Headphones vs. Monitors

Discussion in 'Monitoring' started by Mandachuva, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    Hello, this is my first post on this forum, (been lurking for a while, though :)) so take it easy on me.

    Some info on myself :
    I'm 20 years old Romanian computers university student in the city of Timisoara, Romania. I've been drumming for 4-odd years, and got interested in computer recording/mixing/"mastering" 2 or so years ago. I've also been playing on keyboards for half a year.

    Now, for my question :
    Me & my band are very short on cash, and we're doing our own recording & mixing, and we would like to buy some "accurate" sound reproduction gear (what's the word I should've used instead of "sound reproduction gear"??? I've got memory shortages :)). I would like to know what are the advantages/disadvantages of using monitors vs. using headphones. Reasonably good studio headphones look a whole lot cheaper then the bare minimum quality monitors.

    Any help appreciated...
  2. Well, you'll want headphones recording and monitors mixing. However, if you get at least GOOD headphones (Sennheiser HD-280's come to mind) you may be alright in the mixing department. Really though, you'll need monitors to truly mix accurately.

    How much can you spend? That will help a lot in our making gear recommendations. The headphones I just mentioned are US $99 at discount warehouses like http://www.musiciansfriend.com. I personally like using them when I need to mix quiet (I'm in an apartment) and my clients like using them when they record with me.
  3. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    I've been browsing the Internet for quite a while now, and the Sennheiser HD-280 are scowled at by a few people, as they say they're not neutral. The AKG K240S or 270s are supposed to more neutral. Any thoughts on this?

    Also, has anyone tried (here it goes... :oops:) the Behringer HPS3000s? We've (me & my band) been using these headphones for recording/mixing for quite a while now. They SEEM more clear/punchy then any other cheap/crap audio reproduction gear I've heard and used. Sadly, I have ABSOLUTELY no idea if they're boosting the lows & highs to achieve this, or if this really IS the sound that's supposed to be heard. If anyone used these and some good reference headphones, I'd appreciate some feedback...
  4. I've used both the Sennheiser HD-280s and AKG K240s and the AKGs seemed more colored than the Sennheisers. However, I can't speak for the 270s since I have not used them. The Sennheisers were also more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Its really hard to find neutral headphones at a low price. Actually, its hard to find neutral speakers, too, without spending a couple thousand dollars. In my opinion, it doesn't matter much if its a little colored as long as its not very colored. That may be why my monitor system consists of both studio monitors and large home stereo speakers.

    Coloring definitely won't matter much when monitoring tracks while recording. Its really what is comfortable to listen to. For example, I keep the HD-280's, a pair of large Panasonic closed-back headphones, and a pair of Apex HP90 headphones around for the clients to be able to have some variety. The HP90's are colored worse than a rainbow, but yet some clients prefer them because they more closely resemble their (higher end) car speakers, home stereo, and things they've listened to stuff on the most. I personally can't stand the HP90's for more than 10 minutes; they do wEiRd things between 4k and 8k.

    Oh well, my two cents, plus a rant about what smaller music stores try to pass as "studio monitoring headphones".
  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    I like the Sony MDR-7509 headphones for mixdown. The are not super cheap. But they aren't really expensive either.
    And are very nice for mixingdown on.
  6. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    The only problem with mixing in headphones is most of everyone who listens to your cd will not be listening to it on headphones. You can get a decent mix but monitors will make it way way easier and will save your ears from damage. If you're going to mix thru headphones take what you mixed out to your car and have a listen. Most people listen to music in the car and I found its my best space to really hear the mix.
  7. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Different imaging and the emphasis of differen freq's beween phones and speakers means that you can't rely on phones. Having said that, I've learned to compensate and can do very good mixes on AKG 240's but it still isn' as good as when I use good moniors. But then I've been using 240's for over 15 years. They have enough comfort for me to use them for many hours at a time. I like the AKG 270's for tracking as they can get real loud and I also like the HD-280's but find them better for tracking than mixing.
  8. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    AudioGaff wrote :
    Different imaging and the emphasis of differen freq's beween phones and speakers means that you can't rely on phones. Having said that, I've learned to compensate and can do very good mixes on AKG 240's but it still isn' as good as when I use good moni[t]ors.

    Hmm... Considering our income, even 500 EUR is A LOT. :cry:
    Are there any (reasonably) good monitors in the 0-500 EUR price range?
  9. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    This is NOT a bump...

    So, I'm supposed to guess that there aren't any good <500 EUR active monitors around, huh?...
  10. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    I think I already posted this somewhere, but you need to check out this article:

    Why Can't I Mix with Headphones by Bruce Valeriani

    This is a good one for reference also:

    Mixing Primer

    Bruce is a top notch engineer and both of those articles are good reads.
  11. praecox

    praecox Guest

    i use Beyerdynamics DT 990 Pro headphones and they are really good and trustfull.

    i mixed a lot using the headphones in the past and today.

    i could say that - it's all about how good do u know your headphones and the music style u make.

    i agree that there are some technical differences between the headphones and speakers BUT it doesn't mean that u can't mixing on the headphones with a great results.

    for sure u can make arranging mainly using headphones.

    of course u have to compare the results often with the speakers u trust - it's normal.

    headphones gets more detailed and sensitive image of the whole mix, so don't be suprised when some elements won't be heard on the speakers as clear as on the headphones.

  12. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    Ive been using the 240s for about 5yrs now-----I was able to do as youve mentioned "compensate" for differeneces between phones anbd monitors.
    I thought I was doing a good job with the 240s---so I decided to buy another set to help in mix down-------bad thing!!!!!!!!!----.
    I found out,that the sound difference is well aparant!!.
    The 1st pair I bought 5 yrs ago----sound more natural than the pair I just bought-------so with that said,I now only use one pair,and never change between mixes :cool:
  13. yknot

    yknot Guest

    I use Sennheiser HD 580, Etymontic ER-6, and Beyer DT250.

    The ER-6 sound great for the price and are perfect for when I am recording on location (great isolation). But they are not very comfortable.

    At home I switch back and forth between the HD 580 and Beyer DT 250. The Beyer have great bass and decent isolation, while the HD 580's have the edge in the high end. The 580's are very comfortable. However they have no isolation at all.

    Headphones are OK for getting a rough mix. But everything sounds in your head. So it is very hard to get the right instrument balance and location within the soundfield. Monitors are the best way to get things right.

    For starter monitors the M-Audio speakers are a great value.
  14. iznogood

    iznogood Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    i love the sennheiser HD265 linear II headphones.... clean.... loud as hell... and good isolation...

    oh.... and by the way.... take it from someone who mixed alot of records....


    all the levels will come out totally wrong....

    so will your eq'ing
  15. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    if you really know your phones and know how to compensate you can get close with a set of cans- if, like in your case, you don't know your cans or your monitors it will be next to impossible to get an accurate mix out of them.
  16. Big thing I hate about cans: checking phase (when I don't have a mono sum available).

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