1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Studio Headphones

Discussion in 'Studio Techniques' started by mk3, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. mk3

    mk3 Senior member

    Hello -

    Any recommendations on studio headphones for mixing?

    I've used the Sony 7506s for years for tracking, programming, production, and DJing, and the AKG k240S (studio model) as a performer's monitor set.

    What about headphones for final production, arranging, mixing?

    (No need to say "Don't mix on headphones" - It's somewhat of a necessity for some of us; also, in this day and age, when so much music listening is done on headphones of varying quality, one should at least check mixes on headphones, high and low end).

    I just bought two pairs which come highly recommended on the (extremely opinionated, one might politely say) various headphone forums online:

    - AKG K702
    - BeyerDynamic DT880 Pro

    Thus far, I prefer the Beyers. Both sets have an excellent soundstage and detail. Both are open models, as is generally recommended for mixing and stereo soundstage. The AKGs sound more clinical and analytical, perhaps better for actual editing and comping, timing adjustments, and so on. The AKGs have a high-mid frequency bump which can be painful and tiring to the ears, and also do not offer much in the low bass. The Beyers, while not as crisp sounding, seem more natural and balanced, with excellent bass extension but very little coloration. The AKGs seem overly bright, with little bass extension. In fact (heresy!), they strike me as rather similar to the Sony 7506s, despite being triple the price; in fact, the Sonys have lower and tighter bass, and lack the painful frequency bump. Right now, the Beyers are the most musical headphones I have ever heard. (I also checked out Sennheisers briefly, but found them to be rather coloured sounding - maybe fine for pleasure listening, but not for studio perhaps).

    Both sets have excellent build quality, and are so comfortable to wear, with large circumaural plush ear pads, that one can easily forget one is wearing 'phones altogether. So in that regard, they are excellent for extended sessions. (On my head at least, the Beyers are a bit more comfortable).

    Most of those who love the AKGs insist that these headphones require an extended burn-in period to "bloom" and show their true sound: many advise at least 300 hours of burn-in (with music or a combination of white or pink noise and frequency sweeps).

    At this point, I am tempted to return the AKGs, but so many experienced writers claim these are such a stellar standard reference headphone, that I am questioning whether to wait for the burn-in.

    Any constructive advice is more than welcome.

  3. grooveiron

    grooveiron Member

    If you have not heard the German-made Ultrasone headphones, do yourself favour and check them out. I have the PRO750s - they are the most
    speaker-like phones I've heard. I can wear them for hours without
    fatigue, and the mixes transfer really well to speakers.


    er, I don't work for them. Just very happy with my phones!
  4. mk3

    mk3 Senior member

    That's one I didn't have a chance to audition. I'll have to see if they have them somewhere in NYC to check out...

    What about that special "surround" technology that the Ultrasones utilize? Is it helpful in mixing, or just distracting?

  5. grooveiron

    grooveiron Member

    The "surround" feature is simply a placement of the speaker drivers slightly forward and slightly angled compared to the 180-degree "normal" headphone experience. I think it gives them the more "natural" speaker-sound that I like so much about them. In this regard, they are not typical headphones at all. So depending on what you need they may not be ideal - I like them because they translate into speakers better than anything else I've heard, but if you're into binaural sound, they are not the best for that (though they still sound great!)
  6. andreas-f

    andreas-f New Member

    My case exactly,
    Between the Bayerdynamics and K701-702 and now i'll give it some time to investigate the Ultrasones.
    Grooveiron Thanx.
    mk3,did you try the Ultrasones?What's your opinion?Did you decide,what?And any latest fellings on any of the 3?I trust your taste:)
  7. mk3

    mk3 Senior member

    Thank you for your trust! Of course taste is so individual that your preferences may still wildly diverge from mine...

    I didn't have an opportunity to try the Ultrasones yet. I did buy both the K702 and the Beyer DT880s, and after a 300+ hour burn-in of both have decided to keep both. Initially I had rather strong preference for the Beyers, as the K702s sounded bass-deficient and a bit shrill in the high end (downright painful with certain music). I was thinking of returning the AKGs, but heard so many reports about burning in that model that I thought I would give it a chance. I ran pink noise or music through them day and night for a couple weeks. Now, after the break-in, I do not notice any significant change in sound of the Beyers, but the AKGs have smoothed out: the bass is present (although these will never be bass-heavy headphones, but that is not their purpose), and the highs have attenuated and no longer hurt.

