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which headpones?


Dan Wake

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1 hour ago, HockeyFan12 said:

A friend of mine has both, I think. The K702 is quite good for listening to music, especially EDM etc. however it's open and doesn't fold up so it's inappropriate for field use.

The K702 was suggested for use in the studio or office, in the same space monitor speakers would be used for critical listening. For example, when I'm creating a 3D Ambisonic recording using this mic: https://en-us.sennheiser.com/microphone-3d-audio-ambeo-vr-mic , I need excellent detail, and thus I use the ATH M50 over the 7506s. When done mixing I also test on iPhone headphones to make sure the other end of the quality spectrum is covered (probably where most people will listen). Example Ambisonic 3D recording with a headphone HRTF. Jacqui's voice should move around your head in 3D space when wearing headphones: 

 

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I have a small collection of cans; Sony DMR 7506, Sen HD25-2, AKG 701 and Grado SR80. If I want to listen to music I'll grab the Grado's as they are sweet sounding but not very accurate - classic Hi-F

Here's what I learned at CanJam 2017: https://brightland.com/w/the-best-headphones/ Such a great idea and nice meeting people and trying gear in person!

Yeah good idea. I have yet to hear anything other than electrostatics with enough detail for my taste and I have two pairs of mid-range electros. But electrostatics lack sub bass. The planars might be

2 hours ago, Borbarad said:

Focal Elear or Utopia, Audeze LCD-X, Hifiman HEX V2, Sennheiser HD800s... just a few. Personal, I use the Elear. Amazing Value for Money.. Haven't listen to the Utopia yet. So the best I've listen to so far is the LCD-X.

Great recommendations in this thread!

@Andrew Reid - hopefully your review will include electrostatic and planar magnetic headphones- they are in a class by themselves above dynamic headphones. If you're into audio, these kinds of headphones are so much better they are literally mind blowing! Beg, borrow, do what you can to get some for review, they are amazing.

The second time I heard Stax was in a NASA hanger at Moffett field, Hangar One: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/home/2008/hangar_index.html. There we listening to Scott Foster's Convolvotron which for the first time in the world accurately placed sounds in 3D in real-time (http://www.o-art.org/history/08_Computer/Virtual.html). The head position was tracked with a Polhemus magnetic tracker. Today's 3D trackers, displays, and graphics quality is an order of magnitude better since then. However 3D audio listening hasn't really changed since then! What has changed and improved is 3D audio recording through Ambisonics. You don't even need a fancy 3D mic, you can use these free tools to convert sounds into 3D: http://www.ambisonictoolkit.net/ (also need Reaper, which is very low cost / free): http://reaper.tv/. I'll start a separate thread to discuss these tools.

@Andrew Reid also hopefully also compare the 'standards', the 7506 and ATH M50.

The best of the best for studio mixing could be the Audeze LCD-XC: https://www.amazon.com/Audeze-LCD-XC-Bubinga-Magnetic-Headphones/dp/B01M2321TU/ref=pd_sbs_23_15 . Cheaper than Stax electrostatics and more importantly closed backs.

Headphones are very personal- it's really important to be able to try them on and listen to known material and A/B test etc. Online reviews are helpful, however going to a Guitar Center or similar is really, really helpful. Buying, trying, and returning online could work but will take a lot of time and effort.

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24 minutes ago, jcs said:

 

@Andrew Reid - hopefully your review will include electrostatic and planar magnetic headphones- they are in a class by themselves above dynamic headphones. If you're into audio, these kinds of headphones are so much better they are literally mind blowing! Beg, borrow, do what you can to get some for review, they are amazing.

 

This review will be very subjective, though. If you're into audio you know it's not only headphones but also amp+dac+cables change the sound along the way ;). On the budget, it's probably impossible to get all these components "flat"/neutral enough or whatever you want to call it so we'll have a review of different headphones connected and coloured by one particular setup and then re-coloured by Andrew's ears and head ;). Quite an explosive mix if you ask me ;). I agree with electrostatic headphones, though. My pair of older Stax ear speakers still puts smile on my face and is just on a different level that even modern high end dynamic headphones can't touch in most frequencies. 

