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Headphones and monitor recommendations

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Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby punkyfish » Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:11 pm

Hi, am buying other half Cubase 11 for Christmas to enable him to set up a home studio. Recommendations for headphones for monitoring and some decent monitor speakers to start with would be most welcome. Can anyone recommend a good Cubase 11 book?
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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby James Perrett » Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:23 pm

What sort of budget were you thinking of?

Does the other half have an acoustically treated space to work in? If not it might be worth setting aside some of the budget for acoustic treatment - or increase the budget for headphones with the idea that they will mainly work with headphones.
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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby CS70 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:04 pm

If you want to use monitors, what James says is critical. Room matters as much or more than the monitors. If you're the more interior-design interested half, start selecting fabric colors for panel absorbers on the wall and loom for example at the fellas at GIK Acoustics. My white-on-white walls setup is both effective and pleasing to the eyes :)

If the half's gonna do tracking and mixing, you really want two pairs - a closed back, isolating headphone for tracking and an open back for mixing. If you have to stick with one, a closed back can be used for both, but it's harder to mix well. As for specific models, there's really lot of a material out there, but assuming a not so crazy budget the usual recommendations here iare the AKG K701/2 range (open) and the Beyerdynamic DT range (the 990 are open, the 770 are closed).

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/headphones-studio starts to be a bit old now, but it still gives you a good picture.
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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby The Elf » Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:19 pm

AKG K701/702 would be my recommendation for headphones.

If it's specifically a tutorial book you would prefer, then maybe this will be close enough: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Guide-Music-Technology-Cubase/dp/0244827796. I haven't read it, so I don't know how good it may be. TBH a scan of YouTube would likely be the preference for most people.
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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby Arpangel » Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:23 pm

Monitor speakers and headphones? I’m asssuming you don’t want to spend a fortune?
My choice would be Presonus Eris 5’s or 8’s, the 5’s would be fine for a small untreated room.
Headphones would be Sennheiser HD25’s, or a bit more cash, Sennheiser HD600.
The 25’s are great for pop rock hip-hop etc, very exciting to listen to, the 600’s are for more demanding mixing work.
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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby Fishnish » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:52 pm

Cubase 11 is only a couple of weeks old so there probably won't be any specific books yet that are totally up to date. Mind you, the main bulk of the software hasn't changed too much in the past couple of years since Cubase 10 (although there are many great new features in both C10.5 and C11, but they are mainly enhancements to what has gone before). A book or online course designed for C10 or 10.5 should cover most of the modern package.
Steinberg have a very useful Cubase YouTube channel which is full of tutorials and video tips. It's a great source of information.
https://www.youtube.com/c/Cubase/videos

It's worth noting that when you're actually sat in front of Cubase, the help menus and the manual within the program require you to be online to view them at their best. I usually download a .pdf of the manual (you can do this for free on the Steinberg website even before you buy or download the software) and put it on a memory stick so I can refer to it without having to turn Cubase on or have the music computer online, hogging resources. or I can read it on a laptop or tablet

You dont mention budget for the monitors and headphones. There's lots of choice at all price points. As others have said, a lot will depend on the space you/they have available for music making and how you can utilize it. In a "smallish square-ish spare room" type setup I'd perhaps look at prioritising some decent headphones over spending lots on monitor spakers. If the space is a bit larger and can be set up so it behaves nicely acoustically, then It's worth spending a little more on monitor speakers.

Handy guide to headphones:
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/headphones-studio
(I use the Beyerdynamic D770 ones mentioned and am happy, I've used the Sennheiser ones also mentioned in the article that others have mentioned above and was just as happy. Other folk will doubtless have their own opinions.)

With monitors it's harder to recommend something without knowing a bit about the space they're going to be used in - I'd maybe look on a well stocked web retailer's site like Thomann or Gear4Music and see what's available in your price range - Manufacturers like Adam, KRK, Yamaha etc. all do a range to suit various budgets and uses.

A book that covers all sorts of things to do with setting up a home studio system, including chapters on room acoustics, mics, monitors, headphones etc which I've found very useful is "The Producer's Manual" by Paul White. Whilst the recording and mixing sections aren't specific to Cubase, the principles discussed are easily adaptable to making music in the modern Cubase environment. There's a whole heap of valuable stuff in there!
https://www.soundonsound.com/shop/books ... ers-manual
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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:22 pm

As above budget for the headphones/monitors? I have AKG K702s for listening/mixing and Sennheiser HD25s for tracking and listening when isolation is important (i.e. when my wife is watching TV in the same room). Both are excellent and both around £120.

I would strongly endorse the suggestion for acoustic treatment from first hand experience. If the aesthetics of the recording/mixing room are important (if it's also a living space) these might make the installation of acoustic treatment more acceptable https://gikacoustics.co.uk/product-category/acoustic-art-panels/
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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby punkyfish » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:17 am

James Perrett wrote:What sort of budget were you thinking of?

No idea to be honest, sub £100?

We don’t have anywhere we can treat really either to be honest.

Thank you for the reply
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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby punkyfish » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:20 am

CS70 that is very helpful thank you, I will have a look at your recommendations!
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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby punkyfish » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:21 am

Thank you to everyone for the replies. I am going to go away and read up on your suggestions and go from there!
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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby ef37a » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:45 am

https://www.amazon.co.uk/PreSonus-3-5-i ... ooghydr-21

I recently sent my son in France a pair of the above and he is very happy with them. However, his only real interest is in recording classical guitar and so the wee speakers are easily up to that sort of sound level. He does not like 'loud' anyway.

But headphones are really all you can get for £100. Either a pair of good closed backs for both duties or spend bigger on open backed but buy really cheap closed for tracking.

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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby The Elf » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:47 am

You may scape up some decent headphones for that money, but I'm afraid monitors in addition will be out of the question. That said the headphones would be the better investment from what you're saying.
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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby Fishnish » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:14 am

You can get pretty decent headphones for around your suggested budget - ones of good enough quality that they will still be up to the job as your recording system develops over time.

For monitor speakers I'm afraid you're not going to really get anything that great for your budget, but no need to worry too much if you have some decent headphones to hand. I started out recording using a pair of headphones and boom box cassette player on the kitchen table as a monitoring system, or plugged my portastudio (pre- computer age cassette recording gizmo) into the hifi. In retrospect it wasn't great but it got me started, and it was all I had.

For some affordable monitor speakers Ebay will be your friend- a pair of 2nd hand basic powered monitors such as the KRK Rokit 5 regularly go for around 100 -150 quid. Yes, they're far from perfect, but they will do the job, Certainly good enough to help your other half get things going with Cubase.
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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby Arpangel » Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:15 pm

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Re: Headphones and monitor recommendations

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:23 pm

Which version of Cubase 11 are you buying him? It ranges from £85 for Elements to £500 for Pro, Does it need to be Cubase (i.e. is he already familiar with CB)?

Why can't you do at least some basic acoustic treatment? I'm assuming the space he is using is also a living room, if he records anything with microphones and/or mixes on speakers treatment will make a huge difference and can be made to look acceptable in a living space. If you definitely can't then headphones are the way to go but they won't help with recordings that use mics. If he doesn't use mics then open back cans will do both tracking and mixing duties, so back to AKG K702 for £120 are probably the best budget choice (and you can save at least £25 buy buying him a Reaper licence for £60 if Cubase is not an absolute requirement)
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