• Headphones
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Headphones
on: July 16, 2018, 16:22:09
« Last Edit: July 16, 2018, 16:54:45 by MrBouzouki »
I thought it would be good to discuss headphones as I've just finished doing some research and opted to by some new Yamaha HPH-MT8 headphones.
Arriving Tomorrow (Tuesday)  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

My existing ones I use are Audio Technica ATH-M35's that have served me well.

My reason for upgrading is that fact that like many of us, I am doing work into the early hours of the morning so I can't be using my nearfields when my good lady is asleep next-door ;-)

Like the M35's they are closed back, but have a lower impedance,  45mm as against 40mm drivers and an extended bass response as a result.

Additionally, I use a Steinberg UR-22 interface, built by Yamaha and with D-PRE Preamps etc. The headphone out from my DAW is via this interface so I was thinking there might be a good match between the headphones and the interface.

Anyway, I thought I'd post this and then hopefully give some listening feedback comparing the two brands and differences in quality as a bit of interest.

I'm particularly interested in how the low-mids and high-bass areas sound and hopefully they will be flatter and 'more honest' without the artificial tweak that might exist in the M-35's.
Also I want to see if their is better clarity as you get higher up the frequency spectrum.

I also thought I might start a bit of as discussion about headphones if anybody wants to join in.

Some people say a set of headphones need 'burning-in' to get the best out of them. Has anybody heard this and do they agree. ?



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Re: Headphones
Reply #1 on: July 16, 2018, 17:29:57
I'm always up for a good headphone discussion. Like you, MrB, I tend to mix at odd hours and I have never been able to use my studio monitors so I have always relied on headphones.

I just went all out with  pair of Beyerdynamic DT 1990 open back phones. This is my first experience with open back phones and I really love the way the sound stage opens up as opposed to my close back Ultrrsone Pro 900's.

Those Yamaha cans look pretty good.

here's a cool way to compare the frequency response of various headphones:

http://graphs.headphone.com/
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Re: Headphones
Reply #2 on: July 16, 2018, 19:02:54
Hey @MrBouzouki ..... not exactly headphone related .... but that "burning in" thing is really cool. I'm friends with a cable making guru. Imagine boutique mic cables that cost over $150 etc. I told @Mr Sydney a little about this recently and I actually used what he calls "the forbidden mic cable" when I recorded on "Lesser Road Ahead".

Anyway, he took one of my regular el-cheapo mic cords and he burned it in for a half of an hour while we were visiting. When he connected it to the PA .... I couldn't believe the difference! It was like a shroud had been lifted off the sound! The clarity in the high frequencies was ridiculous.  :)

That headphone comparison graph , @Leonard Scaper , is really cool. I wonder why headphones can't be just flat? Can someone look at that chart and then EQ them flat?  ???
Bill
Songwriter, Keyboards, Arranger, Producer & Engineer for November Sound

November Sound is based on the Mother, Father & Son musical trio of Melissa, Bill & Will. I'm the father so anything I post will have my wife singing and/or my son playing percussion.


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Re: Headphones
Reply #3 on: July 16, 2018, 20:59:16
I wonder why headphones can't be just flat? Can someone look at that chart and then EQ them flat?  ???

I have considered this myself after looking at frequency responses for some VERY expensive headphones....all of which have some sort of gentle low frequency bump along with a high frequency dip.

My theory about this is that the headphone manufacturers are really trying to mimic the sound of speakers. Full frequency sound from speakers in a room will never be really flat. High frequency sound waves are much shorter than low frequency waves so they the get absorbed easier by the air in the room.....the low frequency waves will arrive at the ear faster and stronger. I think the manufacturers are all trying to find the most musical way to recreate that natural experience in a condition where there is no air involved.

My Beyerdynamics are said to need 200 hours of burn-in. I'm just using them.....got about 40 hours in since I got them two weeks ago. I bet I won't notice the difference over a gradual burn-in.


