headphone specs

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by billblues, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. billblues

    billblues Active Member

    Apr 16, 2005
    why do headphones come in different ohm ratings?does that make some louder than others?what is the mW rating for?how much volume they can handle? and the db spl rating? is that how much signal they can handle before they distort?whats specs should i be lookin at for tracking?do you need to know your mixer specs when choosing a set of headphones?

  2. The impedance of a headphone is the resistance that the voice coils have to the signal going in. The impedance is measured in ohms. A headphone which has a lower impedance is more easily driven by sources with small amplifiers like a soundcard, a discman, or some mixers. A headphone with higher impedance, which are quite common in pro-audio, may need a separate amp to drive them. The mW rating gives you the maximum power rating the headphones can handle. Don't be fooled by this rating though. Headphones with a lower power rating but a higher sensitivity will be able to go equally as loud. The db spl rating is the maximum volume the phones can produce.

    Really good cans for tracking are the MDR-7506 from Sony, and the HD-280 from Sennheiser. They are both lower impedance (24 ohm for the Sony's, and 60-something for the Senn's) and can be driven by pretty much any source. They are also both closed back so they block ot a lot of sound and prevent any sound from leaking back into the mic when recording. Either would be an excellent choice for tracking.
  3. moonz

    moonz Guest

    I know that the Sonys and Sennheisers are the sweethearts of many on this forum, and I do agree that they sound quite nice...my first set of good-sounding phones were MDs, and I still own a set of Sennheiser HDs that I now use with my stereo system.

    Sound is very important, but durability is also a consideration, and I have found that I'm not too sent on Sony nor Sennheiser in this regard.

    My Sony's earpads split after about two years of heavy use...and the Sennheiser designs use some really thin plastic.

    I ended up going for a pair of tried and true AKG K240s...this old design has been around forever, and replacement earpads for these are available at many music stores, if you find the need.

    The K240s sound good...not fabulous.

    Once I decided that I liked the build-quality of the AKG phones I went ahead and purchased a set of K271s...these are closed-back, better sounding, use the same replaceable earpads as the K240s, and have a plug-in type cord that is also easily replaced.

    I'm pretty hard on headphones, and for heavy use I think some of the AKG phones are about impossible to beat.

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