Best Mixing Headphones?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Drewboy, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. Drewboy

    Drewboy Member

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    Hey everyone, just wondering if you guys can recommend a good set of headphones for mixing recordings. I have mediocre monitors on my studio, but my room is horrible that I am mixing in. I think the headphones would be the better and cheaper fix for now. Any good transparent headphones out there work well for any of you guys?
     
  2. bronco1891

    bronco1891 Member

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    I have some sennheiser hd 650s. they are fantastic headphones. but the best thing to do is treat your room.
     
  3. MickyZ

    MickyZ Member

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    I have a set of Ultrasone 750 cans that were judged by Electronic Musician mag as being suitable for mixing.

    I think they work pretty well, but then again I do the usual thing of checking my mix on several speaker systems - home stereo, car speakers, etc. So I don't rely solely on the headphones for mixing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  4. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    Sennheiser HD 650

    Audio Technica ath-m50

    Treat your room.

    It is nearly impossible to mix on just headphones.
     
  5. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    I've had trouble mixing on headphones only to find out later in the car that some things that I clearly heard on the headphones were lost in the car. The headphones let me hear too deep into the recording and resolve low level sounds that the car, and other crummy stereos, couldn't do.
     
  6. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    you don't want to mix thru headphones.

    only spot check mixes.
    you will never get a mix 'right' using only headphones.

    you have to deal with real world acoustics.

    headphones, is about as unreal as it gets.

    i love good headphone mixes.

    you'll find, there is a sweet-spot, between making killer mixes in monitors, and how they translate to headphones.
     
  7. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    There is a way to mix on cans. Well, there are several ways, but only a couple of them actually come close to working.

    Aside from the very real problems of real world acoustics the guys mention above, there is another problem with headphone mixing: the picture is presented to you differently.

    If you listen to a stereo pair of speakers, your right ear hears both the left and right speaker. And your left ear hears both the right and left speaker.

    On cans, your left ear hears one speaker and your right ear hears the other, and ne'er the twain shall meet.

    Room acoustics aside (and of course that's a huge thing in itself) this difference affects how you perceive the mix.

    I know of two partial solutions: One is a $2000 box called the Phonitor, made by the German audio company, SPL. It sounds very good. I could mix on it in a pinch.

    The other is software designed and tested at IRCAM, sort of a French version of Bell Labs. It's called HEar, and is put out by the plugin company, Flux. It's cheap and it does something similar to what the Phonitor does. You insert it on your mix buss, and listen with cans, and it is a big improvement over just listening via headphones.

    There may be other solutions, and I'd love to know about them. I do use good monitors in my studio, but there are times that I still like to double check a mix on headphones. When I do, I use this plugin, and it's pretty good.

    If I was in a bad sounding room, I'd mix on the cans, and double check with monitors, sort of the reverse of how I do it in my own studio. I'd try to stay in the close field of the monitors, to do my best to minimize the room, although the room is going to affect the sound of the monitors even in the close field.

    By the way, there are no best mixing headphones. Everyone's ears and heads are shaped a bit differently, and this affects how accurate the headphones are on your specific ears, to a degree. So one person's phenomenal cans might be your "meh" cans, not because of the usual design reasons, but because your skulls are different. You just have to try a bunch using familiar material.

    By the way, I have had good luck with the Grado HP1000s, and the Ultrasones someone else mentioned above. Stax electrostatic phones are also very sweet, and I think that the Beyer DT880s are accurate, as are several models of AKG.
     
  8. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    everytime i hear this comment from someone, then get to hear their can mix, it almost always does not translate across other platforms.
    almost always.
     
  9. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    You can get most of the way there on cans, if they're decent and you're familiar with them, and then use a set of speakers to get stuff that's hard to get w/cans, like verb/FX levels.

    I used to use a set of AKG-240s and a pair of Roland MA-12 computer speakers, and didn't have any problem getting pretty good mixes.
     
  10. hearmecrybaby

    hearmecrybaby Senior Member

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    been using akg k240s for a while, and i can see why they are well liked. good detail and good soundstage. i don't like mixing on them alone, but they do the bulk of the work and i compare them against my JBL monitors to get multiple sources/feedback.

    just traded up and have a pair of akg k702s on the way. they're supposed to be like the 240s on steroids. wider soundstage, more honest eq, more detail. we'll see.
     
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Most people haven't a clue how to mix very well. Whether on headphones or speakers.

    Comparatively few mixes by amateurs translate, and there are some professional mixes that aren't so great, either.

    However, I hope that you read my entire post, because it does discuss some interesting alternatives to conventional headphone mixing.
     
  12. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    i did read it.
    but i still suggest serious mixing on monitors.

    headphones are reliable for spot checking and focus work.
    you'll never get your low end right, mixing on headphones.

    just passing on some acquired knowledge gathered over 25+ years.
     

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