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Jim Feeley

Good headphones for composing music?

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My son's 7506s broke and he's looking for a new set of cans. He's a musician and not wedded to, and in fact isn't a big fan of the 7506s. He's also planning on moving to NYC fairly soon and trying to keep things small, so the NFMs he's using will not be going with him. He's not planning on mastering or anything; he's not an idiot and he just wants to hear what he's laying down, mainly at fairly low "bedroom" volume, while getting tunes and tracks together (some jazz, some filmtrack stuff, some more experimental). Again, for composing, not tracking in a studio with a band, so I'm thinking isolation isn't a huge issue.

 

And he's not interested in $1500 Focals, $3000 Audeze, or anything like that (re: Musician; NYC). Under $300 would be great. Significantly under would be extra great (so maybe he could get two pair). He checked out gearslutz, but their main heaphones topic has over 4000 posts so that's a bit much. So he asked if I had any ideas (sniff; just like when he was a tyke). Hell if I know. But what about all you? 

 

What's a good set of headphones that a musician will find tolerable in general and actually helpul when composing?

 

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I'm not a working musician at all, but I do compose and mix tracks for radio with a pair of Ultrasone HFI 570 (i think they're called)

They're very pleasant. No fatigue, really good isolation, I find them pretty flat and "true". Now I'm used to them and I couldn't say whether it's a big difference from mixing in NFMs, but now whenever I go from cans to studio monitors it sort of sounds the same, but again that could be training.. I sometimes revert to 7506s (when I don't have the ultrasones) and I instantly don't recognize my mix. Everything sounds compressed and/or confined with the Sonys compared to the ultrasone. They're sub $200 

I'm guessing you could go up a few notches ibt he ultrasone line and get some even better cans, but I wouldn't know, these 570 are the only ones I've tried. 

 

And if you've seen the show "sharp objects", the dad in the show is a hi-fi geek and he uses ultrasone.. Not sure if that's an actual geek informed decision or just a props dept decision ;)

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I bought a pair of Beyer DT240 as replacement for HD-25/director/AD etc.  and I am really surprised, how good they sound.

I will def. buy more pairs in the future because they survived life on set in 2019 without a problem and are really affordable.

Cheers Christian

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I‘m switching headphones a lot, stayed on the 7506 for a while, butI find their highs unpleasant and the lows lacking. Currently I really like the Neumann headphones. Bit pricey, but a really lovely feel and they are very robust. Probably the best midrange I‘ve ever heard with cans. The entire 20-20 range is there, nothing hyped, nothing lacking, pretty flat response, yet not fatiguing. They isolate well, but not too much. And are still comfy to wear even with glasses. He could mix with them, but also just listen to music with them 

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I recommend the Shure SRH1540 headphones. They are comfortable and sound great.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Shure-SRH1540-Premium-Closed-Back-Headphones/dp/B00FR8DMR8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=JGZXYKCMA6MQ&keywords=srh1540&qid=1577144867&sprefix=Srh%2Caps%2C165&sr=8-1

 

Also Audio Technica ATH-M50x are excellent for the price but not as comfortable.

 

 I have them both, along with too many others....

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1 hour ago, TVPostSound said:

Sealed?

SENNHEISER HD300 PRO

Open?

SENNHEISER HD600

 

I use these to mix at night at home. TV and Music

They translate very well to my JBL LSR 708s

 

Jim, I'm quoting TVPS not because I know either the 300 or 600 but because he's answering as a headphone user who usually 'critically moniters' in a space with speakers.

 

I ended up using 7506 cans frequently (I am not a production sound recordist) because they're extremely comfortable and I bought a level limited set and care about my ears. I have always thought they sound dreadful but accepted that they perhaps accentuate 'production sound problems' and are therefore useful. In the end, I have got used to their weird response (and lack of isolation) for fx recording and the comfort and limiting protection (and size) have meant I still use them often.

 

In music however the venerable BeyerDynamic DT 100 have always sounded great and are bulletproof - and in my lifetime were the studio staples. I have DT150s which I would recommend as a starting point. When I need to edit or even mix / premix on headphones the difference of using open headphones is enormous. In such cases I edit with DT 550s ... I think 990s are the modern version.

 

So here's my answer ...

 

actually maybe Sennheiser HD25 or SP if he's comfortable with the supraaural thing (and needs closed);

open headphones (DT990 etc, many other choices) are to my mind the best bet for comfort against ear fatigue;

in ears - Etymotic Research ER6 (I have the pricier 4) for excellent sounding low profile earbuds that permit low listening levels so not blasting out deafening volumes.

 

Or - two pairs - DT 990 and 150 for when the outside noise kicks in.

 

Best, Jez

 

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1) Don't worry. Beats are so so so not under consideration. He has good ears, after all.

 

2) This looks like a good list!

 

3) More suggestions welcome, if you think something is missing.

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For something with a smooth and comfortable mid-range, and completely un-hyped, I like AKG K141 mkii. You should be able to find them used, as they are discontinued. I’ve never liked 7506’s or HD25’s for music, myself. That said, you’re likely to get as many different opinions as replies. 

 

I'm also a big fan of Grado's... he could get up to the 325's in his price range

https://gradolabs.com/headphones/prestige-series/item/5-sr325e

Phenomenal quality HP's with a very deep soundstage. Glorious for listening, but I'll admit I've never used them for mixing/writing.

