabinet and with a long throw driver for lower distortion


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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Mixedup » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:54 pm

If you're spending HD800 money, then Grado, Stax and Audeze may also be worth a look. They weren't included in the SOS shootout, btu are all worthy contenders...
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Mixedup » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:01 pm

Martin Walker wrote:I still think the Avantone Mixcube is expensive for what it does, as you're essentially trying to replicate what people will hear on a single fairly cheap loudspeaker

It does look pretty though Plus it's well built and has a decent amp on board. Can't think why anyone would want two, though. I always saw it as a combo between a grotbox and a mid-range magnifying glass with no crossovers. But yes, it shouldn't be difficult to buy/build a passive equivalent for rather fewer beans. Or to simply use an FM transmitter to monitor over your radio/TV/laptop to find a typical crappy speaker.
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:08 pm

Interesting discussion. I treated my room sometime ago, which has improved the listening environment substantially and use PMC TB2-a speakers for mixing with cross reference to Avantone Mixcubes and Sony MDR-7509HD headphones. Of course my mixes sound different on each of these reference sources, but what I've found over the years is that I rarely have to adjust a mix just because I hear it on a different source. I can only think this is because I have become very familiar with my primary reference and isn't this the key?

So to answer the OP's question, I would imagine the HD650s would be fine once you've become completely familiar with them and this is achieved by listening to reference material on them so that their response becomes entirely predictable.

I occasionally check a mix on the mixcubes if I think a project is going to be largely played on crap speakers, more for reasons of curiosity than correction.

I always check mixes on headphones, but that's more to do with the sense of isolation and pure focus headphones can afford. So I can live 'inside' the mix and form an alternative critical assessment.

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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Atila » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:31 pm

Interesting viewpoints. For the record, I've had my HD650s for years now and pretty much listen to everything through them at home, so it's not a lack of familiarity. It just seems harder to make a mix sound bad through them. Good thing I check on everything else I have.

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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Jeraldo » Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:22 pm

Martin Walker wrote:
SecretSam wrote:Anyone use HD800s, and are they as utterly perfect as their price would imply ?


John Willett certainly does, in conjunction with a Grace headphone amp


Martin


What?! John is using HD800 headphones???!!! Say it isn't so!
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:23 pm

Here's your proof

"I use the HD 800 through a Grace m902b for when I'm mixing on headphones.

I know of several other classical engineers who have gone down the same headphones route (including a composer who also records).

I find them neutral and revealing - when I first heard them I heard things in some of my recordings (which I was using to test them) that I had never heard before (luckily for me it was just more detail and I had not made any mistakes in the editing).

The HD 800 are certainly vastly superior to the HD 600 and HD 650 (and I have both of these as well - but now exclusively use the 800).
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Jeraldo » Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:03 pm

Actually, I use Senny's too, but ones considerably less capable. Too many other things to buy first.
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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby Atila » Tue May 03, 2011 9:49 am

Maybe it's my ears (most likely), my HD650s, my RME Fireface UC, or a combination of the above, but I'm definitely and consistently turning out bass heavy mixes (kick and bass clash a lot) that never sound bad whilst mixing. Since that just won't do, I came up with a solution/fix.

I usually mix in an iterative fashion, listening a few days later and tweaking. For the last few iterations, when comparing to commercial tracks on the Sennys I'm low-shelf boosting under 150Hz by about 7dB across the mix bus. It makes a huge difference! I just have to remember to bypass it before printing the mix, of course...

Another thing I've been doing is using CurveEQ as an FFT and analysing the frequencies the bass and kick usually hit. More often than not my EQ settings in the region below 120Hz (done by ear) were less than ideal. And, unsurprisingly, they usually occupied nearly the exact same spot (usually around 80-85Hz, sometimes down to 65Hz).

Just wanted to share what I've been doing in the last few weeks to tackle the problem I was having, in case someone else out there is facing something similar. I might just finish mixing this album after all...

Átila

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Re: Bass on HD650s - really hard to judge or is it just me?

Postby ROLO46 » Thu May 05, 2011 4:23 pm

I think it takes years to understand mixes on cans
A combination of cans and known speakers is best
Senny open backs are very revealing, my 600's sound like my Quad 63's with out a sub.
I switch between HD25's for location recording (excellent), 600's for post and final check on the Quads.
They all sound 'different'
The image 'scale' increases all the way up.
Tonality,especially LF changes radically.
This takes time to get accustomed too.
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