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  • Headphones?

    I know I will get many different answers, which is what I want so I can see which model comes up the most.

    Recording acoustic guitar and vocals, and whatever preset instruments I can add via Studio One.

    Looking for recommended headphones under $100.

    Thanks in advance,

    Jack

  • #2
    There are very few headphones under $100 worth using in a studio. You can track with just about anything but $100 seems to be the cutoff between consumer junk and pro grade headphones. The best deal I found were some AKG 240 headphones. They normally sell for $150 but I bought a set on sale for around $60. I found them for the same price here. http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/3017003...lpid=82&chn=ps

    If you go to Amazon, Musicians Friend or Guitar Center you may get them fro $99.

    You want a flat response so whatever you mix will sound good on other playback systems. Consumer stuff often has boosted bass response so when you mix with them, and play back the recording on other systems the recording suffers from just the opposite problem. If you have too much bass mixing, the recording has too little bass played back on other systems.

    Normally you want to use closed backed, over the ears headphones for tracking so you have isolation from the mic. The 240's are open backed over the ears headphones but the bleedover is negligible. I been using them for about 9 months for doing vocals and bleedover doesn't seem to be a big issue even with a condenser mic. Unless you stick the mic right in your ear it wont be picked up by the mic.

    The big factors recording are Comfort and Flat Frequency response. You may have them on for hours and sweaty ears and heavy C clamps on your head becomes very fatiguing. I wear eye glasses as well which can be very uncomfortable with many headphones too. The 240's are large but they are light and comfortable. They do very well for their price range. You have to spend allot more on Closed backed to get similar responses because budget closed backed phones have issues with bass resonance. The air inside the cup has no place to go so you can wind up having peaks and valleys, especially in the bass region. The driver has to be extremely well designed to prevent those unnatural peaks, otherwise they are useless for mixing.

    The 240's aren't extremely loud but they are fairly accurate. I have at least a dozen others I can use but these have been doing a very good job lately. There are others of course. Sennheiser, Audio Technica, and Beyerdynamic make some great headphones but unless you spend more you're going to get what you pay for. The Beyerdynamic DT250b are pretty good in the $200 range. Sennheiser HD800's are one of the best but you're looking at $1500. AKG 702's are a step up but you're looking at $200 minimum for them. Audio Technica ATH M35 and M40's sell for around $100 and can be OK for tracking but I wouldn't recommend them for Mixing. The M50's are probably lowest priced Audio Technica that you can use for mixing but again you're into the $150 price range.

    Like I said, You can use budget sets for tracking. All you need to do is hear "something" to play along to. Vocals can suffer is the response and sensitivity is too poor because you tend to compensate for frequency response anomalies when you sing. Its better to spend a little more and get both tracking and mixing capabilities. I'd ignore anything under $50 for sure unless you find some better phones lightly used or on sale. Be sure to Google around and read reviews before buying too.
    Last edited by WRGKMC; 08-09-2015, 06:14 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post
      There are very few headphones under $100 worth using in a studio. You can track with just about anything but $100 seems to be the cutoff between consumer junk and pro grade headphones. The best deal I found were some AKG 240 headphones. They normally sell for $150 but I bought a set on sale for around $60. I found them for the same price here. http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/3017003...lpid=82&chn=ps

      If you go to Amazon, Musicians Friend or Guitar Center you may get them fro $99.

      You want a flat response so whatever you mix will sound good on other playback systems. Consumer stuff often has boosted bass response so when you mix with them, and play back the recording on other systems the recording suffers from just the opposite problem. If you have too much bass mixing, the recording has too little bass played back on other systems.

      Normally you want to use closed backed, over the ears headphones for tracking so you have isolation from the mic. The 240's are open backed over the ears headphones but the bleedover is negligible. I been using them for about 9 months for doing vocals and bleedover doesn't seem to be a big issue even with a condenser mic. Unless you stick the mic right in your ear it wont be picked up by the mic.

      The big factors recording are Comfort and Flat Frequency response. You may have them on for hours and sweaty ears and heavy C clamps on your head becomes very fatiguing. I wear eye glasses as well which can be very uncomfortable with many headphones too. The 240's are large but they are light and comfortable. They do very well for their price range. You have to spend allot more on Closed backed to get similar responses because budget closed backed phones have issues with bass resonance. The air inside the cup has no place to go so you can wind up having peaks and valleys, especially in the bass region. The driver has to be extremely well designed to prevent those unnatural peaks, otherwise they are useless for mixing.

