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What are some good headphones to get a true mix with?

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by Connecticut, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. Connecticut

    Connecticut Member

    Hey guys what's going on?

    I'm curious to know what kind of headphones you guys use to mix, or thoughts on some great headphones to mix with.

    My studio is basically in a square room and I hate to mix in it with my JBL LSR monitors. I've been looking at the Beats By Dre Studio versions but I hear they are bass heavy and for the price I'm sure I can find something that suits me better.

    I know AKG has some nice and very expensive headphones, I just can't see myself spending $500 on a pair of headphones that will never leave my studio. But then again, I'm a HUGE believer on you get what you pay for. But for the Beats By Dre I feel like you are paying for the name of BOTH "Monster" and "Dr. Dre" - because you know they both want their cut. And not to mention there are a bunch of counterfeits out there that are getting harder and harder to tell.

    But yeah, if anyone has any ideas or advice please let me know.

    Thank you.
  2. jdutaillis

    jdutaillis Active Member

    Brands to look at:

    Audio Technica

    My personal recommendation (which I use for location recording, mixing and with my iPod) is Audio Technica ATH-M50. Great neutral sounding cans, you can track with them as well, and they wont break the bank.
  3. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    Stay away from the Monster stuff in my opinion, they're good for listening to music for fun but not for mixing. I second the Audio Technica suggestion.
  4. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I use Audio Technica ATH-M50's and Sony MDR7506's. Both are inexpensive and great sounding. The Sony's are more brittle and I generally prefer the ATH-M50's they just sound nice and are very comfortable and not fatiguing for long hour use! The Sony's being brighter can get tiring after a while...
    I would stay away from the Monster Dr Dre Lady Gaga stuff consumer hype and waaaay too expensive compared to the real deal cans out there. For the price you pay for the Sony's or ATH they're a fantastic bargain for the sound quality...
    As far as a "true mix" is concerned....headphones are very good for listening to detail while mixing a certain track and tweaking EQ etc...and either of those two will make great tracking cans, but one should try to use a good set of reference monitors in order to truly get a good spatial and reference mix. Headphones can help but no set of headphones will give you a flat response enough to get a great mix...they can help for sure but you need to be careful with any cans as to what your hearing and what translates well in the real world...the best advice is use both and go back and forth between the different systems...
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I have quite a few pairs of various brands which I like for different application. If you are able to test some, I personally prefer ones that sound close to my monitors. That way I am not always guessing or shocked when I go between HP and monitors.

    Grado headphones are on my want list.
  6. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    I should have mentioned I have MDR7506 phones as well, very old ones. What I like about them is that they tend to highlight a lot of high-mid problems in my mixes, they really don't flatter me at all. That said, they also over-do some of that "highlighting" so if I relied on them alone I'd end up with horrible scooped mids in my mixes, it's only because I know them really well that they don't lead me into smileyfaceEQland. I definitely agree headphones are not to be relied on for mixing, it never seems to work out well. They're excellent tools for precision panning, eq, etc, but they (in my personal experience) never really work for trying to figure out the "big picture" of the mix, which is of course the most important thing.
  7. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I get the exact same feel from the Sony MDR's.
    They have a real clear clean tone to them, but don't work well down in the bass region, they're a little light down there!
    Which is why I like the ATH-M50's...much flatter response with better bass
    After you figure out what each are good at you do learn there sound and it help's being aware of band scooping or lack of or over boost of certain frequencies.
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Sound on Sound did a shootout last year on 'best mixing headphones'. i forgot which pair won, buy beyerdynamic, akg, sennheiser where all up there, in quality and price. you can search their site and find it. i don't like sony or at for tracking or mixing, as i find the are very bright, and tiring, they are also closed back, which is great for isolation, but lack the bass response of open backs. i use akg 240's, which some places still sell for a hundred bucks. i a/b them with my speakers, and if it sounds nice on both, i'm usually in the ballpark. Beats are overpriced crap. just awful, headphones. i've heard $50 akgs that sound better. i'm not bashing monster or dre, i like both of them. $200 could go a lot futher in a music store, than best buy.
  9. Cleanpants

