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best detailed headphones (cans) for editing/mastering

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by fito_88, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. fito_88

    fito_88 Active Member

    Hey guys,

    I decided to get 2 headphones , 1 for editing/composing and another for mixing and mastering.

    so the first 1 for editing should preferably be open/semi-opened back 1 as i want to get a very detailed pin-pointed and wide sounding headphone here , that's not bassy(muddy) or have exaggerated treble , i want it to be well balanced and detailed in the most way and preferably not coloured so it wont lie to me in any range

    for that 1 im contemplating between these cans:

    1-Sennheiser HD650-600
    2-Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro
    3-Akg k702-701
    4-Akg k240 mkii

    the other 1 for mixing (reference) should be closed back for sound isolation and is preferred to be very detailed and not coloured in any-way so that it pin-points the slightest mistakes , and of-course it mustn't leak any sound

    my choices so far for that can are:

    1-Shure SRH940
    2-Shure SRH840
    3-Sony 7509HD
    5-AKG K271MKII

    i have the RME HDSPe AIO interface that i think she be ok for firing up any of these cans without any external amp(or may be not im just assuming), and im willing to pay more for the editing/composing can to be honest as this is my field xD

    i have a $800-1k budget for these headphones

    so what do u guys think? any recommendations would be much much appreciated, even if any1 knows a can out of these lists above and they can perform better plz share your thoughts smoke
  2. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Back for more fun and recommendations eh?
    I vote for the ATH-M50's and the Sony 7509HD because that's what I have!
    They each sound completely different though.
    But you get used to them.
    I have to say I like the ATH-M50's because they are a little fatter in the low end, but that also makes them a bit hyped and thick down there.
    The Sony's are probably more accurate and balanced but they can get awfully cripsy up in the top end.
    Haven't used any of the others but I'm pretty sure you'll get a vote here for every model.
    Everyone will also tell you to spend the money on monitors and room treatment for doing any editing/mixing or mastering....
    Headphones just don't give you accurate translation to real world playback.
    Only accurate monitors in an accurate room will do that!
    I doubt there are any mastering engineers who do their job using headphones.
  3. fito_88

    fito_88 Active Member

    love both ur choices :) do u reckon an amp is needed ? and could u recommend 1 ? but do amp colour the sounds?

    also do u remember when u told me to invest in a good DAC before for a better sound outputs? iv got 2 extremely amateur questions that ur gona hate me (even more than u do) more :D

    1- would this DAC improve the quality of my recordings themselves or just the sound im listening while im recording?
    2-do they affect latency at all?

    and ur beloved question ,, would u recommend some ? :p
  4. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    I can't comment on the other ones, but due to a suggestion on this forum I went with the Beyer DT990, the totally open back version. I bought them more for entertainment, but as far as comfort goes, they are incredible. I actually don't even want to take them off! The velour pads are awesome, but I could see them getting a little hot if you sweat a lot or are in a hot room.
  5. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    No haters here....
    You don't need an amp if you use the headphone outs of whatever D/A or A/D/A you get.
    Unless there's more than just you. Doesn't sound like your tracking a band or need multiple headphones for tracking, because your doing MIDI ITB....sounds like it's just you...right?

    Going back to your previous composition/songwriting thing....if your not tracking or using any actual analog or acoustical instruments and your doing everything with VSTi's in software with MIDI then spending money on expensive multi-channel analog to digital interfaces isn't what you need.
    All of your "sound quality" comes from your software which is already digital in the computer!
    What you want is something that takes the digital to analog and does a really good job at that.
    Latency isn't much of an issue there and whatever few milliseconds there is won't affect or be perceptable. I think the number is over 15ms for a human to actually perceive latency and find it a problem.
    So really unless you get different or better VST instrument sounds, that's your sound...it is what it is.
    Nothing you buy will improve what it sounds like.
    Now if you take a high quality D/A and then bounce that analog output back into your DAW through a A/D again or use an analog mixing console to mix your ITB tracks....you might get a better "sound".
    If that makes sense to you....
    Anyway, what's your budget for D/A's?....There are lots of choices, SPL Phonitor is the best IMHO, Burl B2, Lavry DA-11, Benchmark DAC1. All great!
    If you have to get an A/D/A maybe look at just 2 good channels of A/D for a mic or guitar in the future and then buy the best your budget allows......that's what I would do....then start trying out some different VSTi's or maybe get an actual synth and record analog outs into a couple of channels of A/D.
    Hope that answers some of your questions and helps you out!
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I think you're missing something important in the equation here? For mastering purposes, you want SPEAKERS not headphones. I can guarantee that your work will be bamboozled from just trying to work with headphones. Your thought process needs modifications.