      The 240's aren't extremely loud but they are fairly accurate. I have at least a dozen others I can use but these have been doing a very good job lately. There are others of course. Sennheiser, Audio Technica, and Beyerdynamic make some great headphones but unless you spend more you're going to get what you pay for. The Beyerdynamic DT250b are pretty good in the $200 range. Sennheiser HD800's are one of the best but you're looking at $1500. AKG 702's are a step up but you're looking at $200 minimum for them. Audio Technica ATH M35 and M40's sell for around $100 and can be OK for tracking but I wouldn't recommend them for Mixing. The M50's are probably lowest priced Audio Technica that you can use for mixing but again you're into the $150 price range.

      Like I said, You can use budget sets for tracking. All you need to do is hear "something" to play along to. Vocals can suffer is the response and sensitivity is too poor because you tend to compensate for frequency response anomalies when you sing. Its better to spend a little more and get both tracking and mixing capabilities. I'd ignore anything under $50 for sure unless you find some better phones lightly used or on sale. Be sure to Google around and read reviews before buying too.
      That's WR for all the great information. I amended my post to reflect the fact that I want to purchase from Sweetwater since I have a card from there that gives me 2 years with no interest.

      I will be doing JUST guitar and vocals, so I don't need any real high end phones. Here's the list I have put together from Sweetwater, and you have already weighed in choosing the AKGs.

      1. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

      2. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

      3. Sony MDR-7506

      4. Shure SRH 440

      5. AKG 240

      Thanks again,

      Jack

      Comment


      • Superbad
        Superbad commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm a fan of the sennheiser HD 280 pros. They clamp pretty tight and I'm not sure of the flatness of their freq response, but I've had them so long I'm used to how they sound.

    • #4
      For that price I highly recommend the Sony MDR 7506. Very accurate, great bass probably untouchable at that price point. I know you may be surprised at Sony as a brand of headphones, but they are highly respected by many sound engineers. I love mine and have had a pair for years with no issues.

      Comment


      • #5
        I'd probably go with the 240s, I've used them for 20+ years and they're very comfortable and accurate.

        I'll also disagree with the 7506 as being accurate - they're very hyped in the highs and lows. Sort of the headphone equivalent of a boom car.

        They're very loud, closed design and sturdy, which is why people like them for tracking.
        "Thank You, NASA!"

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        • #6
          You can't go wrong with Beyerdynamic headphones in the studio. They have different models at different price points.

          -------------
          One Flight Up | Recording Studios

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by leehop71 View Post

            I will be doing JUST guitar and vocals, so I don't need any real high end phones. Here's the list I have put together from Sweetwater, and you have already weighed in choosing the AKGs.

            1. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
            Nearly everything I do is acoustic, and I have the Audio-Technica ATH-M40X. I really like these, they have a nice sound, no boost on the bass or top end that you see with a lot of the headphones in the big box stores. It also has two interchangeable cables; one that is straight cable and the other is coiled.

            The only bad thing I can say about these headphones is that the headband gets a bit heavy after a while. I do a lot of my mixing on these headphones both to block out noise from the grandkids and to alleviate the howls of the loving family members when they hear my work. I may have them on for quite a long time, and that is when they can start to get a bit heavy. Plus, I have no hair any longer, so that cushion is missing as well, which doesn't help.

            Like I said, I really like these and would recommend them to anyone. Good value for the price.
            The Mandolin Picker

            "Bless your hearts... and all your vital organs" - John Duffy

            "Got time to breath, got time for music!"- Briscoe Darling, Jr.

            Comment


            • #8
              Here's a couple of decent articles on mixing with headphones worth reading.

              http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan0...headphones.htm

              http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec0...headphones.htm

              http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan0...ician_0107.htm

              This guide for using headphones for extended periods is useful too. Problem is its practically impossible to use a DB meter on them.

              SPL Time
              85 dB 8 hours
              88 dB 4 hours
              91 dB 2 hours
              94 dB 1 hours
              97 dB 30 minutes
              100 dB 15 minutes
              103 dB 7.5 minutes
              106 dB3 .75 minutes
              109 dB1 .875 minutes
              112 dB Less than 1 minute
              115 dB Less than 30 seconds

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