What headphones to get

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RobC
Posts: 928
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 19 Apr 2018

This may be a common question, but every point of view is different.
Things I don't care about: looks, durability (concerning handling - I'm super careful)
What matters is sound reproduction (stereo image, dynamics, distortion, frequency range, noise level)

Response curve would be nice to be something like that Fletcher–Munson curve, so I have to equalize less to my hearing.
I've seen so many forums now throughout the years, and it seems everyone says something different. I just read, for "flat response" they don't exactly consider human hearing - especially since sub bass is decreased, treble is overly pushed ~ something I noticed with "flat response" headphones. I thought it would mean that they try to equalize so that frequencies at least try to be equally loud for the human hearing.

I'm looking for something with as close to true, natural response, as possible.

Clearly, open-back, thus not for recording, obviously. I'd say, mostly for sound design, but kind of all-purpose.

EDIT:

As some of you suggested - thank you very much for that - here's this handy tool to consider for flattening the response, and also a nice collection of headphones they support:

https://www.sonarworks.com/reference/headphones

EDIT 2 - boy, I don't even know what this is about anymore... ATM, from headphones, went to In-Ear phones.

EDIT 3:

The most suggested headphones are Sennheiser HD600;
and in-ear phones, Audio-Technica ATH E50 or E70

EDIT 4: After my confusions were cleared up, I started off with the ATH E40, which is the $ 100 category. Worth the money! Even when I'll jump to the E70, I'll keep the E40 for (at least) joy listening.
Last edited by RobC on 27 Nov 2018, edited 4 times in total.

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normen
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Post 19 Apr 2018

The thing about fletcher-munson is that all music is basically already mixed according to those curves so if you'd have them on the cans thats saying the same thing twice over.

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sublunar
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Post 19 Apr 2018

In terms of flat, natural response without extra added bass or treble and for an affordable price (around $40 USD), I can highly recommend the Superlux HD681. I searched around online for some time before reading reviews and settling on this one. I believe you'd have to spend a lot more to get a noticeable improvement in sound reproduction. I've owned mine for a year or two by now and am quite happy with it.

My previous headphones were made by Sony and they were uncomfortable, had too much bass, and they cost $100. They were also falling apart and would leave little black pieces of the ear pieces on my ears, so if I was in my studio before work in the morning (which I am most days) then I showed up to work with little black specs in my ears/hair.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/superlux_hd681.htm

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Kalm
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Location: Austin

Post 19 Apr 2018

The ones I use that I never go wrong with is Sennheiser 700. The staple in the industry is 600-650 but if you get used to the 700s. . . lets just say youll think better of yourself lol. If you're sensitive to upper frequencies, 2500kHz and up you may want to stay in the 600 model range.
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RobC
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Post 19 Apr 2018

normen wrote:
19 Apr 2018
The thing about fletcher-munson is that all music is basically already mixed according to those curves so if you'd have them on the cans thats saying the same thing twice over.
What is the definition for the sound where I put on the headphones, check sine wave tones from bass to treble, and neither sounds louder than the other? All balanced. ...or close to say the least, since every hearing is different.
Any system I equalized accordingly with the equally-loud-sine-wave-tones method, ~ well, music mixed and mastered by Bernie Grundman sounded best.
They say, do that to hear the music the way the mastering engineer truly intended (the good ones at least, not the loudness war stuff).

RobC
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Post 19 Apr 2018

sublunar wrote:
19 Apr 2018
In terms of flat, natural response without extra added bass or treble and for an affordable price (around $40 USD), I can highly recommend the Superlux HD681. I searched around online for some time before reading reviews and settling on this one. I believe you'd have to spend a lot more to get a noticeable improvement in sound reproduction. I've owned mine for a year or two by now and am quite happy with it.

My previous headphones were made by Sony and they were uncomfortable, had too much bass, and they cost $100. They were also falling apart and would leave little black pieces of the ear pieces on my ears, so if I was in my studio before work in the morning (which I am most days) then I showed up to work with little black specs in my ears/hair.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/superlux_hd681.htm
I'll look into what Superlux has to offer ~ can be a bit more expensive. Sony has some common studio headphones, but yeah I heard the bass is a bit boosted, plus they aren't even semi-open-back, all closed. Now, I know the thing about falling apart - but I've had such Sony headphones, and it didn't rip for 7 years, I was that careful, lol. I prefer the more durable leather-alike material, too.

