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Headphones for mixing and tracking?

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Re: Headphones for mixing and tracking?

Postby dickiefunk » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:54 am

I have the Beyer DT770 250 for tracking and Beyer DT880 Pro's for mixing. I've tried the AKG K702, Audio Technica ATH M50x, Shure SRH840 and Sennheiser HD380's.
The Beyer's were my favourite of the bunch with the Shure SRH840 being my second favourite.
I am using these with a DAC's Headlite II headphone amplifier and ToneBoosters Morphit headphone correction software. This combination is working out well.

I'm now quite tempted to try the Beyer DT1990 based on my experience with the DT770 and DT880 as these are regarded to be a noticeable improvement.
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Re: Headphones for mixing and tracking?

Postby DC-Choppah » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:48 am

You should check out these for tracking: https://www.extremeheadphones.com/produ ... /ex25-plus

We use them for drums, but I think having high isolation is really useful for tracking anything. Helps the performer's timing and you get less headphone bleed.

I have the audio-technica headphones for mixing and I remember comparing a bunch and deciding I liked them the best. I still like them which tells me that they don't have any of their own sound that colors the music. I usually get tired of listening to things that imprint their own signature on the sound.
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Re: Headphones for mixing and tracking?

Postby Freelance Subversive » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:24 pm

Than you all once again, you have been very generous with your patience. Apologies for not getting back sooner…life, wife, work etc.

blinddrew wrote:I have a couple of pairs of Beyerdynamic 250Ω cans that work just fine from an old Scarlett 8i6. I think the only time I've had it past 12 o'clock is when I was recording some loud electric guitar in a small room. Most of the time it's about 9 o'clock for listening to commercial stuff and between 10 and 11 for mixing and recording, occasionally up to 12 if I'm listening intently to a single channel.
Sam Inglis wrote:I think all my phones are low-impedance models so I haven't tested this for myself -- you may well be fine, but it is true in general that high-impedance phones tend to be quieter given the same source signal. Bear in mind that if you use the Sonarworks application it introduces quite a significant level drop.

Thanks Drew — illuminating! Allowing for some variation between hardware, with the low-impedance 'phones to hand, I don't get levels anything like those you describe, unless I assign the monitor control in 'Focusrite Control' to 'all' outputs and its main faders at 0dB. Assigning monitor control to '1 & 2' (primary monitor outputs) does not affect headphones, at which point output is weak at best; usable levels don't appear until the 'phones pot is around the 1-3 o'clock position. With the former 'all' output monitoring settings, the headphones begin distorting at 2-3 o'clock.

Sam, of course I would expect lower levels with high-impedance sets, I'm just not sure if they're acceptable with the low-impedance set I do have. Yes, I've discovered Sonarworks attenuates quite aggressively. That said, the system app has done wonders for casual listening.

I did a quick and nasty comparison using my Macbook Pro, my wife's laptop and her smartphone as controls against the Clarett. All three of the former were able to drive relatively cleanly, the M50Xs (Imp. 38Ω; Sens. 98dB) and my wife's office headphones — Sony MDR 10RC (40Ω; 100dB), I believe — to exceptionally uncomfortable levels. My last hearing test was normal. I don't know if it's a routing problem, the headphone outputs of my Clarett are underperforming or I am dense/expect too much; either way it probably warrants further investigation.
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Re: Headphones for mixing and tracking?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:38 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:[Bear in mind that if you use the Sonarworks application it introduces quite a significant level drop.
Weird, I don't find this. In fact for me it boosts the overall output level.
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Re: Headphones for mixing and tracking?

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:35 am

blinddrew wrote:
Sam Inglis wrote:[Bear in mind that if you use the Sonarworks application it introduces quite a significant level drop.
Weird, I don't find this. In fact for me it boosts the overall output level.

I suspect it's all about making sure that any EQ boosts created by Sonarworks' profile don't result in clipping at the output.

For instance, if Sonarworks includes a 6dB peak in its chosen headphone profile, you'll probably have to reduce its output level fader by 6dB to avoid clipping if your audio files peak at near 0dBFS. This I believe is the level drop that Sam's referring to.

However, if your audio files are at more modest levels, you may find you can leave the Sonarworks output level fader set to 0dB, in which case the same 6dB profile peak would make it sound louder ;)


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Re: Headphones for mixing and tracking?

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:05 am

Ah, that makes sense. Thanks.
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Re: Headphones for mixing and tracking?

Postby Freelance Subversive » Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:17 am

Martin Walker wrote:
blinddrew wrote:
Sam Inglis wrote:[Bear in mind that if you use the Sonarworks application it introduces quite a significant level drop.
Weird, I don't find this. In fact for me it boosts the overall output level.

I suspect it's all about making sure that any EQ boosts created by Sonarworks' profile don't result in clipping at the output.

For instance, if Sonarworks includes a 6dB peak in its chosen headphone profile, you'll probably have to reduce its output level fader by 6dB to avoid clipping if your audio files peak at near 0dBFS. This I believe is the level drop that Sam's referring to.

However, if your audio files are at more modest levels, you may find you can leave the Sonarworks output level fader set to 0dB, in which case the same 6dB profile peak would make it sound louder ;)


Martin

That's the very explanation offered by Sonarworks; however, on my system, Reference 4 (both system app and plug-in) dramatically reduces output, irrespective of whether calibration is bypassed. Turning off 'safe headroom' permits only a modicum of extra output, not enough to trouble all but the very most sensitive of hearing. Whereas, my computer's built-in amp offers enough output to be highly uncomfortable at 20% volume, in most scenarios.

Clutching at straws: is it something that affects only the Mac platform — the way Sonarworks handles/is handled by core audio, perhaps?
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Re: Headphones for mixing and tracking?

Postby Hrodulf » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:26 pm

If you're using a Mac, try Spotlight > Audio Midi Setup. The master and/or LR channels may be turned down.
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Re: Headphones for mixing and tracking?

Postby Freelance Subversive » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:54 pm

Hrodulf wrote:If you're using a Mac, try Spotlight > Audio Midi Setup. The master and/or LR channels may be turned down.

Wonderful! Thank you, It hadn't occurred to check Audio/MIDI Setup — master is greyed-out but L/R faders are available. That has done the trick with the built-in headphone output and systemwide, though shall have to investigate if it is the same case re interface.
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