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Best headphones for mastering/post production?


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Showing 1-25 of 40 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 28, 2011 8:20:54 PM PDT
A. Ahmed says:
hey im pretty new to home recording, i record vocals mostly rap. i want to get a nice pair of headphones for monitoring, and more importantly mastering my audio in post production work. reasonable prices so around $100 and around the ear style. theres so many different options out there though im not sure which one to go with. any tips or suggestions?

Posted on Jun 28, 2011 11:24:50 PM PDT
R. Smith says:
I have had great luck with these. If you have more to spend, you can definitely get better, but for $90~ they are amazing.

Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

Posted on Jun 29, 2011 9:00:33 PM PDT
B. Pockrandt says:
Koss Pro-4AA Studio Quality HeadphonesYou really can't beat these for the price and sound.....very flat response

Posted on Jul 4, 2011 10:59:27 PM PDT
B. Eckert says:
Nothing can beat shure Srh840 extremely flat response. And really natural sounding at 140 you wont be dissapponted

Posted on Jul 5, 2011 1:48:34 PM PDT
laylaface says:
None, buy some near field monitors instead.

Posted on Jul 13, 2011 11:03:12 PM PDT
zackmorgs says:
I'm a fan of my KRK KNS-8400's. Great frequency range. High quality speakers.

Posted on Jul 14, 2011 9:50:15 AM PDT
Daniel James says:
The Sennheiser HD800 are the best.

Posted on Jul 14, 2011 10:03:37 AM PDT
Expert47 says:
Everyone has their own opinion on headphones. They are like shoes. Some fit, some don't.

I happen to be biased for the headphones I sell, the Q-Mic QM-980. And why would I be biased? These sell for $130.00 but are the OEM version of the AKG 271 that sell for far more! We offer a guarantee so if you don't like them, you can send them back !!

Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:07:17 AM PDT
Don't master with headphones.

Posted on Jul 18, 2011 11:10:48 PM PDT
General consensus will likely end up being to use monitors instead of headphones, but sometimes that's just not an option.

I too have had a good experience with the Sony MDR7506. They can be had for pretty cheap used or refurb'ed if you shop around, too.

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 2:24:23 PM PDT
Having had a lot of experience with this over the years, I agree with what others have said in that it's best to master with monitors. That being said, after mastering with monitors, it's good to check the mix with some decent headphones, a boom-box, and even some quality earbuds since it's likely that listeners will be using speakers, headphones, portables, and earbuds to listen and, as much as possible, you want your music to sound great on all of them. As for headphones, I still use my original pair of Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone and still love them.

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 2:53:00 PM PDT
A. Pickett says:
layla and kurt are correct. headphones are not meant for mastering. however, if you must, i would recommend sennheiser. the hd800 is an excellent recommendation. if you decide to use headphones for studio/postprod work, it may be wise to use something other than what you use for monitoring in the field, where your needs are considerably different than in the studio.

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 3:21:05 PM PDT
A. Ahmed says:
Thank you so much for all you help and advice. i appreciate every one of your posts. as a side note, i do realize that monitors are better suited for mastering. i still wanted a pair of headphones for the smaller details, and fine editing.

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 3:28:42 PM PDT
A. Pickett says:
note: if the hd800 is out of your price range, consider the hd650 (approximately $1k less!).
ps: the sony headphones mentioned by kr are great for field monitoring (at least that's what i used them for back in the day).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2011 2:43:54 PM PDT
Headphones are usually only used for tracking (recording materials to tracks). When mastering especially, but even in mixdown, producers usually use loudspeakers referred to as monitors, so that they can hear how the finished product will sound on playback. There is a lot of detail, you will hear in headphones that gets lost in the mix, thats why speakers are important.

Most headphones don't have sufficient bass response due to the physics of a small driver and a low frequency wave length. Headphones will usually fatigue your ears faster than speakers, and headphones can cause hearing damage and permanent loss of hearing when used at high levels, while speakers can be played louder with less risk due to the distance from the speakers, though they too can cause hearing loss if you pump them too loud.

I'd recommend you listen to several sets of studio monitors and find a pair you like. Listen to some music you like, and are familiar with on them to get an idea of their coloration of the material - all speakers have a frequency curve and will sound different - then use the monitors for mixdown and mastering.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 30, 2011 3:48:46 PM PDT
R. Walker says:
Absolutely right !!!, although all these headphones sound great for listening & recording, for mixing & mastering you MUST use a good pair of calibrated monitor speakers.
I know monitors are very expensive but using headphones gives you a very false impression of what it actually sounds like.