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@tomekk If someone is into audio enough to do a comprehensive review, I think it's important to at least include the high end devices just so people know 'far you can go' and also to see where one's current (or future) headphones rank in what's possible. The first time I heard Stax was in my early 20's; had never heard any high end gear in my life. The Stax were driven through a Carver Magnetic Field Amplifier. We're so used to hype these days we don't really listen anymore. However Stax/electrostatics/planar magnetic along with a great amp are truly on another level compared to dynamic headphones (including the HD800 my pro-audio mixer buddy just recommended (he mixes for games (e.g. Gears of War) and movies- very high end work)).

This thread got me to dust off the old HD580s and compare them to the ATH M50 (which as mentioned a reviewer preferred over $2K Stax (probably didn't have a good amp ;) )). The ATH M50 blew away the HD580s, which are very similar to the HD600 (same drivers).

Next I tried the 7506 then put the ATH M50's back on- same thing- ATH M50 is in another class, way more detail, open space, detailed, reactive, real, whatever superlative you want, much better headphones. This test was done with a somewhat high-end audio device, a Sound Devices USBPre 2 (not sure how it stacks up to a high-end dedicated headphone amp). The ATH M50 was a bit more comfortable on the ears vs. the newly purchased 7506 (old pair disappeared on a shoot). The 7506 is fine for location monitoring (and not a big deal if someone runs off with them). From personal experience and reviews, the ATH M50 is the best bang for buck for in-studio mixing and music listening. There are also mod options to change the earpads etc.

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27 minutes ago, jcs said:

@tomekk If someone is into audio enough to do a comprehensive review, I think it's important to at least include the high end devices just so people know 'far you can go' and also to see where one's current (or future) headphones rank in what's possible. The first time I heard Stax was in my early 20's; had never heard any high end gear in my life. The Stax were driven through a Carver Magnetic Field Amplifier. We're so used to hype these days we don't really listen anymore. However Stax/electrostatics/planar magnetic along with a great amp are truly on another level compared to dynamic headphones (including the HD800 my pro-audio mixer buddy just recommended (he mixes for games (e.g. Gears of War) and movies- very high end work)).

This thread got me to dust off the old HD580s and compare them to the ATH M50 (which as mentioned a reviewer preferred over $2K Stax (probably didn't have a good amp ;) )). The ATH M50 blew away the HD580s, which are very similar to the HD600 (same drivers).

Next I tried the 7506 then put the ATH M50's back on- same thing- ATH M50 is in another class, way more detail, open space, detailed, reactive, real, whatever superlative you want, much better headphones. This test was done with a somewhat high-end audio device, a Sound Devices USBPre 2 (not sure how it stacks up to a high-end dedicated headphone amp). The ATH M50 was a bit more comfortable on the ears vs. the newly purchased 7506 (old pair disappeared on a shoot). The 7506 is fine for location monitoring (and not a big deal if someone runs off with them). From personal experience and reviews, the ATH M50 is the best bang for buck for in-studio mixing and music listening. There are also mod options to change the earpads etc.

There is a reason why Audio Technica ATH-M50x (newer version but similar) is on the wall of fame @ innerfidelity :)

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29 minutes ago, tomekk said:

There is a reason why Audio Technica ATH-M50x (newer version but similar) is on the wall of fame @ innerfidelity :)

The M40X are better and cheaper. The M50X are a real screw up. I have no idea why Innerfidelity felt up for putting them on the wall of fame.

If you have the budget, the Audeze LCD-X is a stunning listen and amongst the best ever made.

Not quite as good as a pair of STAX but you can run them off anything, doesn't even need an amp. Very efficient for planar magnetic.

Fostex TH-900 and Beyerdynamic T1 are the other very good high end headphones, I really rate them.

I only ever owned one pair of Hifiman cans and it was the lowest end model, but it sounded great - Edition S. The build quality though was pretty poor on that one.

Oh and an outsider tip for value for money -

Monoprice M560. This is the closest you can get to the planar magnetic wonder of LCD-X at super cheap prices ($200 instead of $2000). And it's nicer IMO than the more expensive $300 model, the M1060.

Some of the wireless bluetooth headphones are now doing a good job - Check out the Sony MDR 1000X.

