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Microphone Month 3

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advice on studio monitor headphones


i'm in the process of rebuilding a project studio that has lain inactive for the last several years. i'll be using the studio to primarily record deep house music with a jazzy/electronic feel incorporating some live instrumentation (sax, trumpet, guitar, maybe african/latin percussion) and vocals--but the majority of my music will be recorded using synths and my DAW.
i'm using a set of event 20/20's to monitor recordings on speakers but am completely stumped as to headphones.
in the past i've used sony mdr-v600 which are more than adequate if you dj and just need to hear the thump of the drums and the high end percussion in order to seamlessly mix other people's recordings. but overly sweetened sound on those headphones obviously is a bad choice for recording purposes.
still, as bass and high end is such an important feature in creating the sense of space in dance music, i know i want a pair of headphones that will allow me to plow through potential low-end muddiness and high end hyperambience of percussion and basslines while keeping my ears open to accurately reproduced midrange vocals and melodic instruments.
i've read reviews for sony mdr-7509's, sennheiser hd600's, some grado headphones too.
any recommendations for the style of music i'll be producing?
July 30, 2002 @05:37pm

Stick with the speakers and maybe get a sub instead of headphones. The only other peple that will be listening on head phones (for the most part) will be DJ's using the latest from Sony, Technics, or whoever is making those Ministry of Sound headphones, all of which tend to accentuate kick bass and high hats (makes it easier to beat match, right?). Why do you want to mix and master with headphones? Hell, make it sound good on some Peavey PA's and the whole House nation will be at your feet ;).
July 30, 2002 @06:07pm
David Klausner

I second that advice. Headphones can sometimes be useful to check things during a mix (they can sometimes be very revealing about mistakes, noise, etc), but make a poor substitute for speakers. Bass response, stereo panning, ambience, etc. are all unrealistic on headphones.
July 30, 2002 @09:05pm

Yeah, what those other guys said! I do the same thing. I mix with a pair of JBL 4311-B's and when I have it the way I like it, I cross-check with the headphones just to be sure it sounds like I want it. Once I get it right there I mixdown to PC thru an m-audio soundcard, run some cooledit or sound forge stuff on the track, do a freq analysis to make sure nothings out of order and then double check again with headphones...all the while doing the actual mix with the JBL's and using the phones only occasionally.
I have to be careful to remember to take the headphones off (I have a pair of Sennheisers and they're so light ang good sounding I have actually forgotten I have them on my head because I get so involved in the mix!)
July 31, 2002 @03:20pm

I have a pair of Audio Technica ATH-M40fs, besides a couple of cheap Yorkville Apex's,,which are ok too. They are nice. I understand the Sony MDR's or whatever they are, are nice too.
I avoid using headphones like the plague.
The only time I use them is when I'm doing a miked(I record alot of acoustic inst, miked,,fiddles, guitars, banjos, etc.) take and I don't want the monitors feeding into the mike. Otherwise,,I use my monitors. Headphones are a major culprit in hearing loss, and I only use them when I absolutely have to. The Tannoy 800A's are MUCH more pleasing to listen to, anyway.It's very difficult to get an accurate mix with headphones, though alot of people like to think they can do it.
August 2, 2002 @04:47pm

Check out the discussion on this similar thread.
August 13, 2002 @02:33pm