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Headphones for Mixing

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Headphones for Mixing

Postby The Spinner NYC » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:40 pm

I'm looking for some recommendations on pro headphones for mixing and mastering (or just mixing). The reason, I prefer to mix in headphones is because of the environment I live in. Really have studio standard speakers or anything - the walls are so thin, you can hear the people next door's (normal tone) conversation. But anyway, I'd appreciate any and all recommendations...
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:34 pm

What sort of budget are you on? I assume NYC means you're state-side. I don't know how they're priced over there but over here the AKG K702s represent very good phones at a near budget price.

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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby The Spinner NYC » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:40 pm

Yeah, I'm in NYC (Brooklyn). I'm looking to spend anywhere between $150 and $600. I know the more high end ones are around the $300+ price range...
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby John Willett » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:45 pm

Personally I am getting worried about AKG now - after they were Harmanised and now Samsungised ... Although the 702 were very good headphones.

Personally I now use the Sennheiser HD 800, though the HD 600 (or HD 650) are still very good at a much lower price - though the 800s are worth it if you can afford them. :thumbup:
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby CS70 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:53 pm

You find many similar recent threads: the 702 are good, I use Beyerdynamic DT990Pro - both are open back and that's the most important bit for mixing headphones (unless you want to go into the rarified and incredibly expensive top layer). Mastering, don't - it's a pointless thing to do, to master on the same monitoring and mixing (or by the same person). You can just as well slap a limiter on the master bus when you're done and leave it at that.
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby Humble Bee » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:43 pm

John Willett wrote:Personally I am getting worried about AKG now - after they were Harmanised and now Samsungised ... Although the 702 were very good headphones.

Personally I now use the Sennheiser HD 800, though the HD 600 (or HD 650) are still very good at a much lower price - though the 800s are worth it if you can afford them. :thumbup:

The HD 800 are indeed great but I don't know if they are still available.

And AKG has sertainly gone through some changes but at the prices proposed you can't go wrong with a pair of 702 or 712.

What ever you get budget for Sonarworks. That really makes a difference. Especially on a less expensive pair.

Did I say Sonarworks!
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby John Willett » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:16 pm

Humble Bee wrote:
John Willett wrote:Personally I am getting worried about AKG now - after they were Harmanised and now Samsungised ... Although the 702 were very good headphones.

Personally I now use the Sennheiser HD 800, though the HD 600 (or HD 650) are still very good at a much lower price - though the 800s are worth it if you can afford them. :thumbup:

The HD 800 are indeed great but I don't know if they are still available.

Yes they are - I just checked. :thumbup:


Humble Bee wrote:What ever you get budget for Sonarworks. That really makes a difference. Especially on a less expensive pair.

Did I say Sonarworks!

I did listen to Sonarworks carefully and you do seem to lose something in the processing.

Yes, Sonarworks does what it says it does, but in doing it, it does seem to suck a bit of the life out of the music. Sorry, it's difficult to describe; but, despite the improvements, I found listening to the HD 800 preferable without Sonarworks switched in (this was at teh Sonarworks demo at CanJam 2018).

I was listening to classical music to hear this - with more modern music what I found may not be noticeable.
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby Humble Bee » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:46 pm

On a £100 pair of cans it's going to make a big positive difference. On a pair of HD800 maby less so. That was my point. Monitoring is much about getting used to whatever gear you choose to use and make the most out of it.
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:36 pm

I suspect the answer here is that John's HD800's are already comparatively flat in response, and like my HD650's they really need very little EQing inside Sonarworks anyway.

I rarely (if ever) use Sonarworks Reference 3 plug-in with the HD650, and I can quite believe that with John's rarifeid and experienced ears he can probably hear the filter itself, and so prefers to be without it.

However, my AKG712 Pro's are (for me anyway) difficult to listen to WITHOUT Sonarworks - I really couldn't use them without it, but with its EQ in place they sound wonderful, with great bass extension.

So, I agree with Humble Bee that with many (or indeed most, but perhaps not all) headphones would benefit greatly from Sonarworks Reference 3 plug-in, which makes many headphones sound a lot better than they do in isolation.


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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby The Spinner NYC » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:06 pm

Excellent guys! I really appreciate all your advice! I really like so far the HD800's But DAM! Hell of a price tag! They look like something futuristic, but I would definitely buy them. I've used AKG's in the past (K240's), and they worked well for me, but for some reason (even at low volumes) they would give me ear fatigue, and I always felt they lacked some bass. In the meantime the DT990Pro's I know my local Guitar Center has them on display and I'm really looking forward to hearing them and making a decision. Before I even created this post, I was inclined to getting the Sennheiser 380 Pro's. I had heard them before, but felt they lacked something with the sound or added too much coloration to the sound. Hopefully, they'll have the higher end ones like the HD800's so I can hear them, but seriously doubt it. Either way, for that price tag, I'm sure they sound amazing!

But again, Thanks to all of you!
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:26 am

The HD380s are closed back, so not recommended. I have a bunch of them for artist monitoring, but I wouldn’t mix on them.

HD650 user here which I use for checking mixes (as I use monitor speakers for mixing).

I like the Beyer stuff I’ve heard but never tried their open back designs.