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1 hour ago, tomekk said:

There is a reason why Audio Technica ATH-M50x (newer version but similar) is on the wall of fame @ innerfidelity :)

Never heard of Innerfidelity. I ranked the ATH-M50 by ear ;) 

1 hour ago, Andrew Reid said:

The M40X are better and cheaper. The M50X are a real screw up. I have no idea why Innerfidelity felt up for putting them on the wall of fame.

How did they screw up the ATH-M50X? My few years old ATH-M50's sound amazing. 4.5-ish rating with 5392 reviews for the M50: https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M50-Professional-Monitor-Headphones/dp/B000ULAP4U/, and about the same rating for the M50X with 3784 reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M50x-Professional-Monitor-Headphones/dp/B00HVLUR86/. Thought they only changed the cable and earpads + more color and design options?

Have you guys listened to the ATH-M50(x)?

Agree Stax the best, haven't listened to Audeze LCD-X (or -XC). The tech behind them and reviews are promising. How close would you say Audeze LCD-X is to Stax (which version)?

Audeze is made in USA/CA and very high quality, would prefer to give them $$ vs. cheaply made products from China. YouTube reviews state the headband/earcups for the M560 aren't so hot (can mod to improve). While they are called 'LCD-2' etc. killers, if they don't last or break easily, they're not really a good value (M1060 has glued earpads for example).

Nice, Guitar Center sells the Audeze LCD-X, might have to go have a listen.

Edit Audeze might have reliability issues. At this price point Stax is probably it. This guy talks about his first Stax experience- the enthusiasm is pretty accurate: 

 

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The Stax are very bass thin, however. Which is too bad. They're no Beats, which have thicker richer bass. But the detail is great. Imo they don't sound too good with modern recordings.

The HD600 series does sound very veiled, but driven by a high impedance source it's not bad and actually sounds quite good imo. Very warm. Try it through 100+ ohm impedance outputs and you might change your mind.

While I don't love the M50, I agree it's a great recommendation at the price point. Similar to the Sonys or HD280s but with better sound for listening. Yet still accurate enough for basic monitoring. The only advantage with the Sony is the ubiquity; it's what your mixer is using as a reference, likely, or your editor.

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Z Review hates the M50(x). For 'fun' music listening. He does recommend them for critical/analysis/mixing. He states the M50(x) sound best when not loud. That's a good thing when working long hours- save your hearing! My M50's sound great soft or loud, but I never listen loud for more than a few seconds (even then rarely).

It appears Stax has issues with warranty repair too (Japan), so Audeze is not alone (if either is really a general problem). Audeze has an office in SoCal (factory? they state built in CA), so should be able to get repairs made if needed: https://www.audeze.com/contact-us

Z review loves the M40x, however he's made it clear he doesn't use headphones for mixing- he's not a working sound editor/mixer, a hobbyist listening for enjoyment (valid viewpoint there). My 'old' ATH M50's sound amazing compared to the 7506's and HD580's (to my ear-brain system :) ). In any case, listening to many headphones before buying would be worthwhile. If the M40x sound better to you (for mixing or music), that's a fantastic deal!

Edit: Z's rant 'review' actually praises the M50 for being super detailed and basically perfect for mixing, just not for him. Again, worth a listen vs. the 40x and similar headphones in that price range:

 

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Yeah, I don't hear it. A friend had both the M50 (the old one) and the HD650 and the HD650 was in an entirely different league, vastly better in every conceivable category. But he was driving it with thousands of dollars of hardware (amp/DAC). 

I do find the Sennheisers polite/veiled. If you love detail and sparkle, they aren't for you.

If comfort isn't an issue, the $20 monoprice headphones (monoprice 8323) sound about as good as the M50/7506/HD280. I hear the Samsons do, too. 

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I listened to the HD280Pro's and as noted still have the HD580's. Guess it's a personal preference/biology thing- haven't been a fan of Sennheiser headphones (dig their wireless mics and the Ambeo 3D mic). I can hear so much more detail in the M50's- good thing we have so many options :) 

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The Sennheiser sound signature is mid-centric, with rolled off highs and a slower impulse response resulting in the notorious "veil." I haven't used the HD800 (although I'm trying the HE-1 this weekend and will hopefully get to try it, too) but I expect it would be the only model you'd care for. Grados are much brighter, Stax as well.

