Best Headphones To Monitor Mix

BigEZ

The Devil Has Blue Eyes
Hey All,

What is the best set of headphones for under $600 that are un-colored and neutral for checking the mix? So far I'm looking at the sennheiser hd650, beyerdynamic dt880 and akg k702. What are your thoughts?

Thanks,
 
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dainbramage

New member
I second this question as I'm getting the Beyerdynamic T1 for listening pleasures and would like to use them for mixing as well.
 

Bobbsy

Boring Old Git
There are no "best" headphones for mixing...just some "least worst".

For all sorts of reasons to do with physics and psychoacoustics, headphones give a rather different balance to any sound compared to speakers. It's to do with the lack of air between the sound source and the eardrum.

With lots of practice, you can get to the point where you can make a good guess what something will sound like on speakers...but it's still down to interpretation, not an accurate sound.

If you're going to go that route, I'm personally partial to Sennheiser HD 25-II or HD 280 headsets.

However, if you want to see how scientific you can get, have a look at DAVE RAT'S MIGHTY HEADPHONE QUEST. There's a link to his various videos on the same topic at the bottom...worth watching before you spend the sort of money you're talking.
 

Massive Master

www.massivemastering.com
Grado PS500's (that was easy).

That said - No doubt, mixing on headphones is a recipe for failure. But if you're looking for some of the best, most "natural and uncolored" headphones as a secondary reference (and certainly for zeroing in on sonic anomalies and what not), you can hardly go wrong with Grado.

THAT said - Grado's SR225's rock nearly as well for about a third the price of the PS500's.
 

jmz93

New member
As someone already said, don't be surprised when your mix doesn't translate well on speakers. Gee, I thought I had enough reverb. Why can't I hear the center? What happened to the midrange ...

Anyway, I'm partial to Grado headphones. Open-backed, neutral (to my ears) midrange, and nice extended but not boosted highs and lows.
 

BigEZ

The Devil Has Blue Eyes
Thanks guys. I have an FS PRO24DSP with VRM (Virtual Reference Monitoring) which emulates different speaker setups in different environments. I generally mix solely with monitors but can't do so once my family goes to bed so am trying to find a viable option that let's me mix as late as I want.

Massive, that is a great suggestion. I ruled out the Grado's because of the price of the higher end models which I see a lot more when searching on the net. I found a pair of 225s on Amazon for $200! Do you have any knowledge of the 325s?
 

BushmasterM4

New member
I've tested tons of headphones and have a large collection. I have and love the Sennheiser HD600's , the 650's will no doubt be the best choice. They are so damn comfortable and the sound is amazing !!! I would not hesitate to mix on them either. Now for tracking they would not be ideal because of the open back (bleed), but thats why you buy a few pair of the HD202's at $24 a set. Those are great for tracking and are cheap, but very rugged. But for me the 650's are the only choice. Spend the money, you wont regret it. Better yet find a used pair on ebay. I got my 600's there for 1/2 the price and they were unused.
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
Grado PS500's (that was easy).


What John forgot to mention, that for the $600...along with the headphones, in the box you also get a small pillow and mint chocolates to enhance that listening experience.
So you really know where that $600 went. ;)



Yeah...they are always mentioned when people ask for "the best" headphones.
If I had the golden ears...I would get a pair. :D
 

Massive Master

www.massivemastering.com
Thanks guys. I have an FS PRO24DSP with VRM (Virtual Reference Monitoring) which emulates different speaker setups in different environments. I generally mix solely with monitors but can't do so once my family goes to bed so am trying to find a viable option that let's me mix as late as I want.
Just keep in mind that the VRM is VRM. It simulates a good situation while in a bad situation. Like a mirage in the desert. Or painting a Yugo with paint from the Rolls Royce factory.

Massive, that is a great suggestion. I ruled out the Grado's because of the price of the higher end models which I see a lot more when searching on the net. I found a pair of 225s on Amazon for $200! Do you have any knowledge of the 325s?
I have 225's here and they're wonderful. Nothing wrong with the 325's either. If I actually used them more often, I'd have 325's. Heck, if I used them more often I'd have the 500's. But I don't. But 225's are the best $200 you'll spend on cans IMO...
 

BigEZ

The Devil Has Blue Eyes
I just found an amazing price for Grado's if anyone is interested. Prices are as follows...

-sr225i $189 CAD
-ps500 $450 CAD

Crazy prices, especially for the ps500's and they're new! They're just starting to sell Grado's so they won't be on the website for another couple days. It's a Canadian site but they ship to the US as well...I've purchased quite a few items from them. Economik dot com.

Unfortunately I bought my 225s last night for $229 before speaking with them cuz I didn't see Grado on their website. When I called them today to cancel my order for DT880s, he told me that they just became a Grado dealer. What a shame. I would've bought the ps500s last night at that price if I'd known. I'm secretly hoping the 225s come from the other dealer defective so I can send them back. Anyway, enjoy!
 

Massive Master

www.massivemastering.com
Once you hear them, you won't want to return them anyway. Once you get into the Prestige series, every additional $100 only really gives you about $6.75 "better sound" -- Spend the rest on more broadband trapping.
 

BigEZ

The Devil Has Blue Eyes
True statement by massive...however, when you work full-time and your daughter goes to bed at 9pm you need to make due with what you have.

First impressions of the sr225i's is that they feel very cheap but sound good. They are also much easier to drive than my ath-40's. Will allow time to burn in before offering a more comprehensive review.
 

ecktronic

Mixing and Mastering.
Sennheiser are always a good choice for headphones and for mics. The HD650s are not closed back though. I'd suggest a pair that are closed back to lower the bleed from any outside noise.

G
 
Speaking of the sennheisers,

I would never have mixed on headphones, but lately I've been asked to record some live singer/songwriters in a less than ideal studio environment.

There was no room for monitors and I went ahead and did the sessions using Sennheiser HD280s.

I found they gave a good representation of frequency, but these sessions were mono.
I wouldn't even consider mixing a stereo session on headphones.

I listened back later on my mackies and was happy enough, but like i say, there wasn't much to go wrong.
 

Massive Master

www.massivemastering.com
First impressions of the sr225i's is that they feel very cheap but sound good. They are also much easier to drive than my ath-40's. Will allow time to burn in before offering a more comprehensive review.
"Delicate" -- Not "cheap" -- There's a difference. Even the most valuable gemstones can be crushed by the gentle tapping of a hammer...
 
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