    As for headphones, and he closed back headphones are good for when tracking/recording. Open back headphones or " open-air " are much better for monitoring purposes but do not replace speakers. Headphones will give you false information when trying to mix or master anything. You will hear things through headphones you won't hear through speakers. You'll hear things through speakers that will sound different on headphones. Monitoring with headphones and mixing will create mixes that sound like crap on speakers. Once you get completely familiar in intimate with fewer control room speakers, you can start comparing those to what you hear in headphones. Only then, will you be able to make some educated decisions when utilizing headphones alone. And even then, results can be less than gratifying when played back through speakers. Just because you are in the "down under" doesn't mean you're recordings should be also or so to speak without speakers.

    Get up with it, down under.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Yeah, he knows all that Remy but it doesn't matter...he needs to master right now!
  8. fito_88

    fito_88 Active Member

    i cant state how much i am THANKFUL for this comment !!!!!!!
    see guys these r the kinda comments that r really really HELPFUL !!!!! not like the other cocky with big bucks dudes that r trying to put u down in anyway they can !!!!!!!!

    thank u again for such an amazing detalied comment.

    i see that ur a big fan of the sony 7506s :) if though they r a bit cheaper an older than other cans but thats very interesting for as its better to pay more on the open cans cuz id use them 80% more than the closed back ones so +1 for that mate :)

    all ur three options r admirable and im leaning to the second one (650 + 7506) sounds really good for me and ill see if i can find these second as i prefer not to lose much value when i decide to upgrade from them to a higher ones later

    for the amp actualy grace would make me declare bankrupcy lol and the hdspe is an internal interface , what should i do to fix this issue then ? should i get another interface from these ones u listed and connect it to it xD?
  9. fito_88

    fito_88 Active Member

    i heard the beyers make the most comfy cans out there :)
  10. fito_88

    fito_88 Active Member

    thanks for ur reply mate , but some points that ur stating are a lil hard for me to understand
    well first of all yes iam doing the composing thing 100% on midi , and still i bought a condenser mic and would like to record vocals too weather u like or not :p hahah jks
    anyway thats why im looking for a tracking cans in the first place

    i understand for the million times that with VSTs the its all itb work and sound quality would 100% depend on the vsts themselves , im talking about the sound thats coming out the daw in overall so the D/A converters part plays the role here , my question was if i get a decent converter would it just improve the sound quality of the finished project even if its played in any other pc that doesnt have this converter , or would it just improve the sound for me when i use this converter only (as in only a luxury for me) ?

    my budget for a D/A is 1k but it depends on the previous question if it'd only improve the final sound for me only then theres no need for it
  11. fito_88

    fito_88 Active Member

    i know about the speakers , and i said before that i wont get a speaker unless i can afford acousticaly treating my room the best that it can be treated cuz im not paying 2k for speakers that will only 10% of its performance(if im lucky) due to a shitty room.

    so ill just try to work my way with cans till i can treat my room.

  12. fito_88

    fito_88 Active Member

    have i got any other options ?
  13. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    OK microphone for vocal so then your back to at least a 2 channel A/D/A with MIDI and headphone output.
    I've forgotten what you have now but I still go with anything RME, but that's just my opinion. They make solid reliable stuff with good hardware drivers with everything you need and I'm pretty sure it will sound good to you with headphones compared to what you've been using.
    If someone listens to your song on a different system though all bets are off. It will only sound the exact same way if they have the same headphones and equipment. You probably can get close...just listen to your stuff on lots of different speakers and see how it sounds and then adjust if you think it needs adjusting.
    Again....that's why professionals who make records for a living use accurately flat monitors and a treated control room to mix and master the sound so it "translates" (plays back) the same way you mixed it on anyone's system or radio. Of course if someone listens to your song on a crappy set of computer speakers or ipod earbuds then they still won't hear it the way you heard it when you made it anyway...
    And I still don't think anyone can tell for sure what device will sound better to You...only You can determine that!
    What sounds good to me might sound like crap to you and vice versa....so just keep that in mind and make some music...
    Do you like vanilla?....I like chocolate...
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Those are Beyer's are rather comfortable especially since they are also utilized as intercom headphones for camera guys in front of loud rock 'n roll bands. And they have to wear those for hours on end.

    For critical listening I personally recommend the Sennheiser open-air headphones. I personally utilize an older pair of HD 545's along with the closed back HD 280's. But you don't need to spend a huge sum of money for a decent small pair of near field control room monitors by companies like Tannoy, JBL, KRK, Mackie, Yamaha. Many of those can be had for the same cost as a good pair of open-air Sennheiser headphones alone.

    As mentioned, having a superior digital to analog converter will not have any bearing on improving your sound. It will improve your monitoring and that's about it. For real sound improvement you need a superior analog to digital converter or some audio interface with DC converters already built-in for your computer. Anything you purchase for $500 US or less, will all be pretty much the same. Only after you move up to a more esoteric type that cost hundreds more will you glean an improvement in your actual recordings that have been directed through this device at its input.