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I second/third the BD 990’s. They’re open ear design, extended low end response, extremely comfortable and easy to repair should he ever need to. I also like that its a single cord design, which is nice so you don’t have cables getting in the way of playing instruments like guitar, base, drums, etc. They’re also not insanely expensive so you can allocate some $$$ for a decent DA with headphone amp like a Benchmark or a Burl, Apogee, Grace Design, or Cranesong Avocet system.

 

I do like the grado but they’re not confortable unless you get the high end ones. I also dont like that the cables go to the L and R sides.

 

The idea of pairing them with a pair of closed ear phones is a good one. If he ever needs to do overdubs of quiet acoustic music they will come in handy. Westones or in ear monitors are great for this.

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15 hours ago, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

I ended up using 7506 cans frequently (I am not a production sound recordist) because they're extremely comfortable and I bought a level limited set and care about my ears. I have always thought they sound dreadful but accepted that they perhaps accentuate 'production sound problems' and are therefore useful. In the end, I have got used to their weird response (and lack of isolation) for fx recording and the comfort and limiting protection (and size) have meant I still use them often.

 

I do use the 7506s to edit dialog, as they are so harsh at the top end.

 

Another choice, hard to find in the US are Sony CD900ST, they fit and sound like the 7506s, but have a decent bottom end.

They are available through Amazon, but the seller is "Japan Import" (To avoid counterfeit) Under $200

I own these too.

 

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No composing, but I usually use HD-25 and also listen to music with them. I like them and got used to it, but they are a bit too bright.

 

recently somebody suggested the Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro to me, I tested them and immediately bought a pair. They sound more natural then the HD-25 and the price is fantastic (about 70Euro over here). Best value I‘ve ever seen in a headphone, very much recommended. I also like that they are compact and I don‘t have to worry about loosing them. 

 

I also tested some headphones (AKG, Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser) in the 200-300Euro range for music a few years back, but bought none of them since I still preferred the HD-25 at the time. Also have the Sony 7506 but find them too muddy for most things (probably not helped by the fact that I‘m used to the bright HD-25).

 

just some thoughts

chris

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I find that the 7506's are the least hyped of any I've used out there and translate well to the studio monitors I am used to (Meyer HD-1, Meyer Amie, DynAudio BM-6A).  They are also quite common in many of the mastering studios I've frequented over the years.  I am not a composer, but have spent years mixing and mastering and find these a solid set of cans that are flat and accurate.  They are also not super expensive.  Just my two cents.  

 

 

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16 hours ago, chrismedr said:

 

recently somebody suggested the Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro to me, I tested them and immediately bought a pair. They sound more natural then the HD-25 and the price is fantastic (about 70Euro over here). Best value I‘ve ever seen in a headphone, very much recommended. I also like that they are compact and I don‘t have to worry about loosing them. 

 

This thread has really been selling me on picking up a pair of Beyerdynamic DT240 Pro headphones myself to try out instead of my usual 7056 (or the Remote Audio variant of it) 

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I like open (or semiopen) back for studio work. When I tried a bunch of various headphones the DT880 was my favourite and 990 on a close second. Went for the 990 in the end since they were much cheaper. Love the cushions on them. I use them every now and then as a compliment to my monitors, to fine tune edits or reverb. I found the low end to be really hard to judge on any cans, but other than that they are fine.

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For music composing (not for recording instruments) i use open headphones, closed cans are not very neutral in their frequence response and horrible for your ears if using for longer times, my favorite are AKG K702, very comfortable and quite good in the sound imaging. For the last bit of linearity i use sonarworks headphone correction software. I did alot of editing, playing virtual instruments and premixing with this setup and it translates quite well. Sometimes in the big music shops they have a wall with headphones plugged in a player and so you can test them against each other and decide what are the most flat and comfortable.

 

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I prefer open back HPs as well for private listening to music and TV. I use the Sony 7506 for dialog recording but do not like them at all for music in general. Headphones are a personal preference in sound and comfort, so I usually suggest the user audition as many as possible. In the $100 range alone, there must be at least ten contenders

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On 12/27/2019 at 8:12 PM, haifai said:

my favorite are AKG K702, very comfortable and quite good in the sound imaging. For the last bit of linearity i use sonarworks headphone correction software.

 

 

I second both the choice of headphones (or, indeed, the similar AKG K612 Pro) and Sonarworks. Use both happily for mixing (obviously using monitors too!).

 

Cheers,

 

Roland

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Recently I've been loving my Sennheiser HD650's - or actually the "Massdrop x Sennheiser HD-6XX", a group buy version from drop.com. I think I paid $215 incl. shipping, a rather nice saving. Don't know how much they are now. 

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I would recommend the Beyer DT880 pro. It is a semi open with a very good space reproduction, extremely confortable, and pretty accurate on the whole range.

I prefer it over the open DT990 both for sound quality and the fact that it is not totally open so you don’t hear yourself scratching your feet but still the space reproduction has the quality of an open headphone.

Basically the DT880pro got rid of what I considered flaws in the DT770 and DT990. 

I started working for film with the venerable DT48 😂 then switched to the sennheiser HD25 on set ever since but no way I can wear it for more than 30 continuous minutes anymore.

I do sound editing for film and music, music composing and even music premix with the DT880pro, all my studio work actually.

 

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23 hours ago, Olle Sjostrom said:

What did he end up with? :)

 

HD25s for now (there was a pair sitting around). Plans to check out the Beyerdynamic and perhaps a couple others. Hopes to drive them directly from his Focusrite Scarlett to keep things simple(ish); not so interested in an additional/external headphone amp.

 

Thanks everyone!

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