 

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9 minutes ago, Policar said:

The Sennheiser sound signature is mid-centric, with rolled off highs and a slower impulse response resulting in the notorious "veil." I haven't used the HD800 (although I'm trying the HE-1 this weekend and will hopefully get to try it, too) but I expect it would be the only model you'd care for. Grados are much brighter, Stax as well.

Good description- everyone's gonna have different preferences. What's good for me won't maybe for you etc. When describing behavior, then we've got something we can compare and help guide choices. Another thing to consider is that all of our head/ear/brain systems are different audio filters. That's why some HRTFs work well for some people and not others. In the future headphones will have mics in them to 'read' our ear-filters and can then shape the frequency response of the speakers, kind of like how higher-end amps/receivers do with the included mics (e.g. Yamaha YPAO system).

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I would always recommend the Beyerdynamic DT250. They sound better than the Sennheiser HD25, thanks to way less distortions and higher resolution and bigger stage, while still being closed and neutral in terms of frequency response.

Actually they're way better than my ATH M50x I had before!

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1 hour ago, Orangenz said:

I try to avoid mixing with headphones as much as possible, but when necessary I've always had good results from the AKG K240 http://www.akg.com/pro/p/k240mkii

AKG headphones all the way, once tried you never go back.

Amazon have got some really good deals ATM - the K240 are going for about £65, unmissable deal.

Also, test on speakers, throught a TV & on crap headphones - not everyone has great listening devices & you need to make sure everyone can experience your sound in the same way.

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18 minutes ago, Bioskop.Inc said:

AKG headphones all the way, once tried you never go back.

Amazon have got some really good deals ATM - the K240 are going for about £65, unmissable deal.

Also, test on speakers, throught a TV & on crap headphones - not everyone has great listening devices & you need to make sure everyone can experience your sound in the same way.

Looks like ebay sale too http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/SALE-BRAND-NEW-AKG-K240-MKII-MARK-II-2-PROFESSIONAL-SEMI-OPEN-STEREO-HEADPHONES-/221470292066? AU$118

Yeah mixing is totally different than "fun" pop headphones. Just the facts maam. Need to hear everything at the real level from the highest to the lowest without that fake bass boost. For fun pop headphones the Momentum M2 AEG (506383) are terrific. 

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I'm using the ATH50s at the moment.

Like all the others, they're detailed enough for analytic and corrective work and if you've got some reference stuff that you know on a range of systems and you yourself are able to make that averaging compensation then you can make them work very well for mixing on. It then just comes down to practicality and the ATH50s are comfortable enough to wear all day long and isolating enough to use in the field.

Years ago when everyone used Auratones and then Yamaha NS-10s in studios it was to approximate what people would be listening on. Nowadays, there is a definite argument to use Apple earbuds and iPhone speakers as your reference as it is more like literal representation than approximation of what it is that the vast majority will consume on.

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28 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

I'm using the ATH50s at the moment.

Like all the others, they're detailed enough for analytic and corrective work and if you've got some reference stuff that you know on a range of systems and you yourself are able to make that averaging compensation then you can make them work very well for mixing on. It then just comes down to practicality and the ATH50s are comfortable enough to wear all day long and isolating enough to use in the field.

Years ago when everyone used Auratones and then Yamaha NS-10s in studios it was to approximate what people would be listening on. Nowadays, there is a definite argument to use Apple earbuds and iPhone speakers as your reference as it is more like literal representation than approximation of what it is that the vast majority will consume on.

That makes no sense. Well it makes sense to test listen on a range of phones. But not to mix. That makes as much sense as putting a good woolly hat on over your ears to mix because some people will listen while skiing. 

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28 minutes ago, Orangenz said:

That makes no sense. Well it makes sense to test listen on a range of phones. But not to mix. That makes as much sense as putting a good woolly hat on over your ears to mix because some people will listen while skiing. 

Which part doesn't make sense mate?

That on most decent headphones if you have a knowledge of how a broad range of reference pieces sound comparatively on your headphones then you can make a better fist of mixing on them ?

Or about the near field monitors that were used as a check reference of average consumer equipment (the Auratones in AM radio times, the NS10s for FM and home hifi) and how there is now an argument for using the iPhone in that capacity? I didn't mention anything about actually mixing on them to be fair. Either with or without headgear ;) 

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