    How about reading a few books on this subject? Like " Home Recordings for Dummies "?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  15. fito_88

    fito_88 Active Member

    hahaha ur just the best ! :D thanks for ur comment buddy , im learning alot from u !

    im with u that rme's r the best and so far i chose the rme hdspe aio (for it has the lowest latencies so far from tests iv seen), but ! this is a pcie at the end and its breakout cable doesnt support phantom power for my condenser and thats an issue ! so id need to get external preamps(which is something is was going to do anyway sooner or later) , so i need to know how many pres can be plugged to the interface , and since the headphones im gomna get (probs sen hd650 or ultrasone 750 pro) need amps , so theres another unit to be plugged to the interface i guess. btw theres a question iv been wanting to ask , how would i plug 2 headphones in the same time ??!

    so for the A/D/A apparently they will sound good to me only then theres no need for them (now) true?
    better for me to just get good preamps for the mic , and good amp for the cans and thats it .. true? or am i missing something ( as usual LOL )
  16. fito_88

    fito_88 Active Member

    u blow my mind with every comment from u ! so much helpful mate thank u so much!

    u just gave me a list of good price amps(for my budget) so id just go test them and my ears will decide which 1 of them is my vanilla ! lol (hate chocolate)

    just 1 question , u named the second list as "straight up headphone amp" .. so what was the list above ? and whats the difference ? :)

    btw i cant find Radial MC3 either on ebay or amazon , where did u get that price from mate ?
  17. fito_88

    fito_88 Active Member

    thats actually a good point about the beyers that i wouldnt find it any where ! thnx for enlighting it

    im leaning to the sen hd650s too with the sony 7506s or the ath-m50s with it for tracking.

    i gues im gona need a high end AD/DA converters if i ever want my analog recordings (vocal) sound decent at all

    do u think theres preamps out there that has great AD/DA converters and the pres themselves r quality ?or do i have to get a unit for converters and another for amps? cuz im not sure if the rme hdspe aio can handle all these inputs (with a headphones' amp too)

    i made a list of the monitors i can actualy afford for now and they r
    1-Adams a5xwith mayb going up to a7x
    2-Dyn-audio bm5mkii
    3-Genelecs 8030A

    i think these would be in the same class as each other with the focal twins above them..what do u think of them?

    actually iv ordered that book and another one for mastering from amazon and im waiting for them both :)
  18. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    The RME HDSPe AIO is a very nice PCIe card!
    It has enough analog inputs for 2 mics or two instruments and if you get a preamp that will come with phantom power.
    Don't forget to buy the optional "balanced" breakout cable for that card. It comes with two balanced in and two balanced outs, headphone out and MIDI.

    RME BO9632XLRMKH | Sweetwater.com

    You'll want everything balanced in and out instead of RCA unbalanced which is what it comes with standard.
    If you want to use two headphones at the same time just get a small headphone amp for two phones and run the headphone out of the RME into that.
    I suppose you'll want preamp suggestions now huh!
    Great River you can't go wrong or Grace are good, but everybody has a different opinion on preamps so I'm sure you'll find that out....
    Good luck!
  19. fito_88

    fito_88 Active Member

    just wow ! thanks for the bo cable notice !! i noticed they only offer unbalanced i/o in the specs which was really weird but didnt know i have to buy the balanced bo cable separately ! :S thanks man

    about the pres u mentioned , well according to their price they must really deliver super sound then :D

    uv helped me enough and even more than enough man , thanks for ur patience .. cheers
  20. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Mic pres are all over the place....big bucks to little bucks, tubes, solid state on and on. The less expensive separate pres are really the same as what you find on most of the audio interface boxes. Like the RME FF boxes which all have phantom power. This is why most people buy those instead of the PCI card. Using Firewire instead of a PCI does put less load on your computer, but you said you liked that.
    I think the FF800 pres are fine for me. I do music with synths and VSTi's in Cubase like you so I'm not doing much vocal stuff. I'm not a vocalist anyway. I've had my FF800 for over three years now which is a Firewire bus and I use a Fantom X7 and record MIDI and audio out of that all the time. It's outlasted 1 computer so far and it's never missed a beat. I had other cards and interfaces and they were all junk and sounded pretty average. The MIDI for me doesn't have noticeable latency through the FF800, very smooth and reliable. I also have a Novation Nocturn that uses USB and it does have annoying latency. I think USB is crap for MIDI personally!
    What brand/model condenser mics are you going to use?....that can make a difference of what pre to get.
    Oh...and don't get too wigged out over Remy, that's just her style....

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