Headphone Recommendation For Live Performance

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Suntower, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member


    I've never used headphones outside of a studio environment---so forgive me if this is obvious. I'm looking for a set of headphones or two that I can take with me for recording and live performance that sound -OK-, are portable and not so expensive that I'll cry if they get smushed.

    In addition to recording others, I'd also use them to listen to my workstation to cue up sounds while playing or between songs.

    I was thinking that DJs might know the right answer, or people who have those high-end 'collapsible' ones I see hooked to iPods. (I've gotten recommendations from young 'uns on Koss KSC-75 for $15 but never tried 'em.)

    Any suggestions?


  2. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    This is easy; for quick reference, you can't go wrong with the Sony MDR-7506s. They're not the best Headphones money can buy, but they're in the right price range, they're solid, durable, and come with a nice travel bag. I've been using them for well over 15 yrs now for onsite, REFERENCE use. (never mixing or mastering, of course) I have at least eight pairs; one for each recording rig, and several extras, including two here at my studio for up-close listening.

    Many have their favorites too, and I'm sure they work well for them, but keep in mind, these should not be used for anything critical; just setting levels, hearing cues, making sure there's no clipping or too-low levels, checking and soloing tracks, and so on. You may even be able to do some rough mixes on them, but don't bet the house on it; that happens later, back at your home-base/studio.

    IMHO, headphones shouldn't be used for anything more than the above. Keep that in mind, get used to whatever you end up with, know what they're telling you (and NOT telling you), and you'll be fine.

    Oh yeah; probably not a good idea to go by what DJs tell you. They work in a different kind of (loud) environment; not a critical listening/mixing situation. Just sayin'..... :cool:
  3. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    Crap. I just typed a long reply and it vanished!

    Quickly,,,, what I do is like Frou Frou... I play live... while triggering loops, sequences. So I guess I -am- like a DJ. I use V600's in my studio for some things (I think they're similar to 7506?) and these are NOT what I want for my live thing. I need something much smaller (and less sticky!) I do want decent sound quality---I get your points about the limitations of cans very well! But small, cheap, durable and easy to get ON and OFF in a blink (the one ear monitor why playing thing) is what this app is about. All I really care about is capturing levels and making sure I have the right sounds cued up... Everything else is gravy (not minimising gravy though!)

    Sometimes I take the rig and record the shows, but even then I guess the quality of the cans is largely irrelevant since I'm simply capturing the performance---as you point out, the balancing doesn't enter into it until I get the WAVs back to the studio to mix.

    Got anything like that?


  4. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    I've been seeing kids listening to AKG 518s and JVC 700's? Any other recommendations? I have no idea about the sound quality, but I can say this---they are compact and have -excellent- isolation (they can play their tunes super-loud and I can't hear a thing sitting next to 'em) Anything like that with a bit better fidelity under $100? Not looking for miracles.


  5. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    I have a different opinion about headphones than the other posters who have so far responded. I use Sennheiser HD600s for classical monitoring on site. For situations where I can't get isolation from musicians, I use the Bose QuietComfort noise-cancelling phones. I also use the Bose headphones on every airplane ride that I take, As I can't stand the environmental noise that comes with riding around in a noisy jet.

    The HD600s are about $350, the Bose perhaps 200.00. Not that expensive for high quality piece of gear.

    While I agree with all the other posters that mixing on a set of headphones his troublesome, many of my clients want the finished product at the end of the show. The only way for me to monitor in situations like these is on my Sennheisers, and I have learned how to do a good job. Mind you, this is classical music and so it is less about mixing as much as it is placing a main pair properly and then recording what comes in. But Placing a main pair and mixing in the spots is not an easy job, and it takes care. It's just that many situations do not allow for mixing after the fact in a proper mixing room.

    So I suggest you consider the Sennheiser HD600s, And try the Bose for noisy environments.
  6. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    Interesting... I tried some noise-cancellers for a sec @ a Best Buy and actually was quite impressed. I know that makes me a moron to conventional recording engineers, but you bring up an interesting point... it sounds like what you (and I) do requires something quite different from what a lot of recording 'experts' -say- we need. I don't expect to get a good 'mix' live. All I want is a quick way to -monitor- what is going on---I mainly need to block out the distractions so I can catch -obvious- problems more than I need minute to minute checks on 'fidelity'. I wish I'd had the guts to try a set of noise-cancellers on my gig. Too late. Happy with what I got for now.


  7. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    had the guts to try a set of noise-cancellers on my gig

    Why does it take guts?

    I use the Bose headphones only in extreme situations, like where I can't get my own room. With the Sennheisers, many classical engineers make important pivotal decisions on the spot. I wouldn't try to mix a multitrack pop session on phones, but I sure have to make a lot of decisions on mic placement and mixing on the fly- using just headphones.

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