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Which headphones for monitoring?

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Which headphones for monitoring?

Postby MitchT » Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:34 am

Okay, I know that strictly speaking, monitoring through headphones is a no-no, but I live in a rented flat which presents two problems… 1: It’s a flat so I can’t make a lot of noise, and 2: It isn’t my property so I can’t make physical changes to soundproof it. So, without this thread degenerating into a lecture as to why I shouldn’t attempt to monitor through headphones (I already know!), please could someone humour me and tell me which cans I need to have a fighting chance of getting a decent mix?
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Re: Which headphones for monitoring?

Postby The Elf » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:13 am

I say monitoring in phones is a yes-YES! :bouncy:

SOS published an extensive test on a wide trange of phones just a couple of months ago - you obviously missed that issue ;). Did you try a search?

I pretty much now do all of my editing and mixing in phones and I'm getting better results than I ever did. Very happy with it indeed, and so are the artists. The mixes travel well - all I need to do is check bass every now and then on something where I can 'feel' it - often my car stereo is enough.

I chose AKG K701s and am more than happy with them. I'm so confident in my phones that I actually now dislike monitoring is speakers. I just hope I can find a good replacement for these when the time comes. :crazy:
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Re: Which headphones for monitoring?

Postby Zukan » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:09 am


What's the budget saying?
Because that's going to be the decider.

In terms of quality, Elf's suggestion of the AKG 701 is an excellent one. Add to that the Sen HD 650 and you are good to go.
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Re: Which headphones for monitoring?

Postby matt keen » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:26 am

I think subscribing to SOS could be the answer ;)
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Re: Which headphones for monitoring?

Postby J G Harding » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:28 am

Another vote here for the Senneheiser HD650s, incredible kit. the AKG 701s are extremely similar, just a subtle tonal difference to my ears, so it's down to preference.

I use ’phones because the room can't be modified just like yours, and i find my mixes translate better than when using my rather average monitors. Just be sure to have a listen on monitors occasionally for a different perspective and you're good to go!
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Re: Which headphones for monitoring?

Postby Bob Moose » Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:36 pm


I don't know the AKG, but I agree the HD650 is great. A friend has one and let me try it. It's very comfortable, so you should be able to wear it for a very long time without any fatigue. I plan on buying one some day...

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Re: Which headphones for monitoring?

Postby Matt Houghton » Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:46 pm

matt keen wrote:I think subscribing to SOS could be the answer ;)

Indeed. You need to read these:

Headphone Group Test

Mixing On Headphones
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Re: Which headphones for monitoring?

Postby John Willett » Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:57 pm

Martin Walker's article is well worth reading (link above).

Personally I now use the Sennheiser HD 800 for monitoring and use a Grace m902b amplifier with them. But that combination retails for about £2,750 inc.VAT.

Going down the HD 650 and HD 600 are highly regarded (what I used to use before the HD 800) and the AKG K701 is also well thought of. I would treat these three as about equal, but opinion varies as to which is best as they all sound slightly different.

The Grace *is* an excellent headphone amp. but a cheaper option (but still very good) is the DACS HeadMaster (incl. DAC) and the Lehmann Black Cube (analogue in only) - these are around the £800 mark as opposed to the £1,500 +VAT of the Grace.

The HD 800 really *is* streets ahead of the others in quality, but are £1,000 a set. But I found that they reproduced sound that sounded exactly like it did when I was in the room setting up the mics that I had to have them for my main editing headphones.
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Re: Which headphones for monitoring?

Postby Skyline » Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:14 pm

+1 for the Sennheiser HD650s.
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