RobC
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Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 19 Apr 2018

Kalm wrote:
19 Apr 2018
The ones I use that I never go wrong with is Sennheiser 700. The staple in the industry is 600-650 but if you get used to the 700s. . . lets just say youll think better of yourself lol. If you're sensitive to upper frequencies, 2500kHz and up you may want to stay in the 600 model range.
I read about those, but don't want to invest in that price range just yet. More like the around hundred buck range (yeah, I always say that and then go way above xD). My ears are sensitive to those ranges, but I'd equalize anyway, but the closer to my hearing response, the better.
I was thinking about the 600 for the future.

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Kalm
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Location: Austin

Post 19 Apr 2018

As far as cheaper go, I recently bought the ATH-70x to replace my ATH-50. Their a little more like in the 230 range but the ATH-50 are decent, though youll have to be careful about the bass and mid-range response. I think Sonarworks and Toneboost have EQ correction for those headphones as well. That's the cheapest I've gone personally.
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Marco Raaphorst
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Post 19 Apr 2018

Sennheiser HD600 is the bomb for me. Using Sennheiser HD380 pro for tracking.
Marco Raaphorst

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aeox
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Location: Oregon

Post 19 Apr 2018

HD600!
whoahh

Last edited by aeox on 24 May 2018, edited too many times in total.

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Oquasec
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Post 19 Apr 2018

Don't get anything below an hd201 fella.
On a pair of HD598's, q40's handle broke but still works.
I'm gonna suggest senn, akg and german maestro headphones because I am sure those wouldn't have broken handles as easily.

So find flat headphones with durability ratings.
Producer/Sound Designer.
Anything works.

RobC
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Post 19 Apr 2018

Like I said, HD600 might be the future, hehe. Not ATM. xD Unless I wait a bit.

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normen
Posts: 3429
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Post 19 Apr 2018

RobC wrote:
19 Apr 2018
What is the definition for the sound where I put on the headphones, check sine wave tones from bass to treble, and neither sounds louder than the other? All balanced. ...or close to say the least, since every hearing is different.
Any system I equalized accordingly with the equally-loud-sine-wave-tones method, ~ well, music mixed and mastered by Bernie Grundman sounded best.
They say, do that to hear the music the way the mastering engineer truly intended (the good ones at least, not the loudness war stuff).
Yeah you'd end up with something like the F-M curve if you do that. Better is relative but you will definitely not hear what Bernie Grundman intended you to hear :)

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Marco Raaphorst
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Post 19 Apr 2018

RobC wrote:
19 Apr 2018
I just read, for "flat response" they don't exactly consider human hearing - especially since sub bass is decreased, treble is overly pushed ~ something I noticed with "flat response" headphones. I thought it would mean that they try to equalize so that frequencies at least try to be equally loud for the human hearing.
It only comes down to this: knowing your tools and your own ears.
Marco Raaphorst

Music & soundware https://melodiefabriek.com.
Check out my new ReFill Rockmen: https://melodiefabriek.com/blog/rockmen ... available/

RobC
Posts: 928
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 19 Apr 2018

normen wrote:
19 Apr 2018
RobC wrote:
19 Apr 2018
What is the definition for the sound where I put on the headphones, check sine wave tones from bass to treble, and neither sounds louder than the other? All balanced. ...or close to say the least, since every hearing is different.
Any system I equalized accordingly with the equally-loud-sine-wave-tones method, ~ well, music mixed and mastered by Bernie Grundman sounded best.
They say, do that to hear the music the way the mastering engineer truly intended (the good ones at least, not the loudness war stuff).
Yeah you'd end up with something like the F-M curve if you do that. Better is relative but you will definitely not hear what Bernie Grundman intended you to hear :)
I'm totally lost now. Then how should we be listening?
When I listened to music like that, it sounded perfect. Everything was balanced, I could hear everything in the frequency spectrum evenly. No boosts, no drops.

RobC
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Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 19 Apr 2018

Marco Raaphorst wrote:
19 Apr 2018
RobC wrote:
19 Apr 2018
I just read, for "flat response" they don't exactly consider human hearing - especially since sub bass is decreased, treble is overly pushed ~ something I noticed with "flat response" headphones. I thought it would mean that they try to equalize so that frequencies at least try to be equally loud for the human hearing.
It only comes down to this: knowing your tools and your own ears.
All I did was equalizing my tools for my ears. xD

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Marco Raaphorst
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Post 19 Apr 2018