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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby Luke W » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:59 am

I'm using a pair of Shure SRH1840s, I've not compared them directly to many other sets, but am very happy with them.
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby Ramirez » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:24 am

Martin Walker wrote:However, my AKG712 Pro's are (for me anyway) difficult to listen to WITHOUT Sonarworks - I really couldn't use them without it, but with its EQ in place they sound wonderful, with great bass extension.


In the interest of balance, I hereby state that I very much like the K712 as they are!

They may be a tiny bit bright, but I like that, and it counters my tendency to mix a little bright anyway. I did try them with Sonarworks, but while the low end became something incredible (although it's very good as they are), I decided that I'd rather get used to them as they are. Part of the appeal of a decent pair of headphones for me is that I can take them to different locations, studios and systems and they still sound the same. Having to rely on a plugin takes this convenience away. In any case, I didn't feel Sonarworks added anything I couldn't live with, although as I said the bass was quite something.
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby ore_terra » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:26 am

Same thing comparing my beyers DT880’s: with that peak around 10kHz I found using them withouth Sonarworks quite hard. Other than that I can wear them for hours without any problem.

My HD25’s in the other hand I find them more reliable without sonarworks than the DT880’s, but they are far less confortable (closed back, on ear...)
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby blinddrew » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:37 pm

I use DT990s and I think one of the main things I get from sonarworks is a much more consistent tonal match with my monitors, which means that I'm not tempted to start playing with EQ if I start a session on speakers and finish it on headphones.
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:26 pm

blinddrew wrote:I use DT990s and I think one of the main things I get from sonarworks is a much more consistent tonal match with my monitors, which means that I'm not tempted to start playing with EQ if I start a session on speakers and finish it on headphones.

That's exactly why I always use my AKG K712 Pros with sonarworks - it makes them sound closer audibly to my small ATC monitors, as well as close to my Sennheiser HD650s.

Yes, I'm sure I could get used to the vanilla K712 sound, but I suspect my mixes would end up differently.

I'm happier with two sets of headphones and one set of loudspeakers that each have their strengths and weaknesses, yet end up with a similar family sound.


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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby The Elf » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:47 pm

Monitoring of any kind is a personal thing. I tend to believe that it is less about finding 'perfect' headphones, or speakers, but in finding some that have a voice that works for *you* - and then becoming sufficiently familiar with that voice that you hear past any deficiencies to what you need to hear to do the job..

I find my AKG 702/712s perfectly usable without any processing being applied. I don't feel that my HD650s give me what I need to hone a mix, useful though they are as a second reference. I think that this says a lot about how used I am to the K7xx 'sound'.

I've said here before that my main concern with Sonarworks is that it prevents the listener becoming used to headphones as they are - and that could become a problem when you're working away and you don't have Sonarworks to prop you up.

If I found that my mixes were lacking without using a monitoring plug-in to support my choice of headphones then I would question my choice of headphones.
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:31 pm

The Elf wrote:I've said here before that my main concern with Sonarworks is that it prevents the listener becoming used to headphones as they are - and that could become a problem when you're working away and you don't have Sonarworks to prop you up.

I have nothing like the amount of the Elf's experience to back me up but this is how I feel about Sonarworks. I use my K702s for all sorts of listening and believe that helps to develop an understanding of how they sound when music sounds the way I want it to.

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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby Zukan » Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:59 am

I loved using the K712 and HD650 as per Elf's vibe. I never used any compensation software with the K712s only because the headphone's response was perfect for my style of mixing whereby I wanted really solid low end referencing with a slightly hyped mid to top end as it kind of compensated for my muffled tinnitus. I would then back off a few dBs. BUT, headphones and how they are set up is a very personal thing and I know a great many people that use Sonarworks with the 712s and they are happy campers.

I did, however, and still do, use Sonarworks for the varying speaker modes. Great way to test your mixes across varying mediums.l
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Re: Headphones for Mixing

Postby banterbanter » Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:36 pm

John Willett wrote:
Humble Bee wrote:
John Willett wrote:Personally I am getting worried about AKG now - after they were Harmanised and now Samsungised ... Although the 702 were very good headphones.

Personally I now use the Sennheiser HD 800, though the HD 600 (or HD 650) are still very good at a much lower price - though the 800s are worth it if you can afford them. :thumbup:

The HD 800 are indeed great but I don't know if they are still available.

Yes they are - I just checked. :thumbup:


Humble Bee wrote:What ever you get budget for Sonarworks. That really makes a difference. Especially on a less expensive pair.

Did I say Sonarworks!

I did listen to Sonarworks carefully and you do seem to lose something in the processing.

Yes, Sonarworks does what it says it does, but in doing it, it does seem to suck a bit of the life out of the music. Sorry, it's difficult to describe; but, despite the improvements, I found listening to the HD 800 preferable without Sonarworks switched in (this was at teh Sonarworks demo at CanJam 2018).

I was listening to classical music to hear this - with more modern music what I found may not be noticeable.


Remember you turn sonarworks off when rendering to your final mix - and so even if you you do hear some 'processing' (which personally I don't with my HD650's - recommended) - no one else will when you're done mixing.
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