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Re: Headphones
Reply #4 on: July 16, 2018, 23:01:38
I've been mixing exclusively on cans since day 1, began with K271 Mk 2 but these days I'm using (and love) K712. That was a really good upgrade but the real game changer was when I got Sonarworks Reference 4 (www.sonarworks.com). I lnow @Mar T. was considering it as well, don't now if he ever jumped the bandwagon or not. Did you @Mar T.?
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Re: Headphones
Reply #5 on: July 16, 2018, 23:59:11
Yes I did @Jambrains ! Mixing on cans as well since day 1 and I can recommend checking out Sonarworks to everyone (see link in Jambrains post). I love it!
I guess everybody would recomment using monitor speakers though, but beware of the costs of expensive monitors AND room treatment to make this work. If at all possible, since most of us mix at home and have neighbours..


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Re: Headphones
Reply #6 on: July 17, 2018, 15:09:42
I guess everybody would recomment using monitor speakers though, but beware of the costs of expensive monitors AND room treatment to make this work.

That is the common wisdom but those of us who have always mixed on headphones know that if you take the time to get to know your headphones and you check your mixes against reference tracks you can get great mixes without monitors.

I have decent near field monitors but the only time I really use them is to check my mixes at the end of the process.....and then I just use one to check in mono.


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Re: Headphones
Reply #7 on: July 17, 2018, 17:09:21
« Last Edit: July 17, 2018, 17:10:55 by reidmoto »
Wow, you guys are some very knowledgable gearheads, and I love it!

So @Leonard Scaper, you paid around $500 for the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 open back phones?

Do you feel the investment is worth the results you're getting? If you're recording vocals,
you must use a closed back set of headphones, right?

@Jambrains the Sonarworks Reference 4 headphones, are about $100, and you really like them?

I have never paid more than $50 for headphones, and my current one is an AKG closed back,
which I can't stand to wear for more than an hour or so, because the ear cups get uncomfortable.

I'm all for getting good gear, and will be following this thread, but I don't need the top of the line
supreme best, I just need something I can wear comfortably that delivers an accurate and flat
rendering of the song from Logic Pro, and my interface.

Reidmoto


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Re: Headphones
Reply #8 on: July 17, 2018, 18:35:26
So @Leonard Scaper, you paid around $500 for the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 open back phones?

Do you feel the investment is worth the results you're getting? If you're recording vocals,
you must use a closed back set of headphones, right?

Actually, closer to $600.  ;)

For the past six years or so I have been mixing on a pair of Ultrasone Pro 900's. Before that it was Ultrasone 650's. I started out with Sennheiser 280's. I figure that in another five years I'll be ready for Audeze LCD-X. Of course I'll be in my 70's by then and the old ears may be in need of a prolonged rest.  ;)

I've been at this for a very long time and I'm pretty serious about it. I have learned that while a good song will always shine through no matter what, excellent gear really makes a difference. I have spent a lot of money on the front end of my recording chain (microphone and preamp) as well as the back end (monitoring) as I believe that is where improvements make the biggest difference (along with room acoustics, of course).

Going from Ultrasone Pro 900 to Beyerdynamic DT 1990 was nothing short of amazing. The soundstage opened up and the full frequency detail improved tremendously....particularly in the low end. I'm mixing my newest song right now and I'm really hearing details that I know I was missing.

The right channel of the Ultrasones (closed back) had stopped working...that was my motivation for the upgrade. I have since taken them apart and fixed them so I can use them for tracking. I also have a pair of Sony MDR-1706's that I highly recommend.

 8)


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Re: Headphones
Reply #9 on: July 17, 2018, 21:20:43
Very cool @Leonard Scaper!

Thank you for the info on your progression with headphones and your results with your Beyerdynamics.

I agree with this wholeheartedly:" excellent gear really makes a difference. I have spent a lot of money on the front end of my recording chain (microphone and preamp) as well as the back end (monitoring) as I believe that is where improvements make the biggest difference (along with room acoustics, of course)."

If you have the ears and skillsets to take advantage of it. I am working on both, and when I am to that point, I will invest in a Neve or Wunderbar console/desk, some Universal Audio mic pres,
and $600 Beyerdynamic headphones, and the best monitors you guys recommend LOL. I do like mixing on monitors in addition to headphones.