RobC wrote:
19 Apr 2018
Marco Raaphorst wrote:
19 Apr 2018


It only comes down to this: knowing your tools and your own ears.
All I did was equalizing my tools for my ears. xD
Then you're tools are the wrong ones. You should be able to find flat sounding stuff. There are many great headphones with a flat frequency range. Reference material sounds great on these.
Marco Raaphorst

Music & soundware https://melodiefabriek.com.
Check out my new ReFill Rockmen: https://melodiefabriek.com/blog/rockmen ... available/

RobC
Posts: 928
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 19 Apr 2018

Marco Raaphorst wrote:
19 Apr 2018
RobC wrote:
19 Apr 2018


All I did was equalizing my tools for my ears. xD
Then you're tools are the wrong ones. You should be able to find flat sounding stuff. There are many great headphones with a flat frequency range. Reference material sounds great on these.
Yeah, the current headphones really have a sound I don't like at all.
When equalized flat, this little sample sounds about balanced out. Without the headphones equalized, the treble scratches my eardrums.


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Marco Raaphorst
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Post 19 Apr 2018

RobC wrote:
19 Apr 2018
Marco Raaphorst wrote:
19 Apr 2018


Then you're tools are the wrong ones. You should be able to find flat sounding stuff. There are many great headphones with a flat frequency range. Reference material sounds great on these.
Yeah, the current headphones really have a sound I don't like at all.
When equalized flat, this little sample sounds about balanced out. Without the headphones equalized, the treble scratches my eardrums.

That track sound totally undynamic and dull to me. I would never use this for reference.
Marco Raaphorst

Music & soundware https://melodiefabriek.com.
Check out my new ReFill Rockmen: https://melodiefabriek.com/blog/rockmen ... available/

RobC
Posts: 928
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 19 Apr 2018

Marco Raaphorst wrote:
19 Apr 2018
RobC wrote:
19 Apr 2018


Yeah, the current headphones really have a sound I don't like at all.
When equalized flat, this little sample sounds about balanced out. Without the headphones equalized, the treble scratches my eardrums.

That track sound totally undynamic and dull to me. I would never use this for reference.
It's not reference sound. It's just an example that the treble in it sounds too sharp on my headphones.
Not to mention it was prepared for loudness war stuff - figures. Plus in mono - figures again. Plus it has a pre-alpha equalization test. Figures the 3rd time. And the FIR filtering is badly messed up. Figures the 4th time, lol. Also, electro-pop with all "synth" sounds. (Clearly NNXT stuff.) Figures for the last time, haha.

Anyways, same with Bernie Grundman masters when it comes to treble and lower sub bass on these "professional" Shure headphones. Not even worth mentioning. I say, equalization works really well with them, though - like that I'm satisfied, but they are closed ones, so'.

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sublunar
Posts: 384
Joined: 27 Apr 2017

Post 19 Apr 2018

I"m not really sure what you're going on about any more at this point. Just get a decent pair of flat/natural headphones like some that have been recommended above and use them. I think most people would tell you, you shouldn't really be doing serious mixing work with only headphones anyway. It sounds like you're going way too deep with this. And that track is horrible. My two cents.

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moneykube
Posts: 1631
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Post 19 Apr 2018

gold has low resistance
Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 4.13.33 PM.png
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RobC
Posts: 928
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 20 Apr 2018

sublunar wrote:
19 Apr 2018
I"m not really sure what you're going on about any more at this point. Just get a decent pair of flat/natural headphones like some that have been recommended above and use them. I think most people would tell you, you shouldn't really be doing serious mixing work with only headphones anyway. It sounds like you're going way too deep with this. And that track is horrible. My two cents.
Headphones with accurate sound reproduction, not too cheap, not too expensive.
Yes, seems something that actually has the Fletcher-Munson curve, which won't need much equalization (which the more added the more artifacts the sound will have).
While I did say I'm looking for all purpose open back headphones, I also said, it would be for sound design in the first place, not mixing.
Oh? Where did I go deep with this?
Why is that track horrible?

RobC
Posts: 928
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 20 Apr 2018

Marco Raaphorst wrote:
19 Apr 2018
RobC wrote:
19 Apr 2018


Yeah, the current headphones really have a sound I don't like at all.
When equalized flat, this little sample sounds about balanced out. Without the headphones equalized, the treble scratches my eardrums.

That track sound totally undynamic and dull to me. I would never use this for reference.
What's dull about that snippet of music?

RobC
Posts: 928
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 20 Apr 2018

moneykube wrote:
19 Apr 2018
gold has low resistance
Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 4.13.33 PM.png
Now that is what I call a golden pair of cans. Har. Har. Har.

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