    Cleanpants Active Member

    I have to say the advice posted so far is right on point. I have the Sony MDR 7506's which I use in the studio mostly for tracking. They are a little light in the ass in the low end range, and don't hold up real well at continually loud volume levels (as some of my clients tend to like hearing their phones at really obscene levels). But at that price point, the Sony's aren't killing me to replace them when I need to. For mixing though, I would definitely recommend ponying up the dough for the AKG phones.
  10. sacredstory

    sacredstory Member

    Audio Technica m50's (ATM50)

    These are undoubtedly THE best headphones I've come across with the flattest frequency response. They are comfortable and masters world wide use them to check their final masters.
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I have a bunch of phones also. I'm really partial to my Shure SRH840's for tracking bass and guitar. Comfy and great low-end response. Theres a lot of it but I have found it to really be unhyped when I take em off and listen on the Genelecs. For a flat response headphone I really like my AKG K270's. The Sonys are as has been said,
    I have MD7506's and for upper end detail at tracking they're good. A bit fatiguing after a bit of time. I also have really basic Sennheisers. HD212Pro's. Amazing for 39 bucks.

    Grados are the best. Theres no doubt.

    But theres something you should understand. You'll get better mixes with the monitors even in a crappy room. You should look at fixing the room rather than trying to avoid it by spending money on a great set of phones. Of course having a great set of phones is always a good idea (like I said I have several of different varieties for a reason) but relying on them for a MIX is going to be a long training program for your ears. You will have to constantly check your mixes on other systems and finding one you can trust is always a crap-shoot.

    So learn your monitors, crappy room or not. If you're getting anomolies turn the monitoring down to a point that the bad nodes and flutter echos, comb filtering, or whatever the problem is, is negated somewhat. Get a good set of phones to CHECK the mix balances with but rely on the open air speakers to actually mix.

    Perhaps its your position of your mix station in your room thats causing a lot of the problems......Research this. Theres lots of information available to the average home studio owner.
  12. moles

    moles Active Member

    I still mix on my crappy monitors/so-so room - the Grados get put on for zoning in on details. They absolutely *do* excel at that.
  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I was actually thinking on this line recently. Other posts on some other sites had prompted this. One statement was about mixing and the consensus was to watch the wave for anomolies and my first reaction was, "Why not LISTEN for anomolies and then look at the waveforms to isolate what your ears tell you is happening.

    So, in this case, listening in real time and then getting down into detail with a closer type of monitoring is the correct work flow.
  14. Ian Tomlinson

    Ian Tomlinson Active Member

    I use Sennheiser HD280s, and I love them. Stay completely away from Beats. Even for listening to music. They just aren't worth the money.

    I think my next pair of monitoring headphones will be the AKG Q701s. They're mind blowing. AKG Personal Audio
  15. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I'll bet they're stunning. I'd put the Grados up against them anytime, but at this level is going to be some little tiny thing that makes the difference. For checking the mix I still like the upper end AKG's. I have K270's.
  16. leopoldolopes

    leopoldolopes Active Member

    Don't think about mixing through headphones. Irrespective of what it may say on the box, headphones do not reproduce music in stereo. They reproduce it 'binaurally', which is quite different, and makes it all but impossible to set up an accurate stereo mix.

    Check out our recent article on our blog...
    The Art Of Audio Mixing – Concept, History & Some Hints!

    ''Even so, the general principles of mixing hold good. Before we look at these principles, a word about the basic requirements.
    Firstly, your ears. Keep them fresh (and clean, of course). Never ever attempt to mix a piece of music at the end of a long listening session. Take a break of at least an hour and preferably overnight. The human ear is incredibly good at identifying problems with certain sounds, but not if it's had time to get used to them. Secondly, your monitoring system. It goes without saying that you should buy the best equipment you can afford. Without a reasonable system you'll have no idea how accurate an image of the music you're getting. But even if you do splash out on an amp and speakers, how do know you're getting a true picture? The answer lies in listening to your mixes on as many other systems as possible, so that you know, for example, if you're tending to mix a little bass-heavy or aren't adding sufficient top end. Finally, don't think about mixing through headphones. Irrespective of what it may say on the box, headphones do not reproduce music in stereo. They reproduce it 'binaurally', which is quite different, and makes it all but impossible to set up an accurate stereo mix.''

    Hope you get the point...Cheers!

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