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Re: Headphones
Reply #10 on: July 17, 2018, 21:45:08
@Jambrains the Sonarworks Reference 4 headphones, are about $100, and you really like them?
No, I don't like it. I love it!!!!  ;D
If my K712 ever breaks (or I need/want to change headphones) I absolutely going to go for a pair of individually calibrated ones.
Using the software with my current cans are +/- 3db (and it is still a fab improvment) since it uses a generic calibration curve for that particular model. Getting a pair of calibrated cans directly from Sonarworks would be awesome.

Btw, one of the best arguments for mixing on cans I've ever heard is this: the vast majority of people listen to music on headphones these days.   :)


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Re: Headphones
Reply #11 on: July 17, 2018, 22:15:34
Thanks @Jambrains , I just placed my order with Sonarworks for the headphone edition/level.

I agree, most people listen with earbuds, or headphones these days, and that's a good argument,
I just like using monitors after I get what I think is a decent mix on headphones, to see how it
sounds and if maybe I missed something.

I like having the songs I"m working on blast out of my monitors LOL!

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Re: Headphones
Reply #12 on: July 18, 2018, 11:32:21
I'm glad I started this thread as it's been really interesting and it's given me plenty of things to think about like Sonarworks that @Jambrains mentioned.

Episode #50 of the mastering show features Glenn Schick, the engineer who mastered KOD by J Cole and he is a “mobile” mastering engineer who closed his
analogue mastering studio to go mobile and masters on in-ears.

https://soundcloud.com/themasteringshow/50-headphones

It's a good point somebody made about how much music is consumed 'on the go' using headphones and earbuds or perhaps the fairly rubbish 'smile-like' response of car audio systems.

A good point Glenn Schick made is that many audio engineers and people in the business have hearing that is damaged to some degree and that they still manage to produce results.
He made a comment that changes to your hearing is like hearing the world through a different set of filters so I guess the big point about changing headphones is giving your brain the time to get used to them.

In many ways I guess there is no correct way in this subjective field we are part of. The important thing is probably that you get to a happy point where you feel you can do your music justice.
I've spent a bit of time calibrate my near-fields with pink noise at a standard listening level that is OK for me in my little box room. Each speaker independently measured against a sound level meter I bought.
This means with my head in a certain position, I'm getting used to a standard listening level. From my reading, the standard level is important as you get used to hearing everything relative to everything else.
Over time, that familiarity should give you more a more consistent output and any reference mixing is broadly the same.  When it comes to somebody consuming your work many new variables are brought into play as regards listening systems, so being able to get some reference point is the key I think.

I have found a difference with near-field isolation with my relatively cheap sorbothane pads.

https://www.songwriter-forum-kitchen.com/forum/songwriting-ingredients/26/nearfield-monitor-speaker-isolation-using-sorbothane-pads-recommended/4488/

The bass does feel I bit tighter so I guess I must have been getting some coupling going on. Just another variable tamed to a degree I guess. Yes there is still my untreated room, but in some ways, the use of both headphones and monitors and different systems probably gives you the best judgement of how your mix and master are sounding. I often play my stuff on a little mp3 player and using a portable mono x-mini speaker as a sanity check to see if my stuff sounds right at all on a lo-fi setup.

Anyway, my new headphones ones have arrived. I haven't had much time to use them yet but my first impression was that they felt comfortable. I think the ergonomic thing is very important, almost as important as the actual sound as you might be wearing them for long periods of time.

It's great to hear how everybody works. I reckon there are as many ways people listen and work dependent on genre, cost, time available and lots of other factors.







Re: Headphones
Reply #13 on: July 20, 2018, 21:50:23
Hi everyone,

I am usually mixing on Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones, but I have some good monitors (Dynaudio) for checking while mixing. Also, when exchanging my old Tascam interface with my current Audient interface, I realized how important the mic preamp is. The Tascam had a very cheesy one while the Audient sounds much more honest.

There are also tools like Waves NX plugin that allows to simulate a 3D environment. I used it a bit but have to admit that I gave up on it once I had real monitors...

Best,

Fabian