    So at this point I find both models about equal for my needs, with each having its own strengths. The K702s are incredibly clear with hugh stereo image, very pristine sound, very detailed separation of sounds and instruments. Therefore, they are excellent for production, tracking, audio editing (especially fixing pitch and timing), and of course, just plain listening to music where one wants that sort of sound. The Beyers give a warmer, fuller, sound, with far more bass, especially low bass.

    I was seeking a good pair of headphones for studio mixing. I think I will have to use both...and make sure a mix sounds good on both. That is, to make sure the bass is present and the highs are not too harsh on the AKGs, and to make sure that there is enough clarity on the Beyers.

  8. andreas-f

    andreas-f New Member

    Yes,we tend to believe we are so complicated and sophisticated creatures,but maybe our inability to focus on what we really need is the reason of our confusion.
    We both looking for the best headphone set for production,editing,mixing.Sure,you can help a lot narrow my search :)
    I'm watching the new closed Ultrasone pro900 model.The folding up design and the 40 ohms impedance could prove to be a plus factor for taking out with and use on various equipment.Later i'll go for an open set (the K702 maybe) to replace my older one.
    Thanx again,greetings from greece.
  9. andreas-f

    andreas-f New Member

    I bought the AKG K702 and Ultrasone PRO900
    Of the two,only one i find useful for reference monitoring.The K702.I can't praise enough how good i find it to be for the job.In short i think it is an absolutely trustworthy extremely helpful high quality tool.
    The pro900 sure has some very interesting sound characteristics and unique presentation.I see why many will like it for listening to music.But with an insane bass boost of about +12 db at 32,+9 at 64,+6 at 125 and so on i wonder how can anyone use it for mixing or editing music.Even worse bass is not clear but tone obscure and endlessly reverberating.Anyway it has changed a lot during the burn-in process (400hours) and i sincerely wish i'd be forced to change opinion in the future.
  10. ShockerNewMedia

    ShockerNewMedia New Member

    I've had good results using AKG 240s. They are inexpensive and clear. For tracking, they are perfect. Believe it or not, iPod earbuds work really well also, for playback. They seem to give a "ball park" idea where your mix is. Please keep in mind that these suggestions are for those who are on a seriously tight budget, and are not intended for professional results. Hope this helps and best of luck!

    Mike M.
  11. mk3

    mk3 Senior member

    I did buy both the AKG K702 and BeyerDynamic DT880 Pros at the same time. After extensive break-in (300+ hours of pink noise), I find that I now prefer the AKGs for most tracking, programming, and production purposes. The clarity and stereo separation are stunning, and this makes the K702 perfect for judging pitch and timing issues also. Compared to many other headphones (including the Beyer), there is less subbass and a brighter high-end. The Beyers are better for working on more bass-oriented and groove-oriented material, where one needs to physically feel the lower frequencies. The Beyers are so good at this that sometime I am actually fooled into thinking that I have left the room monitors turned on, and am feeling the bass vibrations in the room.

    Certain music will sound too bright to the point of harshness on the K702s, and other music will sound too bassy to the point of muddiness on the 880s. A good mix should sound good on either set of headphones, and there are existing productions which succeed. My aim is to always make productions and mixes sound good on both pairs (as well as testing on various monitor and speaker references, from high-end to low-end).

    One of the reasons I like the K702s is that I love the sound of good electrostatic speakers, and these headphones have a similar sonic signature. The Beyers, on the other hand, sound like good traditional cone-driven speakers, perhaps reminiscent of some KEF models.

  12. mikesilence

    mikesilence New Member

    I would prefer Beyer DT770PRO :)
  13. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Michael!
    Welcome in the LUG :waveywavey:
  14. mikesilence

    mikesilence New Member

    Nice to see you Peter. :D
  15. Atlas

    Atlas Senior member

    I use Sennheiser HD600.
    Only good feedback about these cans besides their head squeeze is rather firm and pricy...

Share This Page