Posted on Oct 1, 2011 9:40:45 AM PDT
James Vaughn says:
I also agree that you shouldn't master with headphones, though I think it's important to evaluate the master through good headphones and good speakers. As far as goos monitors I would go with AKG either k240 studio (around $100) for open backs or k271 (around $140) for closed back, both circumaural. If you want DJ style I'd go with the Sony's

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2011 10:51:36 AM PDT
S. Zeiser says:
+1... MDR-7506 all day long...best headphones ever.

Posted on Oct 1, 2011 4:46:39 PM PDT
The Audio Technica ATH-M50s. They produce a remarkably flat response, are very musical, and the response, sound stage, detail, headroom and imaging are superb with even the most subtle transients. I have absolutely NO REGRETS buying these. In fact, they are so darn good that I plan on getting another pair, one dedicated to the studio (already in hand) and another for everyday and on the go listening. They are that good. So good, that you, like me, may not want to listen through anything else.

I did a tremendous amount of research before settling on a make and model. After great success with their microphones, I did research and chose these. The MSRP is about $200 USD, but you can but them all day long for about $160 USD here or at Musician's Friend or similar. Perhaps even lower if you catch these little gems on sale. Lastly, to be clear, I have no affiliation with any manufacturer or retailer. Good luck!

Posted on Oct 6, 2011 12:05:44 PM PDT
Aurelle says:
+1 for MDR-7506 as well, but you can't master with headphones.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2011 1:28:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 6, 2011 1:30:21 PM PDT
Kelly Porter says:
totally agree with you James, the AKG k240 are what i've used for years...Love em!!!

Posted on Oct 11, 2011 12:59:58 AM PDT
StratMatt777 says:
When I attended a Digital Audio Engineering class in 2004 he told us to go buy the Sony MDR-7506.
For general listening they seem to be slightly lacking in bass, but maybe that's just because they are flat whereas every other consumer headphones or speakers I've ever heard in my life have a bass bump?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2011 10:49:57 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 11, 2011 10:56:17 AM PDT
AZ.Joel says:
Pioneer HDJ-2000 Reference Professional Dj Headphones
http://www.epinions.com/prices/PIONEER_DJ_HEADPHONES_Headphones

You will be totally amazed with these. I use mine (HDJ-1000) for on-the-go "portable recording" with my Tascam 2488-neo Studio plus a Battery Backup, in an ATA Case.
Frequency response: 5Hz-30kHz I Love 'em. Roughly $170.00, That's it! I'm also considering two more pair for the singing/recording artists.

Posted on Oct 11, 2011 5:33:15 PM PDT
Ray says:
Based on your earlier response and replies from others, I assume that you mainly use monitors, and then check your results using various other speakers, headphones, boomboxes, car stereos, etc. (which is what I do). I have used AKG K240 Studio headphones (open back) for years and recently also began using Audio Technica ATH-M50s (closed back). The most noticeable difference between the two is the ATH-M50s have better bass response - good enough that while mixing I have used them to adjust kick drum and bass guitar tracks, which I would not try using the AKGs. If you do spring for the ATH-M50s, be fore-warned they do require some hours of break-in time before the response is optimal.

Posted on Oct 11, 2011 6:06:11 PM PDT
Ray: This is true. Besides doing mixing, I listen to a lot with synthesizer creations, and hearing them is just as important as mixing, etc. I too find, as stated earlier, that the ATH-M50s to be an ideal piece of equipment that is often overlooked - and a steal! I can't recommend them enough. I also have a lot of audiophile grade equipment including great drivers (speakers). Experience has shown me (and you and others I'm sure) that speakers and/or headphones sound SO MUCH better once "broken in". CAREFULLY I might add. I use and would suggest a CD named Dream Surf - available here on Amazon. The link follows below.

(http://www.amazon.com/Dreamsurf-Ocean-Relaxation-Nature-Sounds/dp/B000ZLY7EO).

I think that if you try this CD you'll shorten your "break-in" time dramatically and may even improve what you are already hearing. I suggest connecting your equipment to whatever is appropriate and set the volume to a moderate level - say 2.5-3.5 on a scale of 10, make sure that the CD player is set on constant repeat of the track (there's only one) and let it play for 30 - 40 hours or more (preferred). You'll be astonished how gently it brings your drivers to that wonderful point of being able to accept transients EXCEPTIONALY well. Good luck!
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Discussion in:  Home Recording forum
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Total posts:  40
Initial post:  Jun 28, 2011
Latest post:  Oct 18, 2012

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