headphones vs. monitors

Discussion in 'Monitoring' started by rin, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. rin

    rin Guest

    Sorry if this topic has already been discussed previously but...

    I'm actually looking to purchase either a set of headphones or monitor speakers for a friend of mine as a gift. He mainly does trance and electronica. Budget would probably be less than $200, though I'm hoping to spend around $150 or less. I read that mixes shouldn't be done using headphones, but he doesn't really have a choice since the people he lives with want peace and quiet. He'll be moving out in a year or so, so would it be a good idea to get him monitor speakers now or headphones?

    Also... I was looking at the Sennheiser HD-280 headphones, the Sony MDR-7506 headphones, and the AKG K 240M... Which one would be the best of the three? (Or if there's others that are good and I haven't looked at.)

    And if I should get him monitor speakers, which ones would be good?

    [= Thank you in advance.
  2. I don't think you can really get any kind of decent monitors (or much that would even qualify as "monitor" quality) for that price. I'm on Behringer Truth 2030A's which cost around $400-500 CAD, and most of the guys in this group would say they are entry level at best.

    I'd get him the headphones. If nothing else, he'll have some good headphones to listen to in the future. Let him save up for the monitors.
  3. Vaylence

    Vaylence Guest

    I have had wonderfull results with the Sennheiser HD 280s. The other headphones I have not heard, but as far as quality sound is conserned the Senn have plenty of it.

    I would say go with the headphones, for a few reasons. For monitors you have to take in to careful consideration the room and its acousics, for the headphones this isnt the case. Of course the sound level will not be the same so the peace will be kept.

    Good luck to you

    the secret is in the sauce!
  4. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    Mixing on headphones is about the worst thing you can possibly do. Headphones don't give anywhere near an accurate depiction of how the song will sound on other sources which is what true montors are supposed to do. If you get him headphones cool, there are uses for them but they aren't for making critical mix choices. Headphones tend to hype the "likeable" frequencies and try to make everything sound pretty, which is exactly opposite of what monitors do. Monitors are supposed to be fairly flat across the frequency range and give you the truest sound of the recording, which in turn causes the music to translate well to almost every source. That being said I'd look to buy possibly one monitor and see if he'll buy the other, some places do sell them seperately. Krk makes good monitors and while only the 5inch ones would be in your price range, they are much more accurate than headphones. So if its possible buy him one speaker and have him buy the other, just a thought.
  5. Vaylence

    Vaylence Guest

    I'll agree that mixing in headphones is horrible, but hey sometimes our situations are less than ideal.
  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I do tire of hearing how bad headphones are for mixing(And everything else!)... For gosh sake, ANY 5" speakers, better than even "mediocre" quality phones? C'mon...

    If you want to talk of "what's bad for mixing" - START with ROOMS of unknown accoustical properties(Yours and mine, for instance.). Then with BAD EARS, then maybe bad speakers..?

    The fact is, that "learning one's headphones", by going ahead and mixing with them(Or any other type of listening), THEN checking your mixes with "other sources", is at least as accurate as using the very best, yet unknown, "monitors" in unknown room accoustics. Fact is, EVERYONE listens to their mixes, no matter how good their rooms, ears, or speakers on lots of sources(Or at least a few trusted/known sources.).

    Certainly, one could be called re-miss, NOT listening to mixes in headphones, at some point, at least as a reference? What if you know that at least some/many/ most of the audience for some/many/most audio projects will, at least at times, listen to them on headphones, as well? Shouldn't you? Possibly even adjusting your mixes accordingly?? Particularly, for instance, if you are making something that YOU KNOW will ultimately end-up being primarily heard on .mp3 players - shouldn't you "reference" with a set of "ear buds", too???

    The world's finest audiophiles(Don't make the mistake of discounting these guys! They put their money where their ears are and REALLY take it seriously - it's a "blood sport" to some!). They use their phones not only for "normal" listening, but also to "check" their mega-buck other gear, and certainly TO CHECK YOUR MIXES!!! You should at least try to hear ALL that they will - before they tell you about it - and they are NOT shy.

    Which phones? While I'm too elitist to recommend something truly cheap and too cheap to recommend something truly elitist, any "quality" phones, will be fine. You know they're "quality", by their price - though you don't have to get nuts - my "very good" phones cost 150-200 bucks - which beats the H E double L, out of the price of ANY of the "quality" monitors often referenced on this forum...

    At least with phones, for a reasonable price, one can have one piece of equipment that is "the best" and listen to "things", of all types, in a v-e-r-y controlled, repeatable environment - and there's alot to say for that.

  7. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    Its not that you shouldn't reference with headphones for a few seconds, its that you shouldn't mix with them period. There is no way around it, if mixing on headphones was even somewhat close to an accurate way to mix a song then pro's would do it, but they don't. I personally never have my headphones on my ears, they're for the musicians while tracking, not for the engineer. Yes rooms can have bad acoustics, but headphones hype all the wrong frequencies, I'd rather have a room with a low end problem than headphones lying to me even worse. Honestly when I first got started I just bought a really nice pair of headphones and mixed on those, everytime someone would listen to my mixes on the phones they would love it, whenever they'd put it in a car they ask what the hell happened. I tried like hell to learn how to make them sound good on every source, and failed miserably, I bought a pair of good monitors and all the sudden everything translated amazingly, not saying its the greatest sound ever but it really was incredible how easy it was to mix on monitors compared to how hard it was to mix on headphones. Sure you can mix on headphones but you'll have nothing but frustration and a hearing problem ahead of you.
  8. mark_van_j

    mark_van_j Active Member

    Oct 28, 2005
    Maribor, Slovenia
    Agreed. I have a pair of sony headphones that sound absolutely amazing. AMAZING. Clear high end, low bass down to 30, NO acoustic problems, no standing waves or reverb...

    So I mixed a track just on them. (after I moved, before I got my monitors) It sounded amazing on the headphones. After doing the mixdown, I took the track over to the studio and had a listen to it over some Dynaudio 15's.

    It was the worst feeling in my life. With the band behind me as well as fellow engineers the track was treble heavy, NO bass and the mids were a mess. There was way too much reverb, and it just wasn't pleasent to the ear. After that momnet I use headphones only to see what's going on with the bass. Headphones aren't simply sensitive enough to reproduce finer details in the sound image, and acoustical depth.

    On the other hand if you can only spend 200$, I don't even know why were debating.
  9. ThaRemedy

    ThaRemedy Guest

    I agree with most of everyone else. DO NOT mix with headphones they are not an accurate representation of how its going to sound on speakers. I once mixed a full song on headphones, probably my worst decision ever. When I went to play the track back on my speakers all the leveles sounded off, way too low. and some instruments I couldnt even hear. Monitors are the way to go.

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