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Headphones

Postby DanielBeach » Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:48 am

Dear All,

Another post asking for opinions. I've really enjoyed getting a tiny bit more involved in the SOS forums over the last few lockdown weeks, and very grateful for the advice and discussions (and have learned loads from other people's posts, too.)

I want to get some decent studio headphones - the ones I have are okay for tracking and recording just about (they're cheap AKG closed-back which is good for giving to instrumentalists who I'm recording.)

Lots of people on here have advised me to do a lot of my editing and mixing with a decent pair of cans. I've been looking at different models, but it's obviously not possible to visit a shop (Andertons my personal favourite - thought I'd throw that in) and so I wonder if people might share their thoughts on what they've used.

I can afford up to about £150, and am looking for something I can mix on to the highest standard possible on cans at the this price level, as my mixing room has some rather severe bass issues, and to a lesser extent some stereo imaging issues.

Many thanks,

Daniel
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Re: Headphones

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:16 am

A firm favourite here are the AKG 701/702...

Many of us have bought our 'refurbed' ones from Scan: https://www.scan.co.uk/products/akg-k702-open-back-over-ear-premium-class-reference-headphones-black-factory-refurbished and have been happy bunnies... :lol:

Of course, there are strong advocates of other headphones such as the Sennheiser 600/650 but these are outside of your budget...
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Re: Headphones

Postby Music Wolf » Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:32 am

I bought a pair of AKG702s a couple of years back, I think on a recommendation from The Elf, and I love them. I haven't compared them with other models, such the Sennheiser's which Mike mentioned, but I suspect that the biggest impact just comes from them being 'open backed'.

I still use my monitors but I now do a lot of work with headphones.

Whichever you go for I doubt that you'll regret it.
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Re: Headphones

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:55 am

I'm still a fan of my Beyer DT990s but I know the 880s have a lot of supporters as well.
I've only listened to a set of 702s once but I'm sure i'd be equally happy with them.
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Re: Headphones

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:41 am

I have K701s from Scan and they are excellent. Whatever you buy (headphones or monitors) you'll have to learn how they sound so, while listening before you buy is a good idea, I don't think it's absolutely essential. Enough experienced people in here have said the K701/702 will do the job to suggest they would be a safe buy.
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Re: Headphones

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:37 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I have K701s from Scan and they are excellent. Whatever you buy (headphones or monitors) you'll have to learn how they sound so, while listening before you buy is a good idea, I don't think it's absolutely essential. Enough experienced people in here have said the K701/702 will do the job to suggest they would be a safe buy.

Wise words...

When switching cans one is often struck by how 'different' the sound is to what one is accustomed. Key question is, is that difference 'bad' or merely highlighting a possible deficiency in the accustomed cans with which you've learned to live?
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Re: Headphones

Postby DanielBeach » Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:27 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I completely get what you mean about getting used to them. Given my mixing environment I really do need something decent to make a lot of my mixing decisions.

I do a mix of musical theatre, pop, and classical, and I seem to have narrowed it down to:

Sennheiser HD25
AKG K701/702
Beyer DT990 Pro
Sony MDR-7506
Focal Listen Pro

Given the "variety" of music I work with, for mixing and basic mastering (making sure backing tracks are good enough for live theatre use), any final thoughts on the above before I commit?

Thanks!

Daniel
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Re: Headphones

Postby The Elf » Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:57 pm

Everyone will have their favourites. For me it would be AKG K7* every time.

The Sony 7506 are duffers IMHO. I have consigned mine to the home hi-fi.
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Re: Headphones

Postby DanielBeach » Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:59 pm

The Elf wrote:Everyone will have their favourites. For me it would be AKG K7* every time.

The Sony 7506 are duffers IMHO. I have consigned mine to the home hi-fi.

Personal taste really is so important, isn't it? There are a couple of guys I know producing really great Hollywood and musical game soundtracks mixing almost entirely on the Sony 7506...I guess we all have different ears and different brains. :-)

If the worst comes to the worst I can always eBay whatever I buy if they don't work for me...
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Re: Headphones

Postby DanielBeach » Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:41 pm

The Elf wrote:Everyone will have their favourites. For me it would be AKG K7* every time.

The Sony 7506 are duffers IMHO. I have consigned mine to the home hi-fi.


I think I've settled on the K701s, but I'm reading about the output maybe needing a "strong amp" - would the headphone out on my Scarlett 2i2 be good enough to provide enough volume??

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Re: Headphones

Postby John Willett » Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:49 pm

DanielBeach wrote:
The Elf wrote:Everyone will have their favourites. For me it would be AKG K7* every time.

The Sony 7506 are duffers IMHO. I have consigned mine to the home hi-fi.


I think I've settled on the K701s, but I'm reading about the output maybe needing a "strong amp" - would the headphone out on my Scarlett 2i2 be good enough to provide enough volume??

Daniel

The AKG K701 do need a lot of running in, they do improve - some people say as much as 500 hours - though I don't have personal experience on these.

The HD 25 can be driven well by virtually anything as they are very efficient.

Personally I use both open and closed cans for mixing/mastering - open cans for most things (I have Sennheiser HD 800, HD 650 and HD 600) but *do* really like my HD 25 to shut everything out and listen to detail deep in the mix.

Regarding the Scarlett - I have a Solo on order and hope to get it by the end of the month and would only be able to comment then - but, knowing Focusrite, it should be fine with most cans.
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Re: Headphones

Postby desmond » Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:05 pm

DanielBeach wrote:I think I've settled on the K701s, but I'm reading about the output maybe needing a "strong amp" - would the headphone out on my Scarlett 2i2 be good enough to provide enough volume??

They are quiet - with my old Sennheisers, I can put the phone level on a Scarlett to, say 4 (10 o clock on the dial), and it's loud enough for most uses.

With the 702's, I'm setting it at near 7 or 8, for the same kind of volume. But hey, it just means the knob is higher, it's not really a big deal, you won't be using them for tracking with loud instruments to compete with...
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Re: Headphones

Postby MarkyC » Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:17 pm

Just purchased a couple of refurb 702 from Scan last week.

Still getting used to them but can say they do seem to reveal everything well.

Both units look like new (I think the boxes may have had a dent in them, but who cares) so very impressed.
So, if you are going to jump that way, I think it really is a good option (standard 14-day return policy applies so I was told)
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Re: Headphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:20 pm

DanielBeach wrote:Personal taste really is so important, isn't it? There are a couple of guys I know producing really great Hollywood and musical game soundtracks mixing almost entirely on the Sony 7506...I guess we all have different ears and different brains. :-)

You can get used to almost anything with time, and learn to compensate for most characteristics... I reviewed the 7506 and original 7509 here 18 years ago:

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/sony-mdr7506-mdr7509

The world of headphone design and value for money has moved on quite a long way in those 18 years IMHO. The 7506 are pretty average performers in modern company.... but I still often use my 7509s for location recording because they are more comfortable for long-term use than my HD25s.

Like the Elf, I use AKG 702s as my preferred reference when mixing -- and I'd always favour an open-back design to a closed-back one in that role, assuming external noise wasn't a problem. I've never found anything that can't drive 702s to loud levels -- Focusrite Scarlet interfaces included. Some devices won't make your ears bleed with 702s, but is that a bad thing? :think: When tracking you may need more headphone oomph... but then you wouldn't be using open-backed 702s, you'd be using a low-impedance closed-back headphone instead which will typically go a lot louder...
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Re: Headphones

Postby DanielBeach » Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:27 pm

I had just ordered the refurbished 702s from Scan moments before reading this, so I look forward to receiving them tomorrow. I currently track and partly mix on AKG K44 Perceptions - please tell me the AKG will be better. :lol:



Hugh Robjohns wrote:
DanielBeach wrote:Like the Elf, I use AKG 702s as my preferred reference when mixing -- and I'd always favour an open-back design to a closed-back one in that role, assuming external noise wasn't a problem. I've never found anything that can't drive 702s to loud levels -- Focusrite Scarlet interfaces included. Some devices won't make your ears bleed with 702s, but is that a bad thing? :think: When tracking you may need more headphone oomph... but then you wouldn't be using open-backed 702s, you'd be using a low-impedance closed-back headphone instead which will typically